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Chris Dusgate's flying diary

22 August

Spending a week in the Peak District at my parents, usually a guarantee of poor weather. Flew Bradwell today (max 1600 ft ato), along with about 10 others went Xc but the furthest of us did only about 7k to Stanage edge..  friendly lot the derbyshire pilots and got a lift back to the hill for 3.15pm, decided to call it a day then only for the sky to improve as I drove home, hope i haven't blown it by not flying again.

7 September
Heol Senni

Arrived 12.30 ish

Steve P and I then waited a bit as seemd quite strong and off to N too much (NNW?) Took off about 2pm with Steve who went over the back to fly to Gowerton for 40something k. I landed 2.30pm as was just gale hanging and wind too off to N. Took off again 3pm with SJ,TG and GJ, still off to N at times but less so and slightly less wind. Eventually went over the back at 4.30pm (inspired by Gareth's 5pm special of July !!). Managed to fumble down to Pontardawe, air was quite buoyant over the hills either sider of the Swansea valley but I made the mistake crossing the valley to get to the RHS (tempted by Alt-y-Graig), alot of sink when crossing. In hindsight given the good tail wind and the buoyant air I'd have been better off staying on the LHs and gliding on, would probably have made Neath. Nice flight tho' for 27k straight line, 32.4k with the turnpoints.

10 September,

what a gem of a day, words are not enough but i'll try!

Went to Bryn Caws for mid day to find John Nash and Humphry there. Steve J,Steve B and Tom also turned up later. Had a nice bit of flying for 90mins in total before it went to far off to the south. Max ato  = 1300 feet with SJ, we nearly went XC.

After a chat Steve Jones and I decided to give Cwmafan a go, quote from me "we won't be going Xc  so there's no need to share a car up the hill" !!!.In my defence I'd say that at this time the sky was blue. Launched at 3pm at Cwmafan into a fair breeze. After a brief examination of the gorse/bracken re -launched at 3.30pm and pushed out to get height in order to work the thermals. Sky now looked a lot better with two cloud streets heading North, must have been some form of convergence cloud. Went over the back at approx 2500feet asl. followed the clouds and found a wek climb over Neath. with good drift this took me just north of Pontardawe. The air was buoyant with weak climbs. I used my GPS to maximise ground speed on glides as that seems to be the way to ensure you stay in convergence. Passed over Rhiwen at 4000ft (max for the day) and after some more patient working of o.5 m/s lift went on a lovely final buoyant glide for 15k to land 4k NW of Llandovery.

The retrieve was almost as good as the flight. Lift from friendly farmer in whose field I landed on his quad bike back to his farm then a lift from him and his daughter who had a drving test the next day into Llandovery. From Llandovery I got a lift after 2 mins of hitching to Sennybridge. Hitched there for 5 mins until a familiar white VW polo appeared. Nick returning from the Homegrown festival gave me a lift all the way back to the hill, informing me that my flight of 45.7k straight line had broken his site record !!. With the turnpoints the flight scored 48.8k (please enter Steve, ta). Retrieve time from landing to my car = 1hr 50 mins  = flight time, what a result. A great day the only mistake I made was not to buy a lottery ticket on the way home to fully capitalise on my good luck! Thanks to Steve Jones for offering to come and get me if I got stuck.

26 September

Went to Merthyr with Steve J.

Took off just before midday, lots of lift but broken. The nice looking cloud streets didn't want to seem to line up with Merthyr. Eventually went over the back just before 1pm with Steve, hangie and an Omega 6. Steve had found the thermal initially and the Omega 6 and I couldn't get up beyond 1300ft ato some 300ft below Steve. Worked some weak lift near Foch Rhiw whilst the others pushed on. Went to join them only to go down just below them as they worked a low save thermal with which they drifted over into the next valley with. A grand total of 7.3 k to land just SE of Abbertyssg (Spelling ?). In hindsight shouldn't have gone over the back at that time as the sky was too blue behind, got suckered by the best of thermal of the day so far. I guess impatience got the better of me.

Still I guess I was due a bomb, what was it Kipling said about facing success and failure equally (or something).

Well done to Steve for getting back up and to Nick who has done 60k, I didn't think the day was that good (hmm).


4 October, Letty Siac

Took off at 12.15 and hooked thermal with Neil straight away. took us to 1500 ft ato.Streets down wind looked great but by the time we got there not so great, Seemed to get a thermal off the new wind farm (300ft above turbines !!!, allbeit to the side slightly. got to cloudbase once, it was 3300feet asl. The terrain over the valleys made things tricky with many of the hills being 1500-2000ft high. After a jostle with a lee sider went on a bumpy glide and landed (crashed) just the other side of Treorchy. I had a frontal as I was trying to soar a hill, thankfully only 20ft from the deck at the time and landed on bracken/boggy ground.

THanks to Steve J for the lift up the hill and well done to Neil for doing approx 18k . My flight worked out at 25.3k with turnpoints and 24k straight line.

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