Archive for February, 2007

Feb Club Meeting In Fife

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
  • Ally Soars above the Forret Quarry!

A great day out on Saturday 17th Feb 2007 was had by Ali, Ian, Triantafyllos, Murray and a number of PPC students.


I sped down from Aberdeen after having packed the TT with my gear the previous evening and reached over to pay the Tay Bridge Toll, always interesting in a LHD car!  

Met up at the field below Forrett Hill, up to the top on the pickup and measured the wind speed at the top. Too strong conditions so we moved down to the plateau below the wee quarry. Ali was up and out front. Triantafyllos turned up and we went up at the same time. Murray and passenger then went up followed by Ian. So the site became busy and good look out was required with good soaring conditions.

Big regret I have is not connecting up the Helmet Cam in that it is the most number of paragliders I’ve see in the air at Forret!. I ran back to the car for my camera and took some shots mainly of Ally with a cheesy toothy grin !    

      
Conditions eased later in the day and Murray decided that Walton Hill was going to be better as the wind had switched SW. Some good flights down (not by me!), bundle and chased the guys to Cupar where I got lost looking out for a sign post.

Back on the hill and conditions eased off but fairly easy conditions to take off and fly to the left and right for a landing.

I did take some video footage which will post to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68dZQKKMmT4. You can search under paragliding Scotland to find any of my other clips. 

See you on the hill (Soon)

Duncan 
  

 

Square go

Monday, February 19th, 2007

ian-soaring-2.jpg

‘Squaries at nine’ the text said. The gauntlet had been thrown and the challenge set. Get out of my pit before 10:30am. On a Sunday for goodness sakes! Good god in Govan, does the man have no respect for Sloth? There could only be one possible explanation for such an affront to Callander’s very own half-man half-mattress. Flyable weather was here again. BIG TIME!

Thankfully though, ‘squaries’ at dawn became fried eggs and 9:00am showed up, shame faced, and a fashionable 30 min’s late. Hence, a rather hurried breakfast, 3 coffees and a quick scan of every weather site available, looking for a forecast that ‘fitted’ where we wanted to go, and the dynamic duo (Fatman and Bobbin) were winding there merry way north.

Stopping en-route to our much haunted site the Tarmachan ridge, at the even more haunted Burger van, at the top of Glen Ogle, (Well? A mans got to eat!) we were pleasantly surprised to learn that some early birds from Edinburger had passed through, a few minutes before. I wasn’t too disheartened though, being secure in the knowledge, that in a few hours from now, if we managed to get some ‘serious height’, some burgers would also be passing through us! Not too worry- eh. L

Anyway, to cut a long story short we arrived at the top car-park, sorted out the kit, took a couple of deep puffs on the ‘go faster blaster’ and headed off, up the hill path to the south side of Meall-nan-Tarmachan. Winds on the way up were depressingly kind to us, feeling very little breeze until around 600m. We were rather more disconcerted however to see some small fluffy things high in the sky moving in the general direction of the wrong ‘effing’ way! Undaunted by this obvious mirage and blinded by our confidence that the great ‘Sky-God’ of Dundee would do a biblical ‘loaves and the fishes’ for us and turn the gentle breeze into a full blown Southerly, we bimbled on.

Gaining height inch by inch and humping our masochistic 40 pound packs, together with my marginally lighter gut, we tried to relieve the physical stress of the climb with some casual conversation. Iain remarked that he had popped into the shops the other day to check the price of a 20 pack of ‘fags’ that he used to smoke. £5.10 for 20. A quick calculation later we had worked out that if he saved this money, he could buy a ‘reasonably priced’ second hand ‘family sized’ wing every 3 or 4 months. “Aye”, says Iain. “I could justify that to the wife by telling her that I was only spending my ‘fag’ money.” “Plus, think of this. I could buy a brand new wing and tell her that it was due to stress and I’d increased the amount of fags I was giving up to 40 a day!”  Mr Broon your teas oot. My vote is for Ian to be the next  PM. You have to admit that with logic of that quality, ‘fears of Global warming’ would soon be reduced to ‘worries of being slightly tepid.’ Just think. We could even get back to good old fashioned winters that froze yer knackers of and 9/11 was something impossible to do without a calculator.

ian-soaring-1.jpg

Ok.Ok Back to the flying I hear you say. Well, after about 45 mins we arrived at our chosen launch site. Which, for the anally retentive amongst us,( Is that someone who can hold their bladder for a year?)  would be Point 780m grid ref NN 590 380. For everyone else that’s about half way up the hill looking back down the ridge back to Loch Tay.

