Eye in the Sky - Aug 2009

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Mon 31 Aug 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


Woke up early, looked out window, crap weather, went back to bed.

By mid morning there were some signs of brightening up but still looked strong, I thought maybe Durdle Door might work. I stopped on Whiteways hill for a weather check and found it howling and clagged in so drove back to check out Knitson.

Knitson was blowing about 14-17mph but consistent gusts up to 24mph and the wind off a touch East put me off.

As I walked back down I met Swanage Simon, I figured that sometimes when Knitson is flyable Ballard is too light so maybe it would be lighter there today, plus its 200ft lower and more suited to a bit of East.

As I walked up a couple of hangies launched and were doing ok, this gave me confidence. On top it was strongish but doable. Simon sat out for a while. It was reasonably strong but not top end with plenty of lift and the whole ruidge soarable although the wind was smashing up the thermals on the ridge a bit.

After a while the wind dropped, Simon launched, and the thermals up by the obelisk became useable giving about 1000ft amsl for a while but too much sink to get over Ulwelll gap between.

The wind eventually died off to nothing but left a lovely quiet evening, it amazing how much sand gets in your wing even when you try and keep the leading edge up.

Finished up the evening with an invitation to supper in a Yurt, Pleasant._

Sun 30 Aug 2009

Report by Stuart Martin



"Should you be wondering where the summer is [was]; it appears to be mostly in Bassano. Rory Lynch and Stuart Martin on yet another flyable day in Bassano."

Sat 29 Aug 2009

Report by Roy Menage



I decided to take a gamble on Whitesheet. I wasn't too hopeful when I saw the sky and driving through light rain I was wondering why I was bothering.

As I approached, I noticed a hangie scratching around. Wasn't too sure if it was because he had just got off or it was actually lighter than expected. When I arrived at the top, a couple more hangies were rigging as were a couple of PG pilots (hangie bottom-landed shortly after). Maybe it's not that strong then, I figured. So I got my kit out and after spending a little time chatting (sorry, assessing the weather) I decided it was worth a go, particularly since the 2 wings in the air were penetrating fine. True to form, the air was rough at times but some fairly punchy thermals coming through. After a while, I decided I should have had my flight deck and water after all so landed to get it.

Then the wind picked up so we all sat around for a while. Then it got flyable again but not as much thermic activity. Then the cycle pushed through and it got windy and not very buoyant and so it went. Still, just about everybody got some air time including a few Wessex members and various visiting pilots from Avon and Devon, possibly elsewhere too.

Report by Shamus Pitts

Not much to say about today. I had a short flight at Cowdown first thing this morning with Paul and Ali. The wind was pretty strong when we took off and increasing but the air was buoyant and thermals were coming through. I took a thermal up to about 750' ATO and started to go with it, only to lose it a few fields back. I tried to push back to the hill but ended up landing a couple of fields back.

When I got back, Paul was still in the air and Ali was about to take off. Next thing I knew they'd both gone over the back, Paul landing near Piddletrenthinde and I think Ali landing near Cerne Abbas. I thought about taking off but the wind was howling through so I packed up and went to pick Paul up.

I walked up Cowdown again this afternoon because it looked like the wind had dropped and the sea-breeze had gone (according to nextdoors weathervane). I was wrong! The wind was off to the WSW and gusting through strongly. I waited a while and at 6pm it seemed to have calmed down so I took off. I flew for a quarter of an hour but the air was so rough and horrible I decided to call it a day and land. I cleared the power lines that run across the field in front of the hill so decided to try for the field next door to my neighbour. I must have only been a couple of feet above my neighbours' hedge as I crossed it in to the field, a bit of a close call! The rest of the bank holiday weekend isn't looking too good (at the time of writing) so it was good to get a couple of short flights in today.

Tue 25 Aug 2009

Report by Andrew Fenton



Just returned from a week in Oludeniz with my girlfriend Samantha. It was mostly beach, pool and relaxation but with a "bit" of flying added in of course. We stayed at Lykia World a large resort complex to the east of the town with it's own on-site paragliding company (Escape) and landing site. I managed four flights at various times of day all from 6000+ft hitching a ride up the mountain with Escape for 10 Euro per trip.

