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June 2003 - Part II


Monday 30th June 2003

Report from RW

    I did not think it was flyable today! How wrong can you be? (Ummm - how wrong can the met men be! DD)
    I met Gaz M at Ringstead at 1230hrs & we were in the air heading for the cliffs without too much trouble & missing the "house"! A few beats in front of a topless babe at the big house and onwards to White Nothe, no great height gain approx 400'ATO but an enjoyable smooth hour followed by a good top landing. The sock was displaying South so it was off to the " Horse". T.O. at the bowl where it was about 14mph and thermic, again no great gains but small & smooth thermals giving enjoyable flying with the buzzards.
    Late arrivals were John W., Sean L. ( trying to regain the record) & Dave G.
    An unexpected fun day.

Saturday 28th June 2003

Report from Peter Robinson

    I went to Ringstead initially but the sight of flyers starting to launch at White Horse sent me and the Franklin brothers scooting over there. When we got there we could see Matthew Redman already high and slowly working higher. I launched, soon after 2pm, into what turned out to be the best thermal I can ever remember at WH; 6kt, steady and big enough, almost like you might get at an inland site on a good day. It topped out at about 2300asl, then I went over to where Matthew was cruising under a nearby cloud. It was looking good inland, the drift was NE, so off we went. For once there were workable clouds on the down-slope behind the White Horse ridge, although after leaving the ridge the lift was weaker, 1’s and 2’s, and quite short-lived. I fumbled for my phone to call home to tell the wife to look up and spot me a few thousand feet above the house, but decided to concentrate on the flying instead.
    Thirty five minutes after launch and crossing the Tolpuddle bypass I was in and out of the cloud getting about 200ft above base at 3600asl. Salisbury here we come! I had lost sight of Matthew but then spotted him cruising below. I headed for two clouds in succession that looked good but died before I got there. In the meantime Matthew had found another climb downwind. By the time I got to it there was almost nothing left, but Matthew who was now a good bit higher got a few more hundred feet out of it. In fact he was still climbing as I looked up at him from the field by Milborne St Andrew. Grrr! You know the feeling. He had enough height to reach Winterborne Whitechurch for 19.6km. It was only his third XC and he broke the site record set by Sean Lovatt only a few weeks ago. Congratulations Matthew!

Report from Dave Daniels

    The date had been set some time back for a group of scouts to do some tandem flying - and remembering that Stuart M had mentioned to me the previous weekend they were rather short on tandem pilots - I went along to lend a hand with getting the kids kitted up and anchoring on launch.
    The weather at Kimmeridge was not perfect - but adequate - and all 14 had flights as well as the two leaders.
    The group being pretty tight on transport, and the fact that after the flying they were going to Durdle Door beach for a swim, I offered to give a few of them a lift over there - and their continued expression of enjoyment and gratitude was very genuine indeed.
    It was a shame that Sunday didn't provide the conditions for them to have some more flights. In the scheme of things - to get any flying on a weekend planned long before forecasts could be consulted was pretty good going, and the kids appreciated that too.
    A couple of them expressed extreme interest in taking the sport up for themselves as soon as they were 16 years old - and becoming involved beforehand. I think there's a high probability that a couple may come along begging tandem flights on some other weekends!

    Also at Kimmeridge were a good number of members enjoying the variable conditions - Gary P and Peter K gaining significant height half way to the cliffs in the light evening air

Report from Jeremy Mortimer

    Arrived at Ringstead at 12ish to find a number of others aviating at low level in front of the car park. The wind was fairly light with some thermal activity. I managed 20 minutes or so in gradually improving conditions but a couple of attempts to get to the cliffs were not very encouraging. At this point several people departed for White horse. Sean Stains made it to the cliff and eventually returned to land in a bottom field. Ian Orpe flew out and just maintained in front the big house. Since that looked like hard work and pilots were evidently getting some good height at White Horse I abandoned Ian to what looked like a long walk back.
    At White Horse half a dozen were in the air but Peter Robinson & Matthew Redman had departed under a cloud north. Both returned some time later - Peter had got to (I think) Milbourne St Andrew and Matthew a mile or so further - possibly a new site record. 
(Yup - site record 19.6km to Winterborn Whitchurch according to the Wessex League pages! D) Peter R said it was the best climb he has had at White Horse to 3000+ ATO. I managed a mere 1000ft ATO briefly. All had much fun until conditions subsided at 18:00.

