Eye in the Sky - Apr 2009

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Wed 29 Apr 2009

Report by Grant Oseland


Nice strong day today at Ringstead arrived at about 12:00ish to find wings already out at the cliff, a good sign, so wasted no time getting airborne. There was loads of lift all over and never any problem penetrating forward and nice and thermic over the farm so getting to the cliffs was no problem, but it was nice of John, who very kindly gave the cows a demonstration of how such a big wing fits into such a small bag. After a while it started to get a bit cold on the hands so landed for a glove change and off again, this time there was a distinct hint of south in the wind so down to Durdle door it was. Which was a nice easy drift down and back escorted by a Lynx helcopter and a couple of Peregrine falcons. Having not been down to Durdle since last summer it is worth pointing out that (A) what a great site Ringstead is and (B) Don't be tricked into thinking that its a safe site especially when going round the corner as there are not many options if you start to lose height.

Thu 23 Apr 2009

Report by Andrew Fenton

Lost and Lonely Windsock at Barton.

I was the last to leave Barton this evening and noticed the windsock still there looking lost and lonely. I don't know when I will be next at Barton so I gave it to a kind lady called Jan who lives nearby. Jan is known to some of the Barton Scratchers and will take it over to launch next time folk are there. Her telephone number is 01425611401.

Wed 22 Apr 2009

Report by Roger Edwards


All were agreed that this evening provided exceptional flying at Southbourne/Bournemouth. Remarkably buoyant conditions despite the high pressure and obvious inversion gave 450-500ftAMSL for some, even some opportunities for 360ing in thermals. Brilliant views over the town and easy-peasy pier crossings provided trips down to Canford Cliffs and back, though it was not possible to get that little bit further round due to the wind being a little of to the SW. The time limitation for the early few was bladder size, it remaining lifty until about 7:15 when it switched off so suddenly that Keith W and Steve A just scratched into the top. Best day I've ever had at Bournemouth and tomorrow's forecast suggests the similar. The bold, stalking kestrel just by take off provided a fitting finish to the day.

Tue 21 Apr 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


I happened to spend the day in Berkhamstead and kept an eye on the DHPG web cam at Dunstable which was showing the occasional PG wafting about, so headed there after work.

Fairly strong wind but excellent flying conditions with lots of thermic activity. I didn't bother to sign in at London Flying Club which was maybe a mistake as this then limits you to a 1500ft airspace ceiling, sign on and you get 3500ft and maybe I could have used some of that.

Does feel odd (worrying at times) flying around an actice Sailplane field with sailplanes popping uo the winch every few minutes and sharing air closely with them. The Bottom land field is directly under the sailplanes final approach for landing, but things seem to work here.

Flew plenty and enjoyed, Peachy.

Report by Shamus Pitts


I arrived at Telegraph Hill, fairly pessimistic, at 6:30. The wind was blowing 16 to 25mph but I thought I'd wait until 7 o'clock to see if it dropped. At 7pm it was still blowing about 22mph but I thought I'd wait until 7:30 just in case things improved! The wind seemed to have dropped slightly so I took off in a lull and once airborne found that the air was smooth and penetration was quite easy. The wind was smack on the hill but although the air was quite buoyant I didn't get much over 130' ATO. After 25 minutes I was starting to get hungry so I landed, but the wind was still strong and it was probably flyable until it got dark.

There were two others flying, Ian and someone who's name I can't remember (sorry!).

Report by Gail Otton


Bell Hill

Mon 20 Apr 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


I was supposed to meet a colleague at Arundell today, he went AWOL and was untraceable so I got bored waiting and went to Devils Dyke.

No wind so went back to site, still no sign of the bloke so soon got bored and went to Monks. I was greated by the forlorn site of several wings spread motionless over the hill with pilots sleeping or sunbathing, the day shift went home, wind picked up a bit and personally I enjoyed about 50 mins cumulative of fun soaring in small weak bits of lift, Andrew F arrived about same time as me and also flew plus shortly joined by Neil Mc sky and Chris proud owner of new a new Sky Anthea all getting some action.

