Eye in the Sky - August 2012

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Fri 31 Aug 2012

Report by Paul Maidment


Bell Hill - I arrived about 10.30 to a lot of parked cars and light wind but good NW direction. Being a newby I thought I would give it a go, my first flight saw 630ft ATO, the wind had picked up giving good lift, after half an hour I landed and watched three paragliders go over the back with good height, I later found out two of them had made it to swange - maybe one day I will give a go!
At 2 ish the Red Arrows did a low fly by, Andrew P was there from flying frenzy and showed us a few of his flying skills. Later in the afternoon the wind got a little strong for me and I was having trouble pushing forward and I had a couple of sketchy take off attempts one being blown back just over the top of parked cars and another being dragged up hill on my ass - a very good day, may there be many more.   

Report by Shamus Pitts


A good day was had by all at Bell Hill today.  Conditions were as good as they've been this year and the thermals were good and frequent.  The wind started off a bit off to the north but eventually came round to NW.  I took a thermal off the far end of the bowl and got to cloudbase 4000' over Winterborne Stickland.  There was a cloudstreet in the distance so I set off on a glide, only to sink all the way to the ground to land at Bloxworth for 20km!  Frustrating!  Huge thanks to Neil McCain for taking Emily up for a couple of tandem flights, with the second one topping out 1300' ATO and landing on the cricket pitch at Stickland!

Report by Neville Almond

Many thanks to the 2 PG's marking lift behind Bell at around 1:15 - I find placing a TP here is very reliable!
Nice view of the Red arrows just before 2pm. 10 minutes later and I would have had a really close view.
Enjoyable flight down from Westbury, but only made it back as far as Shaftesbury as the skywent poor around 3pm.
Tough self retrieve back to the car on the Mountain Bike.

Report by Everard Cunion


My first soaring flight this year -- exactly a year (by date) since my last soaring flight! As the photo shows, situation awareness is the name of the game here.

Today the Red Arrows went past in front of the hill (at a safe distance). My camera was taking one frame every minute, but it did not get them. However, while driving home, the Avro Lancaster four-engine heavy bomber crossed at low level in front of me in a turn. It was like 'The Dam Busters,' but in colour. It then crossed in the other direction on final to RAF Hurn (Bournemouth International Airport).

Report by Andrew Fenton

Having heard the first two not so promising messages from Bell, I decided to head for Westbury White Horse where the prospects looked better with a view to maybe doing Swallowcliffe in the evening.  Westbury was booming, a little spring-like at first then plenty of big "user-friendly' thermals pushing through.  Cloudbase was easy and a few got away.  By lunchtime though it was a tad too strong so I headed home for lunch and then set out for Swallowcliffe in my new toy where it was also strong although two wings were in the air. It settled around 4pm and a good hour+ was had boating around in buoyant air with a few end-of-the-day thermals helping us along - it also helped that the crop out front was being cut!

Report by Grant Oseland


Went to Bell at about lunch time, clipped in, took off, then went to Swanage with Marcus, and at no time did any one fly in any cloud, honest.

Report from Bell Hill

Neil Mc Cain on the Tandem & Jeff Davis on a new Gin Sprint.

Sun 26 Aug 2012

Report by Shamus Pitts

Not the epic day I was hoping for at Cowdown today but fun none the less (although I spent more time walking than flying!)  A short XC to Cerne Abbas in the morning with the wind a bit off to the north, followed by a long walk back.  Back at takeoff the wind was now a bit off to the south and a bit rough but I found another thermal and went on another short XC, this time landing just NE of Cerne, and another long walk back!  Thanks to Martin for picking me up at Cerne!  2 hours in the air, 2 1/2 hours walking but a good day!

Report by Gary Mullins


New member Andrew Ward having a great time at Swyre flying with, in the distance, Kai Coleman.

Thu 23 Aug 2012

Report by "Skippy"

My first jolly at Eype as a low airtimer with Graham D & Russell W, and what a day! I managed a difficult T.O. and flew my socks off getting to Golden Cap and thermalling up at the Beacon to be "Top of the Stack". Magic absolutely magic. Flew for nearly 4 hrs with Dinks from the Condors and others. Thanks to Condors Club Coach John Harvey for his help at T.O.