Mid-morning was a no wind forward launch with a smooth descent lasting about 25 minutes which was good for views and photos but otherwise a bit dull: Late morning/early afternoon was a lively launch to the north into strongish thermal winds allowing for some decent soaring of the summit/ridge and some wide thermals to the south before heading out over the sea: Mid-afternoon saw a launch to the south in reasonable thermic cycles but with strong and narrow thermals on the way: Late afternoon or the "sunset" flight was an interesting one with a northern launch into dying thermal winds before heading south and dropping into the sea-breeze which bizarrely seemed to increase as the sun set. This was good for soaring the lower mountain but not so good for getting down before the sun disappeared due to the mountain sweeping down to the sea and the lift band extending some distance out there. In the end I came down on big-ears from about 1000ft. Overall, a really good trip to Oludeniz but four flights was enough before it became a bit repetitive.

Sun 23 Aug 2009

Report by Martin Butcher


Piedrahita Spain : Just arrived home from a fantastic weeks flying in Piedrahita, Spain with Steve Ham (FlyPiedrahita.com).

The flying there is a mixture of mountain and flatland. You take off on the mountains and gain height then cross a pass onto open flatlands where if you are lucky you connect with convergence and are able to fly for miles.

On Sat I managed to connect it all together and flew down to Avila some 50k away then turned around and flew half way back.

My track log shows 7.5 meter per second lift and at one stage I climbed 1700 meters in 10 mins topping out at 3700 meters. Eye watering stuff. The thermals though big and strong were not too rough except when you hit the inversion layer but if you could blast through that it was very pleasant until the convergence cloud base where you began to get the feeling you may be hoovered up, but the vertical development was small so it wasn't too much of a worry.

The picture is of approaching Avila from near cludbase.

Report by Shamus Pitts


After missing out on the fun yesterday, I decided to meet Paul H and Nigel B early at Friar Waddon today and try and get a bit of flying in.

The forecast wasn't very promising and the sky was hardly inspiring but we all got there about 10am to find the wind pretty top-end but just about doable.

I took off and explored the ridge, soon to be joined by Paul H, Martin F, Nigel B and Russel W. There were some big gusty thermals coming through despite the blanket of grey above us and we could push a long way out from the ridge. Unfortunately as soon as we started to 360 we went behind the ridge, then had a slow push back. I used full bar at one point to get back and had a 50% asymmetric. It came out quickly enough but it didn't help to make the air feel any more friendly! I think we all got above 500' ATO a couple of times but the thermals were a bit broken up, the sky wasn't looking inspiring and the wind was howling through so I didn't feel to confident about trying to go XC.

After almost 2 hours in the air I decided that the wind was just too strong so I landed and packed up with Paul, as a herd of cows got closer and closer. As we were €œumming€ and €œarring€ about whether to go home or not we noticed that the sky had improved and had become blue! The wind didn't seem as strong and there were fluffy white clouds dotted about. Martin took off, closely followed by Paul and then finally me. The wind was now about 15 degrees off to the west and still pretty strong, and any journey down the ridge was met with a nil mph return leg! I was just about to land when I saw a buzzard circling nearby. I flew over to it, found good lift, turned a couple of times and found myself about 600' ATO 3 fields back. I lost the thermal reasonably quickly and landed a staggering 2.69km from the ridge by the road from Upwey to Martinstown.

Nigel picked me up and we decided to have a look at Ringstead on the way home. The wind was a reasonable strength but coming from the SSE so I called it a day and went home.

(The farmer's daughter mentioned again that she, and maybe other members of her family, would like to have a tandem flight. If any tandem pilots are reading this would you be able to take them up?)

Sat 22 Aug 2009

Report by Neville Almond

Saturday at Ringstead saw a small gathering in the 9 mph southerly. Mick Wooldridge, Russell (PG's) and myself (HG) had a few short flights near takeoff, but staying up was tricky in the light air so far off. At 12:30 I managed to gain 150ft with a few buzzards, enough height to get me over to the lower cliff, where I spent 10 minutes gaining 200ft to become level with the cliff edge. A few attempts were made going SE along the cliff, but the rotor was apparent€¦€¦..I eventually put a brave face on and persisted heading SE and 200 yards from the Nothe the downdraught got quite intense, but with the tide out, a good glide and a small non-wet bomb out below I persisted through the 400ft/min sink around the corner to be met with proper 300ft/min lift €“ phew! After that, it was soarable from the Nothe down to Durdle door, but with light winds it felt like you couldn't push your luck too much €“ even on the south face it still seemed off the east.