Sun 19 Apr 2009

Report by Andrew Fenton

Picked up a sitephone message saying Monks was working this evening and arrived there at ten past six. Seemed light and two guys from the Avon club were on the ground. However, it soon picked up and we managed over an hour in the air in a reasonable N - NNE with plenty of lift out front before it became a little too dusky. I was really pleased to get this in particularly as it gave me the chance to try out my new air-bag/chair-bag harness!

Report by Simon Jones

A second day at Maiden Castle! I arrived at about 2 o'clock to find one wing in the air. Danny, Russell, Steve P and Quentin had a very up and down, on and off, hour or two. In the end it was pretty much just the thermals keeping us up. Rumours of sea breezes bounced around for a while, but reports from the coast indicated that it might be too light. Russell and I spotted an Unidentified Flying Object - perhaps a power kite - making it's way towards the coast at low altitude. It made landfall somewhere rather a long way to the west of the car park. I gave chase only to find that it was a child's lost balloon. It might be time for some new binoculars Russell.

Report by Shamus Pitts


After some delicate negotiations at home I joined Nigel B and Paul H in Nigel's car and we headed off early to Wales for the BCC round at the Blorenge.

When we got to the talk there was a nice breeze blowing but we were right at inversion height so there wasn't much lift, but after waiting a while people started launching in to the blue sky and finding odd chunks of lift. After Paul H and Sean S had had a flight and eventually returned to the top we discussed tactics. It was clear that the inversion was going to limit XC potential but if we could get a bit of height we could fly down the valley and, if nothing else, log a few kms.

Our team consisted of myself, Nigel B, Paul H, Sean S, Martin B and Keith W. Paul and Sean took off and quickly put Sean's plan in to action, climbing a couple of hundred feet and flying off down the valley. Martin took off, looked to be doing well then disappeared then I took off. I managed to thermal up to about 300' ATO but couldn't commit myself to leaving the hill so I went back, only to find an excellent climb to 700' ATO. A couple of others had decided to head down the valley so I went too. I couldn't find any lift at all really, a couple of blips maybe but nothing I could turn in. I saw a wing in a field on the far side of Gilwern so I thought I could make it and headed there. I didn't have much spare height when I got there so I landed next to Brian from the SE Wales club. We packed up then Andrea, with Sean and Paul, picked us up then took us back up the hill, collecting Martin on the way.

The second flight was fun, it was still hard to get used to flying a site where you have to fly out and down before picking up thermals and circling back up, but with a 1500' top-to-bottom the Blorenge is the place to do it.

The thermals were coming through but time was getting on and I didn't get higher than 400' ATO and eventually landed in the bottom field. I walked to Waitrose to find Andrea, Sean, Paul, Keith W and Nigel €“ it turns out that Martin had flown 15 €“ 20km (well done Martin!) Overall I think the team did brilliantly €“ it wasn't a classic day (conditions-wise) but it was fun and I think everyone scored.

Sat 18 Apr 2009

Report by Simon Jones

A good day at Maiden Castle. Danny and I turned up at about noon to find the wind on the €˜hill'. Danny launched and quickly gained height. I launched and quickly landed again to sort out my wing, which seemed to be pulling to the right. We then had a good couple of hours in buoyant and sometimes punchy conditions, topping out at 550'. The wind eased as Alan W, RW, Sean and Grant arrived from a blown out Hambledon Hill. As only four wings are allowed in the air at once at this site, Danny and I went for a pint and some chips.

Report by Danny Von Mutius

Looking out the window this morning i thought it looked abit blowy for the bigger hills, so after a quick txt to Simon J we decided to try our luck at Maiden castle. We arrived just before 11am to find it blowing quite strong but on the hill with the birds picking up some lovey big thermals. I was first to take off, it was very lifty and surprisingly not too much trouble penetrating.

