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September 2002 

Saturday 28th / Sunday 29th September 2002

Report from Dave Daniels

    Two good weekends in a row!

    A late getaway from home as a result of stamping/labelling/stuffing 250 envelopes meant that I arrived at Ballards at about mid-day with no signs of activity to be seen from the bottom. The clouds had been looking great all the way there moving in from the SE at a sensible speed, but as soon as I arrived outside the Ballard Estate, there was one very large dark mass of cloud.
    Not deterred I walked to the top to find Jeremy M and Daniel C sat huddled on the ground in almost no wind, and what there was was very easterly. 15 minutes later Don S arrived and demonstrated a high wind launch - the main ingredient of which was to get us to chase after him as he slid back across the hill so that we could push him forward again.
    Don being Don - he was soon pushing the speed-bar to the full and vanished around the corner as he went toward Old Harry Rocks, re-emerging a few minutes later considerably lower. Gradually others appeared on the hill, the wind veered to SSE and eased and the beginning of 5 hours fantastic flying commenced! The wind was up and down - but remained flyable and backed off to ESE later in the day resulting in ZZ setting the trend for flying to Old Harry.
    The cliffs by the hotels were working superbly and several people flew down to them, along them and then back up again - ZZ managing a complete round trip from the southern end of the hotels to Old Harry and back.
    Landing on the beach was entertaining for most of those who flew - there being so much lift on the little cliffs that I managed to run from the groins to the beach under launch in a sequence of "S" turns / wing-overs in an attempt to loose height faster than the lift 
    There were 14 wings in the air at one time and almost 20 pilots flew during the day. Amongst those there were ZZ, Jeremy M, Don S, Terry, G, Ian O, Russell W, Jason S, Mike M, Daniel C, Jon and Cathy H. Visiting from Condors - Phil Anning, Darryl Wilkins and Keith Bonniface.

ballard9.JPG (764152 bytes)
Old Harry Rocks with ZZ (yellow Bandit), Jeremy M (light blue Nove X-Ray),
Iain O (purple Nove Carbon), Russell W (blue Lift), Dave D (yellow Electron)

    White horses on the sea were not a good sign - but then I heard someone was flying at Ballards - although not penetrating (surprise!).
    On top of the hill were Jon and Cathy H, Phil A, Walking up with me were Louise B and Nigel ?. IN the air were ZZ, Keith B and one other.
    The fact that ZZ went and landed as I got to the top, with ANO taking about 90 minutes of flying the hotels and attempting landings before making it on to the beach at the southern end of the hotels
(you see - it IS possible!), and Keith B trying a couple of times before flying back to the top to land - made me realise that it was a tad breezy and very easterly.
    Harry D arrived and held anemometer in the air and declared 15mph which drew my scepticism suggesting that all that gorse was sheltering us, so he and his wife wandered off only to return some 30 minutes later with a modified "it's 20mph up at the end of the headland!" That wind strength was being confirmed at that time by Louise on a Flying Planet Whisper (DHV3!) that was making little headway even with loads of bar.
    For what must have been some 2 hours we were all entertained by ZZ attempting an alpine launch on the beach. Eventually he was successful and flew to launch (the normal launch!) - chatted for 5 minutes and flew back to the beach.
    The rest of us hung about waiting for the wind to ease as it had the day before, but it just stuck at 16mph and eventually we all walked down.

Wednesday 25th / Saturday 28th September 2002

Report from Mike Craig

    Bell Hill
    After an impressive sky on the Tuesday (but NE again) and NW forecast for the Wednesday I decided to 'take the day off'.
    The wind was just about strong enough to stay up and by noon the Cu were growing nicely. Following a +400ft flight I took off about 2pm and soon found an ample sized thermal that I decided to stay with. Two others joined me (terrible with names sorry) and off we circled to cloud-base - finally leaving the hill!
    We stuck with the cloud drifting back over Stickland until we got bored and gunned it down wind for distance landing just short of the forest a mile outside Bere Regis! 1st XC for 15km they told me! What also made the flight interesting were the two military jets tearing about under cloud...

Chillerton - IoW.
    Superb SE forecast for the weekend so off with tent and Nicole B to the island to see the High Adventure crowd and try out the inland sites that I've not flown before.
    The school went to Limerstone so we went to Chillerton and what a superb sky it was there too - wind was a little light but you could stay up until hitting sink. After various ups and downs with a few others Nicole found a very large lifty one and I joined her. Pushing forward over the farm buildings we were soon above the mighty mast and followed it all the way to base. Nicole getting her first experience in cloud! Looking back towards Yarmouth it had all gone blue so we headed over to Limmerstone for a 4km? top landing (which I think peeved a few off but surely kept the interest levels of the students in the sport high!). Sunday was back to Chillerton, a little more wind, blue, flyable all day but unable to leave the hill. All in all a great weekend!.

Saturday 21st / Sunday 22nd September 2002

Report from Dave Daniels

    At last! A good weekend!
    A review of www.xcweather.co.uk and www.wendywindblows.com early in the morning promised NNE @ 10mph.
    A committee meeting that evening needed a few phone calls to decide the venue which had been left rather open depending upon the weather and flying. Amongst the phone calls Jeremy M and I decided to "go green" and share a car.
    On entering Berwick St John from the east and turning the corner opposite The Talbot pub, Monk's Down was decorated in a patchwork quilt of colour in familiar "paraglider ready to launch" crescents - but none in the air.
    By the time we had parked at t/o there were already eight wings flying in the bright sunshine as a thermal sucked through enough air to keep them flying, and this seemed to be the pattern for the day with no sustained wind but thermic cycles providing 15 minute bursts of activity as up to 20 wings were flying the narrow lift band. This high density activity produced a few "interesting" moments.
    I managed to stay in one weak thermal up to 1,800ft ato - most of that spent exactly above Madona's house when the thermal failed to drift. A few weak patches of lift as I set off down wind enabled me to make 6.7km - my first XC from Monks. Just before taking off Craig B had called to se if there was any flying, so the second I landed I gave Craig a call to find out where he was and was lucky to catch him when he was only a few miles from driving past where I was.
    Later in the afternoon the cycles reduced in strength and frequency and it was off to the committee meeting I went.
    Amongst those on the hill were Adrian B, Andy D, Craig and Emily B, Sue B, Sean P, Nicole B, Charles C, Maurice H, Russell W, Mike C, John B, Lawrence T, Colin D. (Apologies for the many names I've omitted - there were just so many!)