It would of course be nice at this point to say that, on the way up, we had had a positive and meaning-full discussion about MET winds, possible landing sites, developing thermic activity, escape routes, etc, etc, etc. Yes. Yes it would have been nice. But we don’t do nice. Do we? In reality, conversation centered on who’s turn it was to be wind dummy.

Obviously, in the face of Aristotle Aitchison’s unchallenging logic I lost, on account of his firm belief that the now respectable 14mph southerly wind would have little or no effect on me compared to him. Mainly, he argued, on account that I had the same aerodynamic efficiency as a fish supper. He might not be eloquent, but by shit, he is fast. Well, there was that and the fact that in times of high winds and sense of impending doom he has the unerring knack of decanting his wing just uphill from mine, leaving me in pole position.

 Having therefore reluctantly been dubbed ‘Numero uno’ on the run-away to Loch Tay, we had a couple of quick practices; loading the wing; building a wall; emptying the bladder and a few other stalling tactics. Then, I was off. 

I have to say that it was a remarkably easy take-off. Easy for me anyway. Normally, being quite heavy on my wing, I have to move faster than Murray avoiding Welsh site fees. This time though the wing was overhead in seconds and only two or three short steps later, so was I. Ye-ha!

Of Course, being as we are still relatively inexperienced and, as we had already agreed that we wouldn’t try anything fancy on the first flight, I headed straight out from the hill with the intention of doing a quick top to bottom. Then I hit a thermal. Ye-ha again! On the way down I also seem to remember taking a quick look around to make sure Iain had gotten of ok. Well, that or to laugh at the fact he hadn’t. Ye-ha-ha-ha! No mercy in this crowd folks.

Well as usual, a few mins later, I was bombing out.  I did try a couple beats back and forth over the landing site, concentrating on developing that all ellusive feel of the air you hear those xc boys talk about. That lasted a few mins more, then came in to an uneventful landing to wait on Iain joining me for the second trip. Which he duly did, 10 mins late as usual. I really must get him to eat more pies.

Anyway, I could bore you with details of the second walk up and a great wee second flight.  I could even talk of how we watched, inspired, to see how easily the other 4 guys (names unknown) soared around above Ben Ghlas and Tarmachan staying up for about two hours or more, but I wouldn’t want you to think we were unduly impressed or anything like that. Also I’m sure if I keep babbling Murray might impose a word limit on me, so I won’t bother. Therefore, I’ll just leave you to have a wee gander at some of the photos from today’s exploits and hope to catch up sometime soon on another ‘biggie’
Regards
Joe Smith KMRT(air corps)
Glossary: ‘Squaries’ – sausages that have been hit with a spade. Normally served on a roll at various roadside eateries, with Un-yins!  Unique to Scotland.
1st flight 10 mins. Take of 780metres. Max speed 52km/hr. (Joe) Max Speed (Ian) 42km/hr

2nd flight 15mins Take of 780 metres. Max speed 65km/hr( Joe) Max Speed (Ian) 45km/hr

joe-prepares-for-take-of-pt780m.jpgIain groundhandling

  

Summer already

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Really, you would think that this being Scotland, a little bit of winter would be mildly in order, but no, none of it. The great wise Sky God, in his wisdom, appears to have decreed that summer shall, at least for this season, commence in the month of January, with February forming the start of truly high summer. At least, if yesterdays weather was anything to go by. Clear skies till latish afternoon with a little cumulous forming up towards dusk, perhaps just for a little variation.

I hear voices asking if it was actually flyable. The answer may depend on whether you tried to fly at Bishop, or were content to soar Forret Hill and Walton. Certainly these two latter provided a thoroughly worthwhile days entertainment with enough yahoo factor to keep grins firmly in place on quite a few faces. Forret was great early in the day. With conditions perfect for ridge soaring with the addition of a little bit of thermal, we might not have been in too much danger of exceeding the 1000ft QFE limit agreed with Leuchars zone on the radio, but nevertheless it would have been a bit churlish to complain about a plethora of cycles and lifty areas which kept students and more experienced members alike both airborne, and having to think about next moves. With up to five gliders in the air at one time, and two first time pilots taking turns at p2 on the tandem(dual control), there was still plenty of safety margin, even if it took a little coordination to play the big version of musical chairs.

