Eye in the Sky

Your Flying News Notice Board
Send me your news .... and photos.

PS. These pages DO accept contributions from other members!
Put your fingers to your keyboards and get typing!  Hang glider pilots too!
July 2000.

Sunday 30th July.

    BBQ Day! Up early and out to the hills! Good old Wendy! Portland "NW", Compton "W", Westbury "SW" ! Other than some cocky response like "Piedrahita", where would you head for?
    A drive past Whitesheet looked uninterestingly NW, but round the corner at Winklebury it was W! At Bell I was heartened to discover I was NOT the only person on Wessex hills! Jim C and Phill S and one other were already there, and the wind was light and slightly off to the W - Peter R, Dave and Fiona B-K, Craig B, and a few others were soon all poised to launch ..... if only that windsock would come around a little! Several scouting flights were done and then a longish wait until the sky was full of canopies! Peter R vanished off to the east, and the other 12 or so canopies were spread in all directions and altitudes! I managed 30 minutes
(putting to bed the ghosts of the previous day) before we were all back on the hill .... for a long long wait.
In disbelief that anyone could be flying, the sight of a Gary P approaching from the SW was at first thought to be a paramotor!  Gary was just paying us a flying visit .. from Cowdown! A cool 19k!
Bell continued to look as though we had seen and enjoyed all that it was going to offer, and as others departed I went to Ringstead.
    When I arrived, John A was landing in the top field, another HG was unpacking, and the wind was a little fresh. Apparently Tracy and Peter K had been around for some while earlier - but left due to strong winds.
    Evening was now approaching, and there was a chance the wind would ease. Martin F arrived and proved it was PG-flyable by making a quick out-and-back to White Nothe. I launched a few minutes later, but the winds toward the cliff were too W and too strong to make flying the cliffs a sensible move - so a bottom landing was in order and a walk back up the hill .... with Martin and the HG flying about overhead.
    The HG was impressive - he was all over the sky in every direction and at good height!  Nice flight, whoever you were!

30+ people attended the BBQ where there was loads of food for our £8 - and good company and conversation to be enjoyed.

Saturday 29th July.

    A brilliant blue sky and WNW had me off to Bell - but at the hill it was definitely W and nobody else in sight. Jane and James were about to enter the gate as I was leaving for Whitesheet. A phone call had be parked under the hill for long enough to see that one of them had a canopy out of it's bag and the wind was back on the hill, so I went back up to investigate. Jane was trying out the wind, but it was soon evident that the NW was a temporary event.
    The rest of the day I spent at Whitesheet - but where was everyone else? (I fear someone is trying to tell me something - always the perfect hill with nobody in sight!). 

 .. there - I told you!  That was what it was like at Whitesheet ALL day!

    Several lonely flights later, something grabbed hold of me and my canopy and spat me out some 20 to 30 seconds later and a few hundred feet higher - still not really sure what it was - but I AM sure I didn't like it!
    A visit to Bell later found it deserted with a gentle breeze onto the hill for a quick 15min flight.

Sunday 23rd July.

So .... THIS is what is meant by "Cliff Top Rotor"!

Sunday 16th July to Thursday 20th July.

