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Nick's Airtime 2017

09/07/2017  Merthyr Tydfil

Viv and me arrived on the hilltop at 10:30 joining Aaron, Anna, Rhun and Rob Szarlat on time for the BCC  briefing.  The skies were overcast so there was no urgency to hurl ourselves off the hillside and with plenty of chatter, a relaxed atmosphere ensued.

At around midday, a few light thermic cycles breezed up from the southwest putting some life into our hitherto limp windsock.  A few launched and despite the still overcast sky flew out optimistically on a Peter Lake style " death or glory" glide towards some seagulls that appeared to be rising a little but were not really circling.  Three gliders  agonisingly succumbed to the deck but Ali Andrews from SEW showed it was possible to climb out and set off towards Abergavenny.

Thereafter, the skies brightened a little and pilots climbed away in small groups or solos by gaining some  initial  height and flying out into the valley to connect with a fairly regular supply of lift - Merthyr doing its magic!

Cloudbase was still a bit low but up and away, I found the going straightforward for a while, meandering along under  a nice active cloud line. Further on however, large amounts of cloud cover made things a bit more tricky but I managed to keep going, maintaining enough height to arrive over Abergavenny and search out a climb over the town.........but on this occasion - no joy.  I ended up on the deck at the foot of the Skirrid a little after 14:00.  A tricky day to get far perhaps but for sure, nothing is guaranteed in paragliding! 

Anyway, our team scored quite well for the day and  the tracks from all teams  showed quite a variation in departure times and direction flown.  On the one hand, Ali Andrews(SEW)went early  and furthest to Ross on Wye but later on, Chris D(not flying in the team) made a landing  near  Ross on Wye too.  Inbetween,  a cluster of pilots from various teams  rendezvoued at the Bridge Inn, Abergavenny for some much needed refreshment Smile

Given the weather forecast, a better than expected day out Smile

And many thanks to Aaron and Anna for the retrieve journey back to Merthyr!

12/07/2017 - Pandy

My first visit of the year to Pandy.  Viv and me had met up with Aaron and Paul Yorke at Hay Bluff with a view to flying down the ridge to Pandy in the early northeasterly then either flying back in the promised easterly or going over the back towards Langorse and returning to the Bluff as the wind drops........pah! :Smile

At the Bluff, the wind was strong and the cloudbase low so we drove around to Pandy and upon arrival, the day was starting to look promising Smile .  Early thermals pinged us up nicely in the area out front from launch but making progress north proved slow and tricky.  Viv was doing well for a while but then dropped down to the fields below and with |Paul down too, I flew back to takeoff and landed to go and retrieve them for a late afternoon flight when I thought conditions would be easier........

However, as it does occasionally in the late afternoon, the wind dropped altogether and we were stuck on launch waiting for some restitution to kick in which never did :Smile

A nice day out though Smile

16/07/2017 - Rhossili

The drizzle lifted as the wind veered to northwest(as forecast).  The sky remained overcast but it was flyable into the early evening when the wind veered through to north and increased.  There were a few in the air when Viv and me arrived at 16:00 with the tandem glider.  Launching at 16:30, we enjoyed a nice flight, scratching our way over to the northwest end of the hill as the wind was initially too light to fly along the cliffs. Landing back on the pimple, it was nice to chat with Steve B, Alan Ross, Gary, Allan, Nicola, Angus and Kate and Evan who also enjoyed  flying  the tandem glider.

Great to see a few out on the hill including some low airtime hanglider pilots  being coached by Dave Tregaskis from SEW  Smile

17/07/2017 -  Heol Senni

A cloudless sky and somewhat milky  made for conditions not quite as good as forecast.  Arriving at mid day with Viv,  we ascended the hill to find  Aaron, Gary, Chris D, and  Steve P  already preparing to fly.  The winds were light so I was in no hurry and last to launch just as Nasher was arriving.  The others had worked up a bit of height by the time that I managed to hook into a nice weak but steady climb up to around 3000' amsl where the lift seemed to break up but further weak bubbles took me a little higher. Aaron joined me and we drifted away towards Fan G where we found some more weak lift.  Conditions were not nearly  good enough for a triangle but I knew that Aaron fancied flying home to Gwynfe so we glided across to the Fan Hir ridge thankfully without hitting any major sink on the way in the light winds. 