A text message from Lawrence T whilst I was in the bath told me it was time to get off to Monks.
    The wind was smack on the hill when I got there and early morning thermals were popping up some wispy clouds. Many people had an hour or so in the air before the wind picked up, pinned several people and took a few back over the trees. After that the hangies took over and the paras filtered away home. Andy D managed Tarrant Hinton.
    Amongst others on the hill were Gill and Nick Le G, Sue B, Sean L, Dave C-L, Dave M, Gary P, Keith W, Shaun P, Russell W, Alan B, Alan C, Mike C, Nicole B, Luigi E, Ron S, Bob D, John A, John T.

Saturday 14th / Sunday 16th September 2002

Report from Gary Dear

    On Saturday arrived at monks at 7.45 am with a 15mph N,NE. 
    After a quick call to ZZ I was in that air and heading towards cloud-base at 8.30. Bits of thermals scooping into the bowl and just as ZZ arrived (at 9.30) I was of along the ridge towards win green to see if I could get anything off the steam fair upwind. Alas to no avail so a couple of mile walk back to TO then retrieve my glider.
    By this time Bob D had arrived
(Two days in one year! Wow! DD) and was vigorously rigging ( I have video evidence at the next meeting) I rigged again and was off by 11 when the day seemed to cycle with loads of lift then loads of sink.
    Maximum was 1400ato for me.as ZZ & Bob D were in the bottom field
    I top landed then went to collect Bob & ZZ, On the way back up we were all verbally assaulted by a crazed women in a Mondeo. all three of us stuck for words were not sure whether we could continue our days flying after such an insult! Everard & Lucy arrived in the afternoon and both flew and alas Bob,  ZZ & I did fly again, but I could take no more of the ridge when the Bare bottomed nose man of monks down completeley stripped and stood as bold as brass on TO.

    On Sunday I phoned Mr Folett to ask permission to use his field for the trike and after informing Compton of my operations in the area headed off to monks from Sturminster Newton.
    Arrived over the ridge at 2.30 approx to see ZZ in the air on his paraglider doing OK. I landed the trike in the bottom field and then rigged the hanglider.
    Tthe wind was off to the east again with about 7 octa's of cloud cove. I was soon joined by ZZ, Duncan, Jon A,& Lucy. Alas I couldn't keep it up and sunk out but Duncan, Jon & ZZ all had some good airtime in the weak lift.
    At approx 6pm the sky cleared back to leave a lovely sunny evening so ZZ and I were off for a recky of more east facing ridge's in the trike. A quick buzz over Jon A's house ( Got a nice aerial photograph for 50 quid, Jon!) then back to the bottom field at Monk's for Phil to alight. 

Sunday 8th September 2002

Report from Lawrence Toogood

    Arrived at Mere early morning, & a glorious sunny one at that, forcast South -SSW 10mph perfect!
    As the air was still, I decided to have a quick ride on my Mtb as i neared Longleat , the call came in from mere that its starting to work, so a dash back had me at mere in no time , only to find on the walk up, that pilots were scattered from Cowards bowl (SW) to the main bowl (S/SE). Those in the main bowl had the best of the thermals coming through, but as happens all to often just as you turn up it all dies!
    For the next few hours it was just short hops into small punchy lift, sail planes over head working the now very dark looking clouds. A couple of red ribbon pilots set up close by, I gave them a word of caution, since I had experienced some quite rough air & the the cloud base looked very angry.
    The one pilot that was in the air suddenly rocketed upwards. OK time to go.
    OH YES ,OH YES! It was up alright, vario screaming so was I OH SH*!. - up & backwards not good then as fast as I went up I was now coming DOWN! What's happening? Controls all gone mushy, horizon rising rapidly, all seemed quite still. A quick pull on both brakes had the wing back to life .... it rocked forward and slowed its decent. Ah! My first paracutal stall, the gust front must have pitched the wing back. Still, all's well ends well - straight to the bottom landing field.
(Not so much a Mere Bash, but a mere bashing, then. D)
    All other pilots were trying their best to make the bottom & then, having watch most pilots struggle with their wings, I noticed the red ribbon take off! He had balls! but within secs he was playing "find your wing".  Oh there it is in front!. Now where has it gone ? "Its behind you!" He soon came to his senses and landed.

Report from Craig Byrne

    Had a quick fly at Southbourne before the wind picked up and stopped play, Jim even managed to cross gap and fly past Boscombe Pier. Quite a feat where he was gliding into wind as it was S/SW.
On the way home stopped of at Barton and managed a pleasant short flight before the wind picked up there too, Robert, Brian, Luigi, John all enjoyed some good flights there. It was also quite thermic with great lift right out to sea!
    If I hadn't drunk so much real ale at the club BBQ last night maybe the wind would have been lighter ;-)

Eye in the Sky - August 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - August 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - July 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - July 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - June 2002 - Part 3
Eye in the Sky - June 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - June 2002 - Part 1
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/August 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