Eye in the Sky - July 2013

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Sun 28 Jul 2013

Report by Paul Hawkins

Had a nice little flight at Barton on Sea on Sunday. Not far in the grand scheme of things but a first I think for a sub 20m glider. Barton to Milford, back up to Barton and on to Chewton Bunny and back to Barton. No biggy but still quite challenging on a 17m glider in conditions that at times were nearly blown out! The full cliff run is up for taking for the sub 20m glider fraternity! Here's a little clip showing the turns at Milford and at Chewton Bunny. Note to self don't forget your GPS.


Thu 25 Jul 2013

Report by Steve Whitfield


I had a lovely flight at Ringstead with Sean yesterday afternoon. I arrived at about two but it was totally clagged in so I popped into Weymouth for a walk with Mrs W and snapped a nice pic of the orographic enveloping Ringstead cliffs with my phone. The cloud had lifted and broken up on the cliffs by 4pm but it was still covering the top landing. We took off and got height gains on the cliff of 800-1000ft ATO. This enabled us to fly back over the orographic layer and play around the edges. This was the first time I have seen my own 'glory' on the cloud below. By 5pm the cloud had nearly all gone so top landing was straightforward.


Wed 24 Jul 2013

Report by Andrew Fenton

There was quite a turnout at Barton where it was flyable from mid-morning through to late evening. It was overcast at the start but the sky cleared for a beautiful afternoon. Great fun had by all.

Report by Richard Davis

The following Youtube video was produced by Michael Angus (a passer-by) who wishes to thank everyone at Barton-on-Sea who helped in the production of his video.

Tue 23 Jul 2013

Report by Reuben May

Had a nice evening at Barton this evening all to myself. Fairly strong conditions with orographic cloud but had my first run to Milford on Sea and back! Nearly came down in the bushes by the beach huts at Milford; I have now learnt there is limited lift there :) Great 1.45min flight with good lift with the odd sea thermal popping through. 

Sun 14 Jul 2013

Report by Paul Maidment

Sunday 14 July My misses Mary kindly offered to take me to Bell and stay there and act as retrieve if i was lucky enough to get away. Arrived at Bell about 11.30 to hardly a breath of wind and only a couple of other fed up looking pilots. Sean had gone off on his paramotor (he has got every angle covered ) so the waiting game started.. we did have some entertainment in the form of the school alpine launching students at regular intervals. After about half an hour or so, Sean returned saying it was very thermic, but there was still nothing at Bell. Eventually after what seemed an age the wind picked up enough to tempt a few to attempt launching but still nothing but the odd thermic gust. Ian hobbis arrived and shortly after so did the wind, I watched as Ian became a speck over the back, then Sean, I was still not getting any height so I changed my wing to my new Firebird raven from my arcus 4 - that did the trick, within 10 min I was just under 700 ft ato in a very small thermal (im loving  the raven), so I spiral back and get to 1300ft ato and about 2k back when the thermal fizzled out. In the distance I saw two buzzards thermaling over a small clump of trees so I headed for them, as I got closer to them my descent increased to 2m a sec - by this time I only had about 400ft to play with so it was time to look for somewhere to land, but all the fields seemed to be in crop, I managed to land in some tractor tracks €“ I'm getting good at that so no crop damage for a distance of only 3.4k , after Mary picked me up we retuned to Bell to find everybody gale hanging,  I waited a bit before launching and had another hour or so of a bit rough but enjoyable flying.

Report by Sean Staines

Bell Hill - It was hard work in the hot sunshine with nil wind to start with, but by mid-afternoon the thermals started to come through. I watched Ian Hobbis and Martin Butcher get away and failed to connect with their climbs, so was starting to feel despondent. Finally the magic tree gave me a climb where I could stay in lift for a whole 360 and stuck with it for a very slow climb towards Winterbourne Stickland.

A glide to a cloud beyond Stickland gave me another climb to cross the A354 at around 3800ft and start on my familiar route towards Bere Regis. It was clearly sea breezing and I thought I would be decked at Bere Regis if I carried on, so thought about trying to do a triangle instead and turned towards Milbourne St Andrew. A Sailplane flew by about 600ft above me and started marking lift for me which I gratefully took and climbed back to 4000ft. The lift was strong and the cloud large so I decided not to take it to base. I was now under a cloud street heading back in the Yeovil direction so the triangle plan turned into an out and return plan and I turned towards Milton Abbas.

The cloud street was working well and I recorded a peak climb of 6.5m/s on the vario. No 360ing required, but the into wind ground speed was down to 20kph on the return leg.

At the furthest point of the flight I was about 11km from Bell and I managed to get back to about 3.5km from it. I could have got a bit closer but had to use my height for a good landing out of the crops. I failed on the out and return but think I did manage a 15.9km FAI triangle. All in all a very good day.

