Portugal 9th – 16th September


Serra Da Estrela

Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in Portugal. With the peak being 1,993 m (6,539 ft) above mean sea level. There are three main launches;  Azinha 700 m, Vale do Amoreira 300 m  and Linhares da Beira 480 m above their respective valleys.
These are all within 30 minutes drive from the picturesque traditional mountain village of Manteigas.

Launch sites

Launch sites are large and open and you are able to drive to the launch site.

Azinha Launch

Azinha Launch

 

 Landing areas

The landing areas are well defined large grass fields for all of the sites. Both Azinha and Vale do Amoreira share the same landing field. Full briefs will be given at each landing field.

The surrounding area

Serra da Estrela offers a versatile spectrum of flying opportunities, and at this time of year you can expect cloud base to be consistently around 3000 m. This gives you the options of gentle boat around the valleys through to the potential for some huge XC flights out into the flat lands. There are also some really nice triangles that can be flown here, taking in highest peaks of the national park has to offer.

What’s the flying like

At this time of year the sun is starting to mellow and the intense heat of the summer is cooling. This gives ideal conditions for paragliding . Dry earth from the summer, a lowering sun and cooling ambient air temperature results in a smooth consistent lift and smooth thermals.

These are ideal conditions for pilots wanting to develop their thermalling, XC skills and boost their confidence in larger mountain flying.

Azinha Valley with Vale do Amoreira In the distance

Azinha Valley with Vale Do Amoira In the distance

Thermals

At this time of the year thermals tend to be large and slower moving than in the spring and summer months. This is the ideal type of thermal to teach thermalling in. The edges are not as “sharp” and more forgiving, so when you fall out of one the effect on the glider is much mellower.

Having said that, they are strong enough to enable you to feel your way to the centre and register when you have cored them.

Cloud base on average is around 3000 m at this time of year, so you will have plenty of time to practise your coring on the way up.

Pilot experience

This trip is aimed at CP plus pilots looking to improve on their skill set. Therefore, pilots must be CP-rated and ideally have at least 30 hours flying post qualification.

The minimum competency level I expect from pilots joining is the following:

  • Take full responsibility for their pre-flight preparations
  • AIRLAW – understand fully the rules of right-of-way of the air
  • Take full responsibility for deciding whether or not conditions are suitable for them
  • Perform an unassisted forward launch in light conditions
  • Perform an unassisted reverse launch in strong winds
  • Assess and understand the dangers of take-off and landing areas
  • Take full responsibility for all take-off, landing and in-flight decisions

Pilots may decide not to fly during the middle of the day, due to conditions. You will not be forced to fly if you don’t wish to.  The flyable day usually goes on right until sunset.

I will discuss each pilot’s level of experience with them at the time of booking.

The guiding

I will be looking to guide from the hill on radio for the first couple of flights to see how everyone is getting on and how your take off and landings are. As the week progresses I will take to the air and help find the thermals and coach you while you are in them, hopefully with me.

I take a more hands on approach with my style of guiding wanting to mentor you and help hone your techniques rather than, the style of some guides; “Here’s the hill see you at the bottom”.

Accommodation

This will be in Manteigas. It will be self-catering, but with some many excellent and cheap restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. The rooms will be two to a room, but if you would like your own room, this can be arranged for an extra £140 for the week.

Manteigas Village

Manteigas Village

The price

Is £650

This includes:

  • Airport collection
  • Accommodation
  • Retrieves and transport to site
  • Guide for the week

Alternative activities

Portugal has a lot to offer, and even if this region is not known for its beaches, there are still plenty of activities available. River beaches and sunbathing are still valid options, and the local food is great. Climbing, trekking, hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor sports are all available. There are also plenty of historic villages and castles in the area.

Flights To Porto

On the 9th of September your flight should be booked to arrive in Porto before 1.30 pm; this is when collection from the airport will be taking place. Full details will follow on booking.

 

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