27 February 2009

gift from gaia

Officially it's still winter in the UK, but as the biosphere begins the inexorable temperature rise in an attempt off kill of those pesky humans who are upsetting the balance, we get the most superb winter afternoon. It's good news for soarers and tee shirt wearers alike, there's sun, super smooth air and gentle, widespread lift in the west south west wind.

a study in foam

The morning shift is served by those of a more senior citizenship. Some of us have to keep this country going, so the afternoon brings out Steve, Ray, Colin and Paul and they all agree that it's bloomin' lovely. The paragliders get a slot in, there's skylarks and buzzards in the air, and if you can bear the pong of manure then all's good with the world.

cg....check!, lipo....check!, camel toe...check!

Steve's got the better of his Great Planes warmliner thingy, and it's a great little flyer. If we all had a missus who bought us birthday presents like that, surely the world would be a better place?

sorry.....are we boring you?

Steve communes with the brothers

dawn of the dead

the thing

Colin heads for home following the setting sun, Ranger Dave and the kiting boys come and sniff the breeze with us and marvel at the glorious evening.

Kite boys do their kiting thing


an abstract in plastic

Seems that 2009 could be shaping up to be a goody!

22 February 2009

farthing common

sign man had put his red dot in the wrong place
I wasn't 'here' I was up by the arrow above by the car park

Not to be confused with Farthing Corner, Farthing Common is a low slung bowl about 10 miles South of Canterbury. Many years ago the site was listed on the web as requiring local club membership for access and use. The bowl has now been designated Permissive Access by Natural England, by my reckoning that means anyone can fly there (but I didn't tell you that!).

such trivialities have never stopped me flying!

So what does Farthing Common give you that other sites don't? well it's a rare beast in Kent as it'll take a north westerly very nicely thankyou! Goodwind gave it a go today with a quick spin in the brisk spring breeze. The lift is good enough, not outstanding but it works fine. The hill has a shallow top then a steep drop off for about 60ft. The air is smooth on top but gets choppy down below the ridge line. Behind is a high bank of trees that provide a good dose of lift higher up.

north west face with shallow top and steeper base

Landing is unconventional- stand about two thirds the way down the shallow upper slope, fly the model down and out, below the lip then turn back into the hill with a wide turn round behind yourself but in front of the trees. Turn into wind and pop down onto the grass.

this'll take west and south west

If you're passing give it a go, but do keep an eye out for public and bulls.

21 February 2009

floaters and flat haired retrievers

Jolly good time spent floating around in the westerlies today, life wasn't so great for the owner of this Easy Glider though...

19 February 2009

17 February 2009

08 February 2009

sun, socks and safety

Despite withdrawing the beta site due to the snow fiasco, the BBC has been promising good things for Sunday all through the week. What's more Auntie comes good on the day and we're all systems go!

Boots shows us the way and tells us the vibe!

Right then, first things first! Steve's pole and ribbon have parted company and rather than succumb to cabin fever he's put those long winter evenings to good use and fashioned a damn fine wind sock. The next challenge is the mounting!

Steve's got the equipment, and the method
(no fences were harmed in the mounting of this sock)

Sherpa Westrup looks on as Sir Seabrook claims the summit

job done!

remember chaps, there is no 'i' in team!

Right then, on with job in hand. Up until about 11.30ish it's light and southerly and nothing's staying up. However, as the weak winter sun glances across the chalk ridge radiant heat warms the soil, the soil warms the air and BINGO! we're off!

There's Gary (from the smoke), Paul (from Canterbury), Phil (from Devon), Paul and Alan (from over there), Steve (I could tell you but I'd have to kill you), Big Al (from Sevenoaks?) Ray (from hell and back) and a couple of A.N Others.

A vast array of aeronautical implements adorn the hill side, Gary throws down the gauntlet and unpacks the Jart (from the Orient).

hells bells! what's afoot here?

Steve calls for backup, anticipating a breech of health and safely legislation

a rare beast indeed

Wind doesn't play ball though, and despite fair lift and a fair wind, the pointy nose beastie stays on the deck. Early afternoon sees a splendid slot for the paragliders and they get up and away in a manner usually seen only on a summer afternoon.

Phil maidens his new (to him) Mc Meekin Falcon. A rare beast indeed, only seven ever made and we get to fondle it! It's a jolly fine performer, and Phil is mighty happy.

Things pick up around threeish and the overcast sky cuts off any thermals, so the paragliders call it a day. We've all had enough too, so it's time to pack up and head off home...but what's this? 5.20 and it's still (just) light superb!

first proper fix of the year

03 February 2009

big air at beachy

Deryck samples the waft, and finds it to his liking....

mid 30s gusting into the 40s

after an 'arrival' Paul discovers his receiver will only work with
the case removed. It does him the honour of one more flight and has the
decency to time its demise with the landing. So long to the jittery Jeti!

01 February 2009

quicky at beachy

Deryck gets his juices flowing with some speedy passes in the big lift