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April 2002 - Part II

Weekend 27/28th April 2002

Report from www.theyr.com

Thursday 25th April 2002

Report from Craig Byrne

    Had a fantastic first flight on new Airwave Sport.
    I did not intend to fly as far as I did because I had to pick up Emily from school. Took a thermal very low but it soon settled down to a nice climb all the way to base at 4,300asl my intention was only to fly to Blandford and get a taxi back. Arrived there still at 4000 so flew on to next village. Get there find another scummy thermal 4000 again; off to next village. Finally land on edge of Bournemouth airspace near Sturminster Marshall. Walk over road to Black Horse and have a nice cold beer while waiting for taxi, arriving home in plenty of time for the school run :o)
    Lots of others made Swanage and many more were still high over the back as I watched enviously while driving home.

Blanford glistening in afternoon sunshine


Report from Mike Bretherton

    After originally planning to go to Bell, Simon Herbert, Adrian Bishop and I went to Combe as the wind was very northerly. There was practically zero dynamic wind but thermal cycles came through at regular intervals. It was very flyable during the thermal cycles but it was very difficult to get away. Only about 2 or 3 people managed to get away all day on the crowded hill. We could have gone for it ourselves on a couple of occasions, I got 800ft ATO at one point but I don't think we would have got very far and we were not in the mood for walking.
    I also managed to clock up my 100th hour of airtime today.
(The frequency with which you send in reports I'd have expected it to be nearer 10,000hrs! DD)

Sunday 21st April 2002

Report from Paul Kember

    Arriving at 10-30am on a Sunday morning, I was amazed that nobody else was around to fly. After settling my watching friend down, I set up and went flying.
    The wind was a good constant 12-15mph, allowing 300 feet gains above takeoff. Around 1pm a second PG flier arrived, just in time to catch the best part of the day. Thermal lift was being produced from the newly ploughed landing field at the bottom. This allowed heights of over 600ft ATO extending a good distance out from the front. This is the best height gain I have ever managed at White horse. Whilst I was flying some hanglider pilots arrived to fly. Cue the turning off of the thermal lift and back to the breeze from the sea.
(No no! There really isn't any PG/HG animosity! DD)
    I managed to log just under 5 hours flying over the course of the day. The conditions finally slowed around 5.30pm, forcing a well deserved visit to the Sunray pub!

Report from Mike Bretherton

    After the BCC comp with Thames Valley and Avon was cancelled due to strong wind at Mere, Adrian Bishop, Steve Auld, Adrian Leppard, myself and a few others (who names I did not catch) tried out the Bournemouth cliffs.
    The forecast was for south force 4, but it was more like force 2 and barely scratchable. For a couple of us including me, it was our first time here and the take off looked a bit dodgy, a grassy knoll surrounded by footpaths, very shallow sloping and the main road directly behind. For those who have not flown here, you have to get over a fence, wall and steer away from a lamppost which seems to have been strategically placed to stop us using this place as a take off!
    "Oh its OK, you just need someone to give you a good push", says someone.
    Hmmmmmmm, I think I'll watch a couple of others take off first. After a couple of wind dummies make it airborne, one having to turn left to avoid the lamppost and raising their feet to get over the wall I decide I am convinced in the need to satisfy my craving for a flying fix.
    A crowd watched and gasped as my wing inflated, with a welcome push I was airborne avoiding the obstacles!
    I flew out over people walking up the path and had to avoid some more lampposts before hugging the cliff to become established in the lift band. Two glorious half hour flights, both with a top landing was the reward. For those who went down and landed on the beach, they were still rewarded with an ice cream and a ride on the cliff lift back to take off.
    Not quite as exhilarating as XC flying, but a most pleasant flying experience in a rather strange environment. Hoping for more wind next time to jump the pier gaps.

Bournemouth take-off
T/O and cliffs looking west and cliffs to the east. T/O and cliffs looking eest and cliffs to the east.
T/o at the top of the cliff path.