Wed 19 Aug 2009

Report by Grant Oseland


A few out and about today. Kimmeridge was the site today due to a NOTAM for the Red Arrows over Weymouth bay, but then on to Ringstead for 17:30 for a nice bit of cliff soaring for those that made it.

Tue 18 Aug 2009

Report by Jeremy Mortimer


It was a good day to go kayaking also - enjoyed watching Grant waiting at Lulworth before going onto Kimmeridge. Not sure who was on the other glider.

Report by Neville Almond

Today was just PERFECT for the purbeck coastal run, I don't think I've had a better day there. The wind was just west of south, around 14Mph allowing everyone (PG/HG/Plastic bags) to get to the cliffs easily, and once round the White Nothe the lift ballooned. As Grant said in his posting, you need to know where the landings are (just in case, there are significant changes of ridge direction and some rotor if you don't read the topography), so take sometime out beforehand to study the large-scale OS and also Googlemaps to visualise where the lift will/won't be and where the emergency landing areas are€¦€¦€¦once this critical knowledge is embedded it leaves you to have immense fun in this huge, scenic adventure playground. Went as far east as Kimmeridge (was that Joe McCarthy I did the photo shoot with at Gad cliff?). By mid afternoon the lift was so good the Atos was taking 190 seconds to get from takeoff to Durdle door.

Report by Grant Oseland



All in all not a bad day's flying today, but had to work for it.

Arrived at Ringstead with the intention of going down the coast but was greeted with very little wind and overcast sky, yet again not what the nice weather men were forecasting.

Russel W phoned to say he was on his way to the White Horse and it was southerly, then not 20 mins later said Russle was airborne over the Horse enjoying some orographic cloud. I decided to stick with my plan as Quenten was now having difficulty getting forward on take off.

After launching the ridge was not working that well so left for the cliffs with only 20 meters above take off and by the time I made the cliffs I was low enough to have a chat with a man mowing his lawn explaining that I did not really want to be this low.

The route to the White Nothe was quite slow and low as well to the point that when I did turn the corner I was well below the cliff top as the wind does seem to whip round here when off to the south, however as expected there was plenty of lift to be found on the other side. No dramas getting to Durdle door with very little loss of height but crossing the gap at Lulworth cove caused a few issues as the height gains seem to be disappearing.

Eventually I decided that it was not going to get any better and went for it pushing out to the small cliffs before cutting back in towards the ridge on the back of Luworth cove itself which always gets a bit bumpy from the rotor off the cove entrance, the ridge running away from the cove never seems to give much lift and is also a little on the bumpy side.

After crossing the gap to Worbarrow bay the weather seemed to change a bit as I was now only going forward at 2kph and engulfed in orographic cloud at the same time as Neville on his Atos who did not seem to be having the same penetration problems as me. Eventually the Orographic dissipated and allowed me to push forward to Gadd cliff which is always a bit iffy on a Paraglider as its quite some way into wind and with no bottom landing if you get there and its not working, but it was so hooray for me.

The plan from here was to push on to Kimmeridge ridge as earlier I thought I had seen two Paragliders doing well with lots of height. Getting there presented few problems but again the wind was not playing game and seemed to have changed direction a bit making forward penetration difficult and Kimmeridge itself was very rough and uncomfortable so only hung around for a bit before turning back for home. The return flight put me on the deck just in front of Tyneham but not quite on Gad cliff as again the wind had changed direction and the ridge was producing no lift so a quick pack up and a 10 min walk around the face and into wind and took off again and then on to Ringstead.

It did involve a bit more than just onto Ringstead but I have got bored of typing now. If anybody fancies giving this ridge run a go just be prepared for some ballsy decisions and ALWAYS have a get out plan.

Sun 16 Aug 2009

Report by John Alder

Ringstead Bay. Provoked into filing this report by Andy's query below: the main answer was €˜having a fantastic time at Ringstead!' - PGs first then myself, Everard and Richard M on HGs. To be perfectly candid, I can't recall a more enjoyable afternoon's flying, though the wind was very westerly, the cliffs were working beautifully €“ for example it was fun flying the undercliff with confidence: one could easily get back to 200m ATO, the air was so smooth aerobatics could be carried out over land or sea and a big area of sky was available to fly in, including east of the Nothe and wowing the grockles (from a sensible height, rest assured!) at Ringstead village and its beach.