Simon took off a i saw him drifting straight off toward the landing field so went to join him and see what was wrong. His wing had aquired a tendency to turn right with no inputs. after a few harness adjustments we were back on the hill. I flew without a vario but simon said he got 550ato at one point. there was plenty of very Punchy little buggers, the type that make you sit up and pay attention, and some really nice big thermals coming through as well, so active piloting was the order of the day.

A handful of pilots turned up at about 3pm so simon and i landed to give the others a go. All in all about 3hrs airtime rounded off by a pint, awesome!

Report by Simon Vacher

Photographic highlights from the Easter weekend can be found at www.simonvacherfilm.com.

The BCC round at Tal-y-bont on Saturday, followed by some flying fun on Sunday at the White Horse!

Fri 17 Apr 2009

Report by Lawrence Toogood




A late start at Bmth due to the very cloudy conditions at about 3pm the sky started to clear very nicely to almost blue conditions.

I was first on the scene and just as i was preparing to strap in Phil Venn appeared , i popped the wing up with just enough breeze to keep it above my head ,a few mins of this and with the seagulls showing signs of soaring albeit very low i asked phil to shove me off, now with the crowd pleasing bit over i settled into 30mins of scratching not much higher than cliff top, also joined by Phil , Neil , and steve .

After about 30mins conditions improved somewhat to the point i was playing chicken with the crane but had to back off as i couldnt quite eek enough height to pass over, then as i returned to face southbourne i noticed Neil had gained more height coming towards me so i turned back (in lift) to find that now that extra bit of height i was looking for had materialized. I had to show Neil the way as it was only his second time on site and not having passed the crane, plus i had briefed him on the site (bank hol monday ).

Bmth it was then , followed by Neil and Steve conditions only got better and better the nearer to Bmth we got whilst crossing over Bmth pier didnt look favourable(i done this couple of weeks ago and got dumped, long walk back )due to a sinky patch over the show bar . Our height was higher than the tallest block of flats on the East cliff so all in all a classic bmth day , Neil just loved it , Steve has taken some great pics but the files seem to be to big to attach but he has sent me one thats been reduced .

Mon 13 Apr 2009

Report by John Finagin

Thanks to Stuart and everyone else for making us feel so welcome at White Horse on Monday.

My daughter (ground crew) and I made a movie of our day out, which is now posted on You Tube. I really enjoyed flying the site and my daughter and her partner enjoyed a picnic on the hill.

I hope you can spot a lot of your club members - there's not much point making a video if folks can't see themselves in it. I know my daughter was a little "that's my dad" focused, but I'm claiming film-maker's prerogative! Fly high, land safe and may 2009 be a year of new horizons.

Best wishes John Finagin Dover & Folkestone and Southern Clubs aka "parateddy" on You Tube


Report by Nigel Bourn

Knitson was working very well Bank holiday Monday early afternoon, the €˜house' thermal to the west of launch was regularly pushing me up to 1000' asl, while if needing an adrenalin fix the small coomb to the east did likewise but in a more entertaining fashion. Fun flying for over an hour before the wind went east a bit and while Ali could cope I was on the ground all too quickly. Very clear day, the views across to Poole harbour and beyond to Bournemouth were breathtaking, don't know why more don't fly this great little site.

Report by Alastair Florence


After two full days of trying to fly without great success (Sat - Taly- bont) (Sun - limited action at Okeford, Bell, Kimmeridge and Knitson) I was press ganged into taking the wife for a walk on Monday, so dragged her along the ridge from Swanage to Corfe and back as quick as I could.

I was tortured during the walk as Nigel B was flying at Knitson and looked to be doing well. After the walk dropped off the wife and headed for Knitson, Nigel still there and unusually for Nige he got ready and launched before me (he did have a head start though) he was on the deck by the time I launched as it was well off East.

