Eye in the Sky - Jul 2010

Your Flying News Notice Board. Send me your news and photos.

If you're wondering where your report is, hit CTRL-F5 whilst in your browser to make sure you are not seeing a cached version. If it is still not there, it's probably because you fell foul of the Submission guidelines

Thu 29 Jul 2010

Report by Richard Chambers


A beautiful day in rough conditions at Bell Hill.

Spent most of the day floating around Bell in fairly bouncy conditions, sometimes lots of lift, sometimes dashing quickly back to take off! The wind was fairly strong so anytime a thermal came through you had to be very committed as you were past the point of no return very quickly indeed. This kept me tethered to the hill until 4pm when I picked up a thermal to the west of take off in a very blue sky. I overflew Neil Withers (skysurfer) and shouted for him to join me as I thought, sod it I'm staying with this one! After circling over the back field very low in this pitiful climb it finally picked up and took me right up to a little cloud, the only one for miles! I floated around under this for a while watching Neil skimming the ground behind Bell but somehow still in the air. Once the lift died off I turned downwind for what I thought would be a glide to the deck, sometimes hitting the odd bubble but not enough to stay up. Having read stories of tractors kicking off thermals and thinking it would be nice to land near to someone in case I have a bad landing, I pointed at a nice brown field with the farmer ploughing. I arrived over the field with what seemed like only a few hundred feet and on cue the glider pitched back and the vario started making the right noises again. The thermal was so rough I was struggling to stay in it and gain height but slowly I creeped up until it smoothed out and shot me to base again.

I was starting to get close to Poole harbour now and a quick check on the gps showed my path heading towards airspace so glided cross wind in an attempt to avoid it. The wind was more westerly here and the sea breeze front was just in front of me. If only the airspace wasn't in the way I could surf the front to the east. As I flew through the front my ground speed went from 60kmh to 5kmh and I got tossed about a bit! With the lift and my forward speed gone I spotted a nice big field next to Sandford and put down next to a load of kids playing football who all wanted to know where the plane I jumped from was.

25.4km and a new PB! http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20101683.html?vx=06 Neil somehow managed to scratch his way to 7.1km for his first ever XC and then came and picked me up from Sandford, top man! Richard

Tue 27 Jul 2010

Report by Alastair Florence

Light orographic cloud was forming in patches behind St.Aldhelms tonight, the wind looked reasonably on although both weather vanes in Worth were showing about 30' north of West.

I have never really tried it this far North so thought it might be interesting to see how it felt.

Answer was not very pleasant, very gusty feeling and sort of wobbly air, in other words classic signs of rotor off Houns Tout. 10 mins was enough to prove this site's a bad idea when its north of due west.

Sun 25 Jul 2010

Report by Alan Webb


Lured by the chance to fly at Portland West for the 1st time. It was clear at take off that an element of South was creeping in and a Sea breeze front starting to developing along the coast. After stopping on the way to Ringstead for a Bacon sandwich, we arrived a Ringstead to a strong 14-16mph WSW. Quickly into the air RW and myself made the cliffs and enjoyed 45 minutes before forward motion was very slow. Lovely summers day and the end of a cracking flying weekend with over 5 hours airtime. Thanks to RW for the Bacon sandwich.

Report by Shamus Pitts

It was a rough old day at Telegraph Hill today! There seemed to be too much wind and not enough lift, with quite a lot of people, all seemingly flying at each other €“ well, that's how it seemed to me! I think I was probably tired but after 45 minutes I wasn't enjoying it particularly so landed. A few got away though, Adrian C got to Winterborne Kingston and Martin F got to Stoborough. Kirsty C made her declared goal of Swanage so there was definitely potential for those who stuck with it!

Report by Neil Weymouth

Frustrating flight from Bell to Corfe Castle, never made it above 2000ft ato but found enough to keep going. Two gliders to the East of me seemed to be doing better so maybe just by bit of sky.

Report by Grant Oseland


Just a few photos from a two week trip to Bassano. The weather was not the best as it was extremely hot and humid most of the time (30 degrees at cloud base on some days!) but it was flyable on most days to some degree.

