Lots of flying done over the past few weekends so lots of flight reports for the XC’s done. Also a couple of foreign trips have finally made it into print. A missive just come in from the BHPA involves the CAA proposals for transponders and needs action taken by everyone.



Arran Nationals – first weekend of June


This was good fun – Scott Rigg, Angus Robb, Roy Westland and Matt Church represented AHPC. Arriving on the Oh My God Its Early ferry, I met up with Roy and Angus who’ve done lots of flying on the island. We went to a westerly site called Ard Bheinn on the Snake Road. The thermals were just starting and we managed to bimble around for 45 minutes or so, then landed to get back to Brodick for briefing. Of course, with our having flown there, we all trooped back. There was a big turn-out, with over 30 pilots. A 3-point task was set, and just about everybody got one of them, though you did need to get up. The thermals were quite punchy with some rough edges and the west wind picked up through the day. Scott and I tried quite a few times to push out to the 2nd of the turn points but the wind was just too strong. Dave Thomson top landing to see if wife Beth was going to fly seemed to be a trigger for everyone to try it and for I while I had the pleasure of being the only person in the air with 30-odd pilots sitting on the hill. With conditions perfectly flyable. Amazing.


Back to the competition and a few people had popped round the ridge to try and get to Brodick but of these only Kenny was still airborne, scratching hard, so I continued playing. Then Kenny called to say he’d just landed in Brodick. Suddenly it was time to stop faffing and do the same. Dave joined me in a thermal and after some discussions we went straight over the back, scraped over the pass with 50 foot or so, found another thermal and flew to Brodick. Easy. Then a bit of playing, myself with wing-overs and Dave with photos of the ferry before landing on the beach for beers with Kenny. Unfortunately most of the rest landed on their way up the pass, though Zabdi got over but not to Brodick.


The evening event of dinner was with large quantities of beer and at some point Roy started plying me with whisky so it must have been a good night.


The following day there were a few sun glasses being worn depite the overcast conditions. The wind was very light but what there was came from the NW so we went in convoy to Catacol on the north coast. The wind picked up for a bit once we got to the top, though again I had the dubious pleasure of looking at people sitting on the ground when it was perfectly soarable. A task of 3 close turnpoints then either a spot landing or open XC was set. Kenny again disappeared over the back (literally as he was very close to the cloud) whereas after ridge soaring to the turnpoint on the sea cliffs (the only one to do so) and back I opted for going to the ridge along from launch for a bit of fun with the others. Scott joined me then followed Kenny while I pushed forward in an attempt to get round the corner onto the NW facing cliffs further down the coast (where Dave Thomson had already slope landed). I failed so just picked up my 3rd turnpoint. Kenny got about 8km down the next glen and Scott about 7km.


Final result was 1st Kenny Cooper, 2nd Matt Church, 3rd Scott Rigg or Dave Thomson. Bit of a rush for people to catch the ferry so no prize giving.



AHPC Nationals Round – first weekend of July


The AHPC round of the Scottish Nationals was held 1st – 2nd July. Wave stopped play inland on Saturday so we went to St Cyrus. Here it was too light to soar more than a few beats before going to the spot landing target on the beach (drawn and scored by Lu McClintock). Richy Grundy had a dead centre and Gordon Smyth from the Ochils was less than a “Lu pace” away. Martin Doble from Oban managed 75 paces from the spot, about the same he missed a 46km goal in France at the Chabre Open as part of the Doric Dangler team.

Saturday night was spent drinking while watching the lenticulars turn red in the sunset, then camping at the Deeside Gliding Club (thanks to Bob for the organising and Richy for fetching the curries from Aboyne).

Soaring before the rain

Sunday looked reasonable on the way to the Cairnwell despite the over-development elsewhere. With the chairlift running there was no pain in getting up and as the majority of us reached the summit Richy Grundy took off and smoothly thermalled to base. Half a dozen others got off but Richy had used up all the thermic activity before a shower came in from the south, leaving 10 of us sheltering in the chair lift top station. The shower ended up being consistent rain so Richy won the day with his 7km and so winning the coveted bottle of whisky. Gordon got an empty tin (close but no cigar) and as we had a girl competing for the first time (other than George McGhee) we gave Tina a T-shirt.



Site News by Bob Dunthorn


St Cyrus – this site is now fully OPEN. Hurray.


