28 September 2008

Indian summer?

Where were you all? Paul and Ray hit the hill on a hot Sunday afternoon, most of the lift is thermic in origin but between 2 and 4pm if you chuck off well, you're guaranteed a good flight.

Paul maidens Ray's Sonata, crikey does this thing signal the lift! You can't beat a polyhedral light weight for thermal sniffing off the hill and the Sonata fulfils its reputation as a super little floater. It screams up in a thermal, and hangs well when nothings happening, and all this on the wrong mode!

Paul has a good forty minutes with the big wing. It's one of those days when you get to a certain height and you're into mega thermal suck, speck height just isn't a problem if that's yer ting!

Third Reich launch

What little breeze there is eventually swings round to the WWNW and the air goes lumpy and horrible, full of sink so DLG is the order of the day. Paul's got a bit of pent up frustration and launches to the lore of 'like you're trying to break it' upon which the battery beats its own path. The inevitable outcome is that he does indeed break it!

Oh well, with winter soon upon us there'll be no shortage of repair and building time so dust off your tools and start planning your projects now!

22 September 2008

flat lander's flight

Deryck strikes out to explore the county of Essex, and finds an easterly hill that works! Facing out to the North Sea, Walton on the Naze bears a striking resemblance to Minster.

The conditions are a bit on the marginal side, but Deryck reports that the narrow lift band was easily exploited by his floater, and the landing zone was a winner.

any chance of launching from the tower?

19 September 2008

lost sheep

Sometimes flying the hills of Kent isn't enough, Paul reports back from a long afternoon jaunt to Bo-Peep in Sussex....

'I visit the South Downs a few times a year as it's a bit of a swine to get to, either lots of miles via the M25, or lots of 'A' roads any other route. Such driving doesn't really set you up for quality flying. This time I left from Canterbury and took the coastal route via Hastings and Bexhill. I caught sight of a few full size gliders over Ashford and took this as a good omen!

new wind farm going up near Lydd

I can see the sea!
(are we nearly there yet?)

bloody hell, there's hundreds of 'em
(took this as a bad omen!)

paragliding Dean on a mission

'It took me less about an hour and three quarters to get to Bo-Peep, this hill takes a NE and is situated about halfway between Long Man and Firle Beacon. The car park was heaving, and a couple of the Thurnham paragliding chaps had arrived just before me, it was certainly good conditions for them.

hmmmmm ...... f l y i n g w i n g !

here's the hill, it's off to the west of the paragliding launch site
and is steeper and higher in the flesh

The law of the land down these parts states that paragliders should stay out of our air space...when I arrived, they did cruise past on a regular basis so I held back from flying. It certainly wasn't as tight as Thurnham, in fact flying with them probably wouldn't have been an issue, but I didn't fancy chancing it at an unknown site.

Then 'Mike' from Lewes turns up , and the paragliders don't stop him. Mike is a hypnotherapist, but I don't think this fact had anything to do with flying at the same time as the jellyfish.

Mike launches

Mike has some interesting sun glasses that have a prescription insert, I really need something along these lines, as the sun is going to start getting lower in the sky now, and without my normal glasses I'm blind as a bat!

not doing my ears any favours

cheerio South Downs!

'Stopped off at Camber Sands on the way back to check out the dunes, a right nice little site I reckon, probably good for a S to SE? I will report back on this one at a later date!'

shocking photo of the dunes I know.....but it was actually proper dark!

13 September 2008

smallest slope in kent

Today Paul found himself with a plane in the car passing by Seasalter Beach. This soaring site can't really be called a slope, it comprises a sea wall only 9ft tall.

You need a NNW or a N, a disposable model and well practiced hand catches to fly this site. I'm sure you could DS the grass bank at the back of the wall if I only knew how. Beware groynes on the beach and nasty rotor at the rear, on this day the air on the backside was blowing up the hill- a sure sign of nasty goings on. Lift is just as good with the tide in or out, also keep a lookout for Joe Public and his dog.

The cherry of Seasalter sea wall was deftly snatched by T'other Paul who gave it a go a few years back, I don't know of anyone else unhinged enough to have flown there previously.

10 September 2008

why wye?...

...because it's near by, that's why!!

Paul reports back from a solo foray....

'My last couple of years spent 'living at home' were at Challock in the mid nineties. Now I have found myself temporarily shacked up in Canterbury, Wye once again is my nearest southwesterly hill mileage wise.

