Eye in the Sky Aug 2005 Part 2

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Mon 29 Aug 2005

Report by Cathy Harvey


What a Bank Holiday, many pilots having flown three days in a row. A great weekend for all,especially all the low air time pilots that we had on the hill. Credit must go to Jon who missed out on a lot of flying, giving site briefs and encouragement to all that had not flown this site before. Even the most wary got plenty of practice soaring the cliffs on short flights before landing safely on the beach. It was great to see so many new faces enjoying the site and they all had very broad smiles.

For me, since my last email less than two weeks ago, I have flown this site 5 times and clocked up 7hrs 54 minutes. My last flight being the longest I have ever stayed air born 2hrs 31 minutes. I believe this beats my total air time for the whole of last year. As you can imagine I am one happy lady. Although I did have a lucky escape when landing on the beach. The nude bather saw me coming and managed to put his trunks on before I landed near by. I am quite grateful as he was I would imagine in his late 60s and by the look of him I do not think it would have been I pretty sight.

The other good thing was we also made many holiday makers and locals very happy.We made a point of going up to people and talking to them about the sport.Some sat and watched for hours, clapped, cheered, took hundreds of photos and miles of video. A great weekend for all.

Mark H, Brett, Chris B.John P, Paul E, Jerry H, Jon & Cathy,Garry F, the main Condors contingent, Keith B, Mark F, and John W, and others from Wessex, and some of our newly qualified pilots, Patrick, Les, John,


28 Aug 2005

Report by Jon Harvey

Two days running, I don't believe it! Can we possible have a third.

Another good day, with many new faces, some known to me, and some not. There were several newly qualified pilots from FF, so more ticks Andy.

Visitors came from far and wide including High Wycombe, and Suffolk.

Everybody managed to fly today, and nearly everyone crossed to the gap to Thorncombe. Many were tempted to Golden Cap, and I believe a couple succeded, where many failed, landing near Anchor PH. Perhaps that was the reason, quenching the thirst.

Those known, Dinks, Jay, Mark H, Paul E, John P, Mark F, Garry P, John W, Garry F, Jon & Cathy H, Jerry H, (the flying doc) together with some new pilots from Taunton area, and several others whose names fail me, sorry Believe that we had between 20 and 25 pilots at varying times here today, Very enjoyable all told.

27 Aug 2005

Report by Jon Harvey

Eype worked again today after a rainy start.

About nine pilots up on Thorncombe,and a couple even made Golden Cap,(well done) until the large evil cloud developed from the Beerhaed direction,( just as Dinks made above Golden Cap and saw the wind lines etc under its shadow) and as most ran back towards T/O, and a quick landing, it dispersed as quickly as it formed. All in all most had hour plus.flying.

Looks like it might be similar today (Sun).

Dinks, Garry F, Paul E,, Rob, Jon & Cathy,plus several others (apologies for lack of names)

Pictures by Neil Harris

Report by Grant Oseland

Excellent day flying that started at Ringstead with an overcast sky and wind that had a southerly touch to it, which had most pilots talking about the White Horse, but i thought that today would be a good day to try a coastal run along with a few others, Stuart Martin and Rich Mosley to name a few.

It turned out that we made the right decision, as once past the White Nothe the wind was straight on the cliff and made it quite possible for most pilots that wanted to, to make it to Durdle Door without too much effort and then for some of us to push on to Lulworth Cove watching the many walkers on the coast path below.

Then came decision time jump the gap at Lulworth cove or turn back? Well we've come this far so onwards and upwards as they say! The crossing was fine right up to the point of reaching the other side, which was a bit rough with no lift (Rotor off the front cliff?). Then scratched Bindon Hill for any hint of lift and eventually worked our way to the top and then pushed our way straight to Worbarrow Bay now only Stuart M and Rich M were going strong.

Then came indecision time again, Stuart M tried the back ridge that leads the way to Corfe Castle, whilst Rich pushed forward onto Gad cliff and i just stayed floating at Worbarrow to see who did best. That will be straight on to Gad cliff then as Stuart M started to inspect the grass with the bottom of his harness rather quickly and eventually turned back to Warbarrow.

