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June 2002 - Part 1 ... mainly


Saturday 15th June 2002

Report from Matthew Charlesworth ( HangGlider Contributor of the Year!)

    A promising weather report on Friday night led to six (yes you read that correctly) hangliders rigged and ready at the take off at Ringstead. The roads were quiet as apparently there was a football match on or something. Phil (ZZ) was off first and I followed with good lift all the way out to the cliff. Gary Dear, John Alder and Ron somebody (sorry, I didn't get the full name), joined us as the lift improved.
    Derek somebody (I told you I was crap with names, my sincere apologies to both illustrious pilots!), was last off on his Topless which I think Phil was interested in acquiring. John got 300m+ ATO as did the others but I just couldn't get up there on my Calypso. Time for a new glider soon I think.
    We'd waited for the clouds to lift before we flew but after an hour they started to form again and all enjoyed carving through the first wispy bits of orographic cloud before safely top landing. After a cup of tea and a bite to eat it lifted again for just another 30min flight before the mist closed down and all hurried back to a slightly less safe and decidedly misty landing field.
    Phil was last down and I'm sure that he must have used echo location to find the ground.
    Another hour and a half in the log book for me.
    Until a few weeks ago I'd thought flying at Ringstead was just a myth. Now it's got to be my favourite site.


Sunday 12th May 2002

Photos from John Pinchin

Ballard's Down
Rob Hamblett Gordon Macgreggor

Wednesday 12th June 2002

Report from Dave Moores

    Despite an overcast sky the chance to fly the west side of hill "X" was reason enough to make the effort and drive out to just near Blandford, not too far from an official Wessex site where Pete R and Martin H where. A call from Pete confirmed the wind was off to the west at Bell (oops) so off to the forbidden land, to do battle with the evil, fun-hating pixies.
    Once at the top of the hill, Richie K. lay down on the ramparts with binoculars focused on the house of the foul ones, ready to signal their approach. The urge to run over and camouflage him with bits of bushes and grass had to be suppressed as it was flyable.
    An overcast sky, strongish wind and incoming flack (metaphorically) are not usually the perfect conditions for XC, but a weak thermal got me dribbling away downwind, leaving the others to cope with the increasing breeze and the possibility of arrest on landing. Confident the Scowling-Foulhearts couldn't get me now I relaxed into my climbs and slowly worked my weak thermal, then another, then another until a final glide into the ground came almost as a relief after an hour of painfully snail-like progress across the Dorset-Hampshire skies. 24km of half-ups, and I was happy.
    I gather the fun haters never did take the bait, and everyone got to go home without handcuffs, our sentry un-needed. Still, there's always next time... 

REMINDER: HAMBLEDON HILL IS NO LONGER AN OFFICIAL WESSEX HGPC SITE AND THE CLUB TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACTIONS OF PILOTS WHO CHOOSE TO FLY THERE


Saturday 8th June 2002

Report from Craig Byrne

    Hi David, We had a brilliant day at Southbourne today! Hope it was good where you were if flying :-) (Hmmmmmmm. Must do that Pilot paper! DD)
    We arrived at Southbourne at about 1-15 and it was a bit SW & quite strong; but the seagulls were doing well so off we go!
    Dave M blasts off first and is soon buzzing me as I get ready doing a very nice spot landing on my shoulders while I was telling Garry Puhl it was flyable.
    The day then just got better and better! Soon Keith W, Alan B, Steve A, Richard D, Richard W, Gary P were all enjoying the great conditions. It was quite easy to cross the gaps and was a hoot to be flying with so many others near The BIC. Gary, Richard W, Dave M and Steve all made Canford Cliffs and back. I was eventually decked late evening when they must have stopped frying fish at Harry Ramsdens, as the 'extractor fan house thermal' did not work.
    Everyone else made it back to take off as just after this the wind picked up! An excellent day was had by all.!
    (And I didn't even bother going to the caravan, and it looks as though I'd have had enormous fun at Durdle Door! DD)

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Dave Moores and BIC Dave Moores again. Recognise the wing by
 Bournemouth Pier?
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Gary P Keith W
(on the wing, not in the balloon!)

Tuesday 4nd June 2002

Report from Richard Westgate

    A warm front rotating southwards with skies clearing from the north but southerly winds!
    Popped up to Mere for a quick float, sky looked reasonable with moderate sized Cu with a 3000ft base but even sailplains not staying up.
    Wind light and varying between SW and SE, briefly soarable but felt rotory everywhere, best about 5 mins and even got above take-off once!