I managed to work a few thermals to 450ft ato but it wasn't much fun so decided to join Nigel at the bottom.

We headed for Ballard as it felt like it should work there. Very light on the green and Nigel decided not to bother, I persevered and had about 50 mins but rarely got much over cliff top height only managing to top land once. Suprisingly bouyant as I managed to scratch back up from half way down the cliff although still couldn't get above t/o.

Neil W launched shortly after I landed but soon joined me on the beach.

Report by Gary Pocock


A good day had by all at the White Horse, too many to mention. I think a typical spring day, fairly strong cool wind and punchy thermals.

Report by Shamus Pitts


Having neglected my wife for most of the weekend we decided to go for a walk today instead of flying.

Our walk took us down through the village, up past the church yard and round on to Folly Hill where Andrew P and Roy M were instructing a couple of students at the bottom of the hill. As we approached Roy mentioned that he had his wing with and I was welcome to have a go, so as there was a reasonably strong southerly wind blowing I thought it would be rude not to! The air was indeed pretty rough and the gusts were strong enough to pin me occasionally but I soon got in to the rhythm of it and got some decent height €“ I don't know exactly how high because I didn't have a vario, but Roy reckoned it looked to be about 500' ATO. I pushed right out in front and didn't seem to be losing too much height. The air felt a bit smoother and there were some reasonable clouds starting to form, but I thought it unwise to try and head over the back on Roy's wing, with no vario, and my wife sitting on the hill in the middle of our walk! Thanks again for lending me your gear Roy, and thanks for the pics!

Sun 12 Apr 2009

Report by Mike Adkins

Just so you know Okeford Hill is still occasionally flown, Derek S, Ali F, Keith B and I left Bell mid-morning and went across to Okeford Hill where Ali and Derek flew. Ali stayed up a good while and top landed but Derek was not so lucky: however, he got a lift back up via the downhill MTB boys' retrieve vehicle. Keith and I decided discretion was the better part of valour this time and stayed firmly on the ground! Joe Mc turned up to have a look but was obviously not impressed.

Report by Shamus Pitts


Although I think the forecast was good for Tal-Y-Bont it was decided that it was kinder to take us to the Blorenge instead.

When we got there the clouds were overdeveloping quickly so we decided to wait and see what happened. Eventually people started taking off and they weren't instantly sucked up to the jetstream so people started flying. It was another day of timing your takeoff right and flying in to a thermal. I had a short flight and got a couple of hundred feet ATO but the cycles were quite short. The people who pushed right out towards Abergavenny seemed to do much better but it was a long way to fly in the hope of finding lift and some people had to land in the bottom landing field, 3km away and 1500' below.

As the afternoon wore on the sun disappeared behind a cloud and the wind dropped. A lot of people decided to forward launch and just enjoy a nice long top-to-bottom. I waited a little longer and found enough of a breeze to reverse launch and start my glide down. I was convinced I wouldn't make the glide as there's some large pylons to cross near the landing field but I made it quite easily. As I was starting to think about landing I noticed a couple of people circling below me. I joined them and started circling and very slowly we climbed back up about 1000' before losing it. I explored the area around Abergavenny for more lift but couldn't find anything much, then I noticed how far away the landing field looked. I was sinking as I flew over the town and I was sure I wouldn't make it. I used half bar a few times to try and get through the sink and started to wonder what it whether it was possible to land on the roof of the hospital or whether I could make it to a small field nearby. As it happened I made it to the landing field with a couple of hundred feet to spare and landed quite nicely in virtually nil wind. I videoed the flight so will try and upload it to Vimeo in the next couple of days. Video

Report by Andrew Fenton

The forecast looked much the same as Saturday but I decided to pop along to Monks and Winklebury to have a look anyway. At Monks I was surprised to find it gusting up to 20mph and guessing it would ease off once the sky cleared I hung around. It dropped a bit so I gave it a go; it was pretty strong and rough requiring a few big ears on occasion and after 20 minutes I decided to land. It then dropped to a reasonable 12 - 15mph so I had a few more flights before it turned more East and dropped off. Not bad for an Easter Sunday that was forecast to be light!

