British Open Series, Round 1:

This last weekend brought with it some exciting flying conditions for the first round of the British open series hang gliding competition. Saturday the 30th April saw a trough moving through high pressure conditions during mid-day that led to scattered heavy showers, hail and gust fronts.

Luckily the briefing was early, with everyone up and rigged at take-off at Hundred house hill (Builth, Wales). The club class was set a task of a downwind 50km race to goal- definitely a challenge for me! I took off just after, at about 12:30pm and found an easy climb just after flying down the ridge a few hundred feet. Thermaling with the other competition pilots was an amazing new experience, with everyone flying at a similar speed and maintaining a constant right-turn direction.

Somehow I managed to drift away from the gaggle (over excitement leading to a loss of concentration?) then couldn’t get back to take off due to the fairly strong winds. I decided just to go for it and see if I could find some lift downwind, but all that I managed to find was a drizzly cloud. Landing after a measly 5.5km was a bit of a disappointment, but overall I loved the day and am keen to try again!

View from launch (Merthyr)

The next day (1st May) it consistently drizzled and rained throughout the day, so no task was set. May 2nd also didn’t bring us any fantastic weather, with a rainy and windy start. It was predicted to clear so we headed to Merthyr, but although the rain stopped and cloud-base rose, it was still far too windy for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable flight so the task was canned.

We called it a day and headed home, ready to get up and go to uni the next day!

Charlie was inspired to take up hang-gliding at 16 by her dad. After just a week of training she began flying with a club and five years on is now taking part in the British open series competition and expanding her cross-country experience. She aims to encourage young people to try the sport, and prove that it’s possible to juggle work, study and flying!

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