Monday 3rd June 2002

Report from Matthew Charlesworth

    Jubilee Monday
    At four o'clock I looked out of the window and suddenly realised that it was flyable. At quick phone call to John Alder (at that time of the morning? DD), who thought the same, and we were in the cars and on our way.
    By the time I got there from Christchurch, JA had already arrived but where was everybody else?
    Having only flown there once before ( a sled ride down) John briefed me and I followed him out over the chapel and into the elevator ride that I'd always been promised, but was beginning to think would never experience.
    It was just as I'd been promised! Enough lift not to worry about staying up, so we threw our gliders around a bit then settled down to take some photos and get to 570ft ATO in smoooooth air.
    We had an hour and 45mins before it went west and switched off. John has decent penetration so made it back on top, me and my Calypso landed safely at the bottom but I didn't care. I even enjoyed the walk back up!
    Where were you?

 

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Bat's Head and Durdle Door Inland from above White Nothe John Alder

Monday 3rd June 2002

Report from Matthew Charlesworth

    Jubilee Monday
    At four o'clock I looked out of the window and suddenly realised that it was flyable. A quick phone call to John Alder
(at that time of the morning? DD) who thought the same, and we were in the cars and on our way.
    By the time I got there from Christchurch, JA had already arrived but where was everybody else?
    Having only flown there once before (a sled ride down) John briefed me and I followed him out over the chapel and into the elevator ride that I'd always been promised, but was beginning to think would never experience.
    It WAS just as I'd been promised! Enough lift not to worry about staying up, so we threw our gliders around a bit then settled down to take some photos and get to 570ft ATO in smoooooth air.
    We had an hour and 45mins before it went west and switched off. John has decent penetration so made it back on top, me and my Calypso landed safely at the bottom but I didn't care. I even enjoyed the walk back up.
    Where were you?


Sunday 2nd June 2002

Report from David Daniels

    A  great sport this! "Get your CP, bur your kit - and then nature takes over and flies you around for nothing! Such a cheap sport!"
    I wish I could find who the person was that spun this line to me almost exactly three years ago.
    Truth .... Drive from Winchester to caravan for zero flying on Saturday - too windy. Drive from caravan to Ballards and climbed the hill only for one top-to-bottom and drive back to caravan. Wind still south-easterly. Share a couple of drinks with ZZ and Alan Booth and look up to realise the wind was now SW after a warm front had obviously gone through. Could be flyable - rush (the 200m) to the hill only for orgoraphic cloud to envelop us. Back to the caravan for a couple more drinks. Monday drive back to Winchester in the rain.  Grand total of some 160 miles (or 20 of petrol) for one top-to-bottom!
    OK - put your hand up whoever it was! :)


Saturday 1st June 2002

Report from Richard Westgate

    Stopped in at the XClent tow field nr Winchcombe on top of the Cotswolds on the way back from Manchester.
    Moderate gusty SE'ly, almost totally blue conditions, just a few short lived cu to the east Towed up at 14:45 in boyant air, released early at 800ft ato, and ran downwind to find the lift I'd towed through. Found nothing but zero's but content to drift back slowly off the high ground and over the Winchcombe valley.
    Lift improved slightly slightly in the lea of the plateau and scrabbled up to top of the inversion at 4000ft at 1.5up! Found 5 successive thermals descending to around 2000ft before climbing up again each time. triggers on the ground that seemed to be working included the lea of high ground, NW edge of towns, and the River Severn. Flew over Worcester and climbed out from above the race course on the far side of town, Good drift aloft (up to 60kph on half bar), from Worcester had a long glide towards higher ground SW of Stourport but luck ran out, alarmed as GPS showed ground speed increasing as I got closer to the ground ended up at 60kph downwind only a few hundred feet above the valley floor, hit a rough weak climb very low down and decided to make a safe landing rather than following it back towards woods and a river.
    Touched down uneventfully in the middle of nowhere...walked to the nearest house and the owner kindly drove me to a main road, hitched to Kidderminster and got a train back to Cheltenham (cheating I know) 53km in just under 2 hours!


Eye in the Sky - May 2002
Eye in the Sky - April 2002 - Part 2
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