Eye in the Sky - Jan 2008

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Wednesday 30th January

Report by John Alder

Bell Hill. A superb looking, breezy day but when I arrived around noon (expecting to get the PG out) only Steve Siuda was up on his K4 HG and Keith Wright parawaiting, however I heard that there had been some nice paragliding early in the day: Derek Sadler having flown for over an hour before going home for a late breakfast! I rigged the HG and flew for half an hour in strong conditions with very limited lift and then top landed (amidst the slurry) while I had the necessary height. Since I hadn't particularly enjoyed it, I packed up €“ probably a poor decision because, by the time I'd finished it looked paraglidable:- I hope Derek and Keith Burridge, who were more patient, had nice evening flights too,

Tues 29 Jan 2008

Report by Craig Byrne


Took off from home on the paramotor and had a nice climb out to 3000ft over the Solent. I was hoping to get higher but it was getting windy and visibility at height was poor. I dropped back to below 2000 for a pleasant glide back home, then feet up with a cuppa for 10-00. This motor lark can does have advantages :-) Small video clip http://www.youtube.com/user/drkiteloop 29/01/08 Paramotor Flying.

Sun 27 Jan 2008

Report by Neville Almond


Portland, West face. Sunday proved good. A bit windy to start, but then the 3 carload of Skysurfers HG visitors decamped to the upper takeoff, where we launched by around 1:30 and had a pleasant 1 to 1. 5 hours, landing by the pub at the end of the day.

Report by Shamus Pitts



I woke up early, hoping for a Westerly wind. There didn't seem to be a lot of wind about when I looked out of the window, but I thought I'd go for a walk up Cowdown just in case! I arrived at the summit about 8am to find not much wind at all. The clouds were all moving quite nicely so I went for a walk and got back about 9am to find a nice 16mph Westerly wind blowing. I took off, but after 10 minutes of not finding a thermal to take me cross-country for miles and miles, I decided to land and head for Whitesheet instead. Cowdown is convenient for me because I live opposite it, but I've only ever known it to work if the wind is strong and dead on, and even then the ridge is very small so you're forever turning.

I got to Whitesheet about 12pm. I've only been there once before and there's been no-one at the farm house either time. The house just before the farmhouse (from the Shaftesbury side) called "Little Arundel" is the home of the farmer's son and his wife, so I asked them if I could fly, and they said "yes"! I was parking as Mike arrived so we walked to the top to see some modellers and Roger and a couple of others on the ground. The wind was quite strong and gusty, and a bit off to the NW but I felt I had to take off to get some photos for Ali - here you are Ali! - so after strong gusts and tangled lines delayed my takeoff I was finally in the air. The first thing I noticed was that there wasn't very much lift and the gusts were quite strong at times. I eventually got some height from the more NW facing end of the ridge and didn't have to worry so much about bashing in to the ground! The air was quite bumpy at times, with the gusts and the occasional thermal coming through, and not as nice as I hoped, but the wind swung round to the west briefly and suddenly I was 250' ATO, right out over the bottom landing field! I hit a big patch of sink and lost 100' as if in a "B" line stall, so after 15 minutes I decided to land while I still had the height to get to the top landing field.

Roger said they were all going to head for Winklebury, so I stuffed my wing in my harness and headed for Winklebury.

At Winklebury the wind was reasonably strong and a little bit gusty, but the direction was good, so it wasn't long before I joined the other 3 wings in the air. It was quite lively at times with some small thermals taking me to 160' ATO but at other times I found myself 120' below take off and only just managed to scratch my way back up. After half an hour I looked down and saw waves on the water trough and I realised the wind was picking up. I landed, and pretty soon it was blown out. All in all a pretty good day - only 55 minutes air time, but 3 sites including 2 I've never flown before.

Report by Roy Menage

Picked up the sitephone message that Whitesheet was on so as I set out, I checked with Roger E to see if he was still there. They were just decamping to Winkelbury so I joined them there. It was quite strong but I managed 20 mins before landing in the bottom field since it was picking up and getting rough - probably from the left-hand spur. I guess I should have gone to Bell after all. Still, it was nice to fly a new site. Roger E, Ariel (from Spain), Shamus, Sean M and one other got a fly. Mel left it just a bit late and didn't get off. Probably best really, better luck next time. Ariel had a lucky escape top-landing when he dropped his wing over the barbed-wire fence after being dragged a little. Fortunately, no damage.

