After spending two relaxed days getting to Andalucia in southern Spain, the excitement of actually flying a hang glider was starting to set in. Yesterday Steve and I had met Rona, one of our instructors from lejair, and Owen and Soren - two students both starting a two week course. Soren is also writing about his experiences, mostly in Danish but he said he will leave some notes for Steve and I when our week has finished.
This morning we started off quite slowly - a leisurely breakfast at 10 with Tony and Rona followed by some paper work. We also got kitted out with helmets and harnesses, the latter being somewhat uncomfortable when hanging from the glider while standing up, this ensures that there is a high incentive to learn prone flying as soon as possible. Our first handling instruction was done in a simulator - no fancy displays and controls here, just a few poles standing up for us to dangle beneath. This is enough to get used to basic handling, such as pulling the control bar slightly closer while turning and making sure that you are shifting your body weight rather than just twisting your body around uselessly.
We went to an airstrip not too far away, just a simple stretch of tarmac, a bit of grass on either side and a hangar full of lovely aeroplanes. The wind was quite strong, about 12mph, so we set up (rigged) a glider in the hangar. This took quite a long time, as we were being guided through the process very carefully. There was only enough room to set up one glider anyway, hopefully tomorrow it will be a little quicker . Once that was done we moved the glider out and started some "first hops" running into the wind. The runway was not facing directly into the wind, so our runs were quite short and not very effective. The wind was coming in over a small hill and was very turbulent so we were using tethers, one person on each wing and Tony on the nose talking us through the handling.
With the runs not yielding more than a second or two of flight we switched to tow launches. Now we were able to get a few ten second flights each run, for a total of 6 flights each - a great start.