Eye in the Sky - Jan 2011

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

Sun 30 Jan 2011

Report by Simon Jones

Okeford Hill A pleasant hour or so at Okeford. I arrived to find Will Palmer - recently returned from his eastern adventures - on take off having had a good couple of flights. Karl Buckett was walking the dog with Jackie, and dashed off to get his wing. The wind was occasionally off to the east a bit, but generally pretty much on the hill. Richard Moseley turned up and launched and I followed shortly afterwards. Will was making good height gains on his Ozone Addict and Richard had headed off towards the White Pit. There was good, firm, smooth lift around and I eventually made about 300ft ATO and followed Richard across the spur. I found less lift over the Pit - perhaps due to wavering wind direction, but more probably due to a combination of me being a bit rusty coupled with ground suck towards my mum's house and a nice cup of tea in Shillingstone. I landed a couple of fields away from the tea and biscuits and watched Karl join Richard and Will in the air.

Report by Gary Puhl

Arrived at Monks to a row of cars but nobody in sight.

They were standing in the field behind the trees in the sun.

The wind was steadily increasing and everyone decided to leave.

Russ suggested Maiden Castle. As I had never flown there it was worth a = visit.

Had a great time climbing well formed thermals high enough to see the = coast.

Beautiful day just a bit chilly. Russ and Dave W spent a couple of hours = playing the lift with me and supplied refreshments. Thanks.

Mon 24 Jan 2011

Report by Neil Mccain

Report by Neil McCain Had a quick half hour fly at Monksdown today. I arrived as Gary, Chris and Andy were packing up - the wind seemed to have gone light and off to the west. This proved to be a lull and by the time I'd clipped in it had picked up again. The field in front of the left hand spur was generating lots of little thermals, which was fun, but I felt like Billy-no-mates boating about on my own. Should've gone to Bell.....

Sat 22 Jan 2011

Report by Shamus Pitts


Had a chance to try out my new wing at Monksdown today. I arrived at 9am, as I thought it would probably blow out by lunch time, to find frozen ground and not much wind. When the wind did arrive it was a bit off to the NW but slowly became flyable, and over the course of the morning it quickly increased in strength and by midday was fairly top end (and freezing cold).

Despite the strength of the wind there wasn't much height to be had and the air felt lumpy and a bit messy. My new wing (Skywalk Cayenne 3) coped very well and I was able to throw it around a bit and get a feel for it. It doesn't feel hugely different to my Golden 2 yet but I've only flown it for an hour. The brakes are firmer, and due to the higher aspect ratio the risers seem further apart. It turns very nicely and I suppose feels a little more dynamic than the G2 but it's not scary at all, it feels rock solid. Hopefully we'll have some sunny days soon so I can try it in something a bit more thermic...

Thu 20 Jan 2011

Report by Neil Mccain

Monksdown at this time of year is doubly cold: it can be blasted by wintry northerlies and the tree line casts a long shadow across the site that keeps frost on takeoff throughout the day. Five of us arrived just after 11 and stood in this shadow, waiting for the wind to properly switch on, donning as many additional layers as possible as it did so.

Gary P was the first in the air, skimming the ridge for ages whilst the rest of us (Chris, Marcus, Nigel and I) tried to follow his lead. I couldn't find the rhythm of the air to start with, kept missing the bit of lift that would have kept me afloat, flying through the strongest part of the itty-bitty thermals. We were flying in the shadow too, and a 15 minute flight in the cold air felt like an hour. I landed for a cup of tea and a warm up.

About this time Simon, Brian and Ian joined the party. There was just enough lift to keep us all aloft. Good manners and smartly applied airlaw meant no dramas and we had a blast working the patches of lift (I think Marcus achieved a dizzying 324ft). The thermals were small, plentiful and soft-edged - great for play! Take off and landings were impeccably executed throughout the day...

I felt for Paul who arrived as the day switched off, but he managed a little fly before the cold began to bite again and it was time for us all to go.

A Grand day out!=

Wed 19 Jan 2011

Report by Andy Dawson


The wind being northerly (with a tinge of west in it) and Monks being shut Gary Chris and I set off for Marlycombe. We had quite a jobe getting through to the farmer to gain permission but did so in the end.

The track up from the road was very slippy due to mud and would have been difficult in a standard car. The air was clear and the sun shining - just like yesterday at Bell but the wind was far lighter. In a short while it did pick up enough for one wing to maintain and then weak thermals allowed occassional lifts to a couple of hundred feet and three wings in the air. After an hour and a half flying others turned up but the wind was dying so we left them to it, only to find a lost Paul H looking for the site.

