Author Topic: Steve J's flying diary  (Read 2106 times)

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2016, 20:08:02 PM »
Heol Senni. Saturday. 8 Oct 2016.
A cloudy day and poor RASP meant a day of ridge soaring in the dynamic lift. Got bored after an hour with max altitude 300'ato. Felt a bit like winter flying. Counted over 20 vehicles parked along the track. Tomorrow looks better, but can't get out :( Maybe Monday .........

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2016, 23:30:44 PM »
Merthyr. Thurs. 22 Sep 16.
Arrived at 1pm(ish), in time to see a few pilots leaving the hill on the only cloud to be seen all day. Viv & Nick had arrived a little earlier. Conditions were light and thermic for most of the day, so any airtime before 3pm had to be earned :)
After that time the wind increased a tad and made ridge soaring a little easier, but it didn't iron-out the bumps. Once high, it was relatively easy to stay there as the afternoon went on, but it remained 'blue' until 5pm, when cu started to form in the west. Unusual to see cloud forming that late in the day ??? Hill became blown-out by 5.30 pm(ish), so we all left the hill to the 'hangies'.
Best alt for me was 1,300' ato with a combined airtime of 2 hrs; 2x 40 mins flights and numerous shorter sorties due to the short thermic cycles earlier on. Thermals were on average only 2m/s, but chopped-up, causing the first few tucks to be had on my new Sigma 9. Very autumnal ! Great views from aloft in the clear air and wall-to-wall sunshine.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2016, 17:59:00 PM »
Nant Y Moel. Sun. 18 Sep 2016.
Arrived with Rhun at around midday. Although there were many students airborne the wind was rather brisk. Looking at the wing reactions it was also pretty unstable. Even with a brisk wind, the dynamic lift was relatively poor, with many soaring (scratching) below ridge height at times. Para-waited for an hour or so after watching pilots launch, only to top land after short 5-minute flights. At 3pm decided to give it a go and found the air rather lively :) After topping out from a thermal in the corner of the forestry to the right of TO, topped out at 1,750' ato and could feel myself being sucked up into the 'white room'; it was time to try out my descent techniques on my new Sigma 9. Didn't fancy my favorite, a B line stall, due to the fine lines of the glider, so went for the 'big-ears' and 'bar'. Not good enough, but a combination of the latter and a gentle spiral did however do the job. At one point I thought I'd be doing an involuntary XC as I was a little over-the-back initiating the descent. To the north a line of dark clouds had encroached inland and I was on the edge of it. Looking upwind I could see Aeron and Nick tracking a good distance up-wind; contrary to the strong winds at TO ???  Keeping at 1,000' ato I headed up wind, but only managed 1.6 kms out from the hill; the furthest I think I've been up-wind at this site. At one point Nick seemed to be flying to the coast :)  After boating around for a bit I headed in to land.
Again, most people got to fly, so a good day out. I only flew for 40 mins, but it was an interesting and hands-on flight. The strong winds deterred me, and possibly everyone else, from attempting an XC; at the end of the day one has to land, and the deep valleys behind NYM are not the best of places to do that on a windy day.
Looking at my vario I see one thermal spiked at 5 m/s. As always on unstable days, there was also a 5 m/s descent !
Later we all watched Rhun doing some tandem practice with Nick; he looked very adept at the launch and landing; a real pro :)
Lots of pilots on the hill today, too many to mention.



Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2016, 19:29:06 PM »
Seven Sisters. Sat. 17 Sep 2016.
Arrived at around midday to a brisk wind, which was forecast to drop later; it never did :(  Had about 40 minutes in the bright autumnal sunshine with great views in the clear NW'ly air. Big thanks to Nick who piloted the club tandem and brought big smiles to his two passengers. Good to see Steve W and Rhun showing interest in, and progressing towards, becoming tandem pilots themselves. Lots of faces on the hill, all getting at least some airtime. No big height gains; 400 ato max for me, but an enjoyable day out on the hill.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2016, 19:36:56 PM »
NYM. 29 Aug 16.
After a quick look at 'XC Weather' in the morning the main direction arrows seemed to be from the SW, so altered plans and headed for NYM. Arrived just after midday with Dave S and Rhun; bar for a few aero-modellers further along the ridge, we had the hill to ourselves :)  Wind was slightly WSW, but on the hill and working well. A day of two halves. From 1 until 2 pm, it was thermic with average altitude about 300' ato with frequent climbs to 1,000' ato; just below cloudbase (a relatively low base really). From 2 until 3pm the air seemed more buoyant and it was easy to stay aloft, everyone, including another Steve from SEW who had just arrived, boated around at the 600' ato mark, with climbs to around 1,200' ato, again, not far below base. Climbs were good, between 3 and 4 m/s; though I did see one register at 5 m/s on my vario :)
At 3pm the day changed slightly. Looking down from aloft I noticed the cloud shadows were hoofing over the ground; time to land. After a bit of spiralling, landed in the dead-area behind TO. At this point Dave was already on the deck and as I spied skyward Rhun threw the dice on an XC (he got to Aberdare).
An enjoyable day doing what we all like best, flying. Wind and thermals were good and everyone left with a smile on their chops with just under two hours of 'hands-on' flying.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2016, 21:06:58 PM »
Mynydd Dinas. 26 Aug 16.
After leaving NYM to the aero-modeller gliders at midday, as the wind was too strong, decided on an evening of 'urban' paragliding at MD. TO at 6pm and spent 40 mins soaring and using the small thermals to get no more than 300' ato. Joined by a peregrine falcon in the circuit, who also used the minimal lift to stay aloft.
The last 10 mins of the flight were made possible only by restitutional lift coming up from the forestry plantation half-way down the hill. With the smoke stacks starting to go vertical, it was time to land.
An exit over the playing field's security fence was made easy by Sabina reversing her retrieve car along side the fence, so one didn't jar one's back on leaping over the other side.
 