Report by Alastair Florence


Had a very slow bitty climb out of Cowdown to not very high, then scrabbled round a bit finding nothing so glided toward Cerne Abbas arriving at the uppermost tip of Giants naughty bits.

Found nothing again so tracked North up the ridge taking a severe spanking which almost made me give up and land, saw some birds climbing in front so flew out for a make or break. struck lucky but once near base there was virtually nothing else happening and ended up at the foot of Bulbarrow. I took a nice picture of everyone salvaging Nigel's wing but don't have the heart to send it in as he was very kind and came and retrieved us for which I got him a beer.

Report by Shamus Pitts



An excellent day at Cowdown today, it was one of those rare days that it actually works quite well most of the day. Normally something happens to spoil the fun, usually the sea breeze rearing its ugly head, but not today! By about 9:30am there were 3 of us on the hill - me, Nigel B and Ali F, with Paul H arriving soon after that. The wind started off fairly light with the sky a litle cloudy out front but things improved quite quickly and thermals started to come through. Every now and again it died off and we landed €“ I landed on the spur and my wing somehow ended up tangled in the gorse but Nigel, Ali and Paul helped me get it out so we were soon back in the air.

My next flight seemed to be going quite well but when I looked down Nigel's wing was in the gorse! I wondered how long I could string my flight out for before having to land and help him, but it didn't seem fair to watch him struggling so I landed and with Paul, Ali and Martin F's help we soon got it out.

A couple of Condors pilots turned up along with Mark R so I had my lunch while they flew €“ I'd never seen it so busy on Cowdown! It was around this time that Paul got away €“ he landed a few fields back and was soon back on the hill. Meanwhile, Ali also got away. Guy turned up with his tandem and the wind seemed to drop a little so Nigel landed at the bottom. Paul managed to get away again, this time getting to Piddletrenthide. Nigel picked him up and also Ali from Bulbarrow. Mark R was seen flying in the direction of his farm! A couple of times I thought I was going over the back, only to lose the thermal and try and make it back to the hill. I made it back once, landed 2 fields back once and 3 fields back once €“ the thermals just seemed to fizzle out. The ground drops away behind Cowdown, so I suppose the air has to drop down to fill the valley, which may be why the climbs dropped off€¦ I don't know€¦

The wind increased over the course of the day and slowly went round to the WSW. By the time I took off for my final flight it was either fairly still or gusting through quite strongly and from the WSW. I took off to see Simon J arriving at takeoff. I flew for about 20 minutes, finding something promising and taking it back a few fields but again it fizzled out and I flew back to the hill. I decided to call it a day and land, and it was while I was packing up I saw Simon's spectacular downwind, downhill somersault of a side-landing! I'm glad you're okay Simon! I thought I'd be disappointed not to go XC but had a brilliant day regardless, 3 hours airtime over 9 flights! Sun 16 Aug 2009

Report by Andy Dawson

Whitesheet. Arrived late morning with wind more NW than west and quite lively. After preperation the wind decided to go W so upsticks and walked round to the other face with a guy from Bristol (Ron?). We did have three fights in progressively rough air and strong winds untill I got blown back across the rear field and I decided it was time for the armchair. Still one hour of exciting flying. Where was the rest of the Wessex?

Sat 15 Aug

Report by Richard Mosley

Flew the hang glider from Hive beach to Charmouth. There were about three paragliders, launching from the beach and flying in the strong wind which was a tad westerly. Some interesting gaps to cross; Caravan park at west bay, west bay town and seatown. Had to creep around the front of golden cap half way up untill hitting the westerly face and rushing back up to great height! There were some glum looking paraglider pilots waiting on top. Unfortunately i decided to continue to charmouth because the broken cliffs looked high enough to produce some lift. Big mistake! Just before Charmouth at Cains Folly i found myself sinking and went on a return glide to golden cap to land amongst the fossil hunters. The walk back to Golden cap was hellish. I lost a batten, swallowed a fly gasping for oxygen, got a foot blister. Finally abandoned the glider in a field at a place called St gabriels mouth after dragging myself up a set of steep steps.
£15 Taxi back to hive beach. And never got to munch the pigs ass at the BB Q. Still on good southerly day its a good cliff run. ( Paraglider pilot who had been flying at Hive beach to me " I don,t believe you got to Charmouth "

Still there you go, I am sure it has been done before on a hang glider and a Paraglider apart from the gaps it is a straight run of cliffs.

