Eye in the Sky - Sep 2007

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Wed 26 Sep 2007

Report by Marcus Webster

 

  
Wonderful week in bassano with a lovely group of Wessex members , 5 flyable days out of 7 ranging from super smooth end of day flying to very lively exciting mid afternoon elevators up to base at 6500` over the monument with views to Venice and the Adriatic in one direction and the Dolomites in the other.

A big thanks to Derek Sadler for persuading me it was a good location (how right he was !) , to Luigi for pointing us in the right direction each morning and to the kind souls the presented us with a cold beer on each landing at the Garden bar .


Wed 26 Sep 2007

Report by Gail Otton

 

   
14th-23rd Sept 2007 Just recovering from an excellent week at Dune de Pyla, with Flight Culture.

The dunes were a fantastic place to fly and generally mess about, even though the weather wasn't completely on our side, but then that's paragliding. Thanks to John Welch, Neil M, Chris B, & Darren S, for a fantastic week (& for my present I'll be sure to wear them next time I go flying. ) Also well done to the EP students, Chris, Amanda, & Lesley, who started the week as beginners but got through their EP's & are now totally addicted to paragliding.


Tue 25 Sep 2007

Report by Martin Foley

 

   
I have just come back from a good week flying in Algodonales and enclose some pictures of flying to Ronda last Sunday


Sat 22 Sep 2007

Report by Richard Mosley

Arrived at Ringstead about 4 pm. There were quite a few paragliders there.

Russell , Stuart martin, Simon who flew past me later coughing, sounds bad! Took off and managed to get to the cliffs to find stuart coming back at me, to try and gain height in front of the big house. With the lift dropping i went for plan B and went to the corner of the white nothe , this sometimes works for me. To no avail and landed on the undercliff. Plan B also included climbing the cliff which incidently has a Zig Zag path right to the top. it is not that difficult. Waited there for about half an hour for a manageable breeze. on taking off the lift was brilliant with mild sea thermals popping up, flew to Durdle door and back. The others arrive back at the cliffs after conditions improved. The lift on the home ridge was also excellant under the clouds. Good afternoon was had by those who stayed.


Correction to Jeremy's entry on 22nd September. The other pilot with the yellow wing was myself Maurice Humberstone. I took off about 5.15pm and landed again at 6.35, most of which I was on my own in beautiful conditions. Landed when wind increased and swung more westerly making the beat back from Milford testing.

Report by Jeremy Calderwood

 

     
Didn't get to Barton until about 4. 30 shortly after the sun came out where I found only Brian making the best of a rather light breeze about 35º off to the west. This made the upwind beat rather slow and not much lift in it. After a few scratchy beats he landed and rejoined the others waiting around in case the direction might improve. Craig and Richard were amongst the increasingly doubtful lot and while Joe briefly kited his wing to test the breeze Roger appeared on the scene. Having checked XC Weather just before setting off I decided to wait a bit longer as it suggested the wind should back round a bit more to the south.

At 5 o clock everyone else called it quits but 5 minutes later before Brian took the windsock I saw that the direction had improved slightly so off I went. After a few minutes someone else appeared and soon his yellow wing was laid out for launch. For half an hour I had the place to myself as the lift improved until I was about 90 - 100' ato in very pleasant conditions before the other guy joined me; it was Steve A. After another 10 minutes the lift was beginning to slacken so I called it a day and top landed while I could.

The warm sunny conditions brought a fair number of people to the cliffs - quite a few pointing their lenses skyward. Nice to see plenty of smiling faces and lots of interest as usual. When I left the site Steve was still hanging in there, the breeze was still working and the sun still shining. . .

Now that we've reached the autumnal equinox any good days we get from now until March will be a bonus - keep your fingers crossed for an Indian summer.


Report by Stuart Martin

 

   

As the season draws to a close a good day [like today at Ringstead] was a real bonus for those who were there. It just got better as the day progressed so that by 5pm the sky was blue, the sun shining and a bouyant southerly allowed those remaining to boat around White Nothe to Bats Head.

