Friday, December 30, 2005

New addition

Yesterday saw the addition of a baby girl to the family, I am now a father of 4 children.

This will not in any way impact my hang gliding challenge apart from a renewed goal to stay safe and not make any rash decisions when out flying.

I shall be sharing my 2006 plans with regard to my hang gliding challenge in the next couple of days.

Baby Ogunlokun

Friday, December 23, 2005

Hang Gliding Photos

I will be posting my hang gliding photos from my recent trip to Spain in my Hang Gliding Photos blog over the Christmas period, so have a look.

hang glider I can fly?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hang Glider training report.

Hang Glider Training Harness

Here is a full report of my hang gliding trip to Algodonales, Spain.

Sunday 11th Dec

Sunday's Report

hang glider training harness

Monday 12 Dec

After breakfast I met Tony Webb at his workshop where Rona finished off the paperwork for my hang glider training, and we loaded the van with the gliders and the necessary equipment (training harness) to enable us to go tow launching today. Tow launching involves attaching a cable to the hang glider and pilot and then pulling both into the sky. The advantage of this is that given a large enough field, training can take place irrespective of the wind direction, whereas if training on a hill, the wind needs to be blowing up the hill in the right direction for training to take place.

I am joined by a local Spanish lady Laura who has had some previous hang glider training, so I won't be alone today. We head for a village called Moron, where the field to be used for training is located and rig (setup) our hang gliders. I am the first to fly, was a bit apprehensive, even though the flight was a simple straight flight across the field at about 20 feet. The local Spanish lady takes her turn and also gets across okay after a few teething problems with her glider release system. I went on to do about 7 flights, with the last one at 50 feet, and I was releasing the glider from the tow line and doing shallow turns before landing. At the end of the day, I was fully confident with the glider and was now fully back at the skill level I was when I finished training in March of this year.

Laura rigs her hang glider

Tuesday 13th Dec

We are at the hang glider towing field in Moron again, but I'm the only one harness training today, my first flight of the day started okay, but the landing was poor, looked like I was still asleep. After that false start, I went on to do 9 further flights including 7 circuits (where I take off to a height of about 250 feet, release the tow line and then land as close to take off as possible). A good day, and much progress made with training.

My traing glider, an Aeros Target

Wednesday 14th Dec

We arrive at the towing field with dark clouds looming in the distance, I rig the hang glider with a fresh breeze blowing across the field.

Read more hang gliding blog.

Thursday 15th Dec

Hang gliding on Lijar mountain

Lijar is the local mountain in the village of Algodanales, and I got my first taste of this flying site in March, during my first training visit to Spain. As with the first time I flew from this site, the nerves kicked in, as I do have a little fear of heights, especially when I have to look down. By the time I have rigged the glider, done my daily inspection of the aircraft and my pre-flight checks things have settled a bit, I do a couple of dry runs to make sure I haven't forgotten the proper procedure for a hill launch and I'm off! The launch goes well, and I'm in the air floating gracefully away from the hill, once I've moved far enough from the take off point, I change into the prone position (lying down flying position), practise some turns, even do some 360 degree turns, a bit too sharply, so Tony tells me to stop, and we then do some stalling manoeuvres where I push the control bar forward gently, I notice the drop in air flow, feel the sluggishness of the glider, and then finally the nose of the glider drops as it stalls completely and auto recovers, I do this twice and then head for the landing field. I setup my approach, and just like my first flight off Lijar forget to lower my landing gear, so land on the wheels and my knees. No damage done, and apart from the landing everything goes according to plan. That was my qualifying flight, and I still have two more days of training, I'm over the moon!

We have lunch, and then go to a different hill for a soaring flight, but my hill take off was very bad, with me using too much airspeed, and quite close to hitting some rocks on take off. I attempt a bit of soaring, and then proceed to land some 10 mins later. Tony my instructor has some strong words with me, advising that what I did was very dangerous and I SHOULD never do that again. I go to bed that night pondering on the day's mistake.

Tony Webb checks conditions before I fly off a hill

Friday 16th Dec

Having earned my Club Pilot hang gliding rating yesterday, and making a mistake on the same day, I was not really interested in taking another flight off the top of Lijar mountain, and would have preferred doing some more practise of hill take offs from the training slope, but Tony advised me to take the flight as he was sure that I had learnt my lesson, and that I was fully able to launch properly from a hill. Rona was also going to fly today, so we went to the top of the mountain, I rigged the glider, and when the conditions where right, I made a perfect hill launch, fly away from the side of the mountain, made some nice gradual turns, and found a thermal (column of rising air) and made some 360 degree turns in it, gaining a bit of height, and also experience the falling feeling you get when you lose the thermal as well. I did this for a couple of minutes, then headed for the landing field where I set up a nice approach and landed gently with a good flare. This was the most enjoyable flight to date, and had lasted for about 22mins. I was grinning from ear to ear, the icing on the cake being that I had a longer flight that Rona, as by the time she launched, the thermal has disappeared and thus was only able to get about 15 mins of air time.

Paragliders prepare to lauch off Lijar mountain

We had lunch and went back to the training slope where Tony introduced me to the Doodle Bug powered harness, did some ground school for powered flying, showed me how to rig the engine to the Aeros Target hang glider and then gave me a flying demonstration of the unit. After about 15mins in the air, Tony landed, switched the engine off, I clipped in and proceeded to do 4 un-powered runs in the aircraft. I was totally exhausted, but loved the whole experience, at last I was much closer to achieving my dream. By the time we un packed and put everything away, it was already dark, but I didn't care, I had just been introduced to the aircraft that would make my challenge to fly a hang glider across the UK possible!

Saturday 17th Dec

It was my last day in Spain, but since my flight was late in the evening, there was time for me to meet with Tony in the morning to complete my training paperwork, do some more powered flying ground school (mainly revising what we went over yesterday, emphasizing safety) and then drive to Villa Martin where I had the opportunity of rigging both the Target and Doodle Bug with some help from Tony of course, we then when on to do 5 powered runs, learning the proper procedures for take offs and the abort procedures where you spit the mouth throttle out of your mouth. On the 5th powered run, things where going well, and Tony did not give the abort signal for a while, so I gradually increased the power, before I knew it, I felt my feet leave the ground, Tony signalled abort, I spit out the throttle, and flared the aircraft as my feet landed back on the ground, I had just flown the Doodle bug for a whole 3 seconds! Tony said we should end the day on that good note, and I totally agreed. Not only had I come to Spain to complete my hang glider training and obtain a club pilot rating, I had begun the third and final step of my training for my challenge. Though I will probably have to go through most of what I done with another hang gliding instructor when I get back to Britain, I had more than surpassed my dreams for this trip. A big thanks goes to Rona and Tony Webb of Lejair Ltd harness training school, Algodonales, Spain for all their hard work during my two flying trips.

Aeros Target hang glider Doodle Bug power harness

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I am back

I am back
Originally uploaded by shola Ogunlokun.

Got back from my trip to Spain early this morning, will give a full report later in the week when I've recovered.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hang Glider training update.

My hang glider training is going well, and it looks like I will get my pilot rating by Saturday.