When the wind direction shifted, it was off to Walton, where the work was a bit harder, but new pilot Ian Hunter thoroughly enjoyed his first solo flights there, after getting perhaps 40 minutes soaring time on the tandem. Couldn’t stop him, he kept running back up the hill, and taking off again. Except when the retreive could get down quickly enough to chuck him forcibly in the back and carry him up. Lordy, aint life hard.

Good to meet Johnny Blunder after a few emails, and his mate Jim, who’s keen to fly as well. Still keen I should say, as Murray took him upstairs to fly the tandem under supervision. John has had a turn tandeming already, and was soloing his x-act in the gentle afternoon /early evening lift.

An excellent day. Jim and John came over from Stirling, Murray from “The Toon”, Duncan from the Granite City, Ian from the sticks (Alyth), Trians from Greece (oh alright, Dundee)and Ian Hunter and Mesen from Carnoustie by the sea. Marvellous. It all had to end sometime, and that was half an hour after sunset. Honest.

 

And so today came round for Murray, Alan Coffin and me. We went to Forret first, then on to Lindifferon, and finally Little Ballo.  Conditions were as they say, light and variable. In fact at Forret, I noticed at least one 180 degree change in a matter of seconds, but it was so light it didn’t really make much odds. Light wind takeoffs are NOT my forte, so I had to suffer the indignity of watching Alan take off TWICE, as I struggled to get my glider off the ground. I am told I may blame my tools to some extent, flying the Xenon, but I scorn such cottton wool, preferring to name myself duffer of the day instead. Still, I did have some success between driving retrieves, taking the dog on walks now and again, and in the end I was getting into the air, having got(I am again informed) my shit together. Hoorrah for me, I’m a horses arse. 

Aside from the serious business of my deflated ego, Alan Coffin did some impressive stuff, not only showing me how to perform nil wind reverse takeoffs, but demonstrating for the first time, his abilities regarding cliff launches. With the wind almost strong enough to soar in, he proved several times he can taxi through a changing airflow, reliably control the glider, take off safely, carve, I say carve a turn, and land into wind on a tiptoe. Cool!Great stuff

The Sunday Post (Feb 2007)

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Copy of the article printed in the Sunday Post 4th Feb 2007, the picture is of Alan Coffin shortly after take off at East Lomond on a warm  January ‘SW’ day.

Sunday post Feb 2007

Schiehallion, Feb 2007

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Thanks to Ali for pictures of Joe and shooting pics of myself flying down from the high take off (on the ESP club website).

 

 

Joe about to turn right on to the approach to landing.

 

 

Ali, Joe and the boxers at the ‘low’ take off with the car park in the background (next the small wood)

 

 

Shot from the Vertex G-BZVI Looking back down at the landing area & car park, taken over the main wood looking NW.

Schehallion 7th Feb 07

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

 

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A great day out in the ‘big hills’ with Murray Hay and Ali Duncan. Interesting, albeit totally uselss, information is that Schehallion was used in 1774 to measure the mass of the earth by taking measurements at various points of how much a pendulum was deflected from the vertical by the mass of the hill. These measurements when plotted and the points at the same altitudes joined gave rise to what we now know as O.S contour maps.

In the top left you should just be able to make out Murray heading towards landing site in front of the main carpark. Despite the conditions being rather on the light side for soaring and- other than relieving the odd itch inside the boxer shorts- didn’t show much in the way of decent thermal activity it was a really good day.  If you are planning to do the hill then its worth noting that the top 1/3rd is extrememly rocky with the summit consisting of a large bouldery ridge with very few options for decent take of. The best chances are probably on the lower half just about where the old path meets the ridge and most suitable for a N/Ne wind. NN 735 545.

The main car park is run by the forestry commission and is a popular picnic spot for walkers and tourists alike in the summer weekends. So I’d advise getting there early in peak season. Being the middle of winter and midweek however, I guess we were fortunate that there was only one other car in the car park and only one other walker on the hill. Rumour has it that he bumped into Murray on the way up and was last seen bimbling of down the ridge muttering like a demented Dalek: ” I must not join the BHPA….I must not joint the BHPA….”

Right I’m of to practice my nwxbdbrlfol* take of. Have fun.

Joe Smith

*(nil wind x brake double bounce reverse launch fall over laughing)

A sunny winters day in Fife.

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

Alan Coffin & Murray after a couple of quick flights at Forret were joined later by Dave up from Yorkshire for an afternoon flying the ridge & thermic lift at Walton Hill. John Anderson came across from the Stirling area to have his wing test flown and also got some tandem flying. More pictures at http://www.espclub.org/alan_coffin.htm