Archive for April, 2007

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Up Bright and early as usual, reminding myself that it is a Saturday so filling up with 2 caffeine shots would suffice. Switched on the Beeb to check the 7:25 news and weather pressing ON Button @ my PC before returning to kettle to do same. This is an ideal time as my PC boots up in same time as kettle takes to boil 1 cup “o” water. ( Yes , I did have a slight “ vino del collapse “ hang-over )

METO Site showed very light winds for the day pointing towards the Glens and no rush to bother Murray at such an early hour.  Plus time to let reality kick in……. Car was already loaded up in anticipation and also on the off chance that during the week Nigg would present a possible hours lunch time flying.

After my usual 10 minute call to Murray to review MET and general chat I Headed off  South from Portlethen around 11:30 – ish towards CLOVA and coming across Murray drying his wing in the morning sunlight at the head of the Glen. The 2 of us then convoyed up to Clova Hotel but left My car on-route in case of down valley flights.

We then hiked up 1/3 of the way towards Loch Brandy level and “tried the air“. Small thermals were cycling through with Murray managing to stay aloft, but yours truly still had the habbit of flying with tooo Much brake and tooo far our from hill.

When venturing further on and across the path towards the plateau conditions improved with regards thermals and wind strength, which was expected. Joy, the vario began to sing and the 2 of us flew for a few hours with me being restricted on height due to heavy hands (approx 900 ft above the plateau) and Mr Hay managing to punch through the inversion at approx 1500 ft above the plateau.



The day was finished off, after ‘jumping’ back to a void the long flat walk, with a great top to bottom flight from t/o next Loch Brandy, to landing in the field out front of the Hotel.

Perfect finish, with a cold Guinness to re-fresh at the hotel before heading back north.

Inversion Wave

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Ending the day getting some solo, then tandem flying up at the ‘Cairn’ with Susan up visiting Ali from ‘doon south’, we were treated to the clearest example of late evening lee wave acting on pollution trapped lying along the boundary layers generated by inversions that I have ever seen, unfortunatly the pictures do not do it full justice as the sun was just too low by the time I had my work camera. Worth posting none the less 🙂

Looking lower the smoke which had been rising to just below the inversion half an hour before is now ‘up side down’ in appearance showing just how low the warm air from above had dropped on sun down, not good for the last bit of flying of the day but intresting to see!

Yellow Alert

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Ali and myself having a blast with some close quarter flying over the main quarry at Forret in a mix of ridge & mild thermals, by the end of the evening one gorse bush had been half garoted and a couple more squashed…. 😉

The AWACS did three take off and landing practice ‘circuits’, but instead of over flying the hill (normal) was braking left early so not making as good a photo op for us PG pilots!

‘C’ ‘B’ flying…. Sea Bay that is!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

After the weekend up the mountains (Glen Coe) and Hill’s (E Lomond) of Scotland, it was time for some lazy flying (as far as walking goes)…. so late afternoon after work up the coast to pick up Ali….. cups of tea, walk 20 ft to pickup….. arrive at Vic Park, ‘climb’ up the steps for Ali (50ft) and walk 20ft for Murray to fly up…… with VERY ‘x’ conditions due to the east component it was a fun half hours airtime for me and Ali honing his GH & Take Off skill in the almost (gnd) trim speed = wind speed…. then another 20ft walk back to the pickup….. Gosh that’s getting close to 100ft walking so far!


A quick drive around to East Seaton, phoning to farm manager to open the site, and then….. you guessed it, walk about 20-30ft to take off on the bay slope (!) For almost 2 1/2 hours of GREAT flying with all the usual T & G’s, mild aeros and spot landings…

Jim from Dundee was out walking and taking pics along the coastal path and is going to forward pictures of the two gliders in the air, with luck capturing the ‘close quarters’ stuff we were doing for the camera, fingers crossed we (and the shuter release) got everything lined up to make some spectacular images… to be added to this post  soon 🙂

A slightly early end to the days flying as the lift was dropping by 7:30 (along with the temp!) and to get around to Pepo’s in time for the chips etc… so a L O N G walk of at least 150ft…. Shocking! to the pickup drive around and 10ft to the counter to pick up the phoned in order and back down the road to yet another 20ft walk to more tea and nibbles….

Summing up the afternoon/evening: We were out for under 4 hours, with a total walking time about 5 mins and my flying time, well around three and a half hours, Ali doing slightly less time when we were flying at the park but solidly flying till pack up time at the Bay 🙂

April Flyers.

Monday, April 2nd, 2007


There comes a point when rhapsodising about the weather becomes pointless, and I guess this weekend has been it, so to speak. After yesterdays blast in Glen Coe, and last weekends romp at Lunan, maybe it’s time to start expecting the met to be generally magnanimous and benevolent, and well disposed to the gliding fraternity, para doo dads included. First of April, time of fools and showers turned out to be a shower of fools doing what comes naturally, fooling around, about and above the hill in glorious sunshine.

Murray, Martin and myself, as well as a couple of others, met up at East Lomond expecting pretty much what we got: light and variable winds, mainly easterly with continually changing quantities of north or south depending on the whim of whatever thermal was going through. Go through they did, very broken, workable yes, I think, but not for me really. I just took off, flew up in vario song (wish I’d had the vario yesterday) to rival the larks, then landed as high as I could after a couple of turns so I could get another go. I did that pretty much all day, until about seven o’ clock, as did Murray, with Martin flying down for his tea (he lives at Falkland, lucky sod, or would be if he didn’t have to spend so much time in China!)