Report by Alastair Florence



Where was Ali F ? at Bell of course. Nice conditions, plenty of height Rich M cruising up to Bulbarrow and someone going XC maybe from telegraph landing out behind. Turned into a beatiful smooth calm evening. Plenty of Buzzards about (see wing tip pic) __________________________________________________

Report by Alastair Florence



Earlier in the day at St. Aldhelms, pictured, Dave (who needs a speed glider ? its only reading 28mph on take off) W.

Report by Martin Butcher

Great day at Bell Hill, arrived about 11:30 to find it strong and gusty with no one there. Went to the bottom landing field to practice ground handling my new Aspen 2, eventually the wind died down a bit and ground handling became difficult due to lack of wind, so I went up again to find one other pilot waiting, sorry I am terrible with names. I persuaded him he could fly so he kindly wind dummied and reported it was a little bumpy but perfectly flyable. Richard Mosely then turned up and we took off to have a magic couple of hours, eventually about 8 or ten people flew. My first flight on the new Aspen 2, if you are considering getting one, all I can say is it was a pleasure to fly, it turns on a sixpence and lets you know what's happening with the air, without being the slightest bit twitchy.

Report by Paul Hawkins

St Aldhelms Head was blown out when I arrived there around mid day but conditions became more favourable as the afternoon went by. Dave W went wind dummy and myself Paul and one other whose name I did'nt catch (sorry) all joined him for a good fly. . . . . Where was Ali F?!

Sat 26 Jan 2008

Report by John Alder

Ringstead. A beautifully smooth afternoon's hang gliding in silky smooth air in the company of Matt Whicher (Moyes Litesport) and a visitor called Martin ? from Joint Services Club with a smart new Airborne C4 €“ great to get one's feet off the ground after a frustrating couple of months without a flight and so lucky to come across such nice conditions. My maximum height gain was 270m and the extremities of the area I covered encompassed a 9km triangle, this is good for this time of year by my standards at any rate!

Tue 22 Jan 2008

Report by Paul Hawkins

Barton on Sea produces the goods again! I had an excellant afternoon fly for the time of year. Brian even made it all the way to Highcliff castle and back!

Report by Gary Mullins

Ringstead. Tues. 22-01-08 On the way up at about 1-ish, met Derek Sadler coming the other way. Looks like it may be a bit strong he'd been told.

We had a look anyway. Wind meter says - 13-14mph. . . . . . . . Our survey says - Feels stronger. Mmmm.

Joined by Gordon Crisp. All three of us mmmmed a bit more. But one by one we took off anyway and all had a nice afternoon.

Bit southerly so lonnnnng glide out. Had a good little foray around the "dark" side of Nothe Point but light drizzle had us scurrying back.

Not lasting long, we were soon airborne until bad light stopped play at about 4.

On conclusion : a cold, moist winter wind will always feel stronger than a warm dry summer wind of the same strength.

So, a wind meter is a good tool to have.

Especially one like mine that reads 3-4mph under ! That way you'll get more airtime ! Sorry Derek, didn't I tell you. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mon 21 Jan 2008

Report by Mark Fisher






Doubtful of getting much flying in, we were very surprised that we flew every day bar one and that was because we had to leave .

We flew Famara Ridge, Mirador del Rio, Soo, Macher and Playa Quemada. The best holiday for potential airtime we have all had. Averaging about 2 hours a day, we could have trebled it.. A great place to fly if you are dedicated and committed and prepared to fly with full speed bar and bigears at times. Had the pleasure of meeting Graham Phipps of Cornwall HGPG and his students and a couple of German pilots with extraordinary ground handling skills, Bern and Fritz, who have created a new bottom T.O. at Orzola to fly Mirador del Rio when its too strong on top. Maybe we were lucky with the weather and wind but would definitely consider making it a regular winter flying holiday.

If you are interested in going here is a link to the sites http://www.ulrichprinz.com/air/es/lanzarote/index.html
The flights and accommodation together only £198

In our little group were Jon W, Paul E, Mark F and James Martin.


Sat 12 Jan 2008

Report by Paul Hawkins

Corten denham:Whenever I fly with Shamus and Mel I end up driving for hours and hours and today was no exeption! It was worth it though I had a nice couple of flights and a good introduction to a new site for me. Roy, Carl and Andy all flew as well. I,m looking forward to flying this site in thermic conditions. . . bring on the spring!

