Eye in the Sky - June 2007

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Tue 26 Jun 2007

Report by Alastair Florence



It didn't settle down enough to get the PG out on Bell tonight but appeared to be HG able, John A, Gary D and the owner of the 'rainbow' glider flew ( Steve maybe, sorry not sure of your name ).

Sat 23 Jun 2007

Report by Russell Whyte

Ringstead: After consulting the weather Gurus I decided on an early start at the "office". I arrived at 0900hrs with the wind WSW and still light. Ground-handled for 10 mins and it became flyable a tad of W but stay uppable Derek S & Gail O arrived and we journeyed out to the cliffs for some excellent lift. Stuart M arrived and came out to the cliffs to take some photos. Number 2 son arrived with his posse' for some land boarding, very entertaining! It remained quite Westerly for most of the day and at 1400hrs it became blown out. Steve B arrived as it eased (a little) and made his own extraordinary journey to the cliffs & back on his new Nova Ra I wish I had a video camera! We went off to the local hostelry for a bowl of chips and returned to the hill at 1800hrs for another fly in the sunshine. It became strong again & for some it was off to the night life of a seaside town.

Fri 22 Jun 2007

Report by Alastair Florence

I had a late fly on St, Aldhelms tonight. 12 - 15 mph with lots of cloud forming behind the cliff and at times in front in patches. Loads of lift and cloud layer from 150 ft - 300 ft ato, I couldn't quite get above the cloud bank which was a shame as this always looks nice to me looking down on a sea of white. SW direction so plenty of height out over the coastguards and a bit less cloud.

I noticed a change coming in over the sea which looked like a gust front, I figured this could give a total white out and decided it was time to run for the car park, if I could have seen it that was. Still I could just make out the footpath and flew back along this until I found the car park for a smooth landing (plenty of visibility below 150 ft ato still).

Annoyingly the weather did change, the cloud totally disappeared and the wind mellowed a bit. Still better annoyed on the ground than terrified in the air.

Sadly no pics as I swiped the camera batteries for my vario.

Note ; its not neccessarily big or clever to fly when you can't see much behind the hill, but it can be good fun in my warped opinion.

Report by Stephen Arnold

An unexpected call from RW had me driving to Ringstead. I bimbled about on the ridge for an hour admiring the flying of Gaz M. and Gail O.

Before being coached to the cliffs for the first time by RW. Absolutely magical a good feeling and such a flying experience, a grey cloud started to develop so I headed back to Take Off and waited till it cleared. I then went back to the cliffs for a second helping and even greater lift.

A good day out.

Sun 17 Jun 2007

Report by Wayne Bevan

Hi; If there are any rumours concerning a hang glider landing in the sea on the 17th june,they are correct. It was me! Having flown out to the cliffs & unable due to the southerly aspect in the wind to progress onto the main cliffs & fly around to the southerly cliffs I lost height & switched into beach landing mode. .

This was a mistake as I had the height to effect a grass field landing as the winds were that light there would have been no rotor! Having selected the area of beach I was going to land on I became concerned about the wind direction & mistake 2, was made. I changed my mind! Altered direction (still with height), only to find I still flew fast.

Mistake 3. I failed to realise that I was efectively making a nil wind landing.

Mistake 4. changed direction to effect a controlled landing onto the beach/cliff face by the caravan park. Have pulled this off before! I then hit lift (southerly breeze) & instead of stuffing the glider in allowed the glider to change direction & flew towards the sea by the rocky out crop.

Fortunatley the right hand wing hit the rocks at about 3ft asl & I nosed into 3ft of water.

I got lucky. . Quickly unclipped & carried glider out.

Damage:- mobile phone & LR3 instruments knackered. . The Airwave Klassic hangglider will have to be checked but I was replacing it anyway-so that has been brought forward. Harness drying out after being washed.

I find flying at Ringstead to be very enjoyable & have effected beach landings many times. I cocked up & will no longer consider beach landings unless I really have to. I was lucky. . If you find yourself in such a position don't panic & you stand a damn good chance of staying alive. I have attended ditching sessions & I believe this allowed me to stay calm & lady luck smiled upon me. .

