Wave at the Knock of Formal…..

Early last Sunday morning 25th November I spoke to Murray to agree on where we would meet up for some much needed Paragliding activity. Windsor Street Dundee was the agreed planned rendezvous point. The TT was already packed with my Nova Aeron, fuelled up and ready to go. The prevailing wind was from the North and when I looked out the window. The clouds were travelling fast across the ground. I had a feeling that on the hill conditions may be blown out.

I headed over the Cairn O Mount and the heather and grass was blowing very strong at the Viewpoint Car Park. I continued on South.

I made a call to Ian Archer and a change of plan. Ian was heading to the Knock of Formal and rang me back to say conditions were very light at the parking spot for the Knock.

ianknockdemo.gif

I pulled up and agreed with Ian’s prognosis. He suggested going to the Cairnwell or Morrone. I suggested that we wait and see if the wind picks up. We did not have to wait too long and Ian’s wind sock started to flap to the south. A steady Northerly wind started up.

Ian was keen to fly a demo wing, a Ozone Rush. We headed up the hill and conditions were fairly strong. Ian measured 14mph on his wind meter. Ian pitched up close to me and waited for the Wind Dummy to take off. Yes me again!

I pulled up the wing and walked forward slowly. I launched and almost immediately got a asymmetric collapse on the left side. I was side slipping. I did not panic and did not look up at the wing but I knew it was a large collapse. The wing recovered very quickly without pilot input. I took the decision to bottom land.

Ian flew down on the Rush and had a similar story about rough air. I looked at the clouds and there were snow falling o the hills to the North. It did not dawn on me that we were experience wave. The shape of lenticular clouds was not obvious, but on my second flight it was very obvious I was flying in wave.

Having landed, gather and walked up the hill I spoke to Ian and we agreed that the North facing bowl at the Knock could be worked. I warned Ian that he should have speed bar connected but he did not have this set up because he was on a new wing. Lesson to be learned there…..

I set my wing out and pulled up. I pushed forward and took off. I set out and did several beats on the Northern slope. I was also going up very fast. Ian got smaller and smaller and I could see well beyond the top of the hill. Big regret was no Vario and no video camera.

I then started to get pulled up and up and suddenly I was very high about the hill. I put my speed bar on slowly and started a straight line flight from the summit of the hill. I was still going up and I took the decision to land. I now realised I was not in ridge lift. This was something very different and very powerful. I was flying in wave lift, created by the air passing over the southern Grampian Mountains and I was in the lee side.

I was high above the heather to the North of the landing field and did a 180 degree turn to get back over the landing field. I landed safely and watched Ian pull up his wing and eventually he took off. Again he made a top to bottom flight and landed safely.

This was not my first experience of Wave. Murray and I experienced wave at Forrett Hill but this was very interesting indeed!

Thanks to Murray who has put together the photo collage and thanks to Ian for his wit and humour!

Take care and Fly Safe!

Duncan

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