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Wooohoo! That's taken from a long way in front!

    Ian phoned later to say that he and ZZ had flown to beyond Durdle Door and back - eventually landing on the beach at Ringstead!

Friday 27th June 2003

Report from Matthew Charlesworth

    John Alder and I flew at Bell again last night.
    I didn't get there until 7pm and John was already up and away. It was fairly windy but there were a few floppies up including Dave Moores et al. I took off at 7.25pm and had 45mins of smooth air just boating around into the sunset. John and Dave had both got high earlier but the best that I got was 750ft ATO - but it was very pleasant all the same. 
    Cow shit every where at take off though, when we own the hill can we shoot the cows??????????

Tuesday 24th June 2003

Report from Russell "News Hound" Whyte

    After a brief look at Ringstead where it was S (the forecast was SW), I made my way to the Horse. Sean? (Andrewws?) recently qualified, was in the air soaring the ridge. I knew I felt thermals & was quickly practicing those turns in lift that Dave M is always talking about! The thermals were excellent & well behaved giving glorious upward movement. 
    I just kept going up the vario was reading 865M and I headed to the coast & flew over Osmington Mills thinking shall I go to Ringstead, shall I make it? Too much thinking so I headed back to the ridge happy & smiling.
    A break for the usual & John B & Martin F arrived with Martin getting to Broadmayne on his first and then Crossways on his second XC of the day. I tried following & got dumped in the lea of the power lines and suffered a walk back.
    Late arrivals were Dave M, Allen T & James T. A fabulous, fabulous day, where was everyone?
(You really want my to answer? DD)

Monday 23rd June 2003

Report from Matthew Charlesworth

    Just to say that we flew at Bell on Monday evening.
    John Alder and I spoke in the afternoon and by 5 PM he was calling on the mobile from Bell to where I was chained to my desk. Conscience burning, I bailed out of the office and got to Bell for 6PM just as John was taking off, assisted by Dave Moores and others as it was decidedly windy. 
    I rigged quickly and took of into strong but surprisingly smooth conditions with good but broken thermals popping off the big and little bowls. I made over 900ft above take off several times but the wind and thermals were declining all the time with each proper climb being 100ft or so less than the previous. 
    The air was clear and the views were great so 5 or 6 floppies took off but didn't seem to get too high as it must still have been a bit windy. 
    John and I had over an hour and a half in the air and I had to put headlights on as I drove away as we flew almost to sunset. 
    I got some great photos which I'll send in when I get the film developed. Hmmm, must get a digital camera.

Friday 20th / Sunday 22nd June 2003

Report from Dave Daniels  - Photos by Luigi

    More a "hangover on the ground" than an "eye in the sky" - but to not mention the "Mighty Wessex Bash" on these pages would be a sin!
    There will doubtless be more in the next issue of Airmail - so just a brief summary here.

