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2 May 2017


Ebbw Vale with VB and NR with SJ arriving later. 
Launched just after 1pm and after 10 mins of bimbling around in a fairly strong wind I got a lovely climb (5 m/s ) to base (approx 4,500ft asl).  A top up led me to Fochrhiw. The immediate sky didn't look so helpful then and I ended up very low over north Merthyr. Managed to get a climb and after a better one more towards Aberdare the conditions improved to a 5,000feet CB. From Penderyn common to Llandybie conditions were excellent, although perhaps a bit more drift would have been helpful. I crossed just South of the top of the Fans and I feel this is a good line. It was then that I met up with a couple of paragliders who had launched from Pandy. The Sea breeze was clearly pushing in very strongly around Carmarthen and an attempt to get round it failed for all , but hey a PB of 76k so well chuffed. thanks to everyone for their congrats on FB/Telegram.


Having gone XC from Pontlotyn only once before and Ebbw Vale never, I have only a small amount of experience of Xcing this route but it does appear that Merthyr is a bit of a crux move. SJ got downed here and others did when I flew from Pontlotyn to Brynamman 15 years ago. Both Nick and I got low around here yesterday. When flying from Fan G the bowl Merthyr is in has also seemed to be a bit of a sink area in the past.


I don't think there was much more we could have done re the Sea Breeze pushing in at Carmarthen. A slightly stronger prevailing wind might have helped to push it back a bit.  It was great to be high in the air to the west of the Fans and to be able to see the sea towards Cardigan Bay. The SB was clearly pushing in here a fair way as well, judging by the clouds.


Thanks Viv for driving my car back to Swansea.


A day I will probably never forget  Smile 


Link to flight here:
http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20171445.html








http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20172197.html

Bradwell, Derbyshire 3 June


Finally a visit to my parents in the Peak District coincided with a good flying day. The forecasts suggested it might be too windy but was ok on the hill. 50 paras + 10 hangies , so v busy. I left the hill before 12 which is a new one for me. After getting low around 20k out I resolved to stick with the gaggle of 6 i was with. We cross-winded on glides slightly to avoid airspace to the north. Transition from hills to flatlands was gentler than S Wales so no horrible sink.


Base went up to 5,000 feet on the flatlands (lovely flying). At 70k climbs became a bit weaker and I mistakenly thought after looking at both GPSs and a paper airmap  that we were going to enter restricted airspace unless we cross-winded a lot and I ended up going down at Lincoln for 80k and a small improvement in my PB. The others flew through my 'dodgy' airspace and went on to fly onto the coast for 130-140k,  :-\ :-\ , never mind I know now what to do for next time. Scampton Red Arrows base MATZ OK at weekends unless NOTAMS (the danger area type edge shading for Scampton on the paper map confused me).


So cracking views,not least Lincoln Cathedral, but I do think the Brecon Beacons are better (assuming of course one can get over them !!!)
Looks like you're in the groove at the moment Chris! Nice flight.  Smile
1 September 2017


Day of 2 sites. Forecast was for N winds backing, fairly strong.


Rhiwen, took off at noon and had a 20 minute flight, pushed 2.5 k round to the left of takeoff but got decked coming back. Max ato = 700 feet, thermals not really properly formed yet/not big enough to work. Walk back up to takeoff, wind gusting into low 20s mph so decided to have a look at Graig Fawr on the assumption it was lower and the wind was going to back slightly.


Graig Fawr,


Took off 3pm, wind a bit off to the north and fairly strong so I inevitably ended up at the south end of the hill which was more into wind and soarable. Better thermals than Rhiwen but a bit gale hangish (forward speed prob averaging 10-12 km/h). Got a nice climb up to around 2,500 feet asl but downwind sky not so nice (there had been some high cloud messing up the sky) so flew back to the hill (slowly, penetration seemed easier once in front of the hill (venturish!).


Next climb I took to over 3,000 feet and went with that. Because of the NNW wind I tried to crab to the east once gliding because I did not want to end up with a shortish flight to Swansea Bay, also better clouds that way. Tactic seemed to work and then got low around Jersey Marine, which often seems to happen from Graig Fawr. I got a climb however which was enough to take me over Aberavon where a better climb was found. By now the drift was better in that it was more NWly than NNWly and I was able to follow a nice line of clouds over the steel works etc to eventually land just south of Bridgend. Directly inland was blue but towards the high ground the clouds looked nice.The last 4k or so were done below the 2,000 feet airspace limit so probably made the best of it (another 3-4k and I had to be on the deck cos of Cardiff airspace). Down low the wind was a bit stronger so there was probably a bit of sea breeze despite it being late in the summer. This time of year flights can be rewarding at Graig Fawr as the sea breeze effect is weakened and nice lifty lines (weakened sea-breeze) seem to set up in the right areas in my experience.


Am really pleased the new glider, Gin Explorer, feels very solid in the air despite it's relatively high aspect ratio (for a B).


Really big thank you to Steve Jones who came and retrieved me and took me back to my car.


Track log is here:
http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20173652.html