A year ago I went on my first hang gliding trip to the mountains together with the Zenith Aventura hang gliding school from Spain. We went to the French alps. We visited and flew places like Annecy, Col du Sapenay, St. Hilaire, Chamonix and some others that I can’t remember anymore.
Back then we were just squabs about to leave the nest but not just yet. Our instructor had us throughout the whole trip doing morning and afternoon flights. The idea was not to have some thermal flights but instead to just get to fly somewhere else, explore new terrains, learn how to get to know a new flying site and take off and land somewhere that we weren’t used to.
Back then, after that trip, I felt a little disappointed because all in all it was around 18 flights in total and all of them were slideriders. That is, in 9 days, we rigged and derigged our gliders a total of 18 times, took off and landed the same amount but the longest flight was only 10 minutes. Quite a lot of effort if you ask me.
Looking back I realise now the importance of going to new flying places and not only assessing a site that is new to oneself but also to seek the help and advice of the pilots from the area. Not only that, though, since ~20 takeoffs and landings will do marvels to your takeoff and landing technique, specially if you do it twice a day for 9 days.
I guess what I want to say is, this sport can challenge one’s patience but it definitely pays off, even when your flight is a short long: every single one of them counts as a learning experience. If you don’t learn anything new (which you should with each flight) at least you’re practicing your flying technique, which can always use some sharpening throughout your flying career.