Eye in the Sky - Oct 2004
Your Flying News Notice Board. Send me your news .... and photos.
Report by Mark Fisher
Arrived at eggardon at 12.30 with Gary P. NNE wind averaging 14 gusting to 21 ummed and arrred for 5mins and went for it, lovely and smooth half hour of ridge soaring before going back home to suffolk. Steve and Kai turned up and left them making the most of the then lighter conditions.
Report by Roger Edwards
It seemed that the optimistic were liberally scattered across Wessex hoping that their chosen site would be the one to work. Keeping my ear to the phone I headed out for the afternoon after hearing that Monks was most likely. On arrival a bit of scratching was going on in the odd short spells of worthwhile wind. Then calm for awhile before it kicked off nicely giving everyone an hour or so in pleasantly bouyant conditions with some gentle thermic activity getting us up to around 300ft ATO. Entertainment was had by all getting back in to top land as the wind had picked up, proving that this is a site that requires a little thought to stay out of trouble in stronger conditions. This was my first proper flying at Monks and on a personal note a fitting end to my season (because I will be working now, boo hiss) at the place I had my first ever day out with the club. Thanks to Neil H for a go of the Lemmings' demo Vibe as well - call him if you want to give it a go.
Present were Jeremy M, Ron S, Neil H, Russell W, Dave W, Steve B, Ali
F, Brian M, Gaz M, and I'm sure I've forgotten someone.
Report by Martin Beetham
Spooky goings on at a westerly site in Derbyshire on Halloween. Rumour
has it that this is a
well-known Wessex member. The flying was good, in lovely smooth wave, although the witch found flight difficult due to excessive yaw caused by her broomstick.
Greolieres Trip 16th - 23rd October 2004Report by Roger Edwards
Whilst moping around at home, half-heartedly looking for a job, I received a text asking me if I wanted to take someone's place on a Flying Frenzy trip to Greolieres. Simple logic won over my guilt - this is the last chance for good flying before I have to work again so I just must go (and exist in flat denial of the resultant bank balance).
As usual the base was Bruce Goldsmith's residence, Chateaux de Max, right in the middle of Greolieres itself. Last year we had five of six days flyable, this year the weather was not so kind and much more site hunting took place which at least redeemed itself a little by giving us many ethereal views of mist filled mountain valleys. The pay off was flying on five days at three sites I did not fly last year - Lachens, Col de Bleyne and St Andre. In evening lift complemented by a perfect wind I had an hour of strangely British ridge lift at St Andre, made even stranger by the fact that I had 1200ft ATO with nobody else around other than the Flying Frenzy folks playing lower down. In and out of cloud, boating about, watching the sun go down and then oodles of height to play with on the way down to landing. I doubt I'll ever have the luxury of having such a legendary site effectively to myself again. Just looking at it made me keen to try it in thermic conditions - even to my relatively inexpereinced eye it's evident that there's so much there to kick off the thermals for which it's famed. Stunning.
Another highlight of the week was a talk by Bruce on glider design, where he demonstrated the cad software used and explained the design process and philosophy. He confessed that he only entered competitions to spy on Airwave's competitors' cutting-edge gliders - it seems that winning the comps is just an accidental side effect of this industrial espionage. Thanks to Andrew P for organizing this excellent event.
Though the weather could have been better all of Andrew's students had their day at some point, all returning with eyes sparkling and truly enthused and motivated to continue the sport. Job well done Flying Frenzy.
We also encountered three entertaining Norwegians (Kim, Eric and Bjorn) with a thirst for Leffe, Cognac and Vodka. At St Andre Kim gave us an unnerving demonstration of two successive major collapses and how they make you go pale to the point of invisibility. He's planning a paraglider fuelled bonfire on returning home. Anyway, good contacts were made so if anyone is interested in flying somewhere different, i.e. Norway, I am sure it can be arranged. Soaring the Fjords? Must be a Python sketch in there somewhere.
Greolieres Trip 9th - 16th 2004
Report by Mark Fisher
I`m sure I can speak for all the others on our trip and say many thanks
andrew, john and mike for looking after us also bruce goldsmith, pierre ,
and ben and karen who have excellent new apartments discounted for
paragliders at www.giteinthesun.com. We flew four days at four different sites greolieres, gourdon, lachan and monaco.
Ringstead 26 oct 2004
Report by Steve Bamlett
The weather report was good for today and I arrived at about 1pm to find
wings in the air and over the cliffs. With a SW at about 13-16 it was
spot on and everyone was looking happy. So it was out wing and of to the
cliffs. The same old faces were there: Russell, Ron, Brian, Pete, Luigi,
also many others including a new member to Wessex. Now I am on leave,
but I ask you does anyone work? because not before long the hill and cliff
was very busy but it was good to see so many people have a great time.
First trip out to the cliff was ok but had what I thought was a major asymmetric tuck whick felt like about 75% but was later told by someone who saw it that it was only about 25%.(He should have been under it) Anyway Wing recoverd well and carried on to the cliff. The lift on the cliff was outstanding with many people gaining lots of height. Indeed on the next visit I counted at least 15 wings and a Hangie out on the cliff a great sight.
