Eye in the Sky
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Saturday 26th to Monday 28th August.
Report from Dave D:
Ordinary land-lubbers will probably be recalling a pretty good bank-holiday weekend - but for paragliders it was just a tad blowy!
Finally deciding to venture out on Monday I met up with Tony on Whitesheet. Tony launched as I walked back to the car for my speed-bar - coz I was certainly not launching without one in those conditions!
Tony managed some 30+ minutes - most of which were spent trying to get back to terra-firma! Speed-bar collected and reattached - I managed a very bumpy 10 mins finally deciding to cut out the mucking about and landing at the bottom.
Tony followed me to Ringstead. Seeing Dave and Fiona departing as I turned off the main road didn't give me a lot of hope. Five or six hangies were there, but it was a triffle draughty for paragliding. Hoping that the sea-breeze component would subside, Tony and I went for a burger and a coffee returning a little later.
After a long wait - I managed to launch - but it only took a couple of beats to realise that I was in the wrong place.
With the wind strong-ish, a little westerly, and with the air VERY bumpy - one turn too deep into the eastern end of the ridge with no lift soon had me on speed-bar and big-ears to land comfortably.
Please tell me the summer has NOT ended! :(
Sunday 20th August.
Report from Dave D:
With all the Wendys giving nothing to not a lot more - you had to be a dedicated XC type to head in-land ..... and there were some, apparently. (Anyone get anywhere?)
With the sea breeze W-WSW, Kimmeridge was the only place to really consider - and the hill was full of members and Flying Frenzy students when I arrived.
Craig, Dave C-L, Brian, Dave and Fionna, Peter R (at Kimmeridge for the first time in 20 years! I didn't know Kimmeridge even existed then! DD), Everard, Brian - and several others who's names escape me - were on the hill at one time or another.
When I arrived the lift was pretty minimal - but that was not holding back Craig who was in serious tandem mode - taking some nurses from Poole hospital on sponsored flights to raise money for charity - along with a couple of sisters (of the sibling variety), sons, girl-friends, husbands, etc. The scratchy lift to begin with had Craig only managing a couple of beats with a side landing and a climb back up in return for all his efforts - but later in the afternoon some very much enjoyed, and appreciated, soaring flights were managed.
The lift not being over exciting, I postponed my first Kimmeridge flight until after I had "anchored" for the majority of Craigs 11, or so, tandem flights.
The lift became quite buoyant, causing Craig and others to big-ears to avoid top-landing in the field that was liberally covered in fresh cow-pats!
A good drink beckoned as we packed - and Craig, Teresa, Brian and myself enjoyed a fantastic meal in a nearby pub as we waited for the Sunday evening traffic to subside before making our own way home. Try it yourself, sometime - especially if you are into fish/seafood which is their speciality - The New Inn in Church Knowle.
Saturday 19th August.
Report from Dave D:
After an excursion into Bournemouth, when I got to Bell Dave and Fiona there preparing to launch - as was someone (Derek?) on a Trekking Odyssey - in a pleasant, but slightly light, NNW wind. Surprisingly few considering the conditions.
I was soon ready to launch and after a couple of testing hops followed the Odyssey across the bowl with little hight gain - and when I chased a buzzard back into the bowl he flew off more because of there being no lift than because there was a yellow Harmony on his tail - so I landed back just below take-off. The Odyssey scratched about for a few more minutes never finding lift had a pleasant walk back from the bottom of the northern end of the bowl for his efforts.
Others who arrived included Keith W, Craig B (with Teresa acting as tandem ballast), Dave (with the blue Bandit), Peter R, Mike A, Alan B, Sean (with the yellow FreeX something) and a couple of others. (We must get everyone to wear name badges! Especially since we still do not have helmet stickers - do we Jerry!)
Jane and James paid a brief visit, but left for Whitesheet where Gary and Richard were ... apparently. (Get any flying, guys?).
Several scratchy flights followed .... and then I launched - to be followed by several others when they saw me shoot up to +450' in little over a minute - the beginning of a 55min flight. Trouble was - I still haven't really worked out these thermals - someone else could have made far more impressive use of the thing ...... but I am improving.
At about this time Peter, Dave and the Odyssey got away - Peter to land on the boundary of the village cricket match in Shillingstone - only to be offered a lift back by one of the spectators!
Dave (on his 1st XC - congratulations!) and the Odyssey reached the outskirts of Blandford. If the experience of the XC was not enough - Dave really showed off by walking out of the field just as Alan B was driving past on his way to Bell - and both he and the Odyssey were back on the hill in minutes!
A lot of hanging about followed - but only the sitting/chatting type.
I went off to Ringstead - since we could see the sea breeze convergence clouds just south of Bell - and arrived there at the same time as Nigel S and we both crossed to the cliffs - Nigel by his usual "plenty of height to spare" route - and me watching the power lines pass only a few metres below just before you get to the low cliff by the bungalow.
Returning to the ridge after about 45 minutes, I managed to exercise someone's dog as it chased me about before top landing.
