Eye in the Sky May 2006

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Wed 31 May 2006

Report by Alastair Florence

Me and Julian P enjoyed about 1 1/2 hrs soaring at Winklebury tonight. Started off only just scratchable but got stronger as the evening went on, a bit rough at times but a very pleasant evening with plenty of small remains of thermals. Another plus was Winklebury Cows dont seem to try and eat your kit.



Report by Mike Bretherton

 

  
Flying was on and off at Bell today with the wind off to the North at times, but it was pretty good most of the time although very hard to go Xc. But someone had to do it sooner or later and land in the Magic Tree or rather at the very top of it. Who would have thought it would bring the attention of a Fire Engine, 2 or 3 other official rescue vehicles, a rescue helicopter, a police helicopter and the media. I missed out on most of the rescue excitement as I went Xc, although only a small one to Winterbourne Stickland. I believe the pilot was unhurt, apart from the embarrassment and the probable damage to a new wing.


Mon 29 May 2006

Report by Gill Middlehurst

 

   


Sun 28 May 2006

Report by Roger Edwards

Finally, a day that looked like it might offer some worthwhile flying inspired me to head up to Bell. On arriving it was evident that the world and his brother had had the same idea and parking was at a premium. There were plenty of wings in the air with good height and hence separation, so despite being busy it wasn't the usual bun fight. Though top endy at times it stayed flyable all day, bar one hour or so of blow out, conveniently at lunch time.

Not only was it working it was also very bouyant and with nice thermals coming through regularly. I nearly got away on my first flight but lost it over the woods and decided, as I was lowish, that the prudent option was to head back to the ridge. This proved tricky as the venturi was having its evil effect - I crept back on full bar, lying flat on my back, at only 0.5mph. I swear I could count the ruts in the field, so slow was progress. After the lunch time blow-out a gaggle of us took a ride over the back and worked our way to end up distributed variously around Blandford. It was overcast and with few cloud clues felt a bit like flying a blue day. Not far for me but my first XC of the season, which was sorely needed to remind me why I persist at this meteorologically-challenged sport. Too many folk on the hill to name, but in the gaggle were Nicole, Neil H, Stuart M, Rob P and I'm sure some one else as well. Once back at the hill it was still good enough for another hour or so in the air for those who weren't knackered by then.

Parking was real mess as the first up had parked parallel to the fence rather than perpendicular. Could we all please stick to what is actually the usual habit of parking perpendicular to the fence - it really does make a big difference.

 

Report by RW

 

   

Bell Hill 28-5-06 Flying at last.

Photos by J.R.

Hangies Hovering at Height, High & Handsome

 


Thurs 25 May 2006

Report by RW

   

 


Ringstead: A call from the Flight Culture Posse' returned from the "Dune" to say it was soarable at the "Office". On arrival John W & Gaz M were playing in the breeze & punchy thermals. After orisons to the Gods I took off and converted some lift to make it to the cliffs for a play. Wind strength was increasing steadily & allowing good height gain at the cliff face. others out to play were Steve P & Gary P.There was a rumour that it was flyable at Bell.


Sun 14 May 2006

Report by Cory-Wright, Simon

On a weird sort of day where for some reason the members of Wessex seemed to scatter to all four corners of Dorset, I headed to White Horse on the basis of Russell W’s advice, which was “Head to White Horse” and Roger E’s advice, which was “I’m at Bournemouth - it’s pants”.

Arrived early afternoon and about half a doz pilots had already enjoyed over an hour of great flying in light and thermic conditions. Wind was off to the east a bit but thermals could be found bubbling up along the full length of the ridge providing a further hour’s great flying. It shut down briefly, which allowed a BLT and banana smoothie refuel before cranking back up.

Russell swapped his Oasis for the tandem mothership and as he scratched in light conditions he began to resemble a German Heinkel WWII bomber under ferocious attack from a squadron of pesky Spitfires (see Russell’s report below). It’s easy to forget that tandems aren’t as manoeuvrable and should be given a wide berth, something to note for next time. But Russell, it wasn’t me in your way mate…I was way too high, ha ha!

