Author Topic: Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary  (Read 23469 times)

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2007, 19:40:05 PM »
      Seven Sisters     Tuesday   6th Nov 07

Tried accessing the site via Banwen, but had to retreat because I was out-numbered by some big earth-moving hardware ! Got to TO via the front of the ridge thanks to the newly-promoted mine manager and his 4X4.
Waited for the wind to ease (to 20 mph) before lobbing off at bang-on 3pm. Took some time to edge forward of the ridge and spent 1hr 30 mins surveying the newly transformed ridge with its new coating of top soil. Lifty in places, managed 500' ato. Boated about in the rather watery winter sunshine with views all the way down to Swansea Bay. Just before I landed I was able to push out well into the middle of the forestry in front of the hill, thanks to some form of restitution (???)
Air temperature on my vario gave a reading of 1 degree C; yes, winter flying has arrived !

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2007, 12:53:50 PM »
  Bryncaws    Sunday  21st October 07

Arrived on the hill at about midday to find the car park filling up ! A pleasant Sunday afternoon's flying in gentle thermals up to a grand ato; though did get into a core of 4 m/s on one occasion.  Total air time 2hrs. From the air the lush green summit of the hill looked almost artificial amongst the decaying bracken of the surrounding area. Counted 10 wings on the hill by about 3pm. Great fun had by all.
 

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2007, 17:32:40 PM »
        Cwmafan    Friday    19th October 07

Sat at Bryncaws for an hour where the wind was quite light and just a tad SSE. Called in to Cwmafan on the way home to find conditions ideal. TO at 3pm and spent an hour and a half coring what were probably some of the last thermals of the year. Got up to 900 ato to enjoy good views of Afan Argoed and around in the clear air. Shared the hill with some buzzards, also out enjoying the Autumnal sunshine.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 21:50:41 PM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2007, 16:39:35 PM »
   Saturday  6th Oct 07  Abernant

Didn't fancy a trip to Pandy, so decided on the closer option; Abernant. Met up with Phil C. and got to TO at about 12:30hrs. With the sun still out the first 1/2 hr's flying was pretty good. Thanks must be said for those nice people who work at the tip; they've covered it over and by doing so have cut out the awful stench. Conveniently, they have also formed the tip into a pyramid shape and covered it in a black tarp; turning it into what must be the ideal thermal trigger. I flew over it at the start of play and went straight up to 1,600' ato !
Unfortunately the cloud thickened from the east and spoiled our fun.
Total flying time 1 hr 30 mins.
An unexpected fun day out on what I thought might be a nil wind day; thanks for enticing me out, Phil.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 19:14:20 PM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #37 on: October 04, 2007, 20:24:28 PM »
         Thursday  4th Oct 07     Fan G.  (NW'ly)

Arrived at TO at about 3pm with Tom to find the breeze just about soarable. Thermic activity was weak with very small cores which you couldn't really use. Spent most of the time at about 100' ato, but on a few climbs got to 500' ato. Hands starting to get chilled; must be time to get the heated-gloves out !
Total flying time 1 hr 30 mins.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #36 on: September 05, 2007, 09:44:31 AM »
   Fan G.      4th Sep 07

Arrived at TO with Ivor, Viv & Ian. Wind too light for the first hour, but then someone turned the  big fan on and it remained a constant 20 mph ! Much thermic activity mixed in with the breeze earlier on, but later died away at about 5 pm. Wind still howling though until late evening. Managed 3 flts for a max. of 50 mins flying time; max ht gain 700 ato.
About time this High pressure system which has been anchored over Ireland for the last few weeks moved on so that we can fly some other sites other than these northerlies. Over the last few weeks I've noticed that the further west you travel the stronger the wind speed; strange, as you'd think that heading towards the centre of a High, the reverse would be the case ???

