Eye in the Sky - Feb 2008

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27 Feb 08

Report by Alastair Florence

A very spring like afternoon so tried Kimmeridge, fair bit of South in it and very light. Just about scratchable, tiny little thermals gave a couple of climbs to nearly 300ft ato but took alot of work to get this high. Aborted and tried Knitson, even lighter so ttb back to car.


Sunday 24th Feb 08

Report by Alastair Florence

 

  
ohhh dear, 20 mins at up to 120ft ato, cloudbase at 100ft so didn't want to go any higher. Soon after picture clag dropped down to t/o level.


Report by Paul Hawkins

I was in two minds as where to go today and started out for Knitson but weather reports from Ali on the Purbecks didnt sound good, (thanks ali) so headed for Friar Wadon, as the ever adventourous Shamus was already there and flying! Managed a good half hour of fairly bumpy but fun soaring, Shamus had around an hour and half before it went to west for comfort. Some interesting ground handling techniques from myself and Nigel but all three of us managed to fly.

Dropped in on the Ringstead gang on the way home for some hoping around the take of hill.


Report by Shamus Pitts

 

   
I've been meaning to try Friar Waddon for a while now, so when I saw that the wind was forecast to be Southerly first thing I headed there bright and early. Having bought some eggs and found somewhere to park I arrived at takeoff to find the wind blowing about 15mph straight at the hill - perfect! Conditions were a bit lumpy - the ridge lift seemed to be torn apart by the frequent thermals coming through from the fields in front so it kept things interesting as I worked my way east along the ridge. I got as far as some power lines a couple of times and turned back, but the third time I flew over them, then over some telephone lines before arriving at the end of the ridge a lot lower than I would have liked! I managed to build up some height and cleared the telephone lines, then maintained height until a thermal came through and lifted me over the power lines and I slowly made my way back to takeoff.

Nigel B had arrived when I got there - I was going to shout down that conditions seemed to have strengthened a little since I took off, but next time I looked he was lying on his back near the wall at the back of the field so I think he probably figured it out for himself! Paul H arrived and took off and we had a bumpy 20 minutes or so in the air, but by now the wind had gone round to the Southwest so we landed.

After packing up we headed to Ringstead but the wind was a bit light so we didn't stay long - not a bad morning though - about an hour and a quarter on a new site and a dozen free range eggs! Shamus Pitts


Mon 11 Feb 2008

Report by Craig Byrne

 

   

Saturday. 09/02/08 Started at Barton but it was very East and no signs of it getting better, I then headed off to a new TO field I have near west Wellow and flew a 66k out and return, this took me over Nomansland and up to Peperbox Hill then back along A36.

Sunday 10/02/08 Very light winds so back at West Wellow.

Flight one was planned for Salisbury and back but it was to windy at height so I had to stop and fly back from Pepperbox Hill, this was mainly at 500 to 800ft to keep below the higher wind. 31k Flight Two I was going to head up wind for a turn point at Morrison's store at West Totton. This best the best flight yet on my motor flying over and area that I had driven so many times, the thermals now were also getting very good and I was able to core some. 20k Still 117k for the weekend will do and landing back at the van each time is brill :-)




Sun 10 Feb 2008

Report by Keith Burridge

 

  
Woke up, looked out the window and thought (hmmm?).

Is it going to be worth a long drive to either Mere or Portland East for a no goer? What an attitude! Any way had a metaphorical wake up call from Russell saying Portland west was strong but flyable. Enthusiasm ensued and Portland it was. I arrived to see four wings in the air shortly after which three (Russell W, Paul E and Gary P) landed leaving Shamus P with the skies to himself. I waited and watched Dr C launch in the strong conditions assisted by ground crew and I then waited a bit more for a lull and took off to have a good half hour going north, fighting back and going south, fighting back. Still worth the drive though.

It was thought that maybe the high pressure inversion causes the wind to flow around the Island rather than up and over. Well it’s one theory Another Wessex site ticked off. Three Virgins today: Dr C, Shamus (the one in most of the pics) and me

Pictures by Alastair Florence

 

   

Report by Shamus Pitts

I told my wife that I would spend the day with her today, but after hearing Ali's message on the site phone I thought I would just nip down to Portland (East) and take a look! When I got there Ali had just landed so he gave me a site brief. The wind was blowing 18 - 24mph on the edge of the cliff, but Russell and a couple of others were having no trouble moving forward so I thought I would have a go.

My first couple of attempts to launch in front of the quarry ended with my wing in each of the two puddles behind me, after my next attempt my wing was in a bush! With the quarry so close behind, and the cliff so close in front I was having commitment issues with my takeoffs! Russell shouted down for me to try further down the path where there was a larger area, and following his advice, with a helpful shove I was airborne! The others soon landed and I was on my own for about an hour before Keith B and Charles CS took off to join me. The air was smooth, with the odd gentle thermal and I had no trouble penetrating, although the wind did seem to be funnelled either side of the corner between the ENE and the ESE face, so going too far in either direction made it a slow process to get back.