Friday 19th April 2002

Report from Mike Bretherton

    After a poor start on Bell (the wind went round to the SW), Simon Herbert and I went off to Ringstead where a couple of others were already flying.
    Soon we had enough height to go for the cliffs which we reached with ease, just as the coastguard helicopter came around the cliffs at our height from the east. After a few nervous moments I realised that the helicopter was doing some touch and go flying training on the lower cliffs. The helicopter was soon on its way off to sea again and we continued to the end of the cliffs in some silky smooth lift.
    With loads of height I flew further on down the cliff run and landed near Durdle Door caravan park. Simon top landed back at the Ringstead car park and was soon on his way to pick me up.
(You drop in on Durdle Door when I'm in Italy? DD)

Ringstead take-off Ringstead beach
Cliffs to west of White Nothe with helicopter obstacle path!

Sunday 14th to Friday 19th April 2002

Report from Bassano, N Italy, by Dave Daniels

    It's great to be back in Basano, NE Italy, again! The weather has yet to prove itself on a par with last year, but the forecasts are looking good!
    The most significant difference since last year is my own flying! It's taken longer than I had originally anticipated to feel totally comfortable (psychologically, that is) in the air, but yesterday it happened,
    Launch was from 2,500 above the hotel (which is only 100m from an excellent landing field!), conditions were not fantastic following the several days of torrential rain endured by the group that were here last week. The sky was perhaps 60% covered in large and lazy Cu near the mountain, fading to 40% cover out over the flats - so that's where I, and the others, headed. I managed 7km - not fantastic, perhaps, but Bob Drury managed only the same and Innes Powell only about 9km.
    For me it represented the first time that I can really say I've XC'd - linking together as I did about 4 thermals taking one to cloud base - even though that was only some 300ft ato.
    Most importantly I felt totally at ease! Not only was this in itself a great sensation, but it also freed up my mind to be able to think about the thermalling and generally enjoying the view, too.
    Hopefully there will be more to post of the coming days - and hopefully with stories of superb conditions and epic flights!

Not an exciting day - short flight in between showers.

    Again, not the most exciting of flights, but being in the top gaggle scratching on the side of a 4,000ft hill for over an hour has it's rewards!

Disappointing weather resulted in me being too eager to launch into conditions that I was in Italy to learn how best to fly from Bob Drury. So, launching 15 minutes before Bob had me too low to save when he emerged from launch.

    Thursday am
Looking good! Clear blue skies with a few promising bubbles of cu over the peaks increased the excitement.
    Great timing this time! Was only the second one to climb from launch behind Bob. Hooked into a total stonker of an 800ft/min climb to cloud base, and another, and another, and ...... then nothing when Bob went back to drag the others from t/o! :( Never mind - I still enjoyed that!  Oh - many of the rest of the group did some 35km!

    Thursday pm
Having returned to the hotel, Innes Powel took me an one other in the group on a flatlands flight almost 9km south and into wind with a long glide back to the landing field with 2,000ft to spare. Averaged some 4,500ft agl through most of the 1h15m flight - and a few micro-seconds of 1,000ft above a couple of Italian Air Force jets who I'm sure never knew we were there!  Innes: "Don't worry, Dave! The chances of being hit are really minute!"  Me: "But the chances of them hitting me in the air are much greater than on the ground". Innes "Fair point!"

Some bug got the betters of me and had me re-decorating the inside of my helmet at about 5,000ft agl after taking off from the top of Monte Grappa. Many of the rest of the group managed 50km out-and-back. I really must practice more of the joined-up paragliding!

    Great time, great week, great food, great company!  I'll be back there in 2003!

Eye in the Sky - April 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - March 2002
Eye in the Sky - 2001 roundup
Eye in the Sky - September/November 2001
Eye in the Sky - July/Augsust 2001
Eye in the Sky - June 2001
Eye in the Sky - March to May 2001
Eye in the Sky - Feb 2001
Eye in the Sky - September and October 2000
Eye in the Sky - August 2000
Eye in the Sky - July 2000
Eye in the Sky - June 2000
Eye in the Sky - May 2000