Eye in the Sky - Oct 2010

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Sat 30 Oct 2010

Report by Richard Mosley

On Sat 30 th. I set off for Ringstead but at the top i found the wind was very strong and so decided on plan B, which i had already recced. I Rigged the rigid at Cogdean beach car park near Burton bradstock and took off near the derelict coastguard hut near the main road. I Flew across the caravan park to the low cliffs at Hive beach and along the coast crossing some interesting gaps to arrive before Lyme Regis. The height was good above Golden cap but had to race back to beat the rain storm on the horizon and landed back at the take off point. The wind was due south and consistently strong. I believe it would have been possible to have soared the the rising ground towards abbotsbury, but the weather was fast deteriorating. I managed to derig before a gust front and the rain arrived.

Report by Richard Chambers

Well as it was my birthday and it was flyable, I think it would be rude not to fly don't you? For a bit more excitement I thought I would fly from Winklebury to Monks Down (flying sites in Dorset) and practice some low level flying. Apart from misjudging the lift on the way back to Winklebury and doing a down wind crash landing in the bowl at the bottom, I don't think that it went too badly. I have uploaded it to Vimeo and Youtube so you can choose your poison...

Sun 24 Oct 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


Finally, a good days flying! Monks Down delivered in spades today, I'd had 2 ½ hours in the air by 2 o'clock and I'm sure there was plenty more flying to be had! It was cold and the wind was fairly strong, but there were thermals coming through allowing height gains of 1200' or more at times. A couple of people got away although I'm not sure how far they got. I thought about it but the wind was just a bit too strong to explore a climb fully before committing to it so I always ended up pushing back to the hill.

There were quite a lot of people there but separation was excellent, particularly in the morning. The wind overpowered the thermals a little bit in the afternoon and it got bit more congested, but it was still pretty good.

Sat 23 Oct 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


I managed a crafty 20 minutes at Cowdown this evening. The wind was a bit off to the north, fairly strong and gusty but it was good to get my feet off the ground €“ my longest flight in over a month! I saw 5 deer and 2 foxes, a nice way to end the day!

Wed 20 Oct 2010

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


Bell Hill.

A bright but crisp October day with a scattering of cu tempted a few of us out today. As I drove through Durweston on my way there I saw one wing going xc - turned out to be Gary M getting a few fields back.

The strong 13-17 mph wind had a bit of north in it but it was generally quite workable when the lulls allowed us to take off. There were quite a few thermals coming through in the early afternoon; some were rather small and gnarly but the occasional larger one would arrive - I managed a fairly respectable 750' ato but some were knocking on a thousand or so.

My one flight lasted a full 90 minutes but the cold conditions had penetrated my gloves - eventually I had to land to thaw my fingers out! Faces I recognised included Karl B, Pete C, Derek S, John A, Richard M and Brian M plus a few others I didn't...

All in all a very satisfying afternoon - smiles all around.

Sun 17 Oct 2010

Report by Sean Staines

The free flying forecast looked very light so I planned for a days paramotoring. I took off just East of Basingstoke at about 11AM and headed SE along the M3, heading for the split with the A303. I gained height steadily as I approached Popham airfield which was very active. I could see the sun glimmering off the Solent quite clearly from that altitude. After Popham I headed past Sutton Scotney towards Stockbridge following alongside the Old Roman road. The cumulus activity was building with some workable areas of lift peaking at 3m/s.

At Stockbridge I turned a bit further south and headed for Downton south of Salisbury. The countryside in that part of Hampshire is very pretty from the air. I could see Middle Wallop clearly in the distance and wondered if anyone was towing. If you could have got the height the thermic activity would have given a great days free flying. Cloud streets were setting up.

At Downton I turned south passing Hale and onto the heathland of the New Forest. I spent a while flying around the old WW2 bombing range near Black Gutter Bottom looking at the craters and over a heard of about 20 fallow deer (Who didn't appear to know I was there).

Finally I flew over Fritham and landed near Stoney Cross for lunch at the Royal Oak, Fritham. About 75km flight.

Report by Shamus Pitts

There was a brief window in which to commit aviation this afternoon but it wasn't really worth the drive to find out! I managed a couple of flights which never really got above takeoff before it clouded over and the wind picked up just enough to suspend Craig B and I in the air for a precious few minutes. I scraped my way on to the tree line and soared that for a couple more minutes, climbing to the dizzy heights of 130' ATO but I soon landed and that was about it! The mouse breath of wind slowly went NW and we all packed up and went home. Other hopefuls were Mel R, Ruth, Wiliam, Mark R and friend (sorry, not good with names!), and a state visit by R Westgate esq.

