Eye in the Sky Mar 2007

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Thu 29 Mar 2007

Report by Keith Burridge

Listened to the Site messages for bell and decided perhaps late afternoon might be a goer. Arrived to see everybody on the ground, bar Gary M struggling in the light winds (probably due to the big black cloud overhead) which had earlier been too strong. On examination of the sky the cumulus were towering and obviously active with cunimbs not far off to the west. Much deliberation was considered over the conditions in the now ideal wind speed accompanied by the active cloud formations. Derek S became wind dummy no. 1 closely followed by myself, Keith W, Mike A (the younger) and one other(sorry about the name). The “wise”, Gary M, Pete C and Marcus W decided to watch and wait. By wise I mean that they watched five pilots endeavour to spend twenty minutes trying to reach terra firma in cloud suck conditions. Big ears were a common and necessary practise and all but one plumbed for the bottom landing field (eventually!). Good points: A good exercise in coping with difficult conditions, good decision making once in the air and all landed safely. Noteworthy Points: Sometimes discretion can be a better point than valour or desperation to fly.


Wed 28 Mar 2007

Report by Alastair Florence

I went to Bell on my way home tonight as conditions still looked ok.

Still fairly murky as it seemed to have been all day but wind not too bad. Keith B was cruising about with reasonable height and a Blue XIX smile just landed (sorry dont know your name) After about 20 mins the wind died a bit but then picked up again to give 1/2 an hour + of comfortable wafting before packing up by 1930. Cant beat these light evenings, 5.


Mon 26 Mar 2007

Report by Neville Almond

 

   
Hi Thought the members might appreciate this picture from last Wednesday. Hang dliders were landing all over Dorset from Westbury, Geoff Adams took this picture when we arrived at the coast, and I flew back to Westbury (well, nearly, Warminster!) for a 67 mile O/R Cheers, Nev


Thu 22 Mar 2007

Report by Cpcrab@aol.com

 

     
Peter Robinson and myself joined other pilots from Condors and South Devon to fly in North Devon. As forcast by Weatherjack it was very blue with cloudbase over 4000ft and the cloudy front came in ealy afternoon, but not before a number of pilots had managed to getaway crosscountry.


Wed 21 Mar 2007

Report by Mark Tattersall

Weatherjack had been consistently forecasting a 4 in the West of England + Sth Wales, so I decided to travel (from Wimbledon) to where the conditions were best. In the end I went to Westbury, as it was closer than Wales (and the car park at the Blorenge is being re-tarmaced this week), pretty much everywhere else was blown out, I would be able to divert to Monks Down, Bell or Coombe if any of these looked like they would be better, and it was a site I had not flown before.

When I arrived at 9 it was too windy, cold and no lift. This improved as the temperature past Weatherjack's predicted trigger of 4 degrees. HGs flew from about 11, PGs from 12. 30 as the wind began to ease off. Strong (and at times quite exciting) spring thermals to base (good views of the Dorset coast to the south, and to the NW the mouth of the severn with the mountains in Wales beyond) for 1hr 45, then it died down. From Wendywindblows and the sitephone it was still blown out at Monks and Coombe though. After a while I tried the packing up my glider trick, which worked a treat, and I had another 1hr 45, including an hour or so of smooth restitution like lift (fuelled by the heat from the cement factory chimney a mile in front of the ridge, which I flew out over). This took me from a low save 1/2 way down the hill (not a good place to be at Westbury) to 2,100' and allowed effortless motoring about the sky for several miles in all directions. The lift finally switched off at 5. 30. Would have been a great day for photos, and I had sorted out my camera - but left it a home! 10 out of 10 on the peachometer.


Mon 19 Mar 2007

Report by RW

Another day at the Cuchi. Different conditions with the thermals very "punchy". Watched a guy have a massive frontal followed by a large asymmetric he was OK but my nether regions were feeling a little strange, then my wake up call with a big asymmetric on my left, had to lean very hard to the right but the "Oasis" proved its worth. Couldnt do much over the back so an hour out in front and a bottom landing by the Rio Pinto. I got an immediate retrieve from the other guys` girlfriend. When I got back to the top my local mentor borrowed my boots to fly his Tandem passenger and I carried out my first retrieve! Such friendly people here. Its definetly a place worth the effort of a visit. Internal flights are cheap as are the costs of accommodation and food. Beer is 20p a pint?Next week the Argentina Paragliding Championships in La Rioja.

 


Sun 18 Mar 2007

Report by RW

Cuchi Coral 18-3-07 Hello from across the water.

The temperature today was 30C and the thermals were wafting consistently after midday. I did the usual waiting until all the Tandem Posse were clear of T. O. and launched at 1230hrs. Played out in front over the river at 1000´ ATO which is at about 3000`AMSL. I found a sweet core which added another grand and went over the back and added another grand. It was good conditions and others were much higher. I went back in front and just enjoyed myself. The vario was still making those "nice" noises so went with it over the back and after 2hrs landed back in the town of La Cumbre about a 10minute walk to my lodgings. Bloody marvellous. Will post the photos when I find a suitable lead.


Sat 17 Mar 2007

Report by RW

Cuchi Coral Argentina St Patrick's Day had to bring some luck.

Arrived at T. O. in some illustrious company, bright sunshine and temperature of 28c. Thermals were just starting to come up the hill.

Then the local Tandem Posse` 8 in number started their days work giving the Americans their moneys worth. I was not going to T. O. and get in the way as you can understand the wash effect would have stretched the nerves a little further. Carlos Vega was ever the gentleman and said "Now was a good time to fly". I took off without embarassment and was wafted up several hundred feet and then another good thermal came my way and up another several hundred feet and then the Tandem pilots started coming my way? I thought OK I'll move forward and then a boomer took me to just below cloudbase, with the inevitable small collapses. I watched a few other solo Pilots go over the back to the local AeroClub but I was having none of it. I explored a little more forward and then decided to bottom land. A good hour plus of thermal practise for the log book! A swift swim in the Rio Pinto had the locals calling out "El Blanco" at my white flesh. I then watched a couple of Acro Pilots frightening the life out of everyone! So off for a good drink tonight. Hope the flying is good back home. I did get a sneak look at EITS but we here is a little fraught.

Safe flying RW

 


Fri 16 Mar 2007

Report by Gary Mullins

Flying or golf? Flying or golf? Decisions, decisions. So both sets of equipment were put in the boot. The late morning sky looked good so Bell it was.

Martin H, Brian M, John B, Neil Mac, Mike A and "The Grandfather" were already there. Some had flown earlier.

Concern was for the forecast of increased wind strength later. But for the moment all seemed ok.

Once in the air conditions felt nice. Thermic once more. Not long before 3 or 4 decided to have a wander over the back.

Neil, John and myself had a very enjoyable waft towards The Winterbornes. On returning to the hill it was fairly obvious that the weather forecast was correct.

A bit too windy for comfort now. Went home via Ringstead, where it was also blown out. Had a quick chat with Stuckie and Mark F. They had also flown earlier.

A good week. A good two weeks, even.

The chairman returns from a fortnight in Nepal this weekend. Look at the forecast for next week. Oh dear :-)

