Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tracey King day 2

Tracey King

Drawing the curtains revealed a beautiful day - there was not a breath of wind while the sun warmed the early morning chill. I of course had no need to look out the window to know that it was a perfect day - I am a local and know what tomorrow will bring - but it was cool and the warmth of the sun was needed in my bedroom too. It was hard to believe that just yesterday it was so stormy. I knew too that today will be much different for Tracey in her start of her hang gliding career.

We headed out late after a lazy lunch. The southerly ridges were just soarable and a handful of danglers were sticking to the top of the cliff. Lower down on the beach there was very little wind, perhaps 5kph. This makes for the most demanding learning conditions for hang gliding. In the old days in fact, pilots would just not fly – the kites were smaller, less efficient and one needed to run too fast for comfort to get airborne safely. Sure if you can do it but as a beginner it is not what you want.

Dick flew the glider down to show us how – most impressive in the light conditions. Tracey fitted her harness and after I did a demo it was her turn. To her it seemed like the glider weighed a ton.

To be honest, in the strong wind of yesterday it was a battle to keep the glider on the ground. Today there was no wind to help lift the glider and this was her first attempt at no wind flying. I knew it was going to be hard.

Tracey with a good attacking run.

Up with the glider, run hard down the slope and flare! Presto! She did it. And after run 25 we had made huge progress in building some muscle memory to fly this heavy “beast”. Once Tracey shouted, a longing moan for her paraglider but, determined she got a grip, lifted the 20kg frame and bolted down the dune. Of course three strides and the wing was flying, taking its own weight. By 3:30 we got Jane into the harness and just ran with her down the hill. We fooled around for a few before both Dick and I were done with the running. It was 4 in the afternoon and it seemed appropriate to call it a day. We retired to Salinas for a cold one but not before Tracey and Dick went for a dip in the sea. We finished with a great braai while Tracey is coming to grips with the real secret in learning to fly a hang glider – patience!

Perhaps tomorrow we will go higher… Who knows!?

After a good run and flare.

Wish you where here!


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