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Flight Details

Pilot name:Carl Wallbank
Date / Time:2003-05-09 12:15:00
Takeoff: Moel yr Accre witnessed by Phil Don
Landing:grimsby TA348051 witnessed by Colin Hall 01472813027
Distance (Km) / Score:224.05 / 224.05
Max alt.(ft) and Duration:6300 300 mins
Flight track: Earth icon View or Fly in Google Earth™
Comments:Summary: Difficult first 20km which put the others on the deck. Hard work with the x-wind getting to Leek then on to Sheffield easy. Then did 92km without turning,. Arriving at coast at 4000ft. Should have been UK record!!!!!!!!!!!!!!09/05/03 227km by CarlWallbank.The Details:All week whetherjack had been promising a #4 for the Friday but not so good the days before hand and everyday I awoke to find yet another booming day in which I missed. So Friday arrives and to my surprise it looks the worst day of the week, locally anyway. A small keen bunch of north Wales?s pilots gather on Moel Accre and we set a very ambitious task of 134km to Sheffield via Leek to keep us clear of Manchester and Liverpool?s airspace. As we rig high cloud moves over north Wales and nearly blocks all sun light and the cumulus begins to decay although it still looks very good in the Cheshire plains. Upon launching the air is very buoyant but not booming. Phil Don, Phil Edgar and myself take a week climb and move our selves to the point of no return, not a good climb to leave I think to myself. At 2500ft it fades to zero and I decide to leave the others and search by myself with the intent to use my experience to find the next climb before calling the others over. The strong southwest drift is pushing us fast towards Manchester?s airspace and unless we find good lift soon we all will have to pull out and land. With no sun on the ground the next climb seems impossible to find and we loose Phil Edgar at the 15km. Phil Don and myself just manage to scrape our way out of the mountains and in the Cheshire plains. My 500ft on Phil soon turns into 1000ft and he is forced to glide over Wrexham for the hope of a low save. But sadly for him he decks it. Now with 20km done and good sun on the ground I hang in just long enough and at about 800ft of ground clearance I connect with my first decent climb a good 7up. Still worried about how close I am to airspace I put out early and glide south and soon find more lift, Shedsy radio?s in and he is also on route and has pushed south very early and is in a lot better position than me as he?s 5km further south. I soon approach Crewe on my left, which means I?m back on my track line. After 35km I finally reach cloud base at 4500ft and the sky looks and feels fantastic. I?ve dreamed of flying in conditions like this, and for the first time this flight I feel confident the task is possible. Although the x-wind is affecting my speed I still manage to keep a good pace over the ground and am only stopping in climbs that are over 5up. The more East I travel the cloud base starts to rise over 4500ft but with airspace starting at 4500ft I have to pull out as to stay legal. This is very difficult to mentally get my head around. Being in the best elevator in the world and having to get out at level three when you could go to the top floor is hard to do, but the confidence that there?s plenty of more lift about softens the blow. Soon at my turn point of Leek which is the end of the airspace I can relax a little and let the wind drift me which seems so easy after doing 83 odd km crosswind. I now find time to enjoy the view and think about just how lucky I am to do a sport like hang gliding, passing over the heads of millions of people completely unaware of the amazing thing I?m doing above. The only problem with relaxing is that your bladder relaxes too and the cold starts to affect my fingers. Only 30km to goal and I?m already looking forward to landing and taking a pee. At the 30km to go mark airspace rises to 6500ft and I make my way to base. I radio to shedsy who is now struggling low at Crewe ?this is what an 8.5up sound like at six groundC and I ram my over excited face into my vario so he can hear the noise. (Not nice to hear when you?re low). Now very close to goal I leave my cloud street and in heavy sink away from the street I make goal with about 2000ft. ?What now? I suddenly realise that I only need another 32km to do the big one, my first 100-mile flight. I forget about the bladder problem and at 2000ft my fingers are warm again. I soon climb and I?m in my cloud street, although strangely the street does not run down wind but more true east. Once back at base I remember just how cold it is and how much I need to pee, and the whole thing becomes very uncomfortable. OK I?m to glide in a straight line make my 100 miles and call it a day. Gliding with a ground speed between 100 and 110 kph I clock up the 100 miles very quickly. ?What now? well keep gliding? Soon I can see the coast and my brain starts ticking. How far have I flown, how close to the record am I, do I go left or right to increase the distance, hang on how long have I been gliding without turning. My mind turns to pieces and I?m a little confused, as I don?t realise just what I?ve achieved. I arrive at a river and a big town at 4000ft and figure it must Grimsby or Hull. For some stupid reason I?ve decided I?m landing here and leave lift to circle down. At around 1500ft I again run into strong lift and am back up to 3500ft. Looking over the Humber river it looks possible to glide and land on Spern point, but it also looks lonely and change my mind to land were there are of plenty of people to tell about my travels. I touch down a 17.15pm, just over 5hrs in the air and 227km under my belt. Coffee, cakes, biscuits and a good pee later I start to ring everyone in my phone and tell the tale. It was still booming when I landed and there was about 2hrs of good day left. With correct planning and even with the very difficult first 83km another 120km could have been possible, that?s nearly 350km. something to plan for!! As days have now passed and I?ve studied my flight with great detail I realise just how close the British record was, and with a change of route to of gone north of hull which would have been easy, would have put he record within grasp. To summarise The first 20km there was no sun on the ground, the next 60km was a hard slog fighting the cross wind, and the last 146km was a doddle, with the last 92km I can?t remember even turning. Ten years I?ve been dreaming about flying from west to east and words can not decribe the way it feels. I Love HANG GLIDING. Carl Wallbank.