21 October 2007

The next goal: Mexico

A week ago or so received an email notification about being accepted for the Pre-Worlds 2008. This is a competition that will take place in the famous Valle de Bravo in Mexico, in February. As the name suggests it is a kind of practice event for the real World Championships that will be organized by the same crew at the same place in 2009. For us from Finland the goal fro the Pre-Worlds will be to get as many people as high as possible to secure participation for several pilots in 2009.
Although the area is frequently visited by pilots from Finland I myself have not been in Mexico before. So good preparation is in order. Hence, when my son asked me if we could go to France during his autumn break it was an easy decision to go to our favorite Gréolières. Actually it was quite difficult to get decently priced tickets but in the end we got here on Wednesday night. Thursday we did a couple of tandem flights here at Gréolières, and I did a solo flight at Gourdon. All short ones as we missed the best thermal time of the day a bit. It is autumn and the good window is shorter now. Friday we went to Monaco and did a stunning tandem flight in perfect conditions. We simply engulfed the scenery and forgot to make some pictures! We landed just in time to catch the bus back up to launch to fetch our car. Only in France can they have excellent, cheap, public transport to serve paraglider pilots: the bus leaves from the steps that lead to the beach every day at: 10:00, 11:15, 14:00 and 15:15.
At the Roquebrune launch we actually experienced an interesting phenomenon: there were a dozen or so pilots, all waiting for the conditions to become "good", while as far as I could tell those conditions were just perfect. But you don't launch light-heartedly when the locals who fly there every day tell you that it isn't good. Especially when one of them is the president of the local club. But their explanations about why it wasn't good weren't very convincing and it really looked good to me so after half an hour I had enough and we took our wing out. I said that we were going to try, carefully, just straight out and then down to the beach. And nobody said we were crazy or so, and off we went. As expected it was all just really nice. Once we were on the beach the others launched of course and flew the thermals for an hour and a half or so.... Of course it is much better to e safe then sorry, but it is also silly to get trapped in group psychology where everybody waits for everybody else to take a decision.

07 October 2007

Ozone Fest at Nummela

This morning woken by the sun, and by an incoming text message that urged paragliding students (and instructors) to come to Nummela airfield asap. Before 11 we had a nice crowd there. Initially the wind was very cross and some low fog clouds prevented us from towing but gradually the sky cleared out a bit and the wind turned South, and the towing could begin!
I actually encountered buoyant air and even some small patches of lift, nice! Once I landed I noted that all gliders present were from Ozone, so it looked as if we had some special event going on. I'd to leave early to fetch some scouts from a weekend event but I'm sure everybody got a couple of tows in nice conditions.