Sat 24 Jul 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


Martin B phoned me to say that the wind was on the hill at Whitesheet but gusting up to about 17mph so I met him there. As usual at Whitesheet the air was rough, scooping you up one minute, only to drop you back down again the next! There seemed to be a bit of south in the wind so I flew down to the southern end of the ridge which faces more WSW and found it rough but almost immediately flew in to the roughest thermal I've ever been in €“ it was like going up in a lift with Mike Tyson just after you've told him that you're sleeping with his girlfriend! I stuck with it and eventually got to cloudbase and then headed off towards Salisbury. I picked up a climb near Bowerchalke which gave me a top up before gliding over Bishopstone where I ended up low but found another climb which got me nice and high again. The ground was all in shadow by now, except for a couple of patches over Salisbury which were a bit too close to airspace for my liking. I managed to eke my glide out until I got to Pitton where I could hear a buzzard but only saw it when I was preparing to land €“ it was on the fence post by the field I landed in! As I was packing up two hares chased each other across the field, which was nice! Many thanks to Martin B for picking me up and taking me back to the hill.

When we got back to the hill the sky was pretty grey and it didn't look anywhere near as good as before. There were a few crows floating about so we decided to have a fly before going home. After taking off I saw a flock of crows playing about in a thermalling manner so headed towards them and found myself going up all the way. I turned round to see if Martin had spotted the lift that I had found, only to see him higher than me! We met up and thermalled together until the climb fizzled out about 1800' ATO. I headed south towards a sunnier sky while Martin headed north. I eventually connected with something that slowly lifted me up but Martin wasn't so lucky.

It was quite difficult flying. The sea-breeze had come in so the air was quite rough near the front but it was overcast everywhere, there was no sun on the ground. Luckily the westerly facing faces along the Monksdown ridge all seemed to kick off lift so I worked my way along, getting nice and high near Coombe Bissett. There was still no sun on the ground when I got near Salisbury but I worked a bit of lift near Longford Castle which eventually turned in to a good climb. I went on another glide but found nothing more and landed at East Tytherley for 39km. Thanks again to Martin for picking me up!

Report by Neill Franklin


I spotted Ali at Kimmeridge and beyond this morning.

Report by Everard Cunion


John, Here are the only two photos from my latest film. Both are of Gary Dear having a go with my Sting 3 on Sunday July 18th at Ringstead. The camera finally gave out and it is now in the bin.

It was a day of orange leading edges: Gary's Moyes Xtraheavy, somebody with a Wills Wing Eagle, and somebody else with a great-looking Wills Wing U2. (Names and faces just aren't my thing.) Even so, they were outnumbered (just) by white leading edges: Me and Steve Thingy in Sting3s, plus Nevil Shute and Stuart Thingy in their rigids. A lone paraglider soared the hill late in the evening.

Incidentally, on Wednesday the 21st we had another hang glider evening at Ringstead in a strangely gloomy and turbulent cloud-shadowed air mass spilling off Portland, with heavy cloud build-up inland. (Appropriately, my old Ricoh FF-9 film camera finally gave up the ghost that evening.) Oswald Mosley in his Moyes Lightspeed sped south along the cliff to somewhere past Lulworth Cove, followed by Gary. (Where was I? I watched from above the White Nothe -- the promontory that for me marks the end of the safe flying zone.) Gary turned back after a short distance. Both made it back to the landing field.

Report by Alastair Florence


I had plans on heading to Whitesheet today but unfortuneatly the wife remembered we were invited to a barbecue in the afternoon so I decided to keep the peace and headed for a quiet bimble at Kimmeridge.

Conditions felt ok on arrival but maybe a tad light. I started rigging up and it did feel like the wind was picking up a bit.

Once in the air things were pretty pleasant with some cloud begining to form at about 1100ft amsl.

The wind was obviously picking up a bit but perfectly ok in the air.

After a bit of bimbling I experimented with trying to work the lifty bits back over the ridge but this wasnt really working, so I thought I may as well fly over to Houns Tout. The Tout was working well although there was a fair element of West in the wind, after a bit I went over to St.A's then back to the Tout.

I couldn't push into wind enough to get back to Kimmeridge so thought i'd try an open distance toward the Square & Compass via St.A's again.

Landed a couple of fields short of the pub but on the whole a lover'ly little adventure.

I started hitching back but was gratefull to meet Simon H who gave me a retrieve.