The forecasted rain did turn up today, but not before I had been to the hang glider towing field where I managed to do 8 complete circuits and spot landings, so I wasn´t affected too much by the bad weather.

I have now completed all my tow based training, I just need to fly off a hill to do some tasks that can only be done at safe heights above the ground, and the field we use for towing is not big enough to allow me to be launched to such a height.

All being well Thursday will be the day, and I will have all tasks signed of, I will then be able to do some extra work with Tony Webb (my instructor) specific towards my hang gliding challenge.

Perfect wind for flying hang gliders

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hang Gliding Audio Blog

Hang Glider audio blog

A training report from the field during my trip to spain to learn how to fly a hang glider during the early days of my adventure.

this is a hang gliding post - click to play

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Lazy Sunday and eating dirt.

Well it´s Sunday, so didn´t get out of bed still 10:00am local time, made a quick phone call home and spoke to me youngest daughter.

Had a shower, got out of the apartment and had breakfast a local cafe. It was a nice day, and the Spanish know how to enjoy it, they just sit and drink in the cafes and bars. For a while I joined it, sitting and watching the world go by, I suddenly realised I was supposed to be meeting my hang gliding instructor at 1:00pm, it was 1:20pm! I made a quick call told him I was on my way, and promptly got my lazy self into gear.

It turned out we were going to a local slope where I will be doing low flights to re-familiarise myself with the glider and the basics of flying, the last time I flew a hang glider was in April.

I rigged the hang glider (still remember how to), did my daily inspection and pre-flight checks and was ready. Tony my instructor reminded me of the basics of hill launching and told me to go. I ran, the glider started rising, I held onto the A frame, and it would rise anymore. 'Let go' shouted Tony over the radio, I obeyed, the glider flew up, then started going down, before I reacted, I hit the deck on my knees and belly, as the glider dragged me a couple of feet (I didn´t remember how to land)!

Unclipped from the glider, draged it to the top of the hill, where Tony de-briefed me. Had another go, slightly better, but the basics where still missing.
In the end I had about 10 or so flights, by which time I had regained my skills, and was also worn out! 'I´m pleased with that' Tony said as we packed up for the day, I was happy we had done this, as I´ll be ready to go tow flying tommorrow.

Reduced field reports

It looks like there is no GPRS network in the villlage (Algodonales) that I´m staying in, so can´t send emails from mobile phone. Well I can send using standard wap, but with costs at 60p a minute, it will cost a fortune, so will only post when I can access the internet from a cafe.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Originally uploaded by shola Ogunlokun.

Wish you were here?

Sunny and mild, unfortunately not here on holiday, but suits me fine.

Hope it stays like this for the whole week so i can get my training done.

On the move

On the move
Originally uploaded by shola Ogunlokun.

I'm on the way to Spain.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Almost Time!

In less than 24 hours I'll be leaving for Spain to further my hang gliding challenge, and I'm already anxious about the whole trip.

I really hope that this time I return with the Club Pilot rating that will allow me to start flying a hang glider and gain enough experience to move onto powered hang gliders.

I'm also going to miss my family, and deep inside I feel a little guilty leaving them behind. I will particularlly miss my 17 month old son who is such a joy to be around, even though he can be demanding a times.

Everything is now in place, so one last day at work and I'm off, and stay tuned for updates from sunny (I hope) Spain.

Shola's little bobo

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hang Glider Audio Blog

this is an audio post - click to play

Moblog test

Moblog test
Originally uploaded by shola Ogunlokun.

Test post to check things are working via the mobile phone.
I hope the weather is better over there.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Flying with Condors

There was a programme on BBC last night about a hang glider pilot who wanted to fly with Condors in the Andes.

The programme was more about the Condor birds than hang gliding, but the few clips of Judy Lenden (the glider pilot) flying in a hang glider rekindled my interest in wanting to be able to join in the sport of free flight, and have my own adventure.

It's just 9 more days before I go to Spain for my hang glider training, and everything is almost in place, just need to make final payment for the flying training course, and that's it.

Plane tickets, insurance, car rental all sorted, looking forward to it, I hope I'm not too rusty, and that at the end of the week I do gain my hang glider club pilot rating.

I hope to be able to post from Spain using my Sony Ericsson K750i mobile phone, will have pictures and if I do find the time to spend at an internet cafe will have detailed reports of my hang glider activities.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

New hang glider training date.

I will now be going to Spain on the 10th of December to continue my hang glider training with Lejair Hang Gliding School.

I haven't completed all arrangments yet, but have at least got the time off work. The plan is that this time I will be able to complete my hang glider training and get all the paperwork necessary for me to join a local flying club here in the UK and gain experience required to continue with my gliding challenge.

Here is to hoping to me returning as a hang glider pilot.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Update on my hang glider training program

Just a quick flying update, as nothing much is happening at the moment with my hang glider training program.

I've decided that I'm going to have to take another trip to Spain in order to continue with my goal of achieving a hang glider club pilot rating.

I have made an initial enquiry with Lejair School of Hang Gliding and am just waiting for confirmation of dates, so I can make the travel arrangements.

I still have a half day credit of flying training with Green Dragons school of Hang Gliding, so I will give Andy a call when I've got a spare day off work.

In the meantime all I can do is continue to read my BHPA Pilot's Handbook and Dennis Pagan's Hang Gliding training manual, these books are very informative, and I highly recommend them to anyone thinking of learning to fly a hang glider.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What happened to my publicity drive?

Now I know why my hang glider publicity drive was not picked up by more media outlets.

I had originally sent a press release to the Press Association, and a reporter called me for further details, so I was sure that I would get a good write up.

Well today I came across this release! No wonder the major news outlets never published it. Compared to my press release, this is a joke! and that is what was put on the Press Association's newswire where all the media outlets check for newsworthy stories.

Anyway since my August training didn't go as planned, I'm not too bothered, as I wanted to get my CP before looking for potential sponsors.

Monday, September 05, 2005

More hang glider publicity

My challenge has had some more publicity at The Colourful Network and Black Online.

The initial response is not what I wanted, but is typical of what to be expected from this community.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hang Glider Publicity Drive

As part of the publicity drive for my hang glider challenge, I today appeared on BBC London Sports Show, and had an oppourtunity to share my flying dream with London listeners.

Another flying article also appeared in the Edingburgh Evening News.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I am going public

Tomorrow signifies the beginning of a publicity campaign to generate awareness for my hang glider challenge. One of the aims of my challenge is to encourage people to pursue their dreams, in particular people from an Afro-Caribbean background.

I'm also looking to get so publicity so that I can tempt potential sponsors, and possibly get a TV documentary made of the challenge.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hang gliding training week!

I had so much been looking forward getting some hang glider training done during the week beginning August 22, 2005, as the weather hadn't been too bad the last couple of days, and with 5 days booked off work at least I should be able to have 3 days of free flying and I had the Bank holiday weekend from which I could steal a day or two if needed to complete my hang glider club pilot rating. Well it all turned out to be a dream. I did not get to make a single trip to Norfolk, it was either rain or the wind that put paid to all my hang gliding plans.

I'm totally devastated, the only option left for me is to bite the bullet and take a week off and go to Spain to finish off what I started there. I will see how things go the next couple of days, and then make up my mind on the next course of action.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ground Hog day?

