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August 2003 - Part II
Saturday 30th August 2003
Report from Gary Puhl
Monk's Down was favourite for the forecast. We always seem to have this direction when the Tarrant Hinton steam fair is on and this year was no exception. Several pilots started to climb out and disappear over the back. The initial drift was SSE so I pushed westward between thermals to arrive above 3 paragliders desperately searching for lift just short of the steam fair. They must have triggered a massive thermal which gave me the best climb rate of my flight at 3m/s (600ft/sec). Reaching 3000ft at the steam fair, my aim was to push further west to Blandford then south around the airspace. As a result I lost height and never found the next thermal. Landing at North farm near Spetisbury I was greeted by the farmer and family and invited to lunch.
Dave Daniels was on his way to retrieve me (thanks again Dave) so after a quick drink and a chat they delivered me to the end of the lane just as Dave arrived. Arriving back at Monks, conditions still looked good, so I re-launched and instantly climbed out to follow exactly the same route, but this time landing between Pimperne and Blandford. Only a short walk to the Anvil Arms in Pimperne.
A call to Dave, tempting him with offers of food and drink to collect me again worked..
Report from Craig Byrne
Combe was packed with lots of pilots looking to end the years flying there with some good XC's, most of the Wessex XC hounds ( Adrian B, Mike B, Adrian L, Sean S, Dave 'The Ferry') were around till large clouds hovered them up up and away! Robert Dees was in orbit most of the day :o) I managed a pitiful 5.5k and a long walk back. The climb out was brilliant 1000ft a minute to 2700ato then massive sink over 1000ft a minute when I lost it 'DOH'.
Report from Robert Powell
I arrived at Monk's Down around 11am to be greeted by an inviting sky with only one airborne wing. I soared the ridge for half an hour, as many more pilots arrived, before finding the 'up' switch to take me towards cloud-base.
The lift seemed to dissipate a little way over the back, but I managed 6 or 7km, landing just short of the A354. I was soon back at Monk's thanks to a quick retrieve from Dave D, but the wind seemed to have backed NW a bit earlier than expected, so it was off to Bell Hill.
The wind was on the hill and several people took off and gained good height just as I arrived. Half an hour later another big cloud came over and it was time to go. I was glad to have already gained a bit of height when I experienced my first ever full-on front tuck. Going weightless for a split-second came as a bit of a surprise, especially as the Electron rarely takes even minor asymmetric deflations, but it recovered immediately with minimal input, so onwards to cloud-base just above 5000ft AMSL.
There were plenty of good clouds to keep me high to Bere Regis and a bit of in-flight entertainment watching a sailplane trying to stay in a tight core ahead of me. But while he glided off into the distance, I was down to about 2500ft above Wareham, where I eventually found another climb back to base. It was rather chilly up there and it did cross my mind that it would be a good idea to invest in a decent insulated flying suit. I remembered that I had a banana in my harness pocket and I figured that eating something might help me warm up a bit. Unfortunately I was half way through said banana when I wandered into a strong thermal, but I kept hold of both glider and banana, and with a bit more lift around Corfe Castle I continued on to Swanage where I arrived with 3000ft still to burn off!
I landed in a small park on the seafront after about two hours in the air and made my way to the bus station where I found Pete Robinson's glider bag, soon to be joined also by Pete himself. This was another piece of good fortune as Pete's wife was coming to pick him up from Wareham, so I got a lift back through the rain to Bell - thanks Pete and Dina!
The sky looked great again on Sunday, but I was happy to be at St Mary's Stadium watching Saints beat Man United, with a personal best XC under my belt.
Report from Dave Daniels
Chances are there will be other reports submitted over the next couple of days - so, briefly ...
Monks - loads of people - Dave M, Dave G, Robert P and Gary P flights of about 12km, Gary P also had flight of about 20km, Phil S did about 30km to the SW on his HG landing near Mark R's place (Summer Bash venue), and one intrepid new member (or he will be when he brings his form and cheque along on Thursday!) Gordon ? managed Monks to Swanage via Wareham to avoid air space - some 46km.
