Eye in the Sky June 2006

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Thu 29 Jun 2006

Report by Mike Bretherton

Flew at Mere today, I did a small Xc but left too low and I only hopped to another flying site a few Km downwind called Long Knoll were I ridge soared for about another hour trying in vain to get away. Finally the wind picked up big time and I was forced low over the back and I landed in bad rotor. I thought I had made enough height to clear the hill by a safe enough margin, but Oh No ! One of my worst landings I have ever made, my wing tucked, dived, yawed, sunk, surged, you name it, it happened, I narrowly avoided a tree and barbed wire to boot but my 1/2 wing again saved my bacon and I landed ok without injury. I have debated upgrading to a higher rating wing many times, but now and again mother nature reminds me that she can quite easily take away my legs or even worse. My friend Simon Herbert made a good 22Km (a personal best) and James Bentham (a new red ribbon member) had some very good soaring too in quite thermic conditions. My thanks goes out to James who retrieved us both.

Wed 28 Jun 2006

Report by Pete Studzinski


A few pictures of me flying my "new" Airwave Sport-1 in Olu Deniz, Turkey. I bought it cheap from The Sick & The Wrong. Amusingly its previous owner wasa Wessex member! Still, the locals seemed impressed.

Mon 26 Jun 2006

Report by GAIL OTTON


A very eventful week in Macedonia at Lake Ohrid, on the Lemmings Safety/Acro Course.

Laughed all week in the company of Paul Knibbs, Andrew Pearse, Mark Fisher, & comedy duo Jacko & Dave Compton-lowe.

Saw some fantastic maneuveres from everyone, I didn't know wings could do such things. Andrew after his first SAT was grinning from ear to ear, a grin which just got larger everytime he learnt something new.

There were some nervous moments for all, and for the more advanced pilots the negative spins seemed to produce the most apprehension. Lots of excellent and exciting flying for all the pilots there, and all landing safely. (except me, see below) My first deliberate deployment on the Saturday went perfectly to plan, a fun and very worthwhile experience, learning how to deploy, pull in wing, and land safely in water. Something I then used for real on the Monday, when I was supposed to be practising the start of a spriral. Unfortunately I panicked and momentarily forgot my training, I locked my left arm down and went into a full spriral, then went into a SAT, then went into the lake. although I threw my reserve it was too late for it to open. Once I was in the water my brain functioned properly and I used my training for water landing, until the boat pulled me out. I'm very lucky to have come off with a short visit to the local hospital and some nasty bruising, but no permanent damage. A stark example of listen carefully to your instuctor, and DON'T PANIC! A big thankyou to everyone for looking after me, extra thanks to Sean Lovatt, his fisrt aid knowledge was exceptional.

An excellent course for building confidence, thankyou Sean L, Neil H, and Mendes, for the best holiday. I will be going back.

Sat 24 Jun 2006

Report by Steve Auld


Bournemouth, Saturday 24th June Well, what a day that turned out to be! After starting off quite promisingly, the wind dropped right off and it was not flyable for a couple of hours in the mid-afternoon. In fact, I had actually decided to give up on it and went and packed my glider away and was chatting to a new Wessex member, Paul, for some time after packing.

And then the magic happened that proves that packing your glider away has a positive effect on the wind - it picked up and became flyable again! So it wasn't long before I had got the glider out of the bag and ready to fly...unfortunately Paul had gone by now. Being a new Club pilot he had hoped to see some flying. Still, after taking off at around 4.15pm I headed east to the limit of our flying in that direction, just by the Grunge Hotel and then turned westward, gaining a good bit of height, well, a lot of height....

I carried on westward and without even stopping to top up height, crossed over both Boscombe and then Bournemouth piers, still having not turned at all since leaving the eastern end. On the way past, I was well above the height of Albany Towers, the tallest building on the whole overcliff.

This is quite a feat in itself, but it was really good and buoyant lift so that I arrived across from Bournemouth pier still higher than the BIC, in fact, higher than I had ever done before except that time when we all got hoovered up in convergence (and that's in ten years of flying here). Perhaps being on a new glider helped, but this was still very good.

And so I carried on westward, still not needing to turn and top up any height - not even when approaching Branksome Chine, the biggest of the five gaps in the cliff west of Bournemouth pier. And after passing that gap, I carried on right to the very end of the cliff and then right off the end of it and over the small road running perpendicular to the beach and finally I turned around the second hotel along from the road.

