Eye in the Sky - Feb 2010

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Sat 20 Feb 2010

Report by Danny Von Mutius


Saturday was fun.. floating around the cliffs at ringstead practicing some mini spirals for the first time and attempting wing overs. Very chilled day on the cliffs. Thanks to Simon J on the weather update in the morning.

Report by Richard Mosley

A good day at Ringstead; Large angry looking clouds inland pulled the wind onto the coast in a southerly direction. It poured and snowed in Poole but we were bathed in sunshine. Some pilots unfortunately ended up on the beach with a shuttle service picking them up. Shaun staines and myself flew down the cliffs to Durdle door and back a first for shaun which may have made his day. Then rigged and flew the Atos to do the same but with the wind more westerly, it was a little more buttuck clenching with the wingtip level with the cliffs just round the south face of the nothe.

(See Hitler hates paragliding. U tube videos) May make you laugh or not depending on your sense of humour.

Report by Simon Jones



Arrived at about noon to find the wind on the hill, but light. We ground handled for a while as more pilots arrived. I went to get some lunch, and when I returned, there were no wings on the hill! Two were at the cliffs, having had some sort of excursion along the coast and others were at various points at the bottom. After a short drive down to the beach, the wings at the cliff had returned to the ridge and landed.

Alan Webb and I launched. After a bit of unconvincing boating about at the ridge, I decided to make a run for the cliffs. Scratching over the front to the right of the house, we steadily worked our way up to the Nothe. As there was a bit of South in it, I finally decided to take the plunge and worked down towards Bat's Head. Although it all started out quite well, the lift steadily diminished as I passed Bat's Head and I worked out that I was probably not going to make it back to take-off... I worked the little bits of lift that were there, and looked for a landing site. In the end it was sort of decided for me as I lost another pile of height. I landed on the hill behind Durdle Door, hitting what were probably little bits of rotor on the way down. And almost a sheep (pictured). Not pretty, but it worked! I packed up and had a lovely walk back towards Ringstead.

Eventually I found a place to take off and worked up to the top of the Nothe again and flew back to the car park. Other pilots were still flying the ridge - Shamus made a decent bid for the cliffs, getting a good pile of height and Paul H followed him but ended up working the undercliff. There was not enough lift for them to return to the hill, so another drive to the beach was in order! Overall, a jolly good day!

Report by Alastair Florence


The day started with no wind at all, by mid morning I took a look out toward Worth. There was obviously some messy weather out in the channel which rapidly brought a SW wind up, things did not look inviting so I took a drive up to Cowdown. Cowdown was becalmed so I didn't even bother to walk to T/O and shortly returned to the Purbecks.

With a fairly square SW wind blowing now Kimmeridge seemed like best bet.

Conditions felt good on take off and one other pilot was setting up to launch. Once in the air it turned out quite thermic giving occasionally rough climbs to approx 500ft ato max.

The other pilot left and after landing to leave a second Sitephone message I launched again. After a bit I got bored and thought I would see if the sea cliffs were working. I got to Houns Tout no problem but found suprisingly little lift here having to work hard to reach 750ft amsl.

I decided that it could be a bit risky flying to St.A's as I would arrive with little height and could not guarantee lift when I got there, bottom lands are rarely pleasant here as I have discovered in the past.

So tried to fly back to Kimmeridge, Eldon Seat was no problem but I was not gaining any height so just legged it back toward Swyre Head. Me and the ground met quite happily half way back to Swyre Head and I then enjoyed my hike back up the hill, I didn't realise the hill was so steep here and fell flat down at one point getting pinned to the ground by the weight of my rucksack, risky hobby this walking lark. Peachy day though.

Report by Shamus Pitts


After a fruitless couple of hours waiting for the wind at Cowdown, Paul H and I decided to head down to Ringstead. On the way we were convinced by Martin F that White Horse was the place to be so we stopped there on the way.

The wind was on the hill and Martin was flying when we got there so we quickly got ready and took off. There was plenty of lift and we were able to push right out in front of the hill. There were some quite strong thermals coming through and one particularly good one sent all 3 off us rocketing up to over 900' ATO. I don't know how I lost such a good climb, but I did, so I headed back to the ridge. Paul and Martin carried on with it a bit longer but eventually returned to the ridge too €“ the sky downwind wasn't looking great and cloudbase was only about 1200' ATO.

By now the wind had gone round quite a bit to the southwest and the ridge wasn't working so well so we landed. We could see people flying at Ringstead so Paul and I decided to head there.

When we got to Ringstead there wasn't a lot of wind at takeoff, and what there was was off to the west. I took off and found that the ridge wasn't soarable, but by using the more westerly facing part of the eastern end of the ridge I was able to push out towards the cliffs. I wasn't staying up but I was sinking too fast either and I realised I might be able to make it to the cliffs. I arrived about 50' above the small bowl and picked up a little bit of lift before transferring across to the cliff in front of the big house. The only part of this cliff that was working was the eastern end where it curves round and faces a bit more west. I spent a couple of minutes building my height until I was about 95' below takeoff before I pushed across to the main cliff.

I arrived quite low but as soon as I got to an exposed corner I was hovered up it. I built my height some more then headed along to White Nothe where I topped my height out at about 300' ATO.

I could see Paul on his way to the cliffs now, but the wind had gone even further west and he couldn't build up enough height to transfer to the main cliff and had to land on the beach. As I pushed back towards the house and small bowl my ground speed was very slow and I was losing height quite quickly. By the time I got to the small bowl I was less than 100' ATO and realised I wouldn't make it back. I followed the cliffs along the beach before cutting over low over the trees and landing a couple of fields back from the cliff edge.

Many many thanks to Simon J for driving down to pick us up! All in all a pretty good day!

Fri 19 Feb 2010

Report by Craig Byrne

I had a nice little fly at Butser West Face today.

It started out nice and sunny with peachy thermals, but then after an hour a big dark was building out in front which finally let out a massive snow shower which stopped play.

Thu 18 Feb 2010

Report by Nigel Beaven


Just a short report to along with Roy's from the Greolieres flying trip. And what a great week we all had sun flying snow and great company. highlights of the trip are too many to mention but cloudbase over Gourdon BLining and 50% obver the sea at Monaco left me smiling. Here's the obligatory boot shot from over Monaco...

Mon 15 Feb 2010

Report by Roy Menage


Just returned from a week in Greolieres (Maritime Alps) escorting a group of pre-CP and CP pilots around the area on the winter Flying Frenzy trip (headed by Andrew Pearse with myself and Gary Mullins assisting). As usual, the hospitality from Ben and Karen Moss was fantastic as was the weather in the main. We managed 5 flying days with only Thursday binned due to 2 ft of snow falling (but a great opportunity to get the CP and Pilot theory covered and exams taken). We flew at Greolieres, Gourdon and Roqbrune (Monaco). Highlight for me was a big climb out at Gourdon after spending around 15 minutes scratching about 300ft below takeoff before getting a nice climb to 1000ft ATO and then top-landing.

Sorry, no flying pics but here's the snow we had on Thursday.

A great bunch of pilots once again. We'll be getting a new batch of members very soon (starting with Dan who completed his CP on the trip). Thanks to Carl Woods, Nigel Beaven, "Jersey" Nick Clyde Smith, Richard Thomason and pre-cps Dan Popeta, Alex Kennedy, Father-and-Son duo Graham and James Sibley (and Graham's long-suffering wife Jo) and Howard for being a great bunch of "up-for-it" pilots and Andrew and Gaz for being part of a great team.

Sun 14 Feb 2010

Report by Richard Mosley

A short report otherwise people will think nobody is out on their hang gliders.

Went to Monks down where there was quite a few of the regulars. Shamus and Aly seemed to be doing particularly well flying well out over the valley and high. Rigged the Atos. It seemed to take ages. Had some great fun in the small thermals. Landed on Winkelbury after my hands became frozen; It is quite difficult to top land a hang glider at monks and is often a one flight for us. Decided to take off again at winklebury bowl. If the wind is square on at Monks i have found out it is possible to do this on a good performance glider and fly back over to Monks down.

Report by Alastair Florence


Enough said about the day really by others, miserable looking start but turned out a good consistant day. A few people were noticed trying out some recently discussed launch techniques with varying sucess levels.

It was good to have some reasonably snotty air at times as a warm up for the rapidly approaching spring time.

Report by Craig Byrne

On arriving it was flyable but very overcast and freezing cold, Shamus, Ali, Paul H, Dave W were all all going well so I quickly joined them. More people kept arriving and even the sun peeked through a smidge later, at that point I grabbed my flight deck as it now looked promising and took off again in search of a better climb.

I was lucky and connected with a good one that took me to 2400ftasl 1660 above take off into the white stuff over Tollard Royal. I tried to follow a bit of a street that had formed and then ground sources for heat but no lift to be found and finally landed near Tarrant Gunville 8k. I got talking to a friendly farmers wife after landing and then they kindly gave me a lift back to the hill.. Great little flight, roll on 2010 :-)

Report by Shamus Pitts


When I left home about 9am the sun was out and the sky was blue. When I got to Monk's Down about an hour later there was evidence of snow by the side of the road, the sky was dull and grey and the wind was bitterly cold but almost on the hill €“ it was slightly NNW but Dave W took off and proved it was flyable! The air was buoyant, the wind was cold and the sky was grey. As the day went on, the air remained buoyant, the wind warmed very slightly and increased to about 20mph and the clouds developed occasional blue patches between them. About lunch time the wind was at its strongest and various bits of rotory air that came tumbling over the hills around and in front mixed with the thermals and strong gusts to create some lively air. The lift was quite strong at times but because the wind was so strong it was hard to commit to more than a couple of turns in it without having to think about heading over the back. I got to 500' ATO and behind the tree line a couple of times but I wasn't confident to carry on over the back and found the push back to the ridge quite hard work.