Soaring up the Fan Hir ridge in such an area of wilderness  is always a thrill and we spent quite a time enjoying the ridge and anticipating another thermal ride across the Black Mountain.  After a while though, the wind increased and although easy to maintain height, thermal height gains were not great. Aaron went over the back with not a great deal of height but I could see that he would probably make it home to Gwynfe with a bit of "gully gobbling".  I stayed put for another 30 mins  before finding a reasonable climb to just over 4000' at 15:00  A good glide and following wind took me all the way to the Rhiw Wen road with height to spare so  I carried on to the west , touching down in a field near Llandybie at 15:40 Smile .

32km in 2hrs 55mins

Two very lucky lifts later saw me  back at home at 17:05 with the kettle on  - happy days Smile

07/08/2017 - Rhossili

Arrived at 15:30 and found conditions most agreeable.  Having not flown for a few weeks, I wasted no time in getting airborne and enjoying the light 'n lifty(faintly thermic) conditions.  A few others were also aloft with more arriving during the early evening.  The wind soon picked up to become a bit on the breezy side but remained manageable for the rest of the evening.  I flew for around 2hrs 30mins. 

Flying window certainly appreciated Smile

10/08/17 - Fan G

Arrived a bit later than planned as the road up to the gate  was once again closed so we had to divert via Defynnog.  Up on launch at 12:30, there was only Viv and me on the hillside. The wind was very light and the clouds looked messy. At around 13:00 however,  a sailplane could be seen just to the north which I presumed to have come from Talgarth.  I launched first and flew only briefly as conditions were somewhat punchy.  A little later and with more cloud cover though, things smoothed out nicely and we enjoyed some pleasant soaring with weak thermals.  I made a few forays out to the west with limited success before landing back on the hilltop.  After 14:00, a more pronounced breeze kicked in from the northwest and things started to liven up unfortunately just after Viv had slipped away down to the roadside leaving me to retrieve the car from the top.  I flew a small triangle reaching heights over 4000' amsl at times before landing back on top again just after 16:00.  At this point, clouds to the east were shaping up nicely indicating that a late afternoon  flight downwind might  have been quite good!

A good aerial workout Smile

Spotted some tree clearance work  going on over at Moel Feity - maybe some hope for flying  that hill yet!

13/08/2017 - Nant Y Moel

Awoke to a beautiful sunny morning in my tent at Aaron's place after a hearty barbecue last night.  However, glorious sunshine faded to grey quite quickly as the clouds filled in by around 11:00.  Hopes for a Fan G day diminished and a plan B for Nant Y Moel was adopted.  Arriving mid p:m, there was not a lot happening - skies were grey and windmills barely stirred.  A few were waiting patiently including Ben, Mike T and Dave Stein from our club.  After a while, the sun poked through and the windmills started to turn.  Lightly thermic soarable conditions ensued and for the rest of the afternoon, some quite enjoyable flying took place with some reasonable height gains(max 700' a.t.o.) Smile

Left the hill at 17:00 just as tomorrows inclement  weather started to show its hand  out to the southwest.

25/08/2017 - Nant y Moel

Arrived mid p:m with Steve J to find a few scratching along in the light winds.  The sun was out(just 8) )
but not for long!  We launched into some very light conditions and soon had to partake in some groundhandling and kiting practice to get back up the slope!  However, things did improve and I managed to latch on to a weak thermal for a climb to 1000'a.t.o. A little later, Dave Stein arrived just as  the wind picked up a little and we enjoyed some nice soaring conditions until early evening .  The sky to the south was looking very grey...not sure what tomorrow will bring Tongue

26/08/2017 - Rhossili

A gorgeous sunny day and flying conditions that turned out to be rather splendid!  As per forecast, the wind was light until mid p:m but thereafter, perfect conditions ensued for the multitude of gliders using both the Pimple and Top launch areas.  Axis, Paraventure and Pembrokeshire Paragliding were busy with EP's and tandem passengers and the SWWSC Tandem saw some action too!  At times, there were fifteen or more gliders in the air but lifty thermic bubbles ensured that there was always plenty of room to manoeuvre.

A great day out 8)

31/08/2017 - Rhossili

Another fine sunny day at Rhossili!  Flyable all day with up to a dozen in the air at times.  Good to see faces old and new plus a few visitors and some training going on with the Combined services.  The wind veered to northwest in the early evening allowing a nice cliff-run to finish 8)
Club members aloft - Steve B, Jon M, Andy Brazier, Colin P, Des and Ben Armstrong.

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