Bell - Robert P and Peter R managed Swanage - plus there were some other XCs I cannot recall.
Friday 29th August 2003
Report from Craig Byrne
A lack of flying this year had me heading out on a day when I would not normally have bothered, but I gave into serious flying withdrawal symptoms and headed to Monk's. I sat it out in the gale waiting for it to ease off a bit then John Alder arrived, soon followed by Dave Moores & Jamie. The wind dropped and all took to the air and had some fun till a massive black cloud came over and stopped play..
Saturday 23rd to Tuesday 26th August 2003
Report from Simon Jones
As opposed to a specific flight, this report covers the period 23rd - 26th August when myself and Dave Thomas spent a fantastic few days in the Brecon Beacons. Inspiration for the trip came from Wessex's very own Tony Moore and I met him and Kathy at the Park Farm campsite just outside Crickhowell, a site soon to be awash with HG and PG pilots competing in the Airwave challenge!
With the Airwave pilots on their way to Fochriw on the Saturday, Tony suggested Hay Bluff and how right he was! OK the carry up is a real tester but the flying was outstanding, and a real confidence booster for us low airtime boys. I had an hour soaring and even managed to cross Lord Hereford's knob, landing about 4k from the hill. The conditions were very forgiving with thermals coming through regularly and making up for my spending too long in sink (must get a vario!). The views were stunning in all directions and everyone had a great day.
Sunday dawned cloudy but the easterly wind had us packed and on the way to Pandy. Tony gave us a detailed site briefing and before long I was airborne and soaring north - south along the ridge, about 200' above t/o. The sky filled quickly and the conditions ebbed and flowed a little but it was another great introduction to a classic site. It was also a Wessex outing in force with appearances from John W flying the "widow-maker", Nicole and Sean, Jeremy and Dave D etc etc and others who are still merely familiar faces (won't take long to get to know them I'm sure!)
Monday and we were back at Pandy but it was a day of para-waiting as the wind nudged 20mph on the upper t/o. Hangies were in the their element however and it was fun watching Julian Phipps fly his Litespeed with great skill and land on a sixpence in the bottom landing field. We even managed to retrieve him and help him de-rig... lucky bunch these hangies!
Tuesday was classic! Headed to Pandy with Dave and Jules and we soared the lower ridge together for 20 minutes. I made the mistake of trying to follow them across to the upper t/o, but hit sink and had to bale out into the slope and a nasty hawthorn bush. Much cursing later and thanks to the very helping hands of Dave and Jules and I was airborne again, this time enjoying the increasingly buoyant conditions and hefty thermals. Jules had a stunning flight on his Logic, dispelling myths about it's performance and doing a casual trip to Hay Bluff and back while Dave and I boated around enjoying the views. The jet fighter heading towards Abergavenny at 250' concentrated the mind as well...!
As a relative newcomer to the sport with CP completed only 2 months ago, SE Wales could not have been a better insight into what the sport is all about - great sites, great company and great fun. Oh and many lessons learnt - the main one being, don't hang around in sink!!!
Tuesday 26th August 2003
Report from Dave Daniels
A steady easterly eventually coaxed me to Ballards - and the lack of any wings in the air or cars that I recognised in Ballards Way had me thinking that the drive from the caravan had been a waste of time, So often have I seen wings flying and discovered almost no wind until I had climbed more than 50% of the way to the top of the cliff that, when I could feel a good 12mph on the low cliffs at the edge of the green I was sure it was going to be blown out.
The process of hitting another birthday made me decide that the exercise was probably a good idea anyway - and having my older brother in tow to prove to him that I really did fly paragliders - forced me to climb to the top.
The wind felt a little easterly - although checking over the back supported a southerly component - and a few white caps on the water indicated that it was in fact a little stronger than it actually felt on t/o.
