Eye in the Sky - February 2015

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Wed 25 Feb 2015

Report by Alastair Florence

I have been working about 3 miles downwind of Milk hill for the last few weeks. I had thought today looked like it may be Milkable and sure enough it was so went there after work. Nice enough, smooth and bouyang with some lifty bits. All spoiled after a while though by some rain.

Still hopefully my lodgings will not mind the wing spread out to dry in my rented room !

Sun 22 Feb 2015

Report by Grant Oseland


A bit of an early start for a Sunday morning, airborne by 08:00. Original plan was to fly St Aldhelms head in a Westerly but on arrival it was too far South so we binned that idea straight away and headed to Dancing Ledge. The wind was a bit off to the West and "top end" but very enjoyable in the air. Eventually when flying backwards was just a dab of the breaks away it was time to land, having the best of the day's weather.

Fri 20 Feb 2015

Report by Alastair Florence

I drove home this afternoon after work via Westbury. Stopped for a fly and enjoyed best part of an hour in fairly buoyant smooth conditions with lifty bits up to around 500ft ato.

Tue 17 Feb 2015

Report by Alastair Florence

It's been a long time and technically should be another 6 weeks but had to be done. Managed a very pleasant hour at Westbury today after work.

Climbs to 400ft ato and that was late afternoon. Felt good to be back under the wing.

Sun 15 Feb 2015

Report by Grant Oseland

Portland East, well actually Portland NE take off today. An early start was required today as the forecast was for the wind to swing round to ESE by about 14:00 and drop off, which it pretty much did. Russell, Gary, Allan and I basically showed the public just what a pain in the arse it can be to launch in rotor when the wind is a stiff breeze up the slope and a back flow on take off. Eventually all got airborne and the cliffs were working well. There was a definite feel of spring in the air as well, when the sun came out. Portland again showed its difficult side with a total of two broken brake lines, a shrub landing and more than a few sudden drops and downwind top landings despite pointing out to sea because of the rotor, and one bottom landing.

Sat 14 Feb 2015

Report by Roy Menage

It was a toss-up between Monks and Maiden Castle. I decided on Maiden Castle as it sounded like there was a bit too much east in the wind for Monks.

As I drove down the road to the car park, I could see a couple of wings in the air (Russell and Skippy). Result. Wasting no time, I scampered up to take-off and was quickly ready to go. The wind was a bit off to the north but as the afternoon progressed, it came on more but was picking up a little so that a touch of speed-bar was needed to get forward. A few small thermals meant that reasonable height gains were possible (a good 200-300ft). Grant turned up and then a couple of others. After an hour or so of very pleasant wafting around, I decided it was time to return home to get on with some needed DIY. All-in all, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Report by Shamus Pitts


I had a surprisingly good 2 1/2 hours at Monks Down today with Dave A, Martin B and others.  Despite the cloud being low, the wind light and the ground wet when I arrived it wasn't long before the wind increased, the cloud lifted and the ground started to dry out!   The wind was off to the east a little for most of the day and blowing quite strongly every now and again, although there was the occasional lull which caught a couple of people out but as long as you were high when it dropped off it was quite easy to stay up. By lunch time it felt like it was getting quite strong and there were some big clouds about so I landed and took a photo of some sort of orographic cloud forming on the tops of the cumulus - I don't know whether that's a good sign or a bad sign but I thought it was probably safer to wait and see what happened, although nothing really did!  The wind dropped off after a while and we all flew again, with Martin B showing us what you can do with a mini-wing!

Thu 12 Feb 2015

Report by Brian Metcalfe

I took a chance on the wind coming round southerly enough and arrived at Southbourne at 3.00pm to find it still SE and about 8-10 mph. As I was putting my boots on Sean and Andrea arrived. I let Sean go first ;-) but he couldn't make it past the shallow slope to the east so beach landed. Seeing this I thought that a take off over the fence to the east, past the shallow bit, might work, and it did. Sean took off again shortly afterwards and we gained a bit of height near take off, creeping to the east and zooming to the west.

The wind didn't seem to be coming round much but was increasing so after a while Sean crossed Boscombe pier and I followed hoping for better lift, getting quickly blown across. As we went further west the wind was more on of course and the lift got better. We stooged around between the piers for a while before I decided that, if it all went wrong, a warming walk back from Canford cliffs wouldn't be such a bad idea, and so crossed Bournemouth pier.

Got to Sandbanks in good lift with the wind increasing and turned to see how far I could get back. Although the wind had come round a bit more to the south it was hard work going east having to alternately speed bar away from the cliff to avoid getting too high into the stronger wind and then creep in closer to get the lift. Sean had also crossed Bournemouth pier and got to Sandbanks.

By now, after an hour and a half, I was feeling a bit chilly and regretting that lunchtime cup of coffee. I eventually landed right outside the gents near Bournemouth pier and dashed in; Aaah...blessed relief.

Sean landed shortly after and phoned Andrea for a retrieve from Undercliff Drive so I had my nice warming walk but not too far. Thanks Andrea x.

A nice flight in what I thought might be marginal conditions but which turned out OK.

Sun 08 Feb 2015

Report by A Webb


Some nice thermic flying at Maiden. Caught a new phenomenon €œPara Grin Shadow€ Courtesy of Gary Pocock

Report by Sean Staines

Arrived early at Monksdown,  having been to the Wessex repack session in Wimborne 2 weeks too early, to find only Brian there putting on his heated gloves. It was flyable when we arrived and I flew straight away.

Brian flew too but landed after a while. Other people turned up until eventually there were probably 20 pilots on the hill. Most stayed on the ground initially as the wind was quite playful and strongish.  Having just come back from a week's flying in Andalucía in spring thermal conditions, it seemed relatively calm to me and I enjoyed trying to work the broken thermals, peaking at 500ft ATO.

Andrea told me two Kites were following me at one point which I take as a great compliment as I usually try and follow them.

Conditions lightened as the day went on and everyone had a chance to get in the air.

Report by Shamus Pitts

After a light and misty start it turned in to a great day at Westbury today.

As Dave A and I approached the hill the sunny blue sky was replaced by fog, with only the top of the cement factory chimney visible.  This quickly burnt off (the fog that is, not the chimney) to leave a very light wind, but after a bit of parawaiting it seemed just about doable.  A couple of people took off and stayed up so a few more of us took off including Dave and myself.... about 3 minutes later we were all in the bottom landing field trying to negotiate lifts back up the hill!    Once we'd made our way back conditions had clearly improved and we took off on Bratton camp this time.  The ridge looked to be working better so I flew round, staying close in to the horse and getting rotored for my trouble!  My wing surged forwards, then the left half of the wing surged even more and I found myself diving at the trees.  Luckily I was able to steer out in to cleaner air and carry on unscathed but the volvo trophy flashed through my mind briefly!  The ridge was working well with the occasional gentle thermal coming through.  I took a few climbs, with the highest topping out at about 550' ATO and the air seemed pretty buoyant.

Later on, Bratton Camp was working better so we transferred there before the wind went more NNW and it was time to go back to the ridge.

A great day out, not too cold and over an hour and a half in the air, a pretty good start to February!

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