Author Topic: Steve W Blog 2015  (Read 1765 times)

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2015, 20:25:46 PM »
3.10.15 - Fan G (SW/W)

The forecast wasn't looking brilliant and it was a bit of gamble, particularly as the skies had already clouded over AM. RASP was showing slightly better inland and with a promise of a SW-W wind PM, I headed up to meet Steve Bain & Peter Lake in the bottom layby and we headed up. On arrival conditions were better than we expected and we all launched off into a steady SW wind.

Conditions were quite manic, lots of lift, lots of sink and the clouds were not formed very well and did not have flat bottoms.

We headed out and aross the road and South and Peter came on the radio to say it was quite sinky, so we headed back to the hill, Steve and I landed for a minute as my arm was hurting and Steve was thirsty, and then Peter came on the radio to say the next cycle was coming through.

I launched off again and caught a thermal to cloudbase with Peter and waited for Steve to join us. Peter decided to set off XC towards the Brecon Beacons and I waited for Steve to reach the same height. However, I got caught in some cloud suck "The hand of god!" and found myself in the white room, particularly white this time and I pulled a spiral dive to get out but I got totally disorientated and managed to escape cloud but felt quite ill from the experience and soon after landed with Steve to our joys and adrenaline pumping.

I did opt not to go XC today as I felt the clouds were causing visibility issues, and the ride was too bumpy and being in my new pod harness, which during flight the safety clip came loose  :-\

90 mins flying
2200ft ATO
Max climb 3.3 m/s

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2015, 20:16:26 PM »
6.9.15 - Seven Sisters

On arrival it was looking good, launched off and had a good boat about, headed out n front to join Nick Roberts and had a play out in front before ony just making it back to the hill!
Around 2 hours..


26.09.15 - Abernant


An afternoon 40 minutes at Abernant on my nearly new Advance Impress 3 harness! What a difference the harness makes, conditions were ok, not ideal but flyable and it was made easier the fact I had the hill to myself!

Looks like I've lost a few flight logs :( From Algo trip onwards.. Oh well!
« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 20:42:47 PM by Steve Watkins »

Offline Phil Thomas

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 22:13:14 PM »
Nice one Steve, and yes it's true, I have my own personal cloud that follows me around... ;-)

I must try and understand more about the XC rules, I only have the open distance, with the odd dog leg here and there I could get my flight back over 80k maybe ;-) .......  Anyway, I guess it doesn't matter as I'm not in the XC league anyway... Well done Steve!
Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2015, 20:24:29 PM »
13th - 20th June - Algondonales Trip

This one had been planned for a while and the date came around very quickly! The original group included Barry but unfortunately he couldn't come due to personal circumstances but in the end it was myself, Gron, Phil Thomas & Gareth Silverthorne and we were meeting Stu Kelly out in Algo. It was really good to catch up with Stu in Algo and spend a few days flying with him and drinking a "few" beers ;)

Thank you to Phil Thomas who offered to drive to Cardiff airport with out gear, it made life * of a lot simpler being closer and all together with our kit etc.
Gron had kindly arrange a hire car which we duly picked up and arrived in Algo late evening on the Saturday after a mini tour of Malaga suburbs :)

The initial forecast was predicting thunders storms and rain for the first two days of arrival, typical really as it follows Phil Thomas around the globe so we shouldn't have been surprised but we were very pleased to hear that the Sunday weather had improved and after sorting all the admin etc with Rusell, we headed to a site called El Bosque. Conditions were good on arrival and we all launched off for a boat about the sky, but conditions were getting stronger and the dynaminc wind had switched direction so it made things a bit spicy in front and we all landed safely with a bug smile on our faces being a warm up flight!

The next day was looking blown out, a cold front had come through Spain and was taking 3-4 days to clear so we headed down towards the coast to do some coastal dune soaring, however on arrivla it was obviously too strong and most of us didn't launch, Naill did on his acro wing and we sat and watched him play about before heading home, a long drive!!