Report from Dave M:
    Sunday 16th
saw the whole of the Wessex membership (or so it seemed...) at Monks Down in almost nil wind conditions.
(Other than Martin F, myself and another - I got 3+hours at White Horse! DD) Occasional thermals caused chaos in the air and on the ground as everyone lobbed off into them all at once. Interesting at times and certainly kept me on the ground a few times when there were climbs to be had. Eventually a good looking climb came through, marked by Peter King, and hundreds of pilots went for him... Initially a gaggle of 5, this climb ended up with just Pete Robinson and myself in, slowly (oh god, how so slowly...) climbing away. Base eventually at 4750 QNH, then a glide, a climb, and gravity hauled me down near Winterbourne Whitechurch for 22km. Narrowly escaping death by Mondeo as I landed on the A354, I watched as Pete did his tantric-thermalling thing and disappeared south, landing near Affpuddle. Good day from an unpromising start.
    Monday 17th I went to work
(Wow! Such dedication DD). Steve assures me it was great at Bell, with lots of people away, led by Pete R just short of Swanage, Adrian Coombe and Steve beyond Wareham and others all over the shop. Bugger.
    Tues 18th and I was at Winklebury with a roll of yellow ripstop tape and a pair of scissors (don't ask...) and flew briefly before moving to Whitesheet and flying for an hour and a half in bouncy thermic conditions, although I was never tempted to go over the back in the weak stuff on offer. A late move to Bell where I learned Steve had just earned some air miles and then took off into a good climb almost straightaway. After a promising start the thermal lost some shape and grew weak, although it kept going whilst I watched Pete R and Pete S climb out from Bell in the thermal after mine. From there to Wareham it was either good/great/crap/sinky/lifty for all of us alternately and we lost Pete S just before Corfe. Pete and I had climbed to over 5 and a half grand by now, a UK p.b. for me, and looking at smoke from heath fires we could see the sea-breeze was howling below us. We were high enough to be well above it and my glide took me to Swanage, whilst Pete (the wily fox...) had just enough height to sneak over the ridge near Corfe and ridge-soar the sea breeze down to land at Knitson, just short of Swanage. Never give up! If your feet aren't on the floor, you're still flying!
    Weds 19th and the fun continued. Pete R and I again (people will start to talk...) dribbling away from Bell in another weak but constant climb. Looooooong climb to base at 5500 QNH and we met the sea breeze just short of Wareham, dropping us stright down with no forward speed at all. Bugger.
    Thurs 20th. Guess where? Bell. All day waiting then 3.30 pm and off we go. Adrian Coombe found it, we all got in and left. And it wasn't a bus, it was a thermal. A whacking great big, hairy, straw-filled mother of a thermal the size of Dorset! With the cores peaking at 16 up, averaging 10 up, and fairly constant around the centre of the cloud it was a groovy South African flashback.... Roll on winter...! After base I made a disastrous choice and left the big, obvious cloud to fly in the sunny bit and deservedly bombed out after 12km. Meanwhile, Mike Adkins was on his way to his first ever XC, getting over 20km to land with David Franklin near Wool. Eat humble-pie Moores, a big one with cream. NEVER LEAVE LIFT, FOOL.
    Apologies to the others that got away, but haven't been mentioned, but I had a great week. Four flights, 90+km, Swanage for the first time, highest UK altitude. Great flying shared with good people, and four times I had that fantastic first-climb feeling when you turn expectation into reality and set off on another journey to god-knows where, on a lilo.
After 10 years, this sport just gets better and better.
(And now we all wish we had a high-pressure career path like yours Dave! DD)

Sunday 16th July to Tuesday 18th July.

Report from Steve A:

