Eye in the Sky - Mar 2008

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Mon 31 Mar 2008

Report by Alastair Florence

 

  
Plant logistics meant I had to finish work early today so headed home.

Corfe church weather vane was showing SE although obviously light. It felt very light on the beach but being a nice evening seemed worth a walk up Ballard. Very light on top and looked like an almost dead cert for a top to bottom but worth a try.

Extremely scratchy to start with but got progressively better and more Southerly, in the end I had a half decent flight. I had to be home around 6 so landed and went, timing was probably just right as it was going West as I landed and went progressively more so. Picture shows the sea looking tranquil I think most of the wind came from some dirty looking clouds in land sucking.

Report by Jeremy Calderwood

 

  
Enjoyed an excellent hour in quite strong and thermic conditions at Smedmore Hill and Swyre Head although the Swyre end was smoother being nearer the sea.

This was the first time I had flown here in 32 years. . . the previous occasion was when dangling on a plywood seat (with seatbelt, of course) under a McBroom Argus home built rogallo hang glider. It was a much longer, higher - and safer - flight this time.

I did fly out as far as the cliffs but although I have walked this hill many times over the last 37 years I decided that as I was not familiar with flying it that it might be better to get back and reconnect with Swyre before I lost too much altitude.

At one point I was just lying back and relaxing, checking out the canopy and had not noticed that I was drifting slowly back behind the Head until the vario started moaning at me. Oops! Full bar required to scrape back in front then all OK again. Managed 550' ato - very happy. Found I was last wing in the air - guess it was pretty strong by then. Got a good dragging after I landed - I must get up to speed with the quick turn round and concertina the wing or hauling in the C lines. . . still, no harm done that the washing machine can't cure! Nice to see a couple of familiar wings - Ali and Shamus - and a new guy with a novice's red ribbon; I'm sure I'll get to know the rest of you all in time.

All in all a great day - I'm very happy to have flown this site at last after a very long break.


Sun 30 Mar 2008

Report by Alastair Florence

 

 
Looking out the door last night at 11 pm and seeing strong wind and rain it was hard to believe that the forecasts and synoptic chart could be right for today, flyable W-SW until at least the afternoon.

Sure enough Blue sky and light wind so St. A's was first stop, pleasant enough but a little uninspiring, it got busy after a bit and I got bored so decided to relocate to Kimmeridge.

Had the site to myself for an hour or more when up to maybe 10 or 12 pilots eventually arrived. Good to see Chris B out for the first time on a Wessex site after gaining CP.

Pretty much classic Kimmeridge conditions, loads of lift, bit punchy at times but not really scary. Wind went more Southerly and it looked the sort of day you might just be able to fly out onto the sea cliff and get back so thought i'd try. Cliffs were no problem so turned left to Houns Tout, I decided to try and get back onto Kimmeridge rather than go back to St. A's to save the bother of crossing Chapmans Pool. I just couldn't quite connect with the lift on Kimmeridge landing about 50ft short but at least it didn't leave far to walk before re- launching.

All in all an absolute cracker of a day for all present, peachometer reading 8.

Report by Shamus Pitts

 

   

Arrived at Kimmeridge about 2:30, unpacked and took off. The wind was reasonably strong, 15-19 mph and thermic which made the flying a lot more hands on than at St Aldhems. There was plenty of lift and I had a very enjoyable couple of hours exploring the ridge at about 300' ATO. The wind gradually increased and continued to go more southerly, so eventually I landed and packed up - what an excellent day!



Report by Shamus Pitts

 

 

Despite the awful weather on Saturday, the forecast looked quite hopeful for today so I got up early and arrived at St Aldhem's Head about 9:30, to find Ali getting ready to take off and an 11mph westerly wind (which is a little lighter than I'm used to!).

Ali was sure we'd stay up and I had a new wing to fly, so we rigged and took off. I shouldn't have worried about the lift and had a pleasant 3 hours floating about in silky smooth air as the wind slowly increased in speed and moved round to the south a bit. Paul H, Martin and Mark all had good flights too. I didn't plan on staying up for so long but I was trying to build up 300' to fly back to the field behind the car park. In the end I realised the wind had gone too far south for that to happen so with 200' ATO I made a dash for it and made it with feet to spare - I put it all down to the excellent glide of the Golden 2! After packing up I decided to meet up with Ali at Kimmeridge. . .



Report by Gary Pocock

 

   
A surprisingly great day had by all at Ringstead.