This is further in that direction than I have ever been before and after turning I was running with the wind, travelling over the ground quite fast at around 35mph. I regained the cliff ok and then carried on upward as well as eastward. The wind at takeoff had been pretty well square on, so with the curve of the bay, the further west you went, the further off the wind was.

After cruising about to the west of Bournemouth pier I crossed back to the east of it and then thought, "Why not?" and went back westward of the pier and took some pictures with a phone camera - I had been thinking about bringing my usual digital camera with me, but had left it at home and only had my phone camera with me, doh... Still, I took a few pictures with it, some good views of Sandbanks and Poole Harbour, with Brownsea Island not too far away. This time I turned just at the end of the cliff.

When heading back eastward toward Bournemouth pier I did experience some rather strange turbulence, which I can only put down to the presence of Ballard Down, which was essentially upwind of me at the time, although still some considerable distance away. This is something that should be borne in mind by anyone lucky enough to get this far west when the wind is southerly or slightly to the west.

Anyhow, back between the piers again, I did not loiter in front of Albany Towers, but did note that I was considerably higher than it is. In fact, the best height was around 400 feet above take off - nearly 500 feet AMSL.

Another thing worth noting was quite a large group of people standing having their picture taken in the garden of the Royal Bath Hotel, with a bride and groom at the front - quite a posh wedding by the looks of it, but upon waving to them I got a great cheer and many waves in return, so presumably they were either drunk or just happy to see a paraglider flying by...still, hopefully an auspicious start to a marriage.

And so, after flying past Boscombe pier without even thinking about it I returned to the take off area and past it to the eastern limit again before turning back westward to the take off area where I landed, just in time to see sky god Richard W take off on a tandem wing and head off first east and then westward. Dave W had been assisting the take off and soon after he also took off. Apparently both of them had been attending a course of some kind at Durley Hall hotel when they had seen me flying by - it must have been hypnotic or something! I took off again and followed Dave down to Bournemouth - he had gone to the west of the pier for a short while but I satisfied myself with turning over the Imax eyesore (that is apparently going to be pulled down, so I hear). It was still good conditions to fly in, but it was not quite so epic as earlier and after a while I returned to take off area and landed. It was one of those days when I really didn't mind that I was packing the canopy for the second time in a day - in fact it took quite a while for the adrenaline and the grin to wear off. It seems that June is being quite a good month after all this year...

Report by Alastair Florence


Alan W called to say he was walking up Ballard. I followed as soon as I got a chance, Alan launched as I walked up followed by Brian M, both had reasonable height. I got asap and we all had a good session with lovely clear blue skies, Cold air though, Brian had to land and put his trousers on. Keith W arrived and joined in. After a bit the wind died and seemed to go off West. I had a look at St.A's but twas a bit to light really although direction was OK.

Fri 23 Jun 2006

Report by Pete Studzinski


Back at home after my trip to Turkey - Barton on Sea - flying in an attempt to get the Turkish dust of the canopy. They were taken by a member of the public who went home, burnt a CD and passed them onto me.

Report by RW



Report by Roy Menage


Barton on Sea - Arrived to see several pilots already in attendance including Brian M, Steve A, Martin H and others. My Mum (aged 82!) was with me - over from South Africa - and was hoping for a tandem flight. Had a brilliant hour but felt the need to get back to work. Then Craig B arrived with a tandem and Mum's wish was granted. Craig was the very epitomy of professionalism and provided a wonderful flight for her much to her delight. Mum wants to thank Craig for one of the hilights of her visit. Seeing her grandchildren pales into insignifance by comparison (not really). She recommends the experience to anybody.

Sun 18 Jun 2006

Report by Simon Herbert


Turned up at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon expecting the sea breeze to kick in at West Bay. It looked promising as the wind was smack on and 8mph. Mike Bretherton and I waited for it to pick up a little, but as time went on it dropped to 4mph. We saw the odd paraglider soaring very close to the top of the cliff who had obviously took off from eype. 4pm and suddenly the wind picked up to 10mph and we both launched, within 5 minutes we were both up 900ft ATO and heading to Golden Cap. Mike managed to get 1200ft ATO over Golden Cap as did many of us and I think one other pilot manged to glide on down to Charmouth although the going was very slow as the wind was a little west of south west. I think one pilot got into trouble by going too far back and then low into rotor, spinning out of site towards the caravans. There were pilots on the ground near to where he must of landed that went to his assistance, Mike and I landed about 5:30pm soon after. I hope it wasn't as bad as it looked!