The flight clocks 5.2 km so I entered it on the league if anyones interested in seeing the track log in case you are considering this trip yourself one day. Maybe its a coastal flight hence not qualifying, maybe not, doubt if anyones likely to be that bothered really as it dosent exactly boost me league position and it is quite an interesting route.

Peachometer 8.5

Fri 23 Jul 2010

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


My first - and last visit to St Alban's Head back in March ended in near disaster when the wind went light and turbulent, sending me careering downwards with the wing thrashing about like a line of washing in a gale! I was fortunate in being able prove that its 'no bottom landing' rating was not quite true but certainly very challenging! I had been at a stone carving class in nearby Langton Matravers all day but fortunately I had had the foresight to pack my wing before travelling. So when I heard Alan W's sitephone message left just 10 minutes earlier I was on my way. A few minutes later I met Alan next to the car park where he had recently landed and together we trekked to take off. I was understandably anxious after my previous experience and watched Alan set up and take off before joining him a short time later.

However I needn't have worried. The 14-15mph WSW breeze was pretty well bang on and by the time I was down near Emmet's Hill I was coming up to 400' ato. Now I could relax a little and start to enjoy the flight. I crossed over to the Head with hardly any loss of height and was soon mooching around near the coastguard cottages and the chapel.

We spent the next hour taking it in turns to push way out front before whizzing back to the lift band still with buckets of height. Most of the time we were getting up to nearly 500' ato although at one point I did have to step on the bar as I was getting pinned high above the cliffs near the cottages.

Eventually I saw Alan heading back so I watched carefully from Emmet's as he dropped back, turned and sank gently down to land in the recently harvested field right next to the car park. I went back to take off gaining height all the while and set off back at 350' ato. It was most satisfying to fly past Alan with 100 feet to spare, turn and fly back into wind to land just a dozen feet from him with a huge grin on my face! He walked over, shook my hand and congratulated me on successfully 'putting my ghost to bed' while I thanked him for his moral support. What a happy rabbit I was! As I was putting my wing back in the car 2 more guys turned up for a very late flight - John S from Southern Hang Gliding Club and Mark W from TVHGC. I watched them from the Square & Compass while I supped a well-earned pint - they finally came down as it was getting dark! Peachometer rating? - definitely a 9+!

Wed 21 Jul 2010

Report by Neil Mccain


A polite hour surfing the cliffs at Hive with the gulls. The air had some south in it, meaning westerly dashes were fast and furious and coming back was laborious and low. Lots of holiday makers to wave at before the wind picked up whilst Russ W and I stopped for lunch.

Sat 17 Jul 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


I thought it would be quite windy today so I went to Cowdown early and was on top and ready to fly by 9:30am. The wind had initially seemed fairly light when I got to takeoff but within 10 minutes it had picked up a lot and was blowing 14 €“ 20mph. I waited for a lull and took off to find the wind a few degrees off to the north but pretty lifty. The gusts were coming through very strongly and after half an hour or so in the air I decided that it was probably too strong to go XC. I spent the next half hour trying to keep out in front of the hill, most of the time it was fairly easy but every now and again some big gusts came through giving me plenty of height but pinning me to the hill.

After a while I found myself right out over the village and going up. The lift wasn't particularly strong but the whole area seemed to be going up and by the time I'd circled in it I was 1000' ATO and just behind the hill. I pushed forwards again and found another 500' so decided to let myself drift with it a little way. Because the wind was so strong I was worried about bombing out in the Cerne valley, so I decided I could allow myself a few fields of drifting and then land if it wasn't going anywhere.

The climb was never very strong and most of the time it felt like I was just being nudged about as the wind came bounding over the hills. I spent most of the first half of the flight looking for soft fields to land in, that wouldn't hurt too much if I ended up being bounced and dragged across them €“ if I'd spotted a lovely big soft field I would have probably landed, but I didn't so I stuck with the slow climbs I was getting. There were some pretty big clouds about but they didn't seem keen on drawing me in. My ground speed was about 38mph which was another cause for concern, making me more inclined to postpone landing as long as possible! When I got near Wareham forest I was getting pretty low and there were soft flat fields everywhere so I decided to mentally prepare for landing but carry on drifting while I still had some height to play with. As I got lower the air started to get rougher with bits of lift and sink popping up here and there. I spotted a buzzard below me and watched it for a while to see if it would start circling. It did, so I flew over to it and found my strongest climb of the day, taking me all the way to cloudbase. I now had to decide whether to aim for Swanage or to go north of Bournemouth airspace. As I would have to push quite a long way north to get around the top corner of the airspace I decided to go for Swanage instead. I headed back to the cloud I'd just left and let myself be drawn in to it as I set my heading SE and pushed on the bar. Fairly soon I emerged from the cloud over the camp site in Wareham forest. I carried on over Wareham, flying crosswind and losing height gradually as I went. I didn't think I would make Swanage but I found another climb over the heath near Wych Oil Field and topped up my height before heading off on a glide to Swanage.