Beware The Glorious 12th. August when the Grouse season begins - this is particularly important for using Pressendye, which is SHUT until the end of August at least. After that, if you can't get the Gamekeeper Sandie McConachie on 01339 881332 for permission to fly, then don't go on the hill.


Also this report from David Owen: “The road to the top of Laragne Chabre in France is now finished: a lovely new tarmac surface up to the crêt, and a graded road along the top. A rubber mat on the north hangy and the lower south take offs, and, slightly bizarrely, a shiny new ecological toilet on the north take off.”

Governador Valadares by Adrian Smith


I flew from Aberdeen to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, had an overnight stay in a hotel just off Cobacabana beach and then took a 10 hour bus journey inland to the renowned flying site of Governador Valadares.


GV is well set up for paragliders with a wide range of hotels and restaurants: one eatery worth a visit is Spetu’s which is a Brazilian BBQ where an endless stream of waiters come along with skewers of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, chicken hearts etc. Not recommended if you are a vegetarian or near the top weight limit of your wing.


To get up the hill I had a 5-minute walk from my hotel to the bus, which leaves from the landing field. The local club bought the bus and charges 15 Real for the 1 hour ride up the hill. If you are careful to land beside one of the main roads retrieves are usually straightforward: either you can wait for a public bus or some enterprising local will take you back to town for a few Real.



On arrival for the first two days I flew around the hill getting familiar with the conditions and area. On Day 3 I was ready to go XC and had a nice 25km flight. Over the 3 days I had clocked up 8 hours airtime and made a 25km flight. I thought it doesn’t get much better than this and someone agreed as the weather then deteriorated and we had a few unflyable days.


The next day out was Day 1 of the GV Open. Along with most of the visiting pilots I signed up. On the first task, after flying 23km I could see big clouds and lightning in the distance and decided that it would be prudent to land, putting down beside a dirt track which was on the competition retrieve route. After waiting about ½ hour a gust front came through and I got sand blasted before the torrential rain started and absolutely soaked me. Later, arriving back in town, I discovered that GV had caught the worst of the storm and practically every tree had lost limbs or been blown down. The town was also flooded and in darkness due to a power-cut. On competition day 2 I bombed out and landed in the landing field in town: not a lot of points but good for beer. Day 3 was overcast and not looking too good. A task was set to the South and ended up as a mass sled ride towards goal. I made 5km, landing beside two other pilots. Out of the 71 entrants I finished the Open in 41st position.



The rest of the trip was uneventful apart from the Brazilian Open coming to town. As with the GV Open the weather was poor. Local hero Frank Brown came second place to visiting Hungarian pilot Losiania Mihaly.


If you’re thinking about an overseas flying holiday GV is definitely worth considering. If you are lucky with the weather the flying can be fantastic, by European standards prices are cheap and the locals are very friendly, including the girls in town.



Letters to the Editor, News and Gossip


Congratulations to Mike Mackay who has passed his C.P. exam and so is now fully certified (in paragliding).



Why Guilleme Perrin joined the smartgroup: “bicoz parapente iz véri fun!”



Ochils Paragliding Club Christmas Ceilidh 16th December


Billy the paragliding instructor is off to France, so the Ochils Paragliding Club now has no Landrover. We intend to purchase one ASAP so that easy access is maintained. We will have a hang glider friendly roof and welcome any hang glider pilot to use the transport we hope to buy.


To this end we need to raise funds and I have organised a ceilidh for the 16th of Dec 2006 from 7pm to 1am in the Devonvale Hall, Tillicoultry. There will be a quality buffet, live ceilidh band and a raffle. Tickets £20 (need prizes too, Free tandem flight?;-)


I would be delighted if you and your club members, friends and family could come along to support us. Tickets are printed and ready to sell. If interested, please send me your address and how many tickets you want and I'll get them sent to you.


Andrew Ward (andy.gilly@virgin.net)



Gordon Robertson has the dubious pleasure of being the first AHPC member to throw his reserve for real (probably first, anyway). More details of this incident he had while in France in June once he puts pen to paper (we heard about it over a beer in Laragne in the evening of the following day).



A bloke named Luke Furze emailed these paragliding items for sale:

Gin Oasis and a Supair Evo XC Light harness for sale at the moment. The wing is a medium (85-105 kgs) in blue with a yellow leading edge. In good condition with a recent service and Gin rucksack. The harness is in blue,.in excellent condition with a Gin super speed bar, carbon seat plate, crabs, reserve bridle and maillon.

I am looking for £750 for the wing and £250 for the harness, offers considered.

I can be phoned on 07799637655.



As a taster for what Big Ian Smith, Colin Harrison and Ross Paterson got up to in Spain then Ian was heard paraphrasing a well-known Roman general with his summary of:

            “I came, I saw, I plummeted”.

A full write-up next time, apparently including lightning bolts.



It’s not been a good week for the visiting pilots. Friday on Craiglich, Simon told visitor Craig not to scratch close to the trees and what happened? He scratched so close he ended 20ft up one, and took 2 hours to extract him. Then on Sunday out at Morrone, Richard from Sligo walked up, found it was too strong and refusing the offer of a lift, walked down again. Ruing this in the pub, he was then nicked for speeding through Dinnet, threw a sulk and didn’t come out on Monday. Good job he only had orange juice.



Bob Dunthorn has been borrowing my Cross Country magazine and due to the dearth of hang gliding articles has emailed the Editor with his annual complaint. Bob Drury has responded with the comment that he doesn’t get any articles about hang gliding. I’m going to say the same – anyone flown a hang glider in Aberdeenshire this year? That is, other than John Newton who had a flop from the Cairnwell last month and didn’t break anything? If so, fancy telling me?



Having said that, flicking through the latest Skywings I noticed a picture of Steve the Student, sorry, Steve Blackler RN, who has won the Joint Services competition. Well done him, now come and show the boys up here how to do it, please.





The CAA is carrying out consultation into making it compulsory for all aircraft to carry a working transponder when flying anywhere in the UK.


The BHPA was planning to submit an official response on behgalf of all members but a change in the consultation process has meant individual responses are now very important. Guidance will be published on the BHPA website hopefully by Friday.


It is critical that you take time to read the consultation document and respond in your own words on the official response form. There is limited time as the consultation ends 29th August.


See www.caa.co.uk/modes and www.bhpa.co.uk for full info.


As a summary, there is a prototype lightweight transponder, costing an expected £1000 with a battery life 4-5 hours. There would also be an annual fee of £400, so even without the hassle this won’t be cheap. Weight is not specified, just mentioned as “Lightweight”.


Having read the CAA blurb myself, here are the bits I picked out that mention of our sort of flying:


“Some sectors of the GA community have questioned the rationale and benefits for proposals to equip very light, un-powered aircraft, such as Hang Gliders, with avionics that could cost more than the value of the aircraft. The intention of the CAA is to apply equipage requirements for technical interoperability for non-motorised aircraft only where there would be a beneficial impact on safety and efficiency through the interaction that the activity would have with other airspace users. For example, well promulgated competition events involving large numbers, or ‘clusters’, of aircraft within a small volume of airspace should not normally require equipage; other airspace users will have sufficient knowledge of these events to avoid the airspace in use, or be aware that the required airborne technology may not be in use on the participating aircraft. Some limited flying training activity, such as winch-launched glider circuits contained within notified areas, will be considered for exemption from the need to carry and operate the required technology. As the equipment for very light aircraft would almost certainly need to be highly portable, it may also be possible for equipment to be leased temporarily when required, rather than purchased. An exemptions policy is also envisaged and some generic principles that could be applied are at Annex F for further information.



Annex F: Assumptions for Certain Activity

5.1 At this stage, it is envisaged that certain types of recreational, sporting or unusual activity will either fall outside of the applicability criteria, or will be specifically exempted from any equipage requirements. For example, it is assumed that this proposal would not apply to the following circumstances:

a. Activity that would not have a significant impact on other airspace users or ATC. For example, this could include the following:

(1) Winch-launched gliding activity of short duration that remains within the bounds of known and suitably promulgated sites. These sites could be promulgated laterally and vertically.

(2) Foot-launched gliding activity of short duration that similarly remains within the bounds of known and suitably promulgated sites.

b. Pre-planned and suitably promulgated competitions and other known gatherings involving large numbers of aircraft operating within a small volume of airspace.

c. Para Gliding and parachuting activity where the lack of a suitable rigid structure would prevent the suitable installation of the required equipment.

d. Special flights for which the activity, routes and operating areas will be suitably promulgated or which will operate in dedicated airspace.


5.2 When assessing the applicability for exemption of the type of aforementioned activity, the test of whether or not there would be a significant impact on other airspace users would be applied. In particular, the safety and economic benefits that the equipage requirements are designed to realise would be considered carefully.