Maybe some cynic out there will say “So, what’s so good about flydowns under a great big inversion?” to which I answer “It was warm, it was continual, it was educational, it was excellent practice, but most of all it was great fun.” The guy in the tiger moth obviously thought so too, as he dived and stall turned just to the south. He came over to say hello, passing a few hundred feet above the top of the hill. I  rather cheekily gave him six points for his efforts, and he obviously thought he owed his audience a loop, cos he went out and did one. Excellent fellow.

Murray and I took a turn each at retrieve towards the end of the day, so we could get a decent long downhill flight. I was quite surprised to see five down on the vario, but the sink is quite bad out the front sometimes. After I had picked Murray up in the pickup, we headed back to Dundee. If the rest of the years weekends turn out like this, I for one wont be complaining, but I’ll bet it gets a lot better yet. I’ve been predicting it since last September, and I reckon it’s going to be…..I won’t say it. Fingers crossed though, and this high looks set to stay for a week or so yet, and there’s a cold front due to go through, I think about lunchtime tomorrow. Hee hee. Watch this space for a post cold frontal shower of April fools, coming in, need it be said, for perfect landings.

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Coe Pilots

An early drive up on Friday ensured a couple of pints at the Kingshouse before bedtime.No point in taking unneccessary risks, what? There were red deer in the car park, hand tame, presumably looking for food , but nonetheless an enchanting sight in the moonlight. If omens exist, this must have been one of the best.

A cold night, frosty in the morning sun, promised at least the chance of thermals even if the forecast was for high pressure and the “glass ceiling” that often entails. By half past eight Murray and I were at the chair lift, decided not to have a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich at the ski centre, and headed up to Creag Dubh.

We were early. It was sunny. There was very little wind. These are the conditions I find it virtually impossible to reverse launch in. These are some of the conditions Murray loves to reverse launch in. He took off, and flew away. I stayed on the ground after three botched attempts at taking off.

I was still there when Murray reappeared for his second flight; I felt quite chilled, as in relaxed, and let him go off again. I reasoned that if it was so light as to make launch so marginal for me, then conditions probably weren’t soarable, and a fly down was all I was going to get, and I was still there when loads of ather people with big rucksacks started walking past me, right up to the top of Creag Dubh. I sidled up that way since I was feeling silly, and vulnerable, and kind of camouflaged myself in the middle of them. I chatted to a couple of people, and I remembered days on the hill in the peak district, and even spoke to a couple of people from the D.S.C. which club I began flying with straight after I completed training with Peak Paragliding at the end of the eighties.

But still no flying for me, and not for many others either, but as usual, Murray kept appearing and disappearing with a rather monotonous regularity which did not bode well for the poor lass at the top of the chairlift. I myself fell for her, and I made her laugh, which I took as a good sign. Murray said it was more to do with the wet patch on my arse where I landed after said fall. Embarrassing.

But it was all still very quiet up on the tops, and noon drifted past at about the same rate as the cumulous which were appearing sporadically over the summits. The wind, what there was of it, backed, then veered, then backed again, although there was a fairly steady 8 knot Nor Easterly at car park level. There was an inversion at 500 feet-ish above the bottom station, according to Murray, up until about three o’clock, when it all kicked off, according to the gaggle that went hurtling skyward as I was packing up my glider in the car park after my first landing. Joe and Ian had turned up and gave me a hand to to an alpine launch, just as the wind semed to be dropping again. Turned out I just, just missed the start of the best thermal conditions of the day, but it put me in a good enough position to view it all.

After that, I changed gliders, from the Xenon26 to an Xray20, because it did actually feel bubbly on the way down, and I’m still a bit light on the Xenon. Joe, who’s in the mountain rescue team at Killin, gave me an elastoplast by way of broad hint, after my ‘sky diving’ at Glenshee a few months ago, and I decided  on a respectful approach to these early thermals.

Back on the tops, I mixed in with the hordes of gliders that were mixing like midges way over the tops and out the front. Distant groups were skying out a couple of thousand feet above me, over Leacann nam Braonan, and also later on, over Sron na Creise. I got into some good thermal, but I wasn’t coring it properly. Still, flying without a vario wasn’t really giving myself the best of chances in that department, so I wasn’t too bothered.

It continued excellent thermal flying for perhaps two hours. I came down because I lost the lift, promptly finding it again over the car park, and following a series of wingovers, and going to the edge of a spiral dive, managed to touch down within four feet of my selected spot, albeit a bit off balance.

Murray landed a few minutes afterward, having foolishly followed me down. Joe was already fixing himself a brew, but it wasn’t till twenty minutes afterward that Ian Aitchison followed his grin in to land after a damn good 41 minutes (on that flight). Despite a very late start, I think everyone must have had a great time that afternoon, and to judge from the standard facial expression at the bottom landing, delight was probably closer the mark. Murray has to post his own comments on this one though, because our opinions are somewhat from different perspectives if not at actual variance. Something to do with car arrivals or some such, I dunno. You know who you are.