Thursday, May 02, 2019

Aerotowing with Sid

It's been years since I last aerotowed behind Sid.

There was a time when I was out there nearly every weekend. But then my friend Karl that I used to fly with left us and I stopped heading out.

Since then I have almost been back several times, but for several reasons I never quite made it.

The last few years have seen injury curtail my ability to hang glide, but finally I seem to be over that restriction.

This summer I was pretty focused on trying to find out what I could achieve with a Paraglider and so there were times when I could have gone to Sids, but went XC from Bakewell with my PG instead.

Finally I was faced with an invitation to head out to Sids on a weekend when it was not flyable from Bakewell and my back was not stopping me from going.

It was great to see Sid again. He has some of the same flying toys and some new ones. He is every bit as much the passionate aviator as he always has been.

With probably thousands of hours of aerotowing hang glider pilots under his belt, Sid always makes the tows feel effortless.

If anything I think the danger is that he can give pilots too much confidence, they think that the reason the tows are going well is because they are are great pilot, but actually Sid is always working to keep you in the sweet spot as well.

It is often a shock for pilots the first time they tow behind a trike pilot that is flying flat out and not trying to make life easy for the hang glider pilot behind!

I had a couple of great tows, it was very overcast with moderate winds on the ground and all the way up.

Thermals were broken, but the lift was clustered enough to work.

My first tow I pinned off early, thinking I was in lift and then found sink all the way back to the LZ.

The second tow I stayed on longer and Sid dropped me in lift. I was able to climb and drift about 10km down wind.

At this point it became obvious that my Galaxy S4 that I was using as a vario and navigation device was not going to work for me and so I turned around and headed back to the farm.
I was not sure if I was going to make it due to the headwind, but I got a thermal half way back and the wind was abating.

I made it back with a few hundred feet to spare and then had a nil wind landing to finish the day.

I think 3 pilots went XC on the day with David getting around 50km in difficult conditions.

Keith Lightbody, photographer supreme was out and flew as well. I think he lent his camera to Kevin who got some nice shots of me.

Video footage from the day: 














 

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