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2003 - Part I


Sunday 7th September 2003

Report from Alastair Florence

    Allowed flying 2 days in a row ( Hmm must be a nasty credit card bill on the way ) The wind looked like it ought to be just West of South so I thought I'd try Knitson. On the hill it was nearer SSE (I did tell you! DD) but thought I'd give it a go. Not much lift but with a little thermic help managed 300+ft. After 20 mins I ran out of lift and top landed.  A second launch proved even more Easterly and less lift so I wrapped up.
    Ballard seemed the obvious choice. The wind was on quite squarely and on the strong side. The main cliff was lifting nicely. So was the whole ridge down toward the Obelisk with some punchy thermals giving height gains up to 600ft. I spotted someone else labouring up the path who turned out to be ZZ.
    On landing for a chat I missed one my C's and got a B' by mistake, fortunately I found the C about 5m before the thistle patch.
    We launched again in strengthening conditions. The lift along the main cliff was excellent at times, ZZ caught a big lumpy lift toward the Obelisk, at 800ft ato - I think he was beginning to wish he had the HG. White horses across the bay confirmed increasing wind speed and we both bottled out.
    Shortly before sunset whilst out for a stroll Jacko was spotted on the cliffs enjoying the calm of the evening.

Report from Craig Byrne

    The Barton "Scratchers" were out in force; Brian, Martin, Luigi, Robert, Alastair, John, & Keith all had some very good flying.
    The wind picked up mid afternoon for a while but eased giving some great flying with lots of very buoyant air coming off the beach late evening. At times you could reach 250ato which is pretty good for such a small cliff. Brian and myself flew till sunset as the street lights were coming on with the moon was rising over The IOW, a beautiful end to a good afternoons flying.

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Report from Dave Daniels

    "Blown out" were the forecasts - but I reckoned there could be some early morning flying at Durdle Door before the wind became too strong. Even though I had loaned my caravan I managed to be at DD at 7am - to discover nil wind, 8am nil wind, 9am nil wind, 10am almost no wind - and eventually at 11am, spurred on by 8 kids desperate to see me fly, I managed a flight to the cliffs - scratched up to the top of Hambury Tout and managed land back at t/o.
    The lift was not good - nothing anywhere other than tight in on the cliffs. I tried again about 30 minutes later with the same result and then sat on the hill waiting for conditions to improve. A very LARGE and well developed cloud was dropping a torrent on Portland and moving slowly closer, some impressive flashes of lightening emerged from the base of the cloud and I decided to fly back to the car. The heavens opened!
    Afterwards the wind was light and from the ENE. The sun came out and I went and sat on the hill above the Door and waited - and waited. Eventually, Nicole B and Dave T arrived to help with the para-waiting. Slowly the wind came back on to the hill - but very light. We went to the cars to get our kit to be ready. By the time we were back at t/o the wind had increased and by the time we were unpacked it was perfect.
    Nicole lead out with me close behind and Dave following soon after. Almost no loss of height on the way to the cliffs and an easy ride up to Hambury Tout with good height above the cliff and making well over 200ft ato. I managed an easy hop to the next cliff to the west of the Door and also back.
    The wind was picking up, there were a few white caps appearing on the sea - I returned to t/o to check what was really happening. It was really buoyant at t/o - no probs penetrating back out to the cliffs.
    The clouds were building again, including a significant dark one that was approaching. A significant climb in a thermal off the sea and I decided this was the time to land. Dave was close on my heels - and by the time Nicole was over t/o she had almost no penetration. We had read the conditions well and all landed before it became very gusty - but at least we'd all had a most enjoyable 25mins!
    We decided to have a coffee and leave - Nicole and I both had some work to do before Monday - but in retrospect it would appear that the wind eased and stayed spot on for Durdle Door. Bother!

Saturday 6th September 2003

Report from Matthew Charlesworth

    A text from Phil S said that Rod Smith was at Bell and that it was 'hangieable' - so I jumped in the car and got there as soon as I could. Driving up the hill I noticed two things: 1) lots of Floppies 'para-waiting' and 2) Rod clipped in to his lovely new Airborne Climax about to launch into a gust front/squall line that was rapidly approaching up wind.
    Rod sensibly dropped his glider flat and we sheltered in the car until the rain had passed. It took a while to settle down afterwards so I rigged slowly as Phil, Everard and Richard Mosley turned up. Rod god got away first and I followed just after for an hour of very lumpy and quite challenging flying. When the lift was good it was great but when it was off we struggled to keep above ridge height (or at least I did!). I got 1800ft ato, or so, Phil and Rod probably got a bit higher as usual. A sunny lull came through so I landed to have a chat with John Alder who'd 'been having a snooze' so arrived late. I had another 30 mins later on and when I left the floppies were still waiting (you didn't miss much, it was so lumpy that it wouldn't have been nice on a PG) and the hangies were still hanging.
    I did hear that the wind dropped later and the diehard para-waiters were rewarded with some airtime but I don't have details.

