Hang gliding legend and author of fabled hang gliding book Performance Flying, Dennis Pagen is running a cross country training week for experienced hang glider pilots in Monte Cucco, Italy in August 2012.
The week-long course mixes practical sessions with theory, and costs €325 per person.
Dennis wrote on the Oz Report:
This year we will be presenting the seminar at Montecucco in Italy from 19 August to 25 August 2012. The course consists of talks and actual flying practice under the guidance of instructors. It is intended for pilots of intermediate and better skills. Student pilots should at least know the basics of thermal soaring. We will work on all the skills necessary to be a good cross-country pilot. If some pilots have superior skills we will work with them on competition skills if so requested. Typically we have 12 students in the class and three instructors so that each day there are four students assigned to each instructor. These groups vary throughout the course. This arrangement has worked very successfully in the past eleven years. This year we are adding a new format with a download of student’s GPS flight record and an analysis of the flights.
FORMAT The seminar takes place over seven days (normally we have an informal gathering the night before to get acquainted). The daily schedule* is typically: Presentation-8:30 until 10:30am. Loading gliders and driving to the hill-10:30 to 12:00. Setting up and discussing task for the day-12:00 to 1:00pm. Flying-afternoon. Evening debrief and flight analysis-7 to 8:30pm.
The presentation consists of lecture and drawings covering all the topics in the course outline. These are presented by Dennis Pagen, mainly, with inputs from the other instructors as well as plenty of room for student questions. Students learn best when they know which of their capabilities they want to improve. These wishes of improvement are the starting points of the presentations. Along with them many aspects of xc flying will be covered.
* Note: the times listed above will vary with the site and conditions of the day.
EQUIPMENT It is desirable to have a double surface glider to maximize cross-country potential. However, we have had single surface gliders and many intermediate gliders fly cross-country. Pilot skill is the most important factor, and this is what we work on most. Items that improve the effectiveness of the course greatly are a 2-meter radio, cell phones with local sim card and a GPS device. The last two items are for a quick retrieve, the radio allows the instructors to give constant feedback and to enhance staying together in the air. Flying together and getting personal feedback is what gives you a boost. A working radio set and GPS makes this possible. Work your radio systems as well as all your equipment out before the course for maximum value. And this year we will be downloading track logs, comparing them and learning from the flight details. Finally, we recommend having note-taking ability because we present so much information that it cannot all be remembered.
FLYING Every day when it is flyable, we will get ready as efficiently as possible, then we will discuss the day’s task. It will be chosen according to the conditions of the day. The task will be chosen to be challenging but safe. The groups will be roughly divided so that pilots of similar skills will fly together. There may be different tasks for the different groups.
The instructors will remain with their assigned groups as much as possible to help with thermaling, gliding and decision-making. Sometimes we will go ahead to mark thermals, and sometimes we will wait for slower pilots. The whole effect is that students will have many other pilots helping throughout most of the flight. The emphasis is on improving the skills of each student. And, of course, we intend it to be FUN!
Costs of this XC Seminar will be €325 (euros). If you’ve had a notion to improve your cross-country skills or go XC for the first time, as well as fly one of the best sites in Europe, be sure to join us this summer. For more information contact Annet. She keeps the records of communication and finances.
See you in the Sky, Dennis Pagen
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