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August 2003 - Part I
Tuesday 19th August 2003
Report from Alastair "Every day is a flying day" Florence
Nice to see someone else writing, Mike, even I get fed up reading my own reports! .(We just get fed up with your high-pressure job! DD)
After a flying lunch break at Bell on my way back to the office from Bridport (via the most obvious route?) I made amends by working a bit later this evening (till 4pm?). Then drove back over the ranges. The flags were flowing nicely in a WSW direction so I couldn't resist a look at Kimmeridge.
12 - 14mph WSW so launched at about 1900 hrs. Flew straight out to Swyre and spent the next 45 mins there.
The air was cold and some lovely big smooth- warm- soft-wafty-lifty bits were blowing through. Nothing more than 2 up on the vario but enough to get to 290 ft ato and fly out from the hill with only gentle sink.
A peachy way to chill out after a hard day (at the office? ha!) followed by a beautiful sunset.
Was everyone else still at Bell? (Ummmm. How about "at work + not living right on top of several sites"? DD)
PS - I didn't receive your report for Monday - which is strange - according to the net it looked flyable! :)
Sunday 17th August 2003
Report from Alastair Florence
During the morning there was a decent wind speed on Swanage seafront but ENE. A little before midday it had swung a few degrees South of East. I headed off toward Ballard, I felt it was too Easterly for the main cliff to work but the N-S lower cliff should work as it had on Friday.
No one else was flying, with 16 - 19 mph at the cliff top off Ballard Estate my only concern as I launched off the normal take off was that I may get blown inland before reaching the lower cliff. I launched and found penetration was OK. Tried a beat up the main cliff and surprisingly began climbing. Toward the end of the cliff the lift was good and I was maintaining over 100ft ATO.
After a bit the wind picked up. With the strong Easterly element I was able to fly the front face toward Old Harry, loss of bottle and perhaps common sense kicking in made me turn and beat back from the Pinnacle though. At one stage the wind really got going and I was gale hanging at 800 ft above sea level well out in front of the front cliff.
The wind subsided and things got more pleasant again. Matt arrived at T/O with his tandem followed by Phil Wood from Swanage. By now I had been airborne for 2 1/4 hrs, the wind was getting lighter and I called it a day,
Phil and Matt looked like they had a good fly for another hour or so till the wind eased right off.
Where was everyone else ?
Report from Mike Bretherton
The Wessex team was out in force this weekend at Malvern - Peter Robinson, Adrian Leppard, Adrian Bishop, Peter Studinski and myself.
Peter R got away in an early one before it overdeveloped and shut off for a couple of hours. About 2pm it picked up again and we were all off on an XC.
Thermalled for ages in mostly zeros meeting up in gaggles several times enroute to Hereford. Took a risk and made a break for some sunny ground and it paid off, climbed steadily over Hereford and caught a boomer past Hereford. Flew clear of one danger area but got confused following the roads out of Hereford and headed south instead of west and flew very close to another danger area. Noticed a large mock-up of an airliner parked up in a field which turned out later to be an SAS training camp so I turned further south to avoid. I could see Pandy a few kms ahead but unfortunately I was too low to make it that far.
Base was about 5,500ft and for some of us it was the best flight of the year so far. I found a pub full of loonies, but strangely enough they thought that I was the mad one after hearing of my journey.
The final scores were Peter R about 70km, myself 40km, Ade B 27km, Ade L 21km, Peter S 17km.
Friday 15th August 2003
Report from Alastair Florence
On the way back from work all the usual wind indicators I pass were showing Easterly. As I approached Swanage I could see a wing on Ballard, so supper had to wait. An Australian guy (by the name of Matt DD) whom some of you may have met at Monks yesterday had been flying but was about to leave. (so thats why nobody was at Okeford yesterday).
The wind was well Easterly, after launching I made little progress trying to penetrate along the Whitecliff. So instead I dropped onto the mud cliffs and ran back towards Sheps Hollow. The mud cliffs were working nicely and I was able to maintain 150 - 250ft above sea level. I got down within 200 yards of the Ocean Bay shops still with 200 ft above Sea level and beat back up no problem.
The wind was beginning to back a little more Northerly which was exaggerated by the Whitecliff, coupled with a blackening sky it seemed like time to land. Shortly after I got home it rained so for once I made the right decision.