Report by Mike Bretherton


With a moderate SW wind forecast I went to West Bay with Simon Herbert. When we arrived the wind was on the cliff but was very light and not launchable. Several others were flying but had taken off from the alternative take off at Eype. We decided to wait it out as Halo had predicted an increase in wind strength from an approaching front.

The wind was late coming but at about 3:15 the wind suddenly picked up as I was packing away. It ended up being a classic flight, two out and returns past Golden Cap and up to 1,400ft. That help me clock up over 20km for the UK Xc league, yes they do count and 3 turnpoints in addition to a start and finish point allows 2 out and return ridge runs on the same flight.

On landing, the wind had picked up substantially, making landing quite difficult, having to loose all ones height way out over the sea. One other guy got pinned at the West Bay end and suffered a bad collapse, low over the back of the cliff near a caravan park. I don’t know what happened to him/her apart from the knowledge that several other pilots went to their aid.

Report by jon harvey


Well, eventually the breeze picked up so we could fly, and did it pick up quickly.

Take off into strong breeze around 15 mph loads of solid lift, with direction from towards SW, so slow transit westwards. Several pilots on top of Thorncombe, made the crossing of Eypes Mouth without losing any height, and arrived Thorncombe, to see way above Golden Cap and Stonebarrow, about 900 ft ASL. At least two others in the distance making towards GC, so followed, arrived initially about 1300 ft ASL, in steady lift all the way. Decided to see what max height I could get ( just under 1650 ft.ASL) Made way towards Charmouth and there about turned to find Keith B going west. Believe others had made here also. Progress back was somewhat quicker, but stayed well out to sea as wind strongish, with associated risk of being blown inland. Arrived back at Eype, and several others still in the air, and after 1 1/2 hours landed, having chickened out of crossing Westbay harbour, as knew it was a one way trip. (JP made that crossing) Many pilots here today, in fact some returned after leaving to travel home, Bet you glad you returned! Pilots Myself, John P, Ben T, Steve Cuddihy, Keith B, Sean Staines (Wessex) and A N Other (Wessex) plus others mentioned by Ben T.

Certainly the best day here so far this year, and everybody excelled

Sat 17 Jun 2006

Report by Alastair Florence


A bit of an on-off on-off day but on the whole quite a cracker really.

Went to Knitson mid morning to find the top of the hill windless and loads of (unusually subdued) cows.

The cyles pick up and I got some good climbs and prolonged flights with top lands (mostly) The wind was well off to the East but the thermals made it flyable. Neil H from London arrived followed by Mike D. Both had a fly.

My last launch had me scratching below take off for over 20 mins some times as low as 150ft below t/o. this isnt to far from the bottom but I got save after save until my luck ran out.

Neil headed for White Horse and Mike for some Beer. Neil you should have waited a bit. I went to Ballard, reasonable breeze on the green so sweated my way up. At the top it seemed totally dead and I was cursing my stupidity for walking up. I launched anyway expecting to head for the beach but suprisingly found some really sweet smooth as you like lift.

I was getting 100-200+ft ato plus the ridge was flyable right up to the obelisk.

The jewel in the crown was getting a climb to 500ft ato over the obelisk and a prolonged glide out and back toward the cliff. I thought i'd land and leave another sitephone message but as I approached the cliff end the lift had totally gone and i was on the beach before I knew it. A peachy day though.

Sat 17 Jun 2006

Report by David Franklin



I arrived around noon at Bell today desperate for some thermal therapy but it looked pretty poor and very inverted.At least the breeze was more or less on the hill so we all gave it a go. Each cycle was a little better than the last so it was soon time to see if one would be strong enough to take me up through the inversion.The climb was quite slow but took me to just over 3000ft ato.

After a glide in strong sink it seemed I would have to land at Whatcombe but very low save gave me another climb to 2000ft, from there I headed over to the chicken farm where they had a large fire this kept me up for a while longer I then noticed a huge thermal forming in the crops about a km to the west this took me back up through the inversion.

