Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No more Gin…needing a hammock and looking to Impress

I love word games.  

The title of this post makes me giggle, but it does say everything going on with my epic harness search.

After setting up the Gin Genie Light in a simulator hanging from a tree in my boyfriend's backyard, I went up to launch with it on Sunday to fly on a 'guaranteed' XC flight.  Clouds/winds/birds all indicated a wonderfully thermic day and I was ready to be all warm and streamlined in my new pod and to explore the airways.

I elected to go first since patience is not exactly one of my virtues.  My launch was perfect, and getting my legs inside the pod was super easy.  I settled back and WHAM!  Into the first snotty little thermal and WHOOSH! I slid over to the right side of the pod.  Which caused my left wingtip to collapse and me to immediately slide over to the left side of the pod.

Huh.  By now I know I should've found some patience (that stuff I don't have much of) and waited for a size small to come in to try instead of convincing myself that a medium fit snug enough.  Crap.  I flew away from the hill a little to find some smoother air to make some adjustments, especially since I was reclining farther back than I wanted & still sliding around inside the pod. The air was a bit too active to start fiddling around so I just headed for the landing zone to try the simulator again even though I knew in my heart that the harness was just too big for me.

Determined not to give up, I asked to borrow a friend's Impress 3 pod (which has a hammock seat instead of a seatboard).  I wanted to get up into the same snotty air to do a direct comparison, and make sure it wasn't just the air or the experience of flying a pod. I've test flown a few others but it had always been in fairly smooth conditions.  So back up to take off, another clean launch and I headed right back to where I knew the air would be active.  I caught a screamer of a thermal and…OMG-I-love-this-harness.

A few weeks ago when I went to Brett's to check out the Gin, he did encourage me to try a hammock-style pod first to compare since pilots tend to love one style over the other (that lack of patience thing wouldn't let me wait).  A disadvantage of living in Canada though is our tiny pilot population, so there are very few chances to actually "try before you buy".  Borrowing from friends like I did is usually all you can do, and now that I tried them side by side, I know I'm definitely a hammock girl.  Despite the Gin being very well constructed with excellent storage space as well as loads of other fantastic features, it's just not the harness for me.  Boo.

So back to square one.  I've wanted an Impress 3 since I sat in the prototype at the Ozone Chabre in 2011 and of course its the most expensive one out there.  But for me, there's no more compromise.  A less expensive harness that doesn't fit properly isn't worth the savings.

Good thing my new tandem arrived yesterday!  Only 4 business days from the day I paid (delayed one day due to UPS…don't get me started!!!) and my sweet new Skywalk Join't 3 Tandem was in my hands.  Time to book some tandems and pay for all this gear!

Flowers courtesy of Ava from Quik Pik Flowers  who made this delivery extra special :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Year for Gear

As a team pilot for Skywalk, I am lucky enough to get ridiculously good prices on my personal gear, and after 4 years of flying my trusty old Advance Bibeta 4 tandem wing…I am excited to be upgrading to the new Skywalk Join't 3!

What my new baby will look like :)

I am curious to see how my old wing has held up to the hundreds of tandem flights it's been on and am planning to get a porosity check done on it this weekend.  One of the other flying schools in town has a porosity meter that sucks air through the material and measures how many seconds it takes to do so, thereby letting you know how much life is left in your wing.  Watch for pictures soon here on my blog.

And after many hours of research over which competitions I could manage to get to this year, the fact that my solo harness was sadly on it's last legs kept popping up along with the obligations of a new job in which vacation days have not yet been discussed (I know, I know).  So I decided to go all in and get a new harness too.  I'm an incredibly lucky person - after asking on Facebook for harness recommendations I received so many offers of help and special comp pilot/instructor pricing that I was blown away.  It was a hard choice to make, but I made a short list after all the advice and as much reading of forums that I could handle and went with the Gin Genie Light. It was the only harness that I was actually able to sit in prior to plunking down my hard-earned dollars for (as I ambushed our new Gin importer in Canada at his house - thanks Brett - when the local dealer was out of town).   Say hello to my new pod harness:

My harness has been patiently sitting in my glider bag for over a week but the weather has been cruel on my days off.  My shiny new tandem wing was ordered 2 days ago and it should be here next week. Now I just have to cross every finger that the forecasted sun appears this weekend and you will be subject to a babbling review and pictures.  

See you in the sky!