When I got to the outskirts of the town I turned back in to wind to check my ground speed €“ I had about 7mph so I was happy! I glided over to the playing field with a line of tall trees beside it and arrived with about 1000'. I turned in to wind over the car park to the south of it, thinking that I would slowly glide in to wind, losing my height as I went, and land €“ but it wasn't to be! Over the car park I wasn't making any progress towards the field, even on full bar, so I resorted to plan B €“ there was a green just the other side of the road from the beach €“ I'll land there instead! Plan B didn't really work out either so plan C was to land on a different green just to the east of the first green. There were a couple of marquees on it but there was plenty of space around them so I set up for the edge of the green. I almost made it on to this green but alas the wind was too strong. I was only a few feet from the ground but wasn't confident that the landing would go without a hitch so I decided to put on some brake and drift backwards over the road to land on the beach. I thought there might be a bit of rotor at some point and as soon as I decided to land on the beach my decent rate increased , depositing me on the path from the esplanade to the green! I think if I was a cat I would have 8 lives left now! As I pulled my wing off the bench by the path I discovered an elderly couple on the bench. They seemed friendly and informed me that the brass band I could hear was the jazz festival on the green and the applause was for the Swanage marathon runners, and not for me! I packed my wing up, phoned my wife and then went for a beer. It was nice to finally have a decent flight from Cowdown, I was starting to doubt its potential! 48.9km, my best flight in Dorset so far!

Mon 12 Jul 2010


Report by Neil Mccain

You gotta like Marcus. I mean, who else would call a dozen times to give you the heads up on the latest conditions all over the county, even when RASP was downgrading the day, and still sound excited about a trip to Whitesheet? I rocked up just after noon and met him there along with a newbie (John) from TVHGC. Conditions looked promising aloft as long as we could connect but for the first twenty minutes or so, we danced to the hill's rock and roll theme. Would it happen? I took off and flew to the north end of the hill, immediately flying into something much bigger than we'd had previously and in two turns I was 350' ato and going up fast. Whilst John stayed on the deck, I could see Marcus below me, desperate to crank into the same turn, but I seemed to be going up faster. You gotta like him though - pretty soon he'd caught up and as I circled under the cloud he was soon level. Base was about 4800'. We shouted to each other to agree early tactics and decided to stay with the cloud, circling into it briefly, then flying at tangents away from each other downwind. It was a friendly game of cat and mouse that set the pattern for the flight. My tracklog shows that for nearly 10km we flew in this pattern along the cloud street, climbing and descending around 400ft around base.

At nearly 5000ft the whole world seems to be visible! The Isle of Wight in its entirety slipped past on the right. Southampton Water looked like a small creek. On the left far below, Salisbury Cathedral reached up to us. Shortly after a couple of helicopters buzzed past way below to remind me that I was the pilot, not a passenger, and I focused once again on getting up. Marcus had gone on a long glide ahead of me but was now coring something useful, so I went to join him and we back to base over the ammo dump at West Dean. I shouted over to him that we needed to try and head north east to avoid the CTA ahead of us and he suggested it was time to go on glide. You gotta like him for that - sensible and helpful. To give me some space, he 360'd once more to score another few feet closer to base. But I soon realised that I was on a magic glide: heading downwind in rising air and hardly losing an inch to the ground! I was heading through the gap between Middle Wallop MATZ and Southampton CTA and the clouds seemed to beckon me on. Eventually I turned in stronger lift and looked back to see Marcus's wing far below me. We'd flown about 40km at this point. I said to the clouds: 'Marcus, gotta like you for that!' and hoped he'd find a safe landing.