Fri 14 Aug 2009

Report by Duncan Haysom

As Simon mentioned, we had a good bit of flying at Kimmeridge yesterday.

But I just wanted to say a big thanks to Simon for the help he gave me.

Being that it was a fairly strong wind and my first post training day on a ridge in the UK I was a little apprehensive to say the least.

Simon helped get me off for both of my flights and gave me a heap of tips.

I always had a feeling that the Wessex was going to be a good club but Simon went the extra mile and a half to get me in the air even at the expense of his own airtime.

A great day Cheers Duncan

Report by Simon Jones

A pretty good day at Kimmeridge. I arrived at about 10:30 to find Paul H in the air with occasional good height above the ridge. I launched to find the northwestern end of the ridge working best. Orographic cloud started to form at the cliffs and soon enveloped the southeastern end of the ridge. We both landed, but took off again when the cloud didn't seem to be thickening. We were joined by new member Duncan who had a really good couple of flights at a slightly unfamiliar type of site - having completed his training in Verbier!

Paul left to go to work, the orographic cleared, and the seaward end of the ridge started to work quite well. I pushed forward to the farm with 400' ATO and toyed with the idea of pushing on forwards to the cliffs. However, I lost a lot of height just past the farm and returned to the ridge.

The wind picked up gradually, and we launched from halfway down the hill for our last flights. We left at about 2, just as Simon 'Montana' arrived. Marcus W phoned as I was on my way home as he was thinking of heading towards Kimmeridge. A sitephone message indicated that it had become too strong later in the afternoon - I hope they both got some flying before it blew out.

Report by Grant Oseland


A nice day at Ringstead today as the weather never really did what the weather man said it would with regards to strong wind, at one stage I think there was actually 8 hang gliders set up ready to fly which must be some kind of record? The wind seemed to stay light most of the time despite speculation that it was blown out down at Barton, and at times it felt as though the wind was about to drop off.

Neil M gave us a good demonstration of the new Sky Anakis by landing on the beach, just bad timing as not five minutes later the cliffs were working and I do believe that Russell W gave the wing the royal thumbs up latter on, so it must be good.

Thurs 13 Aug 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


With a nice looking sky I was hopping for the chance to narrow the KM gap on young awkins in the Wessex league so headed for Bell.

A gentle waft was on the hill which never really got going and went off badly West after lunch. Derek, Harry and Myself managed a few short flights but it was not really happening.

Grant with a super quick repaired wing, top marks to Aerofix,, Simon G? and Karl arrived but things did not improve. I got jarred off and headed for the sea breeze ending up at Kimmeridge with Simon following and Quentin showing up as well.

Typical Kimmerdge sea breeze conditions, a little turbulent at times but nothing scary, I hatched a plan to try and get some km's out the day by flying the full length of the ridge a few times to max out on turnpoints then legged it to Houns Tout, I did not really know if this would work but it looked a nice evening for a walk back if it didn't, not much lift on Houns Tout and was only gaining about 10ft per beat, eventually I got enough to leg it over to St.Aldhelms where I had a bit of a soar then flew to the car park to land.

Nigel B arrived about an hour before I flew off and launched as I got to St.A's Simon kindly offered to retrieve me, as I rang him and asked. Sadly the best score I could get was 11.8 km so no progress on the league challenge but an enjoyable little adventure.

Tues 11 Aug 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


If you had arrived on Bell today not knowing the day of the week you would have assumed it was Sunday by the crowds, guess a lot of people are taking hols, like me.

Good looking sky in the morning although the flying was poor or non- existent, off West and light.

After lunch it went Blue and soarable. A gaggle got away about 1430 inc Roy M, Andy D, Colin D, Neil Mc, Dave F and me.

