High Hopes in the French Alps

Dark Cloud

The Aussie brothers, called ’round again this morning for more flying fun, but the wind was here, and had some force to it. They went up to Plaine Joux just to confirm what we already assessed would be the conditions and sure enough it was blown out, so no flying. They were only here for a few days, and so they left early for their drive back down south.

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a dark cloud hanging over me…

There has been a dark cloud following me around today.. when I turned ’round it was there, it even followed me up the road!

it stayed with me for a while…

It put a sway on the phrase being followed by a dark cloud or a dark cloud hanging over me… it hung around for a while then, drifted away…


July 19, 2012 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

Dell-boy and Aussies in Annecy.

So after all the problems with my old Dell ‘boy’ computer, I finally acquired a new HP one instead, and it’s silent and working and hasn’t crashed on me once! It’s great not having the thing seize on me every five minutes.

Dennis, went to Annecy, with two “Aussie Frenchmen!!” brothers; Earle and Dean, who flew with us last year, they had some stuff they wanted to sort out, like line changes and test flying a potentially new glider, so both jobs were accomplished there. It was an extremely stable day, and looking out the window I wasn’t feeling all that inspired so preferred to try to transfer stuff from my old computer to the new one and was quite happy to wait for a better day.  It was completely blue, an early morning flight out of Chamonix, would have been good, but it would have been difficult trying to scrape through the inversion here. Apparently, Annecy was no better, until very late in the afternoon when it switched on. Which was the same here, but there was a strong wind presence from what I could make out, that arrived later in the afternoon

They had a good day in Annecy, even though it started very late. I was surprised to learn that it was quiet, that is such a rarity, Annecy, quiet in July? never! Dennis flew two tandems one early this morning in Plaine Joux with Jordan, Dean’s young son, before going to Annecy, and then flew again later  with their grandad so everyone got to have a fly.

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Guiding, Tandems | Leave a comment

Shredded Sock

Another client free day, although it is Bastille Day here, so it’s going to be all fireworks later tonight, although they had a practice run last night, and a few firecrackers have been exploding from time to time already. It was bordering flyable and a couple of few gliders were launching, I think they were mainly tandems, from what I could make out.

looks like an Icepeak, it’s got those distinctive colours.
Zoom in if you want a closer look.

So we picked up a couple of new radios this morning, and have been learning how to set them up. My old radio, that I use for school work is held together with elastic bands so it’s about time for a new one.

our shredded and battered windsock!

It’s still windy, up high, and I haven’t seen any gliders passing by for ages.

The winds have been so strong recently our windsock has been torn to shreds!

Oh, just had a gander out the window, and it looks like an Icepeak, pilot is braving the winds and going for it, fair play to him!

Dennis has an airport transfer to do this evening and has discovered a Brit shop in Geneva, so he’s off to see what delights this ‘Jim’s Emporium’ has in store.

Hope the weather improves, and the wind relents a little, am so looking forward to doing some of my own flying for a change… I think there may be some opportunities coming up, hope so.

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

En Route to Rain

A Prarion (pre)-Pluie Plouf

A free day today, no clients the plan was to do some work on some electronics, which did not arrive 😦 so have to wait till next week now.

On the regular Tizzy walk I caught a glimpse of some, around three or four pilots cutting it all a bit fine, taking off from Prarion below some hefty dark cloud cover, with the forecast ominous rain on the brink of being released, rather them than me, but then again, they may enjoy taking the opportunity of utilizing their skill of fast descent techniques?!

July 13, 2012 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment


It was Tandemonium up on launch for most of the day, but we still had Mark with us, working on CP manouvres and honing his launch and landing techniques.


The weather has been so far a bit disappointing. It’s flyable but not xc-able due to the rapid weather change and increasing wind speeds. We’ve had a lot of strong upper and mid level winds so far this year, which puts a bit of a lid on any attempts at any epic xc-‘s. It’s been so fickle, but thankfully the conditions have been workable for us, and great for beginners!

It was a bit of touch and go, to get off in time before the rain hit, which for me brings on minor recall avoidance, so I just walk away on these occassions! I don’t want another parachutal stall experience being caught in the rain, once is quite enough thank you very much, and no way am I looking for a repeat experience!

Anyway, the rain held off, until it started… it was approaching from the south-east, Mark had taken off, and practiced some spiral diving, more tandems took off, and Jack the last tandem pilot was waiting on launch as the back-wind switched on and the rain finally arrived. We had already done our about-turn and were on our way down in the shelter of the blue bus, just to catch a glimpse of Jack packing up his wing, very wise!