Not my most memorable flt at MD, but it was nice to be airborne on a late summer's evening watching the world go by.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2016, 22:16:32 PM »
Lleti Siac. 13 Aug 16. Saturday.
Wind was a bit brisk when Dave S and I arrived at 3pm, but by 4pm it had eased a tad. Spent 1 hr boating around in the cloudy skies, gaining no more than 600' ato in the weak thermals. Nice to fly here again, one year to the day to when I last flew at LS; and in similar conditions.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2016, 20:09:31 PM »
Mynydd Dinas. Saturday. 23 Jul 16. Breezy on the coast all day so walked up to MD late afternoon. It was still breezy when I launched at 6pm, but out in front of the hill it was pleasantly soarable, with a few thermals to boot. Spent an hour in the company of a flock of gulls, all enjoying the thermic air. I only got to 500' ato, but a few gulls got higher, lol.
Just after 7pm the smoke stacks in the steel works started to go vertical, signalling the drop in the breeze, and the end of play.
It clouded over a tad after 6pm, but non-the-less it was great messing about with the hill to one self. To the SE on Mynydd Margam, the newly-erected stems of wind turbines have started to emerge; though the initial turbines seem to be well back from the front of the hill. Hope it stays that way, as it's sometimes possible to hop off Mynydd Dinas and run along this ridge to Margam Park and beyond. Closer by, the solar panels which cover Mynydd Emroch are quite extensive covering many fields.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 21:27:36 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2016, 20:59:14 PM »
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 14:16:58 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2016, 22:14:16 PM »
Seven Sisters Thurs. 14 Jul 16.
Thought Fan G would be too windy, so went to try Seven Sister. Arrived at just after midday to quite a stiff NW'ly breeze. The sun was out, clouds looked great, so took off asap fearing that the sea breeze would encroach at any time during the coming few hours. The air was very buoyant and though the thermals were at a gentle 2 m/s, I climbed to 2,000' ato in no time. Spent the next 35 mins pondering at an xc, but across wind there were some towering clouds; these dissipated as the afternoon progressed. Thinking of the wide gap across the Neath valley to connect with the Pen y Cae ridge at Rhigos and the logistics of getting back to the hill, I more or less talked myself out of an xc. Instead I enjoyed the scenery below, and around me at Seven Sisters; pushing out quite far up-wind as there didn't seem to be any drift up high. I think I actually spent more time trying to lose height than I did gaining it ! I used my radio for the first time in many years, but without anyone to talk to after a radio check, I landed to give Nick details of where the key was located, should he decide to relocate from Fan G.
After a few minutes it was back up into the buoyant air, but for the next hour only managed the 1,000' ato mark. The air seemed to have changed in the short time I was on the deck. Still an enjoyable second-half, with the wind still showing signs of being strong; the stacks at Port Talbot, way off to the left, were almost horizontal and the turbines closer to home on the ridge were turning at a steady pace. I did catch a 4 m/s climb, but noticed that it was taking me up and towards the turbines; a hint of a more westerly drift, maybe even the start of it sea-breezing ???
Landed after an hour's flying having satisfied my 'fix' :) Out of curiosity I measured the wind speed....aren't we suppose to do this before taking off, lol,.... it was a steady 15 to 20 mph.


Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 18:34:22 PM »
Nant y Moel.  Wed. Jul 2016.
Nearly gave the day a miss after falling ill with a heavy cold, but was prompted out to play by a visiting pilot/friend. Headed to NYM where there were quite a few in the air on our arrival at  <midday>. Though light and off to the S at first, the wind increased and came more on the hill soon after Viv & Nick arrived. With at least two schools and many solo pilots the place was a hive of activity. Though turning hazy, the lift and thermals were there to be found. I max'd out at 1,800' ato and contemplated an XC. My friend, Mark, had a great day and I was glad that the site worked; at last some great flying after a period, for myself, of many disappointments.
As I top landed on the high ground at around mid afternoon, I stopped to ponder at the sheer amount of activity and fun that everyone was having, from day-1 EP pupils to all the solo pilots at differing altitudes. Then looking south, the more recent additions to the wind turbines came into view; they seemed ominously close, and almost on a collision course with our beloved flying site.   
Max height: 1,800'ato
Time 1hr 20 min


Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2016, 16:54:59 PM »
Rhossili.  Thurs 23 Jun 16.
Can't believe I haven't flown here for 8 yrs ! Chose the location as I'd been parawaiting (with the exception of a short flt at SS last week) 8x recently, which is enough to try anyone's patience and wanted a site which would probably 'work'. My log book notes that my last flight was at Llandewi B. in March :(
Arrived on the Pimple at 11am to light conditions, with only Lee Thomas(SEW) scratching around. Within a few minutes the breeze picked-up to a soarable pitch and off I went on my new Sigma 9 for an hour and a half of joy; who said ridge-soaring was boring. My new toy impressed me, but I was a little taken back by the few, and very fine, lines. Mmmmm....., it makes one extra careful on the ground near bracken and I can only image what damage a stony, foreign TO area would do to them.
With the sun shining, the views were stunning as usual. At 2pm ish 'wind lanes' started to appear on the surface of the sea, heralding the strengthening of the breeze. 
Left the hill to Roger (Pitton/Sweden) on his hang glider, an aero-modeller and another PG pilot named Steve, who seemed to thrive on the strong breeze.
So good to actually fly once again.


Offline Chris Dusgate

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 11:00:51 AM »
It was a good effort by you Steve.


If you look at the daily scores for yesterday it seems the conditions were patchy, i.e. good for some sites, e.g. Leckhampton, but not so good elsewhere, e.g. Hundred House. Steve Parsons when flying from Llandinam said he had good conditions to start with but then after 30k quite poor. The reports in the sailplane national league report very varied conditions, excellent in some places in the southern half of the Uk with 5,000 ft + cloudbases but weak elsewhere. I think we made the best of it and yours was a very good flight for the site and conditions .Having landed shorter I guess I've got to think that :-)   As you say it was nice to be out and the Red Kites were very sociable.


Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2016, 21:12:51 PM »
Llandewi Brefi.  31 Mar 2016. Thursday.
RASP gave a great forecast, so pushed the boat out and headed to LDB, car sharing with Chris D & Phil T.
We arrived on the hill at around midday in sunshine, but there was no breeze present. Sky looked good, so headed for TO and waited for a short while watching the birds thermalling up in front of the hill. It became flyable at around 12.30, I made it into the air first and convinced that the thermal was to be short-lived, started looking for a slope landing option. Instead I kept rising and rising until a few hundred feet ato. It only stopped at 1,500' ato when my rusty thermalling let me down. Heading back to the hill I could see Chris and Phil still airborne; Chris way-out in front of the hill. On my way back up wind to the hill I spied a cloud coming my way and intercepted it at about 1,000' ato. I was soon back in the game and heading south :) With my hands starting to go numb from the cold and my Gopro batteries also feeling the cold, I plodded-on, the glorious views of mid Wales in spring helping to take ones mind off the cold. The cloud drift was exceptionally slow, making progress down-wind tedious. I reached the door to the white room at 4,300' amsl, but didn't go in :)  Strongest thermals were 4 m/s, but relatively placid to ride, given the conditions.  With my patience waining and cold hands, I bolted ahead of the cloud and paid the price in altitude. Beyond the Ffarmers ridge I saw a kite below me circling in the blue hole. I manouvered above it and was soon going upward again. Sadly this was my last thermal of the day. With a few kms of 'boonies' ahead of me, I turned around and landed on the southern slope of the Cwrt y Cado valley at 1.30pm. It had taken me 40 mins to do the 13.8 kms !  Painfully slow, but very scenic. The walk down to the valley floor was also scenic; babbling brooks, bleeting lambs, sunshine, bare oaks etc - what a great country we live in :)  A text from Chris mentioned that he had landed south of the Ffarmers ridge; 3 kms to the north of Cwrt y Cadno. Thank heavens Phil was still at TO.
Thanks to Phil for the retrieve from a very remote spot and to Chris for driving all the way to LDB and back. Always appreciated.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 21:28:12 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: Steve J's flying diary
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2016, 15:48:15 PM »
Mynydd Dinas. 25 Mar 2016


A strong breeze expected to develop as the afternoon progressed, so decided to take a look at MD for midday. The wind on TO was top-endish, but flyable. Launched at 12:30ish into a stiff breeze, but as I got up-wind of the compression it was fine. Spent 40 mins thermalling up to the wispy stuff at around the 700 ato mark, pausing to think of the misery of the occupants of the very slow-moving traffic on the M4 below. Buzzards, kestrels, gulls and even skylarks joined in the spring melle of thermic activity. Only one tuck while chasing the 'wispies' about.
Another lesson in Gopro manipulation today. I'm sure there will be a time when editing the stuff will take a shorter time than the actual footage; or does that never happen, lol.
Knowing that the wind was increasing later and my into wind speed was in single figures, plus the sight of a few 'lennies' in the distance, forced a landing in the MT playing fields below. On the ground there was hardly any wind, though it is well shielded from the SW. Checking my PC when I got home it had actually decreased at Mumbles Head.
Should have bolted over to Cwmafan for a short XC and an Easter Egg !
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 19:17:24 PM by Steve Jones »