By now Rich had somehow managed to cross the gap at Kimmeridge Bay and I believe then continued onto St Alban's Head (KUDOS). However, for Stuart and I it was nearly the end of the road, as the wind seemed to have dropped off and we were then stuck at Tyneham Cap with little hope of crossing Kimmeridge Bay and only just maintaining height. Decided to top land and wait to see if the wind would pick up a bit. It didn't and eventually we admitted defeat and tried to land in Kimmeridge car park for a lift back to Ringstead.

Neither of us made the car park, as we both landed short. Then all that was left to do was pack up, have a beer and wait for the lift to turn up, sorted! Total ridge length was about 14.7 km and has now left me wanting to do it again but this time make it to Ballards!

Report by RW

A good day for many, not too grand for our good friend Kaye who is hopefully on the mend. All our good wishes Kaye lets see you back in the air soon!

Many Pilots made Lulworth & back, some skilled Pilots made Kimmeridge & got back with a lift. One Pilot with "Balls of Steel" was last seen at St Aldhelms Head, Richard M on the Gin Zoom what a player!

A lot of firsts out there today & some excellent cliff soaring. Gill Le Gras was seen high in the sky heading from the Horse & landing at Owermoigne, Thanks to Dr Charles for the lift.

Just a general SAFETY point folks if horses & riders are close to the ridge at Ringstead PLEASE be kind enough to wait, with your wings grounded, until they are well out of the way, THANKS! More of the same tomorrow if the reports are correct?

Bats Head is clearly seen on some of the attached photos, note how it sticks out to sea, there is rotor behind this obstacle, if you don't believe me ask Kaye Escott, this was the scene of today's serious accident which will be discussed at the next Club Meeting. A huge thanks to our own hero NEIL HARRIS for his super efforts on Kayes behalf.

Tues 23 Aug 2005

Report by Nigel Smith


A difficult call as forecasts were saying N.W. I did not want to travel too far & Russell W said it was due west at Chickerell ,Fleet. I had not flown Portland W for some time and wanted to remind myself of the technical T.O. An enjoyable hour in good conditions with a top landing at the car park to save the walk!

Report by Martin Foley

Peter Robinson and myself flew to Swanage from Telegraph Hill this afternoon in excellent conditions.I got low over Corfe just to take the picture!


Sun 21 Aug 2005

Report by Nicole Barnard

To everyone to left Bell Hill in convoy yesterday, I have to say a great big thank you! The weather gods must have seen it and smiled upon us few who decided to stick it out on Bell. Thermals kept kicking off in front of Bell and the wind seemed to come back on to the hill more often. Cloud streets started to form again at 3:30 when the inversion broke and I left the hill soon after when a lovely thermal hoovered us all up into the sky. I left the hill with quite a westerly drift towards airspace, so it was my first go at avoiding it and trying to stay out of it, which I did, although the day ended before I reached Verwood. I finally landed at the Horton Tower at 17:10 after 23k :-)

Report by Richard Westgate

You had clouds, you lucky, lucky b......

Winching at XClent near Cheltenham, finally got away at 14.00, hate flying in the blue but following high ground, and hoping from combine harvester to combine arvester seemed to work, kicking lorries on the M42 near Banbury and got very low again just past Mlton Keynes, 100km at 6pm but amazingly kept going for another hour landing at 7pm, the latest i've ever flown to in the UK. Eventually caught up with wispy clouds on final glide. I was hoping to catch up with a hot air balloon which would have been a blast but landed a few kn short. Just goes to show that the average looking days are often better than expected!

Report by Mike Adkins

Having twice driven to my vantage point earlier in the day and seen Bell to be crowded and cyclic (with lots of people doing the sweaty walk), I finally decided at 1700 that there was a real breeze and it was time to go. Many pilots were packing up though there were still quite a few wings in the air. Craig B, John A and I all launched at much the same time and found lovely buoyant evening air with some powerful thermals still coming through. Craig and I got over 2000ft and he went. (I didn't, cos my retrieve-driver is walking in the Alps!) Finally, after an hour and a quarter's effortless floating around I followed John A down to terra firma, just in time to welcome Nicole back from her trip to Verwood.