As I walked out of the field, ex member Richard Z (who CP'd about the same time as me on the I-o-W) and his girlfriend Dianne were ready to ask Nigel and I the drill on the hill.
Craig also arrived about this time - and whilst Nigel and I made the cliffs again, shortly after I left the lift became insufficient for the tandem - let alone any more crossings to the cliff.
A long report - for a very pleasant day .... for me!
Saturday 12th August.
Report from Shippo :
Kimmeridge. Flying Frenzy are out in force, good to see them. It's one of those days, thermic with a good S/W blowing. Everyone is having fun. I fly for 5hrs. landing three times, once for lunch, twice to wind my watch!! Highlight of the day for me was flying to the far end of the ridge where another pilot shouted across,"WANNA FLY THE CLIFFS?" "YES" I yelled back and off we went sinking all the way picking up lift at the cliff top, we then did the run to Kimmeridge Bay turning at the tower and heading back to land below end of the ridge. We packed, walked up, launched and flew back to take off. A first for me and Andy a visiting pilot. What a difference a day makes. Yes, next day it rained.
Report from Gary Vaughan :
Had a great day at Barton last Saturday. Loads of lift for hours and hours.
Report from Dave D:
My sympathies to anyone else caught in all that traffic on the M3 (the jam was from J4 to J12 apparently!) and clogging all the roads within a 10 mile radius of the New Forest Show south of Lyndhurst. It took some working around - but I managed it in the end. The only consolation was he roof down on the car, that glorious blue sky and the sunshine beating down on me ...... and knowing there to be almost no wind I also knew that I was probably not missing too much in the way of flying!
Eventually - far too many gallons of petrol later - I arrived at Ringstead.
Keith W was out on White Nothe along with a hang glider. Jerry S was removing thorns from his flying suit - the result of some passionate embrace of a gorse bush on White Horse earlier - but beaming after his first ever successful flight to the cliffs complete with a return to top land. A couple of other HGs were preparing to launch, as was another PG.
Within a few shakes of a paraglider's riser, I was unpacked and wondering if I might manage my first successful crossing to the cliffs.
An interesting wobbly-footed launch had me rising nicely away from the hill, +80ft had me heading toward the cliffs in slight lift almost the whole way there, and then up to White Nothe.
Jerry followed and returned to top land again.
There wasn't an enormous amount of lift out there, but a comfortable +315ft had me looking forward to a top landing back by the car - which I managed after logging 40mins.
OK - so loads of you have done it umpteen times with your eyes closed - but it still represented a step on my ladder of paragliding achievement.
A second attempt had me arriving comfortably at the cliffs - but, alas, I didn't manage the return.
Reaching my car after the walk back up, I saw Nigel S and a couple of other PGs launch - and yet again Nigel showed just how damned easy he can make the whole thing!
Tuesday 8th August
Report from Shippo
Travelled to Ringstead with Mike Shippam. Arrive to find one hang glider pilot rigging, It's Wayne Bevan, Chair of Sky Surfers. Mist had just cleared and wind was blowing at 15 mph. We are soon in the air and off to the cliffs. We enjoy a good 3/4hr flight and head back to the hill. It' slow going as wind was now top side of 20. Mike lands on top, I go for the back field. We pack and leave for the 75 mile drive home. Looking across to the 'White Nothe' we see Wayne enjoying himself high out over the sea. As we drive down the road we are passed by another hang glider pilot so Wayne will have company. (Thanks, Don! Nice to have a new contributor here ..... in fact - nice to have ANY contributors!)
The Bevan Report (Am I showing my age? DD)
Tuesday Aug 8th.
Ringstead SW 0-5mph. Modelers unable to break through the inversion which set up about 20ft ato! Scouts had a camp fire & the smoke rose about 10ft agl before drifting horizontally! Decided not to fly.
Wednesday Aug 9th.
Ringstead SW. 10-15 then 20+. Joined Don 'shippo' & Mike Shipham on the cliffs for a pleasant flight. Showed them how to fly properly-then again I was on a HG! Got about 800ft ato. The wind picked up & they went home only to be joined by Neville Almond who was flying an Eclipse (rigid wing) & he p###ed all over me in the 20-25mph breeze. The rigid has a sink rate of 130fpm & fly's around @ 30+, as for the glide 17/20-1!! needless to say I was impressed. 2hrs airtime.
Thursday Aug 10th.
Ringstead SW 10-12. Enjoyed a late afternoon flight of 1hr 15mins, reaching a height of 500 ato in gentle lift. I had the air to myself as no-one else turned up.
Friday Aug 11th.
Ringstead SSW 8-10. Brian Metcalf enjoyed hopping up & down on the 'home ridge' whilst I maintained 130ft below take off on the cliffs. Couldn't make it onto the main cliff & after 17mins managed to squeeze into the scouts camp site for a decent landing.
Saturday Aug 12th.
Ringstead SW 10-12. Enjoyed the company of other HG & PG pilots although it got busy with 5 gliders in the air all struggling to get above 350ft ato. (I thought we all managed the narrow lift band pretty well! DD). Nigel Martin flew a Laminar 14 whilst his friend flew a dual HG with passenger. They made an excellent landing at the scout camp after a 40minute flight. Logged another 2hrs 20minutes.
