Learning to Fly!

Trip Start Feb 16, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sasquatch Inn

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, April 23, 2011

My last day in Vancouver was spent running last minute errands and having a walk around Gastown. They have a store called Army and Navy which is like Cheaps as Chips and instead of going to the movies, I bought a few cheap ones. The one I watched was called The Good Night and was perhaps the most bizarre movie I have ever seen! I was going to get an early night, but after nacho salad for dinner, having a few beers and watching Kick Ass I didn't get to bed until 1am. I said my goodbyes to everyone I had been friends with for a week and a half and I still didn't remember some of their names! Ahh hostel life.

I managed to drag myself out of bed at 5:30am to have a shower and get down to the Sky Train where I caught a ride to the Pacific Central Bus Station for a mediochre McDonalds breakfast. It only took 2 hours on the Greyhound to get out to Chilliwack and I was picked up by Jim from FlyBC.org where I would be doing my 5 day intermediate paragliding course. We headed out to the field to do some ground handling which involved orientation around the equipment and inflating the wing. After a few successful runs down the grassy slopes I was ready for some action. There were a whole number of people there either flying for fun or at different stages of learning. I was the lucky fellow to be the only newbie on the block so to begin I was given a tandem flight from the top of Mount Woodside. The weather was great today so after waiting for a few people in front of us to launch, I was given the order to start running off the mound. After half a dozen steps we were airborne and soaring down towards the landing zone. I was given the controls to do a few figure 8s to lose height and we made an akward landing, but it was great.

Now was time for the big test which was going solo, luckily with some help on the radio. We drove back to the top of the mountain and I laid out my wing and got into my harness with my helmet and gloves on. I was given the order to run, so I lifted my wing up and started running, but before I gained enough speed I was at the end of the tarmac and onto the dirt and airborne! After a pre-mature seating I gained height and  was soon flying higher than the tarmac which was cool. I was guided down to the landing field and after a few loops to drop some height, I lined up with an aircraft approach and landed successfully on my feet! What a rush!

I thought that these feats were pretty good for my first day, but because it was still light there was time for one more crack. I wasn't that excited given I had achieved a lot already, but I went along anyway. This time I had a better liftoff and flew straight towards the landing field. Despite a late flaring of the breaks (meaning I had to run the speed off), I was on the ground again! Fantastic stuff. The weather isn't supposed to be great tomorrow, but I've got 5 days here so we are going for a drive out of town to another launch site. Awesome!
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Robyn on

Nachos again!

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