Another sinky glide took me over Almer where I spotted some more movement on the ground which proved to be a" boomer" This on took me rapidly to 6,040ft asl. I had one more weak climb with 3 buzzards over the pylons in Wareham forest but found it much more difficult to work out what to do next without cropped fields below and there were no clues from overhead as it was a cloudless day. Whilst landing at Cold Harbour the phone rang,it was Harry D with a very kind offer of a lift back. Thanks again Harry, you made a great day even better. Others at the hill were my brother,Harry,Derek S,Ali F and someone with a sport 3 sorry don't know the name.

Fri 16 Jun 2006

Report by Alastair Florence


I managed to get away from work today early enough for a little flying. First stop Bell, a bit off to the West but some butt kicking thermals made it perfectly flyable for a while, then wind went well off to the west so gave up and headed to the coast. Roger E now hot on my heels we ended up at Kimmeridge.

The wind spped was ok but sometimes felt off to the West, then sometimes off to South with the bits between just feeling turbulent. Neverthless an enjoyable fun fly with plenty of active flying practice. Dave T + red ribbon on Mojo (sorry didnt get a chance to catchyour name) turned up and flew.

Mr Mojo doing very well in tricky conditions.

I went home for tea, later it was a bit more WSW so went up to St. Aldhelms for a chill out fly this evening, bit light but OK. (nights start drawing in a few days so may as well make the most of it eh ! )

Thursday 15th Jun 2006

Report by Steve Auld

Flew Barton in the afternoon - and spotted the already blackened area of gorse on the golf course as referred to by Andy... And it wasn't burning then, so presume when Andy saw it later, it must have caught fire again.

Still, had a pleasant time flying there along with John B who turned up a while after me. There was a sea breeze which was getting in under the dynamic northeasterly - later I packed up and came home, leaving John to it.

Much later, around 8.00pm in the evening, I got a call informing me it was flyable at Bournemouth and after looking out the window at the trees, I realized that it seemed to be blowing from the right direction. So got out there to the take off area and took off around 8.20pm - somewhat still not believing the wind was blowing almost perfectly, just a tad off to the west, at around 14-15mph.

No sea breeze this - the dynamic wind had switched round almost 180degrees from the afternoon... And it was good and lifty, too - not like the rather weak sea breezes we have been getting most of the time lately. Got up to around 150feet ATO when I wanted to, but spent quite a lot of time using the available lift to good effect, getting some nice turns and minor wingovers going, knowing that dipping below cliff top height would not end up with landing on the beach. There were also definitely some bits of lift that felt thermic rather than like a gust of wind... You'd hit a bump of something and then start going up nice and smooth while turning out over the beach, still going up nicely to the end of the groynes almost...plenty of room to swing back round in a nice 360...

As the evening progressed and the sun sank lower over western Bournemouth, the wind went slightly more westerly, but it was still good when the sun finally set at around 9.20pm - so I carried on flying and finally landed at around 9.45pm in the gathering dusk...with about 5 or 10 minutes spare before it officially became 'night time'.

Definitely one of the more memorable flights I've had at Bournemouth recently...


Report by John Blessing

Seems like World Cup fever struck today. Arrived at Barton approx 1430 to find Steve A about to take off, again, (already had 30 mins he said). A little light and westerly at first but conditions gradually improved. Steve left shortly afterwards so I had the unusual treat of the entire cliff to myself for an hour or so. Hunger eventually brought me down, but it was still v. nice conditions when I left at about 5. Did we win?

Report by jon harvey



The sea breeze did kick in today, so forecasters were correct or just lucky. Stephen C went from Westbay whilst light, and myself, John P, and John (Ilminster) were at Eype. Shortly after SC went to Westbay and landed, breeze picked up and up we went. Highlight of the afternoon was a flyby by an RAF chinnook (see pic camera not zoomed either) Did cause several moments of heart flutter waiting for any downwind rotor. He never deviated from his course, just plodded along the coast, despite a few steep wingovers, and hoping that he'd see us. Crossed towards Thorncombe but the east side was in the leeside, so only JP managed to make goal. Anyhow a very pleasant hour in the air. More of the same tomorrow????? Iffy.

Report by Alastair Florence

Beats me where everyone was. I got to Monks about mid PM to find just Kiwi carl on site and Dave M either on lunch break or maybe touting for business ! Light wind but reasonable cycles with quite friendly thermals although off to the East a bit. The West corner was working well. Carl left after Bertie from Avon club joined me followed by Andy also from Avon. About 5 ish the wind died and this would have been a good time to go home, still, we waited for another couple of hours with no reward but never mind the hour or so was good enough.