Report by Alan Webb

St Aldhems Head, nice to get some flying in and in good company as well with Ali and Paul. Just thought I would add to Ali’s report, I was shouting rain and it was quite heavy at one point, so made a run back to take off, only to find it was a short sharp shower. Ali at this point made for Houn’s tout. A great couple of hours, throwing the wing about. Nice photo of me above Ali not often seen, just don’t tell them you were on the ground !

Report by Alastair Florence

Oh, nearly forgot, look nice still after St. A's so went and made a pig of myself at Kimmeridge for another 45mins.

Report by Alastair Florence

 

     

Very little wind if any early so I didn't hurry out today, eventually went up to St. Aldhelms to find Paul H on t/o and soon joined by Alan W. Seemed lightish but do able so we did it. After a while we all landed as although flyable it was a bit mediocre and just a bit plain dull. Had another go, much the same, then another. Alan flew back from the coastguards shouting something about rain. I thought if somethings coming down (i. e rain) chances are something else is going up (lift) skirted the rain and found enough height to potter across Chapmans Pool onto Houns Tout.

With an unusually light wind it was probably the most relaxed crossing I have ever had, (normally my legs start to shake at the 3/4 stage but didn't happen this time).

Regained height on the tout and pushed onto Eldon Seat with a view to trying to get onto Kimmeridge ridge where others were flying. I just couldn't get enough height to make the ridge so punted on up the coast to Clavells Tower.

Meanwhile a blue Paratech wing flew to join me on the cliff from Kimmeridge and came up to the tower with me. Turned out to be a visitor. The cliff was ok but only just enough height for comfort so I decided to leg it back to St. A's. Had a bit of a heart in the mouth moment scratching my way back up the Tout but built up 280ft ato before crossing the pool back to St. A's and eventually landing back 10 metres from my car. The unfortunate chap on the Paratech followed me to Houns Tout but for some reason seemed to leave the lift and ended up bombing out way down the bottom but was lucky enough to find a big patch of scrub to cushion his landing, must have been a nightmare recovering the wing. Anyway he seemed to be moving and eventually I saw what looked like a harness being throw clear of the scrub so I guessed he was probably ok.

Shame I didn't have the GPS on me as it would have been over 15km with turnpoints, still when your 100 and somethingth on the league it dosen't really matter does it.


Tue 18 Sep 2007

Report by Peter Robinson

So the season was not over after all. Telegraph Hill was quite busy, including a few flyers from N Devon. Eddie C launched and gradually climbed out. I launched soon after and gradually bombed out. After this the wind was so light that nobody launched until it picked up at about 2pm. I soon climbed out, up to the forecast freezing level at 5000asl. A worrying time crossing a large blue hole, then back up almost to base.

Some time later I was glad that there were no red flags at Lulworth so that I could get a save in the sunlight over the ranges before crossing the “Corfe ridge”. At 4700asl I then thought that I had bags of height to make Durlston – wrong. Under the apparent cloud street there was some serious sink and I only found a little respite over Harmans Cross. I landed nearly 1km short. I should know better.

From a long way back I had noticed another glider approaching Swanage from further north, presumably from Bell. He made Durlston comfortably, just before I landed. Maybe it was ZZ; the colours looked right.

A pity David F had to abort. Pete C's was a nice flight, with that low save and the double back. Martin F - you should not have gone to Spain.

Report by Pete Chalmers

Arrived Bell Hill expecting it to be quite strong but found it light with weak thermic cycles. Launched into the bowl from the North facing cut area and scratched for a while before taking a weak climb over the back. Very slow and tricky until finding a good climb at Winterborne Stickland to a surprisingly high base at 4500'asl. Another good climb on the edge of Wareham Forest but seemed to be heading for the caravan park in the centre of the forest. Arrived there at 600'asl but fortunately it was working and climbed back to base, aren't low saves satisfying.

