Eye in the Sky - December 2013

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Sun 29 Dec 2013

Report by John Alder

Ringstead Bay - I arrived at about 1030 to find the sea mirror-calm and Russell, Gary and Grant parawaiting so I joined them for some 'fat-chewing' till the wind came on. They all got airborne but I foolishly waited until they got some height on the ridge by which time it was gusty enough to lift me off my feet during my only launch attempt:- I got dragged! (No harm done luckily). I then rigged my HG and had a very nice 45 minutes cruising about and doing a few stunts to entertain the earthbound (as well as myself). Steve Whitfield, who had arrived whilst I was rigging, also had a good flight on his U2. By the time we landed dark grey skies were encroaching from the west so we had enjoyed the best of the afternoon in the air and departed for home well satisfied just before 4 o'clock.


Report by Grant Oseland


The wind went from zero to blown out at Rinstead for paragliders pretty quickly on Sunday. There was however a 30 minute window in-between that was pleasant enough and nice to get the feet of the ground.  


Report by Alastair Florence


Looking at the weather forecast I reckon today was my last flight of 2013, A nice bright start to the day so headed up to St.A's. The wind was pretty much W-WSW and maybe 10-14mph.

I had a nice waft back and forth in nice smooth conditions, maxing out at about 330ft ato, with nice clear sky and nice views, all very nice but had my fill, got bored and flew back to the car, then went home to give the Mrs a walk along Ballard and round Old Harry which was also very nice.

A peachy day between the current run of storms !

Thu 12 Dec 2013

Report by Brian Metcalfe

I started out for Barton with RASP saying it was due to get strong SW and Highcliffe sailing club wind graph giving 10kn due S; peachy, I thought. A few miles down the road and Gary phoned to say he and Chris were there and there was no wind; not so peachy then.

I arrived a short while later to see them scratching hard in a 7 mph wind with a slight easterly component, and then it got lighter. Sean arrived and it picked up enough for us all to get into the air and good enough to tempt us towards Milford; Gary in the lead then Sean then me. Then, as we all realised it was getting lighter again we turned back, but too late, and it died completely. Gary went down at Taddiford gap, Sean just west of Beckton Bunny, I just managed to scrape very low round the headland by the golf course, and Chris, who had made the sensible decision to stay near take off, though it died so quickly he still couldn't top land, was downed by the path up the cliff.

We all gathered on the cliff top again and chatted idly waiting for the forecast stronger wind; which never came. We decided to call it a day but as it was still only 14.15 and there had been a site phone message from Southbourne I thought I'd give it a look.

Gordon was there, packing up, having been flying for a couple of hours, on his own, in light but lifty conditions. He offered to stick around for a bit if I wanted to give it a try. I wasn't convinced but felt obliged to at least pop the wing up as he'd so kindly made the offer. I'm glad I did; it was indeed light but smack on so I flew straight out and turned west over the cliff lift, thus avoiding the shallow slope to the east. Steve Auld arrived and we had a good three quarters of an hour in variable lift with a photographer acquaintance of Steve's snapping away from the ground. A good end to what had been a disappointing day.

A few photos of the day plus a couple from Monday 9th when Neil (with polar bear) and Pete were there. All taken by Steve's photographer friend.

Tue 10 Dec 2013

Report by Alastair Florence


I was passing Ringstead earlier today and thought i may as well make my annual pilmgrimage to the site. I did stop here once earlier in the year but it rained as soon as i got to the cliff so that didn't count.

Bit South-ish and a bit dull but flyable enough to have an enjoyable late lunch break. Dr Charles also flying plus late visit by the pilot in the pic who's name i should have been polite and asked.


Report by Andrew Fenton

I was thinking of going to Southbourne or Barton but the forecast was looking a bit too top end to bother making the journey so I went to Mere instead. I arrived at 2 pm to find the wind gusting to around 20 mph and two Avon members just leaving having not flown. Anyway, I decided to wait in the hope that the forecast for the wind to drop would be correct. Derek and Harry arrived and the wind speed did indeed reduce so we took to the air. It was smooth to start with but became quite rough on occasion with, what appeared to be, very narrow and strong thermals pushing through but it smoothed out again as the sun began to go down. I managed just over an hour of mixed active and relaxed flying with the bonus of a very pleasant sunset.


Report by Reuben May

Popped down to the cliffs at Bournemouth today after work and took a few snaps of a lonesome pilot. Thought I would upload these in case the pilot (flying a blue little cloud wing) wants them, as the sunset was nice!

Mon 09 Dec 2013

Report by Gary Mullins

Ringstead in a S/easterly? Mmmm.

Wanted to go to the White Horse but decided to have a look at Ringstead first. Arrived at about 10 where it was a light but doable southwesterly.

A couple of others joined a little later, and, in a slowly backing wind, we enjoyed in a nice ride down, on the €œdark side€, towards Durdle Door and back. Very pleasant.

Tried again, after a break, and found the wind to have backed to the south making for a very slow transition to the cliffs. All was going quite nicely until I seemed to hit a €œbrick wall€ about 50yds short of the first house, which resulted in a fair bit of €œWill I, won't I€. No need to have worried..........cleared the cables by.........feet at least! Gets a bit rock €˜n rolly in the lee below house level. Don't fancy going THERE again.

Anyway, another slow ride ensued, this time to the White Nothe. Has the wind backed further? Around the nothe and into some good lifting air. Keep going. Then oops. Doesn't feel right........going down and not going very fast. Back to the corner and stayed there, bimbling about with little beats on the se face. Nice here. Kept going up. Developing clouds approaching and I wondered if they'll work. Ah no. Pity. A fairly swift glide back to the take-off ridge and pack up. Before I left, I enjoyed watching two others, way in the distance to the right of take off, have a nice time of it in, what looked like by the direction in which they were facing, a bit of a south easterly.

