Eye in the Sky - Nov 2007

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Thurs 29 Nov 2007

Report by John Alder

Bell Hill: As John B’s sitephone message said “15 – 20mph and on the hill”. Arrived to find a handful of disconsolate parawaiters with Rob Schwab on his Airwave Classic about to launch. I rigged the HG and followed suit – had an hour of pleasant soaring, including weak thermals but didn’t get more than 130m above take off. Towards the end there were some sudden ‘lumps’ of turbulence…. could they have been those much vaunted “AIR POCKETS” beloved of the non-flying public, if so they might have been responsible for Martin Hayward’s heart-stopping moment a few minutes later from which, I’m pleased to say, his glider recovered OK!

Sun 25 Nov 2007

Report by James Roy

Woke up and procrastinated for ages about where to go; Dyke, Westbury or Bell. After being indecisive for about an hour called the Wessex site phone and decided on Bell.

Arrived at 10. 45 to find all the paragliders drinking tea in their cars. It was good for the HG so quickly rigged and was in the air at 11. 20.

Nice conditions and landed after an hours flight. The wind eased a little and the PG’s were taking to the air as I was leaving.

Report by Alastair Florence



Bell Hill, Windy but just about do able to start, then got to windy to be do able, then got a bit calmer and do able again. Ended up not a bad day, a bit sort of gusty but if you kept your mind on what you were doing no problem. Pretty much all present enjoyed some reasonable airtime for a winters day and was even pleasant at times. Me and Dave W got bored and cold at one stage so set some gorse on fire.


Sat 24 Nov 2007

Report by Paul & Kaye Escott



G'Day One and All Greetings from down under. Our stuff has finally cleared customs and quarantine so now we can go out to play. A search of the web and a few phone calls brings us to a guy called Tex who chairs a club an hour to the north of us so off we went. Meeting at Coloom Beach Tex introduced us to a couple of members and gave us a hand filling in the Ozzie version of the BHPA forms. Apparently membership is not just a good idea in Oz, it's a legal responsibility written into their Air Law.

Naturally, now we had our gear, the weather turned and the constant steady breezes of the past few weeks stopped. We ended up parawaiting on nearby Sunset Beach hoping for some sea breeze. As you can see in the pix it did arrive but not the best day ever, very scratchy. Still, body surfing in the 20c sea whilst waiting isn't something you could do at Barton in November! Thinking of Barton there is one similarity; at one point in the ridge you have to soar some houses of the rich 'n famous. . . . . . . House number 6 contains the local Mr Angry who considers paragliders an infringement of his personal airspace. Sound familiar? Next weekend off we're hoping to go up to Rainbow Beach, a 300' x 26km sand dune, we'll keep you posted! Paul & Kaye PS If any Wessex members are wanting to holiday in, or just passing through, Brisbane we have a spare room here which we would be happy to lend out. May cost you a meal but that's about it :-) I'll be putting my new address and contact details up in the member only section.


Fri 23 Nov 2007

Report by John Alder

Monks Down – shame that nobody else turned up but I had a nice hour+ hang glider flight including some thermalling and aerobatics and a trip along the ridge to Win Green and back. The easterly component aloft was probably to blame for the drastic turbulence I experienced when I approached the top landing area. This convinced me to bottom land where I had to cope with extremely muddy conditions underfoot! Oh well, there’s no gain without pain…. and the views from the air were superb!

Thu 22 Nov 2007

Report by Alastair Florence


As luck would have it I happened to find myself not a million miles from Westbury White Horse late this afternoon. It seemed a bit late to be worth going back to work so I thought it might be a better idea to go flying.

Fairly quiet for Westbury with the wind well off West but a nice strength. One hangy flying when I arrived plus 1 pg although more there earlier. Nothing to set the world on fire but a pleasant boat about after nearly 3 weeks without a fly.

Another plus is plenty of hungry sheep to keep the grass down so not too wet on the wing, but this also gives a negative, as the sheep obviously convert the grass into plentiful sheep poo, still you cant have it all ways eh.

Report by Gary Pocock


Day off today and between jobs managed to squeeze in half an hour at Portland West. Seemed quite strong at T/O but once we decided to fly I phoned the coastguard to let them know. In the air it was nice and smooth with good penetration into wind. Flew for half an hour and only top landed because it looked like rain approaching.