Fairly easy after that staying high and arriving over Durlston Head at 4000' having checked the wind strength carefully using GPS (it was light). Rather than burn it all off decided to turn towards home and made Harmans Cross landing by the road.

A great flight for the time of year, the sky looked perfect and the air very cold (Gin winter gloves are not warm).

Thanks to Dave F and Julie for picking me up on the way back from Arne.

Apparently the poor chap had to spiral down from base after feeling unwell! ZZ also got away but not sure where he ended up. Eddie C and Paul H visited Bell from Batcombe and Peter R made Swanage from Batcombe (of course!).

Report by David Franklin

 

     


Sun 16 Sep 2007

Report by Andrew Hill

 

 
Ringstead My first hang glider flight in 20 years. Ringstead was buzzing with 10 hangies and a solid 20mph. Gentle sea thermals and a near permanent cloud street from Portland saw gains up to 1500’ ato. New Moyes Lightspeed RS performed immaculately – it really is like riding a bike.


Report by James Roy

 

     
I finally (on my 4th visit to the place) flew Ringstead for the first time – it was blowing 20mph WSW and was a no-brainer really. Gradually went SW and was nice in the morning / early afternoon. After 2 hours I landed just before the rain and more wind. Thanks to those who gave me countless site briefings and help in overcoming my demons with the place.

Report by Matthew Whicher

It was a rare treat to see more than 10 hang gliders on a Wessex site together. Sadly, Wessex members were out-numbered by Sky Surfers and Condors, and the average pilot age was probably 50, but at least we had a good day out! Morning conditions were ideal for hang gliding with the 20mph wind giving good height gain on the cliffs. Lots of hours were had. As the day progressed, the cloudbase lowered, but as it did so there were also widespread lift patches that allowed us to explore away from the cliffs. The wind gradually went WSW and it became difficult to stay out of cloud. Eventually it became too wet to continue so we all landed and most managed to de-rig before the heavy rain.

I was pleased to be airborne again after my crash earlier in the year, but more pleased to catch up with so many old friends.



Report by Everard Cunion

 

 
John, I just got the film from my wingtip camera developed and here are the only two photos worth showing. (I have not yet found a digital camera to replace my Ricoh FF-9 on my wingtip. ) At least it proves the hangies still fly occasionally.


Sat 15 Sep 2007


Report by Jeremy Calderwood

When I turned up at Barton the sea breeze was so light that the 2 or 3 guys flying were practically grazing the cliff edge. "Very scratchy at the moment" was the general opinion. Too right. After one beat up to the golf course and back I either turned too tight and too slowly and/or caught a bit of turbulence off the toilet block as suddenly I found myself doing some thistle weeding about 15 feet below the cliff edge. The thistles were certainly very scratchy! Apart from the light scratches I was OK and moments later Andy slid over the edge down to me to help disentangle my lines and canopy from the undergrowth. John then popped his head over the top to snap me for the record - thanks mate! Andy and I then slipped and scrambled down to the footpath at the bottom where between us we laid out the wing and sorted the tangles out of the lines.

By the time I was back at launch about three quarters of an hour after my unscheduled dumping into the thistle patch the breeze was considerably better so I had no qualms about hopping back into the air a second time.

Soon it was strong enough for six of us to float up to the golf course and back a few times and then I joined a few brave souls to fly to Taddiford and back - it was very iffy over Becton Bunny so no one tried to jump the Taddiford gap.

Still, it was a lovely sunny late afternoon and probably the last of the recent run of warm days and I spent a very pleasant 36 minutes before the dying breeze sent us all back for the much preferred top landings.

Thanks again Andy for helping me out of that tight and very prickly spot and no John, I'm not trying for the Volvo prize, really! Also out were Bruce and another couple of guys whose names have not lodged in the memory files yet; sorry guys - you know you you are.