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2007, 22:10:50 PM »
  Rhiw Wen   Monday    27th Aug 07

Yet another northerly ! Not a forecast to get excited about so headed for RW. Arrived at about midday to a 15-18 mph wind gusting to 24. Para-waited a while with Phil C, passing the time watching a visiting pilot (Peter from London) flying in the bitterly cold wind in a T shirt.
Wind seemed to ease slightly when Steve B. & Humphrey arrived. T/O and flew west along the ridge. Getting up to 1,500 ato I had XC thoughts, but with the strong wind re-emerging I didn't fancy bombing out in the lee of the hill. Headed for, or should I say....hoovered along to, the  western-end of the ridge at Carn Tair Isaf, and found that when I started to return back  towards TO my ground speed was 0.  Landed near the road to end the 6 kms ridge run, where about 5 cars passed me in the space of an hour.
With no flying going on around TO Steve B. kindly came to pick me up.
Spent most of the afternoon sun-bathing with 3 extra para-waiters (Phil, Nick & David also from London). At around 4:30 the wind eased allowing all 7 of us to enjoy some flying. Experienced some form of restitution, possibly from the road or the lime stone rocks, for the last 30 mins of the day's flying. Total airtime 1.40hrs.
Thanks to Phil for the ice cream and to Steve B. for coming to pick me up on that lonely road.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2007, 18:18:26 PM »
 Fan G              Saturday     25th Aug 07

Strongish W'ly breeze of 15 - 20 mph blowing, with thermals small and possibly being dispersed by the wind. A sunny day with small amounts of cloud. Pretty uneventful  with nobody going XC; though Ivor did fly back to his m/bike parked at the gate. On the hill - Ivor, Phil C and 3 gents (Phil,Nick & David) from London.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2007, 09:38:31 AM »
  Rhiw Wen  Friday  24th Aug 07

A frustrating day. Notam'd Fan G the previous evening as light N'ly were forecast; only to find the BB mountain forecast at a.m Friday was ....15 - 20 mph increasing to 25  in the evening.... Arrived at RW to find a sky full of cloud streets, but nil wind conditions; south of RW was totally blue. Had about five 10-minute flights over a 3-hours period, launching into the thermic cycles as they came up the slope. Got to about 600 ato in most cases, but bombed out every time. Towards the end of play managed a 'massive' 20- minute flight. A similar situation was played out at Builth Wells, but at Fan G. at about 4 pm Jon M reports that the wind had picked up in strength and was too strong for flying. Looking over to Fan Hir to the E, the cloud base was at summit level, while RW was basked in sun  :?

 Thursday 23 Aug: Travelled up to Builth Wells to sun bathe in a 25-28 mph wind. Nice scenery though.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2007, 09:17:14 AM »
  Nant Y Moel    Saturday   11th August 07

Weather forecast on Friday night gave mention of 1 mph winds, but just hours later this changed to 12 mph SW'ly; this no doubt caught a lot of people out by heading for the high- ground sites like Talybont.
Met up with Phil C on the hill. TO at 1pm, only stopping on the ridge for about 20 minutes or so. Got to 1,500 ato and decided it was time to do my first XC from NM. Sky was blue, so no clouds to aim for. Tracked across the valley to Ton Pentre - Fernadale - Aberdare, topping up above the ridges on the way. Ran out of lift and nearly landed near Aberdare/Penrhiwceiber Golf Course, but arrived here as a big thermal was kicking off; this took me to Merthyr at over 4,000 amsl. Went on a glide towards the higher ground south of Talybont, but didn't seem to do too well. While over Asda's on the A465 saw another glider getting lift off the refuse tip to the south, so back tracked over to it and sure enough started gaining height. Following the A465 east decided to cross the pock-marked boonies east of Trefil quarry, which could have passed for a WW1 battlefield with it's cratered landscape. Spotted my only Cu cloud of the day here, and caught a bobby-dazzler of a thermal at 5 ms to 4,500' amsl. Enough to take me over the Usk Valley near Llangatwg and onto the start of the Black Mountains. Got onto the northern-side of the Carreg Calch bowl  and shared the ridge with a few sail planes. While ridge-soaring here at about 3pm the wind increased and I got pinned above the narrow, razor-backed summit of Pen Allt Mawr.  Not wanting to flop over the back in a strong breeze I managed to land in a 25 mph wind on the flat grouse moor; not the place to be on Sunday.......the glorious 12th !!
Frustrating that I had to walk down a big mountain with a PG on my back; took me an hour  to walk to Tretower just off the Brecon - Crickhowell road.
Got a lift in under a minute, strangely, by a sailplane pilot who had been soaring the ridge at C.Calch in my company earlier !
Two more lifts got me to Llandarcy for about 7pm.
Total XC distance with turn points 42.3 Kms   
« Last Edit: August 12, 2007, 09:20:28 AM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2007, 07:55:48 AM »
  Fan G    Thursday         9th August 07