The usual problem at Monk's Down in strong wind reared its ugly head again this time €“ landing! No matter what I tried I kept missing the ground! After a few trial runs I managed to fly in to the side of the hill about halfway down and warm up. I had some lunch, then after a while the wind seemed to drop a bit and I took off again. By now only Ali F and Richard M were left flying (Richard on his hang-glider) and we enjoyed about 40 minutes of lifty and slightly less lively air. Ali and I managed to push well out in front of the hill, past the farm, and I managed to make it to the outskirts of Berwick St John before the sinking got too much for me! The wind was slowly going more NW so I landed and packed up. 2 ½ hours in the air, and a red kite was flying too, so can't complain!

Report by Andy Dawson

As it was Valentines Day I said to my wife - how about spending the day with me (on Monksdown). So I actually got into the air for the first time since September and it was ideal conditions for such a first flight. Except for landing when I let the wing get dragged into the barbed wire fence, I didn't look too closey but there were a number of tears as well as holes. I also tore my flying suit when trying to get the wing off the fence, So apologies to everyone on the hill for not coming over and saying hi but I was a bit grumpy, especially after listening to the discussion re a barbed wire incident at the club last week) By the way if anyone found a large blue glove let me know - I dropped it at Monks.

Fri 12 Feb 2010

Report by Danny Von Mutius

Forecast looked a bit iffy in the morning but figured i'd go and have a look at monks anyway.

Arrived at about 10ish. Wind was on the hill and although a little on the strong side at times i decided to have a go. Had about 45mins and landed as it seemed to be getting a little stronger and rougher. Was only on the ground for a very short time as the wind seemed to drop again so took off and boated about. It was very bouyant at time but not a huge amount of height gained.

Pete Chalmers was the next to arrive and the two of us had the hill all to ourselves for an hour or so in what was gradually turning into quite smooth lift, with all the bumps that had been there earlier seeming to dissappear. It got a little scratchy so landed and had a pee before takeing off again as the wind was back up to strength. Sean and one other arrived follwed by Simon J just as it was getting strong again with a smattering of rain. At one point there was an apache helicopter v.very low out in the valley infront which seemed to be flying straight at us. It was quite bouyant just then and must have looked quite funny as pete and I were desperately trying to land as we didn't know where the apache was going to do but despite big ears and all other attempts we failed to touch terra firma. Landing turned out to be a game of patience in the end with big ears and all sorts of manouvers being pulled. Had a little go at wingovers which was great fun but made me feel a little queezy in the end. All in all about 3hrs in the air, not bad for what was a very cold and grey day.

Sun 07 Feb 2010

Report by Craig Byrne


Wickham (Paramotor Flight) 07/02/2010 After waiting for the fog to clear and base to lift a smidge I headed off to Wickham for a fly on the Paramotor. There was a light breeze so a quick reverse launch had me up up and away, I was still making good headway as I climbed up to 850ASL and headed out on a planed out and return to West Meon Hut and Loomeys Cafe where I normally go on the motorbike.

Over the forests I went higher but base was 1500ft at best so stayed at 850ft most of the way. It was bloody cold by the time I reached West Meon Hut and my fingers were killing even with gloves and glove liners, I will have to get some heated gloves! On heading back I now had a tail wind and it was fun bobbing along at 56km/h, I could see Mercury and Butser through the haze.

On a clearer day I will extend this flight over that way to Petersfield and then back which should be fun in the spring time. A nice little 38k flight on a not great looking day.

Report by Duncan Haysom


Well there was clearly nothing doing in the mighty Wessex area today so after some uming and ahing decided to take a chance on Firle nr. Brighton.

Didn't set of until half 11 so arrived at about 1pm to see about 25 wings in the air (so it was flyable!) Took off quickly and had a great 1hour 40m mooching up and down the Bo peep end of the ridge where it was a lot less busy. (people seem scared to cross the trees) Still 4 wings in the air when I left at about four

Fri 05 Feb 2010

Report by Paul Hawkins

Myself and Steve Auld had a litlle fly at Southbourn this afternoon before it went off to the east and light, I managed to top land between to ankle biting kids that were chasing me around the cliff top and then as I went to collapse my wing I noticed an old lady pushing an even older lady in a wheelchair right in the way. So I had to keep the wing flying and find a clear spot to put the thing down! It was the most exciting part of the flight!

Report by Danny Von Mutius

Arrived at Ringstead to find the wind fairly top end with no-one else about except a few dog walkers. waited around for a little while and decided that it might just about be doable (14-17mph) so wacked some extra weight in my harness and rolled the wing out. Up it popped and up i went with it...Vertically! I was struggling to penetrate at the best of times but after a height gain of about 300ft ato and about 20 minutes in the air all on the ridge it go a little stronger and it was time to do the sensible thing. In came the ears followed by a slow descent and after a not-too-messy landing i was joined by another member, Richard I believe was his name(apologies if i'm wrong), who very kindly gave me a hand bundling my wing up and carrying it back to the car out of the wind. Only a short fly in the end but thoroughly enjoyable.

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