Haven't I been here before? I've been looking forward to a day of flying, the weather forecast the previous day had been looking good, and I went to bed dreaming of me flying high in the sky.

I wake up and after having a shower, check the weather forecast and it does not look good. I get a call from Rona who advises that it's raining in Norfolk and the forecast doesn't look good for the rest of the day, so all hang glider training is completely off for the day. I tell her that I'll be getting up 5am tomorrow morning, so I can joining them in Norfolk at 7:30am on Thursday morning. She advises that if it is not raining when I get up, then I should proceed with the journey, that settled, I stay at home do some reading and spend time with the family.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Blessing

Yesterday's cancellation was a blessing in disguise, as the weather turned out later in the day to be unsuitable, and I would have had to do a 4hr round trip all for nothing.

Today is good, and the forecast for the rest of the week is also looking favourable so I'm looking forward to getting back in the air.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A False start

Due to some problems at Lejair, I will not be joining them for training today. I have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow Tuesday, so training starts in earnest on Wednesday. I've got 3 days to see what can be achieved, with the Saturday set aside as a contingency day.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Good News

Well here is some good hang gliding news, unfortunately it's not about me.

I recently heard from the two people that were on the hang gliding training course with me in Spain.

Tony who got his CP while I was there, has now had about 6 hours of post CP flying experience in the UK and is loving every moment of it, he has invited me down to his neck of the woods for a flight from a site well suited to beginners, so that would be something to look forward to when I qualify.

Paul standing next to Tony has now bought an Avian Rio Hang Glider, had a few flights from Airways Air Sports and is also gaining experience, despite the UK weather.

The other news is that the CAA has now made an amendment to the ANO Article 129 thus reclassifying Foot Launched Powered Aircraft to Self Propelled Hang Gliders. The change takes effect from the 20th of August 2005.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Short break in Hang Glider training

There will be a short delay in updates to my hang glider diary, as I don't have anything scheduled until my visit to Lejair School of Hang Gliding on Monday 22nd August.

In the meantime I will be revising my theory knowledge by going through the Hang Glider Pilot's Handbook published by the BHPA.

If you have any questions leave a comment or email me via my hang glider website.

Don't forget you can subscribe to my hang glider flying diary to receive email alerts when I update my blog, enter your address in the box provided on the right, your address will not be used for anything else including passing onto 3rd parties I hate spam just as you do (I spend 8 hours of each working day getting rid of it), you will only get my hang glider updates!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Learning to free fly in the UK?

Is it all doom and gloom?

I have had an email from a prominent and well respected member of the UK free flying community who has mentioned that a few people have contacted him expressing their concerns that entries in my training diary seems to paint a negative picture of the sport and I'd like to clear up a few issues.

First and foremost my diary relates specifically to my personal circumstances and in no way gives a general picture of what could be expected if you were training in the UK.

Secondly I'm going to list my personal circumstances to further shed light on the apparent lack of progress in my case.

Due to family commitments, I'm only available for training during the week, not weekends. In fact I remember a particular weekend day when a member of staff actually took the effort to call to mention that conditions where good for flying, but unfortunately I was not available to make use of the opportunity.

I have not booked a CP course with Green Dragons, and therefore only book one day of training at a time, and usually only once a week.
There have been weeks when I've not booked a training slot due to work or family commitments.

Obviously the UK weather has had its own share as well, so there have been days when I have been booked in and training has been cancelled for one reason or the other.
You might also want to know that BHPA instructors have a very high safety record, and their number one priority is to keep the student safe, so conditions which would be suitable for a qualified pilot would not necessarily be good for a trainee!

If you are thinking of training in the UK, your approach might be different, you might book a EP/CP course (highly recommended) and might therefore be able to book more days of training in advance, you might also be available on weekends, not forgetting you might begin your training at a different time of the year, and thus have much more suitable conditions (many people wonder why summer is not the most suitable time for learning).

So to summarise, my diary is here to show exactly what I'm going through as I embark on this challenge of mine. While I'm serious about this challenge, it is not something that has to be done at ALL COSTS, I live a normal life and have a family, and as I have mentioned on my main website I'm not going to do anything stupid to achieve my goal. In life we have many obstacles to go through, many give up after a few, others go on for longer, while some would be put off by difficulties others will be inspired by them.

No matter what happens in the end with this challenge, my hope is that someone will be encouraged not to give up on their dream just because they encountered one problem or the other.

Long Live the UK flying community, and may the BHPA continue to champion our cause.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I'm off to Norfolk

Following the lack of progress with my hang glider training since my return from Spain in march of this year, I have decided to take a week off work and visit Tony Webb of Lejair while they are in the UK during the month of August this year.

Now I know there is no guarantee that I will get good weather during the week that I have booked off, but there is a good chance that there will be a few days that some training can be done, also since I will be on the winch completely, I'm increasing the likelihood of me completing the tasks required for me to earn my Club Pilots license.

I'm hoping that at the end of my trip, this step of my training programme will be completed, as I don't want to think of what will happen if I don't get the pilot rating.

A lot of time and effort has been put into this, and it just seems that my goal is not getting any nearer to being achieved!

Another day of cancelled training

Another day of un-settled weather, and all hang gliding training has been cancelled by Green Dragons.

I will not be booking any further hang gliding training sessions with them this month or next.

I recently added a few new photos to my galley, check them out.

My Hang Gliding Photo Gallery

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sun Stoke!

No not me!

Having looked at the weather forecast, which looked good 10mph westerly wind, no showers, I called the Green Dragons flight line to be told sorry the designated Hang gliding instructor is suffering from Sun Stroke, so no hang gliding today!

I called the office in the afternoon to re-book my appointment and was then told that the weathermen had also got it wrong, as the winds were too strong for training anyway.

My next hang gliding training is booked for Tuesday 26th July.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Nothing scheduled this week

Due to work and personal commitments, I am not visiting Green Dragons for any Hang Gliding training this week.

Training resumes next week, with a date booked for Monday 18th July, hopefully the weather will be fine and I'll be able to cover some tasks for my hang gliding club pilot rating.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Another no show day

Hang glider training was cancelled today due to bad weather (strong winds), so I've got to book another training session and another day off work.

Will he ever get there? (Theme song from Cock Crow at Dawn). The hang gliding challenge continues.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Scatter Showers mean no hang gliding

The recent week of hot weather came to an end with violent thunderstorms last night, so I didn't have any high hopes of being able to fly today.

Call up the Green Dragons flight line to be told that the forecast had the showers on and off for most of the day, so hang gliding was off.

I'll see if I can get next Wednesday booked, as I continue on my quest to get a Club Pilot hang glider rating.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A little bit of publicity

An article appeared yesterday in a local newspaper (New Nation) about my hang gliding challenge, the reporter got everything right apart from the minor detail about me flying the hang glider at 25,000 ft instead of 2,500ft.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wednesday is another day!

I've scheduled Wednesday 29th June for some more hang glider training, and I'm staying positive that I would actually be able to fly this time and complete some of the tasks required to achieve my Club Pilot rating.

On a different note, members of my hang glider club (Suffolk Coastal Floaters) are looking forward to a good weekend of flying judging by the forecast for this weekend!

Monday, June 20, 2005

We are Flying today, eeem no we are NOT.

The weather over the weekend had been hot, but good, and the forecast for today was light westerly winds, so I wasn't surprised when I called Green Dragons' flight line at 07:00 and was told yes we will be flying today.
The journey on the M25 motorway was troublesome as usual, with some showers on the way, and I was wondering if someone had got it wrong at the Metrology office. After almost 2 hours on the road I got to the flying school around 09:30 where I met 3 hang glider pilots who were going through the registration process.
My joy of having Andy our instructor totally dedicated to Hang Gliding was short lived when I found out that they were day 1 Elementary Pilot students and most of the morning would be spent on introductory theory and the hang simulator, oh well at least we'll be flying in the afternoon.
The morning went well, with me having an opportunity to get reminded of the theory of flight, safety and weather conditions.

We had a lunch break around 13:30, while Andy got an update on the weather and checked the local flying sites to see which would be suitable for the afternoon's activities. Andy came back from the office and called us in to have a look at some of the sources used for weather checks and how the information is used, unfortunately the latest updates wasn't good, with the wind dropping to almost nil.

We decided to have a look at the sites anyway, and check the conditions locally ourselves. It turned out the wind had dropped, and the direction was constantly varying, so no go for launch.

We end the day with the students recapping on the day, while I rigged the stubby hang glider to take some photos, as a local newspaper is doing a story about my challenge.

No flying today, but at least I still gained some knowledge that hopefully will keep me safe when I start flying on my own, and I didn't get charged for the day, as I didn't get to fly (thanks Andy).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Missed Hang Gliding opportunity yesterday

Missed a good day of flying weather yesterday.

Woke up this morning and checked the answering machine as someone had called while we were still in bed, and found out that I had missed a call from Green Dragons hang gliding school yesterday afternoon, the conditions were good and they would be flying till loss of light. I had been out yesterday till 19:00hrs as we were having a picnic at church, so would not have been able to make it anyway. I'm busy this week so don't have any hang glider training booked, but I hope that conditions are good next week Wednesday when I have another day of hang glider training.

I also got an email today from Antonio one of the students I met while training at Lejair, he had a long soaring flight in Wales last weekend, I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to join in on the action.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bad start to June

I was scheduled to have a day of hang glider training today, so woke up early, got my packed lunch ready and at 07:00 called the Green Dragons flight line.

At first the line was busy, I waited a few minutes and got through to Andy Shaw who said the morning was not looking good, but it might be flyable in the afternoon, and I should call back at 12:00 for an update.

Since I had to make a decision on whether I was going in to the office or not, I decided I was not going to risk it, though I would have loved to be hang gliding. I thought the chances of flying to be slim and would rather earn some money at work, hence I cancelled the training.

I'll find out later on in the day if that was the right decision or not.

The longer it takes for this CP rating to fall in place the lower my drive becomes, sometimes I really think this is too much hassle and I should just pack it in. To be honest one of the main things that really stops me from doing so is the amount of money (and then the effort) that I have put in so far.

I've now booked Monday 20th June for my next session, can't do any earlier due to work and personal commitments.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Suffolk Coastal Floaters part Deux

I made another visit today to the Suffolk Coastal Floaters hang gliding airfield, I have formally joined the club as a non flying member till I get my hang glider Club Pilot rating.

They were having their AGM today, I though I'd get there early to see a bit of flying before we retire to the local public house for the meeting.

Unfortunately the weather was not on my side again, the sky was perfect, but there was the issue of the winds which varied anything from 5MPH to 22MPH.

I arrived at the airfield where Richard Hunt was already waiting, hoping things would improve, but unfortunately after about one hour, we decided the wind was not going to die down, so we left for the meeting place. I did however get a change to have a good look around the hangar where the member's hang gliders are kept.

The meeting itself went well, and at about 20:45 I left to begin the 1.5 hr journey home but didn't get home till almost 23:30! There was no traffic problems on the way, I just missed my turning of the M25 (junction 23), and didn't realise it until I got to junction 16 for Heathrow.

The next day turned out to be a better day for hang gliding, and about 33 flights were made. I didn't go, as I had to go to church.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Blown out!

As forecast by the weather masters, the wind was too strong for any hang gliding training today, so I wasn't surprised when I called the Green Dragons flight line and was told it was off.

I've booked Wednesday 1st June for my next hang gliding training.

I need to get my head round weather forecasting so I can better predict which days will be more likely to be flyable as I need to book my days off work 1 week in advance.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Twice Lucky?

Looking at the weather forecast, it doesn't look likely that I'll be able to have a hang gliding lesson tomorrow, the winds look very strong.

Being the UK, nothing is cast in stone, so we'll see in the morning.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Enter the dragon

Nothing to do with Bruce Lee, this is all about hang gliding.

Having had to endure 4 lesson cancellations over almost as many weeks, the British weather finally decided to give me a break.
Having called the flight line and confirmed that the weather conditions were suitable, I set off on the 1.5 hour journey to the training site via the M25 motorway.

On arrival I was welcomed by Andy Shaw the Chief Flying Instructor at Green Dragons and Trainee Instructor Eddie, there were 2 other students already there, with 2 others expected so we settled into the waiting room and watched a flying video. I later found out I was the only hang gliding student, as the others were learning to paraglide.

At 09:30 with no sign of the other 2 students we began the paperwork (I had to fill in a new student task book, but since I had photocopies of my Lejair training, Andy was able to have a rough idea of where I was supposed to be), followed by a safety briefing.

I chose a helmet and harness, picked up the Stubby hang glider and walked the long road (200m) to the training hill. This was the first time I had single handedly carried a hang glider, and it was the beginning of a morning of hard work. While Andy cleared the field of some obstacles see picture, I rigged the hang glider and performed my daily inspection (SWANK), Andy joined me later checked I had performed my inspection properly, asked what my pre-flight procedure was and I replied 'Will Geordie Have His Cat Abroad'. Once I had convinced Andy I knew what I was talking about, we went through a site briefing and the local weather conditions.

My first training task of the day was ground handling as I was not confident I could handle a glider under normal UK windy conditions.

I then proceeded to practise my hill launch techniques which was none existent as most of my flights had been tow launched. While pushing the glider up to the middle of the slope where I had been launching from, the wind flipped the glider over (didn't you start the day ground handling?), and had to wait for Andy who was teaching one of the Paragliding students to help me put it upright, he then gave me a few tips on keeping track of the wind direction and making sure the nose is always into wind.

By noon I had picked up the correct launch techniques, and Andy was happy to let me fly the glider, but first I had to get the glider up the hill (this is the bit I don't like), the last 50m was steep, and I couldn't move the glider (well I had been trying to out run the glider earlier perfecting my hill launches), so Andy kindly stepped in and helped carry it the last 50m where I again practised some more ground handling before taking of on a 15 -20 sec flight down the hill. I had a second flight from near the top of the hill, the wind by now was getting a little variable, and I had to wait around a bit before finally taking off for another 20 sec flight. The flights themselves were event less, and I was happy to know I hadn't lost any of my pitch or direction control skills, and the landings were very easy in the 5-10 mph winds.

