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Nick's Airtime 2017

19/01/2017 - Abernant

At last, a sunny day with about the right amount of wind!  Arrived shortly after 13:00, Viv and me were soon joined by Aaron, Steve J and a super -fit  Pete Lake out for a bit of bike'n'fly! The sun didn't last but the wind was ok albeit a bit strong on the ground but strangely lighter a few hundred feet up.  We all enjoyed a good flyabout amongst the seagulls kites and crows and landed as the temperature dropped in the latter half of the afternoon.

A bleak midwinterflight but great to get off the ground! Smile

21/01/2017 - Bryncaws

Driving up to the farm 1 o'clock'ish, I see  a few in the!
I park the car  and ..."oh no, the wind must be dropping - they're all scratching or landing"!
I walk up the hill with Dave Stein and we go all the way to the far end of the hill and engage in a bit of parachat with Steve B, Steve W and Ben Burns.  It is a lovely sunny day but no wind now and they tell us how good it had been an hour earlier. " Drat....should've come up earlier"!

However, about an hour if by magic, the wind returns and it's all hands to the toggles!
My faith in the forecast restored, I enjoy a good flyabout  with the others.  there is quite a wind up aloft, but also a bit of thermic lift and we manage some decent forays upwind.  I even manage to fly right out past the farm(don't think I've ever done this in January before)!  After about an hour, the wind seems to be getting stronger and it takes a while to get down into the bottom landing field.  The temperature plummets as the sun goes down......brrrrrr...time to go home  Smile

Great to see a few out on the hill(Steve B, Steve W, Ben, Dave S, Rhun, Karl B, Des and a few others).

09/03/2017 Seven Sisters

Arrived at take-off at midday  with Viv and Nasher to find condtions pleasant but rather light.  There was no hurry to launch but Viv went first and showed it to be quite lifty.  Launching soon after, I managed to sniff out some lift at the usual spots in front of the trees and for a time, managed some decent height gains(max 1000' a.t.o.).  I top-landed after 45 mins to strip off a layer of clothing whereupon, high  cloud cover encroaching from the south, blotted out the sun and switched off the thermal tap!

So, a brief taste of great Spring flying to come but an enticing one Smile

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the track has been repaired since last year although still, it is really only suitable for 4 by 4 vehicles. Smile

15/03/2017 - Nant Y Moel

The weather brightened up rather nicely here  in the Swansea Valley this afternoon so decided to head out further east to Nant y Moel but almost diverted to Fan G  after seeing the low cloud on the hills at Port Talbot!  However, time was getting on(15:00) so Viv and me  decided to carry on up to Nanty and we were pleasantly surprise to see pilots aloft(just!) when we rounded the bend at the top of the Afan Argoed.

With not a lot of wind, we  managed a half hour scratchabout in the warm sunshine with a few of the SEW regulars and visitors. A  brief window of opportunity for some much needed airtime.
The sky was beautifully  sunny and  we could see clearly  the thick fog hugging the coastline 8)


27/03/2017 - Abernant

The wind didn't seem to be too strong in the afternoon so Viv and me  went up to Abernant  hoping to fly at around 14:00.  The wind was on the hill but gusty at times so I launched first to test the air.  Visibility was poor in the haze and  1km to the south, a grass fire was being attended to by the local Fire brigade.

Up in the air, conditions were not particularly friendly and best described as "punchy".  I persevered for 45 minutes and managed some worthwhile thermalling practice with a few climbs up to around 800' a.t.o. but started to feel a little airsickness coming on so joined Viv(who'd wisely declined to launch)back on the ground. 

We thought we'd try some kite flying for a while to see perhaps  if conditions would smooth out a bit later on.  Just as we were getting the kite sorted out, we could smell the smoke from the grass fire to the south and saw that the smoke was now coming directly towards us, heralding the arrival of a seabreeze(15:00) :o

02/04/2017  Fan Gyhirych

Wey hey what a lovely day!  Arrived 10:15 at the layby to see a gathering of club members and students with Nick and Giselle.  After coordinating the gate key procedure, we arrived on top to find a light north to northeast breeze which faded away as per forecast and with a low cloudbase, nobody was keen to launch so some parawaiting ensued.  We had to wait until well into the afternoon(14:00) for the sun to come round a bit.

