Flying in Monte Cucco, Italy

This year (June 2017), the British hang gliding national competition was held in Monte Cucco, Italy. This competition saw 40 pilots come together from across Europe to fly together in the beautiful province of Perugia.

This was my first competition abroad, and although I had flown before in the Alps and Pyrenees mountains, I had never flown with so many other pilots at once! For me the competition was all about the experience and getting some good flying in, so before the competition started I had a couple of days of free flying where I was able to take these photos!

The site itself is lovely, with a café/restaurant located a couple of minutes walk from take-off. The take-off is spacious, grassy and rounded, making for easy rigging and a pleasant run off. Once off the edge of the mountain, you have a few thousand feet to play with before needing to think about landing. Out towards the valley there were a couple of spurs that seemed to consistently kick off good thermals and the ‘house thermal’ was being generated just to the right of take-off, these meant that there was no fear of flying straight to the bottom landing. Landing back on top was also an option with a nice breeze meaning landing was easy. Bottom landing was a tad more difficult with the light/no wind conditions leading to lots of overshooting, thankfully the overshoot area was land-able!

The weather during the competition wasn’t perfect, including some very windy days and some days where there was a risk of thunderstorms/ thunderstorms happening. Despite this I did manage to get in some great flying – enjoying being at cloud base to get away from the hot weather below! Flying in the gaggle with everyone was exciting, even if they did all speed away from me as soon as the start gate opened and the task had begun. After learning a lot from this competition I think I’ll be back to try again and improve my score next year.

Results of the competition can be seen here.

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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