Eye in the Sky - Sep 2008

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Mon 29 Sep 2008

Report by John Alder

Bell Hill 28th September. Arrived as most of the PG’s were leaving because the wind had picked up just 2 HG’s, Steve Siuda and Tony Blackburn aviating so I rigged up the C2 and had a pleasant hour boating about at up to 250m ATO during which Tony completed an epic 2¼ hour flight and Richard Mosley arrived with a new wing. Around 5 o’clock overcast arrived and the wind switched west and a couple of PG’s took to the air again but I think the best of a superb few days was definitely over by then.

Report by Roger Edwards

The forecast looked good for a day at Bell and plenty turned up to take advantage. When I turned up after 11 it was clearly thermic as wings had various heights, from about 400ft to scratching. As a few us were prepping on launch some horrible squirly, gusty air came through forcing us to wait for it to ease, which it did. But it still made my take off interesting, lifting me whist still facing the wing and forcing an aerial untwist.

Then followed a flight in suitably feisty air which had me cranking tightly into a nice 4 up,only to end up at 350ft, pinned just over the fence behind the bowl as the wind had picked up. After deciding forward was really no go, and getting a bit of rattle and roll, I bailed out into the field behind, most people having the same idea. A couple of pilots out in front got away with it and flew for another half hour or so, but wind on take off was unpleasant enough to keep the rest of us on the ground, well, other than one pilot who walked half way down the hill for a valiant launch to make the most of the conditions, but he thought better of it after a short while and landed. One pilot had a nice 50% tuck on hitting something over the magic tree, Paul H I think.

Top marks to Neils F and M for getting away from the hill, to Stickland way. Slap on the wrist for Marcus for bailing out of the thermal that took them away.

Conditions were OK for the hangies though, and Steve and Phil had good flights, though it was still a bit rattley. Phil V entertained us with a 'nearly' landing which he wisely aborted to set up again for a successful second attempt. Sadly, the wind didn't drop off and the hangies were left to their fun.

Sun 28 Sep 2008

Report by Alastair Florence


Wasted most of the morning flogging a temporarily dead horse on Bell.

Late PM went to Kimmeridge and was joined by Quentin and Nigel B, We all had different levels of success here but lets just say I enjoyed the hour I had on a borrowed Sigma 6 (less floaty than the Form 3 but much more solid and far more nifty, nice).

After a bit we went to St>a's and had a pleasant finish to the evening until it went north of West which brought about the end.

Report by David Franklin


The day on Bell started extremely murky but ended just a little hazy with some decent soaring with good company,very enjoyable.

Report by Shamus Pitts



An unexpectedly good afternoon at Bell today, possibly the most fun I’ve had! It was scratchy enough to be interesting and lifty enough to not be too stressful! I arrived about lunch time to find not a lot of wind and a few optimists waiting for things to improve! (Dave F, Derek S, Marcus W (& William!), Roy M).

Roy led the way with a couple of valiant dives down the hill, before the cycles started coming through. We all followed Roy’s example, and are probably slightly fitter for it, before things improved.

Dave and Derek took off and found some lift so I followed them and managed to climb to 700’ ATO in the bowl before losing the thermal and landing. XC Weather has had its ups and downs, but predicted that by 4pm the wind would pick up to 6mph, which using my doubling rule meant that it should be flyable by 4pm and it was! I saw a couple of buzzards in the bowl about 3:30 and when the wind was strong enough to inflate I took off. I arrived in the bowl very low, well below the magic tree, and soared the copse just beyond it slowly building up height. Eventually I was above takeoff and able to maintain height. The wind must have picked up a bit because it wasn’t long before everyone else had taken off and searching for lift! There were a few clouds in the sky but not many, but what the sky lacked in clouds was made up for by the amount of buzzards enjoying the sunshine. I had one of my best flying experiences so far, flying out from the hill, there was a buzzard about 15’ away at my height and about 2 o’clock from me, and another one in front of me, 20’ in front and 10’ below. Instead of flying away instantly, they stayed with me for a minute or two, and they were lit so perfectly by the sun that I could make out every feather – it was a proper HD moment! All in all I managed 2 hours in the air, an excellent sfternoon!

Report by Paul Hawkins


Dave Winn at Southborne this afternoon.

22 Sep 2008

Report by John Alder

Monk’s Down Monday 22nd September. Arrived just in time for the sun to go in, the wind to pick up & the PG’s to land (including one over the back and 3 at the bottom. Nevertheless I rigged the trusty HG and had an hour’s pleasant ridge soaring – a bit scratchy at times. Many thanks to Eric & Julian P who collected me from the top landing field & chatted agreeably whilst I was packing up and also to the kind soul who left the sitephone message alerting me to it being flyable.

Sat 20 Sep 2008

Report by Craig Byrne






I took off first of all from Will's farm near Mercury and then flew over Mercury, then Butser , then on to Buriton.