Some of you Thurnham regulars have asked why I don't fly there more often, after all it's nearer to home, it's a hill, it faces south west. I find myself giving answers along the lines of 'it's ok, lift is about as good as here (Thurnham) but you never get anyone else up there'.

This is partially true, in all the years I've flown at Wye, I have never ever come across another flyer. Sure I've found the odd clevis, or bit of tape being blown up the hill at me, but never have I seen another sad one partaking in the lift. This however is not the only reason I don't fly there more often......

Wye Crown, in this picture, the west face is to the left of the crown, the south west face is to the right, note bumpy landing area top right and trees along the bottom.

The thing is with Wye Crown on first appearances it's a benign, cuddly, gently rolling rural comfort of a hill, but looks can be deceiving. Beneath that warm fuzzy of a chalk downland sweep of loveliness lies a premenstrual, psychopathic, mood swinging female of a slope.

ahhhhh, the rural bliss of the southwest face

mmmmm, the historic homeliness of the west slope

You see, returning to Wye is like returning to a girlfriend you left six months ago. Having forgotten all the reasons why it didn't work, you're lured back by all the things that attracted you to her in the first place, and all those things you've missed for the past six months but as soon as you've finished mounting her, things start to turn very nasty, very quickly! Neither of you have changed, and all the old problems are still there.

Everything about Wye is unpredictable, the lift, the landing, the terrain, the rotor...everything.

The majority of my flying prior to Wye was at Blue Bell Hill and Holly Hill. Both these sites have tight landing zones, so when I first arrived at Wye, I thought I was in slope landing heaven. But I soon learnt this not to be the case.

The lift would bear no relationship to the wind....ever. I was used to throwing off at Holly or Blue Bell and screaming up, Wye is more like Thurnham on one of those days when it's not really working, I don't know if it's the trees, or what. Don't get me wrong, there is lift but it tends to be lift of the third rate variety, and the thermals aren't all that either. I think the tree line must rip them apart.

So you cruise around kind of maintaining height, get chucked about by the turbulence on the left hand gully (that's always there) and decide to land. It's too tight to land on the hill side unless conditions are calm, so you have to do battle with the rotor from hell over the back, which inevitably dumps you in a neolithic excavation or slices you through the fence.

Looking back, I've suffered more creased wings, mashed noses, dented wings and general collateral damage at Wye, than at any other site I've flown!

the only flying shot I could manage I'm afraid

bumpy, choppy top

I don't know, perhaps I'm being too hard on the old girl, I've had some lovely evenings on top of her when the wind is low and the air is warm. The south west face has a lovely lip to stand on and do fast flybys, I even recall doing my first ever bunt there, and I suppose knowing you can fly there and see no-one else does occasionally have its attractions.

crikey! look at the hooter on that!!

So perhaps next time I'm tempted to save 10 minutes and 10 miles to get a flight in, I'll stop and think...think hard about the past, and all those reasons why it didn't work out for the two of us, and then I'll drive on by........and try out her big sister a mile further on and see if the Kneading Trough has the same unpredictable family tendencies!!'

07 September 2008

the end is nigh!

In anticipation of the world disappearing up its own behind on Wednesday, every chance is taken to get some flying in before we all meet our makers. To this end Paul and Ray hit the hill, dodge the showers, and have a jolly good time even if the wind is from the west.

there's something in the wood shed!!

After several enforced breaks under cover, the sky brightens but the wind pulls round to WWNW. As a result, the sky's full of more sink than a Hadron Collider spawned super massive black hole! See you on Wednesday morning when we'll all conjoin in a point of absolute singularity with infinite temperature and mass. Cheerio!

04 September 2008

take cover!

It's very wet and very windy this afternoon, this doesn't stop the die-hards. T'other Paul is just going, leaving the way clear for Ray, Paul and Alan who've just arrived. It's 'king blowy, slightly from the south and good lift....but showers appear regularly on the horizon, and we make several dashes for the cow shed.


the approaching menace

We're joined by a couple of other chaps and no sooner than they reach the patch, we all find ourselves heading back down the path to shelter.

club house debate- 'EPP planes are quality planes'

Good session had by all, with full on, hard core, sphincter busting flying enjoyed between the rain, but I'm afraid I have to announce Autumn is officially here.