 


Report by Keith Burrdige

Heard the message on sitephone about white Horse being flyable so I thought I might give Southbourne a try. Arrived to See Lawrence T packing up with Roy M appearing a few mins later from the Beach Below. The conditions were certainly light but I had to have a go. Managed 20 mins of scratching before bombing out on the beach as predicted. Still worth the effort for the short flight to the crane and back and I also had a pleasant chat with a couple of OAP onlookers.



Report by Alastair Florence

 

   
Today really did not look promising but after a while I got fed up digging a hole in my garden and went to Ballard, felt Easterly with the faintest sniff of south and very light. I found Paul H and Dave T loitering with intent on the bench on the green so we all puffed up the hill.

Still didnt feel good on the top, 'Tips' a Sky Surfer was trying the ridge further along and finding that it wasnt really working. We tried the White Cliff and found it varying between light but flyable to very light and barely flyable. Top lands where do able if you picked your moment. Dave T must have laid off the pies lately as he kept up ok.

Sadly Tips disapeared without a decent fly. Never got good enough to warrant summonsing re-inforcements via sitephone but nice enough.

Called for some gentlemanly flying at times to avoid knocking each other off to the beach but this was well delivered.


Thu 13 Sep 2007

Report by Lawrence Toogood

Bmth arrived at 5. 15 to find no other wings in the air, wind seemed steady if a little SE guess some may have elected for the smaller take off further round (not that i saw any wing s in the air) so i boated around for hour and a half on my own taking in scenery on a lovely late summers eve.

10/10 on the Ali's peachy scale.


Report by Alastair Florence

 

   
Got home late ish to find a light but steady SE so headed for Ballard. As I parked up I noticed a glider launch from half way along the ridge. A few minutes later I noticed the same glider being extracated from the gorse part way down the slope, whatever, maybe a visitor.

As said fairly light but quite cruisable with resonable height for 3/4 hr, I had hoped to stay airborne to sunset but the wind died prematurely and left me coasting to the beach, must have been nice earlier, last couple of pics taken on the glide to the beach.


Tue 11 Sep 2007

Report by Peter Robinson

It is good to see Adrian being lyrical again. Like him I enjoyed my climbout.

It really seems a neat trick to catch a thermal when for most of the time the canopy is just sitting lifeless on the ground, with not enough wind to inflate it. My first climb faltered at 1500’ but there was an active cloud about 1km upwind that took me to base at fraction under 4000’. I looked down at the pygmies on the hill. One of them was Martin Foley, urging me on the radio “Spiral dive” and “Give us a full stall”. It was kindly meant advice but I ignored it.

Adrian reported plenty of stepping stones on his flight, but on mine, more than an hour earlier, the stones were rather far apart or someone moved them at the last minute. My last short climb was just south of Bulbarrow, then it was down to a field at Cheselbourne.

Were these the last Wessex XC’s of the year?

Report by Adrian Coombe

Did you wonder what you missed today – Tuesday at Monks? You missed two thermals. Peter R got into the first and I got the second. Lots of confused hirundines darting about in front encouraged me into a practically nill wind launch and glide to the Eastern Bowl and then into the most beautiful thermal where me and a Buzzard worked it straight up to 3000ft ato.

The Buzzard left me and I left the hill. We both left a few Wessex members standing in the heat. ‘Poor Things’ the Buzzard said to me.

Clod hopping seemed easy at first. (I’m sure Peter does Cloud hopping. I always feel like I’m clod hopping!) The clouds were close together with plenty of lift. Max height was 3700ft ato. Though the general direction of drift was towards the coast it was fairly easy to push cross wind.

More Buzzards helped along the way. Only one cloud didn’t work for me. The lift was probably there but as the next cloud was close it didn’t matter too much. My lowest save was from1000ft to the North of Blandford.

You may be thinking this is building up to be an epic flight report. - I landed at Puddletown. Maybe not Epic distance wise, but it was certainly one of my most special flights. I’m sure Peter would agree even though he got about the same distance.