I had "top landed" in the field directly behind the cliff and just North of Ballard Estate although its not a recognised landing field, there is no crop in it at present and its a lot safer than the beach in strong conditions and less likely to offend the Estate dwellers than their green.
Thursday 14th August 2003
Report from Gary Dear
Arriving at Monks Down around 7pm,myself & Kevin Byrne rigged his Avian Amour for its maiden flight of 2003.Direction had a very slight east component and velocity was around 10mph.I thought it best (Only me, not my Gremlins Post Accident at Mercury in April) to give it a go thinking it was going to be scratchy for a stiffy, but low and behold it was pretty buoyant.
I topped out at 230ft over the bowl, and had a wonderful 25 mins in the late evening sun till it was Kevinís turn. So, after a very fast bottom landing (Wind gradient was worst I have ever seen it at Monks) we de-rigged and back to the top for Kevin's go. He executed a text book take off at 830PM and a flawless bottom landing, but for him it was a fairly quick sled ride to the bottom of the hill as the wind was easing. Thanks to Kevin for letting me use his Glider/Harness.
Wednesday 13th August 2003
Report from Alastair Florence
I had a meeting arranged in Waltham abbey this morning plus another in Derby for the afternoon. After the morning meet I checked the weather situation - Derby area was blown out so I stopped on the way up at Dunstable Downs.
Dunstable had some nice thermals passing through which the sailplanes were making good use of, but only about 5 mph between. After one of the locals bottomed out in the sailplane field I decided to head to Derby and hope for an evening calm down.
I was a bit late for the Derby meeting so skipped straight on to Buxton. With a Westerly wind I headed for Shinning Tor. On arrival I found a couple of hangie's cars parked. 2 had got away earlier on and were in the process of being retrieved.
On top of the ridge it was blowing a good 20+ mph. A local paraglider (Paul who funnily enough is staying in Dorset this weekend and is bringing his wing) had arrived. Paul reckoned it might calm down so we waited, and waited. About 2030 hrs the wind-streamer stopped flapping frantically and became more settled so up we went again.
There was still 15 - 19 mph on take off but it was flyable. We took full advantage of the 30 mins after sunset rule and had a good evenings flying.
I had hoped to fly Mam Tor on Thursday but it was blown out and I needed to get back to the office for Friday so maybe another day.
Thursday 7th August 2003
Report from Martin Beetham
At last, a good day at my nearest site, Combe. First time I'd been there and found it flyable all year. Thursday made up for it.
A first flight saw me slope landing a long way down, very glad I'd left the flight suit in the car. 15 minutes later, about midday, things seemed more promising. Soon into a thermal which eventually took me to about 2000ft ato though I had decided I wasn't going to leave the hill today. As Mike B said in his report, thermals everywhere so I flew around for a while, up and out and down, twice setting up for landing only to get some good lift and decide to use it.
After well over an hour of this, concentration was slipping, the bananas in the car seemed like a good idea. However by now I had seen several gliders leave the hill and disappear off into the haze, which spurred me to see what I could make off the next thermal.
2000ft above the hill, someway down wind and still climbing, I realised I had now left the hill, so drifted with the thermal for another 500ft or so before heading off downwind via 3 more thermals to a field by Harewood Forest, a little SE of Andover.
17.6km and my first XC (Congrats! DD).
Two easy hitches to Hurstbourne Tarrant then a long hot walk, thanks to John Pinchin for the lift the last couple of miles.
If only I hadn't left the house keys (passed within a mile of my house) and those bananas in the car....
Report from Mike Bretherton
Forecast was for light north but I expected it to be too stable. I took my paraglider to work but decided not to go flying. Peter Stud phoned me up at lunchtime saying there he was just arriving at Combe and there was a paraglider about 2 grand above takeoff.
I left a note on my desk saying "Gone Flying" and about an hour later I was there. (Any more jobs at your place? DD)
Serveral people were in the air in blue conditions and I soon took off straight into a thermal, there were thermals everywhere but there were several inversions so it was slow going at times. I left the hill at around 1,500ft and climbed up to near 3000ft in pretty poor visibility. Hung around a zero for ages then went on a glide to Hastbourne Tarrant where you usually find a thermal but this time there was nothing but heavy sink. Glided onto Stoke where I managed to eek out a couple more km's to break the 10Km minimum for the National XC League!
