Battlefields 2006

Hi everybody

We are just back from the 2 long weekend trips to Paulpietersburg & Dundee. Many thanks to Billie, Debbie & Morne' for their hospitality. We flew Dumbe' Mountain and also participated at the Dundee Battlefields Fly-in. Check out the photos below.

I also had the opportunity to fly the Sol Kangaroo 2 Tandem wing. Here are my comments:

I did 6 flights in total on the Kangaroo 2 Tandem over a period of 3 days, with 1 of the flights being motorised. Carrying the bag onto take-off, I was surprised at the weight of the wing; nearly 10kg in total! This factor is probably due to the Gelvenor fabric used in it's construction. "This will probably be a beast to inflate" I think to myself.

Flight 1
Off the SW take-off at Dumbe. The passenger, my girlfriend Wendy, knows the drill. Billie anchors us and I pop the wing above us. Inflates like a dream I think to myself, no overshooting and the heavier fabric somehow doesn't add any extra momentum when the wing pitches. The tips flop around a little, but the rest of the wing feels solid. Of we go, wind was light so a long run down the slope to get off. We're off! Nice glide. Beep beep... first thermal so I turn. She turns on a coin, very efficiently and hardly sinking, but my God, the toggle pressure! It's noticeably heavy. We fly around for an hour, scratching in little bubbles below take off. Suddenly the wind picks up and I get up enough to dart in for a top-landing. A quick turn into wind and she stops dead in her tracks. I hand the toggles to Morne' who drops the wing for me. My arms feel like they've done some work.

Flight 2
Alida from Piet Retief, who has been convinced to give Paragliding a go by husband Marius. Off we go from the NE take-off. There are about 10 of us in the sky. The air is smooth and beautiful, with intermittent little workable thermals. The Kangaroo 2 can turn like a solo wing, so I have no trouble getting to the top of the stack. After 20 minutes we come in for a smooth top landing. She's really lovely to land.

Flight 3
Odette from Jo'burg. Need to set the record straight with Odette. Our last tandem was a fast landing, she tripped, and we slid along for 3 meters on her nose through an assortment of cow dung... We're off and chase after the others who are about a kilometer down the Dumbe ridge. We catch them up and join Gerald in a thermal. Man, I love the way she turns! But once again, toggle pressure is noticeable. After 20 minutes, Odette says "Umm.. what happens if I feel sick??" I turn straight for take-off. 2 quick turns to get some height and we'll sneak in. Can you hold on 2 minutes I ask. "Should be able to" she says. We come screaming in downwind, a few meters above take, just enough height to turn and land I think. And then all hell breaks loose; Bang! We fly straight into some invisible dust-devil. Glider pitches violently back and asymmetrics on right. I'm already
correcting it and then the left goes. "Let her fly" I think to myself. And then she pitches forward, fast! Forward and down she goes while I catch her, braking through 100% while the vario shrieks in protest. Brakes-up and she's back to normal. "Wow!" I think to myself. "That was very well behaved!" No nasty surprises at all. Perfect landing again.

Flight 4
Madelein from Pretoria is my pax. Conditions are light and the Kangaroo 2 glides like a ghost. We are noticeably faster than all the other wings in the sky, and they scatter like cowards to escape our wash. Madelein is mesmerised by the beauty of it all. She's been wanting to fly since Billie and Debbie's wedding, when I flew Debbie to the church on a motorised paraglider. Once again a perfect top-landing. I love the speed and control of this wing!

Flight 5
Braam was next. He weighs over 90kg and conditions are now marginal... I think we'll be landing at the bottom. Off we go and we spend 30 minutes of hard scratching in zeros trying to get above take-off. No luck, so with tired arms I go land on the plateau, to be joined by Gerald and Pierre. I feel like I really know the wing now. Still haven't had a chance to spiral her, but I know all about her on a ridge.

Flight 6
Now it's time to try her with a motor... A sunset flight with girlfriend Wendy as pax. Gerald & Pierre help us off on the NE take-off. We circle round for a low fly-by. The wing now seems to stretch her legs somewhat. She loves the extra weight of the motor, and we have straight and level flight of 55km/hr. At full-power we climb at a steady 2.5m/sec. Once above take-off we turn and head over the back. The plan is to go land on the Paulpiet town's cricket field. But first we fight our way through the rotor at the back of Dumbe. The motor at full power accentuates the wings actions, but she is well behaved. More so than Billie who is following us on his motor and solo wing.

Over the town the air settles down. We turn South and fly the few kilometers past the airfield to the dam. This is now the town's new campsite. A pretty dam with a grove of tress on the East shore. Amongst the trees campers are starting their evening braais and the campfire smoke is going straight up. I get a whiff of charcoal grilled meat and I remember it's dinner-time! No wind here so we drop low to less than a meter above the water. Now we are hurtling along the length of the dam, full-speed to the jetty's end. A couple sitting on the jetty edge stand up to watch. I turn and add power, climbing out over the couple on the jetty. Wendy turns to me and shrieks at the thrill of it all.

It's getting dark, so we fly back to the town low-level, spotting wild buck who gaze curiously at us as we fly a few meters over their heads. Billie has landed on the cricket field and he runs to show us there is no wind, so it's obvious we will be coming in at over 50km/hr... "This is going to be fast" I say to Wendy. "You'll need to run, ok?" She gives me a wide-eyed, nervous nod. I come screaming in on idle. We skim the length of the field and then I start to flare and simultaneously add power. We come to a standstill landing after 1 step. Not bad for a zero wind landing!

Comment by dealer Jaco Wolmarans:
The floppy wingtips is something all the pilots reported. Dirk Coetzee and Walter Neser found a solution to it - a little extra lark's foot knot in the wingtip lines, which we have passed on to Sol for testing. They seem to think it will work fine and may even introduce it as standard trim. The alteration does nothing to its spin tendency etc - Walter has tested it through full stalls and spins, and says it's fine.

Comment by manufacturer Ary, Sol Sports
Thank you - you know - more aspect ratio , more hard the brakes. I thing at the end we can really satisfy the client and we will work to have improve the characteristics and have a solution for the tips and brake pressure. I will be happy to talks with some pilots in my visit and hear what they want to say to us.

Best Regards