Wednesday, 28 April 2010

How to become a tree hugger

This is my new paraglider. Swiss made, called Epsilon 6 and I am eager to get my first flights under the belt.

Here I am in the Dordogne valley, about a fortnight ago. The wind was quite strong, a bit too strong to be honest. Look at the wind sack, filled like sausage.

There was another paraglider pilot and the chap didn't hesitate a moment to prepare for take-off. He had some difficulties to launch but finally he made it in the air. His example made me decide to go as well.

First, I managed to lift off in spite of the strong wind. Here, I have already gained the first foot of height. Just lifting off.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake. Instead of speeding up (hands up at head level) I was braking (hands at hip level). Consequence, I was flying backwards, and in no time, I was back on Mother Earth

have a look

Being on the ground, the canopy above and behind me, I could not do very much. Du to the wind I was dragged backwards. Two or three seconds later the glider wrapped itself around this young oak tree and I came to rest near its trunk.

My flight was over. All I had to do was to disentangle the canopy and this I did.
It took me about an hour of intense work. A little later another pilot came and helped me from below.

Those photos were made by the wife of the airborne pilot. Thanks to Odile's photographic skills this little incident is thoroughly documented for the posterity. She proposed to send me some pics and I gave her my e-mail address. And she kept her word.

A paraglider is a high-tech machine, made of cloth and lines. To disentangle the stuff from a tree requires patience, lots of it. Don't tear on the lines, don't tear on the canopy. Patience, patience. The idea was to roll the glider right in the tree before getting in down all together. Fortunately, someone was helping me.

I don't even know his name. But we met yesterday before yesterday at the same site and I thanked him again for his help. If I meet him a third time, I'll ask his name. It's useless to propose a glass of beer in a pub, there is absolutely nothing near Mound Mercou. Just trees.

Friendly people.