As the wind dropped we were increasingly left to scratch around in small puffs, resulting in slope landings and a renewal of the love affair between my lines and the brambles. Word of advice - slope landings at White Horse aren’t recommended. Mike D and I were the last to persevere, with Mike disappearing low off the west end of the ridge. Just as I was about to go on a search and rescue mission, expecting to find him buried deep in a large gorse thicket, I found out he’d managed to scrape his butt low across the bowl and find enough lift on the opposite spur to climb out and glide back for a landing beside his car - cheeky sod! Great day with two more hours for the logbook.

Report by Jon Harvey

Called to say that Eype was light but wind straight on, and strengthening. Arrived to some 20 mins later, wind virtually non-existent, but well off past south. Talked about other options, then breeze certainly increased quite quickly, and Keith first away. It was some 20 mins later before Alan B and myself got up, due to wind moving ever more towards SSE. Plenty of lift across to Thorncombe, and as crossing noticed several others arriving. Eventually Garry F, John P, Jerry H, Dinks, joined the merry group. Sorry if any names missed out. Wind was well towards SSE, great speed Westwards and initially plenty of height above T/B, 600ft +, but either wind began to moderate, or backed even more, and heights at T/B began to decrease each beat. In hindsight should have gone on a one way mission much earlier to G/Cap and Charmouth, but forecast was an increase in strength,, and were waiting for this to happen. Lesson one, don't believe forecasters, and so missed a great opportunity again..

Now for some site info. No names mentioned this time but next time your name WILL be for all to see. If you haven't flown here before or very infrequently, please ask for rules and then comply.

1 Do not lay out wing, harness, etc across the footpath, which is a public right of way.

2 Lay out, clip in, inflate etc, on the down wind side of the footpath. Only cross when launching.

3 Don't be an ass and lay out between the path and the cliff edge, you may just get rotored straight over the edge. Hint, look and see where the grass is moving landwards, inflate where there is some wind, not on the edge, where the grass is blowing off the coast.

I mentioned this to you as well as Cathy, so please, please observe site rules.

Myself, Cathy and Keith ventured up again later as it seemed better, and found yet another pilot, at T/O, red F/B Z-one, red helmet, doing exactly as described above. Site rules were explained, and some assistance to try and launch, but no chance. Eventually discovered during conversation that he wasn't a Condor, Wessex member, or in fact a member of any BHPA club, though was a BHPA member. He resides in Yeovil and usually only flies Telegraph hill, as only a short drive. I pointed out the benefits of belonging to a club, eg, tuition in ground handling, flying etc, flying in company and not on your own, trying to improve, and that if he isn't a member of any local clubs, with reciprocal arrangments, he wouldn't be welcome again. Goes by the name of Larry or Lawrie Morris. Otherwise a good day in the air.

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   
I begrudge paying £35 for anything i've been getting free but I reckon Theyr weather forecast has got to be worth it.

I interpreted their forecast as that the morning would be fairly poor S-SE then improve as the afternoon went on swinging more east. In the event thats pretty much what happened.

Hence I went hiking with my wife in the morning earning enough smartee points to get released for the afternoon. Sitting in the garden eating cheese on bread and drinking tea for lunch I could see pilots sitting on Ballard so didn't bother to rush out. Shortly about 8 wings launched and I headed up.

ZZ was walking up as well, as we arrived the wind died off but was still flyable, just. After a bit of scratching ZZ began gaining more height as orographic cloud began forming over the cliffs. everyone got in the air and we had a brilliant session with a steadily increasing wind which swung off to the East. the hotels were easily soarable. It was a case of fly the main cliff until you entered the white room then haed for the lower cliff until the cloud cleared enough. Loads of lift, one of those freak days. Others present ZZ, 2 x visitors who's names I cant remember and probably couldn't spell anyway (sorry) Craig B (yes Craig B), Jim C, Alan W, Grant O + possy, Dave T, Lawrence T borrowed a wing and flew as he passed on his Bike, I think thats about it. Peachy !