I was constantly checking my GPS to check that I wasn't straying into airspace and realised that now Winchester was ahead. Although I was on a glide earthwards myself, I could see another cloud building in front of me, I felt the sunshine on my back, and I knew I was going to get another bite at the cherry. Winchester rippled away to my right, whilst below me an enormous set of satellite dishes at a 'facility' seemed to track my progress. Unfortunately I lost the climb before I got up to base and I crossed the A34 on another yet another glide. Every field was occupied by horses or ripening wheat and I really didn't want to land. I pushed on as far as I dared only to see a pony appear from behind a shed in the corner of the field I'd decided to land in. Plan B was the unploughed strip between two fields of corn, and satisfying to make. Down, safe, and happy! As my vario clicked over to reveal my flight summary, I saw that I'd flown 59.4km, my longest UK flight by a stretch! I had a sneaking feeling that I'd bagged the site record too, so I packed up and walked out with a big smile on my face. But as I walked north into the hamlet of South Wonston, it faded ( just a little) as I saw Marcus's wing floating down ahead of me, and I felt that the record might not have been long in my hands. Our game of cat and mouse had turned into tortoise and hare, and it was Marcus's day. Congratulations Marcus - gotta like you for that! Despite landing close to one another, we journeyed back seperately until Salisbury, where we met for a celebratory drink. The final leg had one more surprise: our bus driver, low on change, took us back to Whitesheet for nothing! Happy days!

Report by Marcus Webster


WHITESHEET - If any of you are planning to go XC be sure to take Lucky Neil McCain with You, it`s guaranteed to work ! Yes alright I did phone him a couple of times- to say that Derek S was on Bell and it was no good.

And I was heading to Whitesheet (we had discussed it the night before via text, part of which is included as a screen shot from my phone, me in green) And yes I had informed the Farmer And......

Well Neil`s account says it all but...... John ? a fairly new CP (from tvhgc) alerted me with a shout from the ground that Neil was going up, very sneaky as I was heading the other way with my back to him, so a quick about turn and a desperate few minutes followed, going over the back a little bit lower than I would have liked in the broken remnants of Neil`s thermal (he was going into orbit) I think I caught up at Broad Chalk then had a great half hour going in and out of cloud as we passed Combe Bissett.

Lucky Neil (yes I know "the more he practices the luckier he gets" Grrrr) then went off on a glide as I put in a couple of extra 360`s which allowed a gap of about a mile to open up between us, and then followed a very frustrating ten minutes as I watched him going up and up in a straight glide, as I slithered down hill on half bar trying to find what ever it was that was keeping him up.

At last a juicy cloud and slow climb over the Test Valley ( that was the last I saw of Neil until we met up in Salisbury for a Pint and free bus ride home ) over the next hour I got a reminder of how busy the airspace between Middle Wallop and Southampton can be, I had a very close encounter with a Cessna 172 that passed within 200m and about 20ft higher than me going South towards Southampton, I could make out every detail but saw no faces looking out, they were flying straight and level and must have been busy in the cockpit ! Then a couple of Apache Helicopters caused me a little concern as they descended towards the fields and proceeded to make corn circles below me.

Another low save ( 1000ftasl ) South of Barton Stacey got me past Sutton Scottney and up to the A303 and I honestly thought Basingstoke was the next stop, but even with a fantastic looking sky I ended up on the deck at about 16:30, very happy.

But where was Lucky McCain ???

Sun 11 Jul 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


After a disappointing and tiring morning at Telegraph Hill, including numerous walks up from the bottom, I finally hooked in to a weak thermal that slowly pulled me up towards the lifty looking convergence clouds which were forming to the west. The air was fairly rough at times with the weak climb being interspersed with moments of strong lift and even stronger sink! James L had also managed to get away and after a while he caught up with me when I left the convergence to push further inland and found myself getting low. James found a rough climb which we both used to get high again before parting company to sniff out more lift. The convergence clouds seemed to be drawing me towards them, only to dump me in strong sink whenever I started to relax! The convergence wasn't going to let me get to Swanage and it wasn't going to help me around Bournemouth airspace either so I kept trying to push inland away from it to where there seemed to be some healthy looking clouds, although they generally started to decay before I got near enough to them to use them.