My concern for my back abated when I pulled up the wing without any snatching - I lobbed off into slight lift and turning to fly along the cliff to the east showed there to be a significant head wind as progress was slow. I made the end - and could have flown to Old Harry - but decided to drop down onto the lower cliffs since my bro was making his way back to the green. The lower cliffs were working a treat - and all the "grockles" were entertained whilst I flew the hotels back and forward with a few wing-overs - hands being waved from nearly every hotel garden and balcony. I've at last decided I like the Vibe - it wing-ovvers MUCH easier than the Electron!( .... although that shouldn't be the onlycriteria for preferring a wing!)
The flight was rounded off with a a spot landing only 2 feet from my brother who had gone down onto the beach - a very low tide making the exercise much easier then can often be the case. Another 1 hour logged!
I reported the great conditions to AF ...... but the wind had died before he got there. Almost made the flight even better!
Sunday 24th August 2003
Report from Alastair Florence
Feeling miffed at missing out on Bell yesterday (with the wife away for the weekend I should have had more flying time but ended up taxiing kids around all day arriving at Bell as everyone else was off to the pub,Never mind) (Makes a change! DD)
I was keeping fingers crossed for a Ballard day today. The morning started off with low cloud and a light ENE just like last Sunday. By 12.30 it had swung just South of East. At the top I was getting a very Easterly 7 - 9 mph - after 30 mins it picked up enough to begin ground handling. Ian O arrived and things were looking flyable - in fact the sea was rapidly becoming covered in white horses.
Ian launched and appeared to be gale hanging over the hermits hut. After a few minutes he headed down to the lower cliffs and had a good session followed by a tidy looking beach land. I launched soon after Ian and tried to get out to the point. After 30 mins on one beat I was only 3/4 of the way out so gave up and joined Ian on the lower cliff.
Shortly after Ian landed I worked my way back up for a top land. Jacko and Matt arrived almost simulteneously followed soon after by 2 visiting pilots and a little later Russell W. By now the wind had eased a little and gone a little more southerly. Ballard cliffs and the front cliff were working well. Jacko was getting to grips with wingovers spurred on by watching Matt who seems to specialise in wingoveis or spiralling at, down over or close too anything hard like the ground or cliffs etc. He's good at it but it does make me cringe at times.
As the afternoon turned to evening the wind shifted to a true SE and the lift became excellent. I was able to gain 300ft+ on the cliffs then fly XW out over the bay and cut in to the Pines hotel still 150ft ATO and then back up the beach to climb again on the main cliff. Russel and I ended up last off the site, although it was still perfectly flyable when we left. probably my best day yet at Ballard.
Report from Dave Daniels
A "cunning plan" was hatched at the pub whish an end of day beer was being consumed on Sat evening that resulted in Jeremy M, Nicole B, John W, Vicky P, Nicola R, Mark R and his wife Katrin, Sean L and myself converge on Pandy in SE wales.
Following John W over the final miles proved to be a waste of time as we went further and further from any tracks that could lead to t/o somewhere near where all the wings were launching. Laptop and Garmin's MapSoiurce software came to the rescue and we joined the others.
At the lower t/o was also Gill LeG - and during the day other Wessex members passed by as they returned from the higher t/o - including Nick LeG, Dave T and Sean S.
The rest of our gaggle had flights of varying success, YT decided that recovering back, new wing, borrowed harness was not the right preparation for the conditions on a new site and sat on the hill in the sun.
Sean L managed some 17km when he left the hill in the first of two gaggles to leave.
The weather forecast for the Monday was sufficiently encouraging for six of us to make an unplanned stop-over. Mark R managed to book Kat and he into a little pub B&B, Sean and Nicole had blagged a tent - as did Jeremy and I ,,,, but we opted for the relative comfort of the reclined seating in the Shogun after we had all enjoyed a superb meal washed down by copious amounts of a splendid red wine.
Sunday was blown out! C'est la guerre!.
Saturday 23rd August 2003
Report from Neil Franklin
I was also on Bell on Saturday 23rd Aug. Unfortunately, after having made several attempts to get airborne, I made the decision to pack-up. As I watched a lovely black cloud approaching I realised that, yet again, I had made the wrong decision!! I had to stand and watch David & ZZ climbing away. I did take some photos of them though.