Tuesday was looking an excellent flying day, base was around 6k, cumulus clouds marked the way for my personal best XC to date! It's probably one of the better flights in my flying career as it was typical cumulus hops, using lift thermalling and speed bar between clouds, and eventually I reached the coast and hit sea breeze and I could not work out which way the wind was blowing as a wind turbine farm was indicating 3 different wind directions, which made landing a but spicy! Launching from Montellano I landed near Chiclana de la Frontera. I learnt loads from this flight being alone and working everything out for myself, where lift is generating best in clouds, ground sources etc.

86.4k (with tp's) - 81.1k (od)
http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20151999.html?vx=20

The next day we went again to  Montellano and it ended up a very frustrating day for some of us, very light conditions, sinking out, extremely hot! - Russell (Flyspain guide)  led the way off the hill and Phil Thomas launched soon after and they found a great thermal up to over 8k and Phil had a personal best XC himself which is a bloody brilliant flight seeing as it was a very diffcult day to even get off the hill!

The following day we headed to Algodonale mountain and conditions were looking great! Heading up in a thermal with Dell, Derek and Phil, and over the back personally reaching a height of 8.1k, it got cold as well - Over the back I took it slow and stayed in lift, a few others left it early and landed out but I continued in lift and made another XC, landing on a mud flats next to the lake where Naill later landed as well. Analysing this flight, I can see why we got decked here, cold air moving over the lake, converence line should of taken this earlier as we both sat in a Cafe looking up and the convergence, we later learnt that Gareth Silverthorne had done a Personal Best XC himself :)

30k
http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20151998.html?vx=20

We headed up Algo again for the last day, conditions were coming too much from the East but now and again it was launchable, the risk of dust devils coming through was higher today given the cross winds. What a boyant flight!!! Out in front huge climbs, big collapses, lots of sink, not nice to be honest and I didn't like conditions at all and opted to land in the landing field whilst Phil and Gareth had great flights in the valley around Algo and Twin Peaks - they later landed and we headed to the bar 500m up the road for tapas and beers :)

A few of us stayed up last night drinking etc etc and we only got around 2 hrs sleep if that before we had to leave 6am for the airport

What a week, personal bests to be had, massive flying and brilliant company from fellow SWWSC friends and new friends that were also with Flyspain.
Now I'm cleaning my harness and wiping all the dust off, those wheat fields are a nightmare for sticking on stuff, and don't go near the Sunflower fields, you may find Gron partying with them!  >:D :like
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 20:31:50 PM by Steve Watkins »

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 20:24:59 PM »
23/5/15 - BCC - Builth Wells

Heading up to the BCC meeting point in Forest Farm camping site with Nick Roberts, Rhun after dropping Oliver off at Brecon to play football we met Mike Thomas, Steve Parsons, Jon Munro and around 75 other pilots. After the briefing we headed up the hard walk. On arrival it was very light with no obvious thermal activity and a few launched off. Alistair thermalled up and away and we later learned he did over 40km, everyone else apart from one pilot got any height and after a long day parataking we all launched off and bottom landed in the big field next to the campsite.

24/5/15 - Seven Sisters

I met Nick Roberts,Mike Thomas & Nick Winder at the gate and headed up. Conditions felt strong at the bottom so it was no wonder it was blown out on arrival, around 22-24mph but constant. Wave bar was setting up all over the sky, apparently it was pre-frontal wave.

25/5/15 - Seven Sisters


Thank you to Rhun for picking me up and taking me to the hill. We met Steve Jones, David Stein, Steve Bain & Ben at the entrance and after opening the gate with the new key (Thank you Gron!) we headed up. On arrival it was stronger than forecast, quite similar to yesterday but slightly less wind, but it was gusting a bit. Rhun and I launched and initially it appeared quite smooth but then it picked up and got quite lumpy and up and down, 3m up, 3m down stuff. A few small tip collapses made me think it wasn't really enjoyable flying so after about 35 minutes flying landed on top with a C line stall a few feet above the ground to come in safely. Measuring the wind it had picked up to 24mph and dropping to 14mph in between so not a really good day to fly. Great company with all today!

