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June 2002 - Part 3

Saturday 30th June 2002

Report from Craig Byrne

    Only managed a small flight at Abertysswg during The BCC landing with Keith Wright at 5.4k; Adrian B managed 3.5k. But it was enough to get The Wessex through to the finals, since we came second overall with Avon winning.
    The whole flight was in wave and was a truly beautiful experience I will not forget for a long time flying inside then above the lenticulars reaching 4000asl. Lesson leant - it is best to fly off end of wave bars then glide downwind to new bar forming, I set off on a downwind glide and just hit massive sink and turbulence.
    It was also interesting trying to ridge soar the top of the narrow valley where we found ourselves, as the rotor from the ridge in front was wicked.

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Report from David Daniels

    One of those "was it worth it" days.
    Mind - when I got to Bell and saw about 14 other cars already there, I could only assume that things would be getting better - we cannot all be that wrong can we?
    Well - yes. It appears that we can.
    A couple of people managed some 1,000ft ato - but other than that there was nothing much to get excited about, the wind being a little off to the west.
    A visit to Ringstead found the place empty (as far as HG/PGs were concerned) - a tad too draughty for PGs, but I did see someone I mistook as Wayne Bevan on his way there with a fellow HG as I was driving away.

    Dave Capelin tells me he was at Kimmeridge - with a "Where was everybody?" comment.

Friday 28th June 2002

Report from John Blessing

    My first XC!
    After a fairly good morning on Bell, conditions had picked up in the early afternoon. Kitted up and next to Brian Metcalfe so I could benefit from his experience, I quickly followed Brian into the air and was soon at a few hundred feet above Bell - thanks Brian.
    Conditions were quite thermic and bumpy in places. At times, windspeed increased enough for me to need full speedbar to stay forward of the hill - something to do with the large grey cloud coming towards us maybe? Once it had gone, everything settled down a little more and I found myself in a thermal. I cranked the glider over and the vario continued to chirp its happy tune. Still going up I was now behind the hill and circling. Up to now I had been loathe to 'cut the apron strings' and leave the hill, but I was determined to go this time.
    The thermal must have been big, I just leaned over, kept circling and kept going up, the vario indicating 600 ft/min. In the same thermal was some crazy guy screaming "we're going to the moon!", I should have known it was Dave Moores but didn't recognize the wing he was flying. When I eventually looked down at my vario I was 2900 feet ATO, not massively high I know, but the highest I have been so far in my short PG experience.
    Everything was getting a little murky so I guess cloudbase wasn't far off. Dave was still above, waiting for me. Whether I just got tired of circling or curiosity or just plain excited/scared, I don't know, but I decided to leave and wander off downwind. No doubt, the next time I see Dave I will get a bo**ocking for leaving lift! If I had known it was you Dave, I wouldn't have left, honest. There wasn't much in the way of sunny patches near me, so the most I got was a few minutes of zeroes in what was a essentially a long glide. In the distance to the SE I could see the blue wing of another PG who seemed to be in lift, but I couldn't reach it. Eventually landed in a field close to Spetisbury after 14km , tired, excited and and grateful for a truly wonderful day.

(Congrats to John on his first XC!)

Report from Mike Brtherton

    Went to Combe in the early afternoon and reached 1000ft ATO on a couple of occasions, but flew back to the hill as the lift died.
    It was quite rough, especially near to the hill, and after about an hour I tried to big ear down to avoid any more wing tip deflations. I found it difficult to get down so I tried one more time to climb out. I soon climbed out to 1000ft again and this time I was in zero sink over the back so I decided to go for it, expecting to only go about 4 or 5Km. The zero sink just went on and on and on, it was hard work but soon I was approaching the A34 and was gradually loosing height.
    I had a low save at about 200ft and I very, very slowly climbed back up until I reached Oakley where I hit more consistent lift up to 2500ft. The batteries in my GPS then gave up so I whipped my airmap out and worked out where I was. Its the first time I have tried to read an airmap and 360 at the same time in rough air (its quite an art !) but I worked out that I was drifting towards Popham airfield but the airmap showed no ATZ around it so I continued over it. The map does say intense aerial activity around here and it aint joking, a Learjet flew past, a couple of light aircraft, several microlights, helicopter, 2 sailplanes. Another thermal climbed me out yet again over the M3 but I went on a final glide soon after and landed near Lasham at Preston Candover after 32Km.

