Back in August 2015 I obtained my Club Pilot (CP) license, which meant I was able to go flying without the aid of my instructors. This gave me a new sense of freedom as I was now able to go flying for as long as I could stay up. This was great, however, finding the right time to go flying on the South Downs proved very difficult. Life became a series of obstacles that were forever preventing me from following my passion. When I had a day off from work the weather would be no good for flying. And likewise, if the weather conditions were perfect for flying, I would be stuck at work often watching hang gliding videos on Youtube while seeing the Telegram notifications ping every so often (from the Southern Hang Gliding Club group). I would live vicariously through other pilots whilst dreaming a way out of the Essex wasteland I found myself.
I could never forget my first flight as a CP. It was at Devils Dyke on the South Downs (seen above). I must have spent about 40 minutes soaring the ridge gliding back and forth – it was incredible! I was now a member of the ‘Red Ribbon Club’ meaning I had to tie a red ribbon onto my hang glider for my first 10 hours of flight. This lets other pilots know that I’m new to the sport and to give a little leeway.
If it wasn’t work or the weather holding me back it was simply being in the wrong place. I don’t mind the two hour drive from Essex but if I timed it wrong I could get stuck in traffic which meant when I finally got to the site everything felt like a mad rush. To set up, to fly, pack up and drive another two hours back! It just didn’t fulfil the relaxing nature of the sport itself.
I’ve never really known what I’ve wanted to do in life. Can’t say I’ve really enjoyed any job I’ve had (and I’ve had many) its always been a case of just doing it for the money. I’ve worked enough jobs to know that life must mean more than a 9-5. I’ve saved up some money and bought myself a van and some roof bars for the hang glider. I’ll head down to the South Downs and fly at every opportunity, working my way up to Pilot rating and eventually Advanced Pilot. I’ll sleep in the van and find myself a part time evening job until I have enough money to get myself a place somewhere around Brighton or Hove. Aside from hang gliding, I have other ideas I’d like to turn into ways of obtaining income. More on these to come.
As Jim Carrey once said…
“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
The adventure begins now.
Check out my first flight as a CP Pilot!