Eye in the Sky Nov 2005

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Sun 04 Dec 2005

Report by M FISHER

 

   
Totally surprised to wake up to virtually no wind this morning after the past few days. I wasn't expecting to fly today. Forecast was west to northwest so thought I might try telegraph, called Russell he was already going to Ringstead. Gave him a while to check it out, the wind proved to be veering. Reports of no wind inland had us thinking of ever windy Portland so headed there only to find it quite strong (up to 25mph further round west from TO).Russell suggested we try the lower cliffs. Paul Knibbs arrived from Telegraph and we all went down to give it a go. I went off first as i had to get back to suffolk, lifted the wing and was taken straight up, speedbarred out and had a great 20mins. It was very lifty and considered using bigears to get down but just pushed right out over beach and landed near pub. Paul Knibbs on his second flight had us in stiches showing us his skills in boat landing! On trying to land on the promenade and finding it difficult in the headwind started going back, on touchdown the wing pulled him towards the wall, then with one boot on the wall tried to stop himself being hauled over. All to no avail and got smartly dumped the otherside straight into a rowing boat, full of water. We all retired to the very convenient pub for post-flight drinks.


Fri 02 Dec 2005

Report by Richard Barber

Hi, I hope that all is well back in blighty and that the cold snap has abaited (if not coming home is going to be horrible!). As promised here is my second and last update from de Aar, I doubt i will fly again tomorrow as back is a bit knackered and after today so am I!

Well, I have now been here since monday and unfortunately after my first message, the weather turned nasty for a couple of days... However, yesterday was better again and i managed another 30KM flight, but cloudbase was significantly lower and getting to 30KMs really proved a battle.

Today, the forecast was for stronger lift and higher bases, so i expected that breaking the 50KM mark would be a doddle, it wasn´t! I got away on my third tow this morning and climbed up about 1000M above launch and then found nothing more until i got a very low save behind some trees by a farm about 10Kms from launch, i then climbed back to about the same height and drifted off down wind unable to find anymore lift and landed at about 27KMs. I was a little disappointed, but at least felt that i hadn´t fallen out of any thermals...

Arnold picked me up and as we drove back to De Aar, the sky looked really good especially a little further downwind than where i'd got to....

So rather than going home, we headed back to the airfield and after 4 tows with no lift (that I found), I finally took off into a fast moving thermal that was bubbling along the ground, but not really releasing. I was told to stick with it over the radio and eventually it let go. Initially the lift was very broken up with half a turn in lift half a turn out, a quarter in strong lift, 3/4 in zeros, this went on for what seemed like an eternity, but eventually everything calmed down and the thermal increased in diameter and strength and took me to 3000M AGL. Fortunately, as the wind had increased I was now covering the ground at a really good pace. I headed off on my first glide around where i´d had my low save on my first flight! Being in De Aar meant that i immediately found some impressive / depressing sink 5.5M/s, but fortunately with 3000M to play with it didn`t matter as i bombed on downwind at 70KM/H + and eventually found some more lift.

At that point everything got ridiculously easy, cloudbase was now at over 5000M and the cumuli were no more than 4 or 5 KMs apart, so i just went jumping from under one to another for around the next 50KMs, I then started to get a little low, but another farmhouse provided a nice trigger, with the thermal taking me back to just over 4000M. Up ahead was a growing cumulus, but it didn't look too dark so i pottered under it and into a slightly snotty 2M thermal that then developed into a large friendly 4.5 M per second thermal... I circled up to 4300M and then headed off on glide again with about a KM of cloud still ahead. This turned out to be a good decision as by the time i reached the edge of the cloud i was almost at base with 4850M reading on the vario / GPS.

By this time my back was starting to hurt and i was aware that i had been in the air for over 5 hours today, I therefore decided that even if i found more lift, i would not turn in it. I then just aimed to fly under the clouds ahead and found one absolute cracker, but feeling sure i must have broken the hundred KM mark and bearing in mind my previous self decree, didn´t take it. Instead i just carried on gliding downwind. After what i would guess was 25KMs i´d burnt off all my height and landed safely by the road, with Arnold on hand to take me home.

Stats:

Max speed 75KMH
Max Height 4850M
Max averaged vario 5.5
Max sink 5.?
Collapses - several minor, 1 x big full frontal aka (why i am i in freefall) followed by a thump and a thwack and all was back to normal, not that this was worrying as was over 4000M at the time!
Straight distance 134KM expected OLC 150KM +

Again today, there were bits of snotty lift, but being so high above the ground it really didn´t matter. The frontal was a result of trying to go as fast as possible with no pressure on the breaks (my fault).

As a winters flying destination it really is fantastic, Des and Arnold do everything possible to make you feel at home and will cater for all levels of pilots (they train pilots from scratch here) and touch wood, have never had an accident with a student or guest.