Sat 16 Oct 2010

Report by Nigel Beaven


Well after a fun week flying in the south of France this is the way to finish it Nigel Beaven

Fri 15 Oct 2010

Report by Brian Metcalfe

Friday 15th Oct.

I chose the right site for once and got to monks at 11.45 while others were still on the ground at Bell. The wind was only just off to the West by a few degrees and reading about 8mph.but felt lifty. No one else was there but Gordon turned up just as I was rigging.

We had a nice hour in gentle thermals from the brown fields and not so gentle ones from the silage stack by the farm buildings at the hangie pick up point. The shallow bowl to the East of take off was working well and Gordon got about 400 ft there.

After stopping for a bite to eat we were considering whether the wind had gone too far West when Chris arrived. He decided to go to Winklebury but as he left the windsock switched to due North so Gordon and I decided to give it another go. When in the air it was obvious that it was more Westerly than indicated on the ground at that moment but not too much so and it was still lifty with the wind increasing a bit. By this time I could see Chris walking across the fields to Winklebury take off so decided to fly over to him, if I could, just to wind him up. The plan worked, maintaining just enough height to get level with the silage clamp and then sidle into the bowl at Winklebury. The lift here was not great because the wind was not yet far enough West to be blowing onto the main ridge, just directly into the bowl, but it was good enough for me to gain height for the return journey. I didn't hang about to see whether Chris was suitably "wound up" but scooted back to Monks where I landed in strengthening and turbulent wind. Speaking to Gordon who also landed he said he had had a full frontal at the West end of the ridge although he thought he had been far enough away from the tree covered spur at that end.

Looking at the clouds we could see a line of lower, darker cloud approaching from the North and almost overhead by now with raggedy bits hanging down from it. That would explain the turbulence then. After the cloud passed it calmed down a bit but the wind was a little more Westerly and as it was still only about 2.30 we decided to go to Bell where they were now flying. So we left Chris and a couple of others (don't know where they came from) flying at Winklebury.

At Bell there were about a eight or ten in the air, but talking to those on the ground they said that it had only just got good again after a line of nasty looking cloud had passed over making it a bit "gnarly". Obviously the same line of cloud that had put us on the ground at Monks. We soon joined those on the air for a pleasant late afternoon boat about in gentle but surprisingly strong thermals for the time of year (I blame global warming). Landed after about an hour and home to tea.

Report by Andy Dawson

Arrived at Bell at 1400 to find slightly weak and one in the air. Fairly grey and lots of people around as the school was out. By the time I got the gear out its was a bit bit stronger and the thermals coming through helped me get quite a height, even though they were small and gnarly at times. Good hours flying and I had to exit. Most in the air including a number of ribbons. Three days in a row with thermals at this time of year is not bad.

Thu 14 Oct 2010

Report by Andy Dawson

Arrived at Monks at 11 to find it off to the east and very light. However, occasional bursts of activity allowed hops. As the day went on the wind became slightly stronger and thermals allowing some great heights. Even with periods of calm Chris did 2.5 hours and Gary scooted around the sky most of the day. In the end we were all surfing the tree tops as this was the best place to find enough lift to stay up. Towards 3 there were 6 in the air and we all left about 4 as we had had our fill and it was threatening rain. Sorry if this is in English as I am not as clever as the other wits in the club.

Report by Martin Butcher

Monks Down: Following reports zat effete Ieties and englander baffoons had been invading my local site viz dere peridious antics I decided I vould teach zem a lesson on how to fly on my vay home from vork. As I drove minen volks carrier up zee hill to Monks I could see minen namen zake the red kite soaring in zee breeze but zere was no sight of zee invaders from yesterday.

Zat effete Biggles McCain vos probably still sitting in his deck chair drinking tea. Zee vind vos blowing a good 8-12 mph so I rigged minen glider with zee intention of being in zee air ready if he should dare show his face. I vould be ready to pounce out of the mist zee moment he took offen. Zee lift was good getting me 350 ft ready for a good dive onto zee invaders and I vaited until it was getting difficult to zee ze ground and the cold vos getting through minen glove but still neinen englander shows up so I vent home to a glass of scnapps.