Thanks to the Sun and Cloud Spirits, Swallows, Buzzards and Friends who helped me get home…


Sat 08 Sep 2007

Report by Peter Robinson

At times Monks was too busy to be fun and I was glad to get away. As David said in his report I headed over Blandford but the cloud, what there was of it, was dying and I soon thought I was bound for the ground near Spetisbury, while David was high above. After I scrabbled for a while, some decent lift formed and I was saved. After that there were climbs at the Worlds End, Wareham Forest and Stoborough. I landed in the same field behind Corfe that I had landed in when I last flew Telegraph Hill. An enjoyable flight from an unpromising-looking day; almost no clouds, just patches of haze, and rather broken thermals. And, no, I didn't clip any airspace.



Report by Alastair Florence

 

     
Not much to add to Shamus and Daves EITS, a very varied day at Monks, overcast then low forming clouds then blue, sometimes smooth sometimes rougher. Must have been just after Shamus left the whole area out in front of Monks began to lift unusually strongly and steadily, there must have been 15 - 20 gliders cruising round, above, in front and behind Monks between 300 - 800ft for the best part of an hour before things became more sedate again. great for pushing out in front. Must have been a good day for some newer members to gain some varied conditions experience and clock a few hours.

Report by Shamus Pitts

 

 
I arrived at Monk's Down at about 11:30 - it was murky, but there were a few wings in the air. Despite the cloud cover I managed to get to 550' ATO in fairly smooth conditions.

As the day went on, the murk cleared and fairly regular punchy thermals started to come through - the highlight of the day for me was to be climbing in a thermal while swifts danced all around me - for an hour or so the swifts were a reliable indication of thermals! As the day went on, the cycles seemed to get slightly weaker, although plenty of people were still flying when I left at 5pm - another great day at Monk's Down! (If anyone want's larger photos let me know shamus@sydling. plus. com)

Report by David Franklin

 

     
Arrived at Monks today at around 2pm there were a lot of wings in the air with some having good hieght so I wasted no time getting in the air. Within minutes I was climbing out with Craig B and Peter R but people on the hill seemed to be in stronger lift so I headed back and climbed out in that. I met up with Peter at Blandford Camp and we climbed together for a while before Peter headed off over Blandford and me to the Tesco area which seems pretty reliable recently. I got back to 3,00ft here but didn't find much else after this and landed between W'Kingston and W'Muston. Peter meanwhile came back from Blanford and headed down the Poole road and I last saw him on what appeared to be a very good climb at Spettisbury so I'm not sure if he managed to creep around the airspace from there,hope he did.


Fri 07 Sep 2007

Report by Keith Burridge

Dropped in on the off chance might be flyable. One person sat on Hill Paul (don’t know surname) who had a couple of flights. Conditions just gradually got better and better. 1000ft plus ATO out over Berwick St John. Later joined by Zindt? and a couple of others. Had to dash off at 4. 00pm. Excellent afternoon!


Wed 05 Sep 2007

Report by David Franklin

When the cloud broke up and the sun started peeping through this afternoon the flying on Bell Hill got quite good. I was fortunate to get a climb to a rather low base and scratched about in broken thermals eventually landing between Thornicombe and Charlton Marshall. When I got back to the hill there were many pilots with loads of height but the cloud had formed a bit of a blanket locally although Telegraph Hill looked good in the distance. Whilst I was absent it seems Russell Whyte had made a play for the Volvo award. I was glad to hear he was ok and the only damage was material.


Tue 04 Sep 2007

Report by Pete Robinson

As David F says, at first the going was good. I had a steady 3-4kt climb to CB at 4000ft, followed by a short transition to another cloud and easy climb back to base. This was all well above the height to clear Compton ATZ but I waited until I was south of it before tracking west (again). There was a wide area of blue to the SW and it looked as if the best bet was to stay north of the Okeford Hill/Bell Hill ridge if possible, at least until I could see some signs of lift further south. At first things went to plan but then the climb over the Stour valley went blue and stopped at 3000ft. I tracked over to Okeford Hill, and hung around hoping to get something off Shillingstone, but that something never came. Anti-climactic. Meanwhile those geezers David & Adrian, who I had last seen to be quite low, had recovered and were on their way to make good distance, particularly considering the blue conditions.


