Eye in the Sky - August 2014

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Sun 31 Aug 2014

Report by Everard Cunion


Bell Hill - On my tenth of 12 consecutive 360 degree turns in a strong and wide thermal, Steve W in his blue U-2 160 joined my thermal. The green Avian Rio 2 also joined -- visible above the horizon on the left. It was closer than it looks in the photo! The wind became less strong in late afternoon and paragliders soared the light lift and haze.

After a good day's flying in his Moyes Lightspeed hang glider, Jeremy, visiting from Essex, shared a hill-top picnic with his folks.

More photos: http://everardcunion.wordpress.com/hang-gliding-2014/

Sun 24 Aug 2014

Report by Mark Tattersall

After an encouraging sitephone message,and extracting myself from domestic commitments I arrived at Kimmeridge to see 3 wings in the air - only for them to all land, quickly followed by the onset of light rain, as soon as I approached the takeoff. The sky looked clearer out front though, so I waited half an hour for the rain to stop, and then had a very pleasant 45 mins from 5.30-6.15 or so, in buoyant air all to myself and a variety of birds (a bit of a contrast to last Saturday, when I found myself flying with about 100 PGs at Devils Dyke). The whole ridge was working, with some gentle (for Kimmeridge) thermals to about 300' ATO, and at Swire head I flew out to the cliffs climbing all the way in thermals triggered by a field being harvested.

I landed as I needed to get home for supper, and half way driving back to Swanage a heavier bout of rain started (but did not last long).

Report from Ringstead


Unusual day as there were many Pilots expecting SSW for the Coast Run and it didnt really happen until 1600hrs and as we reached Bats Head it began to rain.

Many familiar faces and some new ones also a few visiting Pilots from Avon & Southern Clubs with a contingency from Poland.

Shamus & Mark  went to help another Pilot who landed in the bushes shy of the  Point A.

Report by Alastair Florence

A strange old day, I really couldn't decide what was going to happen today, virtually no wind in Swanage early then it came on SSE and picked up a bit.

I thought it may be ok for a launch at Durdle Door as Ballard looked dead calm still, so drove out that way.

At Durdle Door it seemed off West and I could see a couple of wings on the cliff at Ringstead so carried on to Ringers.

The cliff was busy with wings on arrival although no one had a stack of height. One by one the wings headed back and by the time I got out there it was getting pretty marginal, most of the flight was trying to build enough height to get back, which I managed after a while.

The conditions were fading progressively although folks were still scraping around on the cliff for sometime.

Dave O had called to see if I thought Kimmeridge might be ok, it couldn't be much worse than Rinstead so suggested it was worth a look.

I joined Dave and A. Nother after a bit and had an enjoyable flight although the wind was well off South, thermally bits gave us good height at times. It got really nice and lifty everywhere after a while which was probably due to the incoming light rain. Dave and me packed up but someone else who just arrived sounded like they got another flight later on.

Sat 23 Aug 2014

Report by Everard Cunion


Bell Hill - Gusts to 30 mph stopped flying for a while in the afternoon, but it calmed down later, by which time only hang gliders were present, the paragliders all having packed up. Wave bars were mixed in with cumulus to the north, which might account for the challenging conditions.

Steve W in his rigid climbed with a visiting sailplane. Later, however, two hang gliders, one flown by an expert, sunk out to the bottom landing field. A few minutes later, I launched into a thermal marked by birds and I went up. In the photo, Richard M is flying on my right.

In the late afternoon it became very cold, but several of us flew again in smoother conditions.

Tue 19 Aug 2014

Report by Paul Hawkins


I spotted an early start and possible very early xc opportunity this morning. With towering cumulus, strong winds and showers forecast by 11am I figured get up early go xc early be at home early with pipe, slippers and the cat.

I did just that landing near the back of the harbour just after 11am. If only the airspace wasn't in my way I could of got to my house easy! First xc on a new wing which seems to be something a bit special but aren't they all these days.

One of the photo's is a view of the back of the harbour. It's unlikely I will see this view of it again before 11am unless I steal a helicopter or take up paramotoring.

Fri 15 Aug 2014

Report by Peter Robinson

A not-particularly-solid climbout soon after midday took me about two-thirds the way to cloudbase, where it fizzled. Oh-oh, I thought, Stickland is going to provide its unwelcome drag but I bumped into something that, again after an uncertain start, took me to CB at 3500ASL over W Whitechurch. Much sink followed so that, approaching Wareham Forest, scratching around, I was eventually down to 1100ASL. Found a few bits but it felt as though none of the thermals could really make up their minds to cohere and get going. There was that feeling that I was in the neighbourhood of a good one but couldn't find its centre €“ you know it well €“ but I soon became convinced that this was an illusion. Anyway having worked up a bit of extra height I decided to bet on a bonfire and its column of smoke some distance downwind, but when the realisation dawned that it was further than it appeared and that height was disappearing fast I diverted to a cloud off-course to the E. On the way there, unheralded, I hit a blob going all the way to CB at 4000ASL east of Wareham, where I big-eared briefly to leave below the wispies.

