27/03/03 - Mike Andrews, 20.9km from Pandy

Hi Tim

Another really nice day at Pandy. I got there by 11.30 when a female pilot had just driven away saying it was too windy and only 2 hangies were rigging. Max 17 mph Easterly. I had been watching the wind as I walked along the ridge and noticed it was cycling down to about 10. I reckoned I could launch in a lull and then get out of the compression on the low launch site. This proved to be right. Aloft the wind was much less and to proceed along the ridge meant using the thermals. It was surprisingly thermic for such a heavily inverted and poor visibility day. This time I made the ridge up to the Cats Back, where the valley was too narrow to generate the lift. I then messed around trying to fly right out over the valley, practising manoeuvers etc. for 2 hrs 18 mins. By the time I got back there were floppies everywhere, including the Par Avion crowd. Some v good pilots were also flying. I didn't know them. There were a hell of a lot of cars on the lane, some parked stupidly. One resident has already dug trenches in his front grass to deter cars.

Alex's comments in the Nova on landing gear are pertinent. I knew it was going to be a tricky landing as the wind was now back at about 17, bang on the hill. I am wary of the compression and rotor at Pandy. I wondered whether to land at the higher launch, where I had seen the compression was less but didn't fancy the longer walk down. I used big-ears to lose altitude only in front of the hill - knowing that releasing big ears in compression can lead to a stall. Crabbing back over the ridge towards take-off (and getting my legs down and flying breaks-up) I was exactly positioned for a landing. I then found myself coming down much faster than anticipated. I landed with a solid thump, upright on my legs, which surprised me enough so that I failed to turn and run downwind. I was then yanked over backwards, banging my head and shoulder, ending up where the hangies rig just behind take-off (I had checked nobody was there). No damage except to my dignity! About ten minutes later an experienced pilot landed. I thought he was going too far back, but he was flying an Octane and evidently the wind was less or his glider faster, he did a perfect landing next to me turning and killing his canopy. I was impressed. In retrospect It would have been safer to land higher up and I should have thought through the need to turn and run - I was too preoccupied with getting the landing right - not on the aftermath of the touch-down. Yes, I am rusty.

27 March Pandy thermic ridge run.
Swing Astral.
2hrs 18 mins
plus 2000 ft
SO 318 234 to cliffs above Olchon Court 270 327.
Out and return.

Best regards