Report by Gary Mullins

Some enjoyable flying was had at Bell today, for the 7 or 8 that came along. As the sun got relatively higher in the sky, conditions became gently thermic and some half decent height gains were made. But any optimistic thoughts about getting up to the lowish cloud base were firmly put in their place by an impressive (and fairly long) aerial display by a couple of Eurofighters ! All in all a very pleasant day.

Fri 16 Nov 2007

Report by Craig Byrne



Had three very nice flights 4hrs in total :-) Cheers Craig Had a great day on the motor today managing three flights of 1hr, 1. 5hr, 1. 5 hr, it was freezing but the views were amazing. With no wind it was a point and go day, the photos are from my final flight and show 01 Portsmouth, 04 Cowes, 05 Fawley, 06 Solent, 12 I need a Dr The Mike is stuck in my nose :-), 14 M27 East J 9, 32 Wickham. I am now hooked on the dark side!

Sat 10 Nov 07

Report by James Roy



Headed to Bell knowing it would probably be blown out but had a niggling feeling that at some point it would become flyable.

Arrived to find the wind between 25 and 30 mph smack on the hill. I was all alone so thought I would wait a while and see what happened. I was shortly joined by Tony Blackburn, then by ZZ and then by Everard.

The wind had now dropped to around 20mph but was still quite gusty, at times to over 25mph. ZZ decided to give it a ago and I followed shortly after. Boy was it lumpy and rough and the wind aloft seemed higher than on launch. After 10 minutes I thought better of it and landed. ZZ followed shortly afterwards.

I had to shoot back home so rapidly packed up. As soon as I packed up and started the engine the wind dropped – I hope the other three appreciate the sacrifice I made to the wind gods for them….

Fri 9 Nov 2007

Report by James Roy


WNW 15 – 20mph+ Nice day at Westbury today. Windy at first but dropped to about 15-20mph at 1. 30pm allowing five hang gliders to enjoy about 2 hours worth of flying the whole length of the ridge.

Report by John Alder

Friday 9th November; Bell Hill:- Arrived in coincidental synchrony with Steve Siuda to find a blustery 14 – 20mph NNWly with some Cu development – ideal for hang gliding! Steve got airborne first, ranging over a wide area. My flight was most enjoyable because, although it was a bit gnarly near the ground, above 100m ATO it was very smooth and easy soaring with thermal climbs to 500m+ ATO. After landing for a hot drink, the wind seemed to be switching to the north and, although Steve had another flight, I eventually decided to pack up just as Derek and fellow paraglider friend from Condors arrived to declare it was too strong for them

Tue 06 Nov 2007

Report by Andrew Hill


Busy day on Bell with around 15 paragliders and 1 hang glider enjoying the late season thermals in a gentle NW breeze. Climbs were a bit choppy and disorganized low down but built to solid 3-400’ ft/ min cores above 1000’. I managed 1700’ ato on the Litespeed, taking a tour around the Bulbarrow masts before beetling back to the hill as the wind dropped to nothing.

Report by David Franklin



Having spent sunday afternoon cleaning, airing,hoovering out and concertina folding my glider ready for its winter hibernation I was reluctant to get it out on the wet grass today at Bell. The weather predictions indicated that there might be some reasonable thermal activity between 12. 00and 1. 30pm, so I was unable to resist seeing if the season was really at an end. After about 45mins of quite pleasant hill soaring the lift got a bit more active and I decided to go with climb over the back. Nothing epic but I had a very enjoyable time trying to stay up in all the bits of weak lift until landing by Wint'Whitechurch. I even had the good fortune whilst walking back to be passed by an old friend who kindly gave me a lift back to the hill.


Mon 05 Nov 2007

Report by Paul Ayres

There are 7 coastal sites on the peninsular within 45 minutes of Cherbourg. The ferry got in at 05. 30 which gave us plenty of time to drink coffee and wake up from the sleep we’d never really got. Then off to check out a couple of westerly sites while waiting for the forecast 10km NE to pick up. From Joburg Point you can see Alderney, and it’s spectacular. Then round to Omonville, a very quiet little port with a NE ridge and 2 fish restaurants. Walked along and felt a touch of wind, then spotted several wings in the air and above the ridge at the next site along, Landemer, about 3 miles to the east.

Drove to launch, which is right beside a B-road, with parking. Pilots of a visiting club from Evreux were on the ground, which was convenient for a briefing. Everyone took off again and I soared for about half an hour before top-landing in an area about the size of a tennis court. Next time got some good height, again about half an hour, other pilots eventually scurried back to TL but I was enjoying myself too much so eked out an extra minute and a bottom landing (for research purposes, you understand!) My glamorous assistant broke bread with the locals, lots of hand-shaking, a really friendly bunch.

