Eye in the Sky - May 2008

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Sat 31 May 2008

Report by Stuart Martin



' Marcus Webster and Richard Mosely are rewarded with a bouyant late afternoon flight, at Monk's Down, after having waited most of the day in very light conditions'

Report by Dave Winn

Victory for the Wessex this round came from the sheer persistence of our pilots and the most important member of our team- Andria Staines, who's untiring retrieves makes the decision to go xc much easier. A quick retrieve from the landing field at the Bridge Inn made it possible for the 3 pilots that bravely made an attempt to find lift over Abergavenny to have another go. Just after that, Andria retrieved me from an earlier xc (Imanaged to climb out, being last in the group to forward launch in the hope to catch something). All together we clocked up about 60k with Mr Westgate (Ken's best mate) landing out at a fete in Newport.

Thanks again Andria.

Report by Alastair Florence


Went to Monksdown today. Fairly light wind and quite alot of cloud about. Launched and climbed fairly steadily Richard M doing well also (but I think he wished he was wearing more than just a shirt by now) several others also in the air.

On the way up I could see the sky behind the hill was quite messy and in turmoil so thought I might have a punt for the Lemmings trophy with a triangle. Leg 1 was 3. something KM, bottled it a bit on leg 2 at only 1. 9 KM, which left 2. 49 KM for leg 3. My first turn was at the North end of Whitesheet first time i've got out that far. Richard covered similar ground.

A failiure regards the triangle but very pleasant trying. Base about 2200ft ato so not great.

Around 12-15 pilots on the hill now and conditions just dropped off to nothing.

Had a look at St. A's on the way home as it was SW on the coast but too light to bother getting the glider out for a scratch about.

Fri 30 May 2008

Report by Alastair Florence


Wind seemed to be Somewhere round WSW tonight so took a look at St. A's, fairly light but ok for a half hours waft. Looked fairly cacky out in front with clag forming over kimmeridge, then felt like it would rain so i gave up.

Sun 25 May 2008

Report by Gary Pocock


Superb holiday in Turkey. Great company with some excellent flying in an awe inspiring location.

Sun 25 May 2008

Report by Alastair Florence


Looking at the forecasts and severe weather warning predictions for the weekend I had no hopes of any flying action. But as I believe, 'all ways expect the unexpected'. Sun was out by 1030 and looking much better and even promising. By midday it looked flyable with a a SSW breeze now settled down. The wife seemed keen on a day out but I managed to convince her that she would be better to work in the garden just in case it rained.

So headed off to Knitson, very light on the top but slightly thermic with low clouds forming in front. I managed a couple of half decent sorties maxing out at 600 odd ft ATO, joined by Paul H. Wind went about 45' off East so we headed for Ballard meeting Roy M at t/o. Still quite light but we all had a good 30 mins or so until it got unrealistically scratchy.

By no means epic but feet off the ground at least and around an hour cumulative.

Had a nice walk round St Aldhelms this evening with the wife as she'd done so well in the garden today !

Sat 24 May 2008

Report by Jon Wood


I returned today from a trip to Oludeniz in Turkey with four other wessex members ( Mark Fisher,Paul Ebert,Gary Pocock & James Martin ). We had a fantastic time flying from Mt Baberdag 5400ft amsl, conditions were variable & heights of 8000+ ft were had by some of us. Short XCs were made & Mark F kept us amused with some Acro (sats etc). We also made friends with Mehmet a Turkish pilot, who took us to fly his inland sites in the Taurus Mountain range, which until now had never been flown by foreign pilots! Mehmet took good care of us all, giving up his family home for us to stay in overnight & overfeeding us on homemade Turkish food. We were an attraction in the small town as brits are only rarely seen there, let alone a motley crew of five flying over their town & landing at the local bar. After returning to Oludeniz we made a last XC flight to 'butterfly valley' a small gorge, with a tricky beach landing, inhabited by hippies. which ended the week on a high!

12 May 2008

Report by Richard Westgate


Even better day at Hambledon, fell off the back of the hill with 500ft and ran to the north to escape the rotor and managed to catch a weak thermal above a tractor cutting hay. Spotted Neil Franklin towards Bell Hill climbing better under a descent cloud so pushed Xwind but he shot off as I arrived and left me scrabbling again! Strong inversion at 1700ft then much better climbs, slow again above 6000ft. Amazing cloud base, I got to 7300ft and still not in the wispies.

Neither of the clouds in pic6151 worked properly and I was too impatient with signs of sea air to the south. Got caught low trying to cross Axe valley and landed at 60km, 100km day!

11 May 2008

Report by Richard Westgate


Great day at Hambledon, got away in the first dscent thermal with Gary P, Stuart M, Richard Barber and ? on Airwave. Strong inversion at 3500ft stopping us getting to base, quick 20km, 3 gliders flew past later on. Base probably 6500ft+, 7800ft reported from the Malverns.

Thu 08 May 2008

Report by James Roy


Bache Hill mid Wales SE 15 mph Task 2 of the British Open Series - task was set to Lake Bala some 78km. I flew my first XC, 8 pilots made goal. Event was won by Bruce Kavanagh (SkySurfers) with Tony Stephens (SkySurfers)in second place and Dave Matthews (Southern) in third.

