31 August 2008

Gerolf on Sprogs

During the British Nationals Competition in Laragne at the beginning of August Gerolf gave a very interesting and unbiased talk on sprog heights and the ramifications of too low and too high settings. The talk hit home with a lot of pilots and over the next few days I spent a fair bit of time measuring gliders – with some ‘interesting’ results.

Gerolf gave Markus Kinch permission to film him (so I’m told) and here are the films which Markus has split into 6 parts due to limit on youtube movie size. The sound is not brilliant but if you were not there and have never had the importance of sprog measurements explained to you I urge you to watch, learn and take action…….







British Open Series - Round Three

A short film by Markus Kinch on Round Three of the British Open Series which was held in SE Wales from 22-26 August.

The Winner of Round Three was Justin Needham

The Winner of the British Open Series was Bruce Kavanagh

Results here

30 August 2008

Britain From Above: Untamed Britain - the Hang Gliding Bit

Markus Kinch has edited the hang gliding & paragliding bit out of the 30 minute programme filmed last year (see last post).

25 August 2008

Britain From Above: Untamed Britain

Available to watch online until 9.59pm Sunday 31 August

Andrew Marr concludes his journey as he microlights and paraglides through the skies, getting a buzzard's eye view of the nation's untamed and untameable landscape. Along the way, he joins geologists, meteorologists, amateur photographers and festival goers to explore Britain's geology, the impact of the weather on our shores and the riches hidden beneath our feet.

Microlighting down the Great Glen Fault in the Scottish Highlands, Andrew learns about the very origins of the nation, where England and Scotland collided over 400 million years ago. In Northern Ireland, he discovers where geologists looked down from above at a river containing gold flowing through the Sperrin Mountains. While paragliding on the Welsh borders, he finds out how to read the clouds before flying over the east coast of Norfolk, where the wind's destructive powers are shown to devastating effect.

Geology and weather also affect the country's wildlife and satellite tracking demonstrates the migration of birds from Senegal and Siberia to Britain's shores. Using thermal imaging that is normally employed to search out insurgents in war zones, the shy Sika deer is tracked along the land on Lulworth Range.

He concludes his journey at the Glastonbury Festival, where for three days a miniature society flowers which is crowded, cheerful, dirty and mildly anarchic, and which has a transport system that only just works - features that sound vaguely familiar to Andrew.

Broadcast on: BBC One, 9:00pm Sunday 24th August
Duration: 30 minutes
Available until: 9:59pm Sunday 31st August

11 August 2008

Good Times - Random Pics

Sam only came round for a herbal tea…… five bottles of wine later!

I thought 08.08.08 was supposed to be a lucky day ..... thanks to everyone (including the Russian chap with an Axe!) who helped keep our 'home' safe for one last night!

Heather and the band cheered us up on the windy and chilly Friday night

The last task - Task 4 106.7km

Gordon ... a man on a mission!

Go go

Go Jenny

Go go go

Go Jenny Go Go Go

"Make a u-turn and take that advice in life" – this is the message the sat nav gave every time we took a wrong turn, if only we’d listened to it! The start of the long and winding road.... home

Brit Nationals / Laragne Open - The Results

Well done to Gerolf who won the overall comp and to Grant who is the new Brit Champion.



Task 1 – 107km
Task 2 – 71.6km
Task 3 – 123.7km
Task 4 – 106.7km

1 – Gerolf Heinrichs – 3543
2 – Grant Crossingham UK – 3206
3 – Jesper Hassing – 3056
4 – Gordon Rigg UK – 2997
5 – Walter Mayer – 2930
6 – Dave Matthews UK – 2901
=7 – Gary Wirdman UK – 2897
=7 – Bruce Kavanagh UK – 2897
9 – Rich Lovelace UK – 2868
10 – Artur Dzamikhov - 2803


1ST - Austria - 9316
Gerolf Heinrichs
Walter Mayer
Elmar Christl
Helmut Neswabda

2ND - Aeros UK – 8816
Rich Lovelace
Malcolm Brown
Gary Wirdman
Tony Brown
Nick Pain

3RD - Wills Wing UK – 8319
Bruce Kavanagh
Graham Phipps
Craig Dolwin
Nigel Bray
Malcolm Beard

Brit Nationals - Day 7 - Task 4

A little behind with blogging as headed off on the long drive home as soon as I returned from Goal.....