Report by Neil Mccain

You have to make your own luck. I went to Bell this morning, despite a variety of predicitions for wind directions and strength, and found it smack on and, by the time I'd donned flying suit and helmet, distinctly soarable. Up we went and soon, JB, MF and I were joined by others, boating around a fairly energetic sky. I took off into what I thought was a lull, but turned out to be the lead in to a terrific thermal, urging me up to 1200 above take off. I couldn't maintain it, and bled off the height back towards the ridge, intending to relax, stay on the hill and be sensible - after all, I had an another appointment mid-afternoon. As I came in I saw GM kindly marking out a thermal by circling in front of me. That's lucky, I thought, and together we zoomed off to cloudbase. It was a huge patch of lift - Gary and I were hundreds of feet apart spinning round each other. I was amazed at how Gary caught and passed me, but persevered, and together we hit cloudbase at about 2,300ft. Below us, JB was making remarkable strides to keep with us, depsite being considerably lower. The SE drift was now just full of sink, and JB went down at Winterborne Stickland. I was followed Gary as he tracked further south, looking for a thermal off a large wood. I was higher, to the north, and also in sink. As I watched Gary prepare to land a few hundred feet beneath me, I could see he'd found the thermal he was looking for but was too low to take advantage of it. Seconds later, I felt myself lifted by the same themal and I was heading back to base. But my dilemma was equally frustrating - with my height I could add a couple more km to my XC, but with a deadline to meet, landing next to someone who knew the way home was a powerful incentive too. 7km's not bad for a second XC, so I shortened the odds, and within 15 minutes, we were on the road, walking our way back to the hill. To crown the day, a lovely lady stopped to give us a lift, almost all the way back, and we strolled onto the ridge, realising that the wind was now so strong, no-one was in the air, let alone getting away. You make your own luck. I got to my appointment with 20 minutes to spare.

-- No virus found in this outgoing message.

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Thu 15 Mar 2007

Report by Jon Harvey

Arrived mid morning, dull, overcast and wind well off westwards.

Phone call from Wessex members also sat at Ringstead, similar conditions. Midday bright sun and wind 12mph but now semi-reasonable direction. Called local pilots and flyphone updated. Joined by Alan Bleasdale, then later by Tony Brooks. All up at Thorncombe.

Watched TB go for Golden Cap, but didn't quite make it, low down on leaside, so turned around, having to land at Seatown, as very little lift low down, on the eastside of Seatown. Joined by Mike Richards and Dinks. Returned to t/o, landed and arranged retrieve for Tony.

Dinks made it to GC, (good effort as wind still quite Westerly) but now picking up stronger. Returned to Eype for another fly, just myself and D.

Pretty good day, first this year, 2+ hrs , chilly but happy.

Report by Paul Escott

 

 
At last after all this time we have finally done what we set out to aspire to three years ago. Today we both took off, met up at 2000', and tootled off on a pre-agreed flight plan under our own power.

From Colmore we went to Butser Hill and then on to the coast aiming roughly for Langstone harbour. This was our turn point for the return, again following the A3M to Butser, turn NW then follow the power lines back to Colmore.

Total flight time 1:30, about 6L of two-stroke mix burnt.

We are very happy bunnies :-) & :-)


Thu 15 Mar 2007

Report by Mike Drew

 

 


Listened to sitephone message and arranged to meet my "mustang buddy" John S at Ringstead. Conditions were not bad but for some reason it took a while to get any height on the ridge before heading to the cliffs. Once there 350ft ato was about the average with some getting a little more, plenty for some playing around anyway. Lots of people on the hill and they were all grateful of a nice couple of hours after the recent bad winter. Not been a bad week so far!


Tue 13 Mar 2007

Report by Keith

 

     

Monitored the wind map most of the day in the office and saw nothing promising until a message on the site phone said Barton was possible. I thought if Barton was on, Southbourne may be too and sure enough it was with the wind a little off to the west. Arrived to see Dave W launching and setting off towards Boscombe Pier. We both had an hour plus of (200m exclusion zone) crane restricted flying and landed. We then decided another flight was on the cards as Barrats had ceased work and a closer look at the crane was in order. Yes it is BIG and certainly deserves respect and careful consideration. Another half an hour of cliff soaring was had just before the dying breeze at sunset.



