WHAT A FORECAST! WHAT A RECORD!! 500Km !!!
Conditions: From Copperton to Gariep Dam altitude was low, slowly improving as the day went on. Up until around 14h00 he was flying between 1000m and 2000m above ground and then very uncomfortably low at Gariep Dam. After that low Nevil climbed to cloud base which was 5689m, his maximum height. (Nevil was flying with oxygen)
The route Nevil took allowed him to avoid the dreaded seabreeze that has so often stopped the heroic skygod flights from De Aar.
The mountain range in the area blocked that afternoon seabreeze, allowing Nevil to fly this incredible distance.
Anyone else flying? The Gradient boys (James and the Czech pilots) were there, James still sleeping, did not launch – wind forecast deemed too strong.
Retrieve: Nevil flew on his own with Penny following using Nevil’s amazing piece of technology – the Compeo Plus, sending his coordinates every 15mins to Penny’s car GPS. She was at his landing spot an hour after he touched down! What a retrieve driver!!!! Penny also speaks fluent Tsotho, the Lesotho tribal language which proved very useful. Penny was concerned when she saw Nevil heading into Lesotho. The mountains are tricky and she was not in cellphone contact with him until after he landed.
Planning: the route was planned. Nevil gave the Valic Brothers tracklogs to local South African Weather forecaster Deon Der Mesch (he was one of the guys who gave a talk at the Bedford Comp), told him the location he wanted to take off from which was Copperton and where he wanted to land in Lesotho at the position Nevil calculated would give him the 500km record and said – ‘tell me the day’. Deon did his calculations and said: Monday 14 December 2008. What a forecast!
Niggly things: radio not working, oxygen leaking, camera lanyard fiddly – he left the camera behind, no time to waste. Regrets it. Says the view of the Orange River coming out of Lesotho was breathtaking, big ox-bows, CU’s on the mountains, warm afternoon pink light from rain that had fallen in the area … aaaghh!
Landing: coming up to landing, Nevil flew over a funeral and waved, calling out to them. How bizarre and amazing this flying machine must have seemed to them. Paragliders are not a common sight in Lesotho.
Tracklog: Nevil has upload his tracklog to PG Forums ‘Leonardo’ – See Leonardo Tracklog above.
They are still coming back from Lesotho. He and Penny are on holiday.
Max vario 7.0 m/sec
Min vario -7.0 m/sec
Max alt (ASL) 5689 m
Min alt (ASL) 1229 m
Takeoff alt (ASL) 1229 m
Altitude gain 4460 m
Max speed 100.0 km/h
Mean speed 70.3 km/h
Linear distance 502.2 km
The flight on Leonardo: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/151890