Eye in the Sky - Dec 2009

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Tue 22 Dec 2009

Report by Simon Jones

Cowdown Hill: XC Weather seemed to indicate that it might get a bit top-end at the coast, and I'm not a big fan of Whitesheet, so I headed towards Cowdown. The wind indicators en route seemed to show rather light conditions, but with the prospect of a lovely walk over the hills regardless, I carried on. I got to take-off to find the wind on the hill - just about - and on the light side of firm. I unpacked and checked everything carefully - having not been in the air for about 6 weeks. It was scratchy at times, with a maximum of 100' ATO. The wind went off to the WSW occasionally, and after an hour or so became rather light. Still, there's 40 minutes I wouldn't otherwise have had! No photos, but a short video

Sun 20 Dec 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


Today's weather looked much the same as yesterday so I thought i'd cut out the fruitless drive to Bell, set off later and just go to St.A's.

As expected conditions almost identical to yesterday just a bit stronger. Had 1/2 hour fly during which time the wind was picking up a fair bit. Eventually penetration was slow at 450ft ato so flew back past the car park.

Paul H arrived and we walked back out but the wind was now gusting 20mph +.

Went home and did some plastering instead.

Nice to get out again and see some sunshine.

Report by Shamus Pitts

Having not flown for over 7 weeks I decided to take a walk up Cowdown despite not being convinced that it would be flyable. When I got to the top the wind was slightly off to the north, the sun was out, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground and the wind was blowing 18-21 mph! I waited for a while and eventually convinced myself that it was closer to 17-20mph than 18-21 so I unpacked, waited for a lull then took off.

The air was lovely and buoyant and despite being a bit off to the north the hill was working well. I would have taken some photos but my camera battery was completely dead €“ that's what happens if you don't check your gear for 2 months! After 25 minutes my hands were getting pretty numb so I landed, happy that I'd finally got my feet off the ground.

Sat 19 Dec 2009

Report by Alastair Florence


7 weeks without a flight has got to be about the longest stand off i've ever had, so I was pleased to see there could be a chance of doing something today.

Bell looked most likely so headed up to find the wind off West a little and light.

Colin D and a couple of SS pilots were on the hill and we were soon joined by several more pilots.

Sadly things just did not get going and with the wind more West than North me and Dave W headed off toward St.Aldhelms as RW was reporting almost due West on Portland.

Just a sniff of North of West in the wind but not enough to worry about, nice wind speed and Dave was soon off the ground followed by me.

Nice enough conditions although cold air, which beat Daves hands after 1/2 hour.

I landed to sort out a line knot and adjust the gearing on my speed bar then had another fly, it had been lovely and clear blue. Now alot of cloud was pushing in, I guess a bit of a front approaching. This increased the lift to give me 500 - 700ft ato comfortably, I ended up gently spiralling off about 400ft over the car park, A bit higher and I may have tried for a 5km glide !

Thursday 17th December 2009

Report by John Alder

Monk's Down. Met up with red ribbon HG pilot Steve Whitfield at about half past nine; it was freezing, the road covered with black ice but the fresh northerly and sunshine looked encouraging. I assisted Steve to launch and, whilst it looked a bit €˜top-endish' and rough, was pleased to see how well he was coping with the conditions as I finished my preparations to fly. Murphy's law dictated that Steve bottom landed just before I made my launch so I drove down to pick him and his glider up. By the time we got back to the top, the wind had picked up enough to discourage us from any further aviation so we left the soaring to some playful ravens for whom the flying conditions were obviously hugely enjoyable!

Wed 09 Dec 2009

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


First flights for 60 days - great to fly again after the weeks of rain and gales. It was a bit grey, misty and drizzly at first with the wind quite off - very slow progress westwards and a bit scratchy at times.

Conditions improved after 3pm with a bit more south and less of the mist and the wet stuff - in fact the sky cleared before dark.

Roger E, Craig B, Paul H, Pete C, Brian M and Joe Mc were among those about when I arrived but as the drizzle blew in decided to keep their wings dry. Simon (Sky Surfers) and Gary P arrived as the others drifted off to the pub. I did get a bit damp at first but soon it got more lifty and dried up as the wind backed a little.

We three took full advantage of the improved conditions - with Gary bench prancing and Simon pole dancing. I had a good swoop about and got some useful 'hover' shots of the others swinging about below - see YouTube - Winter Paragliding at Barton Although I had to drape the wing over the banisters to dry out in the stairwell... it was worth it!

Wed 09 Dec 2009

Report by Duncan Haysom


Started with a long drive down from Eastleigh to Kimmerage, Too windy and poor visibility.

So to White Horse, too gusty. Friar Waddon then? No, a bit off the hill and a low flying helicopter (very low).

Stopped in at Barton on the way back and took a few snaps of Simon (from Skysurfers) and a couple of Wessex regulars.

Getting it the hours (minutes) on a murky late afternoon.

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