The Rifle Range

Summary of flying for Saturday 11 September 1999
Total Hours0h 10m
Best Height Gain0 feet
Total Flights1

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 and approached the site from the west (from the B3092). When I arrived, 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).

After I had carried my glider across the top landing field and over the barbed wire fence that separated the launch area from the top landing area, I rigged my glider at the edge of the hill. I was given a thorough site brief then launched. For some reason, I was fixated on avoiding the easterly side of the bowl and focused 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 the short distance up the road to say hello to family!

Flying Log(s)

TypeHill Launch
DateSat, 11 Sep 1999 - 00:00
GliderAirwave Calypso
SiteRifle Range (Mere)
Duration00h 10m
CommentsSoutherly wind, some lift, but flew straight out of it and hence another bottom landing.
Height Gain0 ft
Total Hours01h 28m

Total Flying Statistics

The total flying statistics up to and including 11 Sep 1999:

Total Hours1h 28m
Longest Flight0h 30m
Gliders Flown2
Unique Sites Flown6
Best Height Gain300 feet
Total Distance0.0 km
Furthest Flown0.0 km
Total Flights9
Hill Launches9
Winch Launches0
Aerotow Launches0