Archive for the ‘Fife Sites’ Category

Change of Farm Managers/Site Contacts

Friday, March 28th, 2014

A few of the clubs long standing Fife (inland) and Angus (1 inland & 2coastal Angus sites) have recently seen retirals/moving on to new pastures, changes in the contact / contact arangments regarding informing the Farm Owners Representive, during the transition it helps in building trust if members and especially visiting PGers if I’m phoned PRIOR to going to sites, minor changes in the club PARKING being a major factor in the case of one site (in that site parking has increased PROVIDED that Murry phones in BEFORE pilots arrive!

Murray Hay (Site Officer ‘Hat’ on)

The new LOA (Letter of Agreement) between ESP & RAF Leuchars.

Monday, May 4th, 2009

 With changes in personel at Leuchars it is once again time for Murray to sign the latest update of the club’s LOA with RAF Leuchars. Just to remind members, the LOA covers a number of the clubs paragliding sites in the NE of Fife and helps ensure there is no conflict between paragliding and fast/heavy ‘wake’ aircraft on low level sorties or departing from Leuchars in the case of Forret/Lindifferon.

 In addition to the named/notified PG sites, as the LARS unit provides ‘conflict’ information to the many GA aircraft flying in this part of Fife they can also assist us in maintaining safe seperation from light aircraft by advising those GA pilots of the areas we are thermal flying, provided radio contact with ATC is maintained.

 While there are only minor up-date changes (mainly including more detailed information regarding thermal flights/routes) members are required to read the LOA before flying at a number of the training sites managed by Precision Paragliding.

At some of the ‘open’ sites along the Tay south bank it is strongly advised to check with Murray as to the site status on that day (farmers/landowners requests) as well as to let the RAF controllers inform the Jet Jocks where we are soaring.
Remember it’s not just to ensure safe separation between RAF Jets if anything the hazards from Helicopters quite legaly flying in the Class G airspace of Fife passing in front of a slope or over the top of a hill at low level can not be over stated!

Not to mention that on occasions the controler may call Murray up on the radio to check no PG pilots are about to bottom land… then pass (on one occasion 4 in tight formation following the A92 well below hill top height!) some jets BELOW the paragliders! 

Murray Hay

Who would have thought yesterday was flyable :-)

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Fantastic day yesterday. Even although while looking at the weather
In the morning I thought this was going to be a DIY day.
It was still worth the drive down from Aberdeen to Fife as some time could have been spent on theory if conditions were poor.

On arrival at East Lomond conditions were humid , hazy with very light winds. This turned out to be a very  educational day. By the time we reached the top the sun was although not breaking through was managing to heat the ground as small thermals were popping through.

Murray: “IR passes through the clouds, like certain types of glass IR can pass one way (in to the greenhouse/room) but not out… the reason for this is the ‘frequency shift’…. IR direct from the sun is (from memory) a higher frequency than the IR radiated back to space from the ground, hence on a cloudy night the local air temp/world remains warm while on an otherwise identical night but with no cloud cover the temp drops rapidly and a frost can occur, all due to the (lower frequency) IR radiated from the ground being reflected by the cloud cover back to the ground i.e. ‘trapped’ … on the clear nite it simply radiated back into space and is lost..

So in summery, cloud cover (daytime when out flying) will reduce the temp ‘contrast’ so it feels LESS hot in hazy sun than if it was direct sun this generates thermals low down/ground level but far less punchy. As the PG pilot gets higher the strength of the RISING thermal is more to do with the actual (environmental) lapse rate, so thermals rising into cooler air speed up ‘get stronger/puncher’.” :END    

I spent some time testing the air and trying to get a feel for the thermals and
Change in wind direction prior to take off. It was surprising how in such
Light conditions ( ridge lift that is ) how much the wind direction and strength changed
over such a short period of time swinging from south easterly through to southerly in seconds. 
Meaning standing on the top plateau my Nova Pheron was nodding left to right almost like a
Metronome. In addition tension on risers were changing so much that I had good practice
At reversing and controlling frontal collapses. Although not perfect at this I’m sure My DHV 1 Nova Pheron was not helping. ( think I need to cut the wing tips off –  Murray get the old Singer looked out  )

Murray :”This yaw of the wing (and on low DHV wings significant roll due to tip curving down) is a classic indicator of a light wind lifty thermal condition and required a diffrent approach to launching TIMING than a variable wind ‘ridge lift day'” :END

Most flights were generally short from top with hill side landings just below the plateau.
( even Murray on the odd occation didn’t manage a top landing )
At about 2pm The sun managed to squeeze through for 30 mins and the cycles changed for a while with increased thermal activity. 

One specific flight, where my launch timing was right ( more good luck than judgement )  I flew straight into a decent thermal which took me up about 100 ft I rode out about 3 or 4 punchy small thermals which allowed me to stay about at take off height until a large cycle ( large for the day that was ) came through which took me to approx 600 ft above take-off for a nice 20 minute flight.

Who would have thought yesterday was flyable 🙂

Alan c

‘Black Sat’

Friday, June 1st, 2007

With the conditions getting WAY too punchy inland by eary afternoon (a couple of PG accidents involving heli rescue etc! at other sites in Scotland) Duncan (thanks for the pics 😉 and myself headed to the sandy bay at Elie which is always a good option when Fife main sites ‘blow/thermal out’…. a great site to work on launch/landing and general ground control/safety stuff, with the potential for some exclent technical flying.

Using the wing to jog up the hill, plus the usual playing about on the poles & blocks (war time tank traps), with a lot of the lift (west component to the wind at times) along the ridge out to the point short (!) ‘out and return’ flights even over the water were on.

The bay is also a good site when the wind is right and the air is ‘lifty’ for extended tandem flights, even with heavier P2’s, in fact Alan Littlejohn started with his first flights here..

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!

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.

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

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

East Lomond, Jan 16th

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Satellite image of East Lomond take off & bottom LZ’s from Alan Coffin’s flights, wind direction SSW then South on last flight.

Sat image EL1