Behind The Pilot
Simon Steel has years of experience flying the South Downs. He can usually be seen above Mount Caburn or Devil's Dyke, circling high up. He is an Advanced Pilot (BHPA) and Dual Rated (tandem pilot) with well over 1000 hours of airtime. He loves cross country flying but he is cautious (and wise) so he likes light wind days, finding thermals and getting high in the flats.
Club: Southern HGC
Flying since: 1998.
Hours: 1000 +
Best Distance: 82km
Best Flight: Flying in BP Cup race to goal to Worcester from The Lawley (68km). I hadn’t done 10k XC before but was the first to take off and climbed out with Kai Coleman on his hot ship. Got some height and was joined by Carlo and others who then went a more sensible route along better terrain. I got a very low strong save just over the back off a corrugated iron roof and carried on along the direct route line my GPS showed. I deviated only slightly, hopping from town to town using them as thermal sources with Kai going on glides and coming back to wherever I was marking the climb. I pushed on quite fast as I’d recently read something about speed to fly and didn’t climb to the top of the thermals. I arrived at goal with about 3000 ft burning it off as fast as I could. This was quite difficult and if this hadn’t been my first goal I would have gone for a bigger XC (Kai went on to do 125km that day, but didn’t score in the comp as he was too late to put his flight in!) I think I came in 5th in the comp in amongst the hot ships. I was told that I'd flown over various sink holes but for me ignorance was bliss! The hitch back was super fast and I think I got back before some got to goal.
Favourite site (UK): Maybe Bo Peep in UK though the Mynd is pretty good
Favourite Site (World): I haven’t flown much in the world, though Annecy can be great!
Wing: Gin Carrera+
Harness: Advance Lightness 2
Instruments: Naviter Oudie 4 and Syride SYS'Nav
Reserve: High Adventure Beamer 3 Light