Eye in the Sky - August 2015

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Sat 29 Aug 2015

Report by Shamus Pitts

I wasn't feeling particularly optimistic when I left home this morning to drive to Mere but as it wasn't far I figured it was worth a look... The wind was very slightly off to the west when I arrived and blowing 12 - 14mph so I quickly unpacked and took to the air!  There were thermals coming through so staying up was fairly easy most of the day although the wind dropped off in the afternoon when it clouded over which caught a couple of people out. Just after midday some bigger darker clouds came through which helped Paco and I to get high enough to push all the way out to the edge of Mere and back - I thought about flying home but for some reason thought Shaftesbury was inside Compton Abbas airspace so didn't bother trying - turns out it isn't!  A better day than expected and good to fly Mere again.

Sun 16 Aug 2015

Report by Paul Maidment

Kimmeridge - Sunday light winds forecast so what to do? have a blast to Ringstead on my motorbike was the plan got there to find three wings on the deck one just about to launch, after about 10 minutes he had good height, bugger! so back home in record time to get my gear and decided to head for Kimmeridge, got to an empty ridge about 2.30 wind a bit round to the west but flyable, I've not flown it for a long time and have forgotten how awkward take-off can be ( nettles, brambles, big holes, stone wall barbed wire and steep) got away and pushed along the ridge going further each time until I made it to the far end staying level with or 50ft above ridge height, sometimes my feet only just above the ferns and brambles on the ridge face, after about 30 minutes I got some lovely thermals off the farm buildings getting me up to 400ft ato. I was having a great time I even did a bit of deer spotting until after about an hour I looked up at my wing to see pebbles must have been from when I lent my wing to P Hawkins and he flew Monks to Weymouth, so landed and emptied my wing and back to launch and off again but conditions had become a bit light by now I made the big mistake of saying one last run got half way along the ridge and the lift that was there before had all but gone, I didn't make it back landing halfway up the ridge but a bit from take-off, big smiles I must make the effort to fly Kimmeridge more often.      

Sat 15 Aug 2015

Report by Everard Cunion


Patchy lift at Bell Hill saw some paragliders with some great colour schemes out on the hill. (And about time! Some people's choice of colours and sail patterns rival the flying deck chair schemes of the early hang gliders.) I planned to get above them for the benefit of my camera...

Incidentally, I notice Neil M has traded his Argos (ancient Greek god of the sky or some such) for a different wing. Meanwhile (and I am sure I did not imagine this) one of the swanky looking new wings there was a Homebase (ancient Greek god of DIY).

Unfortunately, such conditions are the worst for flexwing hang gliders. I encountered a strong but small thermal over the quarry on my way down. However, on the down-wind side of my one 360, I flew into sinking air. When I levelled out, the power lines were rising in my field of view. Luckily the sink became less severe as I neared the ground and I made the bottom field with room to spare.

Richard M and Steve W again demonstrated the advantages of rigid hang gliders by getting above the hill and staying up, but not at any great height.

More: https://everardcunion.wordpress.com/hang-gliding-2015-part-3#top

Report by Alastair Florence


An lighter than expected wind on the hill today at Bell gave a fair number of folks a decent bit of flying.

I was well pleased to get my first XC of the season in.

A gaggle of 5 or 6 climbed out so I lined up with the thermal only to get batted skyward at a higher rate than was comfortable. I flew forward until I reached some more sedate rising air and began a slow dribbly climb out after the first gaggle.

First away had been Paul H, Nigel R, Sean S, John S, Martin B and Craig B on tandem.

The drift was pretty slow and thermals broken and fairly weak with the occasional slightly stronger cells but not great for good coring.

With a fair bit of Westerly drift it was a case of stay in a climb as long as the height gain was worth drifting East for, then try and gain back some West on glide.

By The North end of Wareham Forest I caught up Sean, John, Paul & Nige Craig did well to land near Bloxworth.

Once over Wareham the air seem to loose all energy but become very smooth and we were all doomed to an extended gentle glide landing within varying radius of the Half Way Inn.

As my feet touched the road side after wrapping up Andrea pulled up to offer retrieve for which I was most gratefull.

Just what I needed today, very enjoyable, particularly landing out with friends....after I managed to catch up.

Report by Shamus Pitts


Not much to say about today - a 10km flight to Piddletrenthide then an 8.5 mile walk back again!  Cloudbase was very low, only about 1700' ATO so once I got there with the thermal I took off the hill I didn't have much room to find anything else and ended up on a long glide to a field just past Piddletrenthide.  Still, it was a nice sunny day and the walk back was quite enjoyable (apart from the hills and the weight on my back!)

Sun 02 Aug 2015

Report by Alastair Florence


I have not managed to get out much lately owing mostly to social commitments, so it has been good to get a few flights in over the last few days.

Firstly last Thursday an after work flight at Chinnor, which is a Dunstable site left of the M40 as it cuts through the Chilterns near High Wycombe (about the closest site to my work at Brize Norton), a pleasant enough evening until the wind died off.

Saturday back to St. Aldhelms with Nigel R and Roy M for company.

Crossed to Houns Tout but couldn't get any further. I had expected the wind to pick up sooner but got bored after a couple of hours so headed off to Ringstead where it still appeared flyable but a bit too strong and gusty on t/o for my comfort.

Sunday, I thought Ballard may work early so took a look, I was measuring around 20mph up the cliff on the green so canned it. I met someone whose name I ought to know but sorry cant remember walking up with his mini wing. After a mug of tea at home I could see the mini wing did not seem to be struggling so thought it may be worth a walk up after all whilst the Mrs had her hair done.

On t/o it seemed to be around 14-16mph with gusts to 18 and off East a bit. Once in the air it was fine for strength but well off East. This made the run down to Old Harry fine and the hotels also.

The mini wing had a good long session but I only stayed around 40 mins as I had arranged to walk the Mrs. As it happened we walked round Ballard and Old Harry by which time the wind had increased in strength and appeared well East.

Sat 01 Aug 2015

Report by Craig Byrne


A good day at Ringstead flying tandem with Clare. Thanks for the amazing photos Russell W. :)

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