Whilst at the cliff all were tring to climb up and reach Ron, who, was king on the Thermals that day but to no avail. How was he so high? the most I manged was 550 feet ATO but still could not reach Ron. Many tried, all failed. There was something for everyone today cliff lift was good and there was thermals as well coming of the fields and many enjoyed what could only be described as a perfect flight.
It started to switch off at about 4.30 and we all made it back safe. Ron insisted that it was his expert skill that kept him up but later his extra weight was found at take off as he forgot to take it so he was flying light!
After a hill top court the verdict was not good for Ron but all agreed that he did well. There was talk of maybe flying a tandem solo would have been able to catch Ron!
The new member on a red ribbon also had a good day although not going
to the cliffs the ridge lift was spot on and at one point wings could
be seen at 100-160 feet above the ridge. No pics as I forgot my camara
but Luigi took many and I am sure that they will appear soon. I was good
to see so many happy faces at the end of a good day everyone had that
big smile and positive attitude that you get after a great day flying.
Then it was down to the pub for a after flight beer. A Great Day!
Photos by Luigi Degli-Esposti
Monday 18 October 2004
Report by David Franklin
Dispite the forecast of west backing southwest winds today, it was flyable at Bell this morning and very pleasant with some nice thermal activity.I climbed in one out towards Ibberton and it gave me a lovely smooth ride to base . This was mostly 0-2 ups with lots of recentreing Base was only 1,400ft ato so my atempt at racing to the next very good looking cloud saw my on the deck at Whatcome. We had another short fly in the afternoon but the wind went very light.A lot of others went off to the coast so I'm not sure whether they got some time in the air. Others on the hill Ron S(flew hang and paraglider) N Hutch,Mike A, Martin F, & few others.
Sunday 17th October
Report by Matthew Whicher
Event: Barnett - Dignand HG Challenge
Loads of Sky Surfers turned up for the 11am briefing - only 1 Wessex pilot, Oliver (sorry I didn't catch your surname) a novice on his Calypso. Myles Dunlop and I are members of both clubs so we are a team of 3 vs the Sky Surfer A Team including Grant C, Tony S, Steve B, Jim W (Meethead), Clint J, Tim K & Mark B. The Task is to fly to 3 turnpoints in the local vicinity (Aerial masts, Farm out front and Farm off NE spur) each for 100 points. Then Open XC for the keen pilots. By midday most people were enjoying very pleasant conditions with thermals working well (for October) and boosting the reliable ridge lift. It was possible to cover a lot of ground upwind and most people managed the first 2 turnpoints. Then the usual suspects (Grant, Tony and Steve) went over the back under a lowish cloudbase and the rest of us continued to enjoy the day and go for the points when the opportunity arose. At 4pm the lift was becoming less abundant, so when I got a good climb (1200 ato) I bimbled off with it, managing to stay aloft until south of Blandford for 11km. Not a classic day in the XC sense of the word, but everybody had a good time. I saw Oliver do at least 2 top landings and head off down the ridge, on this, his first visit to Bell. Nice one!
Pictures from Ringstead by Phil Venn
Saturday 16th 2004
Report by Nicole Barnard
Being out and about before dawn has its advantages such as knowing exactly
what the wind is doing by dawn. Watching the sunrise from the A31, Dave
M and I decided the only place to go in the minute westerly breeze would
be Portland West. Having not flown there before, I didn't believe Dave
when he said that if you couldn't see any breeze on your way to Portland,
it'd be perfect. I wasn't convinced - even as we drove along the seafront,
even not even a flag was moving. Quick site briefing as we got out the
car: Take off, turn left, land on the concrete at the pub because the
beach is dirty. At take off - a perfect breeze! Dave took off to check
the conditions, absolutely spot on hon! I started getting my kit ready,
but by the time I was ready to take off, there were white horses all over
the sea underneath one big fluffy cloud heading our way. Bum. We decided
to sit it out and to see what happened. Over the sea, fluffies were building
all over the place and inland it started looking murky. Hey at least the
sun was shining here! The strong breeze hit us, and I was amazed that
only ten minutes before I was trying to decide between a forward and a
Dave had this theory that once it got windy on Portland, it didn't die down. But, he was proven wrong thank goodness! The cloud passed and the wind died down a tad. It still felt windier than it really was, but that was probably because we were cold from waiting - so we pulled our wings up very carefully, almost too carefully and suddenly my feet were in the air under canopy for the first time in more than a month!
West Portland is a fantastic site! In between getting to grips with the punchy sea thermals bouncing us around the sky, I did wonder how much stone have actually been quarried from that almost-island. The views are spectacular - and with the pressure being so low, we could see miles out towards West Dorset and Devon. We kept a very close watch on the sea, and when streaks started forming after about half an hour in the air, it was big ears in and down to the concrete landing strip along the beach. The friendly landlord at the pub parted with a cup of coffee even though he wasn't open for another hour and a half yet, and my frozen fingers gratefully wrapped themselves around the cup - time for those winter gloves to come out!