It's time for a lunch break now, so we took an hour to eat and re-hydrate, hoping to be back on the hill around 14:30, however this was not to be as the conditions got worst being very termic, winds were much stronger and it remained so till about 18:30 when I left, I had waited that long because Wednesday was winching day for the Green Dragons Club, and was going to take the opportunity to have some tows in the evening.

I've now booked Monday 23rd for another training session, and am looking forward to working with Andy or one of his other instructors weather permitting of course.

one of Green Dragons' hang gliding training sites 

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A fine Tuesday morning

I woke up this morning to a nice sunny day, clear skies with some scattered clouds. The UK metrology office website had forecasted scattered showers in the south eastern part of the UK where I would be training, but looking out of the window, I thought they had got it wrong.

Made my preparations, (lunch box, fly kit etc), and waited for 07:00 hrs to give the Green Dragons flight line a call.

At 07:05 I called the number it was ringing (normally goes straight to voicemail with the dreaded 'unsuitable weather' message so I had hopes it was 'ON' today), the duty instructor answers and I ask 'I was just ringing up to check if my hang gliding lesson was going ahead today'. Over the phone came the reply 'Un-fortunately the wind is not right, so all training is cancelled'. A check on the weather website shows an average wind speed of 10mph gusting to 17mph (so beyond trainee pilots).

With that I take my flight bag back upstairs, swap if for my briefcase (lunch box as well) and drive to the tube station where I catch the tube for work.

A fine day it turned out not to be.

ALUTA CONTINUA! The quest for a hang gliding Club Pilot rating continues British Weather 4 Shola Determined 0

The next training date is fixed for Wednesday 18th May at Green Dragons.

Friday, May 06, 2005

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May Bank holiday weekend

The weekend beginning Friday April 29th heralded 3 days of good weather, and while I was not able to go visit the Suffolk Coastal Floaters due to family commitments, I was constantly looking up to the sky and checking out those nice cumulus clouds thinking someone in a hang glider or paraglider will be having fun out there.

In the meantime I'm trying to keep myself motivated by reading about other people's free flying adventures on the internet.
I've also been watching a lot more programmes on the Adventure One satellite channel.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Hang Gliding in May?

My next hang glider training date is Tuesday 10th May, and it is booked with Green Dragons hang gliding school.

I'm hoping that the weather is now stable enough for something to be done, as I really want to get things moving again, not just reading about someone else's hang gliding activities.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

At least someones having fun!

I got an email today from Paul one of my fellow students at Lejair in Spain.

He was in Spain last week, and managed to complete his CP (tow) and also got a hill endorsement as well during his one week trip to Lejair.

Paul was slightly ahead of me with his training, but didn't manage to finish just like I didn't when we were there. I only wish I could go back and finish off my training with Tony Webb, I felt relaxed with him, his knowledge was so vast, and the conditions were much more predictable.

No Hang Gliding today

It's April, and for the third time in a row, the British weather has done what its best at doing. Threats of light showers has made it too unstable for any hang gliding today.

I've been wondering how hang gliding and paragliding instructors can actually make a living in this country with so many days being lost due to unstable conditions?

Anyway looking on the bright side, May is round the corner, so I'm hoping that the weather will be more suitable. I've recently been having more pressure from my wife and mum to give up this 'flying in the sky hobby', it's almost as if there's a conspiracy to stop me from flying!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Catching them young

I took my six year old daughter to the RAF Museum in Hendon today, and introduced her to the aviation industry.

A nice surprise was a Hang Glider on display, I managed to persuade her to have a 'go', hoping that I could have an ally to back me up at home.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

New Training Date

My next hang glider training is scheduled for Tuesday 26th April 2005. I decided to try a Tuesday having suffered bad weather on the last two Wednesdays, a change is in order me thinks.

Training cancelled again!

The forecast yesterday looked good to me (but what do I know), so I had high hopes that today would be on.

I called the Green Dragons flight line at 07:00 and got the dreaded message "weather conditions are unstable, and all training flights have been cancelled …"

The British weather has another one up, and it is now over a month since I had my last training flight.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

British Weather!

I got my first taste of the British weather ruining my flying today, when my assessment day at Green Dragons was cancelled.

Why do the weather men always get it right when they forecast bad weather?

I now have to book another day, this is not very good for my morale!

I have now booked next Wednesday 20th April, I'm hoping the weather is on my side this time.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Picture Gallery

I have created a picture blog for all my hang gliding adventures.

It is at

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Suffolk Coastal Floaters Hang Gliding Club

I was able to pay the Suffolk Coastal Floaters Hang Gliding Club a visit today, as the weather was very good and there were quite a few hang glider pilots out flying.

The setup was very impressive, and hearing those famous words "All Out" brought back memories from my hang glider training, and made me more determined to get my CP so I could join in on the fun

For some reason I had imagined Richard Hunt to be older than he turned out to be.

A good day, with 2 of the pilots managing to go cross country in their Hang Gliders, Richard being one of them, how he managed to persuade Glen to retrieve him in a microlight I have no idea.

Suffolk Coastal Floaters Hang Gliding Club

Friday, April 01, 2005

Training to continue

I booked a training day with Andy Shaw at Green Dragons for April 13th, to continue my quest for the CP hang glider rating.

I've received photocopies of my student task book from Lejair, so I should be able to continue from where I left off in Spain.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Thinking of learning to hang glide on a tow or winch system?

Read this article about launching a powered harness, on page 2 there is some advice on the correct way for a beginner to fly on a tow system. The information on being very relaxed both in your arms and legs would help you make good progress on your first day. If I had read this, it would have saved me at least a day of training.

The Article

Incase the link becomes broken in the future, it is by Richard Cobb and is titled learning to launch a power harness and first appeared in the March 2002 issue of Hang Gliding magazine.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

2 Weeks and counting...

Its a fortnight since I returned from Spain, and here's an update on what's going on.

I've decided that I'm going to complete my CP (Tow) at Green Dragons, I've called them, and got a quote, so I know roughly how much it's going to cost.

I've contacted Rona at Lejair to send me a copy of my student taskbook, so I can provide Green Dragons with evidence of what I've already done.

I won't be able to join Green Dragons until mid or late April, due to family and work commitments, I also have to generate some additional finance for the CP tuition.

In the meantime I'm taking a break from reading, but will resume in about 2 weeks with the CAA exemption to the ANO that allows powered hang gliders to fly in the UK.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Two is company?

VinceG a moderator at The International Forum for Hang Gliding/Paragliding made contact expressing an interest in joining me on the challenge! Vince is already a CP pilot (Dec 2004) and has a Aeros Target hang glider, so he is more advanced than me, but still a low airtime pilot. I'd be happy to have him along for company, but it is still early days, and as yet don't have a date for when I'll be doing the challange.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I'm all shook up

Wake up in the morning, with the Monday morning blues, aches and pains in my body, I don't really feel like going to work.

I think I need a holiday to recover from the last 2 weeks.

"How was your holiday?" ask my colleagues at work. "Good, I managed to fly off a 2000ft mountain" is all I say, as I've just been informed I have to move desks!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Return Home

I wake up early to drive back to Jerez where I catch my return flight back to the UK.

