|Conditions||N; 10-15 mph; bit rough in places, weak thermals, plenty of traffic to dodge.|
|Glider||AirBorne Sting 3:168|
|Height Gain (ft)||? ? ?|
|Max Climb (fpm)||-|
25 April 2011
With northerly winds forecast for the remainder of the bank holiday weekend I decided to try Firle out for the first time. I was expecting a busy day as the forecast was suggesting enough wind for hang gliders but not too much for the paragliders. On arrival it was confirmed, the sky was littered with paragliders, model aircraft and a lone hang glider pilot.
By the time I was rigged, more hang gliders were aloft and more were arriving. I was expecting some of the Suffolk gang to come down too - it was looking to be a great day! After my usual faffing, including the installation of my video camera on the keel, I was off to launch. Jim kindly assisted me and I was quickly in the air. Conditions were scratchy and although Firle looked like a big site, it didnít feel that way. Firle is more of a series of bowls and as I found out, with weak conditions, itís all too easy to get temporarily trapped in one! Still, it added to the challenge of staying up. So, for the first 20 minutes I scratched around, not really getting more than 100 feet above takeoff.
Iím always really nervous about top landings and Firle being a new site only added to that. The top landing field at Firle is huge and mostly obstruction free; all I need is enough height, say 150 feet to attempt a top landing. Eventually, I was successful in gaining the required height and happily touched down on top of the hill Ė ensuring not to land in the lee of the reservoir. Firle really is a lovely site!
My first time flying at Firle in East Sussex. 3 great flights amongst traffic (paragliders, hang gliders, sail planes and models). This film shows 3 takeoffs, a bit of thermalling and 3 top landings.
The boys from Suffolk had now arrived (Paul, Keith and Steve), so I returned a debt of gratitude to them by welcoming them to Firle and giving them a brief of the site. This mostly revolved around Ė keep your eyes open; the Southern sites get very busy! With that, I was clipped back into my glider and back up in the air for another 20 minutes before another successful and stress free top landing.
After assisting others to launch, I opted to pass on the flying for a while as the air was seriously looking busy. Keith, who was airborne, had come to a similar conclusion and headed for the safety of the bottom landing field.
Eventually, the airspace thinned and I was up for my third and final flight of the day. I briefly managed to exploit a small thermal for a couple of 360ís before my final top landing. This landing was a little further back than the earlier ones and as expected, the last 40 feet I dropped like a stone but with a gentle landing.