Sat 11 Apr 2009

Report by Shamus Pitts



It was decided that Saturday's round of the BCC would be held at Tal-Y-Bont. I'd never flown Tal-Y-Bont before but I'd read the site guide so I was expecting a bit of a walk up it and I wasn't disappointed!

After about 40 minutes of exhausting hard walking we finally got to the steep bit! Another 20 to 30 minutes we finally made it to the top. There seemed to be hardly any wind to start with, with the occasional thermal pulling the air from various directions.

After a rest and water people started spreading out around the SE bowl where eventually a thermal pulled the wind on and Paul H and Sean S lobbed off into a rough climb. The rest of us waited for the next thermal to come along and pull the wind on again, but it soon became apparent that the wind was coming from behind us so we trudged about half a kilometre round to the NE bowl.

There was a bit of wind by now but it still wasn't smack on to the ridge but when the thermals came through people could stay up for a short time. I had a short flight and decided to follow the group of people heading off to the NW face. This face was working better and a couple of people managed to thermal up and get away. I flew for about 15 minutes and landed just as the wind started to drop off. I was so hot and tired that I was having trouble staying alert so after a rest and some food I decided to call it a day.

The wind seemed to have dropped down and the flights were getting shorter so I thought I'd take off, fly down the ridge and round to the car park (or as close as I could get to it!) Looking at my tracklog now on google earth it's obvious why my plan was doomed to fail! I'd only flown 3km but I had ended up further away from the car park. I thought I could walk around Tal-Y-Bont and eventually end up at the car park but my plans were thwarted when I got to a ravine! I didn't particularly want to climb down it and back up the other side, I wasn't keen on walking back up the mountain and going round it, so I decided to follow it down towards the reservoir by the road and hope that there was a way through.

After an hour of scrabbling down the side of the mountain, climbing gates and finally following a steep track I made it to the road. I hadn't been there long before Ian Mackenzie from the Avon club stopped on his way past and took me back to the car park which turned out to be about 10km away (thanks Ian!).

Although I probably walked for 3 hours and flew for 15 minutes it was still a good day. The scenery was spectacular, the weather was beautiful and everyone was friendly, but when it was suggested that we might be going to Tal-Y-Bont again on Sunday there was talk of a strike!

Report by Paul Hawkins

Lots of hiking up and down big hills was the order of the day at Talybont in Wales yesterday. Saen Staines was rewarded with a 20 plus km flight (the best of the day I think) after thermalling out with myself and two others. Unfortunatly I didn't go xc but had a really nice flight in stunning surroundings. Highlights of my flight included a frontal collapse but perservering in nasty lee side conditions to climb up to over 2500ft ATO with a Red Kite! A big thanks to Andrea for running everyone around and to Mr. Staines for organising every thing.....Personally I can't wait to go back up to Wales and actually go XC!

Report by Roger Edwards


Dear Mike, those of us at Bell would like to apologise. Though the day was pretty poor we did have a cracking hour's flying. You looked so peaceful we didn't have the heart to wake you. Very sorry you missed it. Roger

Report by Alastair Florence


Had a disastrous trip to Wales, hiked about 14 miles up mountains with gliders on our backs and got no flying out of it.

Still got a couple of pics just past Bath of a very clear cut front as we waited for the RAC to tow us to Abergavenny.

Report by Marcus Webster


BELL HILL - Great Day on Bell for stone chasing but not so hot for flying , a big thank you from William to all you Parawaiters who took time out to throw a flint or two , have attached a picture of one tired but happy Jack Russell.

Wed 08 Apr 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


Coming back on the Sandbanks Ferry tonight it still looked strong, but it was a nice evening so I thought a look at St.A's was worth it flyable or not.

