Eye in the Sky - March 2016

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Thu 31 Mar 2016

Report by Grant Oseland


Fortune favours the brave, or is that favours the stupid? Monks was maybe the place to be today. I say maybe as it was very strong stood on take off and gusting and a lot. What seemed like eons passed and the wind did not drop, if anything it got worse. Eventually Pete C could take no more and deemed it to be top end but doable. This is where the brave or stupid part comes in as Chris W and I followed Petes lead. Profanities were broadcast over the radio about how unpleasant the air was and that it was indeed top end as speed bar was required to move forward at times. Pete duly bottom landed and probably kissed the ground like the pope departing his aeroplane. Chris and I stuck with it. Chris going over the back first but loosing the thermal just over the back of the hill and then getting drilled to the deck behind take off. Witnessing this I decided I needed a lot more height before I went over the back. 2 hours of impromptu acro later, I still had not found a good solid thermal to take over the back. Then eventually it came, a good looking cloud that lifted me away from the roller coaster of launch, and all the way to a declared goal of Swange.

Report from Monks Down

Only the very brave took to the air, 2 for all of 15mins. Grant persisted in lumpy conditions for 2 hrs in front, then went over the back and got to Durlston Head in double quick time. I went and got him. We returned to Monks at 1815 hrs to find 3 wings boating about so I joined them till the sun was obscured by a large cloud. Hey Ho.

Fri 25 Mar 2016

Report by Olly Smart


Ringstead - An early start at Bell proved to be challenging with a couple of Top to Bottoms and some scratching. Club Coaches were very helpful as 2 got away over the back it just seemed to die off. So a message from Ringstead had us on our way. Again some ridge soaring and futile attempts at going forward proved fruitless. However, there were lots on the cliffs and it was certainly daunting especially with news of one Pilot stranded west and below the White Nothe and another just missing the power cable and stuck in a tree. All the warnings of long lay offs proving true.

For us low airtimers it was pleasing to fly 2 Sites in a day and meet other more experienced Pilots Thanks.

Mon 21 Mar 2016

Report by Richard Walters

Bell Hill - A slow start with so many on the hill. Too light then like magic it switched on and stayed flyable until the evening, First 360s for me and some "Alpine Launches" early in the day. Lots of aircraft about. Winter hibernators also enjoying the spring sunshine. Some Skygods working the lift up to 3500AMSL. Thanks to the Club Coaches for their help and encouragement.

Wed 16 Mar 2016

Report by Grant Oseland


La Muela, Spain - First flight on arrival, big vultures, nice sky enjoyed by Gordon, Nigel and Grant.

Thu 10 Mar 2016

Report by Sean Staines

Monksdown - A tricky forecast today with a static occluded front running north to south down the centre of the country. RASP’s thermal strength forecast had Monksdown pretty well on the western edge, with some hope of thermic flying.

When we arrived at midday the sky was 100% overcast. A check with my wind meter showed only 10-15mph so I opted to fly the paraglider rather than rig my hang glider. The air was surprisingly buoyant and thermic, despite the overcast, with numerous climbs up to 1200ft and a few taken over the back to 1500ft before pushing back out front. The lift band was huge, extending out towards the barns. I had only the Red Kites and Buzzards to share the fun with me. Most of the first hours flight was spent at least 200ft above take off. I landed to leave a site phone message. Thirty minutes into the second flight I noticed the wind strength picking up and landed again to allow it to calm down. It did and I had another hours flying in air that was gently decreasing.

It was a day with quite demanding conditions that most would probably not have enjoyed, but typical of the conditions that will be encountered, at some point during the day, flying in spring thermals in the UK. I had a good chance to bond with my new glider and hone my reflexes. The reviews of my glider said that it coped well surfing through turbulent air and I was impressed that it did indeed do that, without needing much pitch control and feeling comfortable on the bar.

At one point whilst pushing forwards towards the barns I heard the familiar sound of rustling fabric and both brake lines going light, a sensation that I associate with a full frontal. My hands reacted automatically with a swift symmetric dab on the brakes and by the time I looked up there was nothing to see. Very benign behaviour. At another point whilst cranked in tight to a thermal I noticed the outside wing accelerating rapidly. Again my hands knew what to do, letting up on the initiating brake and lightly damping the outside one before re-engaging with the thermal. My brain caught up a little time later. “Ah – so that’s the spin initiation point found then” Again the wing had made its intentions abundantly clear with ample opportunity to take appropriate action.

I left the hill with a big smile on my face and increased confidence in my wing and more cobwebs and dust blown away after such a long break from flying over the winter.

Sun 06 Mar 2016

Pictures from Bell-Hill

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