My First Solo
After a princess (instructor assisted) launch, I soared through the air, working out my first basic turns as a soloing beginner... under close scrutiny & radio supervision. Marc Chirico guided the top half of my flight that included entering and rising up in my first thermal. I heard a big whoosh as my wing gently rocked. I felt myself going higher.
Never have I worked so hard to make my arms do nothing. A few radio calls of "relax your arms" coming into both ears did the trick. I had waited eight years for this moment since the first time I observed the paragliders circling with hawks over Tiger Mountain. Now it was my turn, circling back and forth, working on my turns. It was as much fun as I had hoped.
Finally, Marc had me fly out into the valley and away from the lift and handed me over to Lan, to radio supervise the bottom half of my flight for that all important return to earth. Their plan was to land me before the mass of gliders above me started to come down and complicate my approach.
Lan expertly guided me through some altitude losing turns when I realized I had just flown over the high windsock. A switch clicked in my brain that I had just completed the first leg of my landing approach. I put extra emphasis to perform my final turns according to instruction, knowing that a call for a 90 degree turn really had to be 90 degrees; lest I end up in the swamp, on a shed, or blooper video.
Lan's calm voice informed me to was time to flare. I brought my arms down and floated gently onto my feet. Shouts of "Way to go Chris", and "Nice landing Chris!" were coming from the LZ (Landing Zone). How did all these people know my name? Then I remembered my name was written on my forehead above the heart on my chin and "I am awesome”
Marc Chirico and Chris Ferris
I left my Sharpie face paint on while I went out for drinks with some fellow paragliders. Most of the other patrons looked on wondering what my marked face was for. I proudly touted my badge of honor knowing I was now officially part of the Seattle Paragliding Team.
Thanks again for a great first solo. I can't wait for my next flight off Tiger.