It was suprisingly light and felt on the hill so I had a fly. The wind was further off South than I thought and it wasn't pleasant or rewarding.

So next stop Kimmeridge which was much better. The air was a bit broken at times and not a mass of lift but still had a go for a while until I had to go and service one of my daughters cars, Nigel B and Neil W turned up also.

In hind sight Knitson may have been better but musn't grumble.

Wed 08 Apr 2009

Report by Mike



Hi, Attached are two photos which I took of one of your members. I didn't catch his name although we had a bit of a chat as he packed up.

The longer distance one (...9863) was used by the BBC South Today programme as a precursor to their weather report yesterday. They were taken on 6th April at 11.15ish at Barton-on-Sea - wind light and south-easterly.

Tues 07 Apr 2009

Report by John Alder

Ringstead Bay. I arrived at about 3.30pm to find the place almost deserted €“ no other pilots present. The sun was shining and the SSW wind was steady at 13-18mph. Rigged quickly and had a beautiful (HG) flight €“ roaming beyond Durdle Door eastwards and Ringstead village westwards. OK it was a bit too strong for PG's to enjoy but where were all the HG pilots? Not working surely? I reached around 300m ATO and the lift was steady and gentle at all levels; such a good flight! We are so lucky to have this on our doorsteps. Landed after about 80 minutes (I needed a comfort break and warm up) - the top field was clean, dry and grass not too long yet so all-in-all I had a great time at Ringstead today.

Sun 05 Apr 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


Not much to add to Shamus's report really, Ballard would have been a logical choice for me today but at the moment i'm keen to try and rack up some XC Km's so did Mere after a little diversion.

Weak cycles to start but flyable in phases, Paul did a spot of 'bush bothering' and was aided and abeited by Nigel. Got stronger and more consistant although just not much good convection although the sky looked good.

Inevitably busy and a bit of a bun fight at times.

Report by Shamus Pitts


I wasn't sure whether to go to Mere Rifle Range or Swanage today. As RASP was predicting a certain amount of thermic activity might be on the cards I decided to head for Mere. There were two others there when I arrived at about 10:30 and the wind was blowing 12 €“ 14mph ESE €“ I tried to leave a message on the sitephone but it kept saying the network was busy. The wind didn't last long, and by the time Paul H and Ali F turned up there wasn't much at all, only the odd thermic cycle.

When the gusts did come through people took off, but despite the very promising looking sky, the air didn't seem buoyant at all.

By lunch time the hill was packed with a fair proportion of the Avon club and Craig B and Nigel B from Wessex as well. About 2:15pm a decent gust came through and I pulled my wing up. Unfortunately it wasn't a clean inflation with most of my wing hanging fairly limply, but I was pretty close to a barbed wire fence so I thought it best to persevere! It soon unfurled and hoiked me off the ground and I found my way in to a fairly weak but consistent thermal which I stuck with, taking it over the back at about 500' ATO. I kept with it to 2200' ATO but then I either got bored going round in circles, lost concentration or it fizzled out, I don't know, but I wasn't going up anymore. I headed towards a cloud that was probably deteriorating and found nothing so decided to head over to Long Knoll, a south facing ridge about 4km behind Mere Rifle Range. I was probably about 700' above the ridge when I got there so decided to hang about and try and hook in to something as it came through. Looking down I could see a couple of wings laid out and recognised one of them €“ it was my friend Mel R! As I got lower I wasn't getting stacks of lift so I decided to land and say hello. After a site brief I took off again and enjoyed an hour or so boating about in the lifty strong rough air, before landing and being given a lift back to my car by Mel €“ thanks Mel! There were plenty of people back at the Rifle Range enjoying the now buoyant conditions, but time was getting on so I decided to head home, happy to have done my first (4km) XC from Mere, flown Long Knoll for the first time and had close to 2 hours in the air.