A late start, got to the layby below Fan G just before 4pm to watch Tom TO and go straight to cloud base; the legendary 4 o'clock thermal. TO myself at 4:30, but the lift was very weak. Spent an hour working gentle 1 ms thermals before leaving the hill at 1,000' ato in a decaying sky. Started what was more of a ridge hopping excercise than an XC flight, arriving a few feet below Fans Nedd, Llia & Fawr on every occasion before connecting with the steep escarpment above the Beacons reservoir. Only problem was that I arrived here at about 7pm when everything shut off. A flt of much patience working the ever-decreasing thermals over beautiful countryside in the setting sun. Took 1hr 30 mins to do 11.5 kms. Thanks to my trusty A4 'glider pilot' sign and some helpful people, got back to the hill in under an hour and had a pleasant stroll up the track to the car.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 08:47:37 AM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2007, 20:57:06 PM »
  Mynydd Dinas     (Wednesday)    1st August 07

Seeing that today would probably turn out to be a nil wind day, decided to give MD a go hoping that the sea breeze may be strong enough to ridge soar; even took a newspaper along just in case there wasn't any wind.
Arrived at TO to feel an encouraging breeze. TO and cored with the gulls for an hour reaching a max of 800' ato. At about 4ish I noticed that the wind had veered westerly so headed around to the northern side of the ridge to catch any thermals coming up the slopes. Got to 800' ato and decided to 'jump the gap' between MD and Mynydd Emroch to the south; something I wouldn't have dared do on my AW Sport. Clearing this promentory with ease, I carried on south and connected with the main Margam ridge. Flying out towards the steel works where I managed a climb to 1,700 amsl - could have been all the heat coming out of the blast furnaces or power house stack.  Should have taken a CO detector with me ! Headed SE on the increasing westerly breeze and landed at the southern end of Margam Park for a distance of 8.5 kms. (8.1 kms from TO point)
Beats landing below TO in the school playing fields any day!
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 19:54:51 PM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2007, 17:12:29 PM »
  Graig Fawr    Monday  30th July 07

Good looking sky, as forecast. Arrived at GF at just gone noon - met up with Tom and Will.
Flew around for an hour getting to over a grand at some point, but decided to wait a while.
Left the hill half an hour later, got to 3,600 asl above Felindre and managed to maintain this until Morriston where I went on a glide down-wind to the deck at Skewen for 17 kms (with 1 TP)
A nice flight, but looking at the sky, disappointed that I didn't get to Cwmafan (home), or even Aberafan beach. Thermals small and not too strong on ridge, though did get 5 ms on the vario above Morriston. Haven't flown for over a month, nice to be back in the saddle.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2007, 11:52:04 AM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2007, 10:17:23 AM »
  Piedrahita   16th to 25th June 07

Arrived in Spain late PM on Sat 16th to find the countryside quite green; a sign that the recent weather had been pretty wet !
First day of flying was on Thurs 21st, mainly due to strong wind conditions. Running concurrent with our first week's stay was the Nordic Open; which also shared in the bad luck with weather conditions.