Report by Roy Menage

I arrived at Bulbarrow about 11:00 to find a gentle breeze but a bit off to the west. So I did a bit of ground handling and had a few short hops. It was obvious that it could get quite nasty when the wind gets up. I then checked the SitePhone again and discovered that Shamus was at Corton Denham so went off to join him. Found him and Mel para-waiting having had a bit of flying until the wind got up. More parawaiting ensued along with Karl. The wind finally eased enough to get off but it was really too strong. I finally managed to top-land during a lull. By then, Paul H had turned up. Still more parawaiting until it again eased to allow us all to get our feet off the ground for a half hour or so. The northern end was working best but I did manage to get almost all the way to the south end. All managed to side or top land safely. However the wind had once again picked up ending the fun for the day. It looks like a site that has to be tried when it's thermic.

Report by Shamus Pitts


After checking the weather in the morning, it looked that it was westerly on the coast and south westerly inland, so I decided to try Corton Denham as I'd never flown there. When I got there the wind was smack on the hill and blowing at about 16mph so I quickly unpacked and got in the air. There was surprisingly little lift for the amount of wind, but with the occasional weak thermal coming through I could maintain about 100' ATO, climbing to 200' a couple of times.

The wind started to pick up a bit - I landed after 40 minutes and it was blowing 21mph at take off. Carl (or Craig, I'm not great with names!), and Roy M turned up, and after waiting a while for the wind to drop down Roy took off. While Roy was flying the wind picked up again (23mph at one point) and Roy struggled for a while to get down! Paul H arrived and after waiting a while the wind dropped to about 13mph, which with the surprising lack of lift made it a bit scratchy at times, although Paul had a good half hour in the liftiest part of the ridge.

The wind picked up again to about 17mph so I took off again. The wind had gone round to the South a bit and it was quite gusty so I only stayed up 15 minutes and landed.

We got all our gear packed up before the rain started, which was nice - what a great day! The walkers were very interested and an old guy who lives at the bottom of the hill said it was lovely to see people flying here!

Report by John Blessing

Arrived at Barton about 1330, quite westerly, but nevertheless Brian M was already in the air. John R, Sean M, Robert D and Jeremy C also in attendance. Wind was quite strong for a while then it reduced and became more on the cliff giving us all a much more pleasurable flying experience. Brian seemed determined to be snapped by the Hordle webcams (I think this is him)and headed off to Milford, however the wind again became westerly and surprised us all by reducing (against the forecast). Brian landed out but the rest landed back on top or on the beach. Not a bad day.

Report by Sean Staines

Saturday 12th Jan.

Sean Staines I had a nice 1/2 hr flight at Whitesheet early on until it became a bit light followed by another 1/2 Hr at Ringstead although it was off to the West.

No one else at either site today.

Sun 06 Jan 2008

Report by Neville Almond



Ringstead. The day started very light (7Mph) and off to the south. Soon after takeoff too much confidence saw me down on the lower cliffs by the houses, scratching at around 250ft above the beach. Eventually got to 400ft and went for the main cliffs and got trashed €“ back to lower cliffs, repeated this for 30 minutes until the wind increased and gave me the lift/height required to connect with high cliffs. . I was then soon down the coastal run, past Lulworth, then Worbarrow Bay, and over to Gad cliff towards Kimmeridge, 10 miles from takeoff. Flew out to near Kimmeridge bay, one day (with increased bottle!) I'll go further. Flew around the area for 2 ½ hours, and by 2pm the wind increased giving height gains to cloudbase at 2500ft ASL. Landed at 2:45 in 25Mph. What a fantastic coastline and day!

Photo #8 €“ View East from Lulworth across Warbarrow bay, with Gad Cliff to the right.

Photo #16 €“ On Gad Cliff, with Kimmeridge in the top right, and Corfe/Ballard on the top/horizon Photo #30 €“ Over Luworth, looking West back towards Ringstead.

Photo #32 €“ Birds eye view of Lulworth Cove

Sun 06 Jan 2008

Report by Alastair Florence



Had a bit of an unproductive day in the Purbecks today. SW to start, light at home so went to St. A's to find 17-18mph. It settled down after a bit but went very light and off South, got enough height to top land after one beat so cut my losses. Then tried Kimmeridge, light and off south, then Knitson. Looked promising walking up but wind was rapidly freshening whilst we kitted up. I did fly briefly, but the glider seemed to be stuck in reverse gear, still managed to get it down before I ran out of field. Quentin, Keith W and Paul H also on Knitson making it the busiest parawait in the recent history of this site. Went walking on Ballard in the afternoon and was stronger still so we missed nowt here by going home.

Report by David Franklin



Here are a few pictures I took whilst walking on the coast today some on Whitehorse Hill and one of an Atos(NevilleA,probably)landing back at SouthDown after a cliff run.

