Author Topic: SteveJ's flying diary 2017  (Read 1305 times)

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2017, 18:00:48 PM »
6 Oct 2017. Fri.  Mynydd Dinas
The sun was shining when I started walking up to TO, but disappeared shortly after, when I took off at 3pm-ish. The breeze was quite strong with only about 7 mph ground speed at times. Think I'd left it a bit late. Enjoyed 30 mins before attempting to fly to the beach as it seemed quite lifty, despite the strong headwind. Got to 600' ato above the hill before the attempt, but landed just short at Vivian Park 1.6 kms (1 mile) out in front. Maybe one day..........
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 21:14:44 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2017, 12:59:55 PM »
2 Sep 2017. Saturday. NYM
Flying on three consecutive days in the UK ! Arrived with Nick to see that TO was very busy; just like the previous Bank Holiday. At first one had to work hard to stay aloft, always a good challenge, but things can be a bit tense when your 200' below TO, hugging the ground for lift, with a down-wind ground speed of 40 km.ph waiting for a breathe of lift to take you safely back up to ridge height. Don't think speed flying is for me, lol. Later in the day 'liftier' air arrived allowing for easy flying and height gains of around a grand ato.
Quite a sociable day out, even met a friend from my school days (quite a few years ago, lol) who had recently taken up the sport; good to see you Glyn  :) 
Total air time 1 hr 20 mins
Max alt. 1,000' ato

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2017, 22:20:40 PM »
1 Sep 2017. Friday. Graig Fawr.
Got to the hill at around 4pm. A bit late in the day as the forecast gave the wind to increase by late afternoon; as it did :( Got to TO just in time to see Chris leaving the hill on the western side of the ridge and float away under a cloud street. Technically I guess you could describe my 45 mins flight as 'gale hanging' rather than flying. Got to 800' ato painfully slowly and waited  to be hoovered up under the cloud street forming above. It never happened as the proverbial 'hoover' must have been on a low setting and my patience gave way when the breeze increased even further. At times my ground speed into wind was as little as 7 kph :( Time to pack-up. Chris had a great flight to Bridgend. Good to see him on the hill again after a conspicuous absence.
I knew when leaving my home in Port Talbot that the wind turbines here were turning much too fast, but sometimes you have to give it a go.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2017, 17:24:00 PM »
31 Aug 2017. Thursday. Lletti Siac
Arrived at TO at about 3pm with the breeze light and more WSW.The wind would shut-down as the sun flitted in and out of the clouds; but within a few  minutes of taking off there was more sun than cloud. Further inland the sky was black, thus justifying the choice on a more coastal location. After 40 mins or so the wind had backed even further to the SW and increased significantly. Thermals were also dragging me towards the menacing black clouds that seemed to be spreading out from the Brecon Beacons. Landed after 40 mins of flying in the 'lively' air. On walking back to the car the sky above me was black.
Flying over the purple, heather-covered, bowl in the sunshine made it an enjoyable afternoon. Most of the time spent boating around at 500' ato. Was hoping that the boggy ground in front of the site would work, but alas not to its full potential.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 21:46:18 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2017, 18:26:22 PM »
28 Aug 2017. Monday. NYM.


As with last Friday, didn't pin much hope on there being any wind, but alas on arrival at TO at 3:00 pm ish, the breeze was quite strong. Many pilots at site, half-a-dozen from SWWSC. Took-off soon after arrival in a lull; imperative in the conditions. Similar day to last Friday, but with lots of sunshine and lots of wind. Landed after 1hr 20 mins; had to be dog-sitting later. Max alt. 700' ato. No massive height gains by anyone, certainly didn't see anyone leave the hill. Landed on the plateau behind TO, always a wise move in strong wind conditions, and temporarily lost my GPS unit which slipped out of its holder :( Eventually located it in the long grass; I guess my eye-sight hasn't deteriorated that much, lol. Great day to be out in the strong sunshine with some punchy, but short-lived, thermals. Back home at Cwmafan the wind was non-existant mmmm.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 21:28:31 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2017, 22:00:32 PM »
25 Aug 2017. Friday. NYM.