Report by RW

 

   

"Tandeming" at the Horse. After a couple of hours of solo thermalling with many others. It was time to bring out the Dual. P2 was the delightful Jackie R who provided the attached photos. After preparation, I aborted the first launch as I caught the sink cycle of a thermal. Then followed a long spell of scratching like a "pig with fleas", wind had a tad of east, and some solo Pilots had little regard for the dynamics of a tandem, others were well aware of the difficulties and ably assisted my efforts to get above the hill. It was obvious that some Pilots had not flown for a very long time or were blind as they did not attempt to abide by Air Law. Despite their efforts Jackie & I managed to evade the sink & even found some decent lift at the east end to enable some thermalling. Thanks to John S for assisting launch & Mike D & Allen T for assisting landing. A good days flying was had by many.

Report by Roy Menage

A check of XC wind map showed that Bournemouth might be on for a late afternoon flight. I arrived to see Steve A in the air although the wind was, in fact, a long way off to the east. Steve very kindly gave me a push over the fence in quite strong conditions with easterly progress being very slow and westerly being almost alarmingly fast! We worked the lift for about 25 mins with no more than 70ft ATO being achieved but with the lift failing fast, despite the wind strength, we both top landed and packed away. Dave W arrived just too late (sorry!). Here's to the next visit. Thanks to Steve for the useful guidance.


Report by Mark Fisher

 

 
White Horse


Sat 13 May 2006

Report by Wayne Bevan

Found at Ringstead, a Black Fleece Glove (Right Hand). If you have lost one please contact Wayne Bevan via email.

When I arrived at Ringstead with the HG & found PGs in the air I immediately rigged & took off flying directly to the low cliffs. I lost 50ft on the way out. I gained height quickly once on the cliff. On my second flight in a stronger WSW I expected to gain height on the trip out to the cliffs as I have always done so in the past. Ringstead should never be taken for granted & I lost 150ft on the route out flying through the rotor & then losing another 50ft having arrived on the low cliff!

Normal flying was resumed once established on the cliffs however one must always be mindful of being able to penetrate & being able to get back in these conditions.

The top landing field at Ringstead has knee length grass which made landing HG's interesting as there was a noticeable wind shear at about 30ft agl.

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   

With a WNW-NW of moderate strength at home it seemed worth a visit to Bell.

RW was in the air to a degree as I arrived with ZZ and Wayne B on the ground.

The wind was well off to the West but Russell, ZZ and later Jacko all made flights of varying sucess. More would be's were now arriving, The sky was uninspiring and the wind more off the hill so it seemed time to move on.

Rumour had it Ringstead was flyable and several left. Pete C, Roy M, Dr C and me looked at Bulbarrow, it was raining and the wind off to the North but otherwise perfect so we left for Ringers.

At Ringers still very Westerly a few people were bouncing about in front of the ridge. After a bit some made it to the cliffs and were followed by most of the rest of us. Quite strong and definately off to the West. We got some reasonable heights and not too many bad things, Dr C demo'ed frontal tucks nice and low on a demo wing (much to his suprise), Wayne B had a good flight on his HG with Richard M and ZZ joining later, a fair turn out of PG's including RW, Gaz, James T, Mark F, Roy M, Pete C, Neil H and some other pilots who I'll remember as soon as I send this mail !

 


Fri 12 May 2006

Report by Steve Bamlett

 

 


Just arrived back from 10 glorious days in Tolmin Slovenia with what can only be described as exhilarating stuff. I was there as part of the Joint Services sports tour to compete against the other services in various tasks and events. The flying was as ever fantastic and we only had two non-flying days.

