Reflections on a Spanish spring

Another day at the office
Another day at the office

It’s not been easy to write over the past couple of months. Working for Fly Spain has been great, but incredibly busy…

Getting to teach paragliding was an amazing experience – from the looks on people’s faces after their first 20 second hops off the training slope, to the satisfaction you get when you’ve helped a student understand something they were struggling with, the moment you’re laughing so much that you can barely shout the words “hands up” as you’re running after someone reaching for their lines, and the thanks – the knowledge they will always remember you as the person who taught them to fly! Then there was the continual banter with Graham, Ed and the inspirational Lee Tryhorn… I started to recount some of the moments, but I think you really had to be there…

Alex kiting
Unforgettable moments: Are you happy with the flight plan for this flight? Yes! Get to the bottom. Don’t die!            Photo: Graham Grant

And then there’s the frustration of the non flyable days – bad enough when it’s you that’s missing out, but almost heart-breaking that (albeit rare) time when you need to tell a group that they’re not going to be able to fly for the third day in a row. The bruises and the line burns! The exhaustion when you get home after 10pm from a 7.30am start, knowing you need to do it all again the following day. And seeing someone who wants to fly so much, struggle to master the skills they need to move on safely.

Sunset flights
Stolen moments, sunset flights 🙂 Photo: Graham Grant

Yes, it affects your flying, but not all for the bad. I wasn’t expecting to be able to fly much while I was here and I was right. But I got to rediscover the joy of a simple soaring flight when it’s a snatched half hour you weren’t expecting. No, I haven’t had much proper thermal flying, but an evening boat around as the sun sets is always a treat. And I’ve got the whole summer for big XC missions.

I’ve been able to tap into the advice of experienced instructors to improve my own flying too, particularly ironing out the problems I’ve had with my wingovers since changing my harness. Groundhandling, launching and landing approach demonstrations are a chance to refine your own skills. No pressure, but everyone’s watching! And watching others fly (both students and experienced pilots) and working out the things they did and didn’t do well, is a great way to learn yourself.

Lee at work
Thanks Lee – you’re an inspiration!

But now it’s time to move on… Being able to speak the language is a huge factor in making somewhere feel like home. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the work, it’ll be great to be the master of my own time again. So next stop France, and I can’t wait! And I have a few exciting little possibilities waiting for me there – watch this space!

Thanks to Rob, Nic, Lee and Ed and especially to all the students for making the experience unforgettable! Goodbye for now and safe flights and happy landings!

Happy students
Just some of the students who have made the last two months great – thanks one and all!