Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Cloud 9 with Judy Leden

A completely superb day of flying was made even better by the arrival in the hangar of someone I felt I knew but couldn't put my finger on. Once I realised where I knew her from - Leonardo's Dream Machines, where she test flew a fantastic realisation of da Vinci's renaissance invention of a proto-hang-glider, I was star-struck. I hate celebrity and all it stands for, but this is different because here we have someone who has earned her fame through being Women's World Hang-glider champion and having set some remarkable records.

What pleased me most of all about her visit was the fact that she was to fly the Dragonfly - with a view to writing a test report for a flying journal (didn't catch its name - must ask Ben). Rather cheekily, I got my cameraphone out and got quite close when Ben was briefing her on its set-up and controls, and Judy handed me her camera and asked me to get some shots for her during the test. I hope the ones on her camera came out better than the fuzzy things I got.

Interestingly, she described, in almost exactly the same terms Cath used, the difficulty in losing height when coming in to land. She said that it just skimmed over the surface as if it didn't want to stop flying. She described it as "hysterical", which I gather is a good thing. The engine is apparently very smooth and quiet and the handling seemed to please her and she confirmed that I will have a lot of fun with it. Flying wheels-up was noticeably different and the engine-off re-start was faultless. Can't wait to fly mine!

Nobody who knows me will be surprised to hear that I really liked Mrs Leden ;) She made my day by having her photo taken with me sitting in the Dragonfly.

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