    I arrived at the venue very early Friday afternoon - and, being the first time I had visited Lyscombe Farm was totally blown away with the setting for the event! The blistering heat in a clear blue sky made everything even better - and to hear that people had been flying Bell most of the day (hangies then paras) was a fantastic start to the weekend.
    Some pilots that couldn't resist trying the topography of Lyscombe Farm's north-westerly neighbour - and had a great time in mucky air. Sean L landed back at the camping area declaring "site record!", only to watch Pete King fly past and manage 9km to Milborne St Andrew. None of this would be so incredible were it not for the fact that Mark R, owner of Lyscombe Farm, had never bothered to fly the slope!
    The Hog Roast lured people back flying (Bell, Telegraph and the new site) - and what a roast it was! The people that had been scheduled to prepare this meal had blown out at the last minute enabling Dave M to perform his n-th day saving effort to provide the BBQ and animal, with Luigi manning "the bar" whilst Ian Orpe over-saw the roast.
    Saturday was another sunny day - and a last minute let down by the refreshments van not showing (without even warning us!) cancelled the bacon butties and coffee (apologies for those that were caught out on this one!).
    The winds slightly spoiled the day being easterly and too gusty for the winching and much aero-towing, although several microlights arrived and flew. Some paramotors committed aviation - with varying amounts of success (enough said!). Others went to Ballards, where I know many managed to fly in winds that were not (I am informed) ideal - being very easterly. (Sod's law was definitely at work providing wind for the only direction we do not have suitable sites for the event!). 
    Adrian B went to Portland East - only to be dissuaded from flying by one passionate Peregrine fan requesting us to keep away whilst the birds were nesting.
    More flying was done on the SE facing side of Lyscombe bottom .... until the gusts from an ugly cloud to the north had big ears in and everyone down pretty quickly.
    Some people were actually kept from flying by wives/children that just wanted to enjoy the environs of Lyscombe Farm - and one cannot exactly blame them for that!
    The "refreshment van" was also supposed to be doing the bbq that evening - so, people were sent hither and thither to buy in food and locate a bbq suitable for the evening. Luck was (for a change) on our side when those returning the hog roast machine discovered that the same people rented large bbqs!
    As the evening started, the zip wire was zipping, reserves were being deployed and repacked by Kirsten from Aerofix, people of all ages were being flown in the tethered hot-air balloon, the music started the alcohol flowed and the food was eaten (leaving only about 20 sausages that were eaten on Sunday am!). All in all - one hulluv an evening!
    Sunday am was a blur for many people - just as well with the less exciting cloudy sky after the 5am thunder storm! Again the winds were easterly - some winching was done before it became a little strong - but the weather was obviously going to deteriorate and many people made an earlier get away than they had planned as the camping field gradually cleared.
    A merry band of helpers cleared the big tent and all the crap taking things back to whence they came as the weather went from bad to worse.
    I was the last to leave and eventually cleared the contents of my tent into the car in torrential rain and a thunder storm at about 8pm - but the weekend had been so much fun - I didn't even care!

    Estimates are that the anticipated 150 people became much nearer (if not a little over) 300! To have 300 happy people leave our first attempt at such an event if success, and I have received several email since congratulating Dave M on his organisation and the club on achieving such an enjoyable weekend.

    OK - names are going to be missed out from this list since there were too many for my brain to recall - but here goes .......

    Dave Moores has possibly missed a very successful career path in event management. In the face of adversity - he delegated superbly!
    Mark and Katrin Russell for the use of their most beautiful patch of the Dorset countryside - and Giles their ever helpful manager. The venue has to be the real star of the weekend.
    Hog roasters and BBQers and food preparation - Ian Orpe, Peter and Tracy King, Keith Wright and Sue Bunn - and several others I know.
    Tent erectors/dismantlers, trailer towers, handymen, electricians and general hard grafters - John Readings, Stuart Martin, Brian Metcalfe, Alan Booth, Neil Hutchison, Paul Kenber, Sean Lovatt, Alastair Florence
(who then missed the best part of the weekend laeving on holiday early Saturday), RW, Michael Craig, 
    Trade stands - Mark from UK Airsports, Kirsten from Aurofix, John Welch for Sky and Craig Byrne of Highflyerz Kitesurfing.
    Airfiled coordinator - Richard Westgate
    Activities - Zip wire erector and operator, Matthew Jacks and team - and the Hot Air Balloonist - (sorry - name escapes me.)
    Last - but not least - Dave's wife Harriet for putting up with the last couple of months of mayhem this must have caused her - and the enormous amount she did about the place the whole weekend.