A light wind day and an overcast sky in the upper  Afan Valley towards NYM found me debating whether or not to venture out. A few minutes later Nick called by on his way to NYM. After a coffee and chat (no great rush today) the sky seemed to improve slightly, so off we headed. We arrived at TO at <3pm> to find the sun breaking through and launched straight away. Not much thermic activity at first, but the wind was strong enough (just) to support a paraglider, will minimal altitude gains. After 20 mins it shut-off temporarily, but switched back on soon after. Between 4 and 5 pm-ish the thermic activity improved slightly to allow one to get to the dizzy heights of around 500' ato mark. The sun disappearing and re-appearing all the time. Not a great day, but everyone on the hill (about 6 pilots) got to fly and there seemed to be some restitutional -type effect when the sun was absent. Total time aloft: 1 hr 20 mins (3 flts). Max alt. 500' ato. After 5pm the wind dropped and the breeze switched off again, so we all headed home.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2017, 22:01:04 PM »
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 17:56:37 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 18:39:19 PM »
10 Aug 2017. Thursday.  Graig Fawr.


Mmmm....a flyable day at last. With a NW forecast and sea temperatures at similar values to that on land, decided to give Graig Fawr a shot. Arrived at 1pm to find conditions very light, but managed to scrape around to the steeper part of the slope to the west of the ridge; still not much lift here either. Landed to wait a while and noticed that even the birds were having a hard time at soaring. An hour later, after taking in the fine views all the way to North Pembs, a more pronounced breeze developed, so launched and gained height right away; in typical GF fashion. At 3,600' amsl (CB around 4,200' amsl) I followed a line of clouds to the south, alternating between 2.5 grand and 3.5 grand and thought I was on my way to a typical 'milk run' to Aberavon beach or Margam Park, but while over Craig Cefn Parc it all went pear-shaped at 10.2 kms.
After a 5-minute walk down from a small ridge I had a lucky lift all the way back to Graig Fawr. A great piece of luck in this remote part of the world with narrow and empty roads.
Back at the van I was tempted to re-launch, but had to be 'dog-sitting' by 5pm; nothing like 'dogging' which doesn't require a dog, lol.
Not a massive distance, but good to be up in the clouds again and to arrive back at GF with one's vehicle intact !
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 22:01:55 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 11:41:39 AM »
9 Jul 2017. Sunday. Merthyr.


Arrived on the hill with Chris at around 1pm. Conditions were light and the wind off to the SW, so no rush to TO. After devouring my sarnies, clipped in and edged around to the S side of the site. Even here the lift was minimal and a sweaty work-out ensued. On seeing Chris and a few others getting some luck out in front of the hill, headed over to the old fork lift factory which paid off. That first climb measured 5 m/s and took me straight to c-base at 4,500' amsl. Drifting east I could see Rhun & Chris ahead, but a few pilots took a more N'ly route. Approaching the Tredegar/Ebbw Vale ridge I got quite low, but managed to climb back up to 3,500' after 'mouching' around the mast near Ebbw Vale flying site. I then decided to cross the A465 and track along the Llangynidr mountain road; it had worked well for me before, but not on this occasion :(
With no lift to be found anywhere, it wasn't long before gravity kicked-in and I was on the deck in nil wind conditions 50 mins after taking off.
Walking a few yards to the mountain road, the first car which passed stopped and gave me a lift; only a mile or so, but I thought my luck was 'in' for the day. More so as the occupants were two ladies. My lucky streak soon fizzled out as I waited over two hours on a section of the old A465 near Beaufort without getting any attention at all; maybe I should have shaved before coming out. Forgotten how frustrating and tedious hitching can be.
Rhun saved the day by organizing a retrieve and thanks to Anna and the 'Binks mobil' I was back at TO to do a retrieve myself; Chris was at Monmouth. The day ended with a chat with Chris over a cold lime n lemonade. Joyio.
Big thanks to Anna and Aaron for the lift back to TO :)
Distance, only 17.3 kms (5 tps), but always enjoyable to fly over the valleys in summer.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 12:14:55 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2017, 20:19:01 PM »
9 May 2017. Tuesday. Pontlottyn.


