The following entries are available for this year:
Having grown up in the West Country I was keen to fly some of the local sites to my origins. In anticipation I had joined the Avon Hang Gliding Club. Mere, or the Rifle Range as it's known to the local free fliers, is a bowl on the edge of Salisbury plain that takes wind from a South Easterly to a Southerly wind. I was not experienced enough to fly the Southern Hang Gliding club's sites that take these wind directions, so Mere was my chosen destination.
Not being familiar with the site, I probably took the wrong route to launch and drove my car up a very steep track starting from the Red Lion, approaching from the west (from the B3092). When I arrived at launch, I met some local pilots that gave me a full site briefing. I was warned to watch out for turbulence from the easterly spurs (the wind was more like a SSE to SE).
I carried my glider across the top landing field and over the barbed wire fence that separated the launch area from the top landing area. After rigging my glider, I was given a thorough site brief then launched. For some reason, I was fixated on completely avoiding the easterly side of the bowl and focusing my efforts on the west spur. In hindsight staying in the main bowl would have been far more productive for keeping me in the air, but as I set off along the west spur I realised the error of my way and slowly sank lower and lower. By the time I had reversed my turn and returned back along the spur towards the main bowl I was already too low. After a few futile beats back and forth in the bowl I realised I was due another bottom landing.
I carefully lined myself up to land on the main track that dissects the site bottom landing field and after a perfectly timed flare, landed without event.
Recovering my glider was a bit more of a traumatic experience. After climbing back up the face of Mere I collected my car, drove back down the track I had come up, headed into Mere itself, found a pad-locked gate that I hoped would lead to the bottom landing field (someone had kindly given me the combination), let myself through it, drove along the track until I located my glider. Phew! After my glider was safely recovered, I headed a short distance to say hello to family!
|Flight Type||Hill Launch|
|Site||Rifle Range (Mere)|
|Launch Date/Time||11 Sep 1999 / 00:00|
|Flight Duration||0h 10m|
|Comments||Southerly wind, some lift, but flew straight out of it and hence another bottom landing.|