High Hopes in the French Alps

Green Dragons Fired Up to Chase Thermals

Group Photo

We have some Green Dragons with us at the moment, a last minute decision to come out as the weather was looking a bit better in this part of the world than the UK apparently. Also it gives the new CP pilots a chance at some height and thermal practice. It’s great to see Andy Shaw and Mike Agnew here, having flown with Mike in Slovenia, it’s nice to see him in our neck of the woods, slightly different alps than the Slovenian ones.  It was much appreciated that we got a  lift up to launch too!

One of the guys, Chris has a ‘Stealth Hanglider!’ with the amazing ability to disappear once launched, I wonder if it has one of those cloaking devices?! Dennis had to point out to me when he had landed as he looked like a shadow on the landing field! It’d look great in the snow though!

Early on the thermals were very weak, So when Mike had his first flight it was just a bit early in the day, he made the most of it though. When Andy drove back down to landing to pick them up for another flight, we set up to go. Dominic arrived with his R10.2, talking about flying to Gap! wow what a flight that was of his, last year around 243kms or thereabouts so he knows the route!  Denis Versin and some other locals as well as some visitors, were arriving full of anticipation. It was looking so promising to start with, with gorgeous clouds popping delightfully off over the Aravis. The difficulty would be to get a climb out of what was a thickening inversion up to  fussy cloud fragments towards Varan. The forecast was looking like it was going to be a good xc day… and it would have been had the development not been so swift, the inversion not so dense and erratic, the thermals not so ill formed, and the NW/NE wind showing up uninvited! Other than that it would have been excellent..

Anyway, we did what we could, if anything it was another day of Delta bonding, good thermal, and good inversion busting practice. It was indecisve weather… which doesn’t assist my thought patterns at all. Dennis and Denis were thermalling together and both went on glide to the shale cliff, I was having an enjoyable climb and was happy to watch them both zoom off in a couple of sink lines.. next thing 180’s and they were both out of there.. where I saw Denis take what looked like a full stall. It was no drama though and all was well.

I enjoyed my flight but could see the cumulus towering, getting darker at the bases and it altogether taking on a much more ominous appearance, this was enough for me to know that there was no xc for me today.  I clocked Dennis flying off across the valley, he radioed to say he was heading home.. That seemed feasible, as when I was high, I could see the water on the lake looked quite placid and undisturbed so thought the wind wouldn’t be a problem!! Wrong!!!! – Dennis ended up cutting it short and landing in a safety field, a field we’ve both used on occasion when we’ve been caught out. Unfortunately though, it played havoc with his hay fever!

Meanwhile I decided to land back at Chedde where Denis Versin was packing up, and  Dominic was there also, not sure where he landed but I didn’t see his glider, not quite a Gap day today then.  Anyway, I picked up the bus and went to retreive Dennis, who was having a  bit of an ordeal with the pollen count!  Not long back at the house we could see it was already precipitating at take off, and in other close but isolated areas. The day was all but done by then, as it would most definately have gone katabatic on launch..

The Green Dragons were certainly enjoying their thermal chasing getting some good thermalling and great climb outs! under the sound instruction and supervision  of Andy and Mike,  shame the day was cut a bit short…

May 18, 2011 - Posted by | Flying

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