28/5/15 - BCC Merthyr Common

On arrival conditions were strong and it was looking to be blown out so we all launched pretty quickly. I struggled today to find a thermal and when I did I miserably followed it, dropped out over the back. I walked miles back towards Merthyr and eventually Andy Cook picked me up and took me to Newport so I could catch a train to Neath - Thanks Andy!
« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 20:35:47 PM by Steve Watkins »

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 21:11:42 PM »
26/4/15 - Heol Senni

I wasn't really prepared for the day as the forecast for the weekend had already been written off, so when I spotted Peter Lakes message I checked XC weather and it did show signs of dropping of during the afternoon with a NNE, so after dropping my lad off at Brecon I headed up to Heol Senni. I was first to arrive and headed up and it was quite gusty and when I measured conditions they were around 13-19mph. At one point it all dropped to absolutely nothing which was very odd for about 5 minutes and then it came through again as Peter Lake and Viv joined me on the top. Viv explained it was her birthday and Nick was reading the paper and would come up later - Nick arrived shortly after and Peter Lake was first off the hill, conditions being very lifty and strong, and I launched soon after. Conditions were all over the place, lift, sink, gusts and to be honest not that enjoyable but it did smooth out a little as time passed. Steve Bain joined us on the hill and Viv lanuched and I watched as she headed out and landed out, I did try and radio to tell her to keep in closer but conditions were not the best to be messing around near the hill.

Steve and Nick joined us in the air and thermalled over the back, I followed but wanted to wait for Steve Bain so headed back to the front and radioed Steve - thermals were punchy and small and difficult to core in - Peter headed off over the back and last I saw him was by the reservoir - Steve  & Nick thermalled up and I missed the train ride as I could not catch the same thermal and watched them going over the back towards Fan G - I made the most of the boating about before deciding it was picking up quite a bit more and decided to land out. Had a brief chat with Viv who was heading for a birthday drink in Ancient Briton and I drove off to try and retrieve the lads - I picked up Peter on the main road and took him back to the hill and then set off to find Steve Bain driving back to Ancient Briton, having a quick chat with Viv and then driving back to Heol Senni, no sign of him, mobile signal not working but thankfully Peter had spotted him walking back and dropped him off at Heol Senni.
Well done to Steve B, Peter & Nick with your XC's!! :)

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 19:21:16 PM »
6/4/15 - Heol Senni - SWWSC Easter Cup Challenge

Rhun and I travelled together from Neath to arrive at Heol Senni early - on arrival we met with Steve Bain at the top,  and the thermals were already working so we didn't really hang about much and setup. It was thermic but quite scratchy and a few times I got quite low, below the tree but swung it around and managed to wangle it back on top. Thermals improved and more people joined and off again into a big thermal, but where there's rising air, there is sinking air and we were dropping like flies and Rhun and I sloped landed low when it shut off. Anyway back on top we met with Steve Parsons, Nick Roberts, John  Munroe & Family, and a few others and as conditions improved off people set.

Intially I caught a thermal to the left North side and made it up, not quite to cloudbase but over the back, Steve Parsons and another were above and I wasn't convinced as the sky over the back looked rubbish and the thermal wasn't as good as I though, so I headed back out front at height an headed back to the left side again and caught the thermal trigger again and this time made it up to cloud base over the back. Drifting with the cloud, quite cold in comparison to yesterday, I headed towards Fan G and caught another thermal - in the distance by Seven Sisters was a grass fire and I could see the smoke rising so with the natural drift and hope of some thermal I headed towards Seven Sisters, on arrival I caught another thermal and drifted over towards Crynant, sticking to the higher features at height to optmize my chance of thermals. And then I saw Neath!!! I though it would be too good to be true to fly over my house but as I got closer, I spotted the field  which is literally adjacent to my street and headed there and landed downwind! I failed to spot the sea breeze had kicked in and was hoofing up the valley but I was ok. A pack up and quick stroll to my house and waited in the back garden for Kilie to get back as I was locked out, thanks to Rhun for driving my car back from Heol Senni.