    Well, what a week this has been... It looks like summer is finally here - and the flying from Bell Hill has been thick and fast... If you weren't there, then I am sorry to say, you missed out on some excellent XC days... 
    The weather actually started becoming quite good on Sunday 16th but with very light conditions - Dave Moores and Pete Robinson got away over the back of Monksdown for respectable distances, but not much else happened that day that I know of. 
    But on Monday the weather was better - slightly more breeze - and despite being off to the right at Bell, several people decided that that was the place to be. Even before I'd arrived, Stewart Martin, Pete Robinson and Dave Franklin had already 'gone for it' - Stewart landing near Puddletown, Pete at Harmans Cross (almost Swanage but not _quite_) and Dave at Moreton.
    When I arrived with Tom Keene - who had never been XC in his life - Adrian Coombe was soaring fairly low back and forth. He came and landed and gave me the gen about the wind etc. and took off again. It wasn't long before I was in the air, too, followed by Tom a few minutes later. After feeling the air for a while I caught a thermal and went round and up - Adrian scooting over towards me.. The upshot was that we both went off over the back with this thermal - Adrian out-climbing me once he'd found the true core of the big fat lazy thermal we were in... The last I saw of Tom was he was still soaring Bell... I concentrated on going up - and so it wasn't until several minutes later that I spotted Tom about 2000 feet below me and apparently hedge hopping - though I found out later he was really quite high at some stages. The highest I got to was 5300ft ASL - higher than I've ever managed before!!! 
    I couldn't watch him all the time - like I said - concentrating on going up, but every time I saw him, I was amazed he was still there - he looked like he was about to land for ages... And so he did finally, at about half a mile short of the A35, near Bere Regis.. His first XC and a very respectable 13km. A fine effort - and I think he wants to do it all again asap... 
Adrian kind of went off on his own and I lost sight of him for a while, somewhere around Bere Regis. In fact he was last seen considerably lower than me and I thought maybe he had gone down but, as I was on a long glide toward Wareham, I spotted him again, low down near Stoborough, which is where we both ended up landing, though half a mile or so apart... About 26km, by my reckoning. It was excellent fun - I basically did it with two major thermals and a little bit of lift over Wareham - but when I hit the incoming sea breeze there were no more thermals and no lift - so landed in a field just east of Stoborough. 
And the great thing was, that Pete Robinson had phoned his wife to get her to meet him at Wareham with the car and he'd also phoned for a taxi from Harmans Cross - where he'd landed earlier. On his journey in the taxi he had spotted first Adrian coming down, and then myself at Stoborough - so after meeting his wife, came back and found us both and so we all had a direct lift straight back to Bell... Brilliant... Six pilots at Bell that day, and six got away!!! Not bad, eh? 
    And so the week continued - if your boss was so stingy as to refuse you a day off this week, get a new job!!! Tuesday was also looking like a classic day. When I arrived at Bell there were several people about - and some had departed over the back already !!! So I got ready, hoping to repeat, if not better, my previous days flight. Unfortunately that's where it all went slightly wrong for me... I'd decided - due to the very light winds - to launch slightly higher up the hill than I normally do - closer to the cars. 
    I was caught, apparently, by the English equivalent of a 'dust-devil'... No dust involved, but a very sudden, very violent gust that whipped me off my feet when I already had the canopy about three-quarters of the way 'up'. Before I had a chance to do anything about it I was lifted slightly off my feet and was going with it when I slammed into a Volvo that happened to be in the way. I was told I was doing about 20-25mph when I hit it near the front and then bounced along the side and over the back of it. 
    Fortunately everything came to a stop then and I didn't get dragged through the fence - but I was pretty well bashed about and there was no way I was going to try and stand up. So for the second time in less than a year I had that somewhat embarrassing feeling I get when I'm the centre of attention under those circumstances. Various people on the hill came to my aid - and I'd like to say a sincere thank you to everyone there. The emergency services were called and not very long after I could hear the sound of a helicopter landing. The paramedics checked me over and then got me loaded on a board. It was around then that two police cars came up the track at a rate of knots - wanting to know where the RTA was? (Road Traffic Accident, for the un-initiated). They'd got a slightly garbled message, apparently. Once I'd been strapped on the board securely, I was transferred to the helicopter - slid in through the rear until my head and shoulders popped out into the light of the cockpit. 
    So I was whisked away for the eight minute flight to Dorchester hospital. On the way I remember we did pass under one or two good looking clouds and I felt the aircraft moving about a bit... Being on a morphine drip by now, I did wonder vaguely why the pilot didn't go round in a circle... 
    After being examined, ultra-sound scanned and X-rayed, it turns out that I only have a couple of broken ribs and the left half of my back - from shoulder blade to hip - is pretty well bruised. Quite lucky, really. I managed to escape from Dorchester this morning, Thursday. 
    But the flying went on - I might have been out of it - but that same afternoon, Dave Moores who arrived just after I had ignominiously left, took off and went off on yet another XC - his total for the week is now over 90km - and there's still a couple of days left. He told me that today, whilst adding another 12km to his tally, his vario peaked at 1600fpm and was a steady 1000fpm up in the core of a thermal - along with quite a lot of straw floating up past him. Yep - it's harvest time - and this, combined with the sudden hot weather, is sparking off thermals rather a lot just at the moment... 
    And another first at Bell this week!!! Mike Adkins made his first XC and at around 23km I bet he's still grinning now!!! 
Hopefully more details from him soon ??? Anyhow, that'll do for now - looking forward to a decent night's sleep tonight... 
    See ya back on the hill very soon, Steve