Thu 27 Mar 2008

Report by Peter Robinson

I thought it was too windy on Thursday for paragliding so I went off very early to Lasham Gliding Club, so early that I managed to bag a single-seater for the day. Had 90 minutes then landed for lunch at the clubhouse restuarant - very civilized. After lunch the aerotow tug was ready and waiting so back up to a release at 2000ft.

It turns out that I was wrong about the wind but the day provided an interesting comparison between paragliders and gliders. I see from the National League that there were a couple of flights from Combe Gibbet and another from nearby Liddington, all heading towards the Lasham area. They were down at 30 or 40km but I could easily stay up as long as I wanted. It was a novel sensation bombing along beneath a street at 65kt still climbing. I look forward to getting approval to go XC - in the meantime I was restricted to staying within reach of the airfield.

Well done David! I have mixed feelings about missing the day but there WILL be more - won't there?

Report by Keith Burridge

 

   
Arrived at Bell hill as conditions were easing to see Sean and Gary promptly follow an heroic wind dummy (whose name I do not know) into the air. The conditions were quite thermic (rough) at times but this enabled at least six escapees ffrom the hill today. Distances ranged between 6k, 10k, 16k, and as far as Swanage. There were many pilots on the hill during the course of the afternoon and early evening. Those who stayed to eke out the dying whisps of breeze all ended up with a walk of some degree back up the hill in the warm spring like early evening. We shall remain anonymous! All in all a very good day.


Report by David Franklin

 

 

Thanks for your 'respect' Ali but I think the G2 is a very good glider and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. At lunch time I had reported to Adrian C and my brother(who were both stuck at work)that they 'shouldn't worry as I was pretty sure they were going to miss nothing as the wind was greater than expected'. Within an hour it was dying down nicely,so what do I know.

When I arrived Gary P was already starting a climb so I wasted no time getting ready and was soon in the air. I was able to make a climb almost straight away. Sadly I passed Gary coming back low so I was going to have to go it alone. My second climb was from the chicken houses on the Kingston road. Then I had to make a bit of a trek to the next cloud towards Morden I was able to just stay out of airspace when I climbed again at Wareham forest and Sanford. The next glide took me very low over Slepe Heath so with nothing to lose I thought I would try some ideas I had recalled from Burkhart Martens book(excellent xmas present)

I headed to where the heath changed to grass which was just infront of Wytch oil terminus. This worked well and I got enough height to head over the middle of the site and got a rocky ride to base. I now toyed with the idea of landing over by the Haven ferry but decided against this in case it upset the NT, so off I headed to Swanage. Over swanage I topped up and was higher than the clouds just off Durlston. With all this height it seemed a good time to try Pete Cs trick of heading back to Corfe. Progress was painfully slow so as I approached Langton I turned tail and headed back to Durlston watching the GPS closely as the wind increased the lower I flew. I burned of the height over the park and took a few last pictures before landing with no forward speed. I reported to the estate office as agreed,and headed off home. Great start to the season. Youtube video

Report by Alastair Florence

 

  

I managed a quick lunch break flight at Bell today, very nice conditions, some with more time available managing XC's (much respect to Dave F flying to Swanage, no doubt the first of many for him this year) Busy day on the hill by the look of it.



Report by John Alder

Bell Hill. Arrived 10 o’clockish to find Sean Staines and AN Other on the ground; wind was surprisingly strong – I’d left my HG at home. Steve Siuda (K4 HG) arrived and rigged whilst I, (grateful for help from Sean and Gary Puhl) was faffing about with my kit, and he took off first. I got airborne next and had a very pleasant flight during which I was joined by several other PG’s. After an hour’s soaring, the lift weakened and I looked to be going to have a long carry-up but persistence paid off and I managed a top landing in the end. This was my first PG flight since the beginning of November last year and a nice one too!


Tue 25 Mar 2008

Report by Gary Mullins

Got to Bell at about 2 o'clock to be greeted by the seemingly "usual" 20mph cold wind. This started to ease off after an hour's wait and one by one, the 4 of us there at the time, had a go. Very pleasant it was too. Slowly the air filled with paragliders. The gentle thermals allowing some respectable height gains. Young Master Mosley and that rarity (lately), the lesser spotted Oseland, were constantly making our necks ache. When I left, just after 5 o'clock, there were still 8 or 9 gliders in the air enjoying a pleasant evening waft.


