Author Topic: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~  (Read 2764 times)

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2014, 21:05:04 PM »
30.11.14 - Rhigos

Big thanks to Nick Roberts for making my mind up for me. Forecast Northerly around midday, I headed up and launched at 11:43 into a NNW wind after a chat with Andy Brazier who had already launched and was maintaining height. Hello also to Terry who helped me on the upper launch when I couldn't jump the barbed fence on launch!

Lots of flying was to be had today. COnditions got better after lunch and came on the hill better and everyone enjoyed a long flight. I was at Rhigos for 5 hours today with about 3 1/2 hours flying!!

We started packing up when conditions dropped and as I was about to fold my wing, the wind started up again so I enjoyed another 40 minute flight to finish the day, Sun almost set..

The grass was very wet packing and there was a pilot in the sky getting higher and higher and he headed out straight for ages before landing in almost darkness  8)

Brilliant turnout! and awesome day1, good to see Gron, Nick Roberts, Viv, Chris Wiliams, Nick Turner, Andy Brazier, Terry, Quin, Kate & others!

3.5 hours


Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2014, 20:58:28 PM »
29.11.14 - Bryncaws

I managed to drive up to the top today despite the very slippery slope which was a bonus - passed Steve Milson training on the lower end and made my way up to the top to meet a couple from Torquay who had come up for the weekend and Andy Brazier.

A bit later Rhun, Guy, Peter Lake, Jamie and his mate (sorry can't remember your name!) joined us.

Conditions on arrival looked promising, it was off East a little though and quite light - I launched into what appeared to be some good lift and then it died to nothing and I quickly found myself zooming down to the bottom field, and my car was at the top! *  :-[

After a long walk up conditions had dropped to nothing and we all decided to call it a day, Steve Milson was still setting off students forward launches on the bottom end.




Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2014, 16:16:56 PM »
16.11.14 - Pontlottyn

A bit of a gamble today with forecast of gusts up to 20mph on XC Weather - The clouds above Neath looked similar to yesterdays speed - Rhun joined me after a telephone conversation and after tucking into bacon butties, we decided to head out towards Merthyr. On the way spots of rain were hitting the windscreen but I was hopeful as towards Pontlottyn the skies looked clearer.

On approach one wing was in the air and we quickly unpacked and setup, good to see Quin and a few others already on site with the model aircraft gang zooming the skies.

Wind strength was not an issue today, slightly strong but launchable and good penetration into wind. There was a lot of lift about and a few of us got to around 5-600ft ATO and it was very cold indeed brrrrr! >:D We were wary of the distant looking grey clouds and after a few short flights and a longer 60 minute flight, I landed by Rhun and we decided to call it a day before we got wet, and within 15 mins of landing it started to rain on the hill.

Good call to go to Pontlottyn which paid off today although my wing is now drying in the spare room and I'm cringing at the mess from Bryncaws yesterday and Pontlottyn today although doing nearly 3 hours flying this weekend has made up for that!

THE JOYS OF WINTER FLYING!


60 mins - 4 flights

Offline Steve Watkins

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~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2014, 21:12:11 PM »

Offline Steve Watkins

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~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2014, 20:52:38 PM »
15/11/14 - Bryncaws - Night before noticed XC weather E-SE so decided it may be Bryncaws day - woke up late and looked at Telegram and David Stein was on the hill giving conditions up to 10mph. Giving the wind was supposed to pick up and headed up. Good to see Mike T, David, Jamie, Guy, Lee, Andy B, Glen & others - conditions picked up a little bit enough to launch - the left side above the forest gave the better flying today, using the edge of the trees to spot movement and any available lift, some thermals out there but quite small and not that lifty considering sun wasn't out much, very good!