Wed 13 Oct 2010

Report by Steve Whitfield



I have just finished a brilliant six days flying in Spain with John Barrat from South Downs Hang Gliding on one of his famous roving trips of Andalucia. We flew into Malaga on Saturday and were greeted with a very turbulent approach as we flew through a large area of low pressure and a very wet runway.

The front had passed by Sunday and we had an excellent two hour flight mountain soaring in ridge lift in the afternoon at Loja.

Light winds, good sun and very unstable post frontal air on Monday meant an unforgettable thermal ride to cloud-base with the biggest CuNims I have ever seen developing in the far distance over the Sierra Nevada mountains. On Tuesday we flew what turned out to be the mother of all top to bottoms from a mountain near Iznalloz. Takeoff was in very light winds at 6600ft AMSL so we had to run for our lives. The landing field was 1km below, beyond a large forest and the lack of lift meant it was a scratchy glide for most of us. It was 15 minutes that I will never forget.

On Wednesday we returned to Loca for another excellent thermal ride to cloudbase with one of the group embarking on his first XC. I was tempted but the thought of trying to land in an olive grove put me off. Thursday was the worst day with only a quick TTB flight at Loja in weak scratchy thermals. This filled us with a determination to have an excellent last day so we headed to Padul on the end of the Nevada range.

Unfortunately this turned out to be a slightly extended TTB avoiding power lines. A quick de-rig and we shot back to Loja in the hope of a late afternoon flight and we got lucky. I took off first and glided out to find a nice climb to base about 2000ft ATO. I had to keep switching my turn direction to stop myself feeling sick. The view was fantastic as the sun sank lower and turned the mountain orange.

In summary a fantastic week that has massively improved my thermalling and landing skills. Roll on April, I'm definitely coming again.

Report by Neil Mccain

(Wingco here - look lively Loafer! Chop chop! Now, we've been getting reports of a possible breach in security. Yes, I know, rum do. And it's the bally Italians who might be causing the stink. Apparently a few of our boys came back from Bassano and they may have been infected with gnocci-itus. Unless it's caught early it leads to uncontrollable gesturing of the hands - not good for smooth thermalling, what?! I thought the gearboxes on their tanks were bad enough, but if this Latin lark spreads to the rest of the club squadron, we're done for. Be a good chap and do a spot of aerial reconnaissance for the top brass, eh? Hush hush though, what! Don't want to panic the natives...) What ho! Loafer reporting, Sir! I counted myself out and I counted myself back in. I made contact with Agent Henville and agreed to meet at Monksdown, where we quietly observed four pilots making efforts to take off. Pretty sure at least two of them had been infected: one kept checking his hair and the other was humming La Traviata. We kept our distance, watching for signs of the polenta-based ailment in the remaining two. It looks to affect the inexperienced first, with red-ribbon John's hands jogging around a tad too much on some takeoffs. As you rightly predicted sir, this kind of behaviour will hit the effectiveness of the squadron. The fourth pilot, a seasoned ace with many xcs to his credit seemed immune...

Sir, I'm concerned that a secondary symptom of the gnocci-itus is an inability to post messages to the sitephone. Realising this, I used the absence of information to pose as innocent pilot simply interested in flying the site. Quickly, I tried to get above the pack to observe the influence of the virus carriers and the influence of the disease. But I wasn't quick enough to outclimb Gary P, who was still humming as we approached 500' above take off. Not sure if he'd twigged, Sir, so I let him fly west towards Win Green whilst I strafed the LZ with low level passes.

With several other pilots in the sky now, it was possible to get a good look at the spread of the virus. I'm glad to report that its impact looked limited - the most severely afflicted seems to be Flight Lieutenant Webster, who seemed unable to focus on getting high, preferring to work on his landing techniques rather than getting aloft. He was in the Bassano group, Sir. You've got to like him, but I'm worried about him, Sir. Perhaps the winter layoff will enable him to recuperate....

After a while I climbed to 750' ato and headed west to land near Win Green, where I contacted Agent X posing as a farmer. During our coded exchange, he revealed that he had no problem with pilots landing in his fields and I responded that the handkerchief was waved at the window, the handkerchief was waved at the window. I walked back to take off and made a discreet exit as Karl and Bryan enjoyed the late afternoon conditions. I don't recall hearing any humming at this point.

All in all Sir, I believe the threat posed is minimal, and the Bassanites' Italian foibles will disappear with time. Toodle Pip!