Sun 19 Aug 2012

Report by Alastair Florence

I had several attempts at getting a flight today, each one ending either in a total non start or the site either clagging, blowing out or coming becalmed or on some occasion a combination.

I gave up and spent sometime in the garden sun lounging.

That soon got boring so I checked out Kimmeridge, it actually look and felt good, by the time my wing was out the bag the clag was setting back in.

I had about half an hour of clag baiting, it was not rough, just very gusty. I had to ask myself if i was really enjoying it, the answer was no so I landed and packed up, just as well as the air ambulance was on its way to pick up an injured walker and I wouldn't have fancied clag dodging with it. Peachometer 2

Report by Grant Oseland


I don't know about anywhere else today, but Bell was working for a bit today but nothing to write home about. Very light but with the occasional thermic cycle coming through and very hot and still in between.

Tue 14 Aug 2012

Report by Steve A


Barton-on-Sea, so-so flying today, still, better than painting walls... Nice to see Brian in the air again!

Report by Alastair Florence

I managed to wangle an early finish at work today with a view to heading straight for Ballard.

Once on the road the radio reports were telling me someone had managed to turn their car over on the A31, so rather than sit in the New Forest for ages I diverted to Barton.

Not much wind there and planty of Pilots sat around and wrapping up, so back to plan A and headed Ballard way.

Neil W was airborne which was promising so went straight up.

Fairly light wind with a fair bit of East, eventually it picked up and we had a good session on the front cliff down toward Old Harry.

By the time I got home and had supper Knitson and Ballard had clagged in. A harsh walk up at the end of a busy day but worth it this time, Peachometer 5

Mon 13 Aug 2012

Report by Marcus Webster


Had a week in Piedrahita at the end of July and shared a room with Captain Chalmers, where I think I got first prize in the snoring competition, but it was a close run thing!   Out of the six full days (plus an evening flight on the day of arrival) we lost two days due to over development, which was a little disappointing but Steve Ham kept us out of mischief with a day out canoeing and swimming on the river and a trip to Salamanca for lunch and a bit of culture.

I messed up the second and as it turned out, best day of the trip by bombing at the entrance to the dreaded Pass, Pete went on to do a personal best flight and I spent the afternoon by the pool crying into my beer!   I shall return for another go, as the potential for long xc`s with a mini bus tracking your every move and Steve Ham's local knowledge and hospitality making for a very low stress Paragliding holiday.

Sun 12 Aug 2012

Report by Sean Staines

After much indecision on where to go I persuaded Andrea it was a good idea to try the Isle of Wight, and being a cheapskate we walked the 5km from Yarmouth to Freshwater and up onto the take-off for the white cliffs. The walk was very pleasant along a disused railway on the banks of the river Yar, made easier by my reversible lightweight harness which, without reserve, made the kit weigh 11kg.

We had seen paragliders launching and flying cliffs from the ferry and a couple were still airborne when we arrived. It was very strong on launch at the White cliffs and I decided to walk another 1km to the take-off for the Reds cliffs, eventually getting airborne at 3:50.

Conditions were very good so after a couple of beats along the white cliffs towards Freshwater, I thought I'd see how far I could get along the cliffs. I was delighted to get to St Catherines point past Blackgang and make it back again. A 35km out and return taking about an hour and three quarters to complete.

Very interesting flying. I only saw one other glider as I flew, I think he landed at Blackgang before I got there. Scores 10 on the peachometer.

Report by Grant Oseland

Eype was the choice for today with an early start, thinking the wind would pick up quickly. As normal the weather did not follow the forecast and we arrived to very low cloud and little wind on take off. We all had a little boat around and crossed over to the beacon using IFR as the cloud was still low. Then there was a real lull in the wind and all landed, with much complaining about the forecast again. After about an hour of waiting the wind started to pick up and most pilots launched into the murky sky. Eventually the sky started to clear leaving massive clouds in land and just about the entire coast in orographic cloud which made for some nice photos.

Report by Alastair Florence


A picture tells a thousand words so here's a couple of pictures from a claggy St.A's and not many words. Gets a peachometer 3 only that good coz its been ages since I got to cloud base, shame that was only about 550ft amsl !