Sat 04 Apr 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


Looked like a pleasant evening, so spent a half hour chilling and cruising over St.Aldhelms as the sunset and wind subsided. Peachy.

Report by John Alder

Bell Hill. Mike Adkins' sitephone message correctly declared it was €œgood for the Hangies€, thanks for the message, Mike! I didn't get there until 2 o'clockish though.

Whilst I was rigging up we saw a couple of PGs leaving Batcombe under a street - it looked good! Meanwhile at Bell, Richard Mosley, Tim King and Rob Dowdell had already flown (Rob had left the hill). By the time I was ready to fly the wind had abated but I had a pleasant flight, thermalling to about 250m ATO. Unfortunately, in diminishing lift I missed the chance to squeak in on top and had to bottom land but it was dry and clean and Richard kindly ferried me back to the top (where several PGs were now bimbling about) so my enjoyment of the lovely spring afternoon wasn't spoiled €“ thank you Richard.

Fri 03 Apr 2009

Report by Simon Jones

As the mist over Blandford burned off towards late morning, I headed for the coast. However, as I approached Ringstead the mist thickened and was rolling up the hill and across the car park.

I popped down to Weymouth to find John, Ian and Steve(?) looking at a misty and light Bowleaze Cove. We waited around, chatting about the things we chat about at these times, for about an hour. Deciding that there would at least be more wind at White Horse (but probably a lot more mist too) I moved up to have a look. I bumped into Ali F on the track and we walked down to the field to eventually find Gaz M and Jeff Davies lurking in the fog.

Discovering that people were flying at Barton, and that there was pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine across Dorset, we discussed options, among other things. Ali thought Knitson might be clear, so I headed that way. On passing through Corfe Castle, I couldn't see the hill for the mist, so headed for Kimmeridge on the off chance that it might a) be clear and b) have come round to the SouthWest. €˜Tis a funny thing, desperation. Kimmeridge was also not visible, so despondently I headed home.

Dropping past Bulbarrow on the off chance, I met up with some modellers who were having quite a bit of success. I had a brief chat and decided to give it a go. One of the modellers, David Muir (who knows some Wessex members) kindly offered to scout for lift with his Zaggy €“ an arrangement that actually worked quite well some of the time. It wasn't as lumpy as I had heard it might be and I had a good 20 minutes €“ not much air time, but a little bit of compensation for a day driving around Dorset. I also got to fly Bulbarrow €“ a little used site right on my doorstep. The mist rolled in from the coast by about 6pm so I left the modellers flying in the dying light.

Report by Daniel Von mutius


Finished work at 4.30pm and my Fiance and I decided to drive down to Barton. The weather at home was glorious sunshine so donned my shorts and off we went.

There was 2 other wings in the air, Brian and another chap(sorry don't know your name), floating around in the very bouyant and smooth lift. The weather had closed in and everything was shrouded in a Haze blocking the sun out and makeng me regret my decision to wear shorts. after a short briefing from Brian i lay out and managed to get off the ground on the second attempt. Flew about for a half our or so before it got too cold (not only had i donned my shorts but in my haste had left my gloves at home). I think the other two chaps had been there since midday and had a fantastic day. Only half an hour in the end but nice to be able to finally fly after work again!

Report by Shamus Pitts


I wasn't sure whether to go to the coast or try and find somewhere thermic today. The clag didn't burn off at home until about midday but once it had gone I decided to have a look at Mere.

I met up with a friend who lives near Mere and we got to the Rifle Range at about 1:45 to find no wind and more clag, although it was staring to brighten up. Eventually some small gusts started coming through which were enough for me to take off, fly for between 3 and 9 minutes then land at various points halfway down the slope. My epic 9 minute flight ended with me scratching from about two thirds of the way down the hill up to within a couple of metres of the top, then pushing my luck too far and scratching all the way down the hill to the bottom landing field.

