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Steve Jones Flying Diary 2008
#1

  Cwmafan  Sunday 6th Jan 08

The wind backed SE quicker than anticipated. Arrived at Nant y moel for 10 am with Andy H. to find the wind already S of SW. By the time we reached Cwmafan it was slightly SE of S, but flyable. Spent about 30 mins attempting to creep around to the SE face, below the top TO, in the all too light breeze.
With a slight increase in the wind, eventually made it across the trees to top TO where it was easy to stay up. Spent over an hour here in some small thermals produced when the sun came out. Managed to fly out from the hill some distance and had a 'grand' view (1,000'ato !!) of the Richard Burton 10 Km race below. Later the wind seemed more SE'ly and after landing set off with 4 nice people from Gloucester to Bryncaws who had just arrived at the lower TO.
TO within a few minutes of arriving at BC......only to be caught in a rain shower which ended play for me; got too wet and too cold standing around. After the shower had passed-over Andy and I left the hill to the visitors; some of whom managed a few minutes airtime in an ever-increasing wind.
Top marks a very enthusiastic Andy for attempting to get around the trees at Cwmafan.
Not a bad day out considering it's mid-winter.
#2

    Mynydd Dinas    12th January 08

Took advantage of a small window in the otherwise dismal weather conditions of late. Arrived at TO with Andy H. at about 10:30 to find the wind on the hill, but a bit on the light side. Flew for 30 mins in brilliant sunshine before the wind disappeared altogether. The next hour was made up of short ridge runs and a few slope landings; quite a work-out on a hill that has almost a 60 degree slope !
At 1pm the wind increase enough to stay airborne, but had backed slightly to the south. Flew for about an hour in the increasing breeze before bottom landing in the playing fields below TO. Max ht gain 400' ato. As predicted, within the next hour it started to rain, by then I was home and dry, literally.
Well done Andy for  braving the intimidating TO of MD.
#3

  Talybont      Saturday  9th Feb 08

On arriving at Bryncaws farmhouse with Andy H. at 11am found the wind to be nil. Met up with Sheryl, Andy & Glyn who were also heading for BC.
On then to Talybont where it was blowing 23 mph SW'ly; as predicted by the Beacons forecast.
Being light on my wing, waited a while for the wind to drop; to 20 mph ! 
Spent an hour soaring the small SW ridge with about 6 other wings. Ivor, Gareth, Max T. and a few visiting Poles flying the far side ridge.
Small broken thermals mixed with the dynamic lift helped keep everyone airborne until 4pm when we all headed for the deck due to the wind dropping off.
Great day to be out PG'ing on the sunny slopes of Talybont. Conditions were a bit strange, a strong breeze, but very little lift; 150' ato tops. Nice sensation to be hunting thermals again.
Also good to meet up with old friends.

#4

  Bryncaws    11th Feb 08

Arrived on the hill at 10am with Andy h. and had to wait a while for the wind to pick-up. Flew for about an hour; some small but usable thermals out in front of the hill. Max ht. gain 300'ato. Wind seemed to drop for a while at around 1 ish, and never really got going again all afternoon. Left the hill at 4 pm. A day of unbroken sunshine; sunglasses and sun block required It seems that spring is just around the corner. Good to see some new club members on the hill; Rob Curtiss, Rob & Tina Browning to name but a few.
#5

Abernant        Tuesday  12th Feb 08

Arrived at the hill with Andy H. for about 12:30. At this point the wind was 12 mph. Took off, headed for the 'black pyramid' in front of the hill and rocketed up to 700' ato before the thermal petered out.
Flew around for 30 mins before the breeze increased to 22 mph, which ended play for me; though Andy stuck it out for another 40 mins. On landing saw some wave bars over Rhiw wen. Rob B. who was at Pandy mentioned nil wind there; sounds as is there was some wave activity over the Beacons today.
After being blown out at Abernant, called in at Bryncaws on the way home, TO at 4. Spent another 30 mins boating around the eastern side of the hill, over the forestry. Beacons looked superb in the setting sun from 500' ato; excellent visibility.
#6

  Fan G.  Wednesday 28th Feb 08

Headed for Fan G as most of the weather websites contradicted the Beacons forecast and gave mention of a light SW'ly. Met up with Ivor and got to TO at about 12:30 hrs. Hide the car keys as there was a long cloud street directly above the hill; a bit optimistic for February perhaps ??
Even so, on launching we both shot up to 500' in 3 m/s  thermals.  Ivor then managed to get to just over a grand and bolted off XC; up wind !!! I had to watch from above the ridge as he minced about over a kilometre away above Tafern Y Garreg for about 20 minutes. I couldn't follow him as I seemed to be hitting all the sink. The thermals stayed around until the 'street' moved away slightly to the north. The air them became peppered with smaller more narly thermals. This air them became smoother at about 14:00 hrs. A great day to be out, with sun on the ground and a few thermals to boot, what else could we ask for.
Headed back down the track at about 15:oohrs. Incidentally, the upper track behind Fan G. has been repaired somewhat. With the big puddles filled in and narrow sections widened, access to the SW take off is now much easier.
#7

  Hay Bluff    28th February 08

Arrived at Hay Bluff with Ivor at about midday. Took off and enjoyed an hour's flying in some small, but usable thermals; max. ht. 600' ato. Later in the day the cloud increased and activity lulled a little. Nice to see a different view of the Beacons; worth the extra travel time. Air very smooth & thermals gentle. Also on the hill were Max T & Steve Lowe.

#8

  Merthyr    5th March 08

Set off for Merthyr early with Andy H. due to the anticipated increase in wind speed later on. TO at about 10:30 ish and flew for half an hour before it started to rain. Got to cloud base, or rather cloud base lowered to 500' ato.
With  damp wings, Andy and I headed for Aberafan dunes and flew for another half an hour  with the wind slightly off to the W. Managed to dry the wings, but spent an hour in a nearby park emptying the cells of sand and checking for tears; lots of unfriendly debris on the beach. Max ht. gain 30'.
#9

  Rhiw wen  Tuesday 18th March 08

Went to Rhiw Wen with Andy H. TO in light conditions just before mid-day and never got out of my harness until 3:30 pm! A day of two halves; prior to about 3pm the breeze stayed fairly light and it was a challenge to stay aloft, landing back at TO on a number of occasions. Did manage to find a few gentle thermals way out in front of the hill to get to 650' ato and do a few beats from the quarry to the first 'kink' in the ridge to the west.
After 3pm the wind got up and it soon became too windy. Landed in front of the car park at 3:30pm and looked up from the ground to see one of the RAF's new 'Typhoon' fighers head straight for me and buzz the TO area at low level. I'm sure I notam'd the site 'till 4 pm !! 
Though mostly cloudy, a good day out sharing the hill with a couple of kites and climbing in the gentle 3 m/s thermals. Still not time to put the heated-gloves away; air temperature  1 .C.
#10

Lletti Siac  27th March 08

Walked up to the site with Andy as the cows had turned the bottom access area into a pile of sh**. TO at midday into very weak dynamic lift (10 mph)and within 5 mins got up to 1,200 ato in a lively 4 m/s thermal; cloudbase being only a few hundred feet higher. Looked around to see Andy waving his arms in excitement; his first climb to over a grand.
The fall back to earth was also at 4 m/s, looked up at one point to see if my wing was doing its job properly ! Climbed up and down in a number of thermals for 50 mins before wind & thermic activity ceased altogether; an indication that the wind was about to backing around to the SW as forecast. Planned to called in to Mynydd Dinas on the way home, but the smoke stacks nearby were almost horizontal.
Spring has arrived.


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