Friday, February 17, 2017

Paragliding Marshall

Coming in to land at Marshall after my longest flight yet - over two hours in the air.

Marshall / Crestline is a hang gliding and paragliding site near San Bernardino, California (near Los Angeles). One of the pilots we flew with in El Paso had recommended it.

I don't think locals realize how awkward it can be for visiting pilots. At Marshall we were told to just go out to the hill and "someone" would give us a site briefing, and there would be lots of rides up to launch. The first day when we arrived at the landing zone (LZ) there was no one around. We'd been told conditions might be flyable around 2pm. A van load of hang glider pilots headed up but didn't fly. After hanging around for two hours we gave up and left. Later we heard that people had had great flights after we left. Argh! I was pretty frustrated.

The next day conditions looked dubious since there was bad weather arriving. At least this time an instructor and student were there. We managed to get a bit of a site briefing from the instructor, and after discussions about how we might get up to launch the student offered to go up with us and drive our car down (thanks Raoul!)

The instructor had suggested going up to the high Crestline launch but when we got there it seemed very windy. Sure enough when I got out my wind meter it showed over 20 mph, too strong for us. Luckily it was reasonable at the lower Marshall launch.

I managed to get up high over launch quite quickly. I'm always tempted to go somewhere when I get up, but not knowing the site or the conditions I stuck around. I did explore up and down the ridge a bit. Eventually I started to sink out. I ended up down low near the LZ struggling to stretch my flight out to an hour. Shelley had already landed by this point. I found a few small thermals that allowed me to stay up a bit longer, and then amazingly found a stronger one that I managed to ride back up above launch! In paragliding terms, that would be known as a "low save". It was a first for me.

I enjoyed flying around the top ridge for a while but it wasn't long before I ended up low again. And again I managed another low save and returned to the ridge.

After two hours, a record for me, I headed down, in a much better mood than the day before!

No comments:

Post a Comment