Eye in the Sky Dec 2006
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Thu 28 Dec 2006
Report by Keith Burridge
Had a call from RW at the office but had to go on an errand to charminster. Finished errand in good time and decided to venture over to Southbourne with the wind speed good if a little off to the west. I found Nicole preparing for launch, awaiting confirmation of approval from Hurn and Brian M's immanent arrival. Nicole launched followed by Brian (after sorting a few tangles) and finally me. We all enjoyed flights to Bournemouth Pier and back and the walkers certainly enjoyed the sight of paragliders over the cliffs. On returning to T. O. Nicole had landed and the wind picked up a tad which kept other hopefuls on the ground. Seeing this Brian and I sailed about below the clifftops before eventually choosing to land on the Beach. Hour plus flights for all.
Report by Gary Pocock
Took call from RW saying Ringstead was flyable. On arrival Mike D and
James on the ground RW in the air with good height. Strong wind at T/O
20mph+ made the rest of us decide to stay on the ground. RW was having
no problems though in what looked like quite smooth air. Took a call from
Mark F who said lower cliff was working and not too strong so when RW
finally landed we all headed there to meet Mark, John S and Gail O for
some very enjoyable and well earned wafting. Great to get my feet off
the ground again after about 7-8 weeks. We all managed to get some 10
min or so shifts in the air and enjoyed a debrief at the local after.
Happy New Year to all and hoping 2007 provides more frequent opportunities
to meet up with the crew again.
Sun 17 Dec 2006
Report by Roy Menage
Sat 16 Dec 2006
Report by Keith
Drove to Bell and into Stuarts Car to find everyone waiting for the wind
to pick up and swing on to the hill. Decided to follow Russell and Dave
W to Portland and give it a try. Wind was from just about perfect to top
endy. Russell, Dave, Ali F and I enjoyed 1. 5 hours of smooth cliff soaring
before retiring for a pint. A few others arrived about 45 mins after TO
and all but one (Pete who took off backwards) were pinned to the ground
by the increasing breeze. It would seem those of us already up were fortunate
with the take off wind window. Enjoyed my virgin flight at Portland taking
the excellent scenery, relatively warm conditions and seeing what Ali'
F's wing looks like from above. Decided to head for home at about four
leaving Russell and Stuart heading off for another quick flight before
Sat 16 Dec 2006
Report by Alastair Florence
As I approached Bell I met a mini convoy of pilots heading for Portland West so tagged along. On arrival it was obviously reasonably strong but OK. Dave W launched followed by RW, Keith B, Me and Stuart M. Dave landed for something and wished he hadn't as the wind had picked up a notch and it proved virtually unlaunchable. I say virtually as Steve P did manage after a bit although I think he had one of those moments where you wonder if you did the right thing, but it was too late to change his mind and all ended well. For those already in the air we had a good fly with decent height and stacks of lift right down to beach level although had it been any stronger I would have felt uncomfortable. Dave did re launch from lower down later followed by Martin F but a nasty looking cloud (in photo behind Martin on the beach) brought a premature end to their flights with the wind picking up further.
Sat 9 Dec 2006
Report by Matthew Whicher
Hi John Bell Hill Saturday 9th Dec 06 A nice December day on Bell, albeit
a little damp! I arrived early to rig my new acquisition, a large Pulse
(specially purchased for para-bothering). Gary Dear arrived with the intention
of trying my Litesport while I was Pulsing so we had the obligatory HG
cuppa (or 3) whilst watching the PGs wafting about at ridge height before
rigging. (You really can't rush these things, you know). The Pulse was
the ideal HG for the mÃªlÃ©e I took off into; it flies at 12mph, turns on
a sixpence and goes up in a gnats fart. For once, I could relax on a busy
ridge, which enabled me to concentrate on maximising the lift and enjoy
the experience. I slipped into the top field from 30' with a grin on my
face and then Gary had a flight on it too.
