Stormy Skies Over the Devil's Dyke

Summary of flying for Thursday 23 May 2013
Total Hours0h 03m
Best Height Gain0 feet
Total Flights1

I turned up at 6pm and didn’t think I was going to fly! My glider had been on the car roof parked at the office all day and caused some speculation from work colleagues about what I was up to! The Devil’s Dyke is a short detour on my drive home so I decided to pop up and have a look. As I drove to the Dyke, I watched some very active air above and rather hoped no one was flying.

At the Devil's Dyke, a front had just cleared and a lovely blue hole had opened enticing people into the air. One PG considered launching, but between us we decided the wind was on the high side for PG's. In the distance, I watched something brewing over the Downs to the north so wasn't too eager to get off the ground!

Nicos and Miles soon appeared and we all stood around and contemplated what to do. I was still very mindful of the brewing clouds over the North Downs, so my glider stayed on the roof and we continued to chat. 30 minutes passed and it was still very flyable, so, with a bit of encouragement from the others, my glider was removed from the car roof and I began to slowly rig it - still with a watchful eye to the north.

Eventually my glider was ready and Nicos and Miles were convinced I could get 10-15 minutes soaring in before any weather arrived. However, my inner voice told me something different and I listened to it! That weather out front will be here soon along with a gust front and a squall of rain. I made my prediction to Nicos and Miles; rain in 10 minutes and a gust front to accompany it!

It took just 13 minutes for my prediction to come true; Nicos was probably most surprised by the gust front as it ripped the windsock out of the ground. I decided to hold the nose of my glider down, which was rigged but laid out flat on the ground as the gusts passed.

Meanwhile, Ian W. had spied our activities from afar and posted commentary on the On Tour email thread. Equipped with a smart phone I was able to provide live pictures from the top of the hill and inform him that I'd make the most of the rain and gave my glider a good wash! I think Ian thought I was joking, but I wasn’t - I used a sponge to wipe off all the sheep sh1t that had stained my wing!

As the rain passed my glider was back to a crisp white. The sky was now beautiful and clear and the wind had now significantly dropped. It looked like there was no chance of soaring; however, with my glider now on the A-frame and wiped down and dried, I decided on a quick top to bottom. Nicos kindly offered to collect me from the bottom, so I launched!

I was pleased with a precision landing at the bottom on the track which avoided any unnecessary crop damage. It wasn't long before Nicos drove down to collect me. Meanwhile, Miles had now pulled his PG out [I didn't know he was biwingal], and slowly made his way down. When he arrived, he arrived in style! And the PG's say Hangies can't land! I've got it on video and will post soon; hopefully with some time lapse footage of the approaching gust front and squall of rain!

Flying Log(s)

TypeHill Launch
DateThu, 23 May 2013 - 19:30
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteDevil's Dyke
Duration00h 03m
CommentsA quick top to bottom after a storm passes overhead.
Height Gain0 ft
Total Hours58h 23m

Total Flying Statistics

The total flying statistics up to and including 23 May 2013:

Total Hours58h 23m
Longest Flight1h 20m
Gliders Flown4
Unique Sites Flown20
Best Height Gain3,000 feet
Total Distance30.2 km
Furthest Flown13.4 km
Total Flights233
Hill Launches107
Winch Launches105
Aerotow Launches21