Flying in Bali

Les flying the Bali cliffs

Les flying the Bali cliffs

It had been a while since I’d been to Bali, but I always had a soft spot for that lovely island. Way back in 2000 we had organized a trip (dubbed “Bali Bagus!”) there with 7 pilots from Taiwan. In the end we had over 20 pilots, mostly members of the now-defunct AsiaPG mailing list, from all over the region show up. Marylyn and I went back to Bali in 2004 and met Rory Gilpin out there, but the conditions hadn’t been on at all; we had only one good flying day in a whole week.

This time around it was Matthias pushing the dates. He’d already settled on a hotel since a coworker from Bavaria had booked a package holiday. Matthü and Jürg (codename Mr. Panzer) arrived a few days before us and teased me with daily reports on the flying. Pilots had flown beyond Uluwatu, meaning it was really on.

I arrived in Bali at 1pm and was in the sky over Timbis by 3pm. I’m not going into a daily dairy about the flying. Suffice it to say I flew 7 days out of 9 in Bali. I didn’t go out to Timbis on the last day, spending the time lounging on the beach instead. The other day I didn’t fly there was a 10 minute window for launching and I wasn’t in it. Winds were either straight in or a little southerly and varied from light to quite strong, though we didn’t do too much parawaiting on this trip. We just had the one day where it was very gusty most of the day, and even then there was a short window to launch. We had a couple of days with winds too strong to launch into, and a couple with perhaps an hour-long stretch where it was too light to stay up. All in all the conditions were far and away the most consistent I’ve ever experienced at Timbis.

On site was an interesting mix of pilots from the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, India and the Philippines. The entire Indonesian national team was also there practising. It’s always nice to make new friends.
On a typical day we’d take our time over breakfast, do some sunbathing and swimming until 1pm, and drive out to Timbis to be on launch by 2pm. It was possible almost everyday to fly either to the Nikko or the Bali Cliffs, often both. Marylyn spent most of her days on the beach and left with a suntan so dark she now looks like a Balinese.

Highlights: Arriving on site straight from the airport into a two-hour flight. Flying from the Nikko to way past the Bali Ciffs in the same flight. Soaring the roof of the Nikko. Top-landing well after sunset on numerous days. Tom & Jerry (it’s a cocktail).

Lows: Bombing out on the beach. Lots of new villas are being built on the cliff-tops, spoiling what was always a very natural panorama. I worry how long the site will be open to us if the construction boom continues.

Funny stuff: Matthias first laughing at my having bombed and then joining me on the beach not 5 minutes later.

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