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And so it begins…

Over recent weeks I’ve somehow committed myself to write a blog whilst I’m away. My track record for communicating whilst on holiday is somewhat poor! I’ll be impressed if I write anything, even more impressed if anyone reads it, and stunned if I can keep people engaged! I can but try!

We’d initially planned to hire a car, head to Slovenia, spend a fortune and have a good old time. As I’ve been trying to fool myself into believing I’m voluntarily unemployed, I came up with an idea to remove all luxury, certainty and comfort from our plans and set ourselves a challenge. And much to my surprise Mel was keen!

I think Mel’s performance in Nelson and Rotorua has changed her perception of her capabilities. With a lot of dedication, some planning, endless motivation and a hint of good luck, the impossible is now possible.

To cut a long story short, we’re off on a 420km vol biv adventure – Annecy in France to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in southern Germany.

Neither of us are super-human and we’re not trying to convince ourselves otherwise. Fortunately there is nothing in vol biv that suggests the need to walk! Vol means fly and biv is taken from bivouac, representing camping. So that’s what we’ll do. Fly and camp for 420km. We arrive in Annecy on the 10th June and we’ve allowed three weeks.

Obviously the objective of the trip is to have fun. We want to fly as much of the route as possible, but we’re not going to jeopardise our enjoyment by making ourselves walk for days on end in the rain. We will cheat, we will use gondolas, we will hitch rides to take off, and we may well jump on buses and trains if we start running short on time. Ultimately, I think the weather will decide how much cheating really goes on!

Much like our trip to India, this trip started as Mel and I… As our excitement has built, others have become more interested. The first addition was Glen Stevens. Glen will join us in Chamonix, a few days into the trip. A couple of days ago Gareth Gore and Stu MacIntosh confirmed they will join us for the first few days. Stu may well drag a few Italian pilots along too. And if that’s not enough, Pete Groves has just booked flights to do the whole trip with us.

I’m on a flight to Auckland at the moment…. And my exciting is building.

NZ Female Champion – Melanie Heather, UP Kantega XC2!!!

Everyone knows that Reuben has flown like a legend this season, but there’s another hero (or heroine) out there!

Having finished as the second placed woman in Nelson, and top NZ woman, she was in prime position for the title. In an attempt to avoid the spotlight, she wasn’t going to go to Rotorua. Fortunately she caved in to the peer pressure and took away quite an array of titles!

  • NZ Female Champion
  • Leo Geary Memorial Trophy (an award for the most up and coming new pilot)
  • 1st Place Female in the Rotorua round of the PG Open
  • 3rd Place in the Fun Class (combined scores from both rounds)

Well done Mel. You’ve done yourself proud. And of course shown what your Kantega XC2 is capable of 🙂

Melanie Heather with her collection of trophies!

Melanie Heather with her collection of trophies!

Summit XC3

Here’s some words from UP… I can’t wait to find out more!

“When we first introduced the Trango XC2, after having certified it to EN C standards, we frankly thought the life of the Summit series wings was over. Boy were we wrong! Although the Trango XC2 is a very accessible wing it has turned out to be very much too much of a thoroughbred for the majority of intermediate XC pilots; precisely the pilot profile that the Summit always catered to. For this reason, and with a certain pride and bravado, here cometh that all-new XC pilot’s dream machine: The Summit XC3!”

XC Seminar and Weekend Workshop – Ireland

We’ll be in Ireland late May/early June. What better an opportunity to share some knowledge on the other side of the globe. Get in touch if you’re interested in participating and i’ll keep you informed as the plan develops.

3 More XC Courses announced…

Two courses are already planned: 9th/10th/16th/17th November in Wanaka and 26th-30th December in Nelson.

To keep the ball rolling, I’m finalising dates for the following courses:

  • Wanaka, early January.
  • Nelson, mid January.
  • Central North Island, mid February.

Check out our XC course details page for more information.

1st 2013 XC Course Announced

When: 4 day course. 9th and 10th November 2013 and the two best looking days from the 16th, 17th, 23th and 24th November.

Where: Wanaka, NZ.

Who: Targeted towards relatively new cross country pilots. Minimum 4 people, maximum 5.

Cost: $475 per person.

Included: Combination of practical and theoretical components, including equipment and preparation, weather forecasting, sources of lift, glider control, flying efficiently, flight analysis and review, fear, stress and performance, and goal setting.

UP Trango X-Light2

Straight from UP:

Photo courtesy of UP

Photo courtesy of UP

The Trango X-Light 2 is based on the Trango XC2 and is manufactured in three certified sizes. The S is certified EN C, while the S/M and the M size are both certified EN D, and have substantially longer speedbar travel, resulting in an increased top speed of 5-7km/h compared to the XC2. This should come in handy for the X-Alps pilots, with their tendency towards evaluating flying conditions on a different scale compared to the rest of us(!) but it also makes the wing very interesting for someone looking for a solid, predictable wing in the EN D category that WON’T pack itself back into the bag at the first given opportunity, yet still has the performance to give the 2-liners a good battle to the goal line! As anyone who has flown the XC2 in a competition environment will testify, this wing has amazing performance and can keep up with the full-on comp wings except at the very top of the speed range – this should now be addressed!