All flights done on a Klassic 14 hang glider which was on loan from Simon Murphy who wants some hard cash from me!!! Wayne Bevan.
(Many thanks, Wayne, for some new input to these pages - much appreciated. Nice to have some HG news, too! DD)
(PS - are there any more jobs going where you work?)
Sunday 6th August.
Report from Dave D:
9:00am - Bell Hill - Blue sky, sunshine, a 9mph NW wind ..... and an advancing wall of cloud a few miles off to the NW, the associated front killing the wind.
Guiseppe and ZZ arrived soon after, and gradually Bell Hill "car park" filled to 33 cars at one point.
Several flights by almost everyone, Gary P, Dave M, Adrian B and Gary M amongst the many to get away. A red-ribbon who arrived with Peter S started the day with a few top-to-bottoms, and ended the day with two long soaring flights. There were two tandems on the hill, and Craig B took Teresa B on her first XC. Dave B-K slipped away for his first XC managing 16km with visits to the 2000'ato cloud-base en-route. Congratulations Dave.
Sunday 6th August.
Report from Adam Franks:
Arrived around 13h00 to find Colin and Jonathon in the air. Had a few 10 minute flights in some lively thermals. After lunch things improved, and spent most of the rest of the day in the air, until around 18h30. Rather bumpy at times, but with only 5 pilots max in the air great fun! Max height gains around 300ft ATO. Jonathon was still up when we left!
Report from Dave D:
8:00am - Arrive Bell - wind NNE. 8:35am - Monks Down - a quick 5 scratchy minutes. 10:30am - Winklebury - a couple of 10 minutes flights, and a visit from a Mike Ellis (if I remember correctly) revisiting the site he started HGing back in the mid 70s, and with some awesome 10k cloud-base pics from the Canadian Rockies ... where he now lives. 1:00pm - had to get the keys back from my cousin who had been borrowing the caravan at Durdle Door - and manage a 10 minute flight on the sea breeze there. 14:30 - Ringstead - 16mph with 18+ gusts - nobody there - not even HGs! 13:15pm - Bell with far too many people to recall - but there were 23 cars, the Robinson-mobile scooter, and ZZ's van! Ten canopies in the air when I got there, several had got away - Jane E had already made her second getaway - and called later to say she was in Corfe, and Dave M had got so near to home he stayed there. Guiseppe demonstrated how to stay in the air all day.
The rather gusty conditions when I arrive had me sat in the sun for an hour, followed by a 58min flight.
Friday 4th August.
Report from Peter S:
I went to Coombe Friday afternoon. No other Wessex members there, but it was very busy with what seemed like the entire list of Nationals pilots - names like Simon Oliphant, Michel Carnet, Graham Steel and Alison Maddock. The wind was way off to the W and I was beginning to wish I'd gone to Bell. However, the reliable 4 o'clock thermal came through and saw several gaggles leave the hill. The drift was east - across the hill! I was in the last gaggle to leave with Simon Oliphant, Karl Ford, Michel Carnet and an unknown pilot on a purple wing. After about 18km it was just me and Karl left flying from our group. We were getting low and desperate when Karl decided to call it a day and land. I followed, thinking that a least we could both have a chat and arrange a lift, but as I turned into the landing field at about 200ft AGL I blundered into a thermal. After a lot of work I was at cloud-base again - sorry Karl. Another thermal took me to Basingstoke - It was strange looking down on all those tower blocks from 3000ft. You don't get views like this in Dorset. This was the last thermal and I landed near Lasham (just missed the gliding field) at about 6:00pm for about 34km. One of the best flights I've had. I just wish I'd had a camera.
Report from Mike A:
EVERYONE was at Bell from about midday on - all the club stalwarts, too numerous to mention. I arrived about twoish to find six wings high in the air all of which had gone by the time I got to launch: all the usual vehicles were abandoned there - Lemmings.uk, Keith's 4WD, Andy's, the Robinsonmobile, etc etc. I flew for half an hour in company with Guiseppe, Everard, and others before the wind fell light and I was lucky to scratch back to the slopeside. (Everard, irritatingly, seems to have achieved in about a week of hard work with his PG, what it took me about two years to attain! But then, all my instructors have said that I was a slow learner!) So there I am decked and scoffing a banana when suddenly there are wings high in the sky again. By now the vehicles are double banked: Brian, Craig, Richard Hollins (?) a guest from the Condors, Jeremy M and others were on site. Another mass launch saw good height gains, and with 1500 ft I went for it. I only got to Winterborne Anderson but it was fun, and, having been retrieved by SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) we returned to the hill about 1730ish to find pilots pouring back from all over Dorset: from what I heard, the Winterbornes must have been LITTERED with paragliders. Finally, to cap a perfect day, Dave Moores gallantly offered SWMBO a flight on his dual, which she accepted and thoroughly enjoyed. (So now I should be OK for a few more retrieves!)
Eye in the Sky - July 2000
Eye in the Sky - June 2000
Eye in the Sky - May 2000