Climbs were very bity and we were beating our heads on the inversion at about 2800ft amsl, best technique seemed to be fly downwind a bit, find some lift then turn back into wind and climb as much as possible rather than 360.

WNW drift and once over Blandford the air seemed dead, me and Andy went on a glide to near the Ashley Wood Golf course, the others dropped out at various locations along the route.

Several others had similar flights and good soaring on the hill.

Sat 8 Aug 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


BCC final on Long Mynd, Conditions looking good in the morning, many people getting away with varying distances, I didn't leave the hill until after lunch myself but then ended up on the 11th tee at Welford on Avon golf course, Nr Stratford on Avon for 85km straight distance comp score and 90km with turnpoints. Peachometer 9.99.

Day was marred though by a mid air collision after I had got away leaving one pilot dead and another seriously injured. We all understand the risks (I hope)

Report by Shamus Pitts


Saturday morning found a contingent of Wessex pilots on top of Long Mynd for the final of the Airwave BCC. Hoping to bring glory to the club were Sean S, Dave W, Martin B, Paul H, Ali F, Nigel B, Martin F and myself.

The wind was a bit off the hill to the SW to start with but thermals started coming through and it became possible to maintain flight! The thermals seemed to fizzle out after a few hundred feet although some pilots managed to stick with them, but I found myself circling up, losing it, flying back to the ridge, finding another thermal, circling, losing etc€¦ After a while I noticed that there was a little gaggle near the glider field who seemed to have found something, with Nigel at the top of the stack, so I headed over. The lift didn't seem much more consistent than what I had experienced earlier and I decided to push out in to the valley towards a couple of sailplanes. My vario suddenly woke up and a slow climb quickly turned in to a 5-up which I took to cloudbase As I started to disappear in to the cloud I decided that if I used full bar and headed downwind, the resultant increase in descent might be enough to keep me out of the cloud €“ it worked€¦ for a while. I soon found myself in the sink that comes with lift. I flew over Church Stretton to Ragleth Hill hoping to find lift but I just seemed to be getting lower and lower. I was so low that I seemed to be getting a bit of rotor coming through as I was in the lee of the hill but I persevered and eventually by vario started beeping slowly. I worked the thermal and slowly started to get to a more comfortable height and saw 3 or 4 gliders fly over from Long Mynd to join me in my thermal.

I took the climb to base then used full bar to keep out of the cloud and head for the next bank of cloud over near Wenlock Edge, where I climbed back up to cloud base. I used the bar again to fly along the bottom of the clouds and then pushed out towards the next good looking cloud which seemed much further away than I had first thought. I ended up very low €“ the lowest I'd been so far €“ and started looking for suitable fields to land in. I flew over a group of dry looking fields near a farm, hoping for a save and eventually found a slow sporadic climb. I stuck with it again and after about 1000' it matured in to a stonking 6-up, the best climb of the day! I took this to cloud base, which didn't take long, then used full bar again to push NE under the cloud street until I came out the end, then headed ENE towards a likely looking cloud. About half way to the cloud I started to have doubts about whether I would reach it or not so changed course to head for a closer but not so good looking cloud. I got closer and closer and lower and lower until I was very low over a wood and a fishing lake. I scratched around and found a few nibbles of thermal but nothing to stop my inevitable descent and eventually I had to choose to land while I could still make it to a likely looking field.

I finally landed in Nordley, 3.5km NW of Bridgnorth for 32.5km, my longest flight this year!

Report by Everard Cunion




Fri 7 Aug 2009

Report by Shamus Pitts


Arrived at quite a busy Bell hill at about 11am to see 10 wings in the air under a cracking looking sky. I took off and quickly found myself at 1100' ATO and heading off towards the masts in the drift from the fairly strong NNW wind. I lost the thermal and made my way back to the ridge, losing quite a lot of my height on the way.

Bits and pieces of lift kept coming through, taking me to about 600' ATO but I couldn't find anything substantial. A couple of times I started to take something over the back only to lose it again and have to creep back to the ridge.

Eventually a weak thermal came through which just felt slightly more consistent than some of the previous ones and I stuck with it for an extra couple of turns. By now I was about 500' ATO but over the woods behind the hill. I would have rather have been quite a lot higher but I was fairly sure I couldn't get back to the ridge so I focused my attention on staying in the lift and getting past the woods! The climb remained fairly slow and a bit rough. The clouds weren't working particularly well although the sky looked amazing. As I got near Stickland I saw somebody land (maybe Dave F) and my climb started to fizzle out. I headed for a wisp that was looking like it might be about to become a cloud and was pleased to get a steady climb as I approached it.

