I was on call for my job this newyears weekend, so no big party, and good shape to go flying the first day of the new year. I met up with Sindre who had driven 330km to fly, and we went to Sundvollen. It was nice conditions for a sled ride down through light snowfall, and landing on the frozen fjord in quite mild weather for the season – just below freezing. I had one flight, Sindre two.
Setup in light snowfall
Sindre setting up the Falcon and his first flight on his new Skyline harness.
The LZ, Egil Toft in the background packing up the paraglider.
A week before Christmas we flew at Sundvollen, and saw ice flowers on the frozen fjord. I’ve never seen something like this before. They were fragile like a snowflake, and seemed to grow straight up from the ice. It was very humid and cold, so I guess a small crystal form around some small object on the ice, and just keep on growing in the humid air.
Closeup of one of the nicer ones. There were thousands of these on the fjord.
This is with flash. Wish I had a better camera with me as the flash washes out some of the details of the crystal.
The whole fjord was covered, looked like a flock of swans had lost all their feathers.
There was no snowfall the days before, just frozen fog on everything, notice the huge crystals.
Bjørn, Brønstad and I met up at Årvoll, where the students had their first flight on the Falcon 2 to prepare for the first high flights today. After trying the glider we packed up and went to Brandbukampen. It was perfect timing, as the fog just lifted above the takeoff when we came. I was at the bottom guiding the students on the radio. They all had good flights, with no major drama. We also gained a new student today, so in total it’s 6 students now. The last 3 should be ready for the height in a few weeks if the weather stays nice.
Sunday I went out with Bjørn to be instructor for the course. Pål would have his first high flights, while Lars and Petter would take their last flights to finish the course. We met up 09:00 at the landing, the conditions looked good. Lars missed the landing on the frozen lake(!) on his first flight, and had to land on a nearby field when he misjudged the height and came too low to make it over the trees out to land. He landed OK in the field under powerlines between fences.
Pål got his first high flights and looked like the happiest man in the world after both. Seeing the students like this makes it worth all the work and responsibility it is to be instructor. Petter is now finished with the course, and have earned his SP2 displaying very solid flying skills.
It was soarable for periods, and when we went up to take the last flight just before dark the wind picked up and became very soarable, but too strong for the students. Bjørn and Terje had both got some 20-30 minutes soaring earlier in the day.
All three students are in need of gliders, let us know if you know of any beginner gliders for sale. They also need varios and harnesses.
On Saturday Bjørn and I decided to take two of our students to Flesberg. It was forecasted light snow and easterly winds, which turned out to be an accurate forecast. It was perfect conditions with almost no wind and only light fog at times. Both Petter and Lars got 3 flights each, they both made good progress in learning how to set up for landing.
We went back again today, driving under dense fog all the way from Oslo. Luckily it was sunny and clear skies at Flesberg, we could see the dense fog just down the valley from takeoff. Since it was almost no wind we gome some periods with tailwind from catabatic flow, but Petter got 3 flights again today, while Lars got 2. The course from Lier also showed up with 2 students that got 2 flights each. It was a cold day in the mountains with -11 degrees at the LZ when we packed up the last time.
Since Lars was late this morning I took the new WillsWing Falcon 195 for a test flight, it is a very, very good glider. The glider started easily, flies nice and slow, but handles like a much smaller glider. I was very suprised by the quick and effortless roll response, it’s by far the easiest beginner glider I have flown. It has no spiral instability, and suprisingly light pitch pressure. I tested to initiate a turn and just let go of the bar, the glider just continued the turn with stable bank and speed like it was on rails. Flare window was a mile wide, easy to nail the spot on first landing.
Compared to gliders like Atlas and Clubman this is MUCH easier and more fun to fly. The Aeros Target is in the same class, but the Falcon has better handling. If I was going to have a “just for fun” glider this would be it. Highly recommended!
This website is now running on the 3. generation of hardware. I’ve upgraded from a Pentium II 300Mhz server to an Athlon 1400Mhz. The old server had 450MB RAM, the new one has 1Gig. The speed increase it quite nice when doing searches and adding more pictures and content.
The first server back in ’98 was a Pentium 75Mhz, with 64MB RAM, it’s still running in my lab as a test server.
I’ve fixed some problems with image uploads also. To celebrate I’ve added some pictures from the Ski jump at Vikersund. These were taken with my Siemens S65 phone, the quality is no match for a current digital camera, but OK for quick shots like these.
The jumpers set off down here!
View from the tower
Walter and Bjørn checking out the view
Yours truly, in need of a shave :-)
The hanggliding club in Oslo will as usual run a beginners course this fall. I have been one of the main instructors the last few years, and I will help out in this course too, but not as much as before. I have to prioritize my time differently this winter with work and the worlds in Australia coming up. I will probably do some of the first high flights with the students, as we must have two instructors present then. And it’s always fun to yell “PUSH!” in the training hill.
If you know someone who are interested in taking the course, now is the time to convince them to give it a try! Contact me or Bjørn Hammer.
I’ve set up the weblog for the course again.