Report by Jon Harvey


Arrived at Eype to find one already in the air, the stiff breeze being well off to the west and around 15mph. Four new faces here this afternoon, a warm welcome, and do come again.

Difficult to arrive at Thorncombe Beacon, as this was shielding the downwind cliffs from any lift, but one did managed to creep up and gain the summit, but also another made a landing on the shore below.

Anyway everybody had a successful couple of hours, passing a glorious Sunday afternoon, the target for the many walkers with their cameras, and their inevitable questions about how/where etc to start paragliding whenever we landed. Great PR for the sport.

Garry Frecknell, Paul Ebert, Charlie Forsey and Matt ? (the new faces) together with Dinks, Jon and Cathy H

Report by David Franklin

A good afternoon soaring on Bell including a couple of xcs.The second was a lovely evening flight .I left the hill in a huge smooth thermal at 6.10pm and had my very own cloud street all the way to Sturminster Marshall and air space. My boots at cloud base near Blandford.

Picture by Craig Byrne

Report by Alastair Florence

With my wife sunbathing happily in the garden it seemed like a good time to get out for a fly. Yesterday had been ok at Bell so went back. Peter R and Neil H were soon off xc in an unusual direction but after this the wind seemed to go more west and the cycles became pretty unusable. Mike D who has'nt flown for over 2 months ( something to do with a woman I reckon ) texted and I suggested the coast may be a better bet. We agreed to meet at St Aldhelms, Mike was walking in the wrong direction as I arrived reckoning it was to strong. Ok gusting 22mph so we sat out for a bit. As the gusts reduced to below 20mph I headed to the strong wind launch pad and after some confidence questioning launched. As always conditions were fine once off the ground. After a bit I coaxed Mike up and later Jacko joined in. Plenty of lift to allow trips out past the coastguards hut and for Jacko to do a bit of acro. We couldn't get much over 400 ft though. I had about 90 mins by which time the wind was still fairly strong, everyone ended up flying back to the car park. ( I was a bit worried as half way through the flight Jacko shouted where do we land. Hmm best thought of before you launch mate )

Report By Steve Bamlett

Arrived at bell again only to find it very light and Dave W ,Ron,Grant and others waiting. The wind was a bit of to the west today so we all waited for the thermals to kick in and hope to get away.

About Midday onwards it started to work and some people were lucky and indeed got away but not sure what distance was achieved.

The wind was always of to the west and at times was across the hill. So at Two Nigel suggested Ringstead. Not wanting to be left out I followed and glad that I did because as soon as we arrived Nigel was in the air and of to the cliffs. Rang Dave W at bell who I assume told everyone and not an Hour later familiar faces starting arriving at Ringstead. The sea breeze was working a treat and when I left at 6pm there was still wings over the cliffs. So a good result. Two sites in one day Bargain !!!.

Pictures by Martin Foley


Report by Gary Pocock

Arrived at Ringstead at around 2pm. No other pilots on site however the wind strength was about 18-20mph and slightly off to the west, I did see a pilot leaving the site on my way in so assumed conditions may have been getting stronger. After about half an hour it had dropped to about 15-18mph. Gave a quick call to Russell who was at Bell at which time Nigel and Steve B arrived, immediately unpacking and getting airborne. As there were now other pilots on site and flying, I quickly got airborne and didn't have to waste any time at take off before heading to the cliffs. After a short while at the cliffs I noticed the take off area soon filling up with other pilots so I opted to stay at the cliffs until I was ready to leave or conditions changed. A really smooth pleasant flight (1hr 40m). Can't think of a better way to round off a weeks holiday at home other than that elusive XC.