Task 4 - 106.7km

TP1 – 19 Col St Jean
TP2 – 35 La Ghache
TP3 – 73 Oraison
TP4 – Pusimisson
Goal - Valensole

This was a great challenging last task which saw a lot of shifting of places!

1 – Jesper Hassing
2 – Gerolf Heinrichs
3 – Gary Wirdman
=4 – Walter Mayer
=4 – Grant Crossingham
6 – Dave Matthews
7 – Artur Dzamikhov
8 – Deniel Martin Mots
9 – Gordon Rigg
10 – Malcolm Brown
11 – Elmar Christl
12 – Rich Lovelace
13 – Tony Stephens
14 – Koos de Keijzer
15 – Bruce Kavanagh

8 August 2008

Brit Nationals - Day 6 - Cancelled

The day is cancelled again due to strong winds - more of the same forecast for tomorrow. Could it be a 3 task comp? RESULTS

People have asked where I got this neat little sprog measuring device from. They are actually for lining up table/bench saw blades. This is the link to the one I use.

It is very easy to use. Just set it to zero on your keel then measure your sprog angles…. Keeping it orientated in the same direction for all measurements.

More gliders were checked yesterday and were low – some were non-comp pilots!

7 August 2008

Movies from Laragne by Markus Kinch

The Dust Devil and me!

Ron's crash on take-off

Brit Nationals - Day 5 - Cancelled

Rain, albeit warm rain, has stopped play today and I have to say it’s a welcome rest day – I was totally shattered after yesterday, my left elbow in particular was swimming in deep heat last night which helped to keep the mozzies away!

Overall results after 3 tasks:
1 Gerolf Heinrichs
2 Grant Crossingham
3 Graham Phipps
4 Bruce Kavanagh
5 Gordon Rigg
6 Walter Mayer
7 Rich Lovelace
=8 Justin Needham
=8 Jesper Hassing
10 Dave Matthews

Spent the morning with Ben – and it seemed half the campsite all chipping in with their opinion “you don’t want to do it like that” – looking over the wreckage of his Combat L. We pieced it back together as best we could and have now got a pretty good idea as to why the accident happened which has, I think, helped to put Ben’s mind at rest.

I was surprised how people were on the look out for spares from the glider and would have been happy to take away parts which had been under a tremendous amount of stress in a tumble – we destroyed any part which could ‘potentially’ be reused and could have been affected. Ben now has a pretty good stock of spares – and is on the market for a new glider!

Gerolf’s talk the other day has really hit home with a few people who it appears do not regularly/periodically check their sprogs! My electronic sprog measuring device has been in demand and has given some interesting results – there is quite a bit of tweaking going on today!

My glider is checked before each competition and definitely 4 times a year – different weather conditions, transportation and general wear and tear all contribute to different settings.

Results – HERE

6 August 2008

Brit Nationals - Day 4 - Task 3

Angels have wings...

Task 3 127km
Launch – Chabre South
TP1 – Eglise de View
TP2 – Col de Cabre
TP3 – Chateau de Montim
TP4 – Antenne due Roche
Goal – Laragne Camping

The task today was a race around 4 turn points the first of which was to the south on the Sisteron ridge then north to beyond Aspres then east to the village at the base of Pic de Burr then a long old slog south again to Hongrie and into goal at the camping.

The day started a little weak with high cloud shading the launch and making for an easterly wind so the task was delayed by a half hour to let the high stuff clear. The first launches were a bit scratchy and a few held back until things improved a little. The clouds built up lovely with a lot taking the first start and a few less taking the second. I had a fantastic second start and had overtaken a lot of the first start before getting to the second, that’s where it all went Pete Tong!! I was nearly on the deck at Aspres where the machete farmer lives but was able to scrabble up and then flick onto the Aspres ridge to get enough height to push into wind to go back across the valley to get the turn point. I had another good run at base (10,500) to the third then pants after with silly decisions that I can only put down to fatigue after flying for the last 3 weeks with almost every day a comp day. At least I got a week off flying as I went back to work for a week after the pre worlds but it did mean 3,000 miles of driving to get home and back!!

BTW - after all the mistakes I did eventually make it in:-)

Gordon wears the latest hill top fashion for 'some' 40 somethings...

Results – HERE

5 August 2008

What goes on at the campsite at night?


Had a bit of a social with a few of the summer residents of the campsite last night with wine, beer and a bbq. Of course the young ones had to learn a new trick and first was the uni cycle which only the old gits could master then came the back flips that only Miles could do with the help from Fabien who used to be French junior gymnastic champion or something like.