As usual, the weather is not at its best, 4 degrees and overcast with clouds.

I arrive home where my children are happy to see me, and my 7 month old son seems to have changed. It's good to be back, though I wish I had achieved my CP hang gliding rating.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Weather problems again.

The plan today is to have flights off Lejar mountain on the Target, converting to the prone position, slow flight appreciation with a possible stall.

After breakfast we meet at the workshop, where I get stirrups fitted to my harness, and try the prone position on the simulator. We load up and head for the top, where we rig the gliders. By the time we finish our inspections, the wind has picked up and it starts to rain. We put the gliders flat and run for cover in the van. There is a break in the cloud, so Tony advises that we might be able to fly later, and true to his word about 45mins later the rain stops and the wind drops to a moderate level.

Antonio goes first, so we wait for him to land, before Paul (another student)) can take his turn. By the time Paul is ready to take off, the wind is gusty and short after that it starts to rain. We decide it is not looking good so we quickly de-rig and leave.

We meet later in the local café and sit our CP exams, which we pass. I'm a bit disappointed, as this is the last day, and I've not achieved what I came to Spain for which is a CP rating.

We get all our paperwork completed, and I find out I only have 4 more tasks to complete to enable me get the CP (Tow) rating.

Conversion to prone
Slow flight and Stall
Planned Approach and Spot landings
12 school circuits

It has been a very busy 2 weeks, Tony and Rona Webb have worked very hard, and I have achieved a lot and enjoyed myself to an extent.

I now have to think about how I'll complete my CP, as going back to Spain is not looking like a viable option due to family and work commitments.

Could this be a set back that could end the dream?

My Target waits for a flight off Lejar mountain.

Friday, March 11, 2005

4th generation hang glider and Circuits

It's drizzling when we wake up, we have breakfast and set off for Seville.

We arrive with the sky overcast, but it is dry and the winds are light.

We are converting to 4th generation hang gliders today (Aeros Target), so we have to learn a new rigging process.

My first tow is a familiarisation hop (2 flights to make it across the field), and I'm surprised at how far out the trim position is!
By the 5th tow, I'm back on high flights with release and shallow turns. The next 3 tows see me doing circuits and we end the day with this.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Just another sucker

We are back at Lejar mountain, I haven't had enough as I rig and get ready for another 12 minute top to bottom flight.

The launch is very uneventful, I do some 180s with hands on the base bar, admire the view and then land, this time on my feet having remembered to transfer my hands back to the uprights.

We have lunch, go back to the top, but the wind has changed direction, so we head off to Teba mountain (a smaller mountain about 80kms from Lejar), but our luck seems to have run out, and the wind is gusty and from the wrong direction. We give up and call it a day.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Baptism on Lejar Mountain

With Tony Webb's last words from yesterday still fresh in my head, we meet at 09:30 to see if we can get that mountain hang glider flight, the weather looks good.

At breakfast, Tony decides it is too windy, so we'll meet at 14:00 and then go up to the top of the mountain. We (the 2 other students and I) decide to take a sight seeing trip to a village not too far away called Zahara where we visit the ruins of an old castle.

At 14:00 we meet up with Tony and drive to the top of the mountain to find the place buzzing with Paragliders rigging and waiting to fly. We are also joined by Morten (the Norwegian Hang Glider pilot) who is also looking forward to having a flight.

We rig our gliders, and join the waiting pilots, even though we are only going to do a top to bottom, the wind is slightly too light for our experience. Conditions improve, and Antonio takes off first, Tony thinks conditions are right for me as well, so he goes through some practise runs we me.

As I pick up the glider, the thought going through my mind is "what am I doing here? I don't think you should do this". Tony explains what he wants me to do, we move to the side of the incline on the launch site, put the glider on my shoulders start the run, I feel the glider lift off my shoulders, "lean in and keep running" Tony says as he steps in front of me to stop me from going any further. We do this for a second time, but the wind has dropped and we have to wait again! This is not good for my health.

In the meantime Mortern has is ready, so he takes off and I watch as he heads towards the local village in search of a thermal.

"Come on" Tony says, "the wind is picking up, lets try that practise run again". I pick up the glider, start the run, but as the glider lifts off my shoulder I subconsciously push the bar out. "Stop!" Shouts Tony as he steps into my path, "you just stalled the wing" and he goes on to explain the consequences of my action to me. We go through it again without any problems and I feel more confident with the process as it feels little different from a tow launch.

"Lets practise it one more time" Tony says, as I carry the glider back to the top of the incline. Tony checks the sky for traffic and the wind as he had done on previous occasions, "ready" he asks, I nod and shout "release" as I start the run "good" Tony says as I change my grip and lean in when the glider lifts from my shoulders. "keep running" are the last words I remember as I realise this is for real (Tony hasn't stopped me)! I don't remember the exact moment my feet left the ground, "keep your eyes on the target" Tony's voice boomed over the radio, I make a few adjustments with my weight to keep the glider pointed at a village I'd been shown before I took off, "Okay relax now you are away from the ridge".

For the first time I look down, and see the road, which doesn't seem to be moving, I look at the lake to my right, the landing field to my left, and it dawns on me, 'I am really flying'!
"Okay, Shola, you can put your hands on the base bar if you want" came Tony's voice over the radio, so I complied. I then went on to do a couple of 180 degrees turns both to the left and right. "Make your way across the road, and Rona will take over from there", I shifted my body to the right, the glider responded

"Continue to the green field", this time it was Rona Webb's voice over the radio. She had been at the landing field for a while and had already talked Antiono down from his flight. "Over to the brown field" she continued, "turn to your left", Uprights!" were the last words she uttered as I belly flopped to the ground landing on the wheels.

In my excitement I had forgotten to transfer my hands back to the uprights as I set up my approach for landing. "Wow, that was great", I said as Antonio approached me while I unclipped myself. I go to bed later that night still buzzing from the experience, I had flown a glider solo from the top of a 2000ft high mountain.

Lejar mountain launch site.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I'm going higher.

Its an early start today as Tony Webb would like to see if Antonio who is more advanced in his training can have a hill flight off 2000ft Lejar mountain (this would count towards his CP (hill) conversion). It takes us 33mins to drive to the top, only to find it is very cold and too windy so no go for launch, however we do have a look around the 2 launch sites and down towards the landing field, my legs are now turning to jelly at the thought that I might also fly off this mountain before the end of my training.

We head for Seville airfield where conditions are also windy, so rig gliders and wait, with some revision on the CP theory.

My first flight was at 17:30, and the wind was a bit strong, I made it across the field and released the tow line, but did not get high enough to do any turns. We wait another 30mins to allow the conditions to improve and I then make another 5 flights, the last 2 were at a height of 150ft with 90 degree turns to the left and right.

"If conditions are right tomorrow, you too might get a flight off Lejar mountain" where Tony's last words to me as we de-rigged.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Weather holding up!

The weather is holding up, and it now feels like we are in Spain. After our usual breakfast at a local café, we head for Seville airfield.
Its very windy on arrival as the scatter cumulus skies confirm the termic conditions, so we rig our gliders and waiting, pass the time by going over some theory and listening to some hang gliding stories from Tony our instructor.

