Presentation on theme: "NDHGPG Club Newsletter October 2009. Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter. We hope you can enjoy the rich content. From real stories to practical."— Presentation transcript:
NDHGPG Club Newsletter October 2009
Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter. We hope you can enjoy the rich content. From real stories to practical courses organised by your club to important dates to put in your agendas. Please read on…
Content 1) Important dates 2) Upcoming talks and workshops 3) A good day at Codden by Richard Osborne 4) Our club’s proposed trip abroad 5) Codden Hill: Do it or lose it 6) Woolacombe 7) Contacts
Important dates Our next AGM will take place on 20 February Venue to be confirmed with the next newsletter on the 15 January Club coach course. Will be organised near Woolacombe on the 13 and 14 march 2010 Please reserve your place if you want to participate. So far, Richard Osborne, Andy Marks and Dominique Lion. Minutes of the committee meetings will in future be available to club members.
Upcoming talks and workshops The purpose of these courses is for us to share information, knowledge and skills. GPS learning by Chris Blanchard Date: 11 November 2009 at 7.30pm at the Shipaground in Mortehoe (near Woolacombe) Instruments by Geoff Hoer (to be confirmed) Date 9 December Cross country flying organised by Richard Osborne with Guest speakers Date: TBA Meteorology by Date: TBA Safety workshop Date: TBA
A Good Day Out At Codden by Richard Osborne Date 20/04/09 Weather: moderate breeze from the NNW. Post cold front, first day of a ridge of high pressure. Forecast: to back into the West during the day. Viz: fairly good with haze. Air: warm for time of year. Expected base of 5k-typical feisty Spring thermals. By what do we measure a good and memorable XC flight? Is it the distance flown? Is it the sheer joy and exhilaration of the flight? The fantastic views? The mind-blowing excitement of coring up to base in a smooth 12 up thermal (ft)? The mental challenge? Or is your main factor how long you’ve been in the air? Of course it’s all of these things and many many more, but I often hear Pilots waxing lyrical about distance. Personally I would rather have a 50k flight that’s packed with quality lasting 4 hours than a 70k one lasting 2. I guess what I’m saying is that racing isn’t for me. I struggle to record and retain a fraction of all the sublimely wonderful moments of a flight even when I take my time. For me to race is to waste available air time in order to achieve distance-though I suppose there is something to be said for landing earlier so you can have more time to get home again….Nah! Don’t get me wrong though, I’d love to do a long flight just as long as it lasts a long time too.
It was looking good for Codden and I was amazed that just two of us were on the hill early, bearing in mind that it was likely to back and as we all know, Codden gets entertaining when the colder sea air starts flushing through from the West. I try hard to do one of two things before this happens. 1/ land and stay landed, or 2/ be as high as possible and therefore in a good and safer position to take a free ride to the clouds on the Flushed thermals. I believe what happens is thermals get triggered en-masse by the encroaching cold sea air but it doesn’t last long, all too soon any decent sized thermals are gone, only to be replaced by rough turbulent air, that is way too far off the hill to be safe or usable. Indeed on this day all the signs were telling me to take option 1/ so I came in to land, but just as I was putting the landing gear down, in the corner of my eye I saw a group of Buzzards, 5 or more displaying in courtship. They were a committing glide away, but I remember thinking “ surely they’d only do that in good lift?” In the next instant I’m on my way, my eyes glued to the birds, and ludicrously leaning forward in my harness as if to get me there faster. My luck was in. They stayed and when I got there my reward was stunning. The thermal could so easily have been chopped and gnarly, but no, it was huge smooth and going up at a steady 400 foot per minute, about 2 M/S for those in metric. With the breeze now from the WNW, my climb out was almost parallel with the hill, which felt bizarre, but hey I wasn’t complaining! Together with the amorous Buzzards I climbed smoothly to a 4,000 foot cloud base…but I had a problem. I could see that my track was going to be way outside of the vector of land we normally fly over. The problem with this is you don’t have the luxury of known thermal sources and trigger points.
Well, maybe all the oily fish I’ve been eating gave my brain a boost because ideas were coming thick and fast! I thought “how about try and follow the Link road in the hope that thermals would be being triggered by it”. Also I could see the railway line a few miles South of me which I thought might do the same. I can report the lift was prolific along the A361, the trouble was I was having to ‘Crosswind it’ because following the road was left of track this meant lots of height loss between climbs. So I decided to turn right and make for the railway line figuring it was more in line with the ESE downwind track. I naughtily climbed an extra 1,000 feet into my last road cloud which was near South Molton; because I needed max height to stand any chance of making my chosen cloud. Big mistake!, With a wan anxious look back at my lost heights, I realised I had underestimated the distance to it. By the time I arrived at the point where my target clouds thermal should have been, it had stopped feeding. I desperately searched, but I was simply below the lift and going down fast. At 1,500 feet I switched to low save and landing options mode, I glided towards a village thinking “ Oh well at least I can get some grub and drink” when off to my right I saw two tractors ploughing a dark scrubby field. The detour would mean I would land a little short of the village but it had to be worth a shot. I searched in the likely area and eventually found zeros 1 up then 1 down, and found that by flying really slowly and smoothly I could maintain my lowly 500 feet. This I did for 15 minutes or more, and then bingo! The massive bubble I was in let go and Oh what joy! What perfect joy: 2 up - 4 up - accelerating to a glorious 12 up (in feet remember so 1,200 feet per minute.) I gave my glider free reign and simply hooked in whooping and yelling with joy. Within just four minutes I was enveloped by a rapidly developing cloud, whose base was now over 5k. I was so buzzed up I had to slap my self to get focused again, imagine how ridiculous I must have looked, a bloke hanging under a chute in the mist slapping his grinning boatrace!