6 Specific Exemption Criteria

It is envisaged that the following specific exemption criteria could be applied to the following scenarios:Page F-2 of 4 Annex F to Partial RIA for a Proposal to Amend the Air Navigation Order 2005 for the Purpose of Improving the Technical Interoperability of all Aircraft in UK Airspace

d. An aircraft cannot be equipped on the grounds that it would be technically infeasible to do so with currently available equipment or technology. For example, this may apply if an SSR Mode S transponder is required but it would be only feasible to equip with a portable LPST that was not yet commercially available.



Flight Report – Meall Odhar, 5th July by Matthew Church


With the forecast for W to SW winds and hopefully light enough for us parapoofters, Simon Lucas, Richy Grundy and myself headed out to the mountains. We met up with Stuart Thomson, a low-airtime pilot from Buckie, in Braemar, then drove up Morrone to see what the wind was actually doing on the tops. Definitely SW, the one direction Morrone doesn’t take, so we headed on to the Cairnwell. Here the chairlift operators said it was SW at the top as well. Simon doesn’t like the Cairnwell in this direction hence we hoofed it up the track up Glas Maol on the other side of the road. Getting to the Meall Odhar launch, it was blowing 15-20 mph with the wind coming up the valley. Just for the hell of it I set Pressendye in my GPs as something to aim for – 46km. Ha.


I was first off and once they’d seen it wasn’t too strong and stay-up-able Simon and Richy soon joined me, though Stuart decided it wasn’t for him and stayed on the ground. With the wind the thermals were pretty ratty and it was hard to get any height. Simon and I separately pushed south along the slopes of Glas Maol but didn’t find anything better. Richy had a brainstorm, went over the ridge to the road and promptly got flushed down to the car. As a beep on my GPS went off to indicate I’d forgotten to turn off the last start gate set in the Chabre competition, I got a bit impatient with this bouncing up and down. I decided to drift over the back in the next thermal I could hang on to, making sure I didn’t fall out of it as it would mean going over the ridge low. I survived and got safely onto the next spur of Sron na Gaoithe. Here I started to think it was the wrong move but the ground was more sheltered and a decent thermal came through which I was able to take to base at a very pleasant 5500ft.  Now it was time to follow the clouds, which were in a lovely street. Simon was up as well on Glas Moal, employing the same tactic I did but being able to stick with it longer. He looked to be in a much better position for the clouds, but as I climbed again from Glen Callater to wait for him, he straight lined below me. I was able to clearly see him as I glided from base for Lochnagar but even though he was landing at 3300ft on the top of the Stuic cliffs my camera just shows a red blur. If you’re wondering where this is, go SE from Braemar, find the spot furthest from any roads and that’s about it.



I drifted over the top of Lochnagar in a gentle thermal but with a big blue hole ahead it was time for looking at the ground for sources. I aimed for Meall Gorm and hung around here for a bit but finding nothing went on again, getting lower all the time. A smell of pine had me turning but nothing solid seemed to be there so I kept going, now looking for a ridge to soar and keeping a look out for footpaths to Glen Muick. Coming onto the Coyles of Muick I expected to be able to soar the little ridge, now being below the top of it. Unfortunately the wind was across. Across? Aah, that’s why I smelt pine and couldn’t find the thermal: the wind was more south here, presumably due to having come round Lochnagar. Hope was at hand in the shape of the small bump Meall Dubh facing into this wind but once there I realised the wind was stronger than I thought and I was making only a few kph forward speed. Using a bit of bar to push forward to get over a clear patch of grass at the bottom I thought 21km pretty good, so the new plan was a bit of soaring then down safely to walk to the road at Loch Muick. Then I noticed a Landrover at the end of the track leading to Ballater. I edged along the face to the end, with plan B in my mind (dive off the end, land next to them and cadge a lift). But as with all best laid plans of mice and men, it went wrong as I found some strong lift at the end of the ridge. Wa-hey, a thermal – fly to the road. I climbed, not far, but enough to fly along the track, dive round the last bump and set up in a field by the South Deeside road, having decided it would definitely be chancing it to go over the woods and river.



So I turned into wind to land, and bugger me if there wasn’t a thermal. A few tight turns then I was on my way to base. I drifted over 7km with that climb, passing Ballater and able to take some more photos and see if anyone was on the radio. Another pleasant surprise, Richy was actually watching me climb, having brought the car around. Having stooged for a bit with this cloud, drifting steadily NE, it was time to head on. I got on the speed bar and aimed for Pressendye, still 14km away but its landing field in range. Then the speed bar went ping, which was a surprise considering how much I use it. Another bit of a climb off the back of Morven, covering distance but not loosing height, meant Pressendye was in the bag. The wind seemed to be increasing and a rather large cloud was developing to the north so after a few turns to celebrate over Pressendye, I headed off again downwind. With the cloud to my left and airspace to the right, options were narrowing and as I dropped I could see the wind was blowing pretty strong on the ground. Now was the time for discretion rather than valour and I looked ahead for a decent clear landing field. The best of the bunch was by the Bridge of Alford: brilliant, a pub as well. So exactly 2 hours after I took that climb to go over the back I landed.


A phone call to Richy found that he was waiting for Simon at Loch Muick, who was due in about an hour and they’d come past on the way home. In the end Simon had a 4 hour walk (trying to find a SW launch) and it wasn’t until 9:30 that they finally turned up. But they seemed to enjoy steaks I bought them.


Final distance 57km


                                    Lochnagar                                               Dee                                          Pressendye


In case you think I know the area like the back of my hand with all these names, I’m writing this with the aid of Fugawi, a computer program that has my GPS track overlaid on OS 1:50,000 maps. The long profile above is taken from CompeGPS.

Flight Report - Cairnwell 23 July by Scott Mather


Pretty much had 20 minutes bimbling around 100-200 feet off the front of Cairnwell, before a 3.5m/s up to the bottom of that particular cloud. It was lower to the south and east, so just turned for Carn Aosda and only lost 50 feet in transition, but equally found no lift or zeros and I just kept going. Trying to get onto east side for some dynamic or better thermic lift, there very little of either as the wind was more south after Carn Aosda and the cloud was moving north. Enjoyable wee flight and at 8.2km a personal best. Who knows, a more favourable wind direction, or more sun and it could have been double figures.


Julian writes of the same day: There was a fair crowd out on Tap o' Noth on Saturday. The visibility was awful, and Haar-base was below the top of the Tap at first. The wind looked very easterly, so I avoided the Tap, and walked straight over to the Hill of Noth. The others eventually joined me by flopping off the Tap and scraping over to the Hill. The wind was very light, but we managed many short hops in the gusts, slope landing when the wind dropped off again. Those that persevered were rewarded with an hour of two of easy soaring when the wind picked-up at the end of the afternoon, with occasional gentle thermals rising to the thicker pea-soup at about 2000'. Adrian has put a few photos of the day on the smartgroup web site


And John Newton reports: used the chairlift to full potential. Got above take-off and tried drifting over the back promptly lost it. Dived onto Cairn Aosda but nothing happening so ended up down after 7km. Got a lift to the ski centre with the postie then another chair ride to the top. Again drifted over the back, took a slightly different route but still not much in the way of a second thermal but this time 10km. Graeme managed a short hop over the back as well. Adrian managed a lot of fluffing of his wing in this time but not much flying until too late.



Flight Report - Pressendye 30 July by Julian Robinson


A classic day on Pressendye: a cold front had cleared the muggy shite away and cloud streets were stretching as far as the eye could see. A bit windy though (we tried the Cairnwell earlier and it was howling), and the hangies probably had the best of it. Both Donnie Carson and Ben Hull-Bailey scattered in opposite directions.


I got away with John, made it past Alford for 16 or 17km. I got a bit further, just past Insch, where I hit the sea breeze front and got hoisted up to the dry air base at 6400ft, with a ramp of cloud in the sea air 2000ft below - amazing, but alas no pictures ...


The East coast looked almost easy - downwind along the front - but would have gone through airspace, so I turned left hoping to make it back, but the headwind was strong, and I eventually got overtaken by the front. It was 25.8km to the furthest point, 38km with turnpoints for the National league, and a good test for the Aspen 2. (Under AHPC rules it scores as a failed out-and-return, so 25.8km out and 8.1km back making 33.9km.). Charlie, Brian, Russ, Guillaume, Adrian & new pilot Tom Kemp were all out on the hill as well.



Flight Report - Pressendye 5 August


Big group out again, though didn’t make it to Pressendye until after going to the Tap (west) and Leadlich (SE). Light scratchy stuff, with Adrian being first off, and first to land 100m later. We all played at bunny-hopping for a while, though Matt was soon off and scratching low over the trees. Finally as rain was seen to the west things started going up a bit more and all 6 off us were soaring at launch height, occasionally popping up to 200m above. Matt drifted over the back in one of these while Jules went out and down and Simon reported it was more west on the hill. Speckles of rain kept forcing Matt on out of thermals, never getting above 3600ft and, aiming for the gap between the line of rain and airspace, landed north of Alford at 15km.


