Flying, what flying? We're right in the heart of the winter lay-off, with windy and wet conditions keeping everyone grounded at the moment. But even when a rare patch of flyable weekend weather comes along, my paraglider is still at Gin UK being mended after last December's encounter with the trees. Having been dragged out of the trees by a 4x4, it came as no surprise to learn that the lines were stretched and weakened to 50% of their new breaking strain. A new line-set is being shipped out from Korea as we speak, but it may be weeks yet before my wing is back home and ready to fly again.
Meanwhile I'm taking the opportunity to get my reserve repacked. Sounds boring, but definitely not a corner I want to cut.
And I've also been consoling myself with DVDs about the sport - "Speed to Fly" and "Never Ending Thermal" keeping my enthusiasm alive.
I've also been booking some paragliding trips for this year: Dune de Pyla in France in May with Flight Culture. This is an area of big sand-dunes on the bordeaux coast, famous for easy ridge-soaring and soft landings. Then Zillertal in Austria in June with Austrian Arena to do a Thermalling Clinic. I was there skiing last winter, it will be amazing to visit again - this time to float (effortlessly?) above the same landscape.
And I'm studying towards the next qualification - Green Dragons have been running lectures over the last few weeks preparing us for the Pilot exam next week. I'm revising in spare moments over breakfast and lunch, cramming my head with Air Law, Flight Theory and Meteorology. Hopefully I will pass, then all I have to do is get 25 hours flying time, pull a few 50% collapses, and I will be a Pilot. Cross-country flying awaits!