Whilst there I met up with Wolfgang the boss of Nova at the prize giving night and had a talk about the new wings etc. He donated a wing as first prize! The thermals were particularly bouncy at this time of year and all had a hard time hanging on at points and most verios went of the scale at some points. however getting hoovered up at 8 m/s is better than some of the rotor that can develop on the lee side of the mountains. After my tenth of eleventh major collapses on my way to the Stol ridge it became a normal thing and most pilots here all say the same, that if you want to fly in the mountains then get used to it.

All the same it does concentrate your mind on recovery methods and whether or not to worry about it. It was starting to get busy on launch so most days we decided to get away early and head for Bovic of Italy and then get a retrieve.

Broke two of my personnel bests height and distance and it was good to see other UK pilots there as well.

If you have the time to go then I recommend it


Tue 09 May 2006

Report by RW

A sneaking suspicion that Bell was "on". Arrived at 0950hrs & it seemed ideal.

Good sky with fluffy Cumulus developing. I called Site Phone & took off.

Soon at 950' ATO. I thought this could be good, after 40mins the sky started to fill in and I landed for a cuppa. Derek S & Harry D with Mike A all went for a float Derek making the most of the remaining lift. It soon died off & Martin TFL was cursing his misfortune. A late call from Gazza had me & Martin off to Ringstead for some ridge soaring with the thermals occasionally cycling through. Latecomer Steve P had a waft.

 


Mon 08 May 2006

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   

After a frustrating few days of either no flying at all or just scrapping my butt along a cliff top it was a relief to see the clouds actually moving on the way home tonight, albeit a little fast. I figured out the cloud base was low giving the illusion it was more windy than it was.

Corfe Chuch weather vane showed SW so headed toward St. Aldhelms, The cow on barn vane was giving south of SW. I always wondered what would happen to you in this direction with 13-15mph on take off so thought I might experiment.

The flight was ok, it took along time to push forward and round the corner onto Emmetts Hill which worked a bit better giving around 275ft ato, The coastguards cliff was ok as well, with the wind dropping not enough altitude to make the car park and cloudbase down to about 850ft amsl I decided to bale out and landed comfortably in the set-aside behind the last stile.

Not an epic flight but better than the last few days.

Report by jon harvey

Received a call from Keith B that Eype was poss working with wind from 15/20 mph but dropping somewhat.

Arrived some 15mins later, wind from sw and around 17 mph average, and no sign of Keith until I walked to t/o and there he was on Golden Cap and very high. T/o from slightly lower down, today and straight into lift, no problems staying up this evening. Visited westbay, then on return leg, very slow progress, (gps showed 5mph without speedbar) but gaining height, and nearly 600 ft asl at Eype t/o. Met up with keith but now very little lift near Thorncombe, east side being shielded from westerly wind, in fact sinking rapidly, so aborted. Return leg at speed (30 mps ground speed). Played around Eype /Westbay with rapidly decreasing wind as it went well west. flew for about 50 mins, So very much more pleasant than last Friday's flight.

BBC spotlight show 10mph sw tomorrow afternoon sea breeze.

Report by luigi degli esposti

 

   

You might have heard that some people come to fly here on the Grappa without insurance..

The reason that they think they are covered is the fact that we are protected by the '' Madonna of good flight''...

I still recommend extra cover when you come here though..

 

 
     

 

     

Report from the wessex's foreign correspondent.

Went to the meeting on thursday to find Paul and Kaye Escott missing.

They are in Italy,it seems...mmm..

I had to investigate,so,at the end of the meeting ,drove to Stanstead to catch the first plane to Venice.

Eventually,I found the missing Escotts drinking beer at the hangies landing field bar.

''We had two flights allready''they both swore''we deserve a drink''they cried! So,sensing a good story,I had to join them for a drink or three...and food,and flying for four days.