Safe flying Wayne bevan

Report by Russell Whyte



Report by Mike Bretherton



Looking at Eye In The Sky its looks like the whole of the south coast was flown today. I went to Southbourne with Simon Herbert for a bit of crane spotting, the wind was off to the west a bit but it was certainly flyable. It felt a bit strong but it only measured 15mph (max) and when we took off it was perfect. After about an hour the wind turned more south which gave us a bit more height and allowed the crossing of the Boscombe pier gap but the Bournemouth crossing looked a bit marginal so we did not risk it. We flew out over the crane and back under it, I took the outside line, Simon took the inside line, both of us made it easy. After flying for about 2 hours the wind dropped off and we decided to call it a day. It started raining just as we had finished packing away, perfect.


Report by Paul Hawkins

Another good fly at Barton, Steve A, Joe M, John B,(where was Brian M?) and at least three or four others whose names I did'nt get. Lots of fun was had and I made it to Milford beach huts and back for the first time which I'm putting down to the Gradient Golden 2 on loan from Mr Westgate (thanks Richard).

Steve A was still pulling out wing over's as I left at around 4pm. . . A very pleasant afternoon was had!

Report by Grant Oseland



Good days flying was had by most today, good lift everywhere, made plan to go as far as possible down towards Durdle Door and beyond (one day I plan to get to Ballards!) Dave Winn also joined in for the ride but no one else? Where did every one go?? Any way got down to Kimmeridge Bay but the wind was starting to fade by now so decided to try to make the run back but was foiled at Man of War bay by a complete lack of wind so had to bail on the beach but still a good day.

PS. Top tip, don't walk back from Durdle Door to Ringstead via the coast path its further than you think and there are some big hills!

Report by Sean Staines


Excellent day at Beer with over 4Hrs in the air and about 70km for the XC league. See Shamus' write up for photos. Flew beyond Sidmouth and back 3 times and 1000ft height gain.

Report by Stuart Martin



. . . . Gail Otton got herself out to the cliffs, and back, at Ringstead today. It has been a long time coming Gail and congratulations are in order I think.

Report by Alastair Florence


I didn't get out until this afternoon as we had Bavarians staying at our house, hopefully this could be a good investment as they live 1 km from a Bavarian launch site so I may call in an exchange accomodation favour one day.

I went to Knitson, at first it looked strong but measured ok so I gave it a go.

Classic Knitson conditions with low cloud forming off the sea giving good lift well out in front of the hill. I quickly decided to try a Dave W styl'y ridge run. Went as far East as I could then hacked up as far over Corfe as I could then (struggling a bit) got back as far East as I could, lost a lot of height at this point and bombed out below t/0 for 12. 48km. Quite a challenging flight though, quite rough down near Corfe and certainly got my pulse rate up flying behind and level with 11kv cables near the midway aerial. This stretch is quite difficult as the ridge nearly disapears and there are not many places to rebuild height.

Later went to St. A's hoping to try St. A - Kimmeridge given the element of South in the wind but to no avail (there's always another day though.

Report by Shamus Pitts


First time at Beer Head, and all I can say is what an excellent site! We arrived at about 11:30 to see a couple of wings in the air and a few more on the ground. The wind was blowing about 19mph and gusty, so the general consensus was to wait for things to calm down a bit. The wind out in front of the cliff seemed to be more of a flyable strength, but getting there was the problem. I had a go at taking off early on but just ended up chasing my wing round the field! About 3 o'clock we were deciding whether to try somewhere else or wait a bit longer. A couple of people had taken off, although penetration still seemed slow, but the wind seemed to have dropped a little so I thought I would give it a go. After going straight up from takeoff I slowly moved forwards until I was clear of the edge of the cliff and things started to get a bit easier. I flew out and around the stack then headed for the main cliff where I had a lovely smooth hour, jumping the gap at Branscombe a few times and flying on down past the Branscombe takeoff - next time I'll try and be a bit more adventurous and see if I can make it to Sidmouth, but today I was just happy to have flown! Shamus Pitts


Report by Kevin Dingley


Saturday arrived home from a week with John Welch on the Dune de Pyla. I completed my CP and we celebrated with a bottle of Bollinger (thank you John), so now folks look out for me as I will be heading for those hills.