I found a great (but rough) climb west of Bulbarrow which rocketed me up to just above cloudbase, which was about 5000'. As the ground disappeared I pushed on the bar and headed northeast, until I emerged from the cloud a minute or so later to a spectacular view. I was surrounded by big white clouds, the ground was clearly visible and wisps of cloud were blowing past! I headed towards Bell and picked up another short climb over Bulbarrow to top my height up a bit. I could see a good looking cloud over Blandford so headed for it only to find strong sink all the way. When I got near Winterborne Stickland I gave up on my plan to head east and turned downwind towards the big grey convergence clouds. Unfortunately they were too high or too far away and after scratching up and few hundred feet over the fields near Stickland I landed just outside Thornicombe for 26.5km.

Thanks to Simon J for picking me up and taking me to Bell, Gary M for taking me from Bell to Dorchester and my wife for taking me from Dorchester to Telegraph Hill!

Sun 11 Jul 2010

Report by Neil Weymouth

Good flight from Bell to Sandford this afternoon, nice climb out on the ridge above Ibberton and then topup to cloud base over Winterborne Houghton. Plenty of gentle lift above 2000ft until I reached the sea air above Wareham forest, then nothing and a strong Westerly. Should have just cruised the sea breeze front.

Sat 10 Jul 2010

Report by Alastair Florence


Very changeable conditions today. Surface upward clag until gone 1000 hrs then it lifted with a very low base and moderate SW - SSW wind.

I went to Knitson as I havent been there for ages and Kimmeridge etc was still heavily clagged.

Everything felt good on t/o so I launched and almost straight away hooked in and climbed to 400ft + ato.

Loads of ljagged lift under a street of orographic cloud running over from St.Aldhelms, this allowed several pushes out well over the valley at up to 650ft ato which was virtually base. Quite erratic so though so not so many pics.

After a bit I noticed a large towering sort of anvil of cloud stuck out the top of the street by about 3000ft and approaching me with a marked increase in general lift.

I decided this was maybe a good time to land out for a bit.

The clouds where now bigger and darker and a bit more wind, I had another go and found the street was sucking like a **ore, great care was needed not to get cloud sucked and get out the side before disapearing, at the same time clag was rolling in from the sea again so I decided to go home as it looked a bit threatening.

The afternoon was actually nice and clear but looked to be blown out from my sun lounger in the garden.

Went back in the evening but now too light and had to side land on the track as the bottom field is cropped with maize.

Fri 9 Jul 2010

Report by Wayne Bevan

Having spent Thursday July 8th waiting for the conditions to improve at Ringstead which they didn't Alan & I returned on Friday & quickly rigged-well he rigged his intermediate HG a lot quicker than I rigged the Atos VR.

The wind was showing WSW on the sea & was pulled onto the slope which made take off easy. Russell had tested the air on his PG & reported the winds anywhere from Sth-NW! The run out to the cliffs caused me concerns as I thought I was downwind! I approached the lower cliff with 100ft ato & found the main cliffs soarable in light lift. The wind was WSW.

After 30mins I top landed & briefed Alan whom I am coaching. Alan had a wonderful flight of 30mins which has given him confidence. He even top landed to a round of applause.

Russell & Derek both made the cliffs on their PGs but an approaching cloud from the SE killed the air forcing them to run for home! After the cloud dispersed at White Nothe I took off into a moderate SW. Well it was SW on the slope but due west on the cliffs & also very, very light.

I think that a combination of high pressure & a westerly forces the wind to run along the seaward side of the cliffs but 100mts inland it is forced to blow over the terrain.The lift on the cliffs was 1/2 up-1up max. I topped out at 550ft ato. It was not the day for messing around low so after 30mins I decided to top land. The run back was in sink & occasionally lumpy.

Report by Jon Harvey

Arrived with Cathy, soon after 1pm, just in time to see Dinks on a glide to Thorncombe, and John P, setting up. Immediate thought, today is going to be good, forecast was SW and F3 to 4, ideal wind speed. Did they get far, not really, only as far as the bowl, and there they stayed.

Gary F was desperate to fly, or was he just showing off to some female, by actually running up to t/o with glider bag. Think this show of fitness was just as he came into sight of t/o really, didn't really run up from the bottom!!! Next victims, Tony F, Graham H, (first time here,) Rob, Gary, Darren, all then showed how easy TTB were. Conditions light and what wind was from near enough S.