Report by RW

Cuchi Coral La Cumbre Argentina 13-3-07 After a day of Site familiarisation and getting to know the local posse´ yesterday, a decent chap name of Carlos Vega gave me a lift to the Cuchi Corral for an early start today at 1100hrs. Conditions were tested by local tandem Pilot Pablo Kuniss and it was a "go" for flying.

I was a little nervous to say the least with no thermals since Bassano in October 2006. The house thermal was consistent and strong and it was a case of sit tight and try and relax. I managed an hour of staying above T. O. and out in front going over the River Pintos and trying to enjoy the spectacular scenery. before too long I spotted a dark cloud coming from the east and decided to try and top land, it took a couple of attempts but it was OK and no embarassing moments. These locals were all friendly and helpful even to the point of treating me to lunch. So if you fancy something different come to Argentina. Here in La Cumbre the accommodation is cheap, a good B&B with en suite is ten pounds a night and dinner with wine & 3 courses is less than ten pounds. I have some photos which I will upload on my return to UK.


Tue 13 Mar 2007

Report by Marcus Webster

 

   

 



Report by Keith

 

     
Heard the early message saying Bell was just about flyable so I thought it might still be working at lunchtime. On descending down toward Stickland I espied five wings well above the ridge (thought another message could wouldn’t have gone astray?). I arrived just in time to see Mike D and Gary M disappearing into the distance just going up and away. Conditions settled for half an hour and the punchy thermals started coming through again. Many wings flying, some with considerable height gains but no more XC bids. The clouds melted leaving a big blue yonder with great ridge soaring conditions. The hill was still flyable after sunset accommodating the late arrivals on the way home from work catching the lifty evening restitution. Too many to mention. “GFD” (Great Flyable Day)

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   

Plenty of pilots on Bell all day. I didn't get there until late pm but had a very pleasant 1 1/2 hrs cruising with plenty of company, smooth and bouyant right to the last. Left around sunset.

Hope Russell's getting some flying in Argentina cause its been flyable almost every day since he left. (coincidence or what)


Report by Mike Bretherton

 

     

The forecast had looked quite good for a few days before and Weatherjack had up rated today to a 3. I took half a day off and went to bell with Simon Herbert and James Bentham. The wind had died a bit when we arrived but it picked up again and we had almost 3 continuous hours of flying in very nice light thermals. A couple of pilots even managed to go Xc.

 


Mon 12 Mar 2007

Report by Rich Westgate

A big thank you to 'The grandfather' for a lift down the hill to my car and back, without which I probably wouldn't have bothered flying. . . I owe you one! First time on Bell for a while, initially buoyant in smoke from bonfire then had fun scratching low in the bowl. Plenty of wildlife, dive bombed by a buzzard early on; got my own back chasing a kestrel around the hill. Good opportunity to sort out my Ram C harness and speed system. Steve (sorry can't remember your last name) arrived just as the wind dropped. Luckily picked up again and we both flew watching a beautiful sunset over the Blackmore Vale.


Report by Alastair Florence

 

     

I had been following the sitephone developments during the day with a view to coming home via Barton. The last few messages and a call to Brian M prompted a change of plan as the wind seemed to have gone NW. I was running short of time to get to Bell so gave a call to Marleycombe to gain permission to fly (as required before flying this site)(see site guide). Marleycombe is currently open but may close temporarily in about a months time due to livestock, but give a ring first and Liz will tell you if its OK. Anyway drove up to the barn to park although I had to be a bit selective about rut depths here and there. The wind was nice and steady but well off to the West. It seemed worth a try and actually worked fine although only about a 1/4 of the ridge was working. One plus here is that the ridge has several changes of angle hence taking a small variety of directions. Not stacks of height, average 60 - 100ft ato with the odd bob up to 200ft.

Pleasant enough though. Didn't bother to sitephone as I really couldn't imagine anyone else turning out after 1630hrs.



