The Dyke.

Finally, finally for me at least I was finding myself rigging on The Dyke, I almost could not believe it and almost chose to do other things, due to the forecast light winds I expected a wall of paragliders and a difficult single shot at getting up and so felt for a while that the day might be better used cycling or gathering bits for camping next week.

The scepticism followed me right up till I felt the air on launch, nothing about it said it would not work and so rigging became a joy, I remembered what I had once taken for granted, the thought I would fly soon infected me with the same.

Feeling at home…

The light winds made my run extend down the hill a little more than normal but take off was fine, the air was ok and the traffic was nothing at all like I had feared.

Soon finding lift I was soon feeling happy Id stay up, the lift was a little drifty, more than you would have thought given the forecast and meaning it took a little chasing to keep in the core.

Taka about go get going.

I made cloudbase ok, loving the cool haze and whispy embrace, but at the same time my time this day was conflicted and I had to be on the ground to pick up children and collect camping stuff and so while I did not explicitly make the decision to land I tool a line along the front looking for a thermal for which there was no cloud only to find nothing at all and have to make a decision to land before I went below the top.

Heart rate during this flight

My approach was marginal and in the gradient at the back of the bowl field full of Pride campers. I kept lots of speed, brought on more and had a great landing.

John Birchall clipping in to go…

Chatted to a few people while de-rigging, watched as the clouds turned perfect and lamented being on the ground.

But got on with my day picking up a little early making dinner and being part of family life…

I great day.

D..D..Dyke

It was on but it was freezing, the first day scraping ice off my car to get going and the first day with more than 2 layers on in fact 4 layers were about enough.

I was weak taking off, let it get in the air too early and got slapped around a bit but the rough westerly air. Flying was quite lumpy and physical with only a small period when things were calm and I could relax and take in the view.

The remarkable thing about the flight in that wind was taking 3 attempts to land – overshooting twice before an untidy crosswind landing in the paddock.

Nice to have a little fly all the same.

Chilly November

Sometimes you can see a good flying day ahead of time, with this one I had been thinking about it for a few days ahead, looking forward to a fly.

Winter soaring days can be some of the best, reliable conditions with nothing better to do than enjoying what you are doing – flying – we are so lucky to be able to pack a few things in the car and find yourself flying an hour or so later.

The air was cool, not cold, it had some thermals in it and came to life for a while ending with the most amazing sunset.

My last flight once I got up a little and could relax I took some time to let the whole sense of now seep into me and landed with a deeply felt smile running through every cell in my body.

Fantastic.

familiarity

Sometimes it is the familiar things that feel the best, driving up this morning I was not put off by the low cloud because I knew that the forecast brought us some sunshine between the grey and the rain later.

It all went in a smooth and convivial flow, rigging chatting waiting and then flying worked a treat. In the air, I was happy and content, aware of how beautiful the coast is and pleased to be doing quite well.

My landing, however, was not so elegant, unwanted lift on an already high approach left me a lot to do which translated into speed which wanted be to overshoot which I did not want to do which brought me in on my belly on the downslope from which we launch.

Later I would talk politics and otherwise catch up with Steve Cook chatting and catching up with others later too…

A student would end up up a tree meaning a later flight would be stopped by helicopter being in the bottom field. Never a dull day flying, I hope that the student is ok now…

Friday off…

Because it was on at the Dyke.

I almost could not believe it, almost could not believe how few people were out on a beautiful day, too windy for many paragliders too which made the day much easier.

Shame the air was not so good, windy on the hill enough, nice clouds but not nothing really to get excited about in fact it was quite scratchy but better than sitting at work looking out my window at a brick wall.

My flights were ok, launching was good flying felt better after a few rusty feeling moments at first, my first landing was a dream but my second not so great – getting down to ground level both times I overshot with massive ground speed saw the paddock field simply whizz past beneath my feet, a bowl field landing was scrappy and untidy.  I would have liked another flight but the conditions seemed to switch off so I had lunch chatted and packed up to go home and make dinner for everyone.

Nice to be flying…

and, we’re off…

After a nice evening in Poole, I was late getting to the hill, but it looked good and the sky was nicely filled with hangies.

So I got rigged, on finishing getting ready a lot of those who had been up, were now down, reporting it windy and yes, the wind on the ground had kicked up to an uncomfortable amount, so I waited and waited and waited quite a lot.

Later I got dressed and ready and waited some more before having a nice little flight trying out my new direct connection to the glider. It was a little low so I will try to change it to be higher by I think 2 inches for next time.

Great to get started.

unexpected treat

After looking at the weekend as being good because it had very little in it, I was freewheeling through it without any of my own plans. That was only when I opened the curtains on Sunday morning to be faced with bright November sunshine that all that changed.

It was not without some resistance but I made off to go flying, the day was too nice not to use it, especially given the feeling, I know all too well when you later hear about others flights on days I was too apathetic to use myself.

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Keeping calm and quiet during rigging saw me chose to carry into the paddock field which was also more on the NW wind. I tried to stay focused more than other times but really there was nnothinggetting in the way of flying – no questions about the conditions or issues with the traffic.

sundaysflyingMy flights were fresh and quiet and relaxing feeling, something that was reflected in my heart rate during each and in particular the last one.

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Landing was good but my last approach left me exposed to a mishap with the wind gradient that I got away with but that was a risk all the same – I was lucky.