Sunday 16th July.

Report from Dave D:
Well, anyone who was at Bell for breakfast would have had a wasted journey. Don't blame me, though - the met chart was exactly as predicted - very widely spaced isobars running north-south with the high to the west. Therefore north-westerlies, or northerlies if it strengthened. Unfortunately there is apparently a new type of wind none of us have ever seen before - one that runs from low pressure to high pressure. No - I kid you not! NE it was at 7:30am, then east, .... then South east and then South - but those were because I was on the Dorset cliffs and it started to sea breeze a little as early as 9:30am.
    SE was fun - gave me chance to investigate the potential of a little bowl!  It worked ok, considering the location and size - it gave me the best part of 30 minutes in very light SE, anyway. Very small lift band, though - could perhaps squeeze three pgs in there.
    The funniest part was trying to encourage the young cows to move away, but their curiosity was greater than their fear of a paraglider in "wall" mode only inches from their noses. As I lowered the wall, all 50 or so cows were peering at me over the top - totally unperturbed. Had I had my camera in my hand at that moment - I could have won this site's photo-comp!
Back to paragliding....
    So - now the wind was in the south - off to White Horse.
    To say there was nobody there would simultaneously be a truism and a whopping lie! Sure, there were no paragliders there
(why not!?!?!),  but there were one hell of a lot of "new age travelers" occupying the last half of the lane. I paused to contemplate the situation, saw a car ahead by-pass them through the field and head up the track to launch. I followed.
Two other cars were parked by the gate, and I joined them .... assuming them to belong to paragliders.
The car that had gone ahead of me was in the launch field - taking lunch to a couple of lads cutting the grass and they said that parking where I had would be OK. But who's were the other two cars?  No sign of anyone - and a perfectly smooth 10mph blowing from bang on south!
    I launched and immediately saw a couple of families picnicking ON the horse!  So I was the only one there for some 90 minutes - great flying, and thermic, too! Such a shame there was nobody there with the skills to use the thermals properly. To say I thermalled to 400ft would be only one interpretation on just "finding myself" up there.
    Martin F had seen me from afar and headed my way, only to wonder if the lift had vanished when I vanished from view as I  practiced a couple of  top-landings.,Someone from Dorchester joined us too.
    A total of 3hrs 15mins for me!  SO WHERE WAS EVERYONE?

Saturday 15th July.

Report from Dave D:
Northerly = Monks Down. When I got there at about 9:45am (having visited Bell and confirmed that the wind was indeed northerly), the wind was 15/19mph - but slightly to the NW. I was checking the wind when John H arrived. With the NW component in the wind we went over to Winklebury only to find the wind was bang on N! Life's like that.
    Gusts of 30mph and a promise of the winds easing, we sat in our cars and waited and saw several people drive up to Monks and drive away soon after - Dave M and John A were among them.
    John and I moved back to Monks since even if there was no flying whilst we sat it out - at lease it appeared there would be a slow coming and going to keep us amused.
    Craig B,  Fiona and Dave B-K, Stuart M, Gary M, Ian O, Jeremy O, Peter R and Alan B were amongst the paragliders that came, sat  and waited varying amounts of time - Duncan (?) and Phil S were the hang gliding representatives.
    Duncan flew and landed after about 15 minutes, Stuart flew and vanished over the back, then Phil screwed skyward at about 3:30pm and was still climbing as he passed over Stuart 3k back, and then was never seen again!
(not before I left at 7:45, at least!)
    The wind eased (or that's what we told Craig) as he tandemed his wife into the sky. Gary M followed and managed to fool Craig into believing that he was flying the ridge only for them all to beat a hasty retreat over the trees and off to the south.
A lot more sitting about was followed by an influx of hang-gliders that had been attempting to fly Bell. This included John A and Bob D who both managed longish flights on the hill, and were swiftly followed by paragliders as the winds started to ease.  Fiona and Dave, started the pg trend, followed by two others and then myself - none of us getting much over 30 minutes ...... if you count the very scratchy bits at the very end as the wind  died completely.
    Now the forecast says NW for tomorrow. Breakfast at Bell everyone?