We waited and waited, wind sock gradually turning more and more slowly, then some breeze was felt, definately turning direction towards SW.

Set up quickly, (and with the arrival of an intruder passing over T/O, around 100 ft, in the form of a Chinoock,) then with John, Dinks, Gary, and Rob all up around the bowl, a tight fit it was, until Dinks decided to cross westwards. Then literally with 15 mins flying time showing, was pinned in the corner of the bowl with Rob, and both on full bar, as were all the others, and making for the beach, ASAP.

Think Dinks will next be taking up acro flying!! Flying today, not according to the forecasters, but are they correct???

Thurs 9 Jul 2010

Report by Neil Mccain

After a botched day at Bulbarrow on Tuesday I headed for Ringstead to get some airtime, play, and have a relaxing day's flying. The usual suspects were there - Derek, Marcus, Si, Russell W - but the wind wasn't. We watched in mild frustration as a wing soared above the White Horse, so as the Nothe began to recede behind a veil of orographic and the bay began to fill with a bank of sea fog, it became an easy decision to take and we tootled off to the Horse. As we walked along the track towards take off, we could see the Nothe peeping out, and out to see the bank of fog was dissipating quickly. Although RW was already in the air at this point, he didn't look to have a lot of height and I thought it was most likely to be one of those days, full of shuttling to and from different sites but with hardly any airtime.

So it was a pleasant surprise to feel the earth drop away from me shortly after launch and to be in a good-ish climb directly above take-off. I couldn't hold on to it at about 700ft ato, so I trundled forwards and promptly bumped into another thermal, kindly marked by RW, which this time took me to base at about 1500ft asl. At this point I was in a bit of a quandary about what to do next. I didn't feel very high so I didn't think I'd go very far, and people didn't normally get away from White Horse anyway, did they? I looked at the paths and tracks below me and thought I might as well carry on even if I only made it to Broadmayne. Anyway, the sky seemed to be a bit bereft of little cumulus upwind, and I wasn't sure I'd get another chance. Once again the decision was now easy, and I found myself letting go of the hill's embrace and floating off.

As I flew over the village I was in such sinky air that I thought my flight was over, but above an estate of brown houses (do you think house builders factor in favourable albedo values?) I found what I wanted and zoomed back up to base which was itself increasing all the time. Soon I was drifting over the gravel pits, bejeweled by sparkling pools of emerald and lapis. I guessed it was the different minerals in suspension reflecting sunlight that caused the amazing colours to shine, but didn't dwell on it as the lift collapsed around me and I was off on another glide over Tincleton. I could see a cloud building in front of me and knew I'd be back up to base before too long, but I wasn't quite prepared for the sensation of flying downwind in a straight line and yet climbing strongly at the same time! This time I found myself heading into the whispies, so I steered towards the cloud's western edge and looked for a new target. I could see that if I carried on, my track would put me close to Bournemouth airspace. As I glided over Tolpuddle it looked unlikely I'd have to worry about the airspace - the noise of the traffic was getting louder and the air on my face and hands warmer. But once again I heard my varios chirruping and I knew I'd be notching up another few km.

On the next glide, I looked around to see if Blandford was in striking distance. Decision time again: fly home, have a cup of tea, then go and get the car? Trouble was, the sky in that direction had fewer clouds and there was a lovely one forming over Winterborne Kingston, just downwind of me. Easing myself through that dilemma, I cored the climb back to base and drifted with it. I could see now that my track would put me to the west of Badbury Rings and safely to the west of the airspace. I glided over Spetisbury towards a grassy field with three tractors in it and found myself in the biggest thermal of the day. It wasn't the strongest, but it didn't seem to matter whether my turns were lazy or tight, I just kept going up on a warm current of hay-scented air.

As the lift fizzled out and I headed off towards Manswood, I realised that the sky in front of me had hardly any cumulus in it and felt that the final phase of the flight was upon me. I realised too that landing options were limited ( a lot of copses, woods, and tree-lined fields) so I took whatever lift I could get, including that marked out by a helpful buzzard, to take me beyond the woods, lake and beautiful house at Moor Crichel, and land with a whoop and a smile just yards from the Horton Inn. I'd flown 40.4km, on a flight where all the decisions seemed to take themselves and the flying was as relaxed as I had supposed Ringstead would be. Happy days.