Tue 06 May 2008

Report by Sean Staines

After many dissapointing cancelations the first round of the BCC was confirmed for Monday in SE Wales. Dr Charles, Jim C, Keith B and Keith W all made the trip to join me for the briefing at the Bridge inn in Abergavenny and Talybont was chosen as the site for the day.

A half hr walk in to the top of the horseshoe was rewarded by wonderful views over the Brecon beacons. An open distance task was set but later the comp was cancelled over safety concerns as the cloudbase was low, the dynamic relatively strong and the valleys immediately behind takeoff potentially in Rotor.

Nevertheless the 20 or so pilots from the Wessex, Avon and SE Wales all flew, most agreeing that it was a cracking days flying. At one point Jim almost went having drifted over the back to cloudbase at 1400ft ATO with a couple of other pilots.

Everyone is welcome to enter the BCC rounds with CP +10hrs the recommended minimum experience. Please contact me if you’re interrested.

Fri 2 May 2008

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


It was a beautiful spring afternoon and with a suitable pause in the work schedule I joined a gang of us on Barton cliff tops to take advantage of the 12 - 16 mph SSW breeze. After initial difficulties in penetrating the breeze to launch I then had a very pleasant hour and a quarter wafting about.

Soon I was heading to Milford. The Becton Bunny and Taddiford gap were easily crossed and I got up to the beach huts but not quite as far as the car park. With less than 10 feet altitude above the low scrubby cliffs I really did not want a long walk back so I headed back.

Several other wings in the air when I got back; we all had a lovely time swooping about. At times there was enough lift to get to about 80 feet ato giving enough room for overflying. I took a fair bit of video and have since spliced them into a movie - you can see it by clicking YouTube - Sunny afternoon flying Barton cliffs . Most of the attached pictures are frames from it.

Later on the breeze died for a time and one guy - I think it was Brian - had a very quick sledge ride to the beach. Shamus appeared at that moment; it looked like he had a wasted journey. Then the breeze returned though only about 10 - 12 mph and a little round to the south east.

Eventually I was persuaded to have another go and headed off to the promontory at the east end. I scraped round at cliff top height but figured that the lift would be better round the corner. Soon I was about 20 or so feet above the cliff as I turned back. Then, just as I was coming back to the promontory something went wrong. . . I soft stalled and as I recovered the lower piece of the point was about 2 or 3 feet too high to clear. At about 20 feet from it I buried the brakes and planted my boots firmly against the wall of gravel and rolled onto the top. There I clung tenaciously until I had assessed the situation. No damage - not a scratch - but it was a somewhat precarious spot to extricate myself from. After carefully unbuckling I let the harness roll down the slope and then set about carefully removing the wing from the short scrubby gorse, bunching it up and hauling the harness back to where I could put it back on and scrabble down to the bottom. See first and last pictures - in the last one you can just make out the scuff marks from my boots on the face of the 'wedge'.

Shamus flew over to check I was OK. . . my only problem was shaking the gravel and pebbles out of the wing before I put it away! It was a long walk back giving me plenty of time to ponder my error. I think I was flying just too close to the stall point when a light swirl of turbulence tipped the balance. I definitely had a few anxious moments but I think I made the best decision.

I don't recommend side landing on a cliff - I was lucky to get away with it! Others also enjoying the afternoon included Brian M and Brian ?, Sean M and Sean S, Paul and Kaye.

Enjoy the movie!

Report by Shamus Pitts



Report by Shamus Pitts


Having checked the weather in the morning and seeing that for two days in a row southerly winds had been forecast for Bournemouth and Christchurch, I packed my gear in the car and went to work, hoping for an evening jaunt on the coast.

There were no messages to say that Southbourne was working, and XC Weather was reporting reasonably strong winds, so I decided to go to Barton-on-Sea after work and got there just before 6pm. When I go there I was told that I'd missed the best of it and that the wind had dropped off but my wind meter was saying 11mph so I thought I'd have a go. I didn't put my vario on so I don't know how high I got, but there were a few pockets of "some" height, and then a few more of "not very much"! After about 20 minutes I was finding details in the beach huts that I hadn't been able to see from the cliff top, so as soon as I got some more lift I landed.

The wind seemed to have picked up by 1mph or so (and gone a little more to the east), so I had another flight. I saw Jeremy C take off so I landed and chatted to Brian (?) for a while. The next thing we knew was that Jeremy had side landed on the cliff - I'll let him tell that story! (He was fine) I had another couple of flights then landed and packed up - a surprisingly nice end to the working week! Shamus Pitts

Report by Jon Harvey

Westbay Westbay once again. Message from JP that at Eype, direction was too far south, so walking to Westbay. By time I arrived theree, John was way passed Thorncombe, which had plenty of orographic, as did Golden Cap. Certainly wind direction was S maybe slightly SSE. No problems in launch, climbed rapidly, and so towards Thorncombe.

Passed around well out to sea, strong and plenty of orographic. Slow run out to Doghouse, then fast across Seatown, to Golden Cap. No sign of John, so pressed on, passing GC, again well out to sea, as orographic continually forming and dissipating. Above St Gabriels turn around, to find out strength of wind, and virtually no forward speed, so to Charmouth instead. Fist landing here in several years. JP there as well, (he'd actually flown across Charmouth, and near enough to Lyme,) before turning back, as well as several who had arrived to fly Charmouth, but found it to strong.

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