How To Fly Cross Country (On A Paraglider)


Hi I’m Greg, come and join me
on a cross country flight, and I’ll show you how it works. Ooh, what’s that? Everybody’s
landing. I wonder why that’s happening? I’m out in front of the hill here, out over
the fields and I’ve committed to landing somewhere out and walking back up
that’s an important stage of cross country flying, the first step, you’ve got to free
yourself from the hill. There’s my friend, Tefal … we call him that
because he’s really hard to stick to. So I’m just working light lift out here in
front out over the fields and we’re searching upwind, as soon as I find lift I’m just drifting,
pushing upwind, slowly on that source, just trying to find a stronger thermal releasing
from the same point. A big part of what’s happening here is that I’m flying a really
simple glider, it’s taking absolutely none of my attention away from extending my senses
out and looking for lift, and that’s a big deal in cross country flying, you don’t want
to be flying something that you’re hanging onto and having to focus on all the time,
you need your awareness to be able to be free, looking outwards, and sensing where the lift
is. So much of it is done on sensitivity and intuition, the performance of the wing is
not that important. OK this is a 2 metre per second thermal, I’m just using a little bit
of brake on the inside and it’s coming around really quickly, you really don’t need to crank
the brake on the Epsilon 8, it will really come round quite fast enough with a little
bit of a dab on the inside brake, and I’m not using the outside brake at all, there’s
no need, glider swings around quite quickly. It feels fairly efficient, I’ve maybe
got to be a bit careful that I don’t drop the inside wingtip in. He’s climbing slightly
better than me over there but I don’t really want to lose the core. OK, I’m about to do
something that I use a lot in cross country flying, a little trick, I’m just going to
push into wind a bit, while I’m thermaling, I’m just pushing upwind, right out to the
front of the thermal, just to feel it out, I’ve got right to the edge there and now I
turn back and I go back and I tighten up on the stronger part of the core. Right, now
I’m nicely established, and round and round we go, now it’s just enjoying the feeling
of getting up and away from the hill, and I’m starting to look ahead, watch the cloud
patterns, and try and analyze where the best lift is going to be.
A lot of it now is just patience, it takes me about ten minutes to climb up to the top
here just going round and round, and as I’m climbing up I’m generally widening my turns
… you can see I’m pretty flat there as the thermal expands as it goes up.
And then there’ll come a point where the lift starts dropping off, getting a little bit
bitty, (aah, there’s Tefal again, so we’re keeping up with him, he’s on a Cayenne 5 which
is two classes above this wing). Ahh, there’s something that’s happening, there’s
some sea air that’s coming in and creating a step in the cloud … it’s time to move
on. Now it’s very tempting when you’ve got ground
features like a ridge to follow a ridge line but what’s more important is what are the
clouds doing? That’s where the lift is. So in this case, it’s slightly over the back
on the sloping terrain that’s facing into the sun.
Here’s a classic glide, I’ve now left the lift and I’m gliding, and there’s a little
cloud. Now the sun’s off to the right so the cloud shadow isn’t directly underneath the
cloud. And in this case the wind is coming from the left so the shading is indicating
pretty much where the thermal is coming from, and I can link those two up to come in underneath
the cloud and intersect with the lift. Somewhere around … there! That’s a good feeling. Going
on a big glide and getting your angle right that you come straight into the lift and climb
back up to cloudbase again. So that’s the game for these English flatlands where you’ve
got little puffy clouds, you’re trying to find clouds that are just forming, not the
old ones. Now sometimes you’re going to get low, but
don’t give up, you can land anywhere here, any of these green fields will do, especially
with a glider like the Epsilon 8, just keep faith, be ready, and when you get that lift,
hook it! That might just be a climb that’s goind to get you away from this and back in
the game. I’m usually turning pretty tight when I’m low down, with a lot of weightshift.
In all the excitement, don’t forget there are aeroplanes around, so keep an eye out
on your airspace maps. And try and stay out of the clouds so the other aeroplanes can
see you when you’re flying around. But man! What a view! THIS is why I fly!
Hey, we’re about 60-70 kilometres out from launch and hey, there’s Carlo. Now he’s flying
a Niviuk Artik 4 so he’s again, two classes ahead of this glider, supposedly more performance,
but it’s really up to your decisions, it makes much more difference whether you go left or
right, than if you’ve got slightly more glide and speed on your glider. And it’s really
nice to fly with friends. They help you identify the lift. Now here’s another bit of that seabreeze
air coming in from the right, you can see a low cloud pushing in underneath the big
cloudbase up top. This … THIS IS WHY I FLY! Now we’re cookin’ …
Ooh baby, this is some spectacular stuff! It feels like riding some big wave at Waimea.
Whooohoo. There’s nothing quite like that!
It’s just the best feeling in the world. Um, I think we’ve just gone past 100 kilometres
… how did that happen? We weren’t really focused on it at all, were we? Just enjoying
the flying, and the distance will follow.

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