Archive for the ‘South England’ Category

Flying in the Valley of the Green Dragons

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Rather than head up to Aberdeen last weekend, I stayed down in London and planned a trip to the BHPA Green Dragons Paragliding School. Run by Andy Shaw the school is in Woldingham, Surrey about 20 minutes by train from London Victoria.

I spoke to Andy on the Friday evening and we both had the same opinion for Saturday that would see light southerlies. Andy suggested the site at Pilgrims Farm.

Saturday morning saw me take tubes and trains from Stratford with my Advance wing on my back. Good exercise walking down all the steps through Oxford Street Tube Station from the Central Line to the Victoria Line with a large bulky item!

I had a map of the site from www.streetmap.co.uk and picked up a taxi at Oxted, the next station from Woldingham. Heading through the countryside I saw the familiar paragliding shapes and bright coloured flying suites on the side of a small hill on the North Downs.

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The site was small by ESP standards. A mix of Club Pilots and Day 1 tasters were on the hill. I spoke to a few pilots and watched as some launched, went into short beats and landed.

I spend the next 5 hours having a great time pulling up, flying short beats, slope landing with the wing overhead and walking back up to start again. At no time did I gather my wing having managed to kite back up or walk backwards with the wing overhead. I find the Advance wing ground handles better than my Nova Aeron.

I was the last to pack up and got a lift back to Lewisham where I connected with the Docklands Light Railway.

I noted the various standards of the pilots. Clearly all the hours spent Ground Handling with PBM/ESP paid off. Only a few pilots had their wings over head and occasionally they looked behind to check on a reverse launch.

I offered some suggestions for improvement to a few who generally agreed with me. A friendly bunch including the Day 1 folks who were enjoying some extended flights to the bottom.

I hope to get back there soon and fly some of the other sites. The other opportunity at Green Dragons is for tow launching. I want to give it a go perhaps next time.

See you on the hill soon!

As always Fly Safe

Duncan

Paragliding on the South Downs near Eastbourne

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Recently I had an opportunity to fly with my New Zealand friend Matthew Nutter who trained with Murray a few years back and with whom I stayed in London for a few months when I first started working at the London Borough of Hackney.

Luckily I had my glider from the France trip and the forecast looked good for the Saturday so I headed off to London Bridge and on to Sevenoaks.

I met up with Matthew and his other PG friend and we headed down the road towards Brighton and Lewes. The traffic was very busy and it took a long time to cover a short distance.

We saw a number of paragliders up working a small ridge. The hills on the South Downs are fairly flat and easy to climb, making the Southern Club members very lazy!

After going to one site where conditions were too strong, we headed to Mount Caburn where there were at least 40/50 people on the hill. Also there were EP pilots training. All within a very tight space indeed.

I launched and went in to the traffic. There were at least 15 gliders up. You had to keep your wits about you and look ahead, plan and turn. I had a few flights and conditions eased, so the pilots settled back on the hill.

A good experience and a witness to various ground handling standards!

Fly safe and see you all soon!

Duncan