Mon 24 Mar 2008

Report by Jeremy Calderwood

 

  
A very well attended reserve repack session was held at the community sports complex in Hamble. Among 30+ were a good showing of Wessex members at this Sky Surfing Club organised event.

At £5 a head I thought it was very good value for money. . . even more so when I made the sobering discovery that I could not deploy my reserve - no matter how much I yanked the handle. I looked at Roy who I had been partnered with and said 'Christ Roy - I'm dead!' When I bought my reserve I had attached 2 short lengths of line to make it easier to pull the retaining loops through the eyelets of the harness flaps holding the reserve pack. Both my instructor and I didn't think these would cause a problem - they would just pull through the flap eyelets with the loops. However one of the lines had 'snake headed' itself around the head of the leading retaining pin essentially fixing it to the loop it is supposed to pull out of when the handle is pulled. We also found that part of the soft chord to which the release pins are fixed was caught in the Velcro fastening holding the outer (transparent) covering flap. After several months of being sat on the Velcro was well bonded and made it difficult to separate the chord from the Velcro hooks and pull the pins out (once the pieces of line were removed).

If you have any doubts about your reserve or you've never checked to see if it does actually work go and put on your harness and pull that handle! It will only take a couple of minutes to put the reserve back and refit the release pins, velcro and handle.

Also find out when the next repack will be and book yourself in.

I'm glad I did - it may have saved my life!


Tue 18 Mar 2008

Report by Paul Hawkins

 

  
At last a decent fly today at Monks. Also tried taking photo's for the first time and found it quite tricky in the more bumpy stuff. So only managed one ugly mug shot! Lucky for you lot.

Report by Alastair Florence

 

  

Decided to squeeze a quick lunch break fly in at Monks today, suprisingly pleasant and no shortage of bouyancy.

 

Report by Shamus Pitts

 

  
Arrived at Monk's Down at about 11 o'clock to a 16mph wind and an overcast sky. I flew for about an hour but it was so cold that my hands went completely numb and I had to bottom land because I didn't fancy my chances finding my "C" risers with numb hands and the wind was picking up. Despite the overcast sky it was pretty thermic and rough at times and I managed about 1000' ATO.

I took off again at 12:45 with thicker gloves on and had my longest flight so far, 3 hours, in conditions which were never boring! At times the wind was fairly strong, and penetration was painfully slow but nobody seemed to mind and everybody had good flights.

It was surprisingly busy in the afternoon with maybe 10 wings in the air - is nobody at work this week?!

Report by Sean Staines

I decided to go the Coombe Gibbett this morning, took off at 9AM and landed at 12. Suprisingly, since it was fully overcast, there was a lot of thermic activity (or was it cloud suck) and my best height gain was 1400ft ATO. There was lift everywhere out to 1km in front of the ridge and in the end it was difficult to get down.

The air ambulance was arriving as I departed as someone had apparently piled in. Beware the Eides of March. Conditions are getting lively already. Max lift today was 4m/s!


Sat 15 Mar 2008

Report by Sean Staines

I arrived at Ballard take off just before 9AM as the weather forcast looked set to deteriorate later in the day.

It was deceptively windy above take off and I needed the speedbar to push forwards and out to the lower cliffs where I flew for 40 Minutes untill it became too light. A first for me to fly these cliffs.

I walked up again and took off as Ali arrived. We had another 1/2 Hr before the rain started but flew the length of the main ridge and back (another first).

Report by Alastair Florence

 

   


Sun 09 Mar 2008

Report by Shamus Pitts

 

  
I managed a cheeky 25 minutes at Cowdown this morning, before the wind picked up too much! I got to the top of the hill about 9am and it was fairly strong then, about 20mph, but I figured it was probably a little bit of venturi so I went for it! After hanging uncomfortably close to some gorse for a little while, I slowly inched my way forward and connected with the lift, straight up to 350' ATO. Once out in front of the hill I didn't have too much trouble penetrating, although with it being strong and a bit gusty, it was hard to determine what was a thermal and what was a gust.

I hadn't managed to get away after 25 minutes and it had started to rain a bit, so I landed and walked the short distance to my house!


Sunday 2nd March

Report by Sean Staines

I followed XC weather during the day to see if the trend would follow the forecast. It looked good so I set off for Bell Hill arriving around 4pm to fine Derek waiting patiently.

The gusts died off and we took off around 4:30 for a very pleasant hour's soaring in smooth buoyant conditions.


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