Saturday 8th July.

Report from Dave D:
As soon as I awoke I knew I'd probably missed the best of the morning and sped off under blue skies and fluffy white clouds to Bell . As each mile passed by the clouds darkened and filled in, and I feared the wind was strengthening also.
Usually the sight of an airborne paraglider as one approaches a site sends a blip of adrenaline around the system - but not when it's bucking in the manner being suffered by Don S!
Being a little pinned and bucked around is one thing - breaking your speed-bar line whilst being a little pinned and bucked around is another, and one that had Don big-ears-ing onto the more gentle slope above the gate.
Ian O and Jeremy O were driving down the track looking for Don as I started to drive up, and Steve A arrived soon after with a new member (who's name I forget - sorry!). A longish chat later, we all departed.
Driving down the lane I met Alan B coming the other way asking "Why are you leaving?" and after explaining the conditions we drove to Winklebury in case it was any better there. For the hang-glider it looked fine - but we paragliders went home.
(Did anyone get to fly when conditions eased later? I awoke from an afternoon snooze too late :(  DD)


Report from Dave M:
I flew Whitesheet briefly with two visiting pilots (whose names I forget, sorry!) in fairly breezy conditions. Over the back at 500ft ATO got me a 3km XC and a lift back with a friendly hangie pilot (Thankyou!), who, I believe, went on to Winklebury to have a dangle. Stuart M. and Pete R. got away from Batcombe for 12 and 14 km respectively. No prizes for guessing site (and pilots) of the day...!

Friday 7th July.

Report from Dave D:
Unlike the day before - it was overcast and windy when I peered up at the sky from my bed as I awoke. The tree tops were twitching about nicely. I became excited! Eventually I could see enough detail in the cloud base to determine a wind direction and  ..... damn it! ...... it was NE!
    An excursion to the East of Winchester to look at Mercury only confirmed what we had already determined - it was NE - but gusting 25mph+. The only strange thing was the total lack of hang gliders at Mercury when conditions were just perfect for them.
    Paul and I went for some lunch where his optimism continued to promise better conditions later in the day.
Passing by home we checked every TAFF we could locate and then headed to Monk's for a lighter Northerly or  NNE that was Paul's interpretation.
    Arriving at the site, only the "Northerly" part of Paul's forecast was in evidence as John A rigged his hang glider and launched into the strong and gusty winds.
    After about 15 minutes of watching a mightily pissed-off buzzard performing a reenactment of the battle of Britain with John, a visiting paraglider (sorry - forgot your name) with 150 hours was a far more suitable (and willing) wind-dummy to check out our belief that conditions were easing than myself. Watching him creep forward and up on a much faster canopy than my Harmony - I was more than happy to watch him check the conditions!
    Conditions did ease - and Paul, the visitors wife/girl-friend and I all launched and had some enjoyable flying in conditions that improved as the clouds thinned and the sun shone. The visitor was annoyed with himself for not leaving his car keys, since otherwise he might have headed off toward the music festival at Tollard Royal.
    John eventually bottom landed and packed away the hang glider, the visitors landed and left for the music festival (the reason they were in the area), and soon both Paul and I had landed, also.
    Packed and about to leave, we decided that conditions were still too good to head for the pub - and agreed that we both may one day be thankful for practicing some of those tricky (for pilots with our relatively few hours) top landings in typical Monk's Down lifty conditions may one day. We enjoyed 45 minutes (finishing some time after 9pm!!) of top landing and "close to the deck maneuvering" practice - and to be honest, I REALLY enjoyed the fun we had doing just that! An enjoyable drink and bite to eat was had at the pub down in Berwick StJohn. 

