Eye in the Sky - Dec 2010

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Sun 26 Dec 2010

Report by Brian Metcalfe

I arrived hopefully at Barton on Boxing day at 1,00pm on the strength of RASP saying it would come on sometime in the afternoon. Joe and Sean were already there but the wind was still a light NE. After talking parabolics for about an hour and no change in the wind, and no sign that it was going to change soon we all decided to do something else and parted, cursing all weather forecasters. So I went into New Milton to do some late Christmas shopping! When I'd finished at about 3.00 I thought I'd just drive by the cliff top just in case. As y' do.

As I drew up I saw Paul getting his wing out in a strongish SSW. Panic! Time to rush before it got too strong. I hurriedly phoned Joe in case he was anywhere near but he was "out in the woods". I briefly toyed with the idea of dispensing with boots and flying suit to save time but the cliff top was very slippery and it was still damned cold so I donned all my winter gear and ripped my wing out of the bag. Paul had his wing up by this time and was having a bit of trouble penetrating to the cliff edge so I gave him a push off before inflating my wing, struggling to the edge and taking off into lovely lift at 3.20.

The wind was nearly smack on and there was plenty of lift so I thought I'd give Highcliffe a go. I was sure it was going to get stronger so I used speed bar to get to Chewton Bunny, let off to gain some height and made the crossing, touching down briefly on the other side but keeping the wing above my head, and then taking off easily again after walking it round the corner for a few yards. It was an easy flight to Highcliffe Castle and off the end of the cliff at Steamer Point as far as the surfing hut and then, after playing around a bit at the Castle and the car park, an easy crossing back across Chewton Bunny and back to take off.

Paul was just landing 'cos it was starting to get dark but the wind hadn't increased as I had feared so I decided there was just time to get to Milford and back. Speed bar once again to get there quickly and letting off to fly over the beach huts, I made it easily to the far end past the beach huts to where the cliff disappears. I did some more mucking about over the beach huts but it was getting quite dark now and also I was getting a bit cold in spite of my ski suit (I was quite glad at this point that I'd taken the extra bit of time to put it on). Half bar to get me back to take off quickly although with the wind smack on at take off there was no into wind component here so I whizzed back and after doing a bit more playing about, landed by the light of the street lamps at 4.40.

Using Ali's peachyometer I'd rate this as an 8 for Barton. It was just a shame that there was only me and Paul to enjoy it. Sorry Joe and Sean.

Sat 18 Dec 2010

Report by Shamus Pitts


With 5 inches of snow on the ground, the sun shining and a light westerly breeze wafting through the tree tops I decided that a walk up Cowdown was on the cards. When I got to the top the wind was indeed light, about 9 or 10mph but there were enough little gusts coming through to give me hope. A buzzard and 2 seagulls soaring the hill convinced me to unpack and have a go.

The air was nicely buoyant and I was soon 40' ATO. The wind was switching around from WNW to WSW quite a bit but there was always lift to be had. It increased in strength for a little while, enabling me to get to 150' ATO and I noticed the wind seemed much stronger over 100' above the hill.

I boated about for about 35 minutes but in the end I was thinking more about how cold my hands were than actually flying so I decided to land. I made it out to the field by my house so decided to carry my wing home and pack it away in the dry!

Wed 15 Dec 2010

Report by Brian Metcalfe




Tues 14 Dec 2010

Report by Brian Metcalfe

Tuesday 14th Dec 2010 After faffing about trying to decide if it was flyable anywhere I eventually decided to go to Monks. After carefully negotiating the ice still on the top road I parked at about 1.00 and found it murky and dull, and no-one else there but the wind was on the hill and blowing lightly at 8 to10, usually 8 but very occasionally slightly more, so I thought it was worth getting the wing out.

The wing came up easily but there was not quite enough breeze to lift off so after standing there for a while I just ran for it and to my surprise stayed up; just. After scratching hard for a couple of beats a bit more lift came through and lifted me to about 50 ft ato for 10 minutes. This pattern repeated itself for the next hour without me having to touch down. If anyone else had been there there wouldn't have been enough room! I never made it to cloudbase but eventually cloudbase came down to meet me so I packed up at 3.15 and left in fog.

Sat 11 Dec 2010

Report by Alastair Florence


A dull, damp, skanky day, Paul H reckoned the wind at Bell was off North so we met up at Monks.

Richard C and the Sky surfing scratchers gang were busy scratching Winklebury with one guy on Monks who had driven from Bedford for the pleasure.

it actually felt ok so Paul and I rigged up and had an enjoyable soar for about 20 mins. The wind was light and soft, I think we launched into a little thermal cycle which lasted until we landed given gains of over 200ft ato. By the time the Winklebury gang arrived the wind had died and gone West so Paul and me went home.

Terrormeter 0 (not sure if its working, I need something more adventourous to check the readings) Peachometer 3 would have been a better score but 20 mins was not long enough to get a good reading.

And, what is it Reindeers these days, the have miles of fields to run round in but all they seem to want to do is trot up and down the roads, whats the point there's more food in the fields.

Report by Shamus Pitts


I managed half an hour at Telegraph Hill this morning in less than ideal conditions. The wind was off to the north and pretty light and cloudbase was low.

After a slightly extended top-to-bottom I walked back up and found the wind to have increased a little but still off to the north. I took off and found part of the ridge to be lifting so worked it and eventually managed to get to cloud base, 300' ATO! After big-earsing out of the murk I slowly built my height back up and this time started to disappear about 270' ATO so decided to land as it seemed the clag was coming down.

I tried once more and made it to about 150' ATO but the wind was dropping and eventually my luck ran out and I bottom-landed. Not the best of days but having not flown for 5 weeks it was brilliant to get my feet off the ground!

Thurs 9 Dec 2010

Report by Alastair Florence


I had plans of doing plenty of diy at home with a few days leave to burn before year end, with sub zero temperatures it seemed a bad idea to start taking out windows in the house and my brick paviors were frozen to the ground, so I went flying intead.

Bell hill was nice and sunny with clear blue sky, not much wind though and well off West, after hanging round a while a fair crowd of the usual dodgers arrived and by early afternoon we got about an hours action in.

Not really brilliant stuff but pleasant enough. Most people managing up to 200ft ato and smooth air with plenty of small weak lifty bits.

Zero reading on the terrormeter.

Sun 05 Dec 2010

Report by Alastair Florence


After braving ice rink conditions driving up to Bell I found the entire Blackmore Vale full of very pretty clag and no wind. From the Bulbarrow viewpoint I could see Paul H walking up Bell track through the bino's.

I couldn't be bothered to go any further as it did not look like it would happen and Paul was talking about TTB's as he thought he could see the landing field. I went home, not sure if Paul did his TTB ? Worth the drive though for the view (just)

Report by Paul Hawkins


Driving on icy roads through horrible murk and clag couldn't stop me from going to Bell today such is my desperation for some flying! I had a hunch that Bell would be clear of cloud which was proved correct. I also had another hunch that it was not windy enough for soaring which unfortunately was also proved correct! Still a nice walk and a top to bottom was quite pleasant. Also a stunning view of the Blackmore Vale filled with cloud was nice!

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