“I first attempted free flight whilst living in London 20 years ago. The UK weather and a bankrupt flying school (Sky Systems) put paid to that attempt. Moving to Holland (!) further delayed living the dream for another decade (a course in Chamonix notwithstanding). Finally, after sorting out my priorities and moving to Sussex it all came together and the oh-so precious Club Pilot licence was attained…
The Freedom! Me, a Pilot!
Now, having popped a few of my paragliding cherries over the last 8 years and 300 plus hours, I can count myself as an experienced pilot albeit one with a heck of a lot more still to learn!
High and (low) lights of my flying career, in no particular order, include: Breaking the 100km mark in the UK; Completing 1 fun comp and 1 SIV course; Flying into rotor and subsequently the ground from 150 feet at Beachy Head (and walking away unscathed); Making 170km on my first test flight of the Advance Iota (I’m now an Advance convert and still flying the same wing); Gaining the site record for the Southern club site ‘Bo Peep’ by taking off near Alfriston and landing at Basingstoke for 110km.
Now, I’m really enjoying the chance to explore another aspect of the flying experience by writing for Flybubble, thereby combining two of my greatest passions.”
Club: Southern / Thames Valley / South Wales
Flying Since: 2009
Total Hours Flown: Around 300
Best Distance: 170 km
Best Flight: Stroud to Worthing
Favourite Site (World): Planfait, Annecy
Favourite Site (UK): Devils Dyke, or Llangollen
Wing: Advance Iota
Harness: Ozone Ozium
Reserve: Gin Yeti Light
Instruments: Syride GPS, XC Soar on a Kobo Mini
Other kit: Charly No Limit Full Face helmet, Sup’Air Backpack, Advance Light bag, Quansheng Radio, XC Pee, a flapjack and 2 Bananas…
Goal: My current goals for my flying are to join the 200 club and to enjoy my time in the flying scene on the ground as much as my time in the air…
Why do I fly/what does it mean to me? I absolutely love that this sport encourages adventure; taking us from baby hops on the South Downs to dreams of flying the vast Karakoram ranges, the freedom of free flight invites me to keep growing, improving, learning, stretching my comfort zone and to live the adventure.
My facebook page: Dickon Walker