Report by Mike Adkins

Got a call from The Grandfather to say he was on Bell and it was flyable. I gobbled some lunch and roared off, to find the track dry and drivable and the grass at the top parkable. I was in the air by 1427 with Derek and Marcus also flying. (At one point Marcus took William up in a little harness, but he soon came down again as William was shivering - whether from abject fear at Marcus's flying or just the cold, we didn't know!) We each got about an hour over three flights, with a cool but fairly steady breeze almost dead on the hill. When we finally landed at somewhen after 1600 - I could definitely feel a G&T coming on - who should come wandering up the hill but our newly homolgated World Tandem Distance Record Holder, Richard Westgate . . . . without his kit! So I obsequiously ushered him into The Grandfather's car, and Derek taxied him back down to get his wing. (Well, I might be in the market for a Gradient before too long!) Whether Richard flew, and if so, for how long, I don't know 'cos I headed home to answer the call of the G&T! Mike Adkins


Sun 11 Mar 2007

Report by Shamus Pitts

 

   

 

 

 

The forecast was southerly but strong today, so I decided to go for a walk with my wife instead of hoping for the wind to drop a bit. "Coincidentally" our walk took us past the takeoff at Ringstead! I was surprised to see a couple of wings in the air, so after our walk we drove back to Ringstead just as Keith was landing after an hour and a half (luckily I'd packed my gear in the car "just in case").

The wind was strong - I was getting 17 to 20mph on my wind meter so on Keith's advice I took off halfway down the hill. The wind was a bit off to the South which meant that the ridge to the right of takeoff (as you look out to sea) was working quite well, so we spent a while over there. It was surprising how little lift there was considering the strength of the wind - it must have been some sort of heavy wind! I struggled to get 100' ATO, although that's not necessarily any reflection of the amount of lift! After half an hour the wind seemed to have picked up, with the occasional gust coming through and it was time to land. I picked up 100 feet or so ATO, turned and hurtled back to the landing field, where I managed to land unscathed! All in all a reasonable flight, except for the weird "heavy" wind!

Report by Alastair Florence

 

Looked like a strongish southerly today so I went up Knitson first. To strong though. I decided that Ballard Downs (not the cliff as no East in it) might work. A short walk up from behind the obelisk and found a suitable launch spot. Although still quite gusty the wind strength was much better as its 200ft lower than Knitson here. Launched into plenty of lift although the wind was off to the west a bit. This ridge always seems a bit rough and punchy and today was no exception. After 1/2 hour and several lowish collapses I decided that Knitson might be better after all and landed again.

Back to Knitson to find it still 22 - 24 mph. Then found water bottle had leaked all over my reserve and so went home to air it. All the more annoying as I only repacked it about 2 weeks ago. Still, day gets a 4 on the scaremeter rather than the peachometer.


Thu 08 Mar 2007

Report by Martin Foley

 

 
Peter Robinson and myself flew from Telegraph Hill at cloudbase for a while, eventually landing at Hazelbury Bryan.

Report by Neil Mccain

At least three pilots - Gary M, Steve (?) and myself - had 700ft ato at the White Nothe this afternoon. We were all flying Atis's as well (is the plural Atii?). The conditions were beginning to strengthen, and back on the deck Gary confirmed the wind at take-off was a steady 17-20mph. Besides the wind, a navy helicopter on exercise focused the mind, hovering just to the east of the Nothe, and occasionally darting away back to the mother ship. When the wind blew, the floppies' place was taken by the hangies, including Neville A's hot-ship, with which he buzzed a couple of camera-wielding onlookers. When they look at their slide-show tonight, he'll seem mighty close for comfort! That's three days on the trot I've got in the air - unprecedented! I wonder why the Wind Gods are looking on us so kindly right now? Forecast no so good for tomorrow - I can give my typing fingers a rest! Cheers Neil -- No virus found in this outgoing message.