Jeff at The Windsock Caravan gives a great Massage - 20euro for half an hour!

Brit Nationals - Day 3 - Task 2

Team Texas model the latest from the Mile High sunglasses range

Task 2 - 74.6k
Launch Chabre
TP1 35 La Ghache
TP2 41 De Lure
TP3 100 Maligai
TP4 102 Entrevennes
Goal Attero Pusimisson

A re brief at 11am was called to assess the conditions on take off so we had an hour in which Gerolf gave us an excellent talk on sprog heights and the ramifications of having too low or high settings. We had a glider this morning checked with 2.6 degrees which means no sprogs!!! Do you all know what your sprogs are set at??

We had a forecast for strong north winds especially later in the day so a task was set via 4 turn points (la ghache, de lure, malijai, entrevennes) to puismoisson with a distance of 74k and an entry start. The sky was full of wave up wind and blue down wind. Take off on the lower north was a tad difficult with the wind a bit strong and often from the east. All got off safe! Climbs were to 9500 feet (I wish) I only got to 8000. Some had a good glide across the valley and some had 900feet down!!!! They landed earlyL All seemed straightforward apart from de lure which is usually a great climb but not today. 3 of us left with a 1-2 up and drifted across the valley into the turn point and then onto the flat lands and high plains where the thermals smell of the lavender as this is a main crop along with cereal. I got low near the last turn point and thermalled past it and had to fly into wind 1.5 k to get it. The instrument showed that I would make goal with 500feet to spare. I arrived with 2000feet!!!!!!!! The lift on the glide in was amazing but choppy so the glide was only at 50mph or less as I couldn’t hold on! Then you had to try and find some kind of sink as the whole place was going up!!

Probably around 30 in goal at the gliding club which was the goal on the last day of the pre worlds. My time was 1 hour 36mins give or take so not too bad.

Results – HERE

4 August 2008

Brit Nationals - Day 2 - Cancelled

Stronger winds especially higher up were forecast today and in a westerly direction so the 10am morning brief directed us up to Aspres. Mr Brown & Mr Brown were so sure that we would be going to Chabre again that they headed up there at 9.30 without going to the briefing – they got it wrong and the pimp mobile had to wind its way slowly up the dodgy Aspres track!

A 75.6k zig zag task was set which would keep us in reach of wider flatter landings.

At 3.30 the task was cancelled due to strong winds. We spent our time watching the most amazing clouds build.

We stopped off on the way down the Aspres track to pick wild raspberries and strawberries – delicious

Back at the campsite some time later my electric bike made it out of the tent and Sam H-B hardened iron man had a grin from ear to ear – never diss something till you’ve tried it!

Results from yesterday – HERE
1 Anton Minskiy
2 Gerolf Heinrichs
3 Bruce Kavanagh
4 Graham Phipps
5 Grant Crossingham
6 Gordon Rigg
7 Ron Richardson
8 Gary Wirdnam
9 Malcolm Brown
10 Daniel Martin Mota
11 Tony Brown
12 Richard Lovelace
13 Dave Matthews
14 Craig Dolwin
15 Fabien Zadora

Brit National - Day 1 - task 1

Launch Chabre
TP1 34 Bonnet Rouge
TP2 39 Malaup
TP3 35 La Gahce Oost
TP4 23 St Vincent De Jab
Goal Laragne Camping

Brit Nats – Day 1 – Task 1

Our helpers....

The wind again when we got off to launch was on the North side and we rigged on the South which would enable us to launch from both directions. A completely blue day so no thermal markers in the air so it meant flying the ridges as opposed to flying down the middle of the valleys where the clouds have been in the past. I set off on the second start gate and lead up until the 2nd turnpoint where I got stuck on 2 ridges where everybody caught me up and overtook. Still a very pleasant day, made goal.

Scores are not up yet. I think Gerolf was first in.

Ben H-B had a bit of mishap and had to throw his chute, came down in trees and his glider is a write off. He hit the keel and smashed that which in turn broke the cross tubes. The farmer eyewitness said he heard 3 bangs; one was Ben breaking the keel; one was the chute; one was the landing. Ben is fine, just very shaken with a few grazes on his neck where the chute bridal caught him. We don’t know the cause of the accident yet hopefully on a rest day we will try and piece things together.