Eye in the Sky - April 2015
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19th April - 26th April 2015
Report by Paul Maidment
Turkey Oludeniz Toby Colombe’s siv course
Sunday 19th April was a free fly day, so after breakfast we had a briefing with Toby about how the week was planned out and what we wanted out of the course, this took a fair amount of time being a large group but by about one o,clock we were ready to go to launch. When we left Oludeniz the wind was light and coming off the sea and sunny, the van ride up to launch was a bit of an eye opener, narrow unmade mountain tracks for the most part but we made it to the 1200mtr launch, after a site briefing from Mike (launch control) and Toby we started to depart take off, I was fourth from the end with Doctor Charles Toby and Mike following, by the time I launched it must have been getting on for four o,clock, ok light winds off to my right wait until wind is on, wing up then turn and run, wow look at the size of those boulders i thought as i jumped into my harness (i did get a bit of a telling off from Mike for that), as i flew down to Oludeniz the views were stunning, just before i got to the town there is ridge which i soared for a bit then off over the town, as i got lower over the town maybe 650mtrs it started getting very rock and roll, which was not to my liking so I decided to head out to sea to find some smoother air, about half a mile out and with still 500 mtr amsl i turned for the beach, my ground speed dropped to 6kph, unbeknown to me the wind had switched to a fairly strong offshore wind, I should have looked at my ground speed heading out to sea, so I put half bar on and my speed crept up to 20kph, not sure if i would make the beach I started to crab to the cliffs to my right hoping to find a last chance landing spot there, as I got closer to the beach I could a fair few people looking in my direction, with a 200ft to go I let off speed bar and made the beach with about 25ft to spare. Later i found out that the locals were sure i was going swimming, without a safety boat I would have been in serious trouble.
Monday 20th siv course starts for real with a very in-depth briefing from Toby and Mike, then up to launch 1200 mtrs again which is the lowest one, I fly out to the box above the rescue boat, ok my first thing was big ears with speed bar which i have never tried before, no problems and steering with weight shift easy, next asymmetric collapse with no inputs bang in it goes dives a bit and turns 90deg easy, did a couple of them both sides next full frontal collapse this is when my heart rate started to rise, bang and release rocks back and pitches forward a bit, few I thought glad that is over as I was low in the box by now it was pitch control small are easy but the bigger they get the harder they get. After a debrief its back up to launch again this time do the collapses with half bar then full bar, heart rate up to full speed again but pretty much the same as before without bar, unlike some of the other wings which the bar had some pretty dramatic effects on. After me was Doctor Charles with his acro skills at the bottom of his run we could hear Toby on the radio Charles beach Charles to the beach but no response from Charles, little did we know the he had had a radio malfunction by the time he turned it was to late and he donned his speedos for a water landing, splash he was in and Toby was on him and in the boat before he got his beard wet. The evening was spent drying wings and kit and debriefing.
Tuesday 21st starts with a briefing then back up to 1200 launch as I flyover the boat my radio goes eerily silent, so i take my radio out and the screen is blank switch it off and on again nothing, strange because it had been on charge all night, so I flew out the box and did some sight seeing over the blue lagoon very nice. After some lunch and and debrief back up to 1200 launch by this time the wind on take off had increased, gusting from 12 to 20+ mph Chris and I decided not to fly, Paul H and Rod K launched in ever increasing lift, the last to go was Dr Charles just after launching he was hoovered up in a very strong lift band it felt like hours before he was above the rescue boat, after about half an hour doing his sivs he still had loads of height and still climbing, so Toby got him to do some big spiral dives until he was out of the lift band, the rest of us drove down in the van which was probably just as scary.
Wednesday 22nd After a very windy night it was clear that it was not going to happen today, this was confirmed by Toby so a sightseeing day was order of the day, so after a lovely morning walking around the blue lagoon, it was back to the hotel pool for some R and R that was the end of day four.
Thursday 23rd After the the morning briefing the wind was still a bit strong so there was only going to be one flight today, my task today was steering asymmetric collapses using weight shift, so up to the 1700 north facing launch this time, this flight proved to me what a very stable wing the Firebird Raven is, as I had great difficulty trying getting it to change direction even leaning hard into the collapsed side, all to soon after a couple of poorly timed dynamic turns my run was over.
Friday 24th Task today was more dynamic turns and auto rotations which I knew where going to be hard work on the Raven, this morning I was not feeling a 100%, 1900 launch today my first ever auto rotation did not go well, collapse the wing hold it and lean into it, it felt like I was going to fall out but slowly it started to rotate as it locked in my breakfast decided to make a reappearance (little did I know it was going to get a lot worse ) after a couple more autos and dynamic turns I was back on the beach not feeling well at all, I informed Toby I was feeling rough and I would probably sit the next launch out, I spent the next couple of hours or so at the 1700 launch feeling awful, the drive back down didn't make me feel any better.
Saturday 25th After spending the night on the loo with the worst case of liquid ass I've ever had there was going to be no flying for me today, so I sat on the beach (right next to the loos)and watched the guys do there stuff, it was then that Dr Charles took his second visit to Davy Jones locker, trying to get his wing to spin, it did going into a spiral dive with Charles trying to free a couple of spins in his risers, getting ever closer to the sea the order was given reserve Charles reserve, within a couple of seconds the reserve was out and Charles was floating to the sea, it took Toby a bit longer to reach him this time as he was a very long was out.
Sunday 26th The last day, the decision was made that we would fly to butterfly valley from the 1900 launch, I made the decision to fly even tho I was still having a few stomach problems, I'm glad I did because it was one of the best flights I've ever had, very smooth air fantastic views then descending into a very high walled cove and landing on a sandy beach, all went well until on landing I put my wing in a little stream running across the beach, all was ok as we had plenty of time to dry it out before the boat took us back to Oludeniz. Wow what a week I've learnt so much about how to fly my wing, and how much more I have to learn and how safe a wing it is and unless I do something stupid i should be ok.
Thu 30 Apr 2015
Report by Sean Staines
A morning text from Steve had me checking the forecast for Bell hill today with a view to flying the hang glider. It looked good according to the BBC so we set off to arrive at 12:30. Steve was there rigged with his ATOS but had not flown. We then waited for three hours for the rain showers to pass and the wind to come onto the hill. Another Steve from the AVON club arrived on his first visit to Bell and he was good luck because the conditions improved enough for me to take off.
Mon 27 Apr 2015
Report by Sean Staines
The thermic forecast looked good for Monday with a flying window between 11 and 2 o’clock before overdevelopment would set in. We arrived at Bell hill around 10:30 to see Mark, Gaz, and Gary. We were soon joined by Marcus, Harry, Russell and Pete. There were only light thermic cycles but Mark climbed out beyond the magic tree and disappeared for at least 30 minutes before returning. None of the rest of us could make much of it with hops of a few minutes before landing and waiting for the next cycle.
Sat 25 Apr 2015
Report by Grant Oseland
A few pictures from today at The Hive, Russell W, Mike D and myself made a punt on the Hive working today, and as Mike has just bought a new wing and harness from ebay he was eager to try it out. On Arrival Tim Oakley was standing on take off assessing conditions, which to be frank were a bit crap. Very low level cloud with not really much wind. We all took off in not very buoyant air but eventually conditions picked up a bit to allow all to fly. I made it over to the base of Golden Cap using the force, but landed by Eype as there was not much in the way of lift to be had, I bunched up the wing and walked up to Eype take off and met a couple of pilots sitting on takeoff in the clag. It took a few minuets for a decent breeze to come through but eventually one did and again using the force I made it back to the Hive. Eventually rain spoiled play.
Report by Mike Drew
Thu 23 Apr 2015
Report by David
With Neill's help, the repairs at Bell have now been completed. Here is a couple of snaps of our endeavours.
Report by Reuben May
Stopped off at southbourne today for a quick walk. Got a couple of snaps of the boys flying. Conditions seemed on the hill averaging 12mph. Expect they had a good time!
Sun 19 Apr 2015
Report by Andy Ward
A lovely sunny Sunday but XC showed the wind to be easterly yet again. I'd just resigned myself to cutting the grass when a message popped up on my phone saying it was on at Maiden Castle.
Report by Shamus Pitts
The wind was pretty strong in Shaftesbury this morning but I was encouraged to take a trip to Maiden Castle after reading Alan W's message on Telegram. Alan, Grant O and Russell W were in the air when I arrived but Grant and Russell soon landed and told me how rough and horrible it was! I decided to give it a try anyway, just as Andy W turned up. The air was certainly pretty lively but it didn't seem as bad as some flights I've had and I soon found a climb that I took to 1400' ATO with Grant. I thought about taking it over the back and started to go, but the sea didn't look very far away and there were a few hills and potentially rotory landing fields between me and it so I decided to go back to the hill.
The conditions seemed to be intensifying and we all took part in some sort of impromptu SIV at some point or another - I hit something that catapulted me upwards where my wing did a kind of Mexican and Grant had a big ol' collapse further down the ridge. It was time to land but that turned out to be easier said than done - as I approached the ground in the landing field I was yanked back up and had to go round and try again. Andy landed, then I touched down, and then we watched Gordon throw in a couple of acro moves before a perfect landing! It was fun while it lasted but all good things must come to an end!
Thu 16 Apr 2015
Report by Gary Pocock
Sat 11 Apr 2015
Report by Sean Staines
Bell Hill. I had called a round of the BCC to take place on Saturday but as the week developed it became clear the wind was too strong for paragliding. Nonetheless the post cold front thermic forecast looked great so I arrived at Bell around 1:30 intending to fly the hang glider. Mark and Jerry from the condors were there, saying the wind had been gusting over 30MPH. I was optimistic it would calm down and slowly started to rig. At 3pm, with Dave’s help as nose man I launched. Conditions were strong as hoped for, and I started looking for climb worth sticking with. Jerry was not current and decided not to fly. Mark flew his Atos but the moments of freefall were not to his liking and he decided not to go XC but bottom landed after his flight.
Fri 10 Apr 2015
Report by Grant Oseland
Mon 06 Apr 2015
Report by Sean Staines
The second round of the BCC took place at Hundred house near Builth Wells. The Wessex team comprised Sean Staines, Nick & Gill Legras and Andy Ward.
Report by Everard Cunion
After the helicopter left, a dual paraglider and Richard M in his rigid hang glider (with a new sail) flew. the paraglider landed in the field at the bottom and the hang glider specked out, presumably setting off cross country.
Sun 05 Apr 2015
Report by Everard CunionHarry Dike, Brian Metcalfe, and I stood around for hours on this cold grey day marshalling a fence at a horse race. It raised funds for the rescue helicopter. Coincidentally, on this long weekend I wrote a review (for my web site) of the helicopter James Bond film 'You Only Live Twice' (1967).
I should have guessed that all these helicopters were a bad omen...
Report by Shamus Pitts
Once I'd got to cloudbase I headed off towards a huge cloud - I was a bit anxious that it might be too big so approached it cautiously. As I crossed the valleys the air was quite rough - I should have slowed down and kept my height topped up but I was sure the big cloud would soon lift me up. I crossed one particularly rough valley and had a small collapse, resulting in a tiny cravat - I wasn't sure if it was a cravat or not as it was so small but a couple of tugs of the stabilo line got rid of it. By now I was getting lower and the air just seemed turbulent rather than buoyant. I thought if I can get past the final valley I can start looking for lift again but the ridge on the far side had a lot of trees on it. Apart from a large area of woodland it seemed that most of the fields were bordered by trees. As I was low and the air was rough I didn't fancy my chances gliding clear and landing beyond the ridge but I also wasn't sure that I could make it to the treeless fields near the end of the ridge... I pointed myself towards the "nice" fields and worked the turbulence to eke out my height as I flew crosswind towards my goal. Fortunately I made it and landed gently, and didn't have to wait too long before Dave A turned up to take us back to Dorset! The whole team scored - Sean flying the furthest at 24km - hopefully that will be enough to place us well, although Grant flew about 48km.... for Joint Services... the traitor!
Report by Steve Auld
Did you have a happy Easter? Well, it turned out happy here in Bournemouth today, well, Southbourne really - never made it as far as Bournemouth.
The wind was light and off to the east; typical spring high pressure system, but eventually came on and just about strong enough to tempt Gordon Crisp to give it a go (with some encouragement from me). And as I thought he would, he didn't bomb out to the beach, but managed to gain a little height. A good enough indicator for me and so I was into the air a few moments later.
Landed again to help get a couple of other pilots into the air, one being Paul Maidment (pictured), who had never flown here before; so finally he has broken his duck at this site. He and all the rest of us had several good flights, but not venturing past Boscombe pier, as it would most likely have been a one way ticket, trying to come back against the wind.
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