When there is a stable high pressure area north of us, over Germany or eastern Europe, we usually have a stiff northern breeze, called “Bise”. Most of my favourite slope soaring spots are on north-facing slopes, i.e. time to head out. Unfortunately, being a northern wind, it’s also a freezing cold wind, which means that this early in the year you can add a significant wind-chill factor to temperatures already barely above zero degrees Celsius. In cycling we always say that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. Following that wisdom I went out on Tuesday to my favourite slope, with chilly but perfect wind conditions. The slope is perfect Diana territory – I usually fly one of my Dianas (Diana 1 or 2) there. With the whole Covid-19 lock-down I drove up alone and had to hand launch the plane myself. This is one of the reasons that last year I ordered an extra fuselage for my Chocofly Diana2 (1;3.5), and built it as a light glider without the usual FES (5.5 kilos). Normally I maiden my planes on a nearby airfield, using a towplane. But extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary actions. And as I know the Diana2 pretty well by now, having clocked many hours on the various version I have, I hand-launched it myself on the slope for the maiden flight. It flew off without any bother and I spent a wonderful 75 minutes in the freezing cold. The nice thing about the Diana2 is that it’s such an amazingly versatile plane. It thermals amazingly well and loves low as well as high speeds. At 5.5 kilos it’s not as fast my heaviest version, which weighs almost a kilo more, but still very fast and a lot of fun to fly. I’ll be taking this one to the slope more regularly.
On the slope I met up with my mate Richie, who was also flying his Diana2 (the Chocofly Diana2 is the commercial version of the design from Richie and Georg). Hence the photo below of the two sisters together. His Diana2 is even lighter, well below 5 kg, and on the slower side, but goes up like a little balloon in the least bit of upwind.