Brian stayed up for a fair while then landed on the shoulder near to where Lu was playing her harp for an easy retrieve. Simon and Kev got high (4500ft) and went west towards the Crossroads hotel. Here Kev went back to Leadlich with the idea of a triangle but the head wind stopped him so he landed at Stoneyford. Simon carried on, not losing much height, and due to confusing Torphins and Banchory (is that poor navigation?) and thinking he was approaching surface-up airspace, he landed at the golf course at Banchory (24km).


Matt aiming between rain to the left and airspace to the right


Scott and Graeme arrived and went up Leadlich while Adrian was still faffing with his wing on Pressendye. They took off only to get pinned by the wind and both ended up falling off round the end off the hill, landing in the fields on the way to the Crossroads. So naturally we all congregated there to dissect the day over a few wet ones. Adrian finally packed his wing, walked down and joined us.



Flight Report – Morrone 6 August


Kev and Jules waited at Braemar for the front to pass and were up on top of the hill at 1400hrs when it did. Quite breezy (15-20mph) but a classic cumuls-filled sky forced them off regardless. The wind made the thermals a bit ragged but they were able to get up to 4000ft together. Julian dived over the back whereas Kev pushed forward again. Don’t know the exact details yet but Simon and Matt watched him climbing form a low ridge over Balmoral and he eventually made Ballater. Kev top-landed as the other two got to the summit. Matt was away in a bit of a lull, though it picked up and kept Simon and Kev on the ground. After playing for a while well out front of the hill, Matt hopped over the back, soared the east side of Glen Clunie then got diverted from landing at Braemar as planned when seeing he was 4.3km away from launch, so fell round the side of the hill to land at Invercauld House, getting one for the Over-The-Back Bottle.



Flight Report – Morrone 7 August


Kev, Simon and Matt with Lu the Retrieve were out at Morrone again, though on the drive out it was looking very wavy. Getting to the summit the wind was only 15-20mph and we were all in the air pretty quickly (lest it picked up). Lack of sun kept the thermals quiet for a while then things started happening. We were all more or less at base together so crossed over the back. Things were rather scratchy on the west side of Glen Clunie with Simon & Kev going down. While Lu took them back up the hill the sun came out and Matt got back up to base. Another climb behind Invercauld meant a glide over Balmoral in time to see Lizzie turn up at the front door. A couple more climbs got him past Ballater but not enough to get the climbs the sail planes were taking over Glen Tanar and ended up landing near Dinnet (33km).


The Major going Over-The-Back from Morrone


Kev launched again but Simon had a huge tangle that needed a severe talking to. Kev got up and away and despite being very low over Crathie found another climb to get to Ballater. Deciding there were too many trees on the next leg he went down to land at the golf club (24km) – a personal best for Scotland. Simon found things getting very scrappy once he finally launch and nobly landed at Braemar to get Kev’s expensowagon and pick him up, while Lu retrieved Matt.


Matt in blue, Simon in green, Julian in red, airspace in pink

After all that, the George Watt Handicap XC League looks like this:







Total Km Flown

Wing Factor

Km needed


























































































No reported Big Stiff Ones yet, but Julian had a cracking Big Soft One in May with 47km from the Tap to Lossiemouth (a new Aberdeen para record) only for Matt to go even further with 57km from Glenshee to Bridge of Alford.



Crash Test Dummy Nominations


The first of these is slightly out of our remit but it does involve Bob Dunthorn. During the week of the glider competition at Aboyne when that English pilot piled in to a hill, Bob and his co-pilot had an “interesting” landing: Finding themselves short of space, they managed to get their Capstan glider into a small but sloping field, the slope helping their stop. Unfortunately they had misjudged just how steep it was and having stopped going forward they started rolling backwards, This being an old glider they have no wheel brake and so could only wait for the crash into the fence at the bottom of the field. Resulting damage was initially considered a write-off, at £5000 that’s quite a lot, but further investigation suggests it is repairable and so the wreckage has been sent south for evaluation.


The second report is certainly within the competitions true nature, especially as it involves Dr Bob again:

I was at Tap with Ben (the new guy), Donnie and Charlie. They had a top-to-bottom in light thermals but my glider ground looped while I was getting into my new harness. The tip batten broke so I had to de-rig and drive down. Hey-ho. They are now replaced and I'm ready to go out again




Ozone Chabre Open, France by Matthew Church


We nearly managed to get a full Doric Dangling team to this week-long fun competition held at Laragne in France, ie 3 out of 4. Add Andy Davis from Brighton, who flew in our team last year and Simon Lucas, John Newton and I were ready to take on all-comers, especially with all of us on new-ish wings: John on his Gradient Aspen 2, Simon on his Advance Sigma 6 and myself on my Ozone Mantra. Then Simon broke his arm… However help was all ready and waiting and Martin Doble from Oban took Simon’s place (in the gite as well as in the car and on the team). The Lanarkshire & Lothian Club fielded the same team as last year: Dave Thomson, Bob Matthews, Gordon MacGregor and George McGhee. With team captain Dave sitting in 2nd place in the National XC league they must have felt optimistic at improving their placing on last year.


Lu the Retrieve came along, though this time as an official competition driver and had her own minibus. As it seated 8 pilots our 2 teams were organised for getting up the hill straight from the gite.


We had 3 practice days before the comp. The 2nd of these we decided on a Scottish team-flying day. Dave and I got to cloudbase easily enough then stooged for half an hour waiting for the others. Six out of 8 was good enough so we set off together. Spreading out for the glide found the second thermal, though it was actually several, but we more or less congregated at or near base again. The team continued, slowly splitting up or losing people (I was the first down by pushing out into the blue), John at Veynes (26km) and finished with Martin on the slopes of Pic de Bure 40-odd km away. All very good fun and excellent practice for using other pilots. John and I thought Martin the bees-knees having also flown 90km to Gap the first day.


Task 1 – 38km Chabre – Col St Jean - Savournon - Aspres.

This was probably the Scots best day. George thought he was going in to the short bomb-out field only to get a climb out, though he didn’t make the 2nd TP. The gaggles split up heading north, some like Gordon, Bob and I heading for Beaumont while the others went straight to the next TP at Savournon.  Martin & Bob went down there (22km) and just beyond it Gordon and John both got very low. Amazingly I saw John turning in circles so went over him and used his thermal in the flats rather than follow the rest onto the next ridge of Montagne d’Aujour. From here it was a cruise into the last TP on the Aspres ridge before turning into wind for the last km onto the glider field set as goal. I came in 2 minutes behind Dave (who was 10th) and a few seconds behind Andy (16th). Then John came in 2 minutes later in 21st. While chatting we saw Gordon struggling low on the Aspres ridge but he couldn’t get the TP, landing 3km from the goal. This was both John and Andy losing their goal virginity and John’s personal best distance.

John in his sensible trousers


Task 2 – 56km Chabre – Beaumont – St Genis – Laragne camping

Maybe this was the Scots finest hour. Dave, myself and Andy got to goal again (6th, 20th and 23rd respectively) on a lovely day with cumulus at 2900m marking the way round the course. John joined Gordon in his habit of landing just short, getting better at only 1400m this time, and Martin was close behind (53km). The ridge run up to the Col and back was easy, though I was a bit behind having bimbled too long exploring in the valley and Gordon jumped the start gate and had to turn back for a few km. Beaumont had a fairly large cloud that threatened, though never got, too big. But it did allow for a nice straight glide into and out of the TP, climbing all the time (though I saw some pilots “thermalling” up only to pull big ears or spiral when they realised they were getting too close to base still in strong lift). Dave was up with the leaders while Andy and I were not far behind. We climbed high at the last TP and glided into wind on full bar but still keeping out of the valley wind. The others struggled to climb up high enough, so landed short. Though maybe if George had actually headed for the TP rather than goal he might have done better than his 43km scored. A personal best for George, but with 55 out of 120 in goal, he was only 85th.


Task 3 – 43km Chabre – Chante Duc – Ubac – Laragne camping

A hard day heading to the ridge to the south of Chabre, first to its west end, then east end and finally north back to Laragne. If you didn’t get over that ridge then you got stuck in an increasing SW wind. As 70 pilots found out, making less than15km, including Gordon, Bob, George and Andy. However once across the ridge it was a cruise to pick up the TP’s on the south facing slopes. But the final 13km to goal was pretty hit or miss. I left at 2300m and did a straight-line, full-bar glide to get to goal in 6th place, 600m above the field, overtaking a gaggle that went via the shelter of the mountains. Martin left at 2200m and landed 1km short, whereas John left at 1400m and landed only 3km short. Needless to say Martin was a bit miffed about this, though at least he scored for the Danglers team at last. Dave didn’t take any chances and left from 2500m with only 11km to glide, being 24th into goal.


