Our Blog is an up to date record of what we have been up to both in the school and out of it. We endeavour to update it as regularly as possible and include a sample the days pictures when available.

You can scroll back through the
Blog and follow various students progress through their training and get a good idea of how the school operates.

You will also find records of our trips abroad which will give you a good idea of what to expect should you wish to come on one with us.

Please visit it on a regular basis and feel free to add comments.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

They think it's all over --- and it is - Mexico Day 16

The last comp' day and we are ready for it, Steve's glider is out of the pits and raring to go.  Kaz makes a full round of rolls and we get our kit sorted and head to the truck. Life in Mexico is that same as anywhere else as a drain better clears a blockage sending "stuff" spouting out of a drain and into the air ;) Gordon relates the forecast which is not ideal, strong winds possible rain late afternoon and 0 degrees at cloud base, we all pop in extra clothing.

Men at work

Petrol Station ........

Hi-me's truck grinds on in second gear and we head to the hill, Gordon gives us some "biscuits", security has dropped to zero at the turn off and things look pretty chilled.  We arrive and gliders come off people are rigging, we join the que.  Back on spot 66 just behind Matt from the USA it's good to catch up on the latest developments at Wills Wing.  Gliders ready and its Pilot briefing, there is a task on the board we pop it not our instruments.  Laurent T tries to demonstrate his photo type airbag system but the battery is flat, could be a design fault me thinks.

We pop the unofficial task in

No decision on the day yet so a debrief in an hour we all chill.  An hour approaches and it still looks pretty breezy up top with the clouds marching past.  A wind dummy takes off, still no decision, Gordon makes a video of various pilots impressions of the day, they all kind of agree.  A quad copter films the launch and flies between the trees. Johnny D hi jacks the Red Bull van and becomes DJ, pilots jig about.

Quad Copter filming

Steve in his moment

The lonely job of a Meet Director

Johnny D takes on the DJ duties in the Red bull truck

Finally the Meet Head calls briefing, .............. news from the Valle is that is blowing a strong North and the microlight pilot is refusing to fly despite the pressure of the Media.  It's canned, that's it it's all over ....... The Champions are congratulated and the Teams presented cheers all round and Christian C (World Champion 2015) takes on the ice bucket challenge

The winning Teams and a few of the fallen

It's all a bit of a shame not flying on the last day but hey ho that's the way it goes and for sure it was the right decision. Kaz walks down the hill to look at the houses while we derig and head down in the truck picking here up at check point charlie which is now buzzing with Police, strange.

Thats it pulling battens for the final time in Mexico 2015

Kaz passes the locals coming up as she walks down

Gordon takes the control of the music machine and we drift back into the 70's and 80's then it happens .......... Wayne World, Bohemian Rhapsody and we are away, even Genna the Russian started to move his head, we let rip, Hi-me struggles to control the truck as we bounce down the road in full head banging mode. One of those moments you don't forget and it's on video :) guess it's all a bit of relief that we have all made it through, one of the few teams to have done so unscathed.

the Truck starts to rock

Steve does his impression of the Scream whilst Genna is bewildered

Hi -me gets into the spirit

and Gordon nearly bounces out of his seat

Back to base and it's take the gliders apart time, bubble wrap everywhere and on a breezy day thats fun. We all manage it and pop the gliders indoors just in case. a review of the "video" has us in stitches then it's a shower and off to eat. Whoops bit premature there it's Tequilla slammers all round and we demolish a bottle between us in less than 10 minutes and Gordon explains the meaning of  a "Dirty Sanches" with a demonstration on me ..........