It was still marginal for flying the Litesport after we'd had some more tea and Gary had to leave. 20 minutes after he left, and 10 minutes into my second flight, the inevitable happened €“ the wind picked up! In the space of 5 minutes I had the ridge to myself and conditions were getting better and better. The Pulse was no longer the right glider to be on (it handles impeccable, but won't go forward) so I landed and swapped to the Litesport for another hour of fun in the brief window of decent thermic activity. Cloudbase was only 1,250' ato.
I should mention Lee ? from Yeovil who was first on site and PGing all morning before rigging his HG and having his first HG soaring flight at Bell. He's far too keen and I didn't see him drinking tea at any time during the day€¦ Some Coaching required, methinks! There was also a small Condors posse of Mark P. , Simon M. and Harriet P. (actually that's a large posse as they out-numbered the Wessex members). Simon Murphy's mere presence ensured that tea-drinking equilibrium was restored.
Thanks to Ali F. for the photos.
Report by Alastair Florence
I should have followed my own thoughts ( see entry last night on chat
page ) and gone out early, trouble was I did look out early and it was
blowing strong in Swanage already so I just wrote the day off. Should
have followed my 2nd tip re-Westbury, thought here was it looked like
it would stay calm a bit longer in land hence Westbury would give a longer
flyable window. Hence I guess it was a lot stronger on the coast and Bell
was far enough inland to be quieter. Never mind I eventually picked up
RW's sitephone alert and got about 1/2 hour in before getting blown into
the backfield with full bar and big ears. I must send Mr Yeatman a bill
for ploughing his field on landing and send back the handfull of dirt
I found in my harness. Normally would warrant a 3 but gets a 6 coz its
been so crap lately.
Report by Mike Bretherton
I was thinking about going to Bell but my friend Simon Herbert was meeting
a tandem instructor at Devils Dyke so I agreed to share a lift with him.
I have not been there for about 6 years and I expected it to be the usual
zoo. But when we arrived there were only about half a dozen pilots there
and only a couple were flying. The wind seemed fine but it apparently
had been stronger at times. The wind picked up again but many paraglider
pilots were flying reasonably ok. I missed 2 launch windows but at about
2pm the wind dropped a tad and I had an hour of very smooth enjoyable
flying, the first I have had in about 4 months. By mid afternoon there
were over 30 pilots in the air. As the sun set, it started getting a bit
dodgy because of the sun glare so we landed and found a local watering
hole. Maybe it was the last decent bit of flying for 2006.
Report by Mike Adkins
Sat 02 Dec 2006
Report by Steve
Well, I'm glad I didn't decide to go to the Splash show today (2nd Dec),
cos it was flyable for the first time in about four weeks, at Barton (or
anywhere else for that matter).
Before the expected next lot of gales come in from the west, it was doing about 18mph when I arrived at the cliff top and was soon into the air. It was way off to the west and was quite a bit stronger only a little bit higher than the cliff, so you could sit and hover with no problem ('gale hanging' is the technical term, I am told). In fact it was quite good - holding on quite a bit of brake you could go backwards over the ground at will. . . And making any real progress westward, into wind, was pretty slow and so judicious use of speed bar made things happen a bit better. With it being very westward, there was no danger of going over the back of the houses if it had suddenly gone ballistic - the golf course is always there as an emergency plan B option.
Still, it was the first time in the air for nearly a month and so I wasn't going to go and land until I had to, because as the wind had picked up a bit after taking off, and knowing what it is like at this site, I knew that taking off again would not have been possible. . . So I and one other stayed up in the air until it really was getting quite windy and then landed ok using the 'C' riser technique. . . R. D. was also there and had a flight for a while and then landed. He measured the wind at 21-23mph when I landed - typical winter flying.
And a quick tip for anyone trying to pack up a glider in a strong wind at Barton. . . As most local pilots will know, it can be particularly windy at ground level at this site and makes packing tricky. So, take the glider across the road and just around the corner of the side road - there is a wall there that makes a good wind break and a grass verge just wide enough to lay a glider on. . . and no wind.
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