Eye in the Sky - April 2016

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Sat 30 Apr 2016

Report by Everard Cunion


A thermic day at Bell Hill provided alternating lift and sink typical of the time of year. When I arrived, the wind was too strong for most paragliders (some had flown away earlier) but several hang gliders were flying.

Adam's U-2 was tipped sideways on final to the field close to the base of the hill. I won't say where he landed because nobody would believe me! The damage was just one broken downtube.

More: https://everardcunion.wordpress.com/hang-gliding-2016#BellHillApril30

Report from Bell Hill


Ist XC for David McKay to Winterbourne Whitechurch. Ali to Swanage,Sean to Winterbourne Kingston. Lots of ups and downs and some interesting flying.

Thu 28 Apr 2016

Report from Ringstead


Managed to sneak an hour in at Ringstead before it blew out.

Wed 27 Apr 2016

Report from Montegrappa (Italy)


Wessex Posse just back from a week at the Montegrappa Northern Italy, 5 days of good flying.

Sat 23 Apr 2016

Report by Everard Cunion

Adam (U-2), Richard (ATOS) and me (U-2) endured cold and blustery conditions at Monk's Down. The clouds looked good, but the lift was broken and weak. I was plenty high to land at the top in the far corner for the first time ever, so high that I made an extra beat of the ridgelose some of that height. Down to the bottom field I went...

In late afternoon conditions calmed enough for a few paragliders to soar the ridge.

More: https://everardcunion.wordpress.com/hang-gliding-2016#top
Sun 17 Apr 2016

Report by Roy Menage

Bell Hill should have been working well with all the cumulus around but the cycles were too few and far between so four of us (myself, Ali F, Luke B and visiting German Mike) decamped to St Aldhelms. The breeze was fairly well onto the cliffs (just a little bit South of West) and perfect for a bit of afternoon wafting. After giving a site briefing to Mike and Luke, assisted by Ali's expert knowledge, we set up and got airborne. Southerly progress was a bit slow to begin with but improved with height. After half an hour of sitting under a big dark cloud getting frozen (and starting to feel a few raindrops), and not managing to get enough height to cross to Houns Tout, I beat a hasty retreat to the car park. The others stuck it out and eventually made it across the water just as the cloud cleared and the sun came out. I considered going back for another attempt but decided against it.

A very nice way to spend an afternoon. Well done especially to Luke for making it across the water on his first visit.

Report by Andy Ward

Coombe Gibbet  With RASP predicting an excellent day for XC flying the Coombe Gibbet round of Advance British Clubs Cup had more entries than spaces, leading to a draw to decide which six clubs got to take part. Wessex got lucks and our intrepid team of six were out of bed early for a long drive and briefing on the hill at 10am.

The sun shone, the skies looked promising with cloud streets all the way to the coast, and then time for a reality check when we all launched. The thermals were like bullets, and there were some many gliders in the air that making the most of the lift was hard. Even a well known Wessex skygod/turncoat (he's flying for *someone else*) was witness landing on the slope, presumably after he ran out of skyhooks.

Seriously, it was hard. We had 6 experienced pilots on the team, 3 never made it off the hill at all, and those that did spent a very very long time scratching at or below launch height before finally clawing their way over the back. Those that did get away were rewarded with some fairly bumpy climbs in the small but feisty spring thermals. Team score was just under 100km, and we all landed within 10km of each other, so Suzie arrived to retrieve me pretty much as soon as I had packed up. Last challenge of the day was how to fit 3 pilots, 3 wings, a driver and a labrador in 1 small car!

Report by Alastair Florence

Despite all the signs suggesting you could have trained a chimp to fly from Bell Hill to Swanage today it actually proved to be a bit of a damp squib for most except Paul H and John S who were in the air at the right time and got high with cracking flights.

I gave up after a while and headed to St. Aldhelms with Roy M, Luke, and Mike from Germany.

On arrival the wind felt good and although not over buoyant considering the strength gave good flying conditions with climbs eventually to well over 500ft ato.

I made 2 comfortable crossings to Houns Tout on my coast basher but couldn't punch into the WSW wind far enough to connect with Kimmeridge, I did try though.