Tue 06 Jul 2010

Report by Jon Harvey

Forecast wasn't that promising, Lyme Bay, force 4 to 5, occ 6.

Late morning seemed to be slowly picking up, so went to Eype, to check it out, lightish, but wind sock showing SSW.

At takeoff, 12.30pm, Neville Kemp already set up and ready, but just didn't find the lift, and went down. Set up and as Neville arrived back, took off, climbed ok, few beats around the bowl and off to Thorncombe. Good height, but direction was more SW so slow out to Doghouse Point. Saw Neville had also taken off, so had a go for Golden Cap.

Ok until into the eastern corner, then nothing, but managed to scrape back over the Anchor pub. Luckily those cliffs were working very well, just like riding an elevator, but even then, never gained above 600 ft or so. Tried few more times to reach GC but no luck. Neville then tried his luck, same result, and by then I was on my way back.

Above Westbay, saw two walking from the bay to Eype, and as they were setting up, landed, wind now +15mph, and saw one was Eddy Colfox, the other Mark ??. Had another flight, following Eddy and Mark to Thorncombe, where I departed, returning to Eype, and landed, leaving them going towards Seatown. Eventually Mark and Neville returned, and landed Eype, but no sign of Eddy, who apparently scratched around low down, Golden Cap, then climbed high up, from the west side, then went to Charmouth. He returned and landed at Westbay, where their vehicles were.

By 3pm totally blown out, even sitting on launch, recording 25mph, but a good flight. Pity a few others arrived just as it was too strong.

Report by Alastair Florence


Stopped off at St.A's on the way home tonight, Slightly off to the south and a good stiff breeze.

Pleasant enough evening but it got stronger at altitude, like at 450ft + ato park up facing into wind.

Not much else you can say about it really.

Sat 03 Jul 2010

Report by Craig Byrne


Rybury to Newbury Race Course.

I had a nice flight with one very low save 170ft, and lots of spiralling out of the clouds :-) Having declared goal for Twyford Station near Reading 72k, I was still happy to get to Newbury at 42k.

It was fun to fly with a good gaggle, and also joined at times by Sailplanes :-)

Report by Alastair Florence


First halt today was Cowdown but after watching someone launch and end up at the bottom I continued to Telegraph.

This was not much better and there was virtually no wind until the Sea breeze passed overhead and a steady SW got going.

I couldn't be bothered to go chancing it in land so started to head home to check out the coast. Brian's message from Ringstead convinced me to make my annual pilgramage to Ringstead today.

As I arrived most of the wings on the cliff flew back except one guy acro'ing his wing.

Rich M launched his hanglider and I followed out soon after in a brisk but manageable breeze.

Got to the cliff fairly easily and flew up and down it as you do.

Another hangy joined us.

After a time I found my mind had gone onto auto pilot and I was thinking about what to wear to my mother in laws birthday day out to Brownsea scheduled for tomorrow. I realised this must mean I was getting bored so flew back and landed for a chat. Happy days

Report by Alan Webb


Arrived at Ringstead just after 10.00 am, the wind was WSW 12mph. Quickly into the air with Russell W and 2 visiting Polish Pilots. Eventually making it to the cliffs the conditions were strange and not lifting much at all, yet the wind streaks on the sea suggested WSW and fair. 1 Polish pilot beach landed RW made it back to T/O, I made it to bottom landing. By about 1.00pm the conditions were strengthening and more SW'ly once again the wings went back to the cliffs, this time they were working much better even when pushing out. Richard M was skudding about on his ATOS now. Good height gains, lumpy thermals at times, great fun though.

Fri 02 Jul 2010

Report by Alastair Florence


I came home via Kimmeridge tonight,it looked fairly bright when I arrived and was actually quite pleasant flying conditions with small but quite smooth and calm thermals. I had a chance to keep up the Wessex Nature watch as a deer with two young fawns came out of the gorse and did not seem over concerned about me.

Then it started raining so I landed and packed up.

Driving out I met Simon H and as it had stopped raining we went back and had another go. The wind seemed to have picked up but it was less lifty and cloud base was almost on the hill.

Peachometer 3.

Previous reports

If you find that some of the earlier pages don't have a navigation menu, just use your browser's Back button to return to this page once you have finished reading it.


2001 and before