So it was a fast moving day, in getting flights in early before the weather arrived. Mark had three good flights, each one furthering his confidence and ability.  Here’s hoping we get some settled weather higher up for a change, for me personally, now that would be nice!

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Spycraft In Pursuit

Close encounters of the spy kind! Yep, this was my first experience of the mini spy crafts that are ‘silently’ taking over the world to completely eradicate freedoms as we know them!

close encounters of the spy kind!

So that’s it, the ‘invasion of privacy’ conspiracy that has been openly discussed is now coming to pass… so all the kooks were right after all! 😮

Who’d have thought that Plaine Joux our little para-playground would be one of the targets! It was a very interesting contraption non-the-less but if they want it be effective they’re going to have to do something about that buzzing noise!

Otherwise, it was flyable until it poured down with rain…

July 8, 2012 Posted by | Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Hang Tand’Em High!

All the tandems gale hanging!

So my desktop computer has finally crashed and burned this time! So the final straw broke the Dell’s back. Sound’s terrible, thinking about the ‘final straw breaking the camels back’ and all, but it is a phrase as old as the hills, or an old Arab proverb to be precise, and it had it’s first referral in the western world in a Dickens novel, apparently, and is in no way a reference to any mishaps any of us may have encountered. It comes to something when we get so worried about ‘offending’ other’s feelings that we can’t speak a sound proverb in a choice moment, for fear of ‘offending’… no wonder there’s a spirit of confusion rife in the world!

So anyway, my computer has had it! and I’ve had to upload stuff onto my laptop so there’s been delays. Anyway, enough explanations and onto what’s been happening in these ‘ere parts.

The flying has been ‘strong’, conditions yesterday were hairy to say the least! Our client Mark McCabe the airline pilot who is au fait with clouds, weather and all things aeronautical is coming along in leaps and bounds, and will soon be among the ranks of the ‘old man’s sport’ of paragliding, that’s what he called it, that’s what they say about hang gliding isn’t it? seems were catching up!

I was getting ready to have a fly, after completing my part of training with Mark, but the wind increased rapidly to the point of it being unsafe, so I didn’t fly. It’s ok as my services are no longer required as Mark can land himself safely now so only one of us is needed, which means that the other is free! yea!!! so that’s me off work for a while, hope the weather’s is going to be good.

The tandems were flying in the strong south-westerlies, and as soon as they were off launch they were whipped up high and carried along way above the normal height, and were all just hanging there, for ages! Seb mentioned that he reckoned there was some rolling föhen in the lower valley, which would have made for quite an unpleasant ride, unless you like that sort of thing of course. Needless to say, it didn’t put the tandem pilots off, all of them getting their oblivious passengers holding out their ‘go-pro’s’ on their extended arms! Reminds me of learning to ski on the ice, thinking that was normal! :-/ They all landed happily though, as was expected, they all just got longer flights 🙂

July 7, 2012 Posted by | Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment

Cloth Captains and Bordering Cu’s

Rained Off

Yesterday was a great day if you like dodging storm clouds that is! Dennis flew the new Tandem, with our new client Mark a US Airline pilot, who knows a lot about the weather! There were a few other pilots flying, mainly locals who were aware of the conditions and mostly all landed and refrained from stretching the boundaries beyond which mother nature recommends to us flimsy vulnerable cloth captains! But not so, Dennis and his passenger skirting the edges of the ever darkening cloud base, well that’s what it looked like to me anyway!

Finally after an hour, and noticing most other pilots had either top landed or were landing in Chedde with an unavoidable vertical descent technique, my common sense summoned me to land. With ever darkening cloud and a scent of it gust fronting, with rain in Les Houches! It was boisterous to say the least and hanging suspended in a stationary position above the church steeple, cables and and farm buildings was enough to bring me down, and I evetually landed on a ballet dancers two step tip toes.

On landing, I had a chat with Hélene who said she thought the conditions were too strong! I was inclined to agree. Dennis and Mark meanwhile were totally oblivious to the roughness of the air, but then Dennis is back in training to fly tandems in Chamonix!! The general consensus was it was rough, their general consensus was, quite the opposite. I think this new Tandem, might have the characteristics of lulling one or should that be two, into a false sense of security! that said, I would like to fly it now! –  I, however still have that nagging and constantly tiresome problem of finding a harness that fits, it get’s me down at times…

So today, the weather has changed again, the rain has returned so no flying. The valley is filled with rain, so we’ve been working on more harness adjustments, because I don’t think I should be feeling that much movement. I was left feeling disappointed after my flight yesterday… so another slight adjustment maybe all that’s needed, hope so. 😕

July 5, 2012 Posted by | Flying, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment