On a wet and drizzly day at Barton, we met Gary Puhl from the Mighty Wessex, who had kindly agreed to give Anna a tandem flight. The weather didn’t look promising with rain the whole drive down, but it was forecast to clear in the afternoon. We got to Barton and it was cloudy and wet so decided to skip off for a pub lunch. After that the weather wasn’t much better so we sat in the car to wait. Every so often the rain would stop, but only for long enough to get the gear out and wet!
Eventually, with the weather not looking like improving, Gary set the tandem up in the very light drizzle and strapped Anna in. With me as anchor man and Anna briefed, the wing was soon above them, but the wind appeared to be too light, typical! After a little bit of a ground handling master class from Gary, the wind seemed like it had picked up a tad, so the command was given to run. Off the edge with a scream of excitement and they were away. Gary hugged the cliff scratching his way back up and managed to turn and fly back past us just above cliff height. Within another beat they were at a comfortable height and could relax.
I filmed a bit and took some pictures from the ground for a while before deciding to join them in the air for a bit of aerial filming. I couldn’t seem to find somewhere to park the wing that was in the airflow, but with the help of my ground crew holding the wing up my launch was not bad at all (even if I do say so myself!). It was quite refreshing flying around with the drizzle in your face in the lovely English summer weather. After around 40 minutes of boating around the rain increased so we all decided to land.
Anna was over the moon and can’t wait to start learning to fly herself. I have lost a retrieve driver but gained a flying partner!
I can’t thank Gary enough for taking Anna up on the tandem, just need to save up for a new wing and training for Anna now.
Oh and you don’t realise how big a paraglider is until you try to spread it out indoors to dry!