Tues 18 Jan 2011

Report by Neil Mccain

A lot of flying was on offer for the dozen or so pilots able to make it to Bell. The wind was 'firm' but steady, and it was surprisingly buoyant given the wet ground. I hadn't flown for a while, and was glad that the thermals didn't have any sharp edges to shock the system. Heights of 500' ato and more were achieved by many, and several glided forwards almost to the digester. It made sense to stay with the pack, though: Spanker Metcalfe had ventured towards Ibberton only to be buzzed by a jet flying low round the beacon! Some new kit was on view too - the benign conditions made a good day to get used to it. A smashing day - more please!=

Sun 9 Jan 2011

Report by Richard Chambers


A very blowy afternoon watching some Polish pilots doing acro over a blown out St Aldhelms before it calmed down enough to let us mere mortals in the air. I think the lack of airtime over winter has gone to peoples heads as the 4 in the air rule was stretched somewhat for a while. Still, a lovely few hours in the air watching a beautiful sunset over the stunning Jurassic coast, followed by a landing by the car and a pint in the pub. Does it get any better than that? Richard

Report by Shamus Pitts


I was just about to take a walk up Cowdown when Russell phoned to say that Portland West was working. I'd never flown there before so decided to head down and give it a go.

When I got there Russell, Alan Webb, and Gary Pocock were in the air so I headed down to the old takeoff and with a bit of shouted advice from Russell I got hovered up in to the air! There was a little bit of south in the wind but not enough to cause any problems and there was plenty of lift to be had. It was reasonably strong but penetration was still quite easy.

Once I'd been up and down the ridge a few times, practised wing overs etc the wind seemed to be picking up and going round more to WSW so after watching Russell land on the green in front of the hotel I made my approach and landed.

The wind had definitely picked up but seeing Russell take off and not have any trouble Alan and I decided to have another go. Despite a rotory takeoff Alan got over the road and on to the cliffs easily so I followed him. I'm probably a bit lighter on my wing than Alan and I found it very slow going as I inched across the road and the houses beyond. I made it to the cliffs and built up my height but it didn't feel as nice as before €“ the wind was stronger and had more south in it. Russell had warned us that the landing approach was getting quite rotory so after only about 10 minutes in the air I decided to see how bad it was before it got much worse! It turned out to not be too bad. It was a bit choppy on the way down but I didn't get any flutters or collapses and was soon on the ground. Alan landed a short time later with no problems either.

Thanks to Russell for the call and the guidance, it's a beautiful site €“ I wish I'd tried it sooner!

Report by Alastair Florence


I arrived at St.A's mid morning just ahead of Dave W, wind strength was fine and pretty much due West.

We both had a decent fly although with the amount of West there was little more you could do than soar the main cliff, enough height and lift for a jaunt to Houns Tout but again the Tout would not have worked well so we stayed on St.A's. Simon H arrived and launched after a bit, we all got bored after a while and flew back to the car park.

Me and Simon took a look at Kimmeridge but it was gusting up to 22mph so we thought we would try St.A again.

On arrival at St.A's take off there were about 7 pilots already there and more arriving. The wind seemed to have dropped so to help ease overcrowding I went back to Kimmeridge were I had a half decent fly with the ridge to myself, Nigel R was there but I think he must of ate to many mince pies and just stayed on the ground chasing the sheep up and down.

Back on St.A's things started well with pilots sticking to the 4 in the air rule as stated in the sites guide, I guess that as the afternoon went on frustration got the better of some who had travelled from other clubs etc and I did note a fair few wings in the air which was not so cool especially as Kimmeridge was also working. Whilst i'm on the soap box I may as well explain again why numbers are limited here, nothing to do with safety and the like. The farmer has a very fair view that anyone should be able to enjoy his land so long as they do not prevent others also doing so. The number limit is to allow those who want to admire the view, take photo's, watch peregrines and so on without to many gliders in their view.

I think thats fair reasoning so lets not abuse it.

Any way lovely day Terrormeter 0, Peachometer 7.

Report by Gary Pocock

A perfect day for Portland West apart from the cold. Russell W and I flew from about 10.15 to 11.00 topping out at around 250ft ATO. Great to get my feet off the ground at last after over 3 months. Very clear day, the coast was visible for miles. Russell took the photos while I tried to with my phone having left my camera at home, being a touch screen it didn't work well with gloves so gave up in the end.

About 11.00 Alan W arrived and shortly after Shamus P. We all flew for another hour or so before top landing again. Both Alan and Shamus enjoyed there first taste of Portland W, Alan pointing out the technical issues of take off and landing making it all the more exciting, especially with plenty of spectators.

We all agreed it was a great start to 2011. Long may it continue! Hopefully a few photos to follow.

Mon 03 Jan 2011

Report by Alastair Florence


A bit off topic maybe but you dont often get a chance to take a picture of the coastguard helicopter from above.

Sat 01 Jan 2011

Report by Shamus Pitts


It was a bit €œdrizzerable€ on Bell Hill when I arrived about 2 o'clock. Ali F, Carl B, Brian M, Harry D, Derek S and a couple of others were already there and there was a light wind blowing up the hill.

We took it in turns to take off and scratch the bowl before trying to get back in on top and clearing the way for the next person. Simon J and Paul H turned up and the wind increased a little, allowing 3 or 4 wings in the air at a time. We never had a lot of height, I think the highest I got was about 55' ATO, and lift wasn't guaranteed with the wind switching between NNW and WNW at times.

Although it felt like I was flying in drizzle a lot of the time I managed to clock up about an hour over 4 or 5 flights so it wasn't a bad start to the year, let's hope the next couple of days are even better!

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