30 August 2010

Third time still lucky at Inanda Ziggy mountain

It took a couple of cell calls from Russ to convince yours truly that it was worth a trip up the mountain for the iffy wind yesterday, but this spot came up trumps again, despite the hazy view and fickle wind. In fact, on arriving home, I was amazed that we had achieved any flying at all!

Russ's new "Shongi" aerobat stole the show but Allan Rumney and Mike also had a ball with their Bee foamy wings and Johan had to be a bit more careful with the Limit EX. All managed some useful flying at various times as the thermals were huge. It was a real chance to try out the Le Coq HLG slopie (in pic behind Allan's foamy glider) in lift with zero wind impact and was easily this light weight's best session ever. This site has potential!

24 August 2010

Tragic passing of another Springfield stalwart

We were shocked to hear that Lynn Bowen died whilst out on his motor bike, Sunday last. Lynn was one of the regulars during the golden years of Springfield and always there with soaring buddy Heinie. He also enjoyed flying his power Acro Wot at the Cato Manor club. Lynn had recently started his sloping again, after a visit to Volksies and some flying sessions with John. Never a cross word to anyone and a legendary proponent of the Russ Springfield inverted turn, which I used to watch in amazement but could never get my head around achieving. Lynn will be missed by all of us.

Change of direction to NE at Will Hill

After enjoying two magic sessions at the Ziggy Inanda SW sites, it was logical to explore the Umgeni valley further from the NE perspective. Like Ziggy with the SW site, Will had also long enthused about this North East slope. I am not sure if it was the onset of flu or the sheer steepness but I got vertigo like never before and had to decline launching Johan's Limit EX! Allan Rumney was first off with a Zagi but, as it typical with NE slopes on hot days, there were huge thermals but also equally nasty patches of sink! Lucky Allan had his climbing boots on and was later able to enjoy some magic flying with his other craft. The first pic is from the right side of the huge bowl and a look to the far side suggests this slope is not for the faint hearted. Probably the first time I have enjoyed doing perpetual Cuben Eights and Double Immelmans with the Macro! Things got smoother and more consistent as the afternoon wore on and Bill Williams, Will Cranmer and Marco joined us just as things began tapering off altogether. Another awesome KZN coastal mountain top venue and the local crows took a shine to flying formation with Johan's little Limit EX, probably because they were bigger than the Limit EX!

16 August 2010

Return to Isivinini (Ziggy) slope mountain

I must confess to gaining a whole new respect for these Windguru type wind forecasting systems, having always regarded Kzn coastal sloping as totally opportunistic and bereft of any planning by weather. Johan Moelich's sms surprised me Saturday and a quick look online confirmed a Sunday SW blow on the way, certainly not apparent from the Saturday weather. I suspect this sms system also explains the recent popularity of the Winston SW slope, given that we seem to be be starved of decent weekend NE blows, of late. After me panicking over my own quite correct directions and going astray for a while, we arrived at the top in sunny and pleasant weather. Again, the wind still top deck made the first launches a bit tentative but all were soon having a great time and Will even found a DS spot to one side - the speeds were quite amazing and how the plane stands the loads even more so. Johan explored another route via the dam road on the way home and found it is indeed shorter for the Hillcrest folk to travel that way. Russ's homework revealed that the locals call the mountain "Isivinni" (big blow).

I believe this will remain a "day trip" group outing slope, with most of the Hillcrest folk still preferring the convenience of the short distance to Winston for sport flying. Well worth the effort though!

10 August 2010

Slope visit to Ziggy Slopemust mountain

Ziggy (Stardust, gettit...? ok not to worry ;-) found this gem slope site quite while back through Google but only got to fly it in ultra light conditions. The Women's day forecast from Johan Moelich was for a SW bluster so Russ fired us up for visit to this awesome site for sheer experience or even as future potential "seeerious" slope contest work.
We blindly followed Russ up from Ziggy's directions but the return trip revealed pure simplicity - just follow all signs to the Imbeka High School!!!

The Dion Thompson Wasp was the first flight guinea pig - the upward blast bringing forth much whooping from the pilots.
Then it was Johan's teeny Limit Ex - like I have never seen a Limit Ex go at warp factor 3. Johan's Toko also just never stopped shrieking......

The best was saved toward the end and, after flying our aerobats, was Russ's four metre Scale Ash 26 that really spread its wings in the smooth but powerful air.

For the Cape folk, combine the smoothness of Smitswinkle with the power of Red Hill and you get the idea. For the locals, combine the Switchblade smooth NE air with the grunt of Switchblade SW side and times two......

Thanks to Johan for the co-ords:
29° 38' 39" S, 30° 50' 29" E
It took some getting used to feeling so little wind on the top because the cliff nature of the slope meant the wind was shooting right over the humans. When the bluster arrived in earnest, it meant really patient landing time but little or no damage to the eight craft flown.

An ideal slope contest spot with another NE option only a couple of kays away.

Mount Frere slope soaring bowl

Some years ago, whilst travelling through the Transkei, we stopped off at this amazing slope bowl site at the south exit of Mount Frere and, whilst standing with gentle breeze blowing on our faces, I determined to return one day armed with RC slope foamy glider to experience this amazing slope. That trip was made this past weekend but alas the wind it was from the Berg and all that could be done was to take the pics - placing the pics end to end would some idea of the awesome slope amphitheater this would be.

The teeny black spots in the third pic from top are cattle......!

The Mount Frere main street was made all the more distinctive by the vertical sign - click on the bottom pic (for the contradiction in terms.......?)

01 August 2010

Prestondale, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Mike Smiths Mini Stick

Mike Smiths Mini Stick

Mike Smiths Mini Stick takes centre stage (well er more like centre sky). Takes from the SkyLarks video camera

Fern Road, Prestondale, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa