Paragliding cross country (XC) flight from Devils Dyke to Hastings on 16th July 2008 by Carlo Borsattino. This flight was lovely and amazing most of the time... but a bit hairy and scary at others!
At the at Devils Dyke I met up with Rupert Dodds, a freelance video editor, cameraman and producer. Rupert is also an experienced paraglider pilot, and so took the opportunity to test fly an Advance Omega 7 from us...
The conditions were rather windy and rough on the hill, which was Devils Dyke. After hours of trying, trying, trying (and missing several climbs that other people managed to leave the hill on) I eventually got a lucky climb that took me to 3000ft AGL just behind takeoff then headed east towards Lewes. I then got more climbs to above 3500ft AGL, so had to avoid the 3500ft airspace by cutting south of Falmer / Sussex University where the Sea Breeze Front (SBF) was lurking.
I could tell it was going to be feisty as my glider started twitching around all over the place and I started to feel and hear sudden rushes or wind/air around me.
As I came under the SBF cloud my glider suddenly pitched more than 45 degrees in front of me and, even with very active piloting, I had a 50% collapse (being a very active pilot, I don't very often get collapses that big). Then I rocketed upwards at around 6m/s for about 3 seconds shortly followed by plummeting downwards at around 8m/s. I decided not to turn back and try to work that 'thermal' and moved on a bit further where I found something a little more reasonable (and workable).
I had similar thrashings on several occasions during the flight: Over the tip near Beddingham; behind the hill near Firle; behind the hill near Bo Peep; in front of the Long Man of Wilmington, near Polegate; several times around Bexhill (where the stiff upper breeze was also trying to blow me out to sea); and finally, saving the best (i.e. the worst!) until last, I received a feisty aerial spanking on landing approach where the wind seemed to be swirling around like a (broken, psychopathic) washing machine. From about 400ft AGL to the ground it was all I could do to keep my glider flying and inflated (to a certain degree) and land somewhere in a field (I chose the biggest field I could reach) without making too much of an impact.
All in all, a very exciting flight!
The photo below shows the amazing view I had as I glided past Eastbourne towards Bexhill...
UK National & Southern Paragliding XC Leagues
See this flight in the UK National and Southern Hang Gliding & Paragliding Club paragliding cross-country leagues...
The following web links will open a new browser window when clicked on:
See this flight in the Southern Hang Gliding & Paragliding Club (SHGC) paragliding cross-country league.
See this flight in the UK National Paragliding Cross-Country League (UKPGXCL).
See the 2008 UK National Paragliding Cross-Country League tables.
See photos taken by Carlo during this flight below.