As you can see from the world exclusive pictures,a scoop,Kaye has found a new toyboy to play with! Kaye; '' I had to get a new model,as the old one was starting to falter'' Well,as Confucius said,'' when the thermal you are using is deteriorating,find yourself a new one''


Sun 07 May 2006

Report by Cory-Wright, Simon

WHITE HORSE With Compton Wendy showing NNE I went to Monk’s first to find Alan Webb squinting at the clouds and scouring the internet on his Pocket PC for a theory to explain how the wind (feeble as it was) could be on the hill while the clouds were going precisely the other way. After mulling this over for a few minutes and then dislodging the remains of a finch that had decided to roost under my windscreen wiper as I barrelled down the A30 at 80mph, we got Russell’s sitephone message from Ringstead, which precipitated a headlong dash to the coast. See report below. Not fancying a dance around the orographic white room, I scarpered down the road for a sandwich and to scout out White Horse. From Osmington I could see the Horse was clear and a red wing was ground-handling, so I headed on up. Phoned the info back to Ringstead but everyone there sat tight as it was supposedly starting to clear.

The couple at White Horse (sorry, I missed your names) were taking a break when I arrived, having managed only a couple of beats in the light conditions. We were joined by Charles C-S and one other and the wind finally came through courtesy of a break in the clouds and a short burst of thermals. Charles and A.N.Other briefly got quite high (about 500ft or so) while I merely managed to skim my butt over the gorse for half a dozen beats. I was just about to blame my lack of altitude on my low-performance Gin Bolero, on which I’m also at the top of the weight range, only to have that theory blown by seeing that Charles was on a DHV 1 too (Sky Fides). OK then, I’m just rubbish. Did manage one decent short flight gaining 100 ft or so ATO before another scratchy slope landing skipping daintily through the gorse in a vain attempt to bring my glider down in a clear patch. My lines and the gorse had clearly fallen deeply in love, as they fiercely resisted all attempts to part them. Finally extracted my kit and spent and hour or so ground-handling and practicing forward-launches before heading home to put another 10 mins into the log-book.

There you go, the world’s longest report for the world’s shortest flight.

Report by RW

 

     
Ringstead Photos courtesy of JR Never anything but scratchy, did threaten once to become reasonable. Can you spot the Pilot in the mist? RW

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   

Equation Knitson: no wind: no thermals: hassle from mad cows = pants i.e = waste of time.


Sat 06 May 2006

Report by Simon Hopkins

 

   
Ballard Down: Productive afternoon on the down with RW, Ali, Neil and Roy – I got to Ballard about 2pm to find Roy unpacking and Ali inflated and RW on his way. After my first inflation however the breeze dropped off so it was time to wait, see the only photo. I think we covered a few subjects but after Roy flew to down to the beach and after my Mother-in-law’s mini Swiss chocolate Easter eggs a breeze came on. RW set out and after one beat in front he made it out to the bowl and climbed. Ali flew out too and when RW top landed and flew down to the beach I had a go. It’s nice up there, reminded me of Monaco; not the Swanage bit but the beach,sea and cliffs bit. Three beats out to the bowl section then a glide down to the beach – bummer of a landing but only pride dented so beer and chips at the Halfway Inn.

Thanks to all for the debrief and RW for the lift – lets do it again soon.

Fri 05 May 2006

Report by Gary Mullins

Arrived at Ringstead to be greeted by Mike Drew and a load of orographic blown in by the southerly breeze. At about 10.30 it cleared enough for us both to have a short waft. Decided that the horse would be better site. Before we left we were joined by Russell Whyte and Steve Phillips, who both had a trip out to the cliffs. The wind was still southerly and after watching Steve scratching fairly low on the cliffs, Mike and I went to White Horse. But not before we had conformation that conditions were far from ideal when saw a blue and yellow glider bomb out and land way down in the field between the cliffs and the bottom landing area. Strange, no mention or photo of that in other reports. Got to the horse and found it to be very thermic and off to the west ! Soon joined by Steve and Russell again. Waited and waited for conditions to improve but twas not to be and after an hour or two, one by one, we returned to the gathering throng we could see having a lovely time at Ringstead in the, by now, steady F3 WSW. Some you win and some you lose.