We start flying at 17:00, and my first 3 flights are average (I seem to have lost the perfect first flight touch), the next 2 flights are spot on with good straight and level flights, tow line releases at the end and spot on landings to finish. My 6th flight involved a straight and level, tow line release and shallow left/right turns which went well including the landing.

On my last flight of the day, I released the line okay, did my turns but did not get my wings level before I landed, so my left wing got blown over as I landed! Lesson learnt, not a nice way to end the day, but I'm still happy with progress made, flights today were up to 70ft in height.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

EP exam and more flying

It’s a lazy start to the day (we are now feeling aches and pains from the running and pushing the gliders 400yards across the field), the weather is good with blue skies and scattered clouds.

We leave Algondanales at 12:30pm and arrive at the Seville airfield about 2hrs later. It is very termic when we arrive, so we rig the gliders and wait. To make good use of the time, we take our exams (Paul and I EP, Antonio CP) and to our delight we all pass. Conditions are still not right, so we go over some of the questions from the CP paper that Antonio got wrong. Tony Webb is very knowledgeable (who wouldn't be after 20 years in the business) and his understanding of weather conditions leave us all Gob smacked!

A little later, we decide to start flying and my first flight is a perfect straight and level one. During the 2nd tow, the winch quits on me over half way across the field, and since I wasn't expecting it, I belly flopped onto the deck. We later found out the winch had run out of fuel.

With the winch re-fuelled, we continue, and I release the tow line on the 4th and 5th tows.

The 6 tow was the last of the day, and the wind had picked up, so I really had to fight my way across the field and thus could not release the line as all my efforts were spent keeping the Stubby pointed at the winch. All in all a very good day, with a lot achieved.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

On the straight and level path.

Today is a perfect day for flying, blue skies and light winds.
We go to the Seville airfield, rig up and continue with straight and level flights.
My first flight is perfect, weight shift problems sorted, however another problem rears it head, I can't land properly on a consistent basis.
In total I have 9 flights, with one bad launch.

Shola takes to the air 

Friday, March 04, 2005

Its raining again.

Wake to find its raining again. forecast says it is going to be all day, meet with our instructor for breakfast who decides we should take the day off as there is no prospect for flying.

We go back to our apartment where we watch some videos, sleep most of the afternoon (none of us realise how tired we are from all the travelling and training), in the evening we do some studying go out for a meal and call it a day.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I fly again.

It’s a warm start to the day, with the sky overcast, but no rain. There is no pain in my ankle, and I am able to walk properly.

After breakfast Morten joins me, first we go to the local pharmacy for some paracetamol and anti-inflammatory cream, we then go searching for some boots with good ankle support as I had been wearing trainers when I sustained the injury yesterday. At the second shop we visit we find some good boots that would do the job, and before we set off to Seville Morten again kindly offers to tape up my ankle for support purposes and to make sure that I don't make things worse.

We arrive at Seville with light winds, rig gliders and wait for the wind to get a bit stronger.

Conditions improve, and on the 3rd tow I make it across the field to the winch in a single flight with a belly flop for a landing! This is good for me as it eases the pressure on my right foot which has so far kept up to the punishment thrown at it. The penny has finally sunk in that I need to be relaxed and not hang onto the A frame (why did it take me so long)! On the 6th tow, I make a successful landing on my foot, but now I'm having problems with my roll control, my weight shift doesn't seem to be working properly.

After the 8th tow, Tony (my instructor) gets to the root of my problem, offers some advise which should cure the problem, I want to try this out immediately, but it is late, and there was a nil wind any way so we called it a day. It had been a very busy day (our 1st full flying day since we arrived), and all students and instructors had worked really hard.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Hang Glider training diary - A lovely day but ...

Woke to blue skies, sunshine with scattered clouds. Forecast for Seville airfield is 13 degrees, sunshine with some clouds. Looks like it is going to be a lovely day for hang glider training!

By the time we have breakfast and set off, its cold again and overcast, as we get closer to Seville it gets more windy and at a point Tony (our HG instructor) even contemplates turning back.

We arrive at the Seville training towing field to some sunshine and light wind, perfect for flying! We rig, do the daily check and Paul one of the other students has the first tow, with a straight flight across the grass field to the winch. I'm next, get off to a good start, but fly too fast (pull the bar in) and before I know it, I crash into the ground, "let go" Tony shouts over the radio, as I hit the deck landing heavily on my right foot and twist my ankle. I get up, and don't seem to have any problem walking, so have 2 more tows with good hops across the field. Another spill, this time nothing serious, it looks like this is not going to be a walk in the park after all!

It has started to rain now, and the wind has got stronger, so we have a break, about 30mins later conditions improve, so another trip is made across the field moonwalking.

The wind picks up again with some rain falling as well so another break, with something to eat as we wait for conditions to improve.

At about 6:00pm after about 1 hr and 30mins of waiting the wind dies down and the rain stops, so we get up to continue. Ouch a sharp pain shoots through my right ankle, it looks like the twist of my foot was more serious than I thought. I ask the 2 other students to go ahead while I try to walk, but the pain is unbearable and I can't walk, not to talk of running, so looks like my day has come to an end!

I de-rig glider and watch while my fellow students have 3 more tows before we call it a day.

We drive back to Algondanales and go the a local café for food and drink where we meet a Norwegian hang glider pilot called Morten who happens to be a physiotherapist.

He kindly goes back to our apartment with us, has a look at my ankle and applies a cold compress to it while we watch some hang gliding videos we borrowed from Tony.

I call it a night, hoping that I can fly tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Rain, Rain, go away!

Still raining, meet at Lejair workshop and watch a few training video clips on hang glider towing.

We head for Seville, hoping weather would improve by the time we get there, so we can do some towing.

1hr and 30mins later we arrive in Seville, with a light drizzle/wind, so we decide to rig. The Seville location is a dis-used old airfield with a 2KM long runway. As the wind is only slightly off the runway, we are able to do some towing on the runway. Before I know it, I have made 5 trips across the runway with the first 2 being teether flights, and a total of about 5 mins airtime. While each flight was only a couple of secs, I'm totally elated by the experience! Main issues highlighted are not relaxing grip on A frame (in fact I was trying to hang from I rather than from the loops!) and failing to flare on landing. We de-rig after the other students had their straight and level flights (both Paul and Antonio had previous flying experience, as opposed to me being a total beginner).

Drive back to Algondanales and retreat to a local restaurant which has a big fire place where we have some food and drinks and get ourselves warmed up. Not a bad day, though we could do with some dry and warm weather tomorrow.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Hopping in the rain.

Woke to find it was still raining, since we had some paperwork to do, we went to Lejair's workshop to get this out of the way.

I was introduced to the hang simulator, put my training harness and helmet and learnt the basis of weight shift and pitch control.

As it was still raining, Tony took us to his microlight hangar in Villa Martin where I learnt how to rig a Stubby hang glider, and perform a daily inspection (SWANK). As the rain was not very heavy, and there was a nice breeze outside, Tony thought it would be a good idea to introduce me to the Stubby formally via some wind hopping exercises, so I clipped in and experience my first few seconds of hang gliding flights by hopping in the rain!