Report by Shamus Pitts

A much better day at Eype than expected today, in fact one of the best days I've had there.

I arrived about 10am and was in the air by 10:30.  The wind was quite light and the sky a bit overcast but I scratched my way up over Thorncombe beacon and back.  I landed after half an hour and the wind dropped to almost nothing so we watched a pod of dolphins swim past!  After an hour the wind picked up and the orographic cloud turned up, obscuring the top of Thorncombe and Golden Cap.  I took off, followed by Russell W, Neil McC, Grant O and others and we all headed over to Thorncombe where  we avoided each other quite nicely as we weaved in and out of the cloud.  After a while I thought everyone was back near take off so decided to head over to Golden Cap and see if it was working.  I went round the front of it quite low and found the western side to be a bit rough.  I didn't want to scratch in too close because it felt a bit rotory so ended up landing on the beach between Golden Cap and Charmouth.  As I was packing up Neil landed on the beach as well so we clambered up a rickety looking ladder and followed the coast path up towards Golden Cap.  Half way there we found a bit of a notch in the cliff and I thought we might be able to take off.  The wind was blowing a good 18mph by now and the rotor on the cliff edge was fairly significant and it took me a few goes with Neil's help to get off.  Once in the air I was soon hoovered up to 700' ATO, dipping in and out of, and surfing the front of, the orographic cloud - it was quite magical!   The cliffs were working all the way to Charmouth and the scenery was spectacular, with huge banks of cloud blowing inland.  Heading back was easy, I got to about 1300' AMSL at Thorncombe Beacon and cruised easily back to takeoff.  It took quite a long time to burn off my height before finally landing on the beach.  There were still people flying when I left although the wind was pretty top end - overall a pretty good day!

Sun 05 Aug 2012

Report by Alastair Florence


I had thought the whole weekend looked a write off flying wise but a glimmer of hope hung around late PM Sunday.

I turned out a nice day actualy just a bit windy, so took a walk over Flowers Barrow to Arish Mell in the afernoon.

By 1600 hrs the clouds weren't moving so fast so I took a look out and ended up at Knitson.

With plenty of sun the air was quite thermic but the wind was off East a bit maybe 30' making flying quite tricky. I managed to find plenty of climbs and had a good time thermalling up to around 1300ft amsl.

Often if the wind is off the hill here it can help as the thermals will track along the hill rather than hoofing straight over the back. After a bit the wind was going more Easterly so I took a look at Ballard.

The wind felt ok so I took a walk up and launched.

There was a fair bit of East in the wind but the cliff was working quite well, also the hotels were perfectly flyable.

Not quite what we should be gettng at this time of year but better than nothing, Peachometer 5 (bad score coz it was late in the day other wise 6.5)

Report by Craig Byrne

A good day at Barton on Sea everyone managed some nice flights along the whole cliff. Tobias joins William Webster in the flying dog club in Wessex :o)
An idiot called Chris Ryan was very rude to Andrea after she politely asked him to stop asking his friend to buzz the take off for photos whilst Gary was trying to take off on the tandem assisted by me. You would think a pilot would know better - apparently not.

Report by Grant Oseland


I took my life in my own hands today and sampled the air at the notorious Broken Bones on Sea. Amazingly I don't think the Air Ambulance was required today, so well done every body and pat your self on the back.

It was a lovely day and the flying was easy allowing full trips down left to the end of Milford on Sea, and right up to Christchurch.

Oh, also It looks rubbish for ACRO so I don't understand why everyone keeps practising there.

Thu 02 Aug 2012

Report by Reuben May

<-- Wot? no helmet? 

Decided to go for a holiday in OluDeniz (Turkey). The idea was I could fly and the wife could sunbathe. I only managed a couple of flights as I re-prolapsed a disk in my back whilst I was out there and ended up in hospital. I must stress packing your glider up on the beach in near 45 degree heat is almost unbearable. However, fantastic views are avalable once airborne! Babadag takeoff is at 6000ft and quite exposed after being used to our smaller hills, but I would recommend this destination to anybody wishing a flying break away.

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