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Lakes Vol Biv 2019

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:59 pm
by CayleyWeb
Hi Everyone,

Starting a thread discussing ideas, motivation and kit for Vol Biv flying in 2019.
It's something that has interested me for a few years and I'm looking to start the dream of flying and camping in the lakes.

Vol Biv in the lakes has been done, I know, but for me this is exciting and there's not that much information about doing it. There are events such as the X-Lakes run by Jockey and one in Wales too. I don't want to race, I want to enjoy the experience, even if it means camping and flying on the same hill. Besides those races require far too much walking and not enough flying.

I intend to log information here, and then if things continue, write on a blog.

The Plan
  • 1- Get light! and I mean not just kit but to get my fat lazy ass into some shape and compensate for the extra weight I'll be carrying.
  • 2 - Get flying in the lakes during the winter and early spring.
  • 3 - Attend a SIV clinic.
  • 4 - Get some ultra lightweight gear for camping and flying.
  • 5 - Start small just overnight and then progress.
  • 6 - Look at staying safe.
I am hoping that Vol Biv will extend that sense of freedom that is only achievable for those few short hours that we are airborne.
Let me know if you've done this and your experience.

I'd love to hear from other people who have or are thinking about it.

Re: Lakes Vol Biv 2019

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:41 pm
by CayleyWeb
Purchase 1 - Harness

This was a purchase made over a year ago (Nov 2017) when I started to seriously want to do this. It was time to ditch my trustworthy and dearly missed Advance Impress 2+ and her hefty 8kg of luxury bulk.

Driven partly by price and design, I looked at 3 big brand lightweight (not ultra) harnesses. I wanted something light but durable because as you'll soon understand, I'm not into buying kit every year.

Harness choices
  • 1 - Ozone Ozium 2
  • 2 - SupAir Strike
  • 3 - Advance Lightness 2
The Ozone Ozium 2 was a difficult one for me, it was a lovely harness, but I'd heard marmite reviews on its predecessor the Ozium. The flight deck, with its neck loop, never sat and presented the flight instruments correctly and I'd heard about some shoddy workmanship on a few harnesses like seams coming undone. Maybe they had sorted them out on the Ozium 2? It certainly felt nice to sit in, the size was right, it had a decent size storage compartment and the weight at 2.53kg in the large harness and even with the medium 720 pod, it felt like it was made of helium compared to my old harness.
Priced at £923

The SupAir Strike I loved and it felt very, very comfy whilst hanging in the Sick And Wrong. It seemed to support my shoulders better, as it had a longer back area than the Ozium 2 and was certainly less fiddly when it came to buckling into the harness. What I did find slightly uncomfortable was the leg strap and pressure on my hips. This will no doubt be me and my fat office chair ass but it didn't quite feel right and I knew it would be uncomfortable in flight. I also wasn't very keen on the pod material. It seemed that if it were to catch, it would quite easily rip and tear, rather than pul like the Lyrca pods used by the others. In a medium, it was the lightest of them all at 1.85kg and was cheap enough to arouse my Yorkshireness.
Price at £1040

Next was the Advance Lightness 2, the Rolls Royce of harnesses. I was bang in the middle of the medium harness, it was fantastic, but I knew this model had been out for a number of years, and likely to be superseded (by the lightness 3 in Autumn 2018). The price tag also put a slight dampener on things priced at over £1300.

So knowing that I had a few purchases to make over the next 12 months, not really telling the boss what I was doing, I opted for the Ozone Ozium 2. It was a nice harness, super light, compressed well and was comfy for my body shape.

Re: Lakes Vol Biv 2019

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:14 pm
by CayleyWeb
Purchase 2 - Reserve

I now had a new sexy ultra light harness and that was fantastic, but in the back of my mind, I knew my trusty never used Mayday 18 was becoming a mothball in the reserve compartment. Although it had been repacked every year and never showed any signs of water damage or wear, it was still 15 years old and a hefty 2.2kg.

What came next I thought would be done in the matter of a couple of hours researching on the internet, oh how I was wrong!
It started with me thinking that I needed a Beamer 3 because who the hell doesn't want to steer themselves out of danger? When I started to do some serious research into this, it became clear that unless I could kill or release the glider via quick outs, both the rogallo reserve and paraglider would downplane and have a worse sink rate than some of the worst reserve parachutes. Also, they only did the 100kg in the standard material and I'd have to opt for the 130 in light version weighing 1.37kg. A reserve for me is a long-term investment and I need it to last and be reliable.. almost as if my life depended on it! I had a friend come down on his reserve the previous year and that started to make me think. Lightweight reserves are not for me.

Still looking, I was intrigued by a new company called X-Dreamfly and their Rogallo reserve, it was certainly cheaper than the beamer 3 and worked on the same concept. Their weight showed some promise at 1.45kg and the price was certainly attractive, but their published sink rate of 5.43m/s seemed very excessive to say it should almost fly.

I then started to think about the type of flying I do, and the 3 reserve throws that I've witnessed either sat on the hill or whilst flying. They were all below 2-300ft of the hill. 1 was a mid-air, 1 fell out whilst taking off and the other was a full frontal just after take-off. If I had a rogallo type reserve, would I be able to steer away from the hill and land on a nice patch of soft grass?? I doubt the reserve would have even got out of the container before I hit the hill. Unless I was cruising at 1000ft+ and suffered from a cascade or serious equipment malfunction, would I use one?

It's a hard decision..

So dismissing the rogallo designs I started to look around at the more traditional pulldown apex reserve wings and that's when I came across the Companion SQR, a joint venture between Evotec and Advance. Their concept was a round canopy merged with the cross section (square) reserve. Weighing in at 1.534kg and with a nice pack volume, it was perfect and it wasn't made out of ultralight plastic bags and cotton.

Re: Lakes Vol Biv 2019

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:39 pm
by CayleyWeb
Weight count so far

Gone with the old
  • 1x Advance Impress 2+ @ 8kg
    1x Mayday 18 @ 2.2kg
Total combined weight of 10.2kg

In with the new
  • 1x Ozone Ozium 2 @ 2.53kg
    1x Companion SQR 120 @ 1.53kg
Total combined weight of 4.06kg

Total weight saving 6.14kg