Popham Airfield.JPG (43542 bytes) M3 A303 Interchange.JPG (48779 bytes)
Popham Airfield A303 / M3 Interchange

Wednesday 26th June 2002

Report from Jeremy Mortimer

     I had 45 minute flight at bell this evening having raced over from work. Quite difficult to get down - quite breezy + restitution. Had to come down at 7.45 as others had left!.

Report from Mike Adkins

     Bell today was pretty good too, with lotsa pilots there: by the time I had to leave at about 1400 no-one had actually got away although we all had some good flights. There appeared to be an inversion at 1000ft and Mark R and Dave M as well as others banged their heads on it. As I wasn't able to stay all day (I know they were flying all day - my spies told me!) I hope someone else submits a fuller report.

Monday 24th June 2002

Report from Tony Stevens

     I had great plans of going to Butser but the light winds put paid to that, so off I went to Whitesheet - a little used Wessex site. It's a rather small hill but quite steep.
    Took off about 12.30 after lots of faffing, programming the GPS and studying airspace. Struggled to get away, in fact almost bottom landed at one point. Eventually got away and was joined by a sailplane a little behind T.O at around 1200 ato. For 20 mins we helped each other find the best climb, it was the sailplane doing large searches who eventually found the best bit so I parked into wind to join him. We soon were together enjoying a 300ft/min climb to base (3800ft amsl). At base we went our separate ways.
    I set off downwind and glided down to 1700 amsl before I found anymore lift. I stayed in this 50ft/min climb drifting in the light westerly for maybe 30mins before it petered out at 2900ft. Set off on a glide and then I spotted a factory with a large car park which was South of Salisbury. To reach it I had to cross wind it in a North direction. I had no joy in finding lift, so gambled heading directly into wind to fly right over the factory.When down to approx 800ft above factory the air roughened and began to lift. God was I relieved and circled again in poor lift, 50-100ft/min climb gaining about 1000ft.
    Getting desperate I searched frantically for anything and eventually spotted a farm with something black next to it. I was in luck and got another crappy climb to 3000ft amsl, then whoosh the lapse rate changed and I soon found my self at base again (3900). I set off South to my goal of Sherfield English but got confused on how to read my GPS and by time I understood what it was reading I was a little down wind of it. I then spent 20 mins trying to travel upwind to my goal, but gave up when the sky ahead turned blue. Also I was feeling quite nauseous, it must have been all the circling. I've never gone round in circles quite so much as on this flight.
    I reset my goal to Wonton, which is just out of Soton airspace to the North. I followed the line on the GPS so to avoid the MATZ to my left and Soton to my right. Along the way I got my two best climbs of the day but had to leave both as I was getting dangerously close to Soton airspace. What a bummer that was. Staying true to the GPS track I found no more lift and landed in a barley field next to a farm. A very friendly farmer greeted me and we spent an hour chatting.
    I was only 8km from reaching Wonton and being clear of Soton airspace. Guess I can't grumble with 50.8km from T.O but I know this was a day to have gone a lot further. I HATE SOTON AIRSPACE
    A point to note is Rich Harding (paraglider) pilot who took off from Olivers did 85kms and John Jones on his Atos from Westbury did over 98kms on the same day.

Report from Mike Adkins

    Monday at Bell was better than Sunday (not difficult!), although Mark R was heard to say that conditions were "horrible"!
    There certainly were big holes in the air. Nonetheless, he got away, as did both Peters (R & S) and Colin D, as well as me. There was an easterly drift higher up and base was at only 3800 ft ato, so several of us flew Wimborne-wards.
    Colin was there all day wearing out his new Airwave Sport - in fact he was still flying when I left the hill at 1800!
    There were lots of other pilots there during the day including a hangy-thingy, so apologies to those I haven't named.

Eye in the Sky - June 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - June 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - May 2002
Eye in the Sky - April 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - April 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - March 2002
Eye in the Sky - 2001 roundup
Eye in the Sky - September/November 2001
Eye in the Sky - July/Augsust 2001
Eye in the Sky - June 2001
Eye in the Sky - March to May 2001
Eye in the Sky - Feb 2001
Eye in the Sky - September and October 2000
Eye in the Sky - August 2000
Eye in the Sky - July 2000
Eye in the Sky - June 2000
Eye in the Sky - May 2000