Today was really fun, the local paragliding club just officially purchased Cliff Side; a paragliding/hang-gliding launch by the John Day Dam. So when I flew today I was accompanied by many great people; hang-gliders, paragliders, spectators, there was even some miniwings broke out!
Nothing is cooler than darting back and fourth in between a bunch of friends hundreds of feet up in the air rolls off huge cliffs.
I spent a lot of time today just playing with my wing and getting a feel of things, I first did this by keeping my wing close to stall and traversing the launch area like I was on the moon, taking twenty foot leaps in and out of the lift-band and eventually working in some small swooping turns close to the terrain. As the day went on I developed a routine of playing around launch and then taking short ventures only to return and top-land again, each venture consisted of me achieving a goal such as reaching a challenging destination or to do acrobatics. Due to crowded skies and low lift I mostly focused on taking trips out of the top of the lift-band and doing wing-overs and deep-spirals until I had to gain elevation again. I would start with wing-overs given their dangerous nature, Matt my instructor demonstrated them so I could see how I was breaking with poor timing. Matt had got a new acro wing and was tearing it up every trick he did. He would be swinging endlessly around up and over his wing until he was so low I would be sure he would have to land… but he would of course always end right back where he wanted to be; by the rows of cars parked on the highway watching where Matt would give them quite an amazing show. Once I got my timing down I was throwing out some pretty big wing-overs myself. I actually managed to comfortably get my wing even with and sometimes under me my swings were so big. I wanted to go bigger but managed to restrain myself; I could probably handle about any collapse… but I really like living so I plan on taking my time to get where I want to be (upside-down man!!!!!).
I did get one big collapse, I was about 800 feet up and completely sideways throwing out a huge wing-over.
The front side of the whole left side rolled into/under itself toward my lines. Like I said though; I was using the day to getting a feel of things and was ready for exactly that. In fact it was a result of me experimenting with how I shifted my weight and I knew immediately it was going to happen.
I brought my toggle deep down by my waist and the wing popped back into shape with a loud “crack”.
Over all it wasn’t to bad, its only scary to be falling when the ground is close! I went on to practice more wing-overs and deep spirals which are turns so deep you spin while facing straight down, they are really powerful but relatively safe. We all flew until it was literally dark out (and so cold!) then landed. It was a great day! Not one mishap and honestly… It could have not gone better.