Eye in the Sky
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Monday 28th October 2002
Report from Nicole Barnard
Wow! Literally the calm after the storm!
With such a beautiful morning and the memory of paragliding and summer quickly fading, it wasn't a hard decision for Mike (Craig) and I to bunk work, drive back home (yes we did try!), grab the canopies and head for Whitesheet.
The forecast was either for it to be too light (Teletext) or blown out by mid-day (BBC), and it was soon clear which one was more accurate after arriving on the hill. The wind was that little annoying bit off to the south and very light, but not too light to afford us not unpacking the canopies and catching up on some ground-handling.
The beautiful blue morning quickly turned into a hazy and cloudy, not to mention freezing, morning. Our patience finally paid off when, at 1:15pm the wind picked up and came straight up the hill, the haziness disappeared and it turned into a beautifully bright and sunny afternoon with puffy white clouds in every direction! Mike and I took off literally as the wind picked up, and with the help of the wispy white bits soared between 40 and 50 mins. Mike managed 350ft ato, working the lift and doing 360s in anything that possibly looked as if it was going up. Very entertaining to watch!
We landed as the wind dropped off and the sky went back to it's dreary look of earlier. We shook the canopies out (for winter storage), packed up and went to find a beer.
All in all, better than being at work and hating ourselves for not going flying!
(Winter storage? Flying may not be as frequent as in a good summer, and less thermic - but it can still be enormous fun! Keep the kit at the ready! DD)
Saturday 26th / Sunday 27th October 2002
Report from Frustrated of Durdle Door
Why is nobody flying? It's only a bit of wind!
My anemometer did register 72mph at Durdle Door on Sunday morning.
Saturday 12th / Saturday 19th October 2002 - Hotel California
Report from Jon Harvey
Saturday - Arrived 2.30 pm but to windy to fly anywhere
Sunday - Cenes - Granada. Ttb early morning - around 1,800' - then early pm became thermic so Dirk allowed the more experienced to fly from another higher t/o overlooking a more southerly steep face, then passing over a ridge to the usual t/o area. We all then flew again as thermals subsided.
Monday - Cenes - Granada. The inversion layer now very noticeable, the t/o being just above. Same as yesterday.
Tuesday - Cenes - Granada. Though forecast winds to increase later, and even thicker inversion layer. Same as previous days, but wind blowing away the inversion layer so more thermic flying with some up to 2,500ft ato. Early finish so we could fly at La Herradura, on the coast, wind speed 12/18 on arrival with some 30 pgs in the air. Four of us flew with heights up to some 600ft. A beautiful sunset, and then a mad descent by all to land before it was to dark to see.
Wednesday - Octivar. Interesting landing area, never to be missed!! Early ttb for practising approaches and landings, then again thermals began with heights above 1,000ft ato possible. Evening flying at La Herradura very light and scratchy with everybody below 250ft ato.
Thursday. Forecast strong winds till later so to Cenes for a late afternoon flight.
Friday. Good forecast so again to Cenes. The afternoon proved good with most getting to around 2,000ft ato, with one being around 2,500ft ato, but above the landing area for around an hour.
Saturday - Octivar. Early start before the expected winds arrive. Only two still up for flying, very thermic conditions with 5/6 up the norm. OK if you are used to it. Heights to 1,500ft ato with griffin vultures around, though I personally didn't see them. Time now to pack for the 9pm flight to UK.
A very enjoyable week with 7 flying days..
Saturday 12th October 2002
Report from Matthew Charlesworth
Just a few words to go with Craigs pictures.
It was blowing 20 to 25 mph when Phil S and I arrived at Bell. We both rigged but I had to be back home early, so after everyone else turned up, I was the first, and at that time only, to take off.
It was very windy. I managed to push/creep way out front to the woods beyond the lake. Under a cloud street, with a couple of 360's and lots of pushing out in bumps of lift, I managed to make 1750ft ATO (almost cloud-base) during a 40min flight. Nice and sunny and you could see for miles.