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Lucky a lot to be able to do this on a whim – what a privilege indeed.

a gift from Southern

The night before I had been left stranded by Southern Railways on my way home from work, the rails had broken and the trains had jammed up meaning it all ground to a halt leaving me to have to get on my bike and ride home.

Not trusting that the trains would be back to normal in the morning I took the day off work in part out of frustration at the trains and in part because the forecast was so good for today.

My new weather service told me to be patient and wait for the day to warm up it told me too that once it did that the air would be alive so I spent the morning doing some washing after Tamsyn and I had a weekend in Milan.

Getting to the hill I found it to be busy and full but sunny and on feeling so trying to take my own advice I spent my time rigging and not listening to any negative comment on how busy or light it was – choosing to counter these comments with my own positive sense for the day.

I still dithered and was about the last off to get into the good air, only just managing to hang on long enough to find some and get up.

The views were amazing, the sea was painted bright by the sun and the air left clean and blue yet still alive and lifty by the low November sun.

I made an attempt to run along the ridge to Truleigh but did so in sinky air the whole way so on my way back I just came in and took a landing.

I love my new glider.

It felt really peaceful – so beautiful a day to steal from a normally metronomic week of work.

Finally a northerly…

Facebook had been reminding me in the last days of this or that flying weekend 3 or 4 years ago, leaving me feeling that it had actually been that long since there had been northerlys at The Dyke.

Light, thermic conditions had us waiting a while, I was lined up with about 5 others all clipped in before feeling happy to launch.

In the end is was as it always is, some internal trigger and off I went for an almost nil wind run what felt like all the way down the hill.

ClimbOut

Flying over to the lift got me below ridge height and left me one chance to connect but in the end it was easy and off I went to base and a punt around a few clouds chasing Dave Matthews, Johnny, Cookie and Taka from cloud to cloud staying above about 1500 while getting up to about 2800 it all flowed nicely.

I remembered comment on sticking with lift, on thinking about the clouds not the ground, about sticking to choices (mostly) and about staying relaxed.

Dark mammatus clouds and generalised good lift everywhere together with seeing Cookie landing had me start to think maybe something was up with these dark brooding feeling clouds I thought I would work that one out on the ground too.

A great little flight on my new glider, made the Bank Holiday weekend complete.

beeps

After a strange aborted attempt at flying on the saturday due to car crashes, 3 hour drives to launch when I should be 20 minutes, cold windy knarly air I was happy to find me at the Dyke rigging and feeling like it was going to work.

IMG_20160424_102252661Procrastinating because Tamsyn and Casey were coming to watch I happily procrastinated for quite a long time, eventually they arrived just as I was defrosting in my car so I was happy to finally kit up and get off.

I procrastinated a little more just to make sure I was ready and not too keen but got in the air after a nice take off finding the lift to be easy and the air active. My vario made lots of beeping noises.

IMG_20160424_105516510I tried to remain concentrated on the line of lift I did find and not drift about losing focus in the way I have become accustomed to recently but found myself coming in for a landing earlier than I would have liked.

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Johhny Carr chatting…

Overshooting the first time and finding strong lift all round the landing field I made a fast concerted effort to stay down and so on my downwind leg had an indicated 80kmh… :)

Grant Crossingham landing.

Grant Crossingham landing.

Nearly landing on a tourist was a little distracting but fun afterwards, he seemed annoyed somehow.

I packed up and went back for sunday diner at Tamsyn’s house, a great day.

wobbly

First time after a long time is often a little wobbly while you the air once more, this was a lot like that and in many ways I was not surprised.

This year I have a great summer trip lined up I can’t wait already so seeing my feet lift off the ground felt like the first step on that journey.

The flight itself was only 20 minutes long contained very little other than me trying to settle myself down and relax then one failed approach which was too fast and one that was just perfect.

shouldaReflecting on it I did struggle yes but did find some lift, my main mistake was to climb then lose focus on it, not be determined or tenacious enough to keep working forward along its line seeking a better core and building on small gains, I am sure if I had done this I would have had a chance to at least get above the 1400ft AMSL level where others reported that the lift started to coalesce and staying high became more likely.

All that said I still smile feeling my flying is re-born.

little things…

After some days without hope in their forecasts, it was nice to leave the pub last week able to look forward to a potentially good day coming. Saturday was blown out yet Sunday did not really have enough, it was sunny however and almost ok so it was better than nothing and worth getting ready for.

I struggled in two minds due to my back as well as last weeks operation, but on seeing the sky I clicked into gear waisting no time getting my stuff ready setting off just before 10am.

My flight was scratchy and some of it below ridge hight, after my last mishap I was happy to be happy and did not touch the vg this time, had an interesting chat with Dave Mathews and generally felt happy all round

My landing was ok right to the end when I got to need to flare and was not level leading to a nose over but no damage to me or it, brought in loads of speed everything was good right till it wasn’t but I think I was both in the gradient and a little crosswind so what do I expect.

I would get in ready for another flight but there were 3 PG pilots in front of me on the ridge, playing about and having a laugh, doing wingovers right in front of me for maybe 10 or more minutes – I came to think given it was busy even though the air was a lot better than I should expect all the PG people to be equally as blind to what was around them so I chose to de-rig and listen to the doubts inside me. I was a little upset to have missed the best air but happy that I had a little flight and that it was good.

NIce day all round.