Then a long, slow lunch, and our inner accountants decided to justify the trip by filling the car with Christmas booze. On board again by 7, home before midnight. Cracking day! Visit www. cotentinvolibre. com for sites info.

Sunday 4th Nov

Report by Gary Mullins

This unusual spell of fine weather continues. Was at Portland East today. Too misty at first, but the sky cleared by midday to allow myself and, one other, an hours worth of gentle waftage along the cliffs to the accompaniment some ribald comments from the incarcerated. All jolly stuff !

Sat 03 Nov 2007

Report by Alastair Florence



Report by Paul Hawkins

Eits Monks Down (paul hawkins) Flying 5 days in a row in October/November. . . . what the f*!?'s going on? Must be global warming or something. Good fun at Monks today lots of people there and lots of fun was had.

Fri 02 Nov 2007

Report by Paul Ebert



Batcombe: great day lots of thermalling to 1000ft +,flying frenzy school and half dozen other pilots,light wind to start but picked up as afternoon progressed.


Fri 02 Nov 2007

Report by Gary Mullins

Well it went from "Well, ummm, that's what it is" to Blimey what a great November day. When I got to the hill, Martin Hayward was already there. He told me that "This is the best it's been since he'd been there". The sun was out, the sky was blue, there were little cumulus already forming, all the signs were good. Apart from the fact that the wind (!?) was really gusting to between 3 or 5 mph. . . . . . . at best. But, hey, what a lovely view.

One by one the optimists arrived. Just before midday there was a little stirring in the windsock. Ahah here we go. The kits were laid out, and one by one, (knowing full well that it was too light), some of us had a go. It was a bit "trial and error" really. The more I tried, the more I erred ! But it was fun.

Whilst I was walking up for the third time, 4 took off and seemed to be doing ok. Over to the bowl etc. (albeit rather low, but doable). On seeing this, Mark Russell, who had only been there 5 minutes!, was away to the bowl. As he was on his way, he passed the other 4 who were on there way back somewhat lower than they took off ! But as He reached the magic tree, He went up. And up. And up. Then set off towards a rather good looking cloud street. By this time the famous 4, back at take off, were so pleased to see this display of airmanship that the air was filled with words of encouragement for Mark like. . . . . . . . . "The Ba****d" and . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Shall we let his tyres down " ! From then on conditions improved and improved. Everybody had a great afternoon. Many thanks must go to the kind gentleman who, once again, lit a large fire in the field below "our" tree.

At the end of the lovely afternoon, as I was walking back up again, (but for the last time) watching the last few (of the 20+ who were there), packing up their gliders, one thought crossed my mind, (the wheels of industry must have been turning a little bit slower today), and why not !

Fri 02 Nov 2007

Report by Mike Adkins

Another fabulous autumn day at our own Bell. A bit light at first, and a bit comey and goey, but the breeze slowly freshened, and the farmer immediately below kindly lit a bonfire - which helped to keep us warm even if it didn't produce massive thermals. By about 1530 there were lots of pilots in the air (though not the 29 we counted on Tuesday!) and the low afternoon sun made collision-avoidance a bit of a challenge. The Grandfather took his own evasive action by staying at the top of the stack! I was please to see that Tuesday's drapery had been successfully removed from the tree, and there didn't appear to be any bodies. (Seriously, I believe the pilot was unharmed - I hope his wing was, too. ) I don't know whether anyone got away today - Mark Russell tried - or, if so, how far they went.

Thu 01 Nov 2007

Report by Gary Pocock


Having not flown since the beginning of September any site would have been a favourite but it quickly came back to me why Portland West is one of my favourite sites. Firstly the stunning views over Portland and the harbour with Weymouth bay as a back drop, silky smooth air, the entertainment provided by the Coastguard and it's only a 10min drive from home. Flew for about 45min before landing on the promenade next to the Cove Inn for a photo shoot and a bowl of chips (I parked my car in his car park and he asked for a photo of one of us dropping in for a pint). We went back up for another flight, launched into smooth consistent lift for another 75min. Completed a few tasks before landing to watch a beautiful sunset. Nice easy flying in good company, can't wait till the next time. Pictures taken on a phone, best I could do.

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