We were not able to fly every day but John and his team kept us entertained, I recommend head over heels down the steep side of the Dune but wear your helmet. The Dune is a great place to fly and on the last day we flew until 9. 45pm, I tried to do one beat of the Grand Dune but only managed 75% of it and had to run my wing on the grass line most of the way back.

A big thank you to John and his team on the Dune and back in the UK (Gaz, Vicky, Neil, Tom and Daz).

Thu 14 Jun 2007

Report by Paul Hawkins

Roy Menage has been hinting at me for quite some time to write one of these reports, so here it is. . . . (better late than never eh Roy!) After a long fairly miserable looking day at about 6. 30pm I decided to head over to Barton just in case it was flyable and sure enough it wasn't! I waited for around 20min the wind picked up and I had really good hours flying and the whole place all to myself (apart from a family flying a kite and a few gulls).

An excellent way to end an otherwise boring day. . . I think the Golden 2 that Mr. Westgate has kindly lent me made it extra fun! Not sure I want to give back!


Wed 13 Jun 2007

Report by Shamus Pitts


Having checked the weather I decided it was either going to be the White Horse or Barton-on-Sea. Having never flown at Barton, I was keen to give it a go (especially as there was a chance of rain at White Horse), so I headed East and arrived there about 1 o'clock, to see 2 wings flying.

The wind was blowing 10 - 13mph and smack on the cliff, so after a site briefing I took off (okay, so it wasn't on the first attempt!) and enjoyed 40 minutes of floating backwards and forwards just above the cliff tops as the sea mist crept in and Barton started to disappear! Visibility never deteriorated enough to become a problem though, but the wind was starting to drop and in the end I lost too much height in a turn and had to land on the beach.

When I got back to takeoff, Paul Hawkins had arrived, and also a couple of others (sorry, not good with names). After waiting a while for the wind to pick up, we all managed to fly (although not very high) for 20 minutes or so before landing (this time on top of the cliff!).

I had another 10 minute flight but made the same mistake as before and had to land on the beach.

Tue 12 Jun 2007

Report by Alastair Florence



It looked a bit blowy on the drive home tonight so I went home and did some things.

Late evening I went out with the intention of having a walk round St. Aldhelms, one thing led to another, St. A's seemed strong on the ground but I thought I'd try a quick fly. No problems in the air in fact could have done with a bit more wind as I couldn't get enough height to fly back to the car and had to walk from the stile.

Landed soon after 2100hrs as cloud had spoiled the sunset, still, you can't always have your cake and eat it as they say, I suppose.

The Cow weather vane on the barn roof just after Worth seems to have seized up pointing North, i'll have to persuade the farmer to let me WD40 it. The one on Worth Church is still OK though.

Report by Sean Staines

A phonecall to RW confirmed that it was flyable at Ringstead and Dr Charles was in the air when I arrived. Myself, Keith, RW and Gary M procrastinated for a while as the wind was 18mph but I eventually took off and had an easy flight out to the cliffs with no trouble penetrating. The others followed and we had some easy soaring until orographic started to form and stopped play.

Mon 11 Jun 2007

Report by Alastair Florence



I picked up the sitephone message from the Barton scratchers this afternoon and as luck would have it managed to get away from work at a reasonable time.

John B and Brian M where in the air on my arrival, not stacks of height but obviously nice and lifty. I managed to launch on the second attempt which is good going for me here.

Plenty of room with just the three of us and reliable lift to allow a couple of runs down toward the beach huts at Milford. Why is it the bit of beach with the 'Male' Nudist sunbathers always seems to have the best lift ? I'm sure they think we have other things in mind when trying to find lift over them, h'mm maybe bits of them act as a trigger point, errh'yuck.

Driving back through Corfe conditions looked ideal for St. Aldhelms, I resisted the temptation though as it's my wedding anniversery today and I thought this might be pushing my luck !


Sun 10 Jun 2007

Report by Mark Fisher


White Horse 10th June There was flying to be had all afternoon till 6pm. Jim C, Mark F, Gail O, Paul K, Henry S, James T. RW where was everyone else ?