Mon 11 Oct 2010

Report by Jon Harvey


Six condors and 1 North Devon pilots, went to Bassano with Brett J of XTC, and met up with fellow Wessex pilots. Went out on Frid 24th Sept, and by the following Frid morning, forecast for the 2nd w/end not looking at all promising, so re-located to Slovenia. Decided to go by train, via Venice, rather than in the mini bus.

Both Sat and Sun, very good flying at Covk, a site relatively unknown outside Slovenian pilots. Flying not only with hangies, (not unusual) but several sail planes, even one being towed. Rained all of the last day, so went to view caves at Postonjna, supposedly largest in Europe.

8 days out of 10 flyable, not bad.

Thu 07 Oct 2010

Report by Marcus Webster



Just back from nine days in Bassano, weather not fantastic, but we managed to fly six days out of the nine.

Week mainly given over to eating and drinking (Shares in Gaviscon and Rennies must have gone through the roof !) and trying to keep pace with Pete "I don`t drink much" Chalmers and Roger "I`m never late" Edwards.

I have included some photos, showing a few familiar faces.

Sat 02 Oct 2010

Report by Roy Menage



It looked like there might be a window of opportunity for White Horse today so I made my way there only to find nobody else and the wind rather too strong. So I eventually made my way to Ringstead with Russell to find Derek and Richard Mosley.

Richard was airborne and playing on the cliffs but the wind was still too strong for us but with a clearing sky out front and no white horses on the sea we decided that it was probably going to drop off so we waited around and sure enough it did. The wind was a bit off to the south. Russell made it to the cliffs with not much height to spare and scratched his way up to cliff height.

I followed but hit a big patch of sink just before the last power lines just before the cliff (Derek had a similar experience but closer to the ridge and ended up at the bottom). Not wanting to risk it, I turned away and had a rather fast arrival going largely downwind. No damage done thankfully. So I made my way back to takeoff where I tried again.

The wind had gone too far off to go out to the cliffs so we boated around the ridge gaining an amazing 120 ft ATO very briefly. RW and RM made it to Bats Head and back. I've yet to make it there. Perhaps next time. The wind went progressively off to the east making it rather unpleasant to fly so we packed up and called it a day.

Report by Alastair Florence


Saturday started flat calm, forecast looked like it should be a Ballard day.

About 10 ish I struggled up the hill and found a perfect SSE wind coming through.

Got in the air fairly quick and enjoyed a good session on the main cliff and right the way up the ridge to the obelisk.

There was too much South for the hotels or Old Harry way to work but as usual the ridge was quite thermic giving about 800ft ato. Base was about 200ft higher.

I think the wind picked up a bit and so did the lift.

Two visitors turned up followed by Quentin and Simon H, I've seen the visitors before at Ringstead and they are fair mean acro pilots.

They gave a good show of wingovers, syncronised spirals, sats, helicopters and various other dodgy looking things.

After a bit I needed a waz, was thirsty and getting knackered, I was weighing up an xc to the Sandbanks ferry and bus back, or jump Ulwell gap fly to Corfe, have beer and catch the train back, the Corfe idea seemed more atractive.

Got over Ulwell gap no probs but as I got round the corner to Knitson I found more east in the wind than I expected.

I was getting battered in some fairly horrendous air, with the wind off 45', so decided to fly back. half way back over the gap it looked like my glide angle would put in the Wilkinsons back garden which although its a lovely garden seemed unnecesary so I turned back and landed by the caravan site.

I walked back up and found Nigel B, Simon H, Quentin and the acro twins either in the air or shaping up to launch.

I always thought anyone wanting to do acro must be bonkers, and after the guy on the red wing landed on the beach for the second time after winding it down too low, I could not believe my eyes when he then proceeded to climb the cliff with glider sack on his back. He actually climbed up in the bowl toward the far end of the main cliff past where the Peregrines sit, barking mad, and then after reaching the top proceeded to launch from an almost as steep bit, spectacular flying though i'm not tempted.

We had another good session. Nigel and me landed by Whitecliff Farm as I think the beach could have been nasty with the amount of South in the wind.

I noticed people still flying about 1730 but the heavy rain eventually seemed to ground them.

Report by Craig Byrne


Classic conditions on the cliffs at Bournemouth today.

Nice soaring the hotels with Paul, Keith and Brian, it was really lifty and pier crossings nice and easy.

We all made it to the end of the cliffs and Sandbanks end then back again.

On the way home I stopped off at Barton and managed a quick fly with Richard and Red Electron dude before rain stopped play.

Good day!

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