Mike then Luke both made it onto Houns Tout (and back) although Luke did look a little worryingly low on arrival, he said it also looked worryingly low from the pilots seat.

No XC points for me but an enjoyable end to the afternoon.

Report by Everard Cunion

Light conditions at Bell Hill kept most pilots on the ground for most of the day, but about three made it nearly to cloudbase, mixing with two or three sailplanes. Photos are of a paraglider turning close to the hill, Thomas -- one of the pilots who reached nearly to cloudbase -- after he landed, and a CH-47 in the distance.

Wed 13 Apr 2016

Pictures from White Horse

Tue 11 Apr 2016

Report by Marc Taylor


Whitehorse -A cracking day of thermal practise, more airtime than groundsuck.

Jason H in his retro suit to match his wing. Then with Gaz M like a couple of cowhands from the Rio Grande keeping the young steers away from our lunches. No, seriously, does no-one work? Others, Henry S, Russell W, Jason H, Gaz M, Russell H. R, Martin ? & his son Rob ( visitors). Apologies if I missed anyone.

Mon 11 Apr 2016

Report by Alastair Florence


It looked like a nice evening tonight so thought I would give St. Aldhelms a go. A bit scratchy as struggled to get over 100ft ato but pleasant enough. It's good to know there's enough light to get the odd evening in now.

Fri 08 Apr 2016

Report from Bell Hill

Another up & down day. Grant said it was "Rubbish".

Tue 05 Apr 2016

Report from Bell Hill


The 3 Amigos a cold blustery day but a brave Hobbit Feet showed us what wimps we really are.

Sun 03 Apr 2016

Report from Southbourne


Some pictures of flying today , a bit hazy and went very easterly. Even got a shot of the Bmth Half marathon.

Report by Alastair Florence


I picked up a cheap old coast bashing wing a few months ago and had not yet had the chance to fly it, so seemed like a good day to give a go on Ballard.

It felt quite flyable on the lower green which made me think it may be a bit top end on the top, but actually it was ok.

I didn't stay long as it was not that inspiring and I had other things to do.

But mission accomplished and wing tried out, seems to fly ok, now't else in the air to compare it with but the glide seemed reasonable, just a bit more wobblier than the Sigma.

Report by Alastair Florence

I met up with Nigel R at Acton with a bit of optimism as to whether it would be too strong or not.

Ballard was certainly looking a bit much so we thought we would try a walk out to Dancing ledge. It was about 17-20mph on t/o and we decided that was a bit much.

I had been talking to Nigel about a launch to the East of St.Aldhelms that I thought may work with a bit of East of South on a strong day so as it was a nice day we thought we would go take a look and cart the wings along as well.

On arrival it seemed a bit lighter and direction felt good. After a bit of site assessment we picked our t/o and thought we would have a look at suitable landings once airborne.

Nigel was quicker getting ready than me and soon got away with the air looking good. The site worked well and it was a nice and very scenic flight. We landed and discussed whether it may work along Dancing Ledge stretch to our East, I had my doubts as I felt there was more East in the wind than it felt and it was getting lighter. Nigel headed off past Winspit and soon found that it was not really working, So I stayed on St.A's for a bit then landed and retrieved Nigel from Langton as he had worked his way in stages down to Dancing Ledge. Well worth a bit of pioneering and probably go back for more someday, all this stretch of coast really needs to be top end to fly well and safely but works well in those conditions. Peachometer 7.5

Report by Alastair Florence


Following on from St.A's in the morning I took a look down on Swanage beach. The wind dropped some and had more East in it now. I was surprised to see 4 hangies soaring well down the seafront. Wind speed and direction felt good so walked up.

Alan W joined me and we were a little shocked to find 7 or 8 Hangliders in total on the site (more flying than flask fingering going on as well), must be a record turn for a Wessex site in recent years and good to see them using the site.

The wind was fairly brisk but perfectly doable, cold and not that lifty considering strength.

That said the whole coastal part of the site was working from Old Harry to the hotels. Another surprise was only me and Alan on PG's as I had expected the wind to calm down in the afternoon.

A nice second part to a long overdue flying day for me.

Pictures by Alan Webb


Fri 01 Apr 2016

Pictures from Southbourne


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