Report by Andy Dawson

Barton on sea From Andy Dawson Left work at 5 and went down to Barton, there was no one about - anyone would think there was a football match on. After many fruitless attempts at taking off I determined there was a great knot in the lines acting as a break. (preflight check needed!). Anyway finally got off and flew East to see what the smoke and the blue flashing lights was about.- Not a downed flier but the gorse on the golf course on fire. Ah well you don't often see that at Barton. A beat later there was that dreaded sound of a helicopter low down and coming at me along the coast. Quickly doing a undignified top land I realsied that it actually passed me well inland -ah well. A half hour gently floating about before supper - what a good end of a working day. I wonder where everyone else was.....

Mon 12 Jun 2006

Report by Phil Venn


Not much to report, but here are some piccys courtesy of Jay

Sun 11 Jun 2006

Report by jon harvey



Checked coast late this morning, and wind direction well towards SSE and clagged out to nearly sea level. Eventually went to Eype about 1pm, direction better, now from the S, and between 12/15mph, Thorncombe Beacon clagged out, most of the time. Charlie F flew from the Bay, whilst myself, Cathy, and Derek S, went from Eype. Once in the air wind was straight onto the cliffs, and was expecting strong conditions, but no, wind quite light, no great lift. Crossed the Gap, bad mistake, as found wind dropping very quickly, so returned east, and landed on the cliffs, whilst others landed on the beach. Over all to quickly.

Sorry to those of you who called, I received several calls whilst in the air, but I had no signal on the ground anywhere around Eype so unable to call you back. Never mind, you didn't miss out.

Report by M FISHER


Didnt come down to Dorset this weekend but didnt miss out on flying as there was a moderate to strong easterly blowing all day at Walton on Naze Essex. Paragliding is not something the locals get to see in this part of the country lots of people taking photos one of them sent to me by a passerby who thought it very entertaining.

Fri 09 Jun 2006

Report by Gary Miller



Mt Cornizzolo

I just got back into paragliding recently after a 10-year break and this was my best flight so far so I thought I’d put some snaps of it on the eye in the sky. I live in Como, Italy but I spend quite a lot of time in Dorset too so I re-joined the Wessex in April.

Como is quite handy for flying as it’s just 30 minutes away from Mt Cornizzolo, which is just west of the city of Lecco. If you fly to Bergamo on Ryanair or Malpensa on Easyjet it’s within an hour of both of them. They’ ve staged the PG world cup here a few times as well as some big HG competitions.

You’re not allowed to take your car to the top and there’s a gate to stop you trying but the local PG club (Scurbatt) organize a minibus service.

During the week there is one everyday at 13.00. Once the clocks go forward in the spring there’s another at 15.00 and in June, July and August at 18.00. At the weekend if it’s flyable they run all day until sunset. I would recommend flying during the week to avoid the crowds at the weekend.

I took the 18.00 bus on Thursday and had 1 hour 20 minutes airtime. I made the mistake of thinking it was going to be warm in the air (it was 27 degrees in the landing field) and I left my flying suite at home. I was wearing a t-shirt, thin jumper and a cycling top but after 45 minutes at 1400 metres I got a bit cold. Still, this was the first decent flight in 10 years (apart from an hour at Ringstead in April) so I wasn’t going to let it bother me too much.

Eventually the sun went behind the Erba mountains to the west so we all floated down to the landing field and landed at 20.15. There were just seven of us in the air, two visiting Dutch pilots, four Italian guys and myself. I had a great view of Lake Pusiano and Lake Annone on the way down so I used my cell phone camera to take a few shots.

If anyone in the Wessex is passing this way on a flying trip, feel free to drop me an email. - gary AT inglese123.com