Report by Steve Bamlett
Arrived at Bell hill at about 10am to find the hill empty but the sky partly clear. 2 mins later Rod turned up with Hang glider and paraglider. Wind was a bit on the West side but still on the hill. So it was out gear (me with my new Gin Oasis like a boy at Christmas) and see if we could get a flight in. It turned out to be a good call by Rod as we both managed a good 25/30 mins in the air. Is that all I hear you cry, well yes but read on!!. Just as we landed the rain front came though so it was time to sit in the back of the Lanny and make a brew and wait. Then wait some more. After lunch we were joined by Brain, Sean, Dave, and some others who I forgot (sorry). All looked like it could be a good afternoon the rain had cleared as too had the sky and at some point there was sunshine!!. So as we all layed our gear out waiting for the hill to turn on, a few made what can only be described as take off practice no one got away and no one found anything in the bowl. So there we all were waiting and waiting, but nothing. Did manage to get some good ground work and some foward launches which was good. But all to no avil. So it turned out the the flight Rod and I had in the morning was going to be the only one at Bell that day. Anyway it was good to see everyone again and have a chat. You can see by the Pics that we are ever the optimist.
Fri 8 Oct 2004
Pictures by Mark Fisher
Report by Steve Auld
It seems the thing about the Town Hall not receiving phone calls is their fault - apparently they cannot find a record of it, so it seems they are being a bit lapse in recording details in their log book. I talked with the same chap today as I did last week and he can't find a record of it, so he assumed that it was the case that a record of the call was not made.
If necessary, when the pilot concerned gets his phone bill, he will have proof of when he called the Town Hall in case there is anything further arising out of this, though, as it goes, I doubt we will hear about it at all.
Indeed, if we ever get any trouble with the Town Hall, we may be able to use this non-"incident" as ammunition in respect of reminding them that they, too, are not perfect.
And after all that, phoning them today I mean, I ended up flying Barton and not Bournemouth anyway... Turned out it was just a bit too westerly at B'mth...
7 Oct 2004
Report by Jon Harvey
Mid morning found myself and Cathy sat at Batcombe. Only trouble just not strong enough, when around midday spied large convergence developing along the coast. Packed and went to Westbay. 12 MPH on T/O, so few phone calls and made ready.
Joined by Stephen C, Tony B, Charles F, and ofcourse Cathy. V good couple of hours, All topping out Thorncombe Beacon, then down for refreshments. Late flight alone before being joined by Keith B, but by now breeze dropping rapidly. Around 3 hours flying.
This evening we were watched by several local residents, all armed with cameras, ready no doubt to photo any pilot attempting / or landing at old T/O. They will have had a copy of our site restrictions via local council, and will try to cause problems given a chance.
4 October 2004
Report by Steve Auld
Managed a take off ok in westerly conditions at Bournemouth today - was slow going west but fun whizzing east, going as fast as the cars along the Overcliff Road. Flew for a while and then top landed - was just good to get out for a change.
Report by Roger Edwards
Looking out of the window I could see conditions calming, the clouds slowing and some blue sky. A check of XCWeather and Wendy's gave mixed views on what was happening though things were looking generally westerly. Russell rang to share his opinion on the day and lamented the fact that he wouldn't fly Bell without a reserve, not having one at the moment as he'd given it a test deploy whilst stood on his dining room table! One way to entertain your dinner guests I suppose ;-)
Stuff it, getting out was a good option to me so off I headed to Bell to find it WNW, 12-15mph with reasonable clouds about. Where did that come from? Not in any of the forecasts I saw. Ten minutes later it was off to west and Peter R arrived. We got ready and it came back more WNW persuading us to launch. Peter braved the bowl and scratched up to 100ft for 5 mins before landing at the back. I ended up wafting gently over the west end with about 10ft and side landed half-way down. Alan W and Martin F arrived as things went more westerly and further attempts were thwarted by the combination of now weak conditions and a very westerly wind.
Oh well, we had a go and there was the chance of it being XCable if we'd managed to stay up. Wish I could be as bad at my job (when I, ahem, have one) as the forecasters and get away with it.
Fri 1 Oct 2004
Report by RWOn arrival John A. was waiting to launch his Hang-glider yet the wind was 13-16mph so I prepared for launch. Gaz M. arrived & John A took off & made it look easy. I followed to the cliffs with little difficulty and did not stay too long as the wind started to increase in strength. gaz decided to venture out over the fields and followed me back to the landing field. Many others turned up ( has anyone got a job ) intent on a visit to The Hive as Ringstead was blown out. We ventured to the beach where Roger E measured wind speed at 26mph . So oft to the cafe to be regaled by adventures of derring do in Macedonia by Sean L. Condor members had flown Charmouth for nearly 2 hrs in the morning.
If you find that some of the earlier pages don't have a navigation menu, just use your browser's Back button to return to this page once you have finished reading it.