Arrival.

After a relatively uneventful journey from YVR to GVA (and entertaining shuttle ride driver with curious opinions pertaining to the Swiss) I finally arrive in Doussard.

Sleep cannot come soon enough.

After quick intro/meeting with my new flatmates, we head off to join the guides/organizers for dinner at the fine dining establishment of ‘Sushi Wok’.

‘Sushi Wok’ teaches one a valuable lesson about life in Europe -> expect less, but pay more. Once one comes to accept this reality (and refrains from doing the ongoing mental math of EUR to CAD), everything is smooth sailing purchase- and meal-wise.

0900 the next morning.

We join the guides for the initial meet and greet, site overview, and discussion of plans for the day. Our intrepid group, comprised of Brits, Danes, Aussies and a lone Romanian are chomping at the bit to preview the LZ’s and get to launch.

The Plainfait launch/LZ can be summed up in one word, impressive. Beside the LZ, a pair of paragliding shops filled  with demo harness’ and wings flanked a restaurant/bar that catered to pilots and spectators. The launch itself was wide and covered in green astroturf, with a large area set aside for glider checks and hookup. The overall site reminded me very much of Bridal Falls, with a cross wind component at launch and a steep ridge that folk boat back and forth along until they can hook a climb and bench back up towards the peak.

Which brings me to the Delta 2 – it can be twitchy when launching in less than laminar conditions, tending to turn sharply to get its nose into the wind (whether the pilots senses the change in airflow or not). It rolls a lot faster than my Wildcat ever did, showing a sharp contrast in the degree of agility between the two. This was really noticed when I went from coring a strong thermal to finding myself nosing over into a spiral with little felt increase in brake pressure. While the Delta 2 telegraphs a pending collapse much better than either Buzz Z3 or the Wildcat, it doesn’t seem much phased by rougher air, including my struggle to get out of the venturi washing machine behind launch to the north east. The high point of the flight was climbing above all but 3 of the two dozen of so pilots along the ridge, but sadly missing the cue from one of the guides to follow him back to the next ridge and work our way up to the peak  for a lake crossing.

Perhaps today.

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