Dennis Trott has been flying since the summer of 1990 and has lived and flown in the French Alps since 1991 amassing more than 4000 hours of alpine flying. In early days Dennis met many pilots visiting the high alps and noticed that their flat land or dynamic hill flying skills were insufficient for mountain flying. Many often found themselves either in trouble or not flying from the lack of understanding that alpine flying requires. With these problems in mind in 1994 Dennis started writing differing articles for magazine publications, namely SkyWings, the UK association magazine.
Some of the articles were written in 1994 then republished in 2000 and 2001, they are all included on this web page. The subjects vary from flying weather, thermalling, air law and importantly launch and flying techniques we used from the early 90's that are exclusive to mountain flying, that are not taught in the UK.
All the articles are edited and somewhat shortened versions from our mountain thermal course and thermal tuition lectures. It would be possible to write a book chapter from each page shown..
I hope you can make time to read through this web page, or at least book mark it and return when you can. Even today all these articles are relevant to the flying techniques that we should be using not only in the mountains but also in the flats or on dynamic hills.
This article, Air law-or the lack of it! was
written from our summer experiences in places like Annecy. The mid
summer months are the busiest months and it seems like half the flying
world ascends on this beautiful area, where traditionally the
thermo/dynamic flying is at it's best. The lack of air law is ripe and
assertive flying is required.
I wrote Keeping out of the trees as an advisory for pilots visiting pure
thermic flying sites, where sinking air is as common as thermic lift.
Sadly not enough pilots have read this article as tree landings are
still frequent. Why do they do it!!
Mountain thermalling in stable conditions is probably
the most challenging of all thermal flying: patience is a virtue.
Mountain thermals in unstable conditions gives a
little insight to the daily flying conditions found in the spring and
summer. Alpine flying has the reputation of being strong and gnarly and
picking the time of day to fly and knowing what the forecasts are
offering is of the utmost importance. With the correct timing and
personal organisation the flying is spectacular and sometimes even the
evening flying is very buoyant, but then we all land when the sun goes
down and the lift runs out!
Back 1994 I started the series with 2 articles on launch techniques. The articles were republished in 2000 with more recent photos. Below are both sets of articles and you will see that the techniques haven't really changed over the years and are still widely taught throughout the alps. Happily to say that the Brits were the first to use cross brake launch techniques when the Europeans were still struggling with a forward launch in strong conditions and not employing the easier reverse launch technique. This has now changed and snappy reverse launches are common here in the mountains.
Sadly today the Brits are still struggling with
the appalling front launch style they are taught of running like F....
and hope the glider might fly instead of employing the easy front launch
technique that we have been teaching for more than 12 years. The simple
and easy front launch technique is seen below.