Eye in the Sky - Jan 2012

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Mon 30 Jan 2012

Report by Craig Byrne



I am in Brazil with Steve Barton, XC Brazil Paragliding.

A few photos from flying there so far, will do a full story in Airmail.

Now in Governador Valadares waiting for top cloud cover to go. Then flying again later.

We managed a short XC yesterday which was fun! http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/550332

Sat 28 Jan 2012

Report by Brian Metcalfe


William adding a helping paw while we were getting Gordon's wing out of the thorn tree at monks on Saturday. He thought we were all barking.

Report by Jeremy Calderwood


'Twas a chilly breeze a-blowin' but it didn't put off the hardy few at Monks Down today. From time to time little thermals came through to buoy us up a few hundred feet. Shamus reckoned he got up to about 1,000 feet at one point - known as a millipede, of course. My personal best was 315' ato which I was quite happy with for a January mid- afternoon.

Then the wind went right up to top end - I was going backwards so I pulled out the speed bar but as I gave it some pressure - twang - the right hand side clips disengaged. I guess they had slipped loose so I spent an uncomfortable few seconds parked into wind while I reconnected them. I'm glad I did - I needed full bar to get back in front. Soon the other wings were big-earing down to the bottom field... except Gordon who chose a tree instead...

I found some more lift well out in front and as the wind eased back a bit I carried on for another 3/4 hour, swooping about with the whole place to myself.

Finally the numb fingers persuaded me it was time to come down and as the wind was now back to something like 15 mph I decided to top land off to the right in front of the fenced field. I still got a bit of a drag through the mud but soon subdued the frisky wing.

After dropping my wing off at the car I grabbed a saw and marched down to join the happy throng around the by now rather smaller tree to help remove the last of the tangled lines - job done! Another 1 hour 15 minutes taking me to within five and a half hours of my first one hundred... happy days!

Report by Shamus Pitts


I had a good couple of hours flying at Monksdown today €“ it could have been more but it was just too cold to fly for too long.

I arrived at 10am to find the wind freezing but on the hill and blowing about 15mph, although it felt stronger. The air was pretty buoyant and there were even a few thermals coming through even though it was overcast a lot of the time. It was a bit gnarly at times but that's Monksdown €“ cold, muddy and a bit rough! Plenty of people were flying today, including a few new members €“ welcome to Alex and others who's names I have forgotten (sorry!). The wind stayed quite strong and picked up a bit in the afternoon giving plenty of people the chance to try the €œMonksdown dance€ as various descent techniques were employed in a bid to try and top land! Most people got down okay in the end although there were a couple of pilots smeared across the hillside (or rather the hillside was smeared across the pilots!) and poor old Gordon who used a tree as a €œwing-anchor€ but all in all a good day was had by all!

Report by Alastair Florence

Monks- late start for me but had a good bit of airtime with many others albeit a little gusty at times.


Swallowcliffe- I wanted to tick Swallowcliffe off as flown (again leaving just Bulbarrow on the to do list, or maybe not !) Several pilots have expressed the view that it should work in a Northerly so I thought I may take the opportunity to see what would happen.

The wind seemed to have gone a fair bit lighter than it had been on Monks (late in the day I guess) but was on the hill at the SW end where its sort of shaped like the bent bit of a fish Hook. Nice grassy take off and a giant field full of well grown mangles behind to land in, the mangle tops might be a bugger to wrap up in though.

Launch was easy and I could soar as far as the gap between the two main tree blocks as from here onward was kind of into wind. Not that lifty as the wind was well off the main ridge really but did a few beats before landing back at t/o, not wishing to go birds nesting in the tree's as someone appeared to have done at Monks as I drove down the hill, trust no one hurt.

Flying lowish behind the tree blocks you could feel the air was disturbed but not enough to cause concern.

I think with a bit more West (it must have been due North or maybe even a sniff of East) and a bit more strength the site should be very pleasant with the tree blocks acting as thermal triggers and restitution resevoirs.

Then back home for casserole and a bottle of Hobgoblin,Peachy.

Mon 23 Jan 2012

Report by Neil Mccain

Managed 35 minutes in Whitesheet's typically rock'n'roll conditions. Nigel Rendell, Will Palmer, new CP Pat (Skysurfer) also flew. Conditions seemed to pick up over lunch as Alex (?) and Richard (?) and Brian Metcalfe arrived, and then die back to suggest some more soaring in the offing. Will and I took off first but within a couple of minutes conditions changed again, this time quite suddenly. The wind picked up and then in quick succession we were both heaved about in a quite strong lift, complete with collapses and yawing (that'll be my wing mainly), and then rained on out of nowhere. We both took the sensible option and bottom landed. The others took the equally sensible option not to fly. Not a classic by any means, but some aviation was committed at last - Amen to that.

