Al the Unflown

Garway December 2010

Three times I have trudged up steep hillsides encumbered by expensive pieces of moulded plastic, and three times have I descended same hill without so much as a sniff of being able to launch them into the slope.*

It’s been nearly a month since a windless day scuppered my last attempt. Winter arrived early for Christmas, and appears to be hanging around for a while yet. And while I’m stupid enough to inflict trench-todger in sub zero temps on a mountain bike, even I can see standing still on the highest and windiest point around isn’t going to be a lot of fun. Especially as access tends to be via untreated, broken up doubletracks on a gradient.

Still day off, monster westerly forecasted, above zero for the first time in weeks – surely portents of a successful day ahead. The lack of actual blowy weather against the lies on the Interweb was nothing more than a back-story to the main event of actually getting there.

My faux-by-four may be lambasted by Landrover beards’ and the like, but I’m still amazed at the stuff it gets up. Our road is a good start since one good freeze closes it to anything 2 wheeled drive that’s not a tractor. The steep, ice-encrusted slope was another, shimmied up there with only increasing revs demonstrating how hard the 4WD was working. I was keen to engage the manly diff-lock, but apparently that’s not something to be attempted while teetering on the edge of traction half way up at 15{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} slope.

Had I not been on board the dithering bus to unflown-central, the bloody glider would have been at least briefly committed to aviation. But no, the wind died and with it my hopes of anything other than flinging bits of foam about. It’s no much about flying then, more throw/sigh/collect as I’ve shown below:

The Fling.

Garway December 2010

The Brief Period Of Aviation.

Garway December 2010

The Inevitable

Garway December 2010

The Trudge of Shame

Garway December 2010

Always worth the walk for the view tho

Garway December 2010

Eventually the wind circled round nearly 180 degrees creating an instant competition of who could fly a glider back down the slope and end closest to the truck.

It would be unfair of me to gloat as befits the winner. Let’s just say my victory was sweeter because it included a piece of precision flying where I dumped the foam wing on top of the only tree for about 9 miles. Actually that’s not true, there is another spiky number some way off to the south side. Ask me how I know.

On arriving home, I couldn’t but help notice the gale now raging at the front gate. So before I contact deed pole, I need to decide on “Al the Unflown” or “Al the sodding Weather Jonah“. Honestly it’s enough to make me reconsider the planes with bloody great fans on the front. Although the last time I tried that it didn’t end terribly well either.

Ho Hum, beer time methinks.

* Most proper flyers throw them off the slope. I’ve found it saves time to just crash them straight away and get it over with.

If it isn’t fixed, break it.

Two halves of the same thing

Do you know what it is yet? Or – and tense is important here – what it was. The photo below is more than a bit of a clue.

Luna 2

Yes that was my favourite/latest/fastest/most fun to fly toy glider. And having not had the chance to stand on a hillside freezing my cods off for a month or so, I felt this weekend was an ideal time for a bit of sloping therapy.

Didn’t fancy riding because my knee hurt a lot. Ironically it hurt more after trudging up a lumpy, tussocked approach to a not terribly windy edge. The pain in my knee however was subsumed by the dent to my pride, after bits of once expensive moulded glider cartwheeled across the ground.

It’s hard to say what happened. Well, no that’s not true. It’s very easy to say what happened – the model fell out of the sky from around fifteen feet in an entirely vertical direction, and ploughed into the ground with all the finesse and elegance of a piledriver.

What’s not so easy to understand is why. Let’s go with pilot error and leave it at that. Not far behind in the “uh? what?” stakes is how the hell I’m going to fix it. The broken bit up there is in the middle of the fuselage. Moving forward, where the wing used to sit is just shards of glass fibre, and the wings themselves are missing the pieces which were ripped out on impact.

It’s possibly repairable. Even by me. Whether I have the time/inclination/ability to survive mainlining horrible gluing compounds is something else.

The irony of not going riding because of a broken knee wasn’t entirely lost on me. So the next day I decided to see exactly how broken it was by subjecting the bugger to a bit of early morning MTB action. Result of which is I am still walking, but more of that later.

For Christmas, I’d like some less stupid hobbies, twice as much time and a titanium knee insert.