    My friend, Paul, thanks The Mighty Wessex for his three days on our sites (three days, three sites and three counties!) - and I know he would be more than happy to welcome any of us visiting Hong Kong ... providing his duties with Cathay Pacific permit.

Thursday 6th July.

Report from Dave D:
An overcast and windless day in Winchester did not bode well. A call to Steve A at lunch time to check if the sea breeze was working met with a positive response, although only light.
When we got to Barton, Robert D was monitoring the light breeze as Luigi walked back up from the bottom.
Paul did a little ground handling to get a feel for the cliff top conditions and a little later Luigi set off, followed by Robert and then Brian. After a short while Brian landed for warmer clothing, Paul took off and then myself.
All was fine for some 20 minutes or so - and then the sea breeze just switched off leaving Robert, Luigi and myself with a walk back up from the bottom.
    Luigi's promise that the breeze would return after about half an hour was unfounded - and we all set off for the meeting later in the evening.

Wednesday 5th July.

Report from Dave D:
Paul, a friend over for a few days from Hong Kong, and I met up at Westbury in the early afternoon. No reason to be at Westbury with a gentle NE blowing, really, other than it was half way between our two starting points.
    Having sat and chatted for a short while, and realised there was never going to be anything happening there - I had a few quick words with Alan B who, even if he's not flying, was much nearer the coast than I to determine if a sea-breeze was running.
With a suitable - if somewhat guarded - response from Alan, we headed off to Ringstead.
It's an un-nerving thing, on such a day, to be playing follow-the-leader on the over-crowded A350 on what might prove to be a wasted journey.
    Things looked a little promising as we approached the coast - although I'm not sure Paul was exactly sure how close we were - as there was a definite replica of the Dorset coast line in the join between the blue sky over the sea and the clouds over the land.
As we reached the top of the hill up to Ringstead, I was relieved to see a couple of yellow canopies spread out - one just lifting ready to launch.
Paul and I had been using our flying radios to maintain contact on the drive down - and a yelp of anticipation was evidence that he had spotted the same.
    The two yellow canopies turned out to be those of Nigel S
(there's no real way of making that read as a surprise, is there!), and the other - I was shortly to discover - that of a Mike (never got the last name).
    By this time Nigel was already beating up and down the ridge in light winds, and as Paul and I took our kit out the cars, Mike was caught by a gust, lost his footing, and suffered a drag of only some 15-20ft.
    Well - it was only light winds - nothing significant - pilot and canopy came to a halt with no damage done ... or so we thought.
    Paul and I continued to put on boots as we readied ourselves when Mike - clutching left wrist in right hand - came toward us and asked if we would mind packing up his canopy since he had just broken his wrist!
    In many circumstances, after what could only be called a minor drag, one would begin to think that someone was being a little over dramatic - but then we discovered Mike was an anesthetist at Dorchester Hospital. In this situation one easily gives the individual the benefit of the doubt in their diagnosis ...... especially when my St.Johns Ambulance first aid certificate is 35 years old!
    Lesson for the day - PLF! even from 0ft! Tuck in them arms, elbows and hands!
Worst luck of all - Mike has just transferred to Dorchester Hospital for four months, started there today, and this was his first outing in the Wessex area.  He left trying to think of a suitable non-paragliding incident to which he would attribute the wrist! Let's hope his wrist mends in time for him to enjoy our area before he leaves! Hopefully he might still manage to make it to the meeting tomorrow.
    Oh - yeah - the flying bit......
    Nigel demonstrated one or more of the following .... (a) he's one hell of a lot better at paragliding than me, (b) a Bagheera is in a totally different league than my Harmony,  and (c)  he can get to the cliffs (with good height) when there is no apparent lift ...... providing a couple of rabbits fart at the appropriate moment!  Just a personal and (as yet) unproven theory of mine!  Well - it could be all three!
    Paul and I scratched about a bit on the (aeromodeller free) ridge - but we enjoyed that anyway.