105 mins
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 22:37:58 PM by Steve Watkins »

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2014, 14:29:48 PM »
  • 31/8/14 - Rhossili - 60 mins - Wind upper limit and increasing during flight, landed on Beach
  • 6/9/14 - Fan-G - 90 mins - Wind upper limit, cloudbase a few times, glided above reservoir at end of flight - good day with Rhun & Steve B
  • 7/9/14 - Heol Senni - 105 mins -
  • 16/9/14 - Bryncaws - 10 mins - Conditions strong, too strong in fact and they dropped off but on upper limit, not a very enjoyable flight!
  • 20/9/14 - Rhigos - 110 mins - Very good soaring on site, not flown here much but very enjoyable!
  • 21/9/14 - Heol Senni - 120 mins - Nice thermic day, Steve Bains first XC! I didn't commit to XC today, not sure why as thermalling well over back!?!
  • 12/10/14 - Heol Senni - 10 mins - Top to bottom, conditions too light!
« Last Edit: November 15, 2014, 20:48:33 PM by Steve Watkins »

Offline Mike Thomas

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 13:23:00 PM »
Apart from popping out the side of a cloud, that didn't sound like fun Steve.


I've only flown in cloud a couple of times, and did not like it one bit. Time seems to drag on forever. On one flight in Piedrahita last year, one of the chaps got sucked in, so I started leaving climbs 200m or so under base. (It was a 3500m day). However I still ended going up another 100m whilst flying in a straight line for quite a while which was rather disconcerting! As for getting out of lift, I read everywhere that we should fly in a straight line to the edge of the thermal, with maybe half bar and big ears. Trouble is, I've got to keep telling myself that's it's the right thing to do when it happens, as it can take quite some time to have any affect. Patience is the key I suppose, that or the b-line which I've never tried.


Thanks for sharing.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 02:02:05 AM »
Sounds as if you were in the 'white room' for some time, Steve.
I always go for the B-line stall (if your wing manual states it can be done). Less disorientating than G-pulling spiral dives; which have their own dangers of pilot black-out etc and instantly effective in loosing altitude.
We always yearn for cloudbase, but as you rightly point out, when your in strong cloud suck with nil visibility, we are only too glad to be out of the stuff.

Offline Steve Watkins

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~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2014, 12:53:22 PM »
1/6/14 - Nant Y Moel
Decided to take a visit to Nant Y Moel early as wind was forcasted WSW-SW and RASP was indicating good thermic activity but lots of cloud cover. I arrived to find the gate locked so took a trek up to find Joseph Jones & Jamie Jones ground handling, the wind had started coming on the hill bang on so I setup and launched off. Despite the grey cover, thermic activity was very good and before long I thermalled up to cloud base and managed to call Steve Bain to tell him conditions were good and updated Telegram.

A lot more arrived including Steve Bain, David Stein and Jon Munro. Thermic activity improved as the day progressed and again I reached cloudbase which was only just about 3k buit the skies behind didn't inspire an XC so I played about in front.

The last flight of the day was the best; I could see Joseph, Steve and James getting good height in a thermal and headed over to join them and cored it to base, however the cloud was a little strong and sucked me in and up and up I went and I had visions going through my mind of frozen limbs and/or a plane hitting me, or this was it, the white bright light that people tell you about with near death experiences,  as all I could see is white, pure white around me, silence apart from my wing flapping about and air rushing past me. Up and up and up it seemed to go.

Before entering the cloud I had the sense to take a compass bearing so I knew I had to go Southerly direction constant and eventually I would pop out, but.. it didn't well not at least for ages, then I could see a glimmer of blue and hey presto I popped out of the side, to my joy way above the base of the cloud and could see Steve Bain and other with big ears. I was maintaining height and thinking, bloody * I need to get down and it was starting to rough and my wing was behaving well though but I did have a few assymetric collapses.

I put on a deep 360 and I could feel the air rushing past my face but looking at my vario I was maintaining height, so I pulled deeper and it still maintained height but started creeping down ever slow slowly - I flew away from cloud source but kept hitting thermic lift everywhere, almost like the whole valley had lifted off and spiralled more and eventually decided on big ears which went very wrong!!
I pulled in big ears and a thermal caught me to the side and the wing started diving on the one side so I weight shifted to correct the direction and thought the wing was going to s**t but it managed well and I decided quickly to release big ears as that seemed a bad idea and then carried on deep 360 until above the ridge, still hitting lift, and performing lots of biggish wingovers to get down.

