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Thursday, 9th June 2011

Posted by on 10 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: Flying

Geoff writes: basically, flyable all day at the Mynd. Much of the day it was top end for PGs, though there were nearly always some in the air. It was quite gusty most of the day, with a big variation in speed, typically between 8 and 23 mph.

When I got there it was pretty cold, so I sat around for a while and read in the car, before finally braving the cold and rigging the hang glider. I flew this for a short while, then landed as the wind was dropping. I waited a while before de-rigging and switching to the PG (hoping to go XC), just so that I wouldn’t be caught having de-rigged the HG, then the wind picking up again.

Eventually, I was sure the wind really had dropped, so I de-rigged. Getting to the front with the PG, the wind promptly picked up again…. However, I did fly the PG, and was shortly climbing out at about 5.30, but decided not to go, since the very slow moving rain cloud which had recently passed us by was still visible downwind, with a line of showers near to the Clees. So I flew around for a while, in the very wave-affected air, then landed and packed up.

It was flyable till dark though, so I think most people had a good time. As far as I know, only one PG and one HG went XC, the latter leaving very low. No idea how far they got.

Friday, 3rd June 2011

Posted by on 05 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: Flying, Holiday

Geoff writes: last night I decided to go to the Lakes for the Lakes Charity Classic, and drove up part way to stay with Andy, continuing the trip this morning. We decided to go to Langdale, rather than Blease, which was where the comp was going, on the grounds that it was closer, and that it seemed it might be better conditions there. The carry up is massive, taking me well over an hour. And the conditions were very weak. Having said that, most people did get up, though some went down, including me, entirely due to my own indecision and incompetence, a feature of my flying this year. Andy and Barney got to the LCC base at Buttermere, about 15km, and said, when I met them later, it was pretty rough. Mike Cavanagh did a 155km triangle.

In a sense, it was good that I didn’t get away – though only 15km from the Langdales to Buttermere, it would be a 60 mile round trip to pick up the car. (I’m being positive here…).

Driving to Buttermere, it seemed that there were people flying everywhere, partly because the sea breeze had come in, making some more sites soarable. It’s quite possible I had the shortest flight of the day in the Lakes.

And at Corndon – maybe five miles down the road, instead of 200 – it was a good day, with David M doing his longest ever XC, 30km, and Steve Parsons doing 117km. Maybe, just maybe, it is finally starting to work down here.

Thursday, 2nd June 2011

Posted by on 02 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: Flying

Geoff writes: the plan this morning was to get up early, check the forecast, probably go to the Peaks, and then on to the Lakes. It almost worked. I woke early, then read the paper, then phoned Andy, then packed, then set off for the Peaks. But ten miles later, on top of a hill where I could see a long way, there was just wall to wall cloud in the direction of the Peaks. I phoned Andy again, who confirmed that was what it was like in the Peaks. So, back to Bishops Castle for breakfast, and discusssions with Graeme and Dave. I checked out Sarn, but it was too far off, so, reluctantly, ended up at Corndon. By the time I got there, it was wall to wall cloud here too. Still we all went up and had a few goes. The cloud then started to break, and I had another go, promptly getting a massive frontal, asymetric, stall, back flip – or something like that. Anyway, it wasn’t nice. But it recovered, quicker than I did. I landed, then relaunched a bit later, straight into a much nicer thermal which took me away from Corndon – always a good thing to be.

Unfortunately, base was only 3200′ above sea level, around 1550 above take off. The drift was taking me into the big hills behind Sarn, towards Bache, and I just didn’t have the ground clearance for that with base so low. So I slightly cross winded it, getting to base again a couple of times, but in the end lost it and landed for a very short 15km. Still, better than nothing, and I was the only one to get away. As usual, a few minutes after I landed, there was a bird thermalling out of the field.

The retrieve was as always – the first lift was within five minutes, someone passed me, drove on, then turned round, and took me to Church Stoke. The second one was also within five minutes – they also passed me, turned round, and took me to White Grit – nowhere near where they were actually going, but I gave them lots of tourist information in recompense. Then I was walking the rest of the way, up Corndon, when Ellie drove down on her way home, picked me up, and took me back to the car at the top.

So, all in all, could have been a lot worse, not a bad day. But I’m not bothering with the tracklog.

Monday, 30th May 2011

Posted by on 30 May 2011 | Tagged as: Flying

Geoff writes: finally, a forecast where it might just be flyable. The forecast was light westerlies in the morning, cloudy, with some rain, and winds picking up later. By and large, that was true, but somewhat of an underestimation. There was a lot of rain in the morning, only stopping around 2.00pm or so. People started flying around 2.15 or so, and I went out shortly afterwards. It was nicely soarable, and surprisingly thermic, given how wet the ground was. It was easy to get high, and an XC was certainly possible, but base seemed low, and the clouds were still quite big. After an hour in the air, the wind seemed to be picking up, so I landed. The more the sky cleared, the windier it got, until everyone was on the ground, even the speed wings. The one hang glider which rigged, de-rigged without flying for some reason, though it was certainly OK for a hang glider.

And that was it really, no-one flew again since the wind never dropped off. Still, nice to fly a bit, at least.