Report by Pete Chalmers

After a prod from Marcus W we thought it would be a suitable day to give Bulbarrow Hill a go. Arrived to find a light SW wind with thermals cycling through as promised. The sky looked lovely so we slowly prepared to give it a go. Slowly for two reasons, it was still early and we were both well aware of the site's fearsome reputation! We launched shortly after 1200 just as the clouds were disappearing and managed to stay up but no great altitude gain, a least it was not too rough. A little later the thermals were stronger but also a lot rougher, requiring very active piloting - not exactly relaxing! The thermals were quite small and not consistent enough to tempt us over the back, especially as it is a spine back ridge. Max altitude gain of 800' ato in almost total blue.

This is not a site to be attempted by inexperienced pilots but on a light SW thermic day it is worth a go if you have the skills to cope with the rough conditions.

Worn out by 1500 we adjourned to Ringstead for a chill out on the cliffs, a good day all round (except the x/c to near Reading I had planned!)

Report by RW

 

   
Ringstead A great day had by many. One clown was about to launch from the cliff top, thank goodness he was dissuaded! Photos by N.T.Pat


Wed 03 May 2006

Report by RW

 

   
WHITEHORSE A dull & dreary start to the afternoon but Mike D had a positive & optimistic attitude, so it was off to meet at the Horse.

Oh Dear! nil wind & lots of hazy mist but what the hell, lets get the wing out & play.

I spotted some Herring Gulls thermalling & Mike was saying go to the left & it started to work, not much to begin with & definitely not worth a call to the Site Phone but it gradually improved allowing about an hour of thermalling above the Horse. In fact it was consistent enough for me to do my first post qualifying Tandem Flight with Jackie R as P2, what a brave girl! She did say that she enjoyed it and was confident with me as P1. So a 15min flight with a top landing ( eventually), Mike D thought we were going down so he was ready to have a laugh, sorry to disappoint Mike.

I have to admit to being a little nervous but it was a good T.O. & a half decent top landing using the "Quick Outs" thanks Sean L ! Some photos of the day and our wooly friends waiting in the grass. Spotted a lovely fox in the gorse & lots of raptors in the air. Summer has begun.


Mon 01 May 2006

Report by James Roy

 

 
Bell Hill, 01/05/06 15-20mph+ Left home at 10.45 with the intention of heading either to Westbury or Bell. A quick call to Wendy Wind led me to think that Bell was the better bet. Arrived at 12pm to see no one in the sky and only one person standing on the hill (no car) so thought I had made the wrong call. On arriving at the top found a lonely paraglider shivering in the wind which was smack on the hill and blowing about 20mph.

Rigged and flew with the sky to myself for about 45 minutes, quite lumpy but very nice none the less. Hit a big sink cycle and bottomed out - thanks to the PG who came and collected me.

Later in the day a few other hangies turned up and a good time was had by all. Made another two flights. By the evening there were a few paragliders in the sky and the air was silky smooth.

Thanks to the paraglider(s) who helped me launch and took the photos. Sorry I cant remember any ones name; hopeless at that!



Report by Alan Webb

Report from Alan Webb Date: 01-05-06 The day looked lost to a strong Westerly, but at about 6pm went and had a look at St A's. Sure enough it was strong topping 18MPH. After 20 mins it had dropped to 16MPH and after another 20 mins, looked flyable. Just got my kit out and Ali turned up with great local knowledge. We then proceeded to have over an hour of smooth conditions with a brisk wind that had turned more SW giving good lift all along the cliff. Ali crossed the pool around Houn's Tout regained his height and flew back. We ended the day by landing in the field behind car park, with just about enough light to put the wing away. What a great way to finish a bank holiday. Thanks Ali for the pointers.

Pictures by Alastair Florence

 

   


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