Arrived at TO around midday, just in time to see Nick launch and, within minutes, was way up high and way out in front. In fact people were a bit concerned as to were he had 'disappeared' to, it was so quick.
I launched a few minutes later, but only managed the vertical bit; 1,500' ato in about 2 mins. Pushing forward only lead to decreasing altitude. Needles to say Nick soon became invisible in the hazy and  blue sky. I only tolerated the 'bouncy' conditions for 40 mins before taking a break; most-turbulent stuff from the surface up to about 500'. Para-waited for an hour, in which time Nick returned having closed his triangle. My second flight was only 10 minutes due to the conditions being similar to my first flight.
No XC, but a great place to spend a sunny spring afternoon; great views. As with last week's flight at Ebbw Vale, a 'first' for me to fly these 'c breeze-free' E'ly sites. This year I'm certainly getting my money's worth from SEW sites.


Total air time: 50 mins
Max alt: 1,500' ato
Thermal strength: 5 m/s....and quite punchy !
 

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 17:19:01 PM »
7 May 2017. Sunday. Heol Senni.
Arrived at TO at around midday to find the wind very light, but thermals cycling through every so often. On the hill, Dave S, Jon M, Chris D and two chaps who'd travelled from afar to get here. Wasted no time in launching at the start of a cycle and was hoovered up over the quarry with a gaggle. The smile came off my face as I ended up ridge soaring the Fan G bowl after only 10 mins and 4kms. Chris was high, way out to the south, leaving Jon and myself fend-off the 4kms walk back to TO :( After 30 mins of patiently waiting, not before being about 100' below the bowl ridge at one point, Jon sniffed out a thermal out in front and was away, joined shortly after by myself. Over the 'boonies' near the Abercrave caving club/quarry I sensed it was my last chance at gaining altitude before the glide over to Seven Sisters hill. I topped up, but not by much. A gamble of a glide saw me start to get high again as some lift appeared over Onllwyn. This got me onto the SS ridge and up to 4,600' amsl; the highest part of the flight. From high above SS I could see the sea breeze front not too far to the west near Clyne. The plan was to gain some height and head south, cross-wind, to Glyncorrwg, but the magic thermal never materialised. At this point my fingers were going numb and my 'pee valve' was at bursting point  :o . Landed at Clyne in a field I'd used some years ago. I was lucky with lifts; one from the main 'old' Neath Road to Aberdulais, then a while later the same chap returned and gave me a lift all the way home. What a guy !

Total distance: 28 kms (with TPs)
Max alt: 4,600' amsl
Thermal strength: 5.5 m/s  :)
Time: 2hrs


Thanks to Dave for driving my 'Scudo' and looking after Tilly (dog).
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 19:55:56 PM by Steve Jones »

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2017, 08:54:09 AM »
2 May 2017.  Tuesday.  Ebbw Vale.
A new site for me and hard to find due to the non-exsistence of any info on the SEW web site (poor show). I followed my nose and eventually found TO with Viv, Nick & Kev (RAF) on the hill, Chris having already departed on his epic flight to Carmarthenshire. Wasted no time in kitting-up as conditions looked good, though just before I launched at 1.30pm ish, Nick was below ridge height looking up at me :( . Once airborne the air was quite lively with the tips of my stable S9 tucking every so often just above ridge height. As with most good days, it wasn't long before we all got hoovered upwards and away from the hill. Clouds seemed to be drifting from a  SE'ly direction. Panning out just below CB at the 5,000'amsl mark I sat back and took in the views below, while keeping an eye on Nick a few kms out in front. After a few top-up thermals and approaching Merthyr my luck ran out as I watched Nick climb out while gravity took me down to land to the west of the town.
A short walk over the A470 to the bus station saw me at the main road between Tredegar and Ebbw Vale within an hour of landing, but I didn't realise that TO was another three miles away up the track across Manmoel Common; no buses here. After a mile I hid the glider in a forest and after a further two miles I reached my van. Quite a walk, phew.
Despite the return walk/work-out, a great day high-up above the world on a beautiful spring day :)


Max altitude: 5,000' amsl
Distance:15.7 kms
Time: 50 mins


Couldn't think of anywhere better to be on a nice day. Well done to Chris & Nick who did two epic
flights into Carmarthenshire, 80+kms each !