Thursday, 19th May 2011

Posted by on 20 May 2011 | Tagged as: Flying

Today was supposed to be classic Thursday and the first really good day on the Long Mynd since we got back from Spain. It’s been a bit frustrating for us, watching all the good days up north, but today was going to be the day. The wind was supposed to be perfect and mostly blown out furher north. RASP indicated it would be an early day, and if we were still in the air by 2pm, a gear shift down would be required.

People were already flying at 9am and we were on site just after 10am and got ready and waited. By this time the wind had dropped nearly to nothing and every passing bird was flapping. A few people tried to soar, but the only one doing anything was Martin B, who tracked along to the north of the ridge. He happily thermalled around for an hour or so, while the rest of us didn’t want to risk going down. Extensive cloud was developing and then breaking, so there were long periods of the valley being in shade. It was also going more south.

I eventually had a punt, but lost the thermal and came to land back on top. The next good cycle took Kai to the start of another big triangle, and we launched too late into the following one, which took Martin K, Nigel B and Martin B over the back. Geoff unfortunately went down, and we broke our golden rule… if you go down you’re on your own. I thought there would be enough time to get him, but as we got back up to launch the next gaggle of three left. By this time we were getting a tad disenchanted with the day. We spent another hour sitting around in nil/SW wind until I saw a group of swifts. I know that you need to launch straight away to get into the good bit of their thermal, but I did a bit of dithering, checking if they were still going up, and by the time I was off, I could feel bits of lift, but I was too low to search for it properly. Geoff had said he would come and get me… another mistake, since two more got away as I was in the bottom landing field. By this time we were getting really cheesed off.

We did launch again, and I got to 1300′ ATO, but it petered out, the drift was taking me along the Mynd and the cloud was rapidly catching up with me. I could see the two guys that had gone landing in Stretton, so I thought, ‘what’s the point?’ As I pushed back forward, Kai was coming back after being out in the valley for about 4 hours and he thermalled past me and went off to extend his triangle.

Geoff had to slope land low on the ridge and was packing up, so I top landed and did the same. It was 4pm, nil wind and the cloud cover extended as far as you could see. It did get soarable again later, but by that time we were in the middle of the next round of the Limes badminton championships, which are still a draw.

Rubbish weather again now until the middle of next week.

Wednesday, 11th May 2011

Posted by on 11 May 2011 | Tagged as: Flying

Geoff writes: a windy, but sunny day. Amazingly, Graeme flew his PG early on, well done to him! Dave T also flew later, and got reasonably high under a threatening sky – and the wind picked up massively in our garden just after he landed. The sun came out a bit later, but the wind also picked up more. Most of the day was devoted to more gardening (such is our life when it’s not flyable!), but we were hoping to fly and/or do archery later. So around 6 or so, we started to load up the car with everything – archery equipment, PG and HG stuff. Getting to the top of the Long Mynd, it was still very strong, too strong for PGs, so I rigged the hang glider. By the time I rigged it was dropping a little, but still strong, so I launched. At which point it dropped even more, I scratched around a bit, and managed to scrape back in on top.

In the meantime Mark H. had decided to get his PG ready, so I decided to fly the paraglider. I’ve been waiting for ages to test fly Judith’s harness, an Impress. She has got a new one, a very posh something or other. Looks a lot like the old one, but much more expensive, or would be if she hadn’t got a discount as her prize for the highest placed DHV1/2/EN B glider in the UK XC League. So we quickly set it up, went to the front, and I launched, kind of. Though the wind wasn’t that strong, I got hoofed off my feet, and straight up. It quickly became apparent that there was some wave around. I flew for a short while, the wind got stronger, the lift got stronger, and it was pretty rough. Could have been the harness, more likely it was the conditions. I tried and failed to top land, and eventually gave up, and decided to bottom land. All the while, it was very lifty and the wind was strong. I eventually tried one of the most extreme SIV maneuvers I do – big ears. So you could be sure I really didn’t like the conditions. Eventually, I did get to the bottom, but it took a while.

I’ll try the harness again, though – this was not ideal conditions at all!

See photos of today.

Wednesday, 27th April 2011

Posted by on 28 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: Flying

Another day of decisions! Go to the Lakes (a 5 hour drive), go to the Peaks (a 3 hour drive) or stay here and go to Corndon (a 15 minute drive). The Lakes looked promising for triangles, but we thought the Peaks may be blown out, so we went for the easy option and stayed put.

It was cloudy early on, but it was forecast to break, so we got to Corndon early to sit it out and wait for conditions to improve. They did so slowly and it turned completely blue. People had several punts, including me nearly going down to the bottom and having to walk up again. Dave T, Geoff and I didn’t leave the hill until nearly 4pm, when Dave marked a great thermal that I managed to squeak into, but that Geoff got into lower than even I was. He took it over the hill and despite getting some leeside lift, he was too low to make the most of it and landed near Chirbury.

I got a second thermal over Tuffins and another near Sarn over a field that was being ploughed, but I didn’t get the height to cross the next ridge. I landed in Sarn village in the local football pitch. Dave was always higher than me and managed to maintain his height better and found a fourth thermal after I went down to land near Newtown (24km). Not epic flying, but nice to get away and have a change of scenery.

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