Tuesday 4th July.

Report from Dave D:
Saw a handful of pilots - and they were certainly NOT scratching ......... as I flew out from Madrid over Piedrahita!!!! Now I'm really upset!

    Anecdote of the day, week or month ..... 
    As we landed at Heathrow, Joseph - 5 year old bi-lingual
(don't you hate that?) Spanish boy in the seat in front of me - asked his (Irish) mother ... "Are we in England?"  "Yes" replied mum.  "Where's the sun?" asked Joseph.

Monday 3rd July.

Report from Dave M:
Saw a handful of pilots scratching at Barton but it never really got good....
(Time to get a fresh supply of midge repellant? DD)

Sunday 2nd July.

Report from Dave M:
Gary, Stuart and I were at Corton Denham and flew in increasingly turbulent conditions until it got too strong and we all landed. The wind stayed too strong and eventually we left. Phone calls to the coast gave us reports of not enough/very light winds and I think some people flew at Kimmeridge and Ringstead (?). Gary and I flew later in the evening at Bulbarrow and landed because it was suspiciously lifty, and cu-nims all around the horizon...!

Sábado 1 Julio.

(I'm updating this from my hotel room in Madrid (via the mobile phone) - I can see Piedrahita (or too damn close to it - from my window - but I have to work:(  DD)

Report from Mike A:
In the early afternoon I was able to save Jeremy Mortimer a tramp up to White Horse where the wind had gone too far to the west, so we both drove to Ringstead where there was a 12mph breeze and no other flyers. We were soon joined by John Porter and later by Nigel Smith, and finally Steve Auld and Tom (sorry - didn't catch your surname).
    The breeze eased and it didn't look as though anyone was going to get to the cliffs, but eventually Nigel chanced his luck, followed by Steve. Nigel's yellow Bagheera disappeared below the cliffs for long periods, but he ultimately managed to scratch enough height to return to the ridge: poor auld Steve wasn't so lucky and finished up with a long sweaty walk back. 
I wasn't too lucky either, in that on my third launch, with everything normal and under control, I had just left the ridge when the whole right hand side of the Allegra tucked and in a split second it had spun through 180 degrees and dumped me back on the ridge: fortunately, I had not gained much height, and I managed to throw my legs up into the air as I piled in so that the full impact was absorbed by my substantial (Thank God!) SupAire airbag.
    I was not hurt - nor even shaken, but Tom, who had seen the incident from the air, said it looked like a hospital case! Both Nigel (who knows the site very well) and the aeromodellers, said the slope wasn't working properly and something strange was going on. I had two more enjoyable flights after that, but the inexplicable collapse gave me pause for thought!


Report from Dave M:
We were at Ballard early, but although we flew it was off to the SW a bit so we moved to Knitson. Keith W, Jim C and I flew in fairly windy conditions and some good thermic activity. Climbs to base at 700ato were got and eventually I went over the back to land in Studland after only 3.5km! Not far but better than nothing!
(Especially if you landed on the nudist beach! DD) We moved to Kimmeridge and were joined by Gary P. and flew until 8pm when cloud base came down to smother those still flying.... It was fairly good for awhile during the day, and we probably got a couple of hours each, with some thermal activity and climbs to 200ft now and then...

Eye in the Sky - June 2000
Eye in the Sky - May 2000