Saturday 21st June 2003

Report from RW

    The longest wait for some! A briefing at the "BASH" & people were looking for places to fly!
    I went to the bowl at Whitehorse hoping ( & praying) with the rest of them. Some arrived at the parking point & went to the Horse parawaiting for a sea breeze.
    I sat at T.O. in the bowl making the usual observations, a smoke plume near the coast was drifting decidedly from the east, but my windsock was almost on the hill. Ahh! says I, thermals popping through, not big, not small, shall I shall I not? Oh go on then ! 
    I soared the S.E. arm - not too uncomfortable, little bit "punchy" but manageable so I practiced the top landings, was up & down for about an hour & Dave G arrived after stuffing his face with fish & chips. 
    Thermals were a little nicer and we had an hour of pushing out over Sutton Poyntz and nudging out to see the parawaiters sitting at the Horse.
    After landing to finish the day a "hangie" came at full tilt from the Horse to the bowl looking for lift but only managed a gentle bottom landing!!

Friday 20th June 2003

Report from Titus Fossgard-Moser

    On the slight chance that I might be able to find somewhere to fly, I jammed my glider in with all the other paraphernalia going with us for a wedding in North Devon. As luck would for once have it, the place we were staying in was a 25 minute walk from one of North Devon Paragliding Club's sites (Woolacombe) and the conditions on Friday were perfect (NNW wind and lots of sun!). 
    Thus Friday afternoon after a nice walk up to the launch site, a quick call to the Club Secretary - Chris ? - (very mellow person) and a chat with a couple of other pilots about the site, I launched. 
    First flight conditions were actually stronger than anticipated and was simply blown back onto the hill. However half an our later conditions improved and was able to spend a good two hours soaring the site. Stunning view of Woolacombe beach and beyond, along with only a couple of other gliders made it a magical afternoon.
    Would strongly recommend anyone else to try the site and with annual NDPC membership only £12 one can't really go wrong!!!.
(And a BBQ on Sat 28th June! DD)

Report from David Franklin

    A lot of people had a good evenings flying on bell.I'm afraid I didn't make a metal list of names as we arrived and flew straight away. The picture is Neill and myself climbing as we approached Winterborne Stickland. We made 10k but doing that in the evening in a blue sky felt wonderful.

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Tuesday 17th June 2003

Report from RW

    A call from Dave G had me on my way to Bell Hill, arriving at 1100hrs. 
    I had called Sean L & others, Sean was almost at cloud-base & landed at T.O. screaming " I almost had it but I forgot my GPS, Vario etc"
(He'll be aking off without his wing, next! DD)
    I took off and quickly found the sink & landed at farm near the quarry Oh ! such a long walk up, I must get fit ( x100)!! 
    Others arrived or called & the wind was picking up. Dave Moores was waiting for a wind dummy & Sean obliged. A small gaggle left the hill in a good thermal & Dave G & I were close behind. 
    I managed my first XC ( 6K)! After 18months & 120hrs it was worth the wait, even it was only the other side of Stickland. 
    Dave G managed 9k , his first, GONGRATULATIONS!!! 
    Dave C.L. phoned and offered a lift after I had walked 2 miles up the wrong road. I will now invest in some maps. 
    So today is all about "Thank you"s!! 
        Dave G. for the call 
        Dave C.L. for the retrieve. 
        Dave M. for the quote " When you're in a thermal going up the ground is no longer relevant" 
        To all the other pilots for encouragement , tips & advice. 
    In a word " Magic".

Eye in the Sky - June 2003 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - May 2003 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - May 2003 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - April 2003
Eye in the Sky - March 2003 - II
Eye in the Sky - March 2003 - I
Eye in the Sky - February 2003
Eye in the Sky - January 2003
Eye in the Sky - November/December 2002
Eye in the Sky - October 2002
Eye in the Sky - September 2002
Eye in the Sky - August 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - August 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - July 2002 - Part 2
Eye in the Sky - July 2002 - Part 1
Eye in the Sky - June 2002 - Part 3
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 and before