My adrenaline along with Steve Bains, Joseph & Jamies was hyper and a combination of fun and fear!!

A cracking days flying.

Tips of the day:
  • A ball compass is if very handy for taking a visiual bearing in case you go into cloud, electronic devices are ok but harder to read.
  • Don't fly in cloud if you can help it, stay below of to the sides, if you get stuck maintain radio contact with others
  • Practice quick descent techniques when you have good height
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 21:44:49 PM by Steve Watkins »

Offline Steve Watkins

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~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2014, 19:46:19 PM »
30/5/14 - Pontlottyn

I had to take my son back to Brecon and on the way back towards Heol Senni noticed it was rather clagged in, so after receiving a TELEGRAM from Norris at Pontlottyn, decided to opt for that site which turned out to be a very good day. No blue skies were to be seen but thermals were bouncing through although cloudbase was only about 220m ATO. Good to see Norris & Simon and a few others out, a cracking few hours flying made it worth the drive..

TELEGRAM - for details check this out, cracking APP, I've setup a SWWSC group for us :)

http://www.swwsc.co.uk/index.php/topic,2081.msg8236/topicseen.html#new

Offline Mike Thomas

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2014, 10:34:40 AM »
Really well done Steve. That next hill was hard work. Check out the Richard Chambers track log for his 6hour flight to Birmingham.  Great flying with you all as ever.

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Offline Gron Jones

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2014, 23:17:55 PM »
Congratulations Steve - excellent flying!
Must be this new "light weight kit" you're using these days ;) [size=78%] [/size] ;) [/size][size=78%] [/size] 8)  !

Offline Phil Thomas

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Re: ~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2014, 22:11:22 PM »
Good job Steve, sounded like a real trial.
Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

Offline Steve Watkins

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Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2014, 21:09:10 PM »
17/5/14 - Nantymoel - BCC Round

Rhun and I headed down to meet Mike T at Nantymoel, RASP looking good, we had a call from Chris Dusgate, Steve Jones & Steve Parsons which made a full team!!!!

Wind on arrival was SW and brisk, but not too brisk to launch and after briefing, most promptly launched - blue skies everywhere made it a difficult task today but thermals were very good.
I looked up before launch and watched a big gaggle go over the back. Mike T, Rhun and Chris D, Steve J launched and I followed suit, although I lost them quite quickly amongst everyone flying.

I hooked into a thermal and climbed over the back but then I noticed that I was almost on my own and with the blue sky yonder, decided to go back to the ridge to try again with a larger gaggle. This I did quite quickly and thermalled over the back, but in the distance I could see gliders getting quite low of the next valley. On arrival their were probably 20 gliders scratching the next valley ridge and I joined them, sometimes getting some thermals coming through. I could see some gliders top landing.

Today my wing was very collapsy! The conditions were mixed and the wing was mis-behaving, surging, tucking on the tips regular and it was very active flying!!! :?

After a lot of patience and hooked into a nice thermal which took me high enough to pass over the wind turbines and I and another pilot thermalled up to about 4k and I think we went through the inversion layer as all of a sudden it went icy cold and our thermal dissapeared. We both decided to take a glide and I spotted a cloud forming ahead and a shadow moving up the hill and my thoughts were to get in front of it as it may be pushing warm air up? Anyway I found something, not a lot and decided to take another glide towards Merthyr to see what I could find in the valley, which was sink, all the way to landing in Aberfan sports field.

Todays flying was quite tricky and challenging, probably the hardest XC I have done so far:

http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20141128.html?vx=0

18.6k with turnpoints
15.2k open distance



Offline Steve Watkins

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~~ Steve Watkins 2014 Flight Blog ~~
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2014, 20:44:13 PM »