Tue 09 Jul 2013

Report by Neil McCain

I hooked into a lovely smooth and solid core after about 25 minutes of tumbling about in the messy stuff low down. It felt good enough to go with, even though I was only 350' ato, so I did. Round and round I went, promptly losing it at 700'. Dammit! I flattened the turn for a whole 360 degrees, finding nothing but noticing a huge brown field pretty much downwind. Deciding that I would give up the sport for good if it didn't work, I went to it as quickly as I could and flew into a lovely smooth and solid core. Round and round I went, this time hanging onto it to about 2,500' ato before it went AWOL. I didn't dither around this time but got on the bar and zoomed downwind. In a blue sky, and with no big brown fields as easy markers, I had long realised it wasn't going to last long. In the event I was glad of this! I found another thermal at about 1000' above the ground. It felt lovely, smooth and solid so round and round I went. 'Brilliant!' I thought, 'I'm going to make this funny old day work!' And then.... I felt really dizzy and quite sick! Dammit - airsickness, for only the second time in my flying career. Within minutes my flight went from uplifting to upchucking. I headed downwind to the next likely thermal trigger (a tractor mowing grass) but I was glad that it wasn't really there and landed for about 13km. Oh well. Thanks to Will Petty for the retrieve and Sunpat for the reviving sarnie.

Sat 06 Jul 2013

Report by Alastair Florence


BCC Round 06.07.13 Venue Talybont I haven't done a BCC round for a while for various reasons so decided with a free day coming up and a poor local forecast but beautiful weather predicted it could be a good move to head for the valleys.

I stayed over in Talybont YHA Friday night, first time I ever used one but cost was cheap and it saved pitching the tent for one night, I had the bunk room to my self which was nice, had all the bunks been full I may not have slept so well but most of the other guests seem to be middle aged couples and families in separate rooms, £17 per night, full English breakfast for a £5 if you want it and evening meal at £7.50, lovely location just below Talybont Res dam.

I Met the Wessex team Captain Richard T in Waitrose car park Saturday morning.

That was our team of 2 as a couple of other pilots had to drop out.

The first brief was in the car park and our hearts sank when Talybont was announced as the venue, but onward and upward.

2nd brief in TB car park, basically the comp window was open until 8 PM with open distance task.

There seemed to be some confusion on which track led out the woods and up the hill. Rich and me decided we knew best and headed off into a dense pine forest planted on a peat bog, quite an adventure in itself but eventually we rejoined the correct path and began to follow the other teams up the mountain.

Personally I think every pilot should experience walking up TB at least once in your life, I thought I was relatively fit for my age but this really is a killer, what with being plagued by swarms of flies and the hottest day of the year it is just something you cannot rush.

Anyway got to the top to find very little wind but weak cycles coming thru.

The thing is after the effort of walking up you do not want to lob off to early and bomb out as most of the slopes are to steep to side land and a 2nd walk up is only for psychopaths.

Some launched, resulting in some bottom landings and a few successful fly on wall slope landings, and a small number getting away in the rare good thermal.

Me and Rich sat it out but by 4 PM the wind had pretty much died completely, the fly's were driving me bonkers and I just wanted to fly down and give up.

Richard managed a forward launch and bimbled around out front for a bit before flying out as far back toward the cars as he could and landing.

I had several attempts at forward launches but just couldnt get off.

I was getting hot, frustrated and begining to wonder if I would end up having to walk back down which I really didnt look forward to.

As a last resort I moved to another spur where here was a bit more airflow.

So I decided to forward launch and glide down toward the car park.

I set off in just my Wessex team T shirt, didn't turn on the GPS or vario as I expected a straight glide downward.

I Should have expected the unexpected as next thing I new I had flown into a sweet multicored thermal and was climbing steadily with zero drift.

On with the GPS and vario, luckily it was really warm even in cloud.

The cloud bottoms were messy and next thing I knew I was in the white room big earing out and setting off toward Talybont on Usk.

As I popped out the cloud all that was ahead was a huge blue hole, very little lift about but not much sink either.

As I approached Talybont on Usk I didnt really know where to head next so headed off toward Crickhowell. All along the valley I found bouyant bits here and ther which kept me going to just outside Crickhowell.

Next stop was the Bridge End Inn by the River whilst waiting for Captain Richard to come get me once he had a phone signal to get my whereabouts.

Not exactly a record breaker but despite the walk up I really enjoyed the trip.

I would thoroughly recommend any Wannabe or up and coming XC hounds to do a BCC round or two, it really is a chance to gain experience and with weather like this Wales is a beautifull place to chill out whatever the flying is like.

Report by Andrew Fenton


I went to Mere this afternoon but nothing doing so headed to Warminster to visit a friend. At about 6.30, I noticed that the wind had picked up and seemingly from the northwest so I headed to Westbury where the wind was on the hill at about 15mph. Initially there were only two of us but others arrived after about half and hour. Anyway, a pleasant hour was had boating around in smooth air with the occasional end of day thermal pushing through.

Fri 05 Jul 2013

Report by Andrew Fenton


A few photos of a nice day at Barton. A pleasant sea-breeze during the early afternoon, lighter but still doable later.

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