The wind forecast this morning hovered right on the cusp of flyable so at 0800 I jumped in my car and began the drive to Flight Park South. I stopped at the Chevron along the way, however, to set up an insurance policy. I pulled in behind a windowless white van, a man got out, and he said “I’ve got the stuff”. In fact this man was Ben and “the stuff” was an old glider of his I was going to demo as a potential second-hand kiting-only beater wing, an old Nova Susi rated for someone half my size, just the thing for practicing ground handling in conditions otherwise too strong for me to handle safely.
Arriving at FPS the strategy immediately paid off. The wind strength and quality was a bit outside of what I would be comfortable flying, or even kiting, with the Nova Bion I ordinarily use. Thus I set up and spent a solid two hours practicing inflations, kiting, and rapid deflations. I struggled at first but my brain quickly tuned to the new gear. And now I’ve got the kit to ensure that if I make the trip to the park for a forecast with marginally flyable conditions I will almost always be able to capture meaningful ROI for my investment of time.
Joe was there and kited alongside me, providing a valuable second perspective on what I was doing. He noted in particular that I seemed to be favoring my arms to correct issues with the wing versus repositioning my body. This seemed indisputable given the fatigue in my arms and the soreness in one of my elbows. I consequently focused on this facet and was quickly rewarded by happier arms as well as knees.
They say “it’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools” and so I have grown my toolset to ensure maximal value from the time I invest.