Fly safe, Richard

PS there isn´t much to do when it is raining, but books and the test match were enough to keep me happy, not that the score looked too promising when i left the house this morning!


Mon 28 Nov 2005

Report by Richard Barber

Hi, I arrived here in De Aar yesterday afternoon to find brilliant sunshine, light winds and 33 degrees... Arnold suggested that it would be a good idea to go out and do a couple of tows in the evening so that I wouldn't have my first flight on my new dhv2 towing for the first time in thermic conditions! Unsurprisingly I was more than happy to comply and had two very relaxed tows in the early evening with a few light thermals kicking around, but that was all. Under his careful instructions over the radio I got the hang of the towing and starting to get a little bit of knowledge about my new wing...

Early this morning the conditions were light and I was offered the chance to do some more winching before it got strong, which I took gladly took and bombed out on the runway straight after my first 3 tows... Again the instruction and safety were taken very seriously and everything went without incident. Another pilot then took off and hooked into a good thermal, so I was itching to get off the ground again.

Des and Arnold hooked me up and off I went climbing down the runway trying very hard to keep on line while being very slightly bumped around the place... I then released and though that once again I was going to end up on the deck when I found a very friendly 1.5 thermal, this then improved to a 4.5 averaged thermal over the next 1000M, the climb then continued at over 4.0 for the next 2000M giving me 4000M ASL, my max height above launch and max height gain! I had been warned about the possibility of feeling slightly hypoxic and after my first glide and climb back to over 4000M I did start to feel a bit dizzy... I continued on, took a few photos and enjoyed the strong, but wide and soft edged thermals for one more big climb.At the top of that climb (again over 4000M), I decided that as it was only my first day and I was starting to feel dizzy again I better go down and land... after a 10KM glide back to the ground I landed beside the road with arnold already waiting to pick me up. Brilliant! 32KMs max average on vario up 5.? max sink 4.? The other pilot landed a while later having racked up 130KMs! The Tempest behaved impeccably, seemed very pitch and roll stable and even when entering strong lift it didn't give me any grief. The extra speed on glide was great, but I know DHV2s can bite, so will continue to treat it with respect and hopefully continue to learn about how best to fly it a long way from terra firma.

For those of you who think that De Aar would be too strong, too epic and only for XC nuts, it isn't. There are mild conditions in the mornings and evenings and most of the time the long distance flying is done at over 2000M where the lift is nice and wide. If you don't want to go XC, but enjoy thermalling, for today at least, you could happily thermal around high over the takeoff runway... I will give another update towards the end of my stay, but looking at the weather forecast, it should be more of the same! Look after yourselves and I hope that the weather has improved for you all in the UK

Fly safe, Barbs

PS the height and distance are representative of how good the conditions are not of my own capabilities...

PPS for more info go to www.flydeaar.co.za


Sun 27 Nov 2005

Report by Simon Hopkins

First time out for two months, still had some of the beach from swanage in the sack!! - looks like I turned up when many had just left so, was I really that rusty or did it look ok? chatted to a few, Mike said it got Northerly not far off the ground, but l thought it was worth some ground handling at least. Semi rusty... second inflation before the wing was up, but then off, bobbing around in the cold. At 30mins it was only me and a the Firebird up and it seemed stronger so decided to land. Usual thing with me though - I only seem to lose hieght away from the hill when its stronger - can anyone help?. Decided against big ears after watching others who'd come back up and after feeling a bit squashed I decided to land in the bottom field - walked up watching everyone up again but that was it for me - Mother-in-law-telly-installation it was followed back smashing casserole - a good day all round and happy with decisions made.

Report by Mike Bretherton

 

   

Went to Bell today with 2 new red ribbon members James Bentham and Tom Yeof. It started raining when we set off, not a good start and when we arrived, several were leaving saying it was off the hill and blown out. I decided to at least check the take off first. Yes it was strong but the wind appeared smack on and seemed flyable, at least for me. I gave it a quick test fly, it was a little boisterous and surprisingly well off to the north once I was in the air (not off to the west as was suggested by others and nearby smoke also confirmed this).

Soon after, the conditions had marginally improved and several other wings went airborne. It was still a little strong so the red ribboners waited a little longer before giving it a go. I had another go, this time there was so much lift the problem was getting down. I had to make several attempts with big ears before I managed to land. As the afternoon progressed, the wind dropped a little more, the wind came more on the hill and the air became much smoother until it was like coastal soaring. Ultimately it was a great day with much air time gained by most including the new red ribbon members. Regards Mike Bretherton

Report by Alastair Florence

Got to Bell early today to find it strongish and off to the West. I was soon joined by Steve B followed by Dave W, we had a go but ended up with a walk from the bottom as with too much west in it the lift was rubbish. Then russell joined us with similar results. A rainbow out in front suggested bad things and the wind picked up considerably. Time to give up and headed off to try a non club site which was even worse.