Up to the town for a bite to eat then it's a taxi chase to the "party"  the free beer is free but not sure it is beer! The music is "dance" music but it's not the kind of dancing that I understand more like a slight staggering movement with a bit of head nodding,oh that will be "Trance" then.  we do manage a couple of "tracks" and between Steve Kaz Grant and myselff get the dance floor moving all decided by Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Another short courtesy of the big G doesn't help and Kaz and myself make an early exit leaving the guys to it.  Actually we are not that early as Grant and Steve turn up at the house about 15 minutes after us, then there is a bit of a gap before Carl makes his presence known ;)

Quote of the day " my camel toes a bit dry "

Tip of the day - When it is flyable fly -

The Day after the night Before - Mexico Day 15

Despite last nights antics the house stirred early and even Wayne made an appearance at an acceptable time, very impressive.  Gordon went off to sort out what went on yesterday and the rest did domestics, then we were  "ready".

Carl does a magic dance to help us

It works, that's another glider out of the comp" :)

Hi-me's truck has now taken on a mind of its own and we seem to be stuck in 2nd gear so not the fastest piece of kit on the road but still sturdy and strong, even if it does drink fuel faster than Wayne drinks tequila! We have taken to using the "other" garage to miss the quest, well that is the excuse, the fact that Carl goes in everyday and puts an extra 10 pesetas on his phone cordoned the girl giggles and he smiles has nothing to do with it at all. Gordon just grins :)

They must have seen our antics last night as dancing is now banned on the hill

The sky is full of cumulus as we drive up the hill and Hi-me expresses doubt about the task as set, local knowledge is a wonderful thing.  We rig I am back on 66, think it is my destiny. Wayne is back by the cars which in fact is a good place to be with easy access and plenty of shade. the rest are on or near the front with Steve on early bird.

The microlight returns for some low passes

Pilots brief, safety input, task change, timings set and we go back to our gliders.  Re brief  we go back, new task s on the board, safety input ------ day is canned, pilots clap.


It's not all bad

Some fly with Grant Wayne and Carl launching whilst the rest of us opt to de rig and drive down.  The radio cackles and it sounds like they having fun with lift everywhere, should we have tasked ??

it is all too much zzzzzzz

Trafficing ???

We arrive back in Valle de Bravo and the weather looks nice but deteriorates quickly with showers around and it looks very grey off to the east where we would be flying, hmmmm. rain drops start to fall hope the guys aren't getting wet.

Looking a bit grey over the course

It's a really chilled afternoon, Steve tinkers with his glider replacing this and that, I tap away on the blog and catch up with some emails and Comp's panel stuff, Kaz does some embroidery and Gordon goes to sleep.


 The fliers return having had fun but still not convinced it would have been the right thing to do to task, all three survived another landing although by all accounts belly landings were the order of the day and a bit more aluminium was added to the scrap pile.

I cooked it myself ...............

Gordons new pants

Some ate in, some ate out and some did both but all were tucked up in bed at a sensible time, canned days are always the most tiring as your emotions get all mixed up as things change quicker than them.

Quote of the day "Quack quack"

Tip of the day - Risk benefit analysis  - it's very different for everyone

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Missing the net, Carlos and the Dancing Duck - Mexico Day 14

What, an overcast sky, are we still in Mexico ?  Yes really it all looked a bit grey and flat out there, were we going to fly, the team leaders brief said yes, we shall see.

Phippsy is a bit late up and taps away  at mach ten on the Blog managing to complete it and post as the guys walk out the door, close one.  The guys share out team leaders meeting duties but Gordon still has to do the safety bit, We still manage a reasonable departure time.  Carl picks up yet more laundry but a close inspection of his pants reveal a possible lack of washing powder ........ or maybe it was just a really rough day yesterday ;)

pretty house on the way to launch

We are now down to just an Ambulance at the turn off to launch but still a few guns on launch . all seem pretty normal now.  Everyone seems pretty chilled as we rig under a grey sky.  wayne is tail end Charlie and gets a nice spot by the loo's, Steve and Phippsy have Early Bird slots and Phipps nearly slides down the slope at launch whilst the others are dotted around.

