Paragliding with Steve Barton and XCBrazil: Let there be Flight.

The night before, the faintest glow of a sunset – could the clouds be departing?

This morning, mostly overcast but with blue patches. Me thinks we might be getting some airtime today.

Word is Steve will be by @ 10. There is no rush as we will wait for things to clear up – the launch on Ibituruna is still in cloud. This gives us time to do a scout of the three LZs – the main, Feria da Paz on the north side of the river and the two bailouts – ‘Jurassic Park’ (more officially known as the Municipal Park) and the ‘Tick Field’ (due to the need for long pants if hiking out).

IMG_20160123_134613.jpg
The Main LZ – lower left across the river. This is officially the only place one can fly over the river due to the approach/departure vector from the airport. Height limited to 1,000 feet.
vlcsnap-2016-01-23-21h09m11s490 (1).png
BailOut # 1 – ‘Jurassic Park’s light concrete parking lot to the right.
IMG_20160123_141951.jpg
BailOut #2 – the ‘Tick Field’ to the right of centre beside the river. It is to the East of Jurassic Park. The brown hints it is inundated due to the unusually heavy rains recently.

Upon arriving up top of Ibituruna, I can now claim I reached cloudbase in GV.

IMG_20160123_124728.jpg
Burn off, baby, burn off.

Thankfully one of the local HG pilots set up a small bar to help pilots kill time and cater to the stream of tourists wanting to get the best view around….

IMG_20160123_121832.jpg
Bar to the right.

all under a watchful eye…

IMG_20160123_124535.jpg

We wait.

IMG_20160123_132820 (1).jpg

The clouds lift and part a little.

IMG_20160123_125353.jpg

We wait.

IMG_20160123_132818.jpg

The slow trickle of tourists continue.

Dean gives a short briefing – effectively, this is a clearing day, the ground is wet, the thermals are weak – try to stay up.

We kit up quickly and layout on the north facing launch. Phil is first away, followed by myself, then Simon. Dean keeps watch on each of our launches and thus will be last.

vlcsnap-2016-01-24-21h44m23s092.png
Dean lending a hand.
vlcsnap-2016-01-24-21h46m34s731.png
Simon getting ready.

While we are getting ready, Phil makes a go at trying to climb out – pushing out further to maximize his distance over ground and have a better chance of locating a well formed thermal.

The wind is nil. Forward is the word of the day in my books. The thermals like to pop off out front Steve had warned us – so don’t expect much wind on take off – even mid day (except when the high summer sun cooks both sides of the mountain to result in a dust devil spawning mass of churn).

This will be the inaugural flight for my custom PG HUD software on the Recon Instruments Snow 2. The Snow 2 were built specifically for skiing/snowboarding and run on a custom fork of Android OS Rev 16. Having been the Android guru for one of the local tech start ups – seemed like a no brainer to give it a go at writing an app that would better suit my needs.

device-2016-01-24-220953.png

Lower left is flight duration.

Above it is altitude in meters.

Lower right is ground speed.

Lower Center is a MFD (MultiFunction Display) that flips based on context between vario, glide ratio, and height above launch. In time it will also include the thermal ‘dot’ to mark guesstimated location of the core.

Middle is the compass.

Above the compass are a variety of bearing/distance markers. The green inverted arrow above is the direction and distance to launch in km. There are also markers for guesstimated wind direction and strength (in kph), line of travel, and direction/distance to next turn point (if a task/waypoint list is uploaded).

The focus of this flight is of course familiarity with GV but I will also be looking at testing the apps ability to display correct ground speed, heading and altitude (as compared to a Flymaster NAV). Distance/direction to launch will also be looked at.

 

vlcsnap-2016-01-24-22h00m04s074 (1).png
Launched and away.

In the pod, check for traffic, settle in. A glance at the goggles and one at the Flymaster – altitude within 50m of one another, speed spot on. Heading looks ok. A turn east and a glance back to launch – yep the green arrow shows launch where I came from and 0.3 km away. Sweet. Test done. Time to get to work trying to stay up.

And work it is. There are 0.1 m/s bumps of a second or so duration, but aside from that – nothing with any meat to it. The flatland fliers from the UK would make short work of this stuff – but those of us ‘raised’ in the mountains are going to get a quick lesson in down shifting.

vlcsnap-2016-01-23-19h41m07s929.png
Simon dropping in.

And work it is. There are 0.1 m/s bumps of a second or so duration, but aside from that – nothing with any meat to it. The flatland fliers from the UK would make short work of this stuff – but those of us ‘raised’ in the mountains are going to get a quick lesson in down shifting.

vlcsnap-2016-01-23-21h14m15s914.png
A gaggle of Urubu form to my right, time to pay them a visit.

I push out like Phil ahead and below me. I am hoping he will mark a climb while I am still high enough to capitalize on it. I see him circling and climbing ever so slowly. Then the Urubu appear. The Urubu are the answer to the glider pilots prayer for a mobile thermal marker. These large black vultures are completely unbothered by gliders, have a similar sink rate and are lazy (they only take good climbs). Steve pointed out – watch the Urubu – where they are coming from and where they are going and remember that there are only two reasons for them to circle – a thermal or carrion.

I slot in with the birds as best I can (Dean mentioned they don’t aways pay the best attention to us – especially our lines – so make sure they are aware of you – including shouting at them if they get too close). More close in to bring our little gaggle to a dozen or so. Together we climb. And then as quickly – they are gone.

And so is my lift.

Phil is down in Jurassic Park and it looks like Simon might be on his way there. There is no chance of making it across the river and with no birds in sight – best to figure out LZ options now. Steve made it clear to have the LZ sorted out up high here – especially when it comes to power lines -> make sure there are none before committing to a particular LZ. Options – have many.

 

vlcsnap-2016-01-24-22h49m23s239.png
Jurassic Park below.

Phil is down in Jurassic Park and it looks like Simon might be on his way there. There is no chance of making it across the river and with no birds in sight – best to figure out LZ options now. Steve made it clear to have the LZ sorted out up high here – especially when it comes to power lines -> make sure there are none before committing to a particular LZ. Options – have many.

Touch down to find Steve already waiting with the truck running and the AC on full. To the local pilots bar across the river we go in search of cold caipirinhas and debrief by Dean.

Flight one down and the HUD software is showing promise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s