I never made it to cloud base but found enough lift to work my way down to Sandford. I was getting dangerously close to airspace and so started to head to the clouds a little bit more to the west. By the time I got to the power lines that run through Wareham forest I was only about 100' above them and fairly anxious to get past them, then I saw three buzzards circling upwind of me. I headed for them but didn't find much lift so started a downwind glide to a possible landing field. Just past the power lines I got a blip of lift that was fairly consistent but the drift was taking me closer and closer to airspace (it was only afterwards that I realised that I was low enough to go under the airspace) so I left it and glided across wareham forest to a clearing that looked like a good place to land, passing very low over some trees on the way! I only saw one other glider for the majority of the flight, which I think was Adrian C just a little way behind me. Brian M kindly picked me up having just collected Roger E from Bloxworth, although he had to wait a bit while I found my way out of the woods! I checked on google earth later and realised after 0.5km, if I'd turned right when I got to a track I would have got to the road in 160m €“ I turned left and had to walk 3km to get to a road! Oops! Still, 25km, not a bad flight!

Report by Adrian Coombe


Bell Hill Friday 7th Aug 09 A Buzzard and a Hangie helped me climb out to a decent 2000 ft.

Got a bit low over the chicken farm near Kingston where I had an ear popping and farly rough climb which maintained in a smoother manner over the arable fields towards the A35.

From the outset I was chasing another Pg half a mile in front but I saw it land near Wareham.

Never quite got to base. Max. about 3000ft asl or maybe ato - cant quite remember! The water running into Poole harbour was pretty muddy after the floods.The small fishing boats were out going round and round in tight circles. Dredging cockles I think.

Landed at the Witch Oil Farm.

The worker who gave me a lift back to Wareham said they will be drilling into oil 15km off the Bournemouth Coast with their bendy drill. This will keep the farm going for at least10 years.

A happy day...

Wed 05 Aug 2009

Report by Mike



Report by Simon Jones

A lovely day at Ringstead. Although overcast and drizzling inland, the coast was bathed in sunshine. Conditions were initially a little light, although it gradually picked up until Nicky showed us the way to the cliffs. She was quickly followed by Neil McC, Hop-a-long Whyte, Gary W and Keith Burridge. With a westerly element to the wind direction, it was occasionally a slow trip back to launch. Many pilots arrived at various points during the afternoon - Ian had a good hour or so in the late afternoon and Dave Joliffe was boating about for much of the day. Derek turned up for a 30 minute 'sharpener' in preparation for Bell tomorrow. I left as Neil was flying his flash new Sky wing - the one with the un-pronouncable name - looked nice though.

Report by Jon Harvey

Arrived at Eype midday, conditions were rather pathetic at the time 5mph max, and well west. Forecast was optimistic, so stayed put. Called Dinks, who arrived about 1.30 and brought some hope with him.

Soon afterwards both wafting around, just, in the bowl, and as light weight as possible, then the breeze stopped so hurried landings and waited.

Then much more hopeful signs as decent breeze set in, but still quite westerly, so up and away. Dinks made Thorncombe, and eventually succeeded myself, but had to really stay well out from the cliff, near the bowl approaching Thorncombe, as they were in the lea, and very sinky conditions. Went out to the Seatown section, but decided to return to T/O, as now need my camera, cloud having now disappeared completely, and into bright sun, (trying to think last time that happened).

Collected camera, and saw Jerry Hollands now making ready. Off again, and back towards Seatown. Dinks made a valiant attempt to cross the gap to Golden Cap, finding sufficient lift along the cliffs, until near to the east face of Golden Cap. Thought he was going to make around the front, even though he was well low, but unfortunately wasn't able to complete his mission, finding beach to land, and a walk out.