Harvesting the trees for resin

Pilot briefing returns to "normal" with long delays as things change still no rush as the sun is still trying to show it's face.  Finally we are set for a task taking us south then  back to launch then SW  before heading north and finally a push into wind to a turn point se of the "Piano" goal field then into the goal, Could be a tricky one under this sky.

The cream of British Hang Gliding gets in the zone

Kaz sports the Official hat

Steve B into the grey

Phppsy is first brit off and struggles a little before Steve joins him and finds a climb up they go. The rest have an easier time of it as conditions improve.  Everyone groups up at the edge of the start circle having fought our way south to get a good run in.  Tick tock tick tock the clock winds down as does the lift then we are off. some have reasonable start some not so good but atlas we are all away with Wayne coming in from a different direction which actually paid of , ideal.

Things space out quickly with areas of good lift separated by others of heavy sink some get it good and some get it hard.  Grant Carl and Gordon are up front with Steve not far behind. Phippsy gets a mixture of luck but drops off the pace  and gets stuck returning from TP 3 whilst the others head to TP 4 except Wayne who keeps him company.  The leaders start to struggle as they push back from TP 4. Phipps slides onto the front of Goro's knob (well used by now) and soars it whilst wayne goes the opposite way and finds lift to carry on to TP 4.

They guys are landing not wanting to push their luck into the rotor behind the launch hill, Phippsy drops off the back of Gordo's knob and has a bouncy ride down in the lee but a nice landing.  Wayne is still going and makes TP 4 then turn south for the leg back.  Everyone is on the ground but Wayne and pilots will him on, he is doing great and the sun is out.  radio cackle - "The goal is closed"  what does that mean except the obvious ?  Wayne burns off a couple of thousand feet and lands safely on the race course.  more radio cackle "The goal is open" what ??

Daniel and the drouge, I'm in love with it !

the back side of El Gordo's knob

We all get picked up and are back at base at a reasonable time, no pilots in goal ;( but who knows what the result of the task will be, can you close and open a goal without stopping the task , we shall find out over the next day or two. A nice drive back through the posh part of town with some serious security issues.

Now that is a Police car ;)

Massages booked all round so a shower then off for some street food before a rub down. lightning in the sky and even a spot of drizzle. the food is good as are the ice creams, yummy. massage lady cancels so we have time on our hands.

It starts off well enough with some food

and ice creams

Kaz, Phippsy Gordon and Wayne venture into a music bar.  Gordon emerges one Tequilla later and heads for home as the others start to move about. another tequila and the dancing starts with Kaz and Phippsy taking the floor.  Kaz meets Carlos a man of some influence apparently and it's another round.  The bar starts to fill and the Trudy and Jamie drop in, but not for long, the Italians arrive and stay and one takes a shine to Wayne teaching how to dance like a Duck. Wayne then gets a lecture from a local explaining that he could well be arrested for dancing in such a fashion.............

Kaz meets Carlos

Gordon awaits a phone call

don't ask

Wayne makes friend and learns how to dance the Duck

the locals join the party

It's an evening to remember with us doing our upmost to knobble the top team, it's not all about the flying!  We are out of there before midnight and our job is done, shame as it turns out that they were all support crew and not pilots, boy do they have a lot of support.

Quote of the day "I'm not firkin going there"

Tip of the day "better late than never"


Monday, March 09, 2015

Fast and Rough, Low and Tough - Mexico Day 13

Firstly would just like to say a huge appreciation to all of you for the support that we have received with your comments and following on the live tracking. It makes a big difference to us all and particularly for me with feedback on the blogs, makes it all worthwhile thank you.

Going to write this one in the "third person" after a request so let me know which way you like it :)

What a difference a rest day makes, the house awake a little later than it should but the we still managed to get ourselves up and ready for the off at just gone 09.00.  Picking up Gordon from the Safety brief his report was that there would be some wave around and a bit windier .......... the organisers were asked "would you run a Paragliding task in this" the answer was yes, that will be ok then!