Report from Dave Franklin
This flight - although not being any great distance - has to be my favourite flight this year.
Phil Smith and I got away late afternoon from Bell in almost nil wind conditions with just the occasional light thermal cycle. We climbed out to cloud-base never getting more than a few wing spans apart and then - after a bit of "what shall we do now" - Phil went east and I went south east. At this point a sail plane came over and joined us.
The picture was taken with the camera pointing back over my shoulder as I departed.
I had a nice top up climb just east of Winterborne Stickland - so as the sea breeze was not far away I headed for Blandford. As I reached Blandford and started snapping a few pics I spotted Phil making a superb late save - on (I think) Hod Hill - from what look about 200 or 300 ft, Istarted thinking maybe I should have gone that way. Anyhow, instead of my plan to land in Stour Park in Blandford I found another climb which took me a bit further south .I was pretty sure I must be getting near the edge of airspace so I made a gentle descent into a light SW sea breeze landing in a choice field south of Spetisbury.
No records but an hour and 10mins of pure pleasure
Report from Dave Daniels
I'll resist saying what I think about weather forecasters! ..... other than they got it totally wrong! ....... again!.
So - it's hardly surprising that when I got to Bell Hill there was hardly anyone else there other than those through whom I had heard it was flyable .... Kris B , Sean L and Nicole B .... and Russell W arrived as I carried out a temporary repair to the gate hinge.
The wind was smack on - although rather light and the cycles were not a lot stronger either - things had obviously been a tad better when Kris had arrived and managed to soar for 20 minutes!
The numbers swelled as the word got about .... or others ignored the forecasts and stuck their heads out of the window until there were a good number of cars and members on the hill.
Each cycle saw a small gaggle launch - usually in vein - but noticeable airborne departures from the hill were made by Vicky P (vanishing into the cloud and re-emerging with big-ears firmly engaged) with Sean L close on her heels - and then later Dave F and ZZ managed to reach the limits imposed by Bournemouth air space.
Yours truly made a couple of tentative flights being careful not to jigger the back again - after all, the chiro had said no paragliding for another 4 weeks!
Tuesday 19th August 2003
Report from Dave Franklin
took this picture on the way from Bell to Winterborne Anderson on tuesday 19th august,not alot else to say about it apart from saying it was avery pleasant flight even though the sky looks a bit grot.
Report from Alastair "Every day is a flying day" Florence
Yeah sorry about Monday it probably was flyable but I was just too busy. (And your definition of "busy" is? DD)
Still made up for it again this evening. Same old story - Kimmeridge again. Much like last night but a fair bit stronger and much more thermic.
Shippo plus another and a busy FCUK school - and more had been around for most of the day apparently.
Another pilot unknown to me on a blue Electron (Mike Melrose) was flying during the evening with me. Keith W arrived just before I wrapped up and as I drove home out of Corfe I could see him well up over Swyre Head. As the evening went on the sky cleared and fired up the thermals stronger than ever. The weather is bound to turn to crap for the weekend as its a bank holiday.
Report from Mike Melrose
I was the mystery blue electron flying at Kimmeridge with Alistair Florence yesterday.
I didn't realise it was him, but I guess it all makes sense, as the conditions had been a bit nasty in the mid-afternoon when I arrived, and I spent my first hour or two with only a couple of short, very bumpy flights, and lots of picking bloody thistles out of my lines. With the conditions remaining a bit gusty, and lines full of thistles, I was contemplating calling it a day.
But then I saw the sky-god take off (he will be flattered!), and almost instantly the sun came out, and the breeze got a lot smoother, so I gave it a go, and was up for an hour and a half, in lovely evening conditions!
Can I suggest we put forward a motion at the next club meet to suggest that Alistair has to tells us all when and where he is going flying in advance, because obviously the conditions are always perfect whenever he turns up!!.(I think we should just find him a proper job! DD)
Eye in the Sky - August 2003 - Part I
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