Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The Great Unknown

I did my first solo flight today. Obviously I’ve flown solo before, but this was solo in the sense that there were no other pilots around. I assessed the valley all by myself, and decided it was flyable. A young lad showed me the way up to a tiny launch site, barely big enough to lay out he wing, and below I picked out a number of options for landing fields.

I took off full of nerves, repeating mantra like; better to be on the ground wanting to be in the sky, than in the sky wanting to be on the ground.

Gentle thermal lifted me straight of takeoff but they also dropped me and it was hard for me on my own, with my skill level and with no other wings in the air to show me the currents to really get lift, so I headed out into the valley and there found plenty of turbulent thermals, which pitched and turned me. I was expecting it, but it was stronger than I’d thought so I found an area without lift and headed down and landed in nil wind in the largest unploughed field, edged by low power lines.

All in all a good, brief flight, though there’s a catch-22 that I would have enjoyed this first solo flight more if I’d been with another pilot to share it with.

I used to hitch a lot and in Panchgani I discovered that cross country paragliding requires you to hitchhike in order to get back to where you started. I’m so happy to have rediscovered this old friend. Just like being in turbulent air, where you only have partial control and have to manipulate what the conditions give you, so hitch hiking requires the same relinquishing of control over route, schedule and comfort. I don’t know why I love that so much.

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