Eye in the Sky - March 2017
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Sun 12 Mar 2017
Photos from Bell Hill
Thu 09 Mar 2017
Report by Sean Staines
The BBC evening forecast on Wednesday perked up my interest for a possible flight at Bell on Thursday. A study of RASP on Thursday morning confirmed it. and we set off for the hill arriving around 11:30 to find the gate still locked. Even so when I got to take off it seemed good to me so I rigged and launched straight away into fantastic spring conditions.
There were even some cloud streets forming out front and punchy thermals to play in allowing exploration way out front towards the farm. Pete Chalmers joined me after 20 minutes in the air and we had the hill to ourselves for the best part of an hour taking regular climbs up to 1800ft amsl.
After an hour in the air Dan (I think) arrived soon followed by Harry and Marcus. I understood their lengthy hesitation to launch. Conditions were strong. It could have you screaming. It just depended if it was with joy or fear. Spring has definitely arrived.
Others arrived and took advantage of the conditions. After 3Hrs in the air (I wasn't going to waste a second of these conditions) I got a fairly consistent steady climb near the far end of the bowl that kept going all the way to 2800 ft amsl. Pete was in the same climb a couple of hundred yards ahead of me and I flew over to join him. We drifted back together most of the way to the stickland road before I decided to make a break for it to the higher ground the other side of the Valley. I was rewarded by weak lift that had me sinking at only 0.4m/s. I decide to stick with it. Pete pressed on towards Blandford on what looked like a death glide and ended up at Blandford St Mary.
I decided on a tactic of simply staying in the air as long as possible on worked all of the weak sink I could find which was kicking off above the copses. It was slow going but as I approached Blandford St Mary I still had some good height. Should I look for lift above the buildings or above the array of Black solar panels. I went for the solar panels and was rewarded by actual lift which kept me going.
At Charlton Marshall I managed to gain 800ft back up to 1800ft amsl. There was nothing more from there and the flight ended on the outskirts of Sturminster Marshall. Excellent start to the XC season.
Photos from Bell Hill
Tue 07 Mar 2017
Report by Andy Ward
The possibility of a flyable day at Ringstead lured a small gaggle of pilots to the hill, keen to get some airtime before the next storm rolls in. It was cold, it was off to the south and it was only just possible for 2 or 3 gliders to scratch the farm end of the ridge. Some threw in the towel early, but those who stayed put were rewarded by a great hour out on the cliffs, some venturing as far as Durdle Door.
in the sky out-takes
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