Report by Shamus Pitts


Arrived at Sandy Bay about midday on Sunday to find a wet tandem drying on the ground and a pilot waiting for the wind to pick up (good to meet you Darrell and Bob). I lent Darrell my wing to test the conditions as he was obviously a lot more experienced than me, and after a short flight he top landed and said it was pretty scratchy but worth a go! I took off and managed to delay the inevitable beach landing for about ten minutes, floating backwards and forwards level with the cliff top, but I slowly began to lose height and had to line up for a beach landing. The tide was almost all the way in so the beach was only about 4m deep, which made for an interesting landing, but I managed to keep my wing out of the sea, choosing to dump it in to a muddy stream that was flowing down the cliff instead! After packing up I managed to negotiate the "interesting" climb back up the cliff - the climb back up was the scariest part of the day! I'm glad a had a chance to fly at Sandy Bay, and it would be nice to fly there again when there's a bit more wind! Shamus Pitts

Report by Alastair Florence


Early A. M looked pretty hopeless and I put the day down as a write off.

Mark F called me mid morning for a weather check which made me look out and notice it might just work on Ballard. It looked light ish but probably worth a try after an early lunch. After 20 mins or so scratching I managed enough height to top land and dropped in to see Grant O who had arrived. The wind was probably almost due South and we both had a bit of a fly on the cliff with nothing spectacular. I tried the ridge followed by Grant. Some quite spanky little thermals all the way up to the obelisk where it seemed smoother and we managed around 500ft ato. Ulwell Gap looked tempting but I figured Knitson may not work so bottled out. Now back on launch for a chat and a loo break 'Dean' a visitor from Folkestone and Dover club had arrived. Sadly the wind seemed to have died a bit and we where all on the beach soon after. I did notice another couple of wings on the hill later, again it didn't look to spectacular. Still maybe 2. 5hrs cumulative including White Horse yesterday so mustn't grumble.

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Sun 10 Jun 2007

Report by Martin Foley


I have just returned from 5 days of good flying on Dartmoor including two xc flights from Kingtor on Monday and Tuesday. I flew at Kingtor again on Thursday but cloudbase was only 1000ft above the hill. Friday was blue with light winds and nice thermals at Sourton Tors and Saturday I went to a small easterly site which became very scary as the clouds grew very large and I quickly landed as thunder and lightning were close by over Okehampton.

Sat 09 Jun 2007

Report by Gail Otton






Wed 6 Jun 2007

Report by Simon Jones

It looked strongish and a bit too easterly, but I decided to go and have a look at Maiden Castle anyway.

There was too much east to fly the main ridge, but I managed 20 tenuous minutes at the NNE facing, east end of the ramparts just as the day was calming down, at about half past six.

I'm afraid I didn't gain enough height to take any photos!

Report by Keith Burridge


Wind was too strong and off to the East most of the Afternoon but had a visit by a low flying chopper. Went home, had tea and decided to try and catch some evening restitution. Unpacked and had a reasonably smooth 45mins with the wind still off to the east accompanied by Dave the dive bombing buzzard.

Mon 04 Jun 2007

Report by Keith Burridge

Arrived at 12. 30pm to see three wings in the air (NO Sitephone Message) with conditions looking a little turbulent and top endy. Left a message and proceeded to join the others for a rollercoaster one hour flight. As the wind strengthened all landed and an hours wait was in order. After the wind settled to just about flyable Rob took off followed by myself witnessing him have a small frontal collapse in the turbulent conditions. The wind veered to the west and the ensuing increased turbulence called for a landing and an end to an eventful, interesting couple of flights.

Sun 03 Jun 2007

Report by Lawrence Toogood


Bournemouth was blessed this weekend 2 perfect days on the trot.

Who did we sacrifice ? Those that could , did , too many names to mention , talk of logging ridge runs in the XC league!

Sat 02 Jun 2007

Report by Kevin Dingley



CP training with Gary M. , we did not have radios so had to stay in shouting distance and only flew when there was not so many up on the air. As Shamus stated it was very busy and everyone had good flights. The low air time pilots like me did experience sink and out of my 3 flights I top, slope and bottom landed but hey it’s all good practise. Last flight of the day I managed my first XC by playing follow the leader with Gary back to the car park. I was flying with a helmet cam and the edited day can be seen on YouTube

Report by Grant Oseland


Some thing different today, had to work Saturday morning which is never nice but the drive home took me past Beer Head so thought i would have a look, I was greeted by a clear blue sky at see and low cloud just inland and a perfect wind speed if a little off to the east, and strangely 3 local pilots sitting on take off saying that it was not working despite there being 8 - 12 wings already soaring further down the ridge. Any way a good days flying was had and if you have not flown here before its worth a trip as there is a long strip of coast down to Sidmouth and sometimes beyond if weather allows.