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 16:42:14 PM »
8 Apr 17. Saturday. Cwmafan
After two nil-wind days it was good to see a breeze develop, but it was forecast to come from the SE :( Watching the hill (from my back garden) for the appearance of a wing in the air nothing materialised, until Dave S text to say it was 'on the hill' at around midday. Arrived and TO at about 2pm into a cloudless, blue sky. Fearing that this was the result of C-breeze intrusion I was pleasantly surprised to get hoovered up to 1,700' ato in a 4 m/s thermals at one point :) Higher than a few hundred feet ato there was hardly any breeze allowing one to push out over 1 km in front of the hill over the town, but on coming into land over an hour later the wind was measuring 25 mph  ???  no wonder Dave and Viv didn't/couldn't TO. Spent a splendid 1hr 10 mins above Cwmafan in the brilliant sunshine with some kites and buzzards to boot; no swallows today. Never been so high above Cwmafan and stayed on the hill, a lack of clouds put me off any XC hopes.
Well done to Dave and Viv for carrying out an impromptu litter pick; it goes down exceptionally well with land owners and shows that we do appreciate the places we fly from.

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 20:11:28 PM »
2 Apr 17. Sunday. Fan G.
Initially I was heading for Merthyr, but a nil-wind day meant Fan G. Arrived at the gate at just past midday to find that some 'Numpty' had parked in front of the barrier. Luckily the culprit was walking up the track with a picnic (non-paraglider). Arrived at TO at 1:30ish to find a lot of folks para-waiting in the nil-wind conditions. Peter L. had just walked up and a few minutes later TO on what looked like a T to B, with some gasps and comments all round. Not sure what he saw, but suddenly his down-ward glide turned into an epic climb to base  8)  This had the effect of causing a flurry of activity; firstly by Nick who was also airborne and then by a score of others; sadly I was one of the handful of pilots who didn't 'seize the moment' and take-off and spent another hour 'faffing' about on top. Nice one Peter (man of the match). Within the next 30 mins those who had launched after Peter had differing fates, some flew off into the distance up-wind, others returned to the hill, some could be seen bombing-out; saw some one (Rhun ??) go down at Moel Feity. The wind did increase later, when it backed SW and a an hour or so of fun was had by those left behind after Peter's launch. I had  an hour, max alt. 500' ato. Kitted out for cloud-base with heated gloves, but never got there, lol.
I did try out my new 'fit-over' sunglasses (they fit over prescription glasses) which worked really well ......cheers Nick, great bit of kit.
Lots of pilots out, too many to mention. It would be interesting to hear of everyone's fate today. The 6 million dollar question goes to Peter ......... what did you see out there  ;D [size=78%]? One great leap of faith in catching that climb.[/size]

Offline Steve Jones

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Re: SteveJ's flying diary 2017
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2017, 15:50:29 PM »
9 Mar 17.  Thurs.  Mynydd Dinas.
While entertaining my grandson on Aberafan seafront in the late morning I noticed that the turbines had changed from a NW to W'ly direction, so opted to try MD rather than SSisters. Managed to get to the hill for 1:30pm and TO in a very light breeze. Hardly any dynamic lift, only small bubbles of thermals keeping one aloft; always more rewarding when you have to work to stay up :) Spent 40 mins gaining no more than 200' ato in the strong Spring sunshine....why is it that the smell of sun screen is always uplifting. Tried out my new, and very expensive bi-focal sun glasses, which will take a bit of getting use to :( The forecast was for the wind to drop as it did 40 mins later, when it clouded over. A short while later gravity kicked in and I was forced down. Any flying should be appreciated at this time of year, but maybe a good thermic day is only around the corner.