Tue 17 Jan 2012

Report by Gary Puhl


The crowd waited hours for the land breeze to die.

Expecting the wind to be over 10 €“ 12 mph it was disappointing when it only reached 7-8mph.

It did not seem likely we would be soaring today.

I launched and headed towards Milford, hoping the bigger cliff would produce enough lift to fly.

No need to worry, the lift was OK and improved as the wind increased slightly. I had promised John C a tandem so landed after a few beats to set up the tandem.

Easy launch and good lift all the way to Milford. Very close to landing on the way back at Taddiford gap but scraped up and continued to Chewton bunny. Brian and Chris had crossed but had to wing walk and re=launch before reaching beyond Highcliff.

When the sun burst through the coast glowed.

Report by Alastair Florence


I always believe in give and take at work so after 'giving' up a nice sleep to be at Gosport for 0645hrs today I 'took' an early finish.I thought Barton or Southbourne may have been ok and havent visited either for a while but with no messages on the Sitephone at that time opted for a slight dog leg journey home via Ringstead.

Ringstead was not working that well when I arrived and there were a few people lowish on the ridge and one or two on the cliff.

I could see a couple of wings on White Horse, again not doing great but it looked consistant, so thats where I headed.

The other two chaps (new members Patrick I think and friend (sorry me and names takes a while to sink in)) where packing up for a long drive home but it still felt fine.

I had a nice flight for a while with little weak thermally bits being generated by a muted sun.

Simon J arrived and we both enjoyed a good late afternoons boat about with pretty much all the ridge working away to the East past the gully, I crossed the bowl onto the ridge leading toward Bincombe but the lift was not great and I soon scurried back across before all my height had gone.

All in all a cracking afternoon with height gains to 250ft ato at times.

Fri 13 Jan 2012

Report by Graham Marshall


Gosh, can I really publish with the Sky Gods? Rather proud of my very first soaring flight on a paraglider.

On day 3 of CP training with Flying Frenzy I flew my newly delivered Bolero 4 at Eggardon Hill Fort.

Yes, I can see why you all do it. Blue sky, see for ever, strong wind and a buzzard, exhilarating! Good news - two fantastic soaring flights.

Bad news - Friday 13th, so got a small barb-wire tear on my beautiful new wing and a sprained knee. Or perhaps I can't ground handle in a 20 mph wind yet? But great training from Andrew on how I should.

Report by Gary


Stepping out of the warm car into the cold breeze did not inspire us to fly. However, after the long drive to Ditchling Beacon we had a sandwich and coffee before walking across the ridge to take off. With each step the wind dropped.

I decided to try it but handed the car keys to Chris S in case I went down.

Chris retrieved me and discussed moving somewhere else or going home.

Brian M was still at T/O so we went back noticing the formation of Cu as the inversion broke.

By the time we arrived there was enough to tempt me to try again.

Gentle thermals formed in each of the bowls forming the ridge and we were soon 360ing for views of the sea at Brighton. The best thermal of the day was marked by 2 buzzards well in front of the hill. I soon joined them and climbed to approx 500ft above the hill. Over the next half hour the thermals decayed and we decided to call it a day with over 1.5 hours of fun flying.

Sun 08 Jan 2012

Report by Shamus Pitts


A windy day at Bell hill today. The wind was a bit off to the west but the sun was out (at least to start with) which even managed to produce a couple of thermals allowing climbs up to about 450' ATO. By lunch time it had clouded over and wasn't looking as good but it was still flyable and I managed to get down the ridge to the modellers section and back (although getting back was a little touch and go!).

By about 2pm the wind was well off to the west so I decided to go to Cowdown instead where the wind was on the hill but quite strong. I flew for 15 minutes and then the wind seemed to drop down to about 10 mph so I called it a day. An hour and a half at Bell and lots of people out (although it wasn't crowded) so a good start to 2012!

Fri 06 Jan 2012

Report by Alastair Florence


Following in line with our company austerity measures and advice on not doing unecessary mileage I decided that today it would be more sustainable to work from home-ish.

So with some of my saved mileage I took a lunch break at St.Aldhelms.

The wind was on the cliff and blowing 15-16mph, so out with me tackle and into the air.

After a messy launch resulting in my first ever cravat which shook out after a bit of line tugging I found fairly brisk but smooth conditions with plenty of lift. I think the trip to Houns Tout could have been fairly comfortable but with the wind picking up and a disturbed looking sky I decided lunch was over and returned to contract review write ups.

Beats playing angry birds or something for lunch anyway !

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