Sat 20th Aug 05

Report by Everard Cunion

When I arrived at Monks Down, Matt was about a thousand feet up in his green Lightspeed. (Surely it should be called Monk’s Up? Or Monk’s Up, Round and Round, and Down...) Matt had to leave early, and in light conditions more suited to paragliding, Richard (Lightspeed) got maybe a hundred feet above the hill before sinking out and side landing fly-on-the-wall style. After a relight both he and ZZ (Topless 2) managed to get fairly high in some large thermals.

Tony in his Avian Elan double surface beginner glider launched into a huge cycle of lift and specked out. I think this was his second ever flight with a variometer. (He needs to buy a parachute next.) I launched after him and never got quite as high. The basic intermediate wing is surely a better choice for those conditions. On several occasions I encountered thermal-induced ‘lock outs’ (not related to towing lockouts) where the glider was rolling one way and, even with full opposite weight shift I was unable to reverse the turn for several seconds. (Hey, it’s got to be rough to be good...) I flamed out after about ten minutes and bottom-landed. For the first time ever, I put a bit of VB on for the landing and flared in the nil wind LZ. A perfect dead-stop.

As well as the regular fly-by of the silver Moth biplane from nearby Compton Abbas airfield, a formation of jet fighters came over. Looked more like F-18s than anything; they were not British I think, anyway. However, the highlight of the day, visually, was the sight of thirteen sailplanes thermaling together, sunlit and glinting white and dark gray against the lighter gray backdrop of a bank of clouds to the east of us. To my mind, sailplanes look boring individually, but this collective formation of these stick-like forms in slow motion was thoroughly spectacular.

When I returned to the top of the hill, Richard and ZZ were specking out in their paragliders. Leaving my paraglider in the car, I re-rigged the Discus. (Being that high in a PG would scare me witless -- but height is safety, I know...) Naturally, when I had finished rigging, conditions seemed too light. Recognizing that I was operating in village idiot mode, I de-rigged and went home.

Report by Mike Bretherton


Halo was forecasting it to be blown out and first thing in the morning it certainly was gusting up to over 20mph. But around 11am, Wendy indicated it had moderated so Craig Byrne and myself went to Comb. We got there around midday, but it was howling with only the hangies in the air. There was not even 1 paraglider pilot parawaiting on take off because they were all parawaiting by their cars.

After an hour by the cars, the wind moderated and a wind dummy went up and went up slowly over the back under a big black cloud. The sky was epic and I would have thought it would have been a mixture of hoofing to base thermals and freefall sink but the lift was not that good and there was not too much sink around, occasionally the wind would gust strong off to the NE. The problem was no one could get away and the most anyone could do was about 300ft above take off.

After a long wait, I think a bit of luck connected me with a boomer, I was only the height of the hill and the wind drift was strong but I decided it was safe enough taking it over the back if only for a short hop. I managed to climb out but only to around 1000ft ATO, and that was the highest I got the entire flight. After about 8km, I almost bombed and was kicking the treetops, there was a large forest down wind so I decided to land. But another boomer climbed me out of the forest but again only to around 1000ft ATO.

Soon the urban sprawl of Adover was upon me and I had to fly crosswind to the west to avoid it. I was gradually losing it so I decided to land on a cricket pitch and my flying stopped play for a few seconds as I buzzed the players. I think only about 3 of us got away so I was pretty happy for the 15km flight. I found a pub and Craig Byrne kindly came and retrieved me saying the hill had become very rough, one moment light, the next howling.

Report By Steve Bamlett


Arrived early at Bell to find Dave W and Ron waiting for the wind to calm down a bit. Although the wind was off to the North it looked like it could be a good day and sure as eggs the slow trickle of flyers started to appear. All the usual suspects far too many to mention as can be seen from the pic.

Dave W was wind dummy and after landing gave Ali and Myself the ok so it was off in the air. Got reports that some were at Monks and Maiden but Bell seemed to be the place where everyone was heading. The sun came out a gave us all a drop of nice weather to sit down and enjoy the day. Although no one got away XC everyone flew and most enjoyed catching up on gossip and having a fly as well.