Thu 08 Jun 2006

Report by Gary Pocock

Phoned RW at about 1pm, he was at the White Horse with about 6 others and said it was light, off to the east a bit and although Gary M was in the air he didn’t know how long he would be able to stay up. Hopeful that things might improve I arrived a bit later at about 2:30pm. It hadn’t changed and I was reluctant to get my wing out unless it improved, Pete C and RW were of the same opinion. By about 4pm people were beginning to think of leaving as the prospect of a sea breeze was greatly diminishing. I figured on the other hand that I had to justify my trip out to the horse so decided to unpack and have a play after all. As I did the wind picked up and came on to the hill nicely. Without my flying suit and deck I launched into nice lifty conditions and managed what must have been at least 100ft over T/O in good thermals and maintained for about 5-10 minutes. I could see everyone else getting there gear ready again and Pete C on the phone to what I assumed was the site phone. At this stage I decided to top land and put my flying suit on in case it got light and I had to wade through the gorse. At that moment it all switched off and went back to a light SE. The two gliders that had got airborne went low and side landed, Pete C was left in take off mode suited and booted with only the prospect of having to fold his wing without getting his feet off the ground. I left the site with big grin thinking what perfect timing! I didn’t have the most air time as those who persevered and scratched (Gary M, Brian M and AN Other) claimed that title, but I do think I had the best flight at the Horse today and went home chuffed with just 10 minutes.

Wed 07 Jun 2006

Report by RW

Whitehorse 2 Days in a row, whats going on, the weather reports wrong AGAIN! Flight Culture Posse' & many others in thermic cycles. Hooray!


Tue 06 Jun 2006

Report by Alastair Florence

Fancied a fly on the way home tonight, too East for Monks, too light for Kimmeridge, St.A's no chance, probably too light at Knitson, finally Bingo, a bit of breeze on Swanage beach. Still a bit light and just a tad off to the west but had a nice gentle 1/2 hour mainly out at the far end, maxed out at just over 60ft ato but enough lift to stay up comfortably. Approach to landing was a little bumpy probably due to sniff of West but no probs, peachy enough.

Mon 05 Jun 2006

Picture by Marcus Webster



Hambledon Hill

Report by Gill Le Gras

The 4 members of the Hampshire division of the Wessex set off across the parish boundary to South Wales again this weekend. Our intention was to fly BCC, but as there were only 3 pilots and the north west face of the Blorenge didn't appeal, we did our own thing and headed off to Hay Bluff.

After a beastly walk up, we arrived at the top and it was a bit light so we sat it out for a bit. Sean, as keen as ever, launched and after a few beats, slope landed. Nick was tempted off the hill next and again, landed out.

After an hour, conditions improved and Sean launched and got some good height. He set off towards Lord Hereford's knob. Nick launched again and climbed out . I finally got my act together and launched into a cracking thermal and climbed out quite quickly to about 2000 feet above take off. I looked over to find Sean, only to discover he had gone down on Lord Hereford's knob. As a lady, I decided that this was not a plan for me and waited till I had 2700 feet ATO before attempting the crossing. I made it with room to spare and closely followed by Nick headed off down the ridge to Talgarth. Sean, not to be beaten, relaunched and set off in front of us. We all cruised down the ridge, using thermals along the way until we reached the end. Nick and Sean had lost height and landed out, but I managed to catch a thermal and climbed out to take the turn down the valley towards Crickhowell.

I managed a few climbs along the way and reached Crickhowell . I was lucky and hit a bit of lifty air to take me further down the valleyand towards Abergavenny. At Abergavenny, I had a hang glider marking the lift in front so I maxed out on the lift and crossed the valley to fly over some of the BCC competitors who were left on top of the Blorenge. I crossed to the North East face and then followed the ridge down until my luck ran out and I landed about 10km short of Pontypool at Llanover, a total of about 40km.( I've not down loaded my track log yet) At this point the farmer arrived and helped me carry my glider back to the farm yard, made me a cup of tea and then gave me a lift back to the campsite at LLangottock. An excellent day. We tried to repeat the experience on Sunday but it proved too windy and finally defeated we had to walk back down the hill.

After my first UK XC of the year, I decided to try my luck at Hambledon today. Led by Chairman Pete, I set off from the hill but unlike him, I didn't manage to climb out at Okeford ( he made it to Maiden Newton 32km) and bombed out near Bell, only managing 7.5km. I was lucky to be retrieved quite quickly and so I returned to the hill and walked back up again, but to no avail. Still at least I wasn't at work today but unfortunately I'll be there tomorrow.

Sun 04 Jun 2006

Report by David Franklin



View of Blandford whilst on a very pleasant evening xc to Bloxworth.

Report by RW



After getting it WRONG yesterday, we arrived at Bell to see several wings scratching in thermic cycles. Then it got good,good enough for Richard W ( Dave W 's bestest friend) to go XC on his tandem.I even managed to take our photographer on a tandem after my poor Oasis got damaged ( Oh Dear! ) by someone who took off when they should'nt have, commiserations, but I told him to carry on flying. Spot the car parked against the Chairman's wishes.