So back to Bell to find the air full of gliders, well at least a few were actually airborne. Brian M, Martin H, Simon C-W, Mike B, Mike M plus several others I either forgot or did not recognise, sorry. Still quite strong but now on the hill. A few red ribbons doing well in testing conditions. About 1500hrs the wind eased down a notch and the lift improved to give a reasonably enjoyable end to the day.

A note from the BHMC office :- The top of the hill is begining to get a little slippery again as winter draws in. The track is still quite passable to normal cars but parking requires a little more technique. If you have any doubts about your ability to get to the top in your car and more importantly turn, park and then drive down again do the wise thing and park on the roadside and walk up. Your insurance company really won't thank you if you try a top to bottom in the car


Sat 26 Nov 2005

 

   

The three pictures in the Eye in the Sky page submitted by Neil Hutch look very much like they are of me on my purple Gin Bandit.

The location is definitely Rainbow Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. And if me, then the pictures would have been taken in second half of February this year (or maybe very early March)...by an English pilot from (I believe) the Southern Club. Those cliffs, at 450feet or so, are a lot higher than they look...see vehicle tracks in the sand in some pics and black blobs on the sand are 4WD's... Rainbow Beach (and Teewah, round the corner to the south) are both excellent places to fly - if anyone is going to Queensland, I would thoroughly recommend trying these two sites - Teewah is southeast facing and this Rainbow Beach is northeast facing, just south of Fraser Island.

I include a few piccies I took...hope you have broadband... 39 is Rainbow Beach looking southeast and 41 is looking the other way, showing the take off area (big enough?) and Fraser Island off to the right in the distance. The other two pictures, 20 and 23, are of Teewah Beach. Again, it is around 450feet high, but longer than Rainbow Beach which is about 15km... Teewah is about 40km long. The takeoff area, though, is tiny and almost too steep to stand on, being soft sand. You spend the first five minutes of flying banging your boots together to get most of the sand out (or give up and wear sandals). These two sites are north of Brisbane and further on, just a bit north of Noosa Heads, and easily found on that Google Earth thing, being just south of Fraser Island. Take care,

Steve Auld

 


Wed Nov 16 2005

Report by Marcus Webster

 

   

After making a couple of phone calls and deciding it was going to be too windy I wrote off any chance of flying today, but at 2pm I made another call to Compton Abbas airfield and thought that Monks Down was worth a try. I arrived at 3pm to find the take off field full of people with guns, dogs and waving red flags taking pot shots at any small furry animals that were daft enough to show them self's. While they cleared the area I got kitted up and took off into a very cold 10-14mph silky smooth wind (the noise in the trees sounded like a full blown gale !), I flew for about 45min making about 85`ato and being slightly concerned by all the Army Air Corps activity in front and behind me. As the sun started to set the wind dropped off bringing the fun to an end, my only regret was not getting there earlier


Report by Alastair Florence

Looked like a nice day so I took my lunch break on Bell.

Arrived to find Gill L-G in bottom field after TTB and Anna hot on her heels Gaz providing retrieve. John B and Peter C were busy putting the world right on T/O. Apparently the wind only picked up as I arrived which was lucky for me as I couldn't stay long. (needed to get back to site to make sure everyone was doing what I told them to as we have a Royal visitor tomorrow + 260m3 concrete pour)

Everyone was now sorting out kit, I got in the air first and found it nicely smooth and bouyant enough. Soon joined by the rest of the culprits + Martin H, Brian M, Dereck S maybe others followed after I left. Very pleasant flying after the last few dodgy days i've had lately, Not much more than 200ft in height but peachy all the same. Looked like lift was getting better as I went so I hope the rest of you had more fun. Its very painfull leaving a site to go back to work, but maybe not as painfull as reading this if you've been at work all day.

From Neil Hutchison:

 

     

"Hi John, I mailed this Dave and he doesn't know who the member is but maybe put it on EIS and someone will stick their hand up! Regards, Neil Hutch Lemmings UK "

 


Sat 12 Nov 2005

Report by James Roy

 

   
I was one of the HG pilots at Milk on Saturday as mentioned the submission below. Just like to put the record straight that the downwind up slope landings were anything but crashes! All done intentionally AKA fly on the wall.... Glorious day, shame about the wind.

Report by John Funnell

 

Work has brought me to the San Diego office (a real office) for a couple of weeks. I’ve flown here before so brought my glider. After a spell of clouds and showers (these San Diegans really do complain when they lose their sun: how would they survive a British winter???), the weather improved just in time for this long “Veterans’ Day” weekend. The local site is Torrey Pines gliderport on a 300ft cliff above the Pacific. It’s apparently the only legal coastal site in Southern California and has café, shop and a grass take-off/landing area.