After a fairly severe walk back up I was about ready to go home €“ the cloud had come down, the clag had returned and it was gloomy and grey€¦ but there was a breeze now, blowing up the hill about 11 to 14mph. A few people turned up so once I'd got my breath back I took off again. There was some concern that the wind was going to go round to the southwest €“ I'd been a bit anxious about it all afternoon, but although the wind sock did point that way from time to time it quickly flicked back to south or SSE.

Not the thermic day I was hoping for but good fun none the less, and an hour's airtime that I didn't think I'd get when I arrived on the hill.

Wed 01 Apr 2009

Report by Roy Menage

With easterly winds blowing all day, it seemed like a good time to visit Hambledon for the first time. I arrived about 5:00 to find the wind quite strong but with occasional lulls.

After a good look around including checking out the top and planning escape routes if it all went dreadfully wrong, I decided to go for a launch on one of the lower ramparts. After ground-handling for a while feeling the air, I lobbed off into some nice buoyant air and boated around for a while until a really strong gust brought some seriously gnarly air and the risk of being blown back (not a great idea on a spine-back ridge). Judicious use of bar had me pushing very slowly forward despite several flutters as the wing threatened to collapse. Significant active flying saw to it that it didn't. I decided that if this was to be the pattern, I would get back on the ground where it is generally safer. So an interesting (if rather short) foray on my first visit there. Hopefully it won't be the last!

Report by Alastair Florence



Today I managed to get a survey done at a reasonable time so with a nice looking sky and a ENE wind headed for Sharpenhoe Clappers (Nr Luton) dont know what the clappers bit means, perhaps 'Hll with many trees'. Got there a bit to late to get away Xc (others did earlier) but still plenty of thermals giving some nice flying although strong at times. Plenty of XC potential here, the launch is a gentle slope barely steeper than glide angle, once off the ground you sort of hop over a hedge into a tree infested bowl and away you go.

I always thought scratching over trees was a bad idea ever since landing in one during my CP training, I reckon another Dunstable member now shares my view. Poor bugger was scratching and had a collapse which dropped him into the trees. He was sat in his harness 30ft above the ground for maybe 20 mins before he managed to get out and climb down the tree. Hope he recovered the glider it looked a nightmare to get at it and was still in the tree when I left.

Report by Shamus Pitts


The wind was forecast to be ENE today so I went to Hambledon. I got there about 10:30 to find the wind on the hill but blowing 11 to 18mph and forecast to increase. While I was waiting to see if it would drop at all, Marcus W, Derek S and Simon J turned up. We talked about buzzards, the wind, the clouds, previous flights and took wind readings from various positions on the hill but we couldn't escape the fact that it was too windy! There were lulls of 10mph and gusts of up to 28mph so we reasoned that the fluffy clouds passing overhead were €œactive€! Eventually Derek left, to be replaced a little while later by Keith B. At about 2pm I decided that the big gusts were reasonably well spaced and that the average wind was €œonly€ 18 to 20mph on top of the hill, so I decided to try taking off from the lowest rampart in a lull. The takeoff went surprisingly well. I spent part of it sitting on the ground but then the wind gently lifted me up and guided me off the hill! Conditions in the air could be described as €œinteresting€. In the lulls there was barely enough wind to stay airborne then a couple of minutes later I was heading upwards quickly but forwards slowly! There were cloud streets forming either side of the hill but I couldn't find a way to get to them. I think the clouds were pulling the wind all over the place €“ one moment it was coming over the woods to the south of takeoff, the next minute the more northeasterly face was working well. The lift was blowing through but it seemed to be fairly broken but with the wind being so strong I never had enough height to 360 without being blown back low over the hill.

After an hour and a quarter I'd had enough of the nasty rough air so decided to land at the bottom. I wasn't going down and at times I wasn't going forwards but a boot full of bar sorted that out and I made it to the ground! Not the greatest of flying days but a useful exercise in €œactive piloting€!

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2001 and before