Report by Mike Adkins

 

   
Alicante, Spain, with "Doyouwanna" Derek Sadler, Harry Dike & I decided to find some sunshine and some flying. We found plenty of sunshine but of the 8 whole days we were there, only 3 were flyable. There were unseasonably strong winds and the previous Friday there had been heavy snow inland! But the flying we did get was exciting, with quite powerful thermals. The Spaniards were extremely kind to us, perhaps because Nick, who runs Doyouwanna, kept introducing Derek as "The oldest paraglider pilot in the world. "! (He had added a couple of years to Derek's already venerable age!) So Derek quickly became known as "El Abuelo" (the grandfather). Nick offered him the Niviuk Hook to fly, which Derek soon took to the top of the stack. (The photo shows D on the Hook with Harry on his Spider taking off. ) On our last evening Harry and I went to a coastal site and had a lovely evening's float over the cliffs, which Derek unfortunately missed, as he was tired.

The Spanish sites are undeniably rugged, rocky and difficult compared with our benign grass-covered slopes, and some of the LZs were a bit tricky too, but I came home with another four and a half hours in my logbook - and we had temperatures of 26C and more a lot of the time! The food and booze was excellent and cheap as well. Roll on Bassano!


Wed 07 Mar 2007

Report by Keith Burridge

 

   
Couldn’t work out where the wind was supposed to be blowing today. So I ventured out to Bell for a reccy. After fighting my way past the cows and sh*t at the track entrance arrived at the summit to find conditions looking perfect and watched someone (sorry about not knowing name) TO and immediately soar. Left message on site phone and promptly followed suit. Two great flights both 1000ft ATO with an XC to Blandford. Neil M ( on his first XC) & Grant made Badbury Rings and were spotted By Brian M on his way to Bell resulting in a quick retrieve. Sorry about not listing peoples but time spent on the ground was virtually nil. Excellent Day after the last months dire conditions

Report by Neil Mccain

A great day at Bell - someone remarked that it had the hallmarks of a classic XC summer's day. I couldn't vouch for that before, never having been cross-country before, but today changed that. I managed to get away, riding fairly smooth thermals all the way to base at about 2,700 - 3,000ft ato. Grant also left the hill at about 1pm, and we flew to Badbury Rings, where we were met by that nice Mr Metcalfe, who was on his way to the hill and kindly gave us a lift back. Is XC always as easy as this? (Don't flame me, I know the answer to this one). Others got away too, including Keith B, but the wind stiffened in the late afternoon, and had blown any further opportunities away. Couldn't blow the mad grin off my face, though! Excellent day.


Tue 06 Mar 2007

Report by Kaye Escott

 

 
Pleasant day that started on my own and ended with several still flying when I left.

Cheers to Russel for the off site site brief and to Paul for showing me how to put up these piccies!

Report by Neil Mccain

RW's sitephone message said Ringstead was on at lunchtime - I could only get there at 16:50, and saw Keith in the air over the White Nothe, and a frustrated hangie on the ground (sorry, didn't get your name). The conditions looked lovely, with about 90 minutes of sun left in the sky, and smooth, steady wind. I had all manner of twists and tangles in my lines, not helped by my eagerness to fly, but it did come right without incident in the end, although I'd lost about 20 minutes to faffing around. Once in the air, it was clear that conditions had changed, with wisps of mist forming on the cliff, and within a few minutes, orographic cloud started streaming across the take-off bowl. Pretty soon it was thick enough to obscure the track and cars completely, but flying in front of the ridge and above the clouds was incredible, especially with the low sun adding long shadows and drama. Keith top landed before conditions became too awkward, and helped Fritz (visiting?, with Marcus?) to launch. The two of us wafted around the bowl, dodging cloudlets, until it was clear that the cloud was beginning to appear ahead of the ridge, and we both landed at the bottom whilst we could still see it. Personally, I've not flown in these conditions before: it was amazing how different the landscape looked, and interesting watching how and where the cloud formed . Sorry I don't have any photos - taking them from the air is not something I'm comfortable with yet.


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