Report by Shamus Pitts

Arrived at Mere Rifle Range about 1:15pm to see a lot of people on the ground and a light wind. After a while the sky was full of people, some with height, others scratching, and slowly the wind picked up. I eventually took off and had 20 minutes pleasant flying although the wind strength quickly increased as the rain clouds loomed towards us! It's good to get in the air again.

Thu 03 Jan 2008

Report by Paul Escott

Hi guys Just a quick note to let you know what we're up to and give you all a cheap laugh. Kaye and I went down to The Great Eastern Fly-In at Evans Head last week. The winds were possibly a bit harsh but as we had brought both the paragliders and the bugs I had the need for flight firmly in my head. The dunes face east and the winds were east so paragliding was out of the question. So I set up a bug and decided to give it a go despite Kaye voicing misgivings. I should have listened. The wind shear was wicked and (I was later told) the hills to the west set up a strong wave.

I shat myself!! I had very little control being thrown all over the shop. I managed to do a circuit and stopped the engine to glide in but got tangled in the stirrups. By the time I 'recovered' I was too low and badly to the right of the runway and it's mown borders.

Once I knew I was going to hit bush I waited till I was almost hitting then flared hard.

Have a look at the photos, no injury to me, no damage to the bug, one batton in the sail a bit bent and even that I straightened without problem.

Regards Paul 'Lucky' Escott

Tue 01 Jan 2008

Report by Jeremy Calderwood



Happy New Year everyone! Well, having flown (very late) at Barton on the last day of 2007 it was great to be able not only to fly on the first day of 2008 but also fly on a new site. Despite my employers taking up some of my valuable holiday time with some pesky problem that really could have waited another day I still managed to get airborne by 3. 47pm. The wind was fairly constant at between 12 and 14 mph more or less SSE - perfect for both Ballard Down and Whitecliffe.

Two hang gliders had been cruising the Whitecliffe end of Ballard Down but one had just landed and the other soon followed leaving me and only one other paraglider on the Down and as he spent the whole time at the other end I had a great big airspace all to myself. With an altitude of 280' ato I took the opportunity to really put my wing through its paces with some tentative spiral dives and wingovers and general swooping about. Eventually cold hands and a general lack of light forced me to land in the gloaming at 4. 47 but it was a lovely introduction to this new hill and cliffs for me and another hour of airtime pushing me to a total of 21 hrs 37 mins since the CP exam.

I would rather have had company while flying a new site but nothing ventured, nothing gained. . .

See you all at the meeting on Thursday (PS - not much warning for the photo competition. . . )

Report by Alastair Florence



Had the best days flying i've had all year, and certainly the best for several months now. Started at Ballard, very light at the bottom but looked like a chance. On top strong and Southerly, to strong to get off comfortably so went down the hill a bit. Had a great hour and half with the cliff working ok and the whole ridge working as well, weak thermals coming off Swanage, worked a couple up a bit and out a bit with Nev A (HG), best height gain around 650ft ato, wind abaited slightly a bit later, Quentin also put in an appearance plus another hangy.

I had promised the wife i'd be back by lunch so landed on the beach only to find that she was busy cleaning and didnt want to go out. I am not good at cleaning and dont like it either so thought it might be better to go to Knitson.

Quentin folowed after bit and we had another excellent hour and half, weak big thermals here, I got out in front within spitting distance of Harmans cross and up to 650ft ato on several occasions. Nev flew over from Ballard for a while and then back, presumably. Several other wings on Ballard as the day/evening progressed. My usual bottom land fields seemed to be full of random farm animals so tried a new one, bad choice as I got dumped from 15ft, still gave me a chance to practice PLF.

Report by Mike Adkins

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Could you, indeed, would you, please publish a little reminder to those who submit reports for EitS, to mention in the first sentence or so where the hell they're talking about. The latest report from Gary Mullins would only be recognisable by those who've flown at Ringstead - assuming it was Ringstead! Also, perhaps folk could mention whether they're talking PG, HG, or PM.


Tue 01 Jan 2008

Report by Nicole Moores


Now this is the way to say hello to the New Year! Perfect blue sky day in the Pyrenees Orientales above St Paul de Fenouillet. Our house in the mist in the background. Too inverted for big thermals and a long flight, but the walk up was definitely worth the half hour boating around. We have found two new take-offs in three days above the valley. Building a house definitely has its advantages as Dave even walked up and flew with us - he's officially fitter than me!! Sunshine greetings from France - Happy New Year everyone Dave and Nicole

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