Driving up to the slope for a Boxing Day morning thrash, you can't avoid the reflections on 2020. Just heading out at all on Boxing Day made me realise how much more motivated I am to fly at the moment. Being part of the Harrier's development has certainly re-ignited my passion for flying.
The tail is one of the most obvious places where the Harrier has developed compared to previous models. Both enclosed horns but also the thick wing section that delivers powerful and positive control.
Around 6 months after I started to fly my first Pike WR I realised that it had been the only model I had flown- simply because in just about every condition I flew in, it was my best model. The Harrier feels like it has repeated this process 20 years later. I don't think I can remember the last time I flew my Willow SOR, Opus XL or trusty Merlin (watch out for a few models for sale)
The Harrier has achieved its design goal of being fast and the most fun to fly of any model I can remember.
More time on the slopes has been a great opportunity to chat with some old friends and make new ones- in 2020 that's not a bad achievement!
No company today but my first mission was to maiden the combination of the first prototype wings and a production fuselage and tail. These are getting less and less eventful as my settings become more set. With a good (cold) breeze blowing she had 600g of ballast in to start with, this soon felt light but it was fun to see the different turn styles that work with a lighter model- you never know when you might get a thermal come through on a light wind comp day.
Each flight was always longer than planned- I was just having too much fun, either playing with racing turns or just throwing her about and trying to bend those wings at the bottom of dives. I'm not sure what the near future holds for racing, after 20 years of racing I have to admit to having twitchy fingers in wanting to get a few races done and see what the Harrier can do for a race rusty me!
The Harrier has not come close to biting or flicking. Leaving the hill I had that happy feeling again you get from a really good session. I can't wait for 2021 to come and get things going again.