Stayed around myself, eventually getting to 900 ft asl, but now the wind had picked up, and ground speed above the Anchor pub down to a couple of mph, so decided crossing sucessfully today, wasn't on. Played instead stayed around a while. Nice conditions now, then as my time was running out, and knowing Dinks really wanted to be away by 5pm went back to Eype, to retrieve. Back at West Bay, must say, had second thoughts, re collecting Dinks, as had so much height, still way over 800 ft, was really tempted to cross and fly to Burton Bradstock, but knew getting back across Westbay harbout, wasn't an option.

Landed at Eype, arranged with Dinks to retrieve, at Seatown. and Jerry landed well on Eype beach. Pity to haveto end a good day, but wind now well west.

Nealy 2.5 hours today. Hope for more of the same, though forecast for today is NW and even lighter.

Report by Keith Burridge



Took a chance and believed xcweather's forecast for today and headed for Ringstead. Called Neil M and we met about 13.00 greeted by promising signs. The Orographic was clearing, wind increasing and swinging on to the hill. After about an hour and a half of scratchy stuff Nicky (Taz) made a bid for the cliffs. After her success she was promptly followed by all who were of course only being gracious by allowing ladies to €œcommit€ first. A good afternoo's flying was had by all including Gary M, Russell W, Simon J Derek S, Ian ? and others.awesome for me having not flown for about ten plus weeks.

Report by Alastair Florence


Came home from work with a little detour via Mere. Andy F already flying plus a handful of others. Nice enough evening with the wind dropping off and pleasantly bright, air stayed bouyant and although scratchy, enough to stay up.

Driving home at Blandford a part rainbow was showing, by the time I got past Blandford it was one of the most complete and clearest rainbows I have ever seen. 2 bows showing 180' degrees each, I could have done with a fish eye lense to photograph it though.

Sun 02 Aug 2009

Report by Jon Harvey


Today Arrived at Eype, just before 11am, in time to see JP going well, over towards Thorncombe Beacon, but I got caught talking to folk wanting info about paragliding, so a long delayed. Can't really be rude to potential fliers can we? Eventually got airborne, pretty strong conditions about 12mph at the front carpark. Saw JP way over Golden Cap, and going towards Charmouth, and by the time I arrived over Thorncombe, saw a rather dark rain laden cloud making landfall somewhere around Lyme, so decision made to return to Eype, and shortly afterwards was followed by John, who did in fact reached Charmouth.

Cloud cleared so went again, and this time direct to Thorncome and onwards to Golden Cap, and from there progress to Charmouth was quite slow, taking nearly 15 mins from Golden Cap to Charmouth, then across the gap and up to the top of the golf course, but unable to make any further headway towards Lyme, as now directly into a head wind.

Returning east so much quicker, and eventually landed 2pm after 1 hr and 50 mins and with 35 mins earlier not bad days flying.

Report by Shamus Pitts

Got to the top of Cowdown early to find the wind light but fairly on the hill. After an hour it had picked up enough to have a fly but it was a bit scratchy. The wind was a bit off to the north to start with but over the course of the morning it started to shift around to WSW and get quite rough. It had also increased and Nigel, Bill, Alex and myself all decided to have a look at Corton Denham. Simon J passed me as I was packing up and decided to head to Corton Denham too.

We arrived at Corton Denham to see James L landing in quite strong wind and a hang glider pilot flying. We waited for the wind to drop, which it did, then increased, then dropped, then rained, then increased, then dropped down to 16 €“ 18mph. James had a fly, then I took off to find the air rough and horrible! The wind was a bit off to the south and gusting through, and there was an angry looking cloud developing. As I took off it started raining for a minute or two then stopped, but I wasn't having much fun so didn't stay in the air long. As I was packing up it started raining again €“ hopefully this isn't a taste of what August is going to be like! Still, not too bad a morning, a few weak thermals and about an hour in the air so can't complain.

Report by Alan Webb


Arrived at Ringstead about 09.45am. A couple of Hangliders about to rig. Wind was west and light. Wanting to try out my new wing, I ground handled and pre flight checked the lines and tested the air with some inflations. By now the wind had moved round WSW and increased. Took a 5 minute maiden flight on the ridge, all seemed OK, landed to leave a site message, then began a 2 hour flight backwards and forwards to the cliffs. Couldn't understand why there were no other PG's. Eventually other PG's did turn up and got about an hour of flying until too strong at about 2pm. Lovely flying conditions logging 3 hours airtime. Hope the open-air mass wasn't put off by the wingovers in front of them.

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