Sat 03 Jun 2006

Report by Roger Edwards


In the middle of high pressure with low winds forecast it seemed optimistic to head out early, but with Compton Abbas Wendy reporting a northerly Monk's was the place to go. A few had had the same idea and I arrived to find wings in the air, some with good height, and an acceptable wind cycling through. After a couple of false starts - it was tricky to get the first 200ft or so but once there height could be maintained - a juicy thermal came through at the west end and a few of us started working it, gaining enough to venture over the back - my first time from Monk's.

The thermal seemed, to my inexperienced imagination, to have a number of cores and a gaggle of four stayed with it - myself, Phil S (ZZ), Andy D and an unknown (sorry) on a magenta wing. We made steady progress upwards but weren't covering the ground with any speed. Magenta bombed out after a few km and I concentrated on staying with what we had, taking advantage of the experienced tactics of ZZ and Andy. This was only my second time away with a gaggle and the advantages soon became evident on this blue day: spreading out to search for lift was the best tactic - someone starts to go up, head towards them, then all split again to search when it peters out. At one point we made it above the inversion layer, a brilliant first for me having bounced along underneath it the last time I got away on a blue day.

Progress was slow but eventually we neared Blandford Camp. At this point Andy went off, heading, it seemed to me, towards airspace - I suspect he knows something I don't. I spotted a buzzard circling sweetly and used that to give enough height to venture towards the camp, which seemed a good place to hunt for the next thermal to take me around the airspace - I've never been near enough to it to worry about this before, another first. The camp didn't prove useful until I was downwind and nearly over the golf course with only 700ft above ground to spare, then I caught a bubble that took me away from the . Sadly this was short lived and I realised that committing to a patch of brown fields would have been a good idea if they hadn't waited to kick off until I was nearly down, resulting in a landing that felt like trying to balance a greased beach-ball on your head. 16.8 straight which means a new record for me, and a flight I'm especially stoked with as it was a blue day and is without doubt the most thermals I've strung together. Thanks to ZZ and Andy, without whom I wouldn't have got so far, though the next day ZZ claimed he was just bumbling around hopefully - don't believe a word of it. Unsurprisingly they got further than me, down to the Baker's Arms. And now I know you can add turn points retrospectively I can take advantage of my diversion to the camp and make it 18.6km - the final first: my first ever turnpoints. But over 15km: damn, now I've got to make sure every flight's at least 10km to score in the Wessex League - suitable encouragement for next time.

Report by Steph Cahill


Arrived nice and early at Bell to find it deserted and the wind pretty much North. Phil ? arrived as I was leaving and agreed that Monks was the place to head for.

Arrived at Monks (also deserted) however wind 12mph smack on. After a nice half hour flight, conditions picked up with more height height gains and a few more people turned up. Very blue, but with some punchy thermals although you could see the inversion at height (see photo).

2 or 3 got away in the morning and about the same in the afternoon before the wind became more westerly. I however had neither the guts, experience (not been XC in UK), nor an airmap with me! However, a confidence inspiring day - I'll be ready next time!

Report by Jeremy Mortimer


There were already 3 gliders high up when I arrived at Monksdown at around 10:30. Consistent conditions allowed good height gains over take off and over the fields in front. Andy D and ZZ made it to the Bakers Arms(?) and Roger E made it to somewhere near Blandford. Later on in the afternoon the wind became more westerly and so I moved to Bell.

Report by Alastair Florence


Monksdown was todays obvious choice for many, I started off with a fly on one of my local sites then headed further in land as there was no sign of a sea breeze. I was tempted by Monks but went for Okeford instead for a change, reasonable cycles were coming through but after about 10mins without much height I bailed out onto the spur whilst I could. The wind was off to the west slightly so I thought i'd try Bell. Very light to start with, but the cycles were building nicely, at one stage it looked like an XC would be easy.

I landed for more ballast as it was a bit punchy near the ground, meanwhile the cycles seemed to weaken. After a bit things improved to give an absolutely classic evening with abundant lift everywhere. I even had about 700ft behind the Okeford ridge, great evening to push out in front. Others present Jeremy M ( Mamboo flies great, paced me on glide and speed on full bar) Roger E, Mr & Mrs M, Jacko, Brian M, Richard W with tandem and several others I dont know the full name of or i've forgotten. The wind picked up to pretty top end and as I left only the tandem was flying.