Master at work on the packed lunches

Phippsy misses out on an Early Bird but almost looks relieved as they will surely be the test dummies for the air. Wayne and Steve get places on the front as early Birds and Grant carl and Gordon are all well placed. Pilot briefing and the Task gets tweeted a little resulting in a 95 k ish race to a goal by a lake off to the west.  Start gate is 11k from take off an XC in itself!

Wayne gets another early bird

Everyone is a movie star on launch

 A man appears on launch with a stunning bird and half the team get distracted and are late for the team get together to talk tactics, she was stunning though.  Kaz gets the trackers and rams one into Grants harness, we are not going through that again.  A wind dummy takes off glides out and circles up in a nice smooth looking thermal, thats better.

Stunning Bird

The sky is full of cumulus, it looks classic and could well be a fast day.  Window opens and Wayne launches, Steve gets a technical hitch and Hi-me runs around sorting hm out just in time to keep his slot. Grant carl and Gordon are all off i quick succession s Phipps waits in the trees watching them through the branches.  Good climbs reported but also not nearly as much chat as normal, wonder why, was it our team chat last night??

Phippsy launches and soon finds out why as he does not have time to press the button with the glider more like a bucking bronco than a flying machine.  Still we all make it up and set off out to the start where there are some super looking clouds.  Gliders are cruising cloud base on the edge of the cylinder with the biggest risk being sucked in.  Count down and we are off flying fast under a loud as we cross the line in strong lift at 100 kph, amazing.  Straight glide to TP 1, 180 then back towards launch. Everyone is close except wayne who has had a hard time off it in the big sink between the clouds.  Grant goes one way, Steve not far from himoff to the left, Phippsy goes with Gordon and Carl goes a little further to the right. Phippsy and Gordon drop out the sky whilst the others find good air and into good climbs.

Into the washing machine

Pulling speed to stay out cloud

and we are off

it wasn't all high flying

Things start to space out and pilots separate each trying to keep with the gaggles. As we pass launch grant and Steve are storming ahead with Carl not far behind along with Phipps.  Bad news gordon is landing having hit one of the Bg sink pockets in the wrong place, damn, damn, damn. Gordon has an exciting time as he lands in the goal field behind launch but survives to fight another day.

TP 2 comes and goes and we head off to TP 3 with Grant and carl taking the lead Brit places and not far off the pace.  Steve and Phipps head out into the flats, Steve gets stuck ridge soaring and Phipppsy flies over him a few thousand above.  Grant and carl are gliding for goal and reporting bad air on the way in with poor glide angles despite a 20kph tail wind.  Grant gets in and carl is not far behind,  Phippsy is rounding final TP and tops up based on previous info then sets off.  the air is now good and he accelerates up to nearly 130 kph before hitting something wild just short of goal and losing it for a few seconds, fortunately the glider alongside him hit the same and reacted the same keeping their seperation, phew.  Phippsy is in and Steve is on the move again and makes it in 20 minutes later to give the team four in, not bad.

Four amigos

Cloud 9 in goal :))

Don't you just love this message

Wayne finally pops up on the phone and has landed in the Piano field having had a very hard time of it and the retrieve bus heads back to collect him, those in goal fortunately get lifts back

Goal is a gentle slope in to wind down to the lake, nearly shareable in the breeze making for some interesting landings but no one gets wet!

On the road again

Back at base Kaz Wayne and gordon have organised a meal in the house and we have a fun evening with great food and great company. Once Gordon had described his "experience" he became the life and soul of the "party" making it an evening to remember.  can't even go down the lines of the conversation to protect the guilty !

Shopping for a feast

Eating in and a bit of a party ;))

We have a relatively early night and hope for a less bouncy day tomorrow, but would not put money on it.

Quote of the day "If I ever get out of this I will never fly again" how many times have yo heard that one?

Tip of the day " Hold on tight "