In short, our Spain trips were fantastic with lots of great flying, mostly fabulous weather and a lovely bunch of people!
We flew almost every day of the two weeks and our pilots got shed loads of top quality airtime. They had many flights over 2 hours (a few over 4) with oodles of great thermaling, and some short-to-medium distance XCs (10 to 40km).
Most of the time it was sunny blue skies with daytime temperatures around 25-30C; just perfect! We lost a couple of days due to bad weather (mainly too windy, but also some rain) and had a few cloudy but flyable days - and even those produced some great flying.
Many personal bests were beaten by pilots in our group, and some dreams realised and goals achieved! Ex Flybubble students Andre Byard, Janos Kovacs, Chris Hanks and Martin Goldring all did us proud. :))))
Andre just couldn't get enough airtime and was thermaling like a demon on his Advance Alpha 5, climbing high and getting back up from some very low saves. Fantastic flying!
Janos the happy Hungarian was clearly loving every minute. Even when everyone else is exhausted, you never need to ask if he wants to go back up for another flight - especially if there's a chance to practice some wing-overs on his Niviuk Hook 2! 🙂
Despite being low airtime, and very little solo thermaling experience, Chris showed great airmanship and, after some instruction, seemed to get the hang on the thermaling thing on his Skywalk Tequila 3: "For me the absolute highlight was when I thermalled to over four thousand feet and was looking straight at a vulture who was flying with me; it just blew me away."
Always an independent thinker, Martin is often doing his own thing - and doing very well at that! One one day he managed to stay up longer than everyone else on his Skywalk Tequila 3, flying for over 4 hours! A very happy Martin wrote: "I had such a great time last year that I decided to come back for a second helping! I wasn’t disappointed! Great flying, great company and great food!"
Matt Williams came all the way from New Zealand to enjoy our world-famous Flybubble XC trips. 😉 As you can see from the photos (green Gin Atlas) he managed lots of great flying! Matt was an absolute pleasure to have around, both in the air and on the ground!
Best XC of the trip was by Rob Houston who finally managed to find that elusive second thermal which had somehow always escaped him over the years... until now! Flying with Carlo the whole way, Rob found another ten or so thermals of all shapes, sizes and strengths along the way. Airborne for over 4 hours on his Ozone Delta and reaching over 2000m ASL (1600m AGL, 1000m ATO) in convergence at one point, Rob eventually landed in a nice big flat field only due to tiredness and sensory overload. There was still plenty of lift to be found... but he's saving it for next time! Our efficient retrieve had been following our progress and picked us up before we'd even finished packing. Thanks Jose!
â€‹Adrian Wynter indulged himself with a plethora of Spanish delights: thermaling up high over big mountains and soaring up small hills on his Advance Epsilon 6 by day; quaffing and scoffing fine Rioja and as many tasty 'postres' (Spanish deserts) as he could muster by night. For pure adrenaline he once again employed the tried-and-tested big-wing-overs-to-large-collapse technique. His crazed cackles of excitement could be heard for many miles around: "Woo hoo hoo hoooo!!!" %~D
Matt Wilkes' infectious enthusiasm contaminated us all. As well as a phenomenal amount of thermaling, he might've also managed the longest flight of the trip at over 4 and a half hours. The flights not over 'til the wing's in the bag, seemed to be Matt's moto!
A self-confessed ill-practised launcher, Malcolm Peacock somehow managed to successfully remove himself from the ground each day, although it must be said that we all now have many more grey hairs as a result! 😉 Once in the air though he flew very well, thermaling well and even managing to go XC. Well done, Malcolm! 🙂
Peter Finnis and Sean Lippett both showed great poise on the launch catwalk but had their style cramped somewhat by catching a nasty Kiwi cold (Matt?). Still they managed some nice flights and Sean never fails to keep us entertained with fantastic and hilarious stories about his very colourful life history. You really should make a film about it, Sean!
Everything new for Brian Barnes: New location, new wing (Skywalk Cayenne 4), new people, and a new kind of paragliding trip: "Much more than the general 'Flyaway' I've got used to." Brian seemed to settle in nicely and enjoy himself: "A great week with a bunch of total strangers, loved it."
Simon Watford improved his flying and thermaling skills greatly, reaching cloud base for the first time at 1850m and even managing his first XC. Unfortunately he broke his leg on landing, which was really a great shame especially since he was doing so well and having a great time. Undeterred, Simon is keen to get back in the air asap: "It'll all mend. And then I'll need some boots!"
Stephen and Wendy Pearce both did great and managed to achieve some PBs including longest flights and first XCs. Wendy wrote: "My week with you took my paragliding experience and skills to a whole new level." "Many thanks again for one of the most memorable weeks of my life!!!"
Due to the beautiful sunny weather we enjoyed for most of the trip we have loads of great photos and video footage!
Read some Pilot Feedback from the trip.
Many thanks to Jose and Bea at Zero Gravity Parapente in Spain for once again looking after our groups so well and working so hard to get us flying as much as possible every day, even when the weather wasn't perfect; the rain in Spain isn't always on the plane! If anyone wants to go flying in the Algodonales area, and you want to enjoy the real Spanish experience, then we highly recommend our amiable amigos at Zero Gravity! Contact us and we can put you in touch.
Below: A rare sighting of the top surface of Nancy's Skywalk Chili 3, which must be filled with helium! 😉