Report by David Franklin

 

 
I felt pretty lucky to get away from Monks Down Hill today. I climbed away with Peter R and Adrian c it was yet again me trying to keep up with Peter who flew from one cloud to the next and on without losing height or having to 360. I was having to climb at every chance I could and in the end was unable to see him in the distance well north of me. Whilst working my first tricky low save I saw Adrian really low heading towards Pimperne, as he seemed to be virtually skimming the hedges I felt sorry that his flight was going to end prematurely. There was less cloud as I went further south west but I had some great climbs and glides often being joined by gulls and a buzzard. The lift seemed to disappear after Weatherby Castle and I landed at Affpuddle. Whilst packing up I looked up to see Adrian fly over and land a few fields further on . Now that really must have been a low save. I managed to get the whole flight on head cam so that'll be something for the family to look forward to on those long winter evenings!

Report by Alastair Florence

 

 

There were 5 Wessex sites that I still havent flown. Cowdown, Corton Denham, Bulbarrow, Friar Waddon and Southbourne, managed to tick Southbourne off the list tonight, bit off to the West and went more West progressively, not really crane passable but nice to try this site after all the agro any sites officer gets from it. Flying was in the company of Dave W, Steve A, Simon H ? and just before it went too far West Lawrence T.


Mon 03 Sep 2007

Report by Stuart Martin

 

   

. . . Such a good day at Monks Down on the Bank Holiday last week, but some things are less welcome than others: like a large collapse - especially so close to the hill. This picture sent to me by Gary Frecknall, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time (with a camera).


Mon 03 Sep 2007

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   
Just another day at work then, 670ft asl under Southampton airspace, then went to Monks late pm, bit gnarly but not to bad really, could only manage 550ft ato here though. The chairman tandeming plus the usual mid weekers.


Sun 02 Sep 2007

Report by James Roy

 

     
Butser Hill W - WSW, 15-20mph Had a nice flight at Butser Hill today (farmers all OK but dont forget to check in if you are intending to fly) until it went south of west after which it became like a washing machine.

Also recently returned from a holiday in Cornwall - took my glider and had some nice coastal flying. Nice sites (Perran Sands, Chapel Porth, St Agnes Head etc) and very friendly welcoming local club.


Sat 01 Sep 2007

Report by Alastair Florence

 

     
Bell, busy, fun most of the day - late pm St. Aldhelms, classic coast conditions someone else should be EITS ing in more detai.

Report by Shamus Pitts

 

 
I arrived at Bell hill about midday to see the sky absolutely full of wings - at one point I counted 26 in the air. The wind was fairly light and the thermals not quite as regular as I would have liked, although lots of people didn't seem to be having much trouble staying up. After a couple of hours I decided it was a bit too scratchy and crowded for me so I decided to pack up. I started talking to Ali F and said that I would like to try St Aldhems head one day, and after a quick phone call to Wendy Windblows he said it might be working, so Me, Ali, Paul Hawkins and Nigel (I don't know your surname) headed for St Aldhems.

We got there just after 5pm, the direction was pretty good and the wind was blowing through at about 16mph. I was probably more nervous than I've been for quite a while as I was laying my wing out. Paul took off first and started going up, which was reassuring! Ali took off next, then me, then finally Nigel. What a spectacular site! We enjoyed about 45 minutes in silky smooth air, between 550' and 700' ATO most of the time, before flying back and landing by the car park.


Report by Grant Oseland

 

 
Don't need to write much for eye in the sky today as I think everybody from the Wessex club was on the hill today, those that were not there missed a fly past from a Spitfire and Lancanster Bomber, and it stayed flyable all day but not to much thermal activity to be had.



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