Nobody else was daft enough to take off and after 40mins I was knackered so did the worst landing I've done for ages and bust only the second upright I've ever broken. All in all a great days flying with a good "learning experience" at the end.
As I left others were waiting for the wind to drop, which I understand it did later, and there were loads of people up.
Great photos Craig.
Report from Craig Byrne
Wish I was a HG pilot!
Spent an enjoyable afternoon at Bell enviously watching, and taking photos, of ZZ, Everard, Matt C, John A, Lucy G, (sorry for those I have missed I am terrible remembering names) and a couple more HG pilots flying there boots off. Conditions were strong at first but mellowed as the day went on, even dropping enough to tempt us off on the PG's in the evening.
(Then I chose a good day to score some office brownie points! DD)
Sunday 6th October 2002
Report from Jon Harvey
Paul Browring, Phil Anning, Mike Penny (all red ribbon) and I flew.along with numerous Wessex club members at Monk's Down. They are all impressed with the friendly manner and helpfulness of the many pilots they spoke to, along with any advice given. At least two will be joining Wessex and hopefully so will the other, when I've spoken with him.
Thanks again for the very friendly attitude by you all towards non club members (reciprocal arrangement not withstanding) especially all being low air-timers. See you soon.
Report from Cathy Harvey
Just a quick note to say we enjoyed the company and flying this weekend.
Thought you may like to print the quote of the year in the next Wessex Airmail.
My friend Babs - who is going out with a paraglider pilot from Essex, Keith Boniface - had her first ever Tandem flight at Monk's Down this weekend. This was with the one and only Chairman of the Wessex Club.
On landing, after soaring for about 15 minutes, she announced to the waiting crowd that "It is better than having sex!"
Does he have this effect on all women I wish to know?
Anyway he made a young Lady very happy, (if not Keith), and I have a feeling she now also has got the paragliding bug. Which is good news to me, as we women are slightly out numbered on the hill, about one to thirty. Not that I am complaining of course!
Hope to see you again soon once we come back from Spain.
Report from Dave Daniels
Another "almost" day!
I arrived at Monk's at about 10:30amwith a couple of wings in the air and plenty on the ground - hangies too.
The wind was a little off the the east and lift was very cyclic. Only one person was caught above the trees but made a safe landing far behind. Another pilot demonstrated the most immaculate tree landing at the western end of the trees managing to have his fall suitably slowed for a safe landing and his wing came out in an instant without any damage. He declined the invitation to repeat the exercise for the video camera.
When cycles did come through there was a flurry of activity - hardly surprising with over 42 cars crammed into the lane - and red-ribbons abounded. - but most people had several flights with only Colin Davies making any significant height.
Not surprisingly, the wing density in the air caused a few moments of concern. However, with so many people leaping into the air at once to catch a cycle - and such a significant proportion of these being red-ribbons - all must be congratulated for making this an otherwise un-eventful day.
The hangies managed a few flights too - although the wall of paragliders and brevity of the cycles meant that few managed more than a top-to-bottom. Gary D decided that since the wind was so easterly and there being so many paragliders - he upped camp and relocated over to the hillock to the west of the power lines and made a successful launch from there.
Saturday 5th October 2002
Report from Dave Daniels
One of the most "almost" of all "almost" days!
I arrived at Bell at about 11am to see Sean L and Dave G (recently re-located from Anstruther to Bournemouth!) scratching and loosing height.
By the time I had parked (amongst the 15 cars already there!) the wind was picking up and Sean was off into the bowl and gaining height.
An hour later those (paragliders) that were still in the air were either heavily on speed-bar or making a reverse top-landing. Other than Stuart M/Dave M/Jim C on tandems the wind stayed only just beyond the upper safe limit - and the cyclic gusts to significantly higher wind speeds kept all but the hangies on the ground.
It was one of those days when everyone thought it was going to be great! At one point there were 35 cars on the hill and only two hangies in the air.
Slowly people drifted away - but I understand the wind did die a little at around 5:30pm and a couple of hours was had by those still there.