Over Stoke I heard Thuka, thuka, thuka as a Chinook flew close overhead and caused me a few wingtip deflations before I landed about 12Km downwind. Had a very hot walk back to Hastbourne where I wolfed down a pint of cold lemonade in the George and Dragon. John Pinchin who landed in the same field as me managed to hitch a lift back and was soon on hand to offer a retrieve. Adrian Bishop flew about 8Km and Pete Stud whooped us all with about 20Km to near Andover.
Friday 11th July 2003 (I know it's August - but this is too good to leave somewhere where it may not be seen! DD)
Photo from Brian Parkins
A quadrapedic hangie at Bell Hill - Dave M being given a flight by ZZ
Sunday 3rd August 2003
Report from Simon Jones
Myself and Dave Thomas headed for Kimmeridge late morning, willing in the sea breeze on the way but it was indeed a bit light and if anything coming from the South East although by midday it was trying to veer to the South. Met Nicole, Chris and Dave coming down the bridle path (always nice not to have to go up it!) and a convoy set off to White Horse via Durdle Door.
Ok so it was a bit light but there were thermic cycles coming through so we unpacked while Chris flew his Atis above us, indicating that it was "lovely up here!" This was my first post-CP outing so after a site briefing from Nicole I had a go and got away without incident (but that wasn't to last!) Dave took off, as did a visiting female pilot from Manchester and soon there were half a dozen wings in the air. With limited areas of lift, the flying was very active indeed and on a couple of beats I skimmed the gorse hoping that I didn't end up in it. But my flight came to a rather abrupt end just beyond the barbed wire flying away from the Horse and I landed rather too quickly in the gorse - oh well, major lesson learnt...should have turned away from the hill. Pride and wing intact, I made it back to the TO, scratched but smiling.
Within 30 minutes, most were down as it had all calmed down somewhat. Adrian Bull turned up and we did some ground handling in the increasingly light conditions but it wasn't long before the Spy Glass pub beckoned and we quaffed our beers. A lovely day with great company (isn't that what this sport is all about?) and a good intro to White Horse...roll on next weekend!.
Report from Tony Moore
Having stayed in Crickhowell and with a very light south-ish wind forecast we decided a yomp up Tal-y-bont was the only option. For those of you that haven't been there it's one of the most scenic places to fly in the UK, and one of the biggest walk ups as well!
We arrived at take off hot and sweaty at about 2pm having watched gliders playing around in weak thermals for the hour it took us to walk up. After a "cool off" period I was rigged and ready and finally a good cycle came through at about 3:15. There were about 15 gliders in the air but as it was a good cycle on a BIG site it was an easy climb out to about 4,300 amsl.
The views of the Brecon Beacons and surrounding area are stunning from this height.
Having topped out it was a short glide over the reservoir to a small hill, Tor-y-Fol, which we use sometimes in a SSE wind. Sure enough it was going up there too and I hung around in the weak-ish lift climbing up to 4,800 amsl before attempting to head across the Usk valley, with a view to either getting over the Black Mountains or to the campsite as a backup plan. I found a weak 500' climb in the valley but soon lost that and ended up about 2k short of Crick.
Not the furthest XC in my life (about 14k in 90 minutes) but one of the most scenic..
Saturday 2nd August 2003
Report from RW
Another fun filled day at the Ringstead " office".
An early start saw the wind veering through W - S.E.
Then settling to S.W. at 12-14mph, I phoned Dave G who took some coaxing to leave Bell, I explained I had already been in the air for 30 mins! Noodles did try to tempt me to Kimmeridge, but I stayed for multiple hours of cliff soaring with smooth air & other friendly flyers:- Dave G., Mike M., Allen T.,Tony H.( hope the baby is well),James T, Dr Charles C.S. & a person? with long dreadlocks on an orange & white wing who insisted on doing wingovers over the famous "first house" he/she eventually landed on the beach & I was not going to follow just to give advice.Hope evryone else had such a good day..
Eye in the Sky - July 2003
Eye in the Sky - June 2003 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - June 2003 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - May 2003 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - May 2003 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - April 2003
Eye in the Sky - March 2003 - II
Eye in the Sky - March 2003 - I
Eye in the Sky - February 2003
Eye in the Sky - January 2003
Eye in the Sky - November/December 2002
Eye in the Sky - October 2002
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 and before