Report by RW



Dave W flying at Bournemouth today.



Fri 02 Jun 2006

Report by Dave Winn

Well what a day! Met Steve A at t/o who was packing up after testing out a wing.

It was still a bit light, but on launching found it perfectly smooth and lifty. Had the whole place to myself for ages until Roy M turned up. This was the first time I have flown from Southbourne all the way around to Canford cliffs and back again. Getting over the gap at Bournemouth was very easy and lots of paragliders made it there and back.

Others there included, Keith W, Jim C, Roger E (maiden flight) and a few others I can't recall ( sorry guys).

Report by Alastair Florence


I have set up my site office at Fovant so I can see Monksdown and Winklebury, I did not notice much activity there during the day but headed there after work anyway. The last three hopefuls on site were wrapping up to leave.

I guessed it must be sea breezing so headed South. The wind looked pretty Southerly so tried Durdle Door first but found the wind a bit light. So seemed logical to head for the highest coastal site, Kimmeridge. The track up seems in a worst state than ever and I would recommend thinking twice about driving a privately owned car up, even a company motor may get hung up on the ruts but at least you can take a faster run up without worrying. There was a steady 10-11mph SSW blowing up the ridge so I launched asap. Twas a bit scratchy at times but always enough lift to stay up and some blobs of lift giving short climbs, a beatifull evening but only worthy of a pleasant rather than a peachy.

Report by Mike Bretherton



I was not going to bother as Weatherjack was giving it a 2 and saying low cloudbase and rubbish thermals. But my friend Simon Herbert badgered me so much the night before that I at least put my gear in the car just in case. By mid morning the wind at Combe looked fine and the cumulus looked high and almost epic. OK I agree, lets go now. Unfortunately Simon had been taken by my pessimism and did not go to work early so we had to wait till midday to leave work. When passing Hastbourne (10km downwind from the hill) there was already a paraglider at about 2 grand and thermalling, doh, we should have been here earlier. We arrived and it was very light, but apparently several gaggles had already got away. We set up and quickly I took off but bombed half way down the hill.

With nil wind again, I watched the tops of the trees at the bottom and after a few minutes I noticed then twitching. I got ready and as a cycle came through I kited the wing back up and launched again on spec. I figure of eighted it up tp about 100ft and then I flew over to the trees were I saw 3 gliders soaring. One glider was out the front and climbing so I followed it and when I saw the glider fall out the front of the thermal I buried the brake and immediately climbed to base at around 2 to 3 metres a second. There was hardly any wind drift and I was still above the hill having got to base at around 4,000ft.

After only about 5km I nearly bombed, and was kicking the treetops (a bit worrying after the incident at Bell on Wednesday) but I managed to get a low save. I bumbled around a zero for ages but then went over a golf course which was next to a nice big brown field, in sun, and sloping upwards downwind. It was very weak but I managed to get to base again and glided to near Whitchurch were I got another climb to base.

Another climb near Popham got me to base again, this time I climbed 500ft in cloud (maybe not normally recommended), but I needed a some decent height to glide from the M3 to Preston Candover (the land slopes down all the way to there, hence normally no thermals). I booted it accelerated into the blue and lost all my height. I was kicking the trees again at Preston Candover where I hit a low thermal but I just could not climb out with it so I landed in the private grounds of a stately home at 34km. It was a beautiful garden lawn big enough to land a private aircraft. Some people just have too much money. The owner initially gave me a hard time as he thought I was a trespasser but he was quite thrilled when he realised that I had chosen his garden to fly into.

My friend Simon had flown about 10km to Hastbourne and he managed to get a lift back, so he was soon on his way to give me a very welcome retrieve as the place is hard to find and difficult to travel back from.

Not epic distance, with an almost instant Xc, exceptionally smooth, nice, wide thermals, a very comfortable temperature at base and a no hassle retrieve. It was paragliding at its best


Report by RW

After an abortive trip to Monksdown it was off to the coast. Gaz M was right "It will sea breeze pm" Lots of lovely thermals weak at first & then increasing, lots of LOVELY people on the hill.Flying all afternoon & off to the pub to celebrate.

Gill LeG, Mike D, Steve P, Steve B, James T, Rory L,& Gazza.


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