Sat, 29 Sep 2012

1Sting 3:168 : Devil's Dyke (H) Duration: 00:30, Gain: 1400 ft, Distance: 2.15 km, WNW, backing W and strength increasing.

A Grand Day Out

Since last weekend I'd been watching the weather like a hawk! From Tuesday it was looking like Saturday was going to be a great day for the Dyke but as the weekend approached, the winds were backing more to a westerly and the strength was easing. This translates to a small area of lift in front of the pub and the possibility of shared airspace between hang gliders and paragliders; and for those that know the Dyke, not a great mix!

Undeterred by this, I arrived at 10am on Saturday morning. As expected, the wind was smack on WNW and a few paragliders were mixed in with the hang gliders all sharing the airspace. The airmanship was exemplary and with the majority of paragliders sitting it out waiting for it to ease further, I decided it was now or never.

After last weekend's total lack of preparation, I was armed with video camera, GPS, phone and glider packing material. Looking at the traffic already soaring it was looking very scratchy indeed. The thought of a sled ride to the bottom was in my mind but I pushed it to the back and launched.

With minimal lift I scratched back and forth, gaining 20-30 feet then losing it again. After a few beats it was evident the modellers bowl seemed to be working best and I focussed most of my efforts at this end of the ridge.

Looking towards Truleigh I could see a hang glider very low heading to the bottom landing field. Beneath me, another hang glider was setting up for a bottom landing. I was determined not to go down and continued focussing on finding lift.

Thermalling over the Devil's Dyke.
Thermalling over the Devil's Dyke.
Here I am climbing in a thermal with the Devil's Dyke pub below and a view over the back.
29 Sep 2012

Surrounded by traffic kind of limits choices, but eventually I connected with something away from the hill at the modellers bowl end of the ridge. At first I skimmed through the edge of the thermal gaining a mental picture of where this illusive mass or rising air was. Circling around and pushing into it, I found more reliable lift and started orbiting, slowly climbing higher and higher and drifting back over the Dyke.

Top of the Thermal
Top of the Thermal
The highest point of the flight, 1400 feet looking towards Truleigh Hill.
29 Sep 2012

At 1400 the lift seemed to dissipate, so with the VG cranked on I ventured up wind as far as I dared. Looking down I could see more and more paraglider canopies being laid out and very few hang gliders in the air. I assumed the lift cycle was ending and the wind was dropping off. I decided it was time to land, preferably at the top and concluded I'd only get one opportunity before the sky was full of paragliders. That determination focussed me intensively and I landed perfectly in the Paddock.

Devil's Dyke Landing Paddock
Devil's Dyke Landing Paddock
One chance to make it into the Paddock; I'm very determined!
29 Sep 2012

Software and GPS Mapping

After last weekend's lack of preparation, I was equipped with everything, including a GPS I had purchased. Earlier, Scott had advised me to simply use the GPS as a recorder by sticking it in a pocket during the flight. This I did and afterwards was able to playback my flight with 3D detail using Google Earth.

Flight Path
Flight Path
GPS track log taken from the Garmin GPSmap 76Cx and rendered in Google Earth.
29 Sep 2012

Before I could get the data into Google Earth I had to extract it from the GPS and convert to a KML file. After a bit of web searching I found a lovely free piece of software called GpsDump; written by Stein Sorensen. This I successfully used to recover the logs from the Garmin and do the necessary conversions to render into Google Earth.

A Grand Day Out
My soaring at the Devil's Dyke on the 29th September 2012. After beating back and forth along the ridge I connect with a thermal and take it up to 1400ft above take-off.

00:07:21

Saturday 29 Sep 2012

Flight Details

Flight TypeHill Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteDevil's Dyke
Launch Date/Time29 Sep 2012 / 12:00
Height Gain1400ft
Flight Duration0h 30m
CommentsWNW, backing W and strength increasing.
Track LogDownload (KML/KMZ)

Flying Statistics to Date 29 Sep 2012

Total Hours :
55h 11m
Longest Flight :
1h 20m
Glider Models Flown :
4
Sites Flown :
20
Best Height Gain :
3,000 feet
Total Distance :
28.6 km
Max Distance :
13.4 km
Total Flights :
221
Hill Launches :
103
Winch Launches :
99
Aerotow Launches :
19

Total Flying Statistics

Total Hours :
96h 29m
Longest Flight :
2h 25m
Glider Models Flown :
5
Sites Flown :
21
Best Height Gain :
3,000 feet
Total Distance :
67.9 km
Max Distance :
13.5 km
Total Flights :
288
Hill Launches :
158
Winch Launches :
106
Aerotow Launches :
24
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