21st June (Thurs)
Temperature at TO (6,300') was quite cold, about 15C, necessitating a jumper and wind proof underneath one's flying suit ! Took off just before 100 or so competitors. A bit intimidating at first, but with that many 'thermal indicators' in the air you couldn't fail to find lift. Only problem was that if you found a thermal first, everyone would make a direct line towards you; like being mobbed by a flock of magpies maybe.
Managed 1,000' ATO for 45 mins. Landed after only 11 kms while heading towards the Pass. Didn't feel too bad in not achieving a flight over the 'dreaded' Pass on day-1, especially when Chris and Gareth landed close by.

22nd June (Fri)
Similar conditions to yesterday. Flew for just under 2hrs, max height: 7,500' amsl. Ventured out over the town and caught some low saves on a number of occasions. Headed out to the flat lands beyond the town, but it didn't seem to be producing any thermals. Landed in the official landing field to avoid waiting for a lift at the side of the main road in rising temperatures of around 30.C

23rd Jun (Sat)
A memorable flight for an experience I'll never forget - reaching the top of an inversion layer and not being able to punch thro' it ! While coring a thermal with about 10 other pilots I was at the top of the stack - possibly because I was light on my wing. On reaching 7,600' amsl my wing just folded up. Next it dived forward and while 'checking' the swing thro' with a little brake, I entered a spiral dive. Umm...at least it's flying again I thought. After about 3 complete turns, the opposite brake  input seemed to work and I was again in level flight. The worrying thought was that I could have quite easily taken out 2 or 3 other pilots who were in the same thermal. After landing later on, Jon M explained to me what had happened and I felt a bit more at ease. Flying time: 1 hr 45 mins.

24th Jun (Sun)
Flew with an extra 6 Kgs of ballast after yesterday (thanks again for the bag, Jon).
Take off was a bit more strenuous due to the extra weight, felt more like an albatross than a PG pilot !
Managed 7,800' amsl in the inverted conditions; though its base had lifted a little from yesterday. Nick was one of the many who got above the inversion and managed to get to over 12,000' amsl. Had another attempt at crossing the Pass, but only got 12 kms from TO to land near the Quarry. Joined Gareth and a few other pilots who had failed to achieve a climb here. Flying time: 1 hr.

Summary
Enjoyed the trip very much. I was surprised at the number of reserves deployments throughout the competition; on one day 3 were deployed. Though I guess with over 150 pilots in the air, many on top DHV wings, someone was bound to get into trouble. The local paramedics were also kept busy.
Thanks must got to Chris for sticking his neck out on a winter's night at the Castle Inn and suggesting the trip, and also for renting what must have been the best accommodation in town.
Thanks also to Nick for all the driving he did and for his wealth of local knowledge.
I was the first to leave the 'big brother' house, arriving back to a storm-lashed Bristol Airport on Monday (26th). Look forward to hearing on how Team Sigma fared during the second week in the British Open competition.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 13:47:16 PM by SteveJ »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve Jones Flying Diary
« Reply #27 on: June 08, 2007, 22:53:49 PM »
  Fan G   Friday  8th June 07

Forecast had predicted a cloudy sky PM so wasn't going to go flying. By about 1pm the sky looked half-tidy, (an old welsh saying !), so decided to take a trip up Fan G. Arrived on  top to find thermals cycling up the hillside in otherwise nil wind conditions. TO in a cycle and cored up to 600' ato in a few seconds. Air a bit bumpy possibly sea air mixing with the thermals (?) Total airtime 30 mins, number of flights; about 4 ! Waited around for a while with Phil C and Jon M for the air to smooth out a bit, but by the time it did the wind dropped. Best height gain was by Phil who managed 1,500' ato on his Airwave Wave. Well done Phil.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 10:23:15 AM by SteveJ »