Passing over the oilfield gathering station (the large square of tarmac, buildings and pipework near Norden) produced nothing but it still looked as if I should be able to sneak over the Corfe ridge. Just before the ridge, only marked initially with a few wisps, lay a real boomer €“ wide and easy, 5kt, then 7kt and more €“ which I left after a few turns as I'd more than enough height to reach my intended landing in the field by the road in Swanage.

Why land in Swanage, which I haven't done for many years, rather than the usual ending at Durlston Head? My excuse was that it saves a long walk down to the town (and that was indeed my original motivation), but if I am honest it is also something to do with the fact that I have landed in the trees at the edge of Durlston when the sea breeze caught me out, and it could have been much worse. So even on this day when the offshore drift was really quite benign the thought of getting sucked up in another boomer and spat out at sea made for an easy decision to go for the comfortable option. Actually I could have chosen a better field. To the west of the town, on the way out just before the school, there is a longish field that is right opposite a bus stop. (I landed my hang glider there, years ago, on my very first Swanage trip; there was a power line there then which I didn't notice until nearly too late. I haven't checked if it's still there but it's not a problem.) The alternative for a shortish walk to the bus is the central playing field.

It was good to meet up with Ali and to share experiences on the way back to the hill. For me the day was, to borrow Ali's fruit-based scale, a 9.

P.S. I'm still waiting for a report from one of the ten or so pilots who wafted to cloudbase on the 7th,,. The almost windless conditions had discouraged me from rigging on arrival and I just watched, rather unbelieving, until the ten-minute window had passed and it was too late. It was a most unusual day and it would be a shame for it to go unrecorded.

Report by Alastair Florence


After a busy morning at work I managed to slip away round lunchtime and headed to Bell. Not many people flying when I arrived but a fair few on the hill.

There were a few darkish clouds about but generally things looked Ok. I launched into a broken climb and basically kept climbing bit by bit most of the time until I neared base not far over the back of Bell.

Several others had made a break in the same thermal group including Gary P on tandem with Chris S co-piloting. Gary seemed to be climbing well just down wind of me so I nipped down and pimped a bit of their thermal.

I tend to loiter wherever I find lift and before long G & C had pushed off ahead.

I caught them up again over Wareham Forest, it looked like they were tree kicking for ages but finally gave in half way through the forest, hopefully missing what looked like a bog from where I was.

I couldn't find any lift to work over the forest and finally succumbed to gravity at Wareham.

Pete R called and said he was on a bus to Wareham having flown to Swanage proving he's still got his finger on the pulse. We met up and shared a cab back to Bell.

No records broken but a nice afternoon out and a stress free retrieve and 15th's pay day. Peachometer 7

Tue 05 Aug 2014

Report by Alastair Florence

I stopped off at another of my locals on the way home this evening, Knitson.

It felt fairly strong and a bit gusty on take off, and it felt exactly the same in the air.

Not strong enough to be pinned but enough to make moving around difficult coupled with, not exactly rough but bumpy air, a bit like driving over cobbles.

I didn't bother to stay up long as it was not really enjoyable, landing was difficult as there seemed to be an awfull lot of buoyancy over the bottom field.

Forgot to mention yesterday, launching at St.A's was difficult as the grass and weeds are very long and were very tangly in the lines, at least Knitson has been mowed.

Mon 04 Aug 2014

Report by Everard Cunion


Ringstead - As well as a few paragliders, an Avian Rio 2 was flying. (Not the green one this time, but a white one with an orange stripe underneath.) It managed to get to more than 800 feet above take-off. I only managed something over 600 ft. I launched later, so possibly missed the strongest lift.

When I launched for a second flight there was very little wind at the hill. I encountered mostly sink and I ended up at RAF Ringstead while the Rio 2 and paragliders continued to soar the cliff. Thanks to the PG pilot who drove down to retrieve me.

Report by Alastair Florence


After a hard day at work there's nothing like stopping off at your local for a quick one on the way home, quick one being a fly and my local being St. Aldhelms.

Bit windy on arrival at 1745hrs with wind streaks, white horses, and crows getting blown about eratically.

I waited for almost an hour by which time the wind streaks were fading, as a cautionary measure I launched well down the slope but once in the air the wind speed was just about right, strong but comfortable.

After a bimble up and down the cliff I made the almost obligatory crossing to Houns Tout, setting off with 620ft ato ish and arriving with over 300ft ato it was an easy crossing.

After a couple of failed attempts to get onto Kimmeridge ridge I gave up and flew back to the car.

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