By this time, the sky was shaping up very nicely and Pete L commented on a tasty looking line of cloud approaching slowly from the northwest.  "worth a try" Pete said and minutes later he was off on a "death glide".  I preferred to hedge my bets and climb a little above launch so I could make it back if it didn't work out.  Lo and behold Pete started climbing and I flew out to connect which prompted a flurry of activity back on launch.  We found a wonderful lifty line and blasted along towards Moel Feity whereupon, I turned towards the high ground above Llyn Y Fan Fawr but didn't like the look of the cloud cover there so changed my mind and headed out to the northeast where I met up with Jon Munro.

Finding another good climb, I decided that the sky was now  looking better back to the west so returned and met up with Tom G and we headed west towards a nice cloud where we could see Pete climbing and then heading south towards the higher ground.  Tom and me took a while to regain enough altitude to follow on and on approach to the high ground, the cloud seemed to be spreading out again and I soon found myself scrabbling around low in the shade and dropped out to the roadside to land.  Tom made it back to Fan G and I could see Pete off to the south and still high over Dan yr Ogof but he must have hit some sink on the way back from there as he didn't quite make it back to the hill.

So, I failed to close my triangle but a great flight nonetheless and a big thankyou to Steve Bain who just happened to be driving past(looking for Rhun) and kindly gave me a lift back.

A great Fan G day Smile

06/04/2017 Fan Gyhirych

A beautiful sunny day with superb visibility,  a light northerly breeze and according to the RASP forecast - a good flying day but not so?  Thermal cycles were strangely weak and there were lots of short flights without making any real height gains and no big 4 o'clock thermal to save the day.  Only four of us there though so plenty of room to work what little lift that was available( me, Viv, Nasher and Steve Parsons)

A lovely day out in the hills though  Smile
and a nice cool pint at the Ancient Briton on the way home Smile

07/04/2017 - Tal y Bont

I needed to be at Brynbach Park, Tredegar at 17:00 to help out at the SEW Parachute Repack so headed up late morning and diverted to Tal y Bont for an afternoon fly.  The conditions were mainly blue and a little hazy but a few gliders were getting up and around so........  the long walk :o

I met up with Kate and Evan on the track  and it was nice to have a chat along the way.  My knees were creaking a bit by the time I got to the top but the rest of me was fine.  I launched into a light breeze and scratched around for a short while before finding a nice climb which allowed me to fly further afield and find a few further  climbs to around 3000' amsl - not really enough for an XC which suited me fine as I needed to be in Tredegar later.  I didn't venture too far but made sure I could comfortably make it back to the carpark!

A good bit of thermal flying in conditions starkly in contrast to the previous day 8) .
Arrived at Brynbach Park 16:59 8) .

11/04/2017  Graig Fawr

The wind was forecast to increase this afternoon but I thought I'd nip over to Graig Fawr late morning and have a look.  Cloud was just starting to form when I arrived .  There wasn't much happening on the ground so I ate my sandwiches while waiting and watching the birds.  The wind had already backed to the west but I managed to launch ok  and crabbed along to the south end of the ridge which faces west.  I found some nice thermal climbs and left the hill just as the seabreeze was arriving and headed northeast on a  nice lifty line just under the cloudbase at around 3500' amsl.  Near Pontardawe, I  was searching around for lift but finding only bits and pieces and crossing to the Farteg, I could feel that the seabreeze had got there first as |I sank down to land at Ystalyfera!

A relatively short XC but an enjoyable one nonetheless.  Many thanks to Nasher for coming out to pick me up and run me down the valley to home where after a coffee, I set off on my bike to Garnswllt where I'd left the car - my first bicycle retrieve of the year Smile    1 hour  22km

13/04/2017 - Fochriw

No joy at Seven Sisters so headed on up to Fochriw and was pleased to see a good few up in the air.  A rather bleak, cold grey day but Viv and me enjoyed some rather nice, dry conditions with a small amount of thermal activity.  I flew out over the Solar Panel farm a few times to see if any thermal generation was forthcoming but found only a few blips so results were inconclusive Big Grin

Nice to chat with a few of the SEW regulars - Norris, karl, Glyn, Lewis, Stuart, Sean and Richard

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