Sunday, May 12, 2013

And... BOOM!

Full stall! Recover immediately to stabilised tail slide position. Raise hands smoothly to reconstruct the glider's span and release to regain forward flight. Then, immediately, another BOOM! Full stall again.  Tail slide. Reconstruct. Regain forward flight. "BOOM!" Fabien shouted into the radio again and Jon deliberately full stalled his glider for the third time in less than a minute.
Full stall!
This weekend was over-the-water training in Annecy in the French Alps with Fabien Blanco of Flyeo. The objective was to build a solid understanding of the glider's behaviour - and how to recover from even extreme situations - with the guidance of one of the World's best advanced instructors. Over the lake, with a speedboat ready and waiting to fish us out of the water if needed, we were free to focus on exploring the capabilities of our gliders.
Jon and Tom with Fabien Blanco of
The full stall is a paraglider's "reset button": you bury both brakes, causing the wing to slow down so much that the airflow detaches. With insufficient air pressure to remain inflated, the wing crumples up and falls behind you. The sensation is like falling backwards off a chair. Now, plummeting earthwards at 8m/s, with your glider a messy ball of line and cloth above you, you have to coax it back into a flying configuration before you run out of altitude.

In the seven flights over two days, we worked through personalised programmes which for us included accelerated collapses, dynamic full stalls, and asymmetric spirals. The training was fantastically effective - and great fun - and by the end of the weekend both Jon and I were completely happy to bury the brakes, reset the glider, and rebuild it back into flying mode again all in a few seconds.

The full team GBR is now on its way to Austria - I'm writing this sitting in the back of a camper van on a Swiss autoroute. Tomorrow's destination is Zell am See, and from there we'll spend the next seven days working along the course line and checking out the route. This trip will take us through Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, northern Italy, and back into Switzerland.

Leaving home

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