Report by Shamus Pitts



Arrived at White Horse about 1pm to a scene that could have graced the cover of Skywings! Blue skies and paragliders everywhere! The wind was blowing about 13 or 14 mph and the direction was pretty good so staying up was fairly easy, especially with the thermals that kept wafting through. Conditions started to ease off about 4 o'clock so I decided to head home, but there were still people soaring.

3 flights, about 40 minutes, 300' ATO - nice day!

Report by Roy Menage


Southbourne two days running. . . surely not! Arriving around 10:00 to find the cliffs shrouded in fog was not encouraging. So I went off to do some chores and on return saw a pilot trying to launch, in very light wind, still in fog, in the wrong place. He turned out to be a foreign pilot who knew nothing of the rules. A beach lifeguard turned up at the same time. It seems that somebody on the beach thought they were in trouble and dialled 999. After a lengthy discussion, we sorted him out and invited him to contact the club. He may come to the club meeting too.

I then met up with Lawrence. Welcome back to the flying community! Still a bit much fog so off on another mission before returning to see Lawrence crossing Boscombe pier. Result. I quickly called the Bmth radio room and proceeded to get airborne. Thanks Mark for the shove off! There then followed at least 4 crossings of Boscombe pier and one crossing of Bournemouth. Well done Roger for your first crossing of Boscombe. What a great day!

Report by Lawrence Toogood


Classic day at Bmth. Jim C and i were first on the scene at 10. 30, we had a short wait for the sea fog to clear then game on. Heading for the piers Boscombe first, plenty of height heading for the crane once over the crane Jim had a collapse, rapid loss of height, "SH. . T " i scurried back, trying to analyze what i had just seen, no explanation for it ! So i did a go around prepared for the worst on my crossing , Jim had made it safely to the bmth side and i followed without incident. Bmth pier next Jim went all the way i hung around over the Imax loads of height and plenty of waving females in the roof bar (good place to hang out if you ask me ) Jim made Canford cliffs and back to T/O , these days just don't happen enough ! Jim later told me the Collaspe was self induced just him having a laugh and made me think it was rough ! You bugger, i just didn't see him do it ! others in the Bmth posse inc Roy, Roger , Mark , Steve A PS the creative pics were by mistake.

Fri 01 Jun 2007

Report by Roy Menage


I arrived at Southbourne just before 11:00 to a gentle breeze a little off to the west and not quite strong enough to get over the fence although te seagulls were staying up easily. After several attempts, I managed to get over it and took a beat up towards Boscombe, just maintaining at cliff height. on hte return beat, I managed to gain just enough height for a quick top landing to deal with an incoming phone call. It was the office so I ignored it (it was my day off, after all). After chatting with various interested passers-by the wind had picked up enough to make it easy to stay up and enjoy an hour and a half of easy soaring. Shame about the crane that currently prevents crossing Boscombe pier which would have been easy. Surprisingly, nobody else turned up to fly. When I left at about 1:30 it was still working well. Height was enough to get views across Bournemouth to the hospital and to Christchurch harbour.

Report by Jon Harvey


Eype, not an epic day, but at least we managed to go as far as Seatown. Just too much west in the wind, but ideal strength.

First at scene, John P and myself, then joined by Tony B.

Eventually landed to pack, when Keith B arrived followed by unknown pilot, both away smartly westwards.

Went home to collect wife after work and back again, (saved an ear bending later) and then Garry F, arrived. Another 40 odd mins airtime, before wind dropping off. Was hoping for a long evening flight for those elusive sunset images from up high, but not to be.

A pretty reasonable day.

Pictures by Richard Davis



Fri 01 Jun 2007

Report by John Blessing



About time we had an EITS from Barton. Absolutely beautiful day, little off to the west at times, which just made getting back from Milford-on-sea interesting. Usual Barton scratchers - Brian M, Richard D, Rob P. Paul H. and Lawrence T. still wearing his back-brace, nice one Lawrence.

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