It was a really nice little flight over areas that I had dreamt of flying for quite some time, the wind was now picking up so I headed back to pack up and go fly the paraglider.

At Mercury there were few lobbing off as thermals came through but not as well formed as previous Sunday, so packed up after an hour or so.

I have also had some wicked evening flights from there this week landed back home each time as the sunsets. Photos 6 and 25 are from one of these.

Report by Shamus Pitts


I arrived about lunch time at Mere and found the wind blowing 10 – 14mph and a ESE. I quickly got ready and took off into nice buoyant thermic conditions. I managed to get a couple of hundred feet ATO, but looking down I suddenly spotted my glider bag lying on the ground – oops! I landed, got my bag and took off again.

The thermals were coming through regularly making for some fun flying despite there being quite a bit of East in the wind. There were only 3 or 4 wings in the air at any one time so it was never crowded, but as the afternoon went on the wind started to drop off a bit between cycles and I got caught out and landed at the bottom. I clawed my way back up, rested for a while then took off again. This time I was lucky when the wind dropped. I was down to about 15’ above the bottom landing field but managed to scratch my way all the way back up until I was 30’ ATO. My joy was shortlived however, and it wasn’t long before I was walking up again! A much better day than I was expecting and another hour or so in the log book!

Mon 15 Sep 2008

Report by Paul Hawkins

The cliffs at Bournemouth were just about working this afternoon, although I had trouble leaping the fence untill being shoved off unxpectedly by Laurence T,. . . which came as a bit of a shock but worked! With this help I managed a good 30min scratch. Thanks Laurence.

Sun 14 Sep 2008

Report by Alastair Florence


No wind to start today then a NE going veering slowly. Once the direction got south of East I took a walk up Ballard.

Still very East but dooable to a degree. Only Paul H joined me, which was maybe just as well as with a very narrow lift band any more would have been a crowd. Top lands were ok but difficult to get much over 150ft ato most of the time. The wind went almost south later but got much lighter although we could still stay up as long as wanted.

Report by Craig Byrne


There were quite a few pilots flying on and off and hangies rigging as we arrived, also a few on Weather Down (The Hill behind Mercury) wafting about as thermals came through. I took off into a good one but was crowded out, and could not get in the core.

This went though and I ended up side landing, then after a minute or two could see the trees moving well and lobbed of into a nice 400ft a min climb and worked it down over the bowl. As I got higher a Golden2 joined me, and in the core things settled down to a pleasant 900ft min climb to 2850 ASL. I could not go higher as airspace was now at 3000ASL I kept working the climbs for ages taking in great views and finally ended up after 9. 5k landing near Soberton Heath under lots of cloud cover. A great little flight on what looked not a very good day :-)

Sat 13 Sep 2008

Report by Alastair Florence

A bit of a frustrating day for most on Bell today. Plenty of walks back up the hill or watching others walking back up, Good looking sky but it just didn't get going, Sean S notably having one very impressive cruise about and certainly deserving it for the amount of walk ups he did.

Dave F doing the only XC.

To rub salt in the wounds there were wings doing ok on Telegraph as we all packed up in nil wind.

Me and Quentin salvaged a half hour or so at Kimmeridge on the way home, not great but feet off the ground I suppose.

Report by David Franklin



Bell hill was wet slippery and murky this morning with a cloud base at ground level and no wind. When the sun eventually started peeping through it had a lot of wet ground to deal with and still no wind. Craig went off for a buzz on his paramotor,over to Telegraph and back. Sean S had been practicing his alpine launches and was eventually able to stay aloft in light lift. This seemed like a now or never moment so quite a few pilots unpacked and made ready on the still very wet grass.

Sean had had quite a while thermalling in the bowl but was pushing well out in front he had a buzzard thermalling between him and us on the hill. He then started thermalling back towards us. Thanks Sean thanks buzzard you made the timing of the takeoff much easier. Neill and I followed the thermal which strangely was tracking down the ridge to the west. I think that might be why Neill unfortunately gradually slipped out of it. I followed it along behind Ibberton where it gradually picked up momentum. Cloudbase was rather disappointing at barely 3,000ft and it was difficult to determine what was going on at height. I had a wonderful bit of wing tip to wing tip 360ing with a buzzard over Milton park and a nice top up from a ploughing match by the Blandford to Kingston road. I had another nice save from two gulls thermalling up from the playing fields in Wint' Kingston. There were quite a few tall cumulus clouds around which I was probably far to cautious of and ended up in strong sink. As I had never got very high I was soon on the deck between Bloxworth and Morden. Once on the ground the air was completely still with the occasional waft from a WSW direction, possibly the inner edge of a sea breeze which would account for the speed of my descent.

Report by Jerry Siddle


Okay, it’s not paragliding but it’s the closest I’ve come to flying in company for the last few months!