Far too many people there to list all the names! If you weren't there - why weren't you there? :)
Report from Jon Harvey
Paul Browring (red ribbon) and myself flew briefly before it blew out!
Report from Matthew Charlesworth
A text message from Phil S whilst I was with the kids at football, got me in the car and up to Bell at lunchtime. There were a couple of paragliders up that disappeared over the back I think.
Richard M had flown but said that it was a bit sinky, even for all the wind and sunshine. I rigged slowly, watching as Phill S, Rod S, Richard and somebody whose name I didn't get took off. All seemed to be doing OK so off I went to have over an hour of windy soaring over the top of all the floppies.
Phil and Rod went off over to Bulbarrow but came back as they couldn't find just the right lift to go off XC. Several more cars appeared inc, Gary Dear (with new Xtralite), Lucy and new member Marshall Irving.
I landed for a chat and then Gary suggested a spot landing competition. He laid out some glider bags in a circle then lurked with a video camera as several people had a go. As this was going on Lucy had a short but exciting flight, top landing and Marshall did his first soaring flight and top landed.
I took off to have a go at spot landing then enjoyed the sight, from up high, of Gary, NAKED, on his hands and knees in the landing circle with Richard about to give him an Avian enema. Luckily Richard got a last puff of lift and just ( really just!) got over the top of him Maybe Gary had beans for lunch. Ask them both about next time you see them.
Two more goes at the spot for me finished me off but as I left the hill Phil and Rod were both back up and enjoying the smooth lift.
All in all a cracking good day. David please, please, please try to get the video on the web site!
Friday 4th / Satureday 5th October 2002
Report from Lawrence Toogood
Oh such a perfect day!
Having escaped work on Friday at lunchtime, Landrover loaded with toys (kayak, glider) its off to the west country for serious surf & maybe a bit of free-flying as tall cliffs abound this part of the country. I reach Woolacombe with a couple of hours of daylight left, surfs up, so let the the fun begin.
As I surf my eyes are drawn to the large cliffs above the village, looks good for paragliding, then to my amazement not one but two gliders inflate and soar the cliffs. Torn between - do I carry on surfing or fly? Light is fading fast and this is a surf trip first and foremost.
So as not to over do things I quit the surf, change and head into town for supper. Still the gliders continue to soar!. Sun's gone, very dark now, I strain against the darkness. Still they have not landed!
OK. I give up! I walk away thinking they will still be there in the morning!
New day dawns "cats eyes Cunningham" is nowhere to be seen. Sun's out! Surf's up! Kayak surfing comp is being held (of which I knew nothing!) half of whom seemed to be from Dorset. So 2 hrs of great surf, andI had watched the sky fill with gliders. The cliffs it is, then!.
Arrive at take off and thought I best do the honest thing, "Hi guys! I am a visitor - any chance...?" I knew I had made a mistake when I said this to a hang-glider pilot as these tend to be less forgiving to those that turn up with a bag of washing (Sorry ZZ, Ron, John - I know you're not like that!) But this guy chanted all the rules and regs "members this and that. God I wish all sites could be open its not to much to ask ..dont go there...."
So, moving on to a couple of paraglider pilots "Any chance?" "Sure!" came the reply, "Yipeeeeeeeee!" "Most pilots here are visitors, some even from Wessex sorry can't remember names"
Into the sky for some of the best flying and views I've had all year. I had forgotten what it is like to fly the smooth coastal air as I have been chasing thermals all summer demanding more pilot input. This was just a joy! The lift band went out a long way along with the tide which left a huge beach which was so tempting to land on. Wing-overs, spirals, 360s were preformed by many. After an hour I was tired so called it a day, "a perfect day"
A special thanks goes out to the young couple who said "Yes fly our site", having got my name in case they come to Dorset.
Hope we can return the favour.
So if your in the Woolacombe area check it out. sorry about ramblings, if you got this far. (Should have told me you were going there - I know a paraglider pilot that lives yards from the launch there1 DD)
Eye in the Sky - September 2002
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