Full bar into goal at Laragne


Task 4 – Chabre – Col St Ange – St Genis – Aspres

The day started with a team talk from Dave, wanting to know why the others from LLSC were not making goal. He seemed to think it was down to 2 things, racing or being George. The three of them agreed not to race, though George couldn’t actually do anything about the second point.

The previous tasks I’d deliberately waited 15 to 20 minutes to take off because I’d been climbing so well that I didn’t want to hang around waiting for the start gate to open (cocky or what, though it proved true each day). This time I decided on a change and as soon as the launch opened I was off – first into the air, straight into a thermal, most of the way to base. It was fantastic to look down on the other lead pilots form a gaggle as they found their first thermal. By the start gate most of the field was waiting high up and there was a mass charge over the back for the 2nd TP. A lot went straight from here to the St Genis ridge rather than top up for the big crossing. Dave followed his own instructions, climbed high at TP 2 and had an easy time. Those that didn’t and were on lower performance gliders or just on a bad line struggled at St Genis, if they got there. John unfortunately being one of them, getting to St Genis nearly in the lead but too low, not finding anything and landing. George didn’t make it across, possibly due to his wing but certainly due to following the much higher-performing gliders. I.e. racing. At about this time Bob was just making the 1st TP so he was really not racing, but tried and couldn’t find anything at the 2nd TP landing on the crossing as well.


Meanwhile on St Genis, while I got there low I easily found a climb midway along, got the 3rd TP in another climb then headed north, closely followed by Andy with Gordon and Dave a bit behind. Martin got stuck at the end of the ridge at TP3 and despite trying for ages ended up just gliding north to land at Savournon again. Lu picked him up here and scared her bus-load by going down the village streets with millimetres to spare (as oppose to scaring them with her yelling “Whheeee” on any down hills, or singing “The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round”). Heading north there were big climbs but they were far apart and with big sink behind them. Gordon once again landed just short of Aspres and disastrously Dave did as well. Though he definitely wasn’t racing and had taken his last climb all the way, he just didn’t find more lift. I cruised in, literally as I hit a convergence line and instead of an in-to-wind glide going down as the 2 guys next to me did, I gained height. Enjoying this, I just boated on rather than racing into goal, continuing for another 5km or so out to Montaspres, then came back in big sink to just make it to the glider field, and that was downwind. Still I was 13th into goal and Andy was 20th, so another good result for the Danglers.


Then 2 days of rain meant this was the final task and the Danglers race up the team ladder was halted at 4th, a vast improvement on last year’s 11th, though the LLSC stayed at 12th. I finished 7th which I was dead pleased with (though 2 points behind 5th means I really should have used the bar on that final glide). Dave slipped to 13th with his missed goal on that last task, having been in the top 10 all week.


At the prize-giving there was not only presentations for winners but also a raffle, with about 50 prizes donated by Ozone paragliders. The main prize in this was a new Ozone wing, and fantastically I won it. As I got my Ozone Mantra only at the end of December (having chosen it after having a go on it at the previous year’s comp) I asked if I could have the Mantra 2 when it came out. Kindly Ozone said yes, so come the new year, I’ll be on a new glider.


Final Scottish results, out of 120 pilots, were


Matt Church                  7th

Dave Thomson               13th

Andy Davis                    23rd

John Newton                  39th

Rest below 60th



John – longest distance flown, first time in goal

Matt – first time in top 10 in a task or competition, in goal every task (one of only 8 to do so). Winning the new glider.

Andy – getting to goal not just once but 3 times.

Martin – drowning sorrows in decent wine after not getting to goal at all.




Next time I will hopefully have articles on hang gliding in Spain by Colin, paragliding in the same place by me, paragliding in Victoria by Bob Saville, parachuting in France by Gordon and lots of both in Aberdeenshire. Therefore get writing if this involves you. Or in fact doesn’t but you can write about flying somewhere else.


Please send articles or gossip or any other comments to:

Matthew Church at 4, Invergarra Cottages, Grandhome, Aberdeen AB22 8AR. 

Email:  fly_matt@tiscali.co.uk