Interesting day at Ringstead.   


Report by Paul Maidment

I was split between heading east to Barton or west to Ringstead but after site phone message from Russell Ii decided on Ringstead, after an hour drive I arrived to see three wings in the air: Russell on the cliffs, Gary and Paul out over farmhouse in front of  take off. The wind felt a bit top end for me so waited until Paul landed to get the heads up. After getting the all clear that it was ok to fly I took off into good lift but a bit slow pushing out, so I did some ridge soring then watched as Gary went for cliffs and decided to follow ,just before he reached the cliffs he seamed to lose a fare bit of height as he had started with more height than me i turned back to take off and that was my best attempt at getting to the cliffs . I spent next half hour ridge soaring - I looked over to the the cliffs to see Gary a good 1000+ ato, so Ii gave it another go but could only get half way. I think there was to much south in it but I was having fun using the ridge getting all the way to the end crossing the small gap over the road to the bottom car park, but never getting much more than 100 ato by this time being joined by Darren after an hour or so it was time to go, light was fading and work was calling - a good couple of hours flying.


Report by Neil McCain


A lovely afternoon's flying at Bournemouth. The wind was off to the west, making the first pier crossing a challenge and the second one an impossibility. I shared the sky with Pete C, Steve A and briefly Roger E. The big block of flats between the piers was generating some wonderful lift - I kept a discreet distance until I had climbed well above it. At about 440' asl I trimmed my wing to match the wind and sat almost motionless in the sky, high above the road. So still, in fact, that my flight recorder switched itself off, assuming that I had landed! With all that height it seemed rude not to throw a few big wingovers for anyone watching, wishing them a Merry Christmas as I zoomed by. Yep, this afternoon has put me in the festive mood - more please.


Report by Steve Auld

As has been mentioned, it was a little tricky getting across the gap at Boscombe pier on Monday - the wind was a bit against us, so careful building up of height was needed in front of the new block of flats before attempting the crossing and then gentle easing on of the speed bar was needed from the pier onward.

But once across, the lift was very good and loads of height was easily gained, both Neil and I got well above Albany Towers (the tallest block along there), to about 450 feet AMSL.  Pete C, meanwhile, scuttled off toward B'mth pier with a view to crossing the gap.  But it wasn't possible - I had a look at it a bit later as well and I don't think I could have made it - it definitely is going to be a little harder to cross there without the now demolished Imax building.

Later on I spotted Roger E walking back from his landing by Boscombe pier, so landed for a chat with him and whilst there a chap came by asking about us and paragliding etc.  He had a camera with him with a huge lens on the front of it, so with a bit of persuading from Rog, I took off again to give the guy a 'photo opp'.  Glad I did, cos some of the piccies are really excellent - he also got some of Neil and Pete on their way back from the west.... See http://s1202.photobucket.com/user/drillam1/library/paragliding%20at%20Southbourne%20beach?sort=3&page=1

Sun 08 Dec 2013

Report by John Alder

Ringstead :- Three hangies took to the air in a fresh, gusty WSW-by-W breeze: Steve Whitfield, Richard ( ?) and myself.  A fourth HG pilot called Tony was also present although he doesn't currently have a glider nevertheless he was most helpful in the launch area - thanks Tony! I was last to take off (shocking wafty effort again!) and also last to land (good one) having spent an hour airborne, mostly on full VG and pointing into the wind. some orographic cloud limited height at times but, after it passed through, I got up to about 1200ft ATO and thence a very rapid visit upwind westwards to Ringstead village. I don't have the criteria for Ali's peachometer but I'd award it at least 5 just because of the time of year.

Sat 07 Dec 2013

Report by Rod Kedward

A better day than expected for my first flights at Corton Denham. I was toying with going to Bossington but was talked into going to CD by Dave Almond, who had flown there before - good decision Dave. It didn't look too promising as it was raining lightly en route but we launched soon after I got there with the wind a bit light and off to the west. I managed a couple of scratchy flights of around 45 minutes each, topping out at 80' ATO. Seamus P arrived having heard my sitefone message and all 3 of us took off in strengthening wind. Seamus spotted that I had taken off with a slight tangle in my lines which took some shaking out. I topped out at just under 200' ATO, and was amazed how far out we could push - well over the village. Seamus reckons it was because of a sort of wave effect from the ridge to the west. After an hour or so we landed, I slope landed because it was very lifty on top. In the meantime Paco had arrived having walked up the hill as there were no parking spaces at the top. We all decided to call it a day, for me mainly because it was now blowing about 16/17 mph at take off and still slightly off to the west.

All in all not a bad day, and the site guide is correct - CD does get a bit turbulent, but nothing to worry about.

Sorry there are no pics, I hadn't set up my helmet cam properly!

Report by Shamus Pitts

I arrived about 11am to a grey, windy Corton Denham.  Rod K and Dave A were already there and had flown so I quickly got ready and took off.  There wasn't a huge amount of height to be had despite the reasonable wind strength but there were parts of the ridge working quite well and it was possible to fly the whole length of the village.  The wind slowly picked up and it was surprising how far out over the village the lift extended.  I tried for the ridge out in front a couple of times but it was obvious I was never going to make it!  Paco turned up as the wind increased and decided that it was now too windy.  We'd all had a few good flights by then so decided to quit while we were ahead and packed up.  A pretty good day for Corton Denham!

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