19 July 2007

From Monte Carlo to Gourdon

Work brought me out to California this week, so no flying other then trying to survive in a crowded 747. Yesterday morning the Wall Street Journal that the hotel hands out had a large Land Rover ad titled "From Monte Carlo to Gourdon". Otherwise I don't care at all about large, gas goggling, status cars; I'm perfectly happy with my tiny-diesel powered Ford Fiesta. But that phrase struck me as both Monaco and Gourdon are famous beautiful sites for paragliding. I visit the area at least once a year: end of August my friend Harri "Hapa" (www.flyhapa.com) and I will guide a group of 8 Finnish pilots into La vie en France! We base ourselves at our favorite Gite in the Sun in Greolieres, but expect to fly almost everyday also at Gourdon. And hopefully we can get everybody to fly at least once above Monaco. That is a pilgrimage that every pilot should make once in a lifetime!
The Land Rover website has this short promotion video which shows the breathtaking landscapes. The picture above has me flying above Gourdon, whereas down below Hapa flies above Monaco (pictures by Hapa). Expect more news from these places in a couple of weeks!

12 July 2007

Attacked by the birds

For the last 10 days or so the weather gods have decided that we should not fly. So I've buried myself in work, but made occasional visits to summer-happy downtown Helsinki. Yesterday went to see an open air jazz concert on the Esplanade and bought myself an ice-cream at one of the classic kiosks. The servant warned about the seagulls but I had no clue what I was in for. Only some 10 meters from the kiosk a couple of seagulls dived onto my ice-cream and by sheer speed knocked the ball of ice-cream from the cone. Right when the ice-cream hit the gravel there were at least 15 gulls and also some other birds. In less then 3 seconds there was nothing left; I couldn't even take out my camera-phone let alone make a picture. One of the many witnesses of the event remarked that "That was some really good ice-cream!".

03 July 2007

Hanggliding at Jämi

This weekend went to Jämi to help out with a round of the Finnish Hanggliding League, organized by my club Jämin Riippuliitäjät. used the opportunity to refresh my own hanggliding skills a bit with 3 flights in the calm air on Friday evening, and 2 more in the lightly thermic Sunday morning. Nice to be flying like a bird again!
The competition did not enjoy the best possible weather; Saturday over-developed quickly and even with start windows opening and closing and changing runways it was impossible to tow all pilots up. The task was to fly out for 12 km (in any direction) and back and then again out and back to goal at the airfield. Only Antti Numelin managed to get away.
On Sunday conditions were better, and soon the sky was filled with hanggliders. Thermals were weak though and the cloudbase very low so several pilots droppped out and flew back to the airfield to try again. In the afternoon we got some impressive showers and a thunderstorm nearby, but some pilots managed to get away right before those. In the end 2 pilots had flewn out and back (once) and shared the 1st place: Jari and Heikki, several others flew out and partly back.