At one point I was flying with 2 peregrine falcons about 30' above me - excellent! After about an hour and a half the wind had started to pick up and I was 450' ATO and not moving forward very quickly so I decided to land - also my hands were so cold I thought I should land while I could still feel the brakes! After some more advice from Russell I was safely on the ground - I was nervous about flying Portland, but having done it now, I'm glad I made the effort.


Sat 09 Feb 2008

Report by Keith Burridge

 

   
Hooked up with Marcus W and Derek S for a jolly to Beer Head. The wind was too far off to the East so whilst we were down that way we plumbed for Sandy Bay. On arrival the wind was a little on the light side but it was flyable. After the breeze freshened floppies took to the air en mass. Tried many times to make the main cliff but always had to turn tail and dash down wind to lower cliffs to regain height and avoid a beach landing. Top landing in rotor from the sharp cliff edge was also different. Hover down to about 3ft above ground and wait to be dumped! We revisited Beer on the way home for a briefing from Derek. Can’t wait for the right conditions to go back and have a go. All in all a pretty good day.

Report by Alastair Florence

 

 
Ballard - much anticipated but turned out pants, loads of pilots out but virtually no flying, Too light to start then way off East. Richard M having the only note worthy flight on the Old Harry length of cliff, I managed about 10 mins up to 0 ft ato clinging to the cliff like a limpet.

Report by Gary Mullins

Mere. Felt like a change today, so crossed the county border onto Avon turf. Had a bit of back up from some of the members from the Hampshire Division of the Wessex so didn't feel too threatened. The "Mere Cats" were out in force but we managed to hold our own in the battle for lift and space in the light conditions. Towards the end of play, victory went to the Wessex, on points, when the "Blond Bomber from Bentley" caught the best thermal of the day and climbed out to at least 250ft ! It was that sort of a day. Pleasantly light.



Wed 06 Feb 2008

Report by Keith Burridge

 

  
Wed 6th Feb Bell Hill Picked up the phone message for Bell at about two and decided to head on over. I was pleased to see at least four wings in the air when driving up from Stickland. In a nutshell arrived, got wing out , took off and had 75 mins of delightful spring like flying with over 600ft ato. Enjoyed the close company of a couple of Buzzards and tried to get some decent pics. However this is where I think these digital cams fall down. (They cant seem to focus well whilst piloting, aiming, etc). However Carl, Derek S & Colin had over three hours today. Also there were Pete C, Paul H a visitor and a couple more but I didn’t get to see them on the ground.

Report by Craig Byrne

 

 

06/02/08 Home Paramotor Field.

I took off quite late at 15:15 and climbed quickly to 1600ASL then head off towards Bishops Waltham. The views were stunning and now the wind had eased was able to make good progress, flying most of the time taking photos.

The good news is spring is so close! There were lots of little thermals some boosting my climbs by up to 200ft min, the bits that worked every time were and large industrial estates, some higher ploughed fields that must be dryer, small villages and larger roads. I will be heading over those on the next normal XC flights on my Paraglider. It is quite interesting coring thermals on the motor, but I am getting the knack slowly.

I finally headed back to watch the sunset over the Solent, climbing again to 2500ASL ready for brill photos, my camera died with the cold. A smooth but muddy landing by the van and home for tea, another good day at the office.

Did anyone get away at Bell?

 

Report by Paul Hawkins

I missed out on the best of the fun at Bell today but managed a nice 30min or so at the end of the day. If I could have bunked off work I might have managed around the 3 hour mark which Carl and Colin both managed to rack up! Not bad for early Feb!


Sat 02 Feb 2008

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   

Had a phone call from Nigel B last night asking if I thought early today might work on St. Aldhelms. I had been thinking it might just happen but was likely to blow out pretty fast. We made a sort of loose arrangement to take a look earlyish.

I arrived about 0900hrs ish to find Nigel and Quentin (now becoming a St. A's office regular) surveying the scene. Looked currently flyable with the promise of picking up fast so we got airborne asap.

The wind was WSW and rapidly picked up but not excessively, if you can get off the ground before it blows up here you're normally ok in some pretty strong winds, It was probably reading 20mph + soon after we launched but airborne no probs.

Lots of Cu clouds coming in off the sea with some half reasonable thermals feeding them. We all got climbs up around 800ft ato on a regular basis.

I had a couple of attempts at crossing Chapmans Pool to Houns Tout, but it was a hard push with the amount of West in it. On attempt 2 I almost made it but the air turned suddenly gnarly and I got nervous, when my legs started shaking uncontrollably I turned back. Attempt 3 saw me at 840ft ato and well out in front. Even still I lost nearly 600ft in the last 400m of the crossing.

A few people have asked me 'is there anywhere to land under the Tout if it isn't working ?' see picture with my boot to the left, tides well in but gives you an idea.

Flew back and was getting cold so decided to fly back to the car park, caught a thermal at this moment, now at 880ft ato and climbing fast with a big cloud developing just in front of me I decided to bail out.

Several minutes of big ears saw me back at 500ft and then soon a safe landing near the car.

A classic St. A's flight really, but now 24mph on t/o so sadly late comer Shamus missed out.

 


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