When I arrived on Friday, the wind was perfect but no-one was flying. A large group of people were congregated on TO and someone was speaking. Then a lone paraglider took off, flew out, made a couple of 360’s over the crowd and (as I found out afterwards), scattered the ashes of local hang-glider pilot Alan Chuculate.

With perfect conditions (sunny, warm, 10-12mph Westerly), I followed the local pilots and took to the air. The flying is similar to that at many UK cliff / coastal sites: silky smooth air with a few thermals coming off the cliff to make things a little more interesting. To the North of TO is the (apparently famous) Torrey Pines golf course. To the South are a string of cliff-top mansions.

The site was very busy with weekend pilots, students and spectators. There were often a couple of tandems in the air: and these guys have right of way no matter what the other rules say. By heading to the southern end of the cliffs I found some space to myself and flew until sunset. Saturday was also flyable and I explored the ridge until the wind died giving me the dubious pleasure of a bottom landing next to a naked beach volleyball game and a sweaty hike back up the cliff.

Photos by Martin Stacey

 

     

Report by Dave Winn

 

Well it had to happen sooner or later.A whole days flying.

Met at Ringstead first thing to find the wind off to the West and decided to give Portland West a go for the first time. A very impressive site with pilot commitment on take off due to the sudden vertical drop. Enjoyed most of the day in smooth, buoyant conditions and was joined by Rauol B, Steve 'the wingwalker' B, Steve 'dont fly so close' P, Peter R, Gary M, Neil Harris, with mates Steve and Martin who kindly picked us up earlier on. Neville A arrived and took off on his Atos at break neck speeds and lastly Paul K from Yeovil who kept us all waiting for his take off whilst we sat having a pint at the pub on the beach.

Report by Mike Bretherton

I went to Milk Hill today with new Wessex member James Bentham. The forecast was SW wind, a breezy morning followed by decreasing strength in the afternoon. But it ended up being light in the morning followed by even lighter in the afternoon. Mostly the usual parawaiting, but a few thermal gusts allowed some short hops in the winter sunshine. A couple of hanglider downwind slope landing / crashing incidents added to the excitement.


 

Wed 9 Nov 2005

Report by Steve Bamlett

Hi all and great to be back in blighty. Spoke to Russel,W and decided to go to Butser West were I met up with Shippo and Mike who was aready in the air at about 10 am.

Wind was on the hill so at the time thought sod stay here. Had a very good 3 hours of flyable weather and spent the time just pottering around. Sorry i did not ring you back Russell as my phone was dead. Glad to hear Bell was OK but had a good day at BW. See you all soon.

Report by RW

I believe the great "Somewhere" heard my plea.

Tuesday evening I had an e-mail from our "Salty Sea Dog" Steve B, recently returned from voyaging the seven seas. I quote " Looks like bell tomorrow". I checked the forecasts & replied " In your dreams, its W & howling". Oh how I ate my words.

The day started as a beautiful dream, a cooked breakfast followed by nookie & the sun splitting the sky. The report from the microbiologist saying " I did not have worms"! The flag on the pole showing WNW & a flyable strength.

The phone started ringing at 0830hrs ( Please not before 0900hrs) " Is it flyable"? Well I was in a mind to visit a Westely Site but I thought I'll check with Derek S to see if he would visit " Bell", " No problem Russell I will check it out" God Bless you Derek. ( Stop getting dragged please ). Then the phone went red hot, people phoning from all over the place, " Looks Good where shall I go?" Ali F phoned to confirm Compton was showing WNW, "If its flyable at Bell let me know & I will take an extended lunch break".

So it was oft to our home owned Site! Derek S & Mike A were sat in the car saying it was marginal, I was determined that the last 3 weeks cooped up were the greatest incentive, although it was consistently about 16mph I launched in strong dynamic lift. Oh! sweet joy, my feet were off the ground, my trusty Gin Oasis was flying and there were bloody thermals coming through. Cloud base was low & the speed bar was required to move out in front of the hill but it was pleasant. I thought after 30mins Why am I in the sky on my own? Then a visiting Pilot from Australia arrived Steve & joined me. Marcus eventually made it from T.O.

Then the mid weekers started to arrive. Oh ! calamity, someone in a green estate left the track & nearly went down the hill in a roll over, disaster averted, Listen folks after 3 weeks of rain the track is difficult, so be sure you can make it safely before any attempts, O.K.?

I had over an hour of flying fun, Thanks to the Gods. Hopefully the other midweek SkyBums had a good time. If you don't come out to play, hard tack! Sorry to Steve B. YOU WERE RIGHT THIS TIME! Others:- Derek S, Mike A, Sean L, Marcus W, Steve Ozzy, American Photographer & friend, Peter C, John B. John A et al


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