Apologies to Nicole for taking off and not looking. Still all was well and at times there was some nice thermals to be had and many gained good height above take off.
Dave W say he was at 2000 but did not go XC !!!!

Hope tomorrow will be better.

Tues 16th Aug 2005

Photos by Steve Phillips



Report by Phil Venn


After a few hops around the ridge and suitable words of encouragement from Russell, I made it out to the cliffs at Ringstead again today. I can tell you that they look much prettier from 250 ft ATO than they do from the rocks at the bottom of White Nothe. Oh, and flying back to the ridge is much easier and quicker than being dragged up the cliff face by the Coastguard.

Report by RW

Slightly off to the S.E. and regular thermals coming through, enough to allow 500'+ ATO. Many new faces on the hill and the regular posse. Matt the Splat back from S.America for his first flight in 2 years and Sean ? returning after an equally long absence. Nigel S showing off his skills & maintaining height when all others were scratching. Some low air-timers fell foul of the gorse. Simon Fouracre of the Condors arrived for his maiden flight & too many others to mention. Steve A, Steve P,John W, et al

Mon 15th Aug 2005

Report by RW

Patience paid off as the first indications were Southerly. So a brief respite for lunch & then off to the cliffs. Nigel S was first out, I think he is definitely the volunteer for "Wind-Dummy". A call from the disappointed at Bell had them arriving through the afternoon. Phil V exorcised the demon & flew the cliffs, it was worth seeing the smile on his face!

Paul E eventually made it only after Kay E ( the wife ) showed him the way! Their friend " Smartie" also made it after much soul-searching! Six Peregrines ( good year for them ) were screaming at the buzzard invading their territory & of course the weirdos in the bushes were watching the naturists on the beach.

Stuart M took Gail on a tandem ride for nearly 2 hours. All in all a good day with many first timers at the "office".

Report by Mike Bretherton

Chinook video    


Weatherjack was only giving it a 4 this time, but I returned once more to Combe under an epic sky and met up with Pete Stud and Craig Byrne. Several big names flying comp wings were also in residence. Everyday is different and today it was very light, often off the hill and mostly frustrating with much parawaiting and short hops followed by hill walking from half way down.

By mid afternoon I thought that it would only get worse but at 3:15, the only boomer of the day came through. The comp wing brigade were away first, followed by a few others including myself but it was slow going to base. I was not going to make it so I went downwind to a NW facing bowl on a ridge over the back and managed to climb out to base. Base was at 5000ft with plenty of cloud streets, but it was relatively late in the day so down wind flying at base was the order of the day. At first there was plenty of lift around near base and the pig farm on the A34 was a useful top up. A pesky Chinook helicopter kept doing the rounds, they are very alarming when you can only hear them coming ! A little cloud flying got me past Whitchurch but an overdeveloped sky decked me near Popham and I landed at North Waltham. I got a low save but the lift was not consistent and I did not want to commit to a low crossing of the M3/A303 interchange.

I got the traditional farming welcome, “pack up quick and get off my land” but I had a much better welcome at The Fox, a local watering hole before being retrieved by Peter Stud. Probably more like a 3 today.

Report by Alastair Florence

St Aldelms - Stopped off at the local for an evening session again tonight. Neil W already partaking. Classic smooth, bouyant, not to strong but strong enough, fly where you want sort of conditions, peachy.

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2005 2004 2003 2002

Aug Part 1
Jun Part 2
Jun Part 1
May Part 2
May Part 1
Apr Part 2

Apr Part 1
Nov Part 2
Nov Part 1
Sept Part 3
Sept Part 2
Sept Part 1
Aug Part 3
Aug Part 2I
Aug Part 1
Jun Part 2
June Part 1
May Part 2
May Part 1
Mar Part 2
Mar Part 1
Aug Part 2
Aug Part 1
Jul Part 2
Jul Part 1
Jun Part 3
Jun Part 2
Jun Part 1
Apr Part 2
Apr Part 1
2001 and before