Report by Lawrence Toogood

Bmth pm 13 sept I had no intention of flying today albeit looking like a classic Bell day. Until the misses barked orders for me to go to B&Q & as she drills into me the high cost of our fuel bills i should always max any trip with other chores , so for once she was speechless lol when i said "fine looks like a sea breeze is setting in" so i best take the glider into Bmth & max my carbon foot print(gliding is very ozone friendly ). On arrival at Bmth i found Phil Venn looking skywards and almost at the point of leaving when i suggested he hang around as i thought things would improve, and so they did very slowly, enter the gladiators, crowd goes wild . We both ground handled for the best part of 15 mins in the very light breeze when i felt a little bit more of a breeze i legged it for the wall (crowd are on their feet ) once over the wall i hugged the cliff,the wing was level or below the fence a tense 10mins followed at this height but then i was rewarded with bigger and bigger height gains which then allowed some what more relaxed flying . Phil having seen that there was an improvement and room for two attempted a take off only he had different ideas on which part of the cliff was working best ,like Roy M earlier this year Phil thought that lamp post s produced lift . . . . . ah quite the opposite ground suck and a line over of a different kind! (Roy you have a challenger for the Volvo which iam sure is of some relief) i cant talk could be me next.

Once we had managed to get the line over sorted we both had some very nice flying.

Fri 12 Sep 2008

Report by Dave Winn

Bell hill Friday 12th Sept. After a phone call to Paul (aspen) Hawkins we raced to Bell to find pilots boating around near the ground. Set up and took off to find Paul & Craig B gaining height and so joined them for nice lifty bits and some scratching in the bowl before being forced to land. Very large cumulous clouds were building in front and one cumulonimbus in particular was spewing out rain. It's track looked like missing the hill, so I took off into the bowl and worked the lift at the Okeford end to 2500ft. This was very easy and looking around at the huge clouds and the clouds downwind that were turning black unnerved me a bit. I could easily have gone xc but in the end decided to fly out of the lift, which covered a large area. I landed just behind Craig and packed up. This was a good decision, as driving back to Bournemouth I went through hailstones as large as marbles and torrential rain. This will be the reason for the advice 'keep away from cumulonimbus clouds' we hear so often.

Others there were Mark P, Mike A, Keith W, Roger E, Grant O, Derek S, Marcus W and more

Mon 08 Sep 2008

Report by Roy Menage

Arrived at Barton about 6:15 to see a single wing in the air but with good height. This would be a good opportunity to try out a wing I have just acquired (an old Ozone Octane). I quickly unpacked and was soon in the air. Despite the light winds, the air was surprisingly buoyant. I found the wing quite interesting to fly but after an hour in the air and several landings, I started to get used to it. A lot more sensitive to the air around than my trusty Golden 2 and also rather quick. It seems to give quite a lot of feedback through the harness. Landings were particularly interesting since the wing just seems to float on and is a lot less happy about the rotor than the Golden. In the main, I'll stick with the Golden but the Octane should be a good winter coastal flying wing. If anybody has had an Octane and can give me some pointers, I would be greatful. Nice to blow away the cobwebs after a long layoff.

Report by Adrian Coombe



Ringstead Just about perfect all day - Everybody filled their boots with flying, with some decent thermals on the ridge and lift on the cliffs.

Plenty of rest time for a natter too! Also Ravens, Peregrines and Mushrooms which were yummy! ( Just take one Raven, add a Peregrine and. . . )

Report by Martin Butcher


Got to WhiteHorse just before 5:30 after work today, a couple of pilots were visable over on Ringstead around the corner towards Lulworth but only one looked like he had any height. The wind was smack on about 14 mph so I quickly rigged and had an hours fly before the wind dropped off just after 6:30. I really enjoyed flying alone with just a Buzzard and a couple of Kestrals to show me the lift and how to really fly.

I followed the Buzzard out half way to the Weymouth road in front before the lift gave out and I had to scuttle back to the ridge. The Buzzard just continued out into the distance, wish I had his glide!
Sun 07 Sep 2008

Report by Alastair Florence


Finally the wind dropped at home and the sky looked a bit brighter this evening, also the direction swung to just about West.

This was at about 1900 hrs so a bit late to summons any more troops.

Looked like just about enough West to make St. Aldhelms dooable. It was quite gusty on t/o but not very strong, launched and sunk to about 50ft below cliff top height, I thinking I had made a bad move but found a few lifty pockets that took me back up. Very bumpy with lots of lift and more sink until I worked up over 200ft ato. Much more pleasant above 200ft.

After 20 mins I could see I wasn't going to achieve anymore than say i'd been flying so cruised back to the car park in plenty of sink losing all the 360ft I had on the way.

Turned out a nice quiet, bright evening so hopefully thats a good omen for all you non workers tomorrow.

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