Open Distance : 30.4k
Total Distance with TP's : 35.3k

http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/2015430.html?vx=0

Offline Steve Watkins

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Re: Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2015, 21:21:57 PM »
5/4/15 - Heol Senni - SWWSC Easter Cup Challenge

It was a toss up this year between the BCC and the Easter Cup Challenge and we opted in the end for the easter cup challenge. The BCC was being held on the Blorenge and we half expected them to be flying over us as on arrival it was more easterly than forecast, stronger conditions than forecast and an awesome looking sky! I picked up Mike Thomas from Ystalfera and we headed up. On arrival there were lots of other pilots on a busy launch! Conditions were good but the thermals seemed broken up and we all initially struggled to thermal up to any tidy height. Then I noticed Steve Parsons thermalling on the North end of the ridge and I joined in the thermal (I'm not sure who was thermalling the opposite way to three if us but I hope you heared me shouting expletives at you!!!) - it was a slow climb up and passed over Fan Hir at about 4k. The direction was almost East and flying in with other pilots is definitely advantageous! Just before reaching Cross Hands I thermaled up again to cloud base crossing Cross Hands at about 5.5k and spotting Steve Parsons in the distance, headed towards Carmarthern, after noticing the airspace on my Garmin around Pembrey area as well. A couple of thermals later to about 4k I headed towards ploughed fields and again thermalled up - I was joined by two birds of prey today in a thermal, it was a surreal experience and me and my two birds helped each other other which was amazing. (They probably didn't need my help LOL!) Flying South of Carmarthen I tracked the A40 which provided some lift and my airspeed was about 55km/h but eventually my luck run out and I landed in a massive green lush looking field. I was soon joined by the farmer who was concerned that he had seen a yellow parachute dropping into his field and after a friendly chat he pointed me in the right direction. I walked to the Texaco garage, downed a cappucino and some well deserved chocolate yum and thanks to Kilie for the retrieve and also thanks to Mike Thomas for driving my car from Heol Senno to pick up in Ystalfera.

I broke my personal best of 44km today and the 50km target:

Open Distance : 56.5k
Total Distance with TP's : 59.8k

http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/2015417.html?vx=0

Offline Steve Watkins

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Steve W Blog 2015
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2015, 17:06:37 PM »
14/3/15 - Heol Senni - Met Rhun & Peter Lake at Heol Senni. Wind coming on nicely, quite cold though! Managed 70 minutes of flying despite my hands going numb! Luckily I noticed Rhun dropping his glove from the air (not so lucky for him though!) and he managed to retrieve it from the quarry. Conditions started picking up and it got a bit "lumpy" so I bottom landed.

10/3/15 - Blorenge - This is probably only my third attempt at Blorenge over my flying career. It's a lovely site and I must make more effort. The choice of the day was Pandy or Blorenge and knowing some XC hounds had plotted XC's headed on up to find myself on my own initially, until Avon club members turned up. Good to meet and talk to them, I wasn't aware at the time I was standing by Tim Pentreath who I didn't get to see in the club night. Conditions were very light, wafting up from the East if anything, a few set off , top to bottoms, and I decided to go for it and had a pleasant flight over towards Castle Meadows and opted then to turn over Neville Hall to try and join a gaggle (Tim Pentreath & co) which I couldn't quite reach so landed by the hopsital along another pilot, luckily for me as he kindly arranged a lift back up to launch, where I met Nick Roberts coaching Viv off the hill. I had another attempt and launched after Nick, and tried to spot him in the air and lost him for a while and then he caught my eye, he was thermalling and I managed to get underneath him and thermal a few turns before losing it, Nick landed back on top, I landed in Castle Meadows, and another kind Avon member took me back to the top to retrieve my car. - 2 ttb's

15/2/15 - Bryncaws - 150 minutes of good flying conditions - landed on the dirt track right at the end of the day, when sea breeze kicked in.

8/2/15 - Fan G -  Headed up with Nasher & Rhun to join Pembrokeshire Paragliding already on the top. Conditions very light, so light that I ended up doing top to bottom, landing by the layby - thanks to Nasher for driving my car down.

7/2/15 - Heol Senni - Over 2 hours flying at Heol Senni, great conditions, thermals good!