Suitably refocused, but still grinning with uncontrollable delight I set about making a plan. Using the snail trail on the GPS, (Garmin 76CS) I flew for the downwind side of my cloud, for by now I was deep within it. I emerged and looked down at the billowing banks of the whitest cauliflower cloud I have ever seen. I decided to stay with this one so I dove back in now and then, and grabbed the elevator to top up my height-which by now was 6,600 feet asl. Thus my cauliflower and me drifted along for ages, giving me whacks of time to work out my next move. I could see the lift had formed into streets and I’d been watching the first cue of a street forming and reforming over the same area. That had to be my target, a distant one none the less. I planned my route to it carefully, I had to cross streets again because I was at the end of mine, and my beautiful cauliflower was decaying. I flew down my lift line in the blue and crossed (to my left) where I’d be over possible sources and triggers. It cost me 2k, but I arrived with a cosy 4.5k. Once back at base I flew down the street and this time drifted with the one before the end because there was miles of blue downwind. Then my whole street dissolved, the lift with it, leaving me 5.5 k over Crediton. I could see Exeter and the coast, but needed at least one more climb to make Exeter. So I glided in the blue to the best place to pick up thermals from Crediton. I thought my game was up at 2k, when my wing surged off ahead and to my right. I let it go and within 300 meters it’s game-on again!
On the way up, 3 fighter planes under flew me, hmmmm! Then a twin-engine plane circled me waggling his wings all the way round, coo-el!! By now I knew I had Exeter in the bag, so I checked my track with the looming air space and saw I had to check right to keep well clear. At 4k and floating with a glide angle of 35:1 (due to the warm city air letting go) I cruised lazily toward Exmouth. What a laid back end to the flight, the air was luxuriously smooth and buoyant. The day was shutting down so I settled down to enjoy the views. I flew out to Topsham so I could look down at the Royal Marine training camp, where 39 years ago I had to grow up, and fast. Seems like 39 minuets ago. I’d been feeling a slight headwind, (sea breeze), so I used my remaining height to glide back towards Exeter. I landed in a massive athletics field on the south Eastern outskirts of the city. My trustee Omega wafted down to the grass: job done. I always think at this point, “ Damn clever things these Paragliders”, no horrible engine just the glider, me, and the elements. What’s more, very shortly, this capable aircraft will be folded away into a bag and I’ll be walking off with it on my back to find a pub to have a long cool beer. Brill!! It will take hours for me to adjust reluctantly back to being a terrestrial creature again, for my heart, mind, and soul, is far more at home in the sky. I can only hope that when my times up, I get to be re- born as a graceful soaring bird, An eagle would be brill, (not a bald one though), a buzzard even ? ? knowing my luck, I’ll come back as a penguin! Those ones that stand still on the ice for three months with an egg on their feet in 100 mph winds at minus 40 degrees c. Brrr Brrr!
As predicted by Mr Osborne, here he is 50 years later
Summary, Lessons learnt: Be ready for the flushing, be down or up high Trust the birds. Courting birds ‘DO IT IN LIFT’! I really shouldn’t fly in clouds (but I love it) Big roads and railway lines work More work needed on my transition tactics, and judging distances Plan the route across streets with great care Be patient in light lift low down, it might be a thermal waiting to let go Take more pictures to help me remember the flight Don’t drink so much tea before take off (but I love it) In my view the quality is more important than the length, though not all may agree!
Trip Abroad Our next trip is heading to Switzerland, a place called Verbier in the canton of Valais. The dates are from 13 June till 20 June. We will be staying in a chalet providing accommodation, food (mornings and evenings), transport to the hills and retrieve for XC pilots. Have a look at for more details. Fee for your stay is CHF1190 plus flights and transport to and from the airport.
Codden Hill Do it or lose it Unfortunately due to several mistakes with the padlocks on the gate at Codden Hill, we nearly lost the hill a couple of weeks ago. It is only thanks to “diplomatic” talks with the farmer and a new system in place that we have managed to keep it. Please see a picture on the next slide of how it should be when you arrive and leave. Follow steps 1 and 2 using the brass club lock only. If you are in doubt, call one of us!! Contacts: Joe Jordan , Richard Osborne , Dominique Lion
Woolacombe Tally system. We all know there is one, it is just a question of making sure we use it correctly so as to insure there is no confusion. Pass through the gate and turn it over. Woolly road on the hill to first gate to be used. To all the people going across to take off, please use the track from now on so that the field is not churned up. New wind socks in place (screamer by gate, wind sock in centre and streamer at far end). The last person on the hill should take down the wind sock. Please rap it in the polythene bag provided. Upcoming receipt system (for visiting pilots) to be set up for new season (a specific box will be available at the take off gate to keep receipts) Also in the box will be the new emergency procedure chart (laminated sheet with grid ref, lat, long) more info in next newsletter
Contact Editorial : Dominique Lion on Please call or at if you want to write an article or report about a special trip, etc to be inserted in the next edition of the newsletter. Contributions are welcome and You will find all the contacts you need on our website: