Eye in the Sky Dec 2005

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Thu 29 Dec 2005

Photos by RW


Report by Alastair Florence

Its not my fault Mother Nature got the weather wrong today. We should have
had a freshening SE from early AM blowing out as it went more South by early
PM, giving an orgy of flying on the South coast.

In the event there was no wind in any direction in Swanage until mid morning
when a faint breath of ENE-E began to waft off the sea. I was convinced the
day would still come good though and hiked up Ballard about 1100hrs. Russell
had faith in me and joined me an hour later. By now the wind had stopped
coming up the back but it wasn't really coming up the front either. About
1300hrs it was far enough round ESE and at a speed that should prove flyable.
Russell was first up, you could see straight away the wind was coming virtually
straight along the cliff and he did well to top land again. We both tried
again shortly after and things improved a bit. the main cliff just wasn't
working but the bowl around the hermits hut was. Mike Bennett joined us and
we were all making the most of it. I caught a few climbs to about 250ft ato.
Russell then tried the lower cliff whilst Mike and me plugged away at the
main cliff. Russell was doing well in front of the hotels until he landed
on the massive new sandy beach. No more groynes at the moment as they are
all buried deep in the sand (or maybe Russells knocked them all over) (sorry
mate) so masses of landing space.

Mike and me were now on the lower cliff as the top was getting a bit strong
and gusty.Aussie Steve and Dee arrived on the beach and spoke to RW. After
a bit we both landed and Steve and Dee unfurled there wings on the beach.
I attempted a beach launch which suprisingly worked (first time i've done
it here) Steve and Dee soon followed and Mike had a go as well. Loads of
lift over the beach, its great fun here now as with about 50metres of beach
width and no groynes you can fly down low on the beach and swoop back up
again. I managed several more beach launches as did the others. The technique
seems to be pull up the wing on the beach then step back up the cliff and
push forward or just run like crazy along the foot of the cliff till your
airborne, both worked.

Within an hour and half of launching first black clouds loomed over Peveril
which soon turned to rain ending the day. Sorry if you where in the wrong
place or just didn't bother to come out (you aint gonna fly in front of the
fire at home anyway) but it was one of those days when you cant be sure its
gonna happen till it does and by then its too late.

RW should be sending pictures if he made it home (mechanical problem with
the Pope Mobile)

Fri 23 Dec 2005

Report by Alastair Florence

I spent the morning fitting some new kitchen taps and doing a few odd jobs
as I reckoned it was blown out but likely to settle a bit in the afternoon.
I headed up to St Aldhelms about 1330hrs to check it out, good direction,
16-19mph with gusts to 23, Not totally out of the question but as I expected
it to calm a bit I hung around for half an hour. It eased off a little bit
maybe but more to the point I noticed you could spot the gust fronts on the
sea surface easily. It was a case of timing it right and launching from the
right spot.

Once in the air I had a smooth climb to about 800ft amsl, by now I was well
out in front roughly over the shore line, penetration was slow but acceptable
(no brakes required). The only time I used the speed bar was to get back
onto Emmetts hill from the coastguards and that was only to speed things
up and keep away from the cliff. Most of the flight was at 800-950ft amsl,
Russell rang to wish me a happy christmas, I think but with a full face helmet
on I could hardly hear him.

When the time came to land I pushed out to sea to loose height only to keep
climbing, I was about 0.8km West of the cliff (opposite the far side of Chapmans
Pool) and about the same distance South of Houns Tout out over the sea and
still at 500ft. I aimed for the carpark expecting to loose height but only
shed about 30ft so spent several minutes snaking about over the car park
until I lost altitude.

A tip... the Southern field by the car park (temporary landing field) has
been Dung spreaded, luckily I noticed this on the way down, the other one
is nice and clean though.
Tomorrow looks rubbish so will probably be good then.

Mon 19 Dec 2005

Report By Steve Bamlett

Well today looked so promising on every web site I checked. As predicted lots of other people turned up at bell expecting clear skies and 12-14mph on the hill.

What we got was Valley mist and hill fog until 1115 then a light but of to the west wind. Just enough to keep the wing above your head but that was about it. It was good to see every one and most stayed all day in the hope that it would kick in. The phase " it'll come on soon" was used alot. All i ended up with was a wet wing. But it was a lovely day with some impressive scenery views as the valley mist came in during the late afternoon. Looked good from bell but boy it was a pea-souper to drive though on the way home.

BIG SORRY to Peter C For Breaking his Plane.

Anyway looks better for tomorrow? May give St A a try.

Regards to all that were on the hill

Report by Craig Byrne



Not a good start to the day (getting stuck in soft verge while parking) but Steve B and The Lannie soon extracted me. It is a spot 50 yards up the road after the gate to Bell on right hand side. I had parked there before, but its soaking at the moment so be very careful folks!

There was quite a bit of fog which seemed to clear then formed again. Gary M Steve B Brian M and Martin H all had short hops, but it never kicked in. Hopefully be better tomorrow!

Thanks again for the tow out Steve :-)

Sun 18 Dec 2005

Report by Nicole Barnard

Pitched up at St Aldheim's around 11am - Dave W was already there with wing out and hooked in although wind still too light. Brian M and Ali F arrived, bringing the wind with them, and in quick succession - Ali taking the lead - we all took off. Wind was off to the south and picking up. We landed after about 20-30 mins with wind still increasing and now a true SW, some making it back to the car park.

Report by RW

After a night of partying with friends at the Christmas Bash ( Excellent time had by all ), several made their way to Charmouth where it was N.W. They ended up at Ringstead for a pleasant but cold trip/s to the cliffs. Red Ribbon Kacey made his maiden flight ( well done ) & coped with sometimes strong conditions. At one time there were 12 wings over White Nothe and the odd sea thermal allowing unusually lifty flying.

sual suspects:-Stuart M,Derek S, Jacko, Kacey, Gary ?,Dave W, Peter C, Sean S, Alan W,Steve B ( I owe him a pint ),Martin H,& yours truly

Wed 14 Dec 2005

Report by Alastair Florence

More action at Monks today, I only had about 5 mins to spare over lunch which
stretched to more like 15 as it took sometime to get down again. Loads of
lift, enough to get an Elephant off the ground.

Keith W, plus Mr XIX Smile & gradient wing, Martian H ? Brian M, Dereck S
plus maybe more after I left. Bit strong but smooth enough. No problem apart
from forcing your way back onto planet earth.

Tue 13 Dec 2005

Report by Craig Byrne

John B, Martian H and Craig B all had some good flights at Monk's today. Once above ridge height there were some quite good thermals, enough to tempt me to try a few 360's to 200ft ato. Freezing but fun.

Sat 10 Dec 2005

Report by jon harvey


Received phone call from JP around 3pm, (asking where was I?) as he was flying from
the Bay, for once. Arrived to see John in the air, and had been for past hour or so, having flown to Charmouth and returned.

15mph min and slightly off to the east, but happy hour until dusk,

Photographed by you know who.

Landed on main beach as nobody sunbathing etc.

Forecast similar for tomorrow, so maybe see you Golden Cap ??

Report by Alastair Florence



I took my own advice advice from Airmail and was expecting a flyable S-SSW in the morning, in the event it was SSE but no problem, I had been planning on Knitson but obviously switched to Ballard. Arrived at T/O about 1000hrs to find wind nicely on and 10-12 mph, perfect. I launched ASAP and by 1030hrs some usable but broken sea thermals were giving climbs to 450 ato with a bit of work. The ridge was working a bit but not brilliant, really smooth air and very pleasant, Despite leaving a couple of Sitephone messages no one else showed up until gone 1200hrs. As Sean L and Mr and Mrs M walked
up the wind began to die. Rob and Jim C arrived and for the next couple of hours we made the most of it. I managed to work about 200 ft at times even then. As a group of White Horse refugee pilots arrived at T/O the wind died totally and we all bombed out on the beach. Sorry guys, you should have calle the Sitephone earlier.

Van Oord and my employers Dean & Dyball are working on a project to replenish the sand on Swanage beach and rebuild the wooden groynes, hence we now have a lovely big wide sandy runway to land on.

Thu 08 Dec 2005

Report by RW



As there has been little flying activity, but lots of phone calls. I thought it a good time to show a couple of photos on EITS of our visiting Pilot from Australia Steve ( Photos by Dee his girlfriend ) - they were taken about 3 weeks ago.

Previous reports

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Aug Part 2
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Jun Part 1
May Part 2
May Part 1
Apr Part 2

Apr Part 1
Nov Part 2
Nov Part 1
Sept Part 3
Sept Part 2
Sept Part 1
Aug Part 3
Aug Part 2I
Aug Part 1
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June Part 1
May Part 2
May Part 1
Mar Part 2
Mar Part 1
Aug Part 2
Aug Part 1
Jul Part 2
Jul Part 1
Jun Part 3
Jun Part 2
Jun Part 1
Apr Part 2
Apr Part 1
2001 and before