Report from Alastair Florence

    A rapidly growing crowd was collecting on Bell. I launched and found the lift poor. Poor enough to have to land behind the magic tree and wait for a decent cycle.
    When I got up again a large expanse of rain could be seen aiming straight at Bell. At about that time I got a bit of lift and began to follow Peter R upward. At about 1200ft I began to wonder whether I should get down before the rain hit or follow Pete and outrun it. I decided to land which probably cost me a fair bit of height. The wing did not agree and wanted to keep going up so I went with it. I figured if it was raining no one would be flying and some kind soul would surely retrieve me. The kind soul was Dave D, I made it just past Durweston Bridge 6.5KM. Pete made Swanage somehow.
    As we arrived back at the hill wings were beginning to pop up again. I was shortly airborne again and quickly caught another good lift, this time making it to the Blandford town junction, about 7.5 KM I'll check it if I find my map again which I dropped in the landing field at Bell.
(I make it 7.8km DD) I probably didn't make full use of the lift and couldn't find a second thermal but think I learned a bit for next time. Again Mr D did the honours retrieving.
    This time on return only the HG's were launching as the wind had strengthened considerably.By 16.30 hrs someone mentioned the word pub
(That was me!) and within minutes only Martin Foley and I were left with a sky full of HG's. Our patience was finally rewarded at about 18.00 when it just about calmed down enough. After a pleasant enough hour we were joined by Daves D and T followed by A.Nother. Dave T left, as he went out the gate the air went tranquil and the remainder enjoyed a relaxing final session.

Report from Dave Daniels

    Para-waiting plays havoc with my mobile phone bill! I should just drive to Bell and work it out from there! :)
    When I did get there, Alastair F, Charles C-S and Peter R were in the air, Ron S had just landed his HG and Matt C was rigging his.
    Soon on the hill were Gary P, Andy D, Sean L, Russell W, James M, Seal S, Martin H, Jeremy M, Martin F, Peter S, Stuart M, Ian O and a couple of others whose names/faces now escape me.  HGs to arrive and fly were ZZ, Richard M and Everard C.
    Peter R vanished and did his "I've landed at Durlston Head - so it must be Saturday" act. Ali F managed 2 XCs to just beyond Durweston, Sean L made it to Bradbury Rings, Andy D went XC (but I cannot remember to where).
    The wind picked up and made it an HG day, and after hours of para-waiting a small contingent went to the pub.
    After the pub the wind seemed to have abated a little, and I returned to Bell to find Alastair and Martin F flying.
    I eventually joined in for 10 minutes before the lift died totally.

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Alastair F and Martin F in the
smooth evening airs at Bell

Friday 5th September 2003

Report from Craig Byrne

    After a day driving around The IOW chasing the wind it finally settled down on The Whites allowing Allie and then Iain to make their first tandem flights. Conditions remained good till dark with Dave 'The Ferry' Jones in orbit most of the evening! Photos to follow!

Thursday 4th September 2003

Photos from Don Shipton

Taken at Ballards

Brian M Old Harry Rocks37_IMG.JPG (34395 bytes) Ferry sails into Poole 54_IMG.JPG (32369 bytes) Lower Cliff Run Ballard40_IMG.JPG (34144 bytes)
Brian M @ Old Harry Rocks X-Channel Ferry sails into Poole Lower Cliff Run - Ballards
Luigi & Brian M fly Old Harry Rocks29_IMG.JPG (18272 bytes) Luigi & Brian m thro the riser31_IMG.JPG (29854 bytes) Luigi at Lower Cliffs Ballard46_IMG.JPG (32406 bytes)
Luigi & Brian M fly Old Harry Rocks Luigi & Brian M Luigi at Lower Cliffs - Ballards
Luigi Below at lower cliffs Ballard47_IMG.JPG (39944 bytes) Luigi end of Old Harry Rocks53_IMG.JPG (31639 bytes) Old Harry Rocks44_IMG.JPG (31413 bytes)
Luigi Below at lower cliffs - Ballards Luigi at end of Old Harry Rocks Old Harry Rocks
Over hotels lower cliffs Ballard49_IMG.JPG (46143 bytes) Pleasure trip Ballard41_IMG.JPG (33974 bytes) Thro the riser view lower Cliffs Ballard50_IMG.JPG (37109 bytes)
Over hotels lower cliffs - Ballards Pleasure trip - Ballards Thro the riser view Lower Cliffs - Ballards

Monday 1st September 2003

Report from Mike Bretherton

    Good conditions for Monk's Down, would have gone to Combe but that’s now shut. Sky looked great on arrival and the wind was perfect if a bit light at times. It quickly overdeveloped and did not look good for XC flying for very long. A thermal came through and many of us were soon air-bourne in some gentle thermals. Climbed out over the trees, and with the sky completely obscured, I thought it was "now or never" and went for it.
    I had an excruciatingly slow climb up to only 1,500ft ato, then bumbled on a zero for ages. Flew by what was left of the Dorset Steam fair before slowly losing it and coming down at Blandford.

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Remnants of the Dorset Steam Fair

Eye in the Sky - August 2003 - Part III
Eye in the Sky - August 2003 - Part II
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