After completing the exercises, we went back to the hanger, de-rigged and drove back to Algondanales, while not a very busy day, I had completed a few tasks for my EP rating.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Excuse me Captain, are we in Spain?

Our plane took off on time, and we had a good flight to Jerez. On final approach as we descended through the clouds, you would have thought the Captain had merely been circling round the UK, as it was overcast and just as we taxied to the terminal, the heavens opened and it started to rain! It rained all the way through the drive to Algondanales, where we (Antonio, another student and I) meet our Instructors Tony and Rona Webb.

After a few drinks, we went to our apartment where we spent the rest of the day, looking out the window at the skies praying for better weather for the following day.

Towards the end of the day, another student Paul joined us, not a sunny and dry welcome we had expected, infact it was wet and very cold. Yes we were in Spain.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Leave for Spain

Left home at 11:00pm today for stansted airport.

My flight is 07:00am tomorrow with a checkin time of 05:00am.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Surprise Call!

I got a surprise call today from Andy Phillips who was the first person to fly a paramotor from Land's End to John O'Groats

He was very supportive, and I look forward to learning first hand from him useful tips for my trip.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hang Glider waiting?

Hang Glider and waiting for weather

I'm not a qualified hang glider pilot yet, but it looks like I'm going to have to learn how to hang wait!

Been doing a lot of reading about hang gliding on the internet, and one thing that seems to be cropping up all the time is that this flying sport relies a lot on good weather and you should not be in a hurry to get in the air if the weather is marginal.

I'm also on the mailing list of my local (to be) hang gliding club, and even though it is tow based, it still hasn't been very flyable over the last 3 weekends.

I think I need to get closer to the man that stilled the waters which is what I will be doing while hang gliding.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hang Gliding training costs.

This hang gliding experience is becoming expensive, and my bank manager is starting to compain.

Let's see where the money is going:

BHPA Membership £92
BHPA Pilot's Handbook £14.99
Hang Glider Training Manual £25
EP/CP Tow Hang Gliding course (Spain) £1000
Accomaodation (Spain) £168
Hang Gliding Insurance (Spanish HG Association for 3rd party liability) £50
Return Air Ticket £80
Travel Insurance (includes repartriation and Hang Gliding activity) £35
Car Rental (sharing a car with another student) £80
Stansted Express return ticket £25

You do the sums! I still have to buy a hang glider and other associated equipment, gain enough experience, before I can even think of the next course! Help please Sir Richard?

Edit 18th March 2005: The final bill for my trip to Spain included the following extras

Extra hang glider training £50
Expenses £170

Edit 17 Dec 2005: Here are the addtional expenses incured to get my Club Pilot (CP)hang glider rating

2nd trip to Spain
Training £960
Accomodation £84
Hang Gliding Insurance (Spanish) £50
Air Ticket £45
Travel Insurance Hang Gliding cover included £35
Car Rental £110
Train Tickets £25

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I am a BHPA member

I am now a member of the Britsh Hang Gliding and Paragliding Assosiation hang glider flying member 22858, no pilot endorsements yet though.

You can't fly a glider aircrat in the UK unless you are fully insured, and being a member of the BHPA allows you to do that.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Hang Glider Training preparations

There is so much to do in preparation for my starting to learn to fly a hang glider in spain with Tony Webb. One of the tasks that I currently have to complete is ringing all my insurance providers to make sure I'm still covered with me now taking up hang gliding.

Why does life have to be so complicated? No wonder people give up so many dreams. Too much hassle. I guess if the flying dream is big enough, then I'll have to do it. Algodonales, here comes the novice glider pilot hoping to return home after 2 weeks with a BHPA CP hill and tow rating.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I'm Joining a Hang Gliding Club

I've decided that I need to join a local suffolk hang gliding club, the nearest tow club to me within the M25. While it is about 100 miles from my home in London, it is not uncommon for hang glider pilots to travel these type of distances to enable them to fly in the sky and enjoy their free flight sport.

I've made contact with the club secretary, but won't be able to join the club untill I've got my hang glider Club Pilot qualification, but I will be making a social visit shortly if weather permits to see how they operate and meet my future hang gliding colleagues, as well as get to know some of the typical hang gliders used in the sport.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hang Glider CP Course preparations continue

Hang Gliding Training

Air Plane tickets have been booked, travel insurance arranged, and in a way I'm now looking forward to the flying course.

I'm going to miss my family though, as this is going to be the longest seperation from my wife since we got married.

Starting to think of suitable companies that I can approach for hang glider sponsorship.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Opposition to hang gliding dream

It looks like this hang gliding adventure of mine is going to be a tough one to live down.
Both my spouse and mum are against the idea of flying at the moment, being from African origins, this is not surprising since it is not a good thing to temp fate and being strapped to nothing more that a simple hang glider frame and 'jumping' off a mountain as they see it, is taking too much risk.

I keep you updated with my hang glider training progresses and how the family is taking it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hang Gliding CP Course Booked

I've booked myself on a 2 week hang gliding course with Lejair run by Tony Webb a British instructor based in Algodonales, spain, so all being well, I will be a CP (tow) on March 13th 2005

A hang gliding CP course is the minimum pilot rating that anyone learning to fly a hang glider should attain in order to be able to join a UK hang gliding club and gain experience and improve their flying skills

Learning to fly a hang glider using the tow launch method is a very good hang gliding training aid as you don't need to find different hills to launch from when the weather changes, and doing it in spain where the weather is more favorable means you will make more progress in your BHPA CP pilot rating.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

How am I fly hangglider across the UK

To responsilbly fly a hang glider in the UK, you need to be a member of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and posses the right pilot endorsements.

This verifies that you have undergone the right hang glider training and are insured against any 3rd party incidents.

I therefore intend to get a full FLPA (foot launched powered aircraft) endorsement which will enable me to do the cross country flight.

First step is to obtain a CP (club pilot) endorsement, this will allow me to fly in a club environment using a sky floater like the Aeros target hang glider get some valuable fly experience and the fufill the entry requirements to join the FLPA course.

Once FLPA qualified, I will build up my XC (cross country) hang gliding knowledge before embarking on the challenge proper.

So for those of you who are asking if this is going to be a power free attempt, the answer is no, I intended to be using a doodlebug harness and a target glider.

I hope to build a support team of experienced pilots who will guide me through training, help plan the route and all logistics to do this safely and ensure success, I will also have a video production team with HD cameras following me filming a documentary which will either broadcast on TV or made into a DVD.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hang Gliding Challenge Introduction

For full details of the my proposed hang gliding challenge, visit my hang glider website.

Summary: In Jan 2005, I decide that I would like to fly across the UK in a hang glider, meeting the locals along the way. not a bad idea, the only quirk being I've never flown a hang glider, and I'm from African origins!

This hang gliding blog in addition to my website will detail how I get along from the initial training to become an elementary pilot, then getting my CP rating that will allow me to fly in a club environment through to motorised doodlebug powered hanglider training, raising sponsorship and planning the flying adventure itself.

Shola Ogunlokun The first Nigerian Hang Glider pilot of the MB Challenge fame