Dan's Bowl

Summary of flying for Friday 29 March 2013
Total Hours1h 10m
Best Height Gain700 feet
Total Flights1

North easterlies appeared to be the theme of the recent forecasts so without knowing if permission to fly Swanborough had been granted, I headed to Bo Peep. On arrival I could see a hang glider on a car roof and one paraglider in the air. It felt strong and the wind was off to the east. I decided Swanborough would be the better site so returned to my car and checked my emails hopeful that permission to fly Swanborough had been granted. It had, so I drove the short distance to Swanborough where I found the majority of the hang glider pilots readying their gliders.

With an engagement at 4pm I was eager to get rigged and into the air. John Barratt was out with the school and his CP pilots were embarking on their first soaring flights. I rigged by glider and had some difficulty slotting my outward left leading edge into place from short-packing, but was soon ready to fly.

Luke kindly assisted me to take-off, performed a hang check and set me off into the sky. Conditions were strong but the lift was marginal with the north facing slopes working best. I shared the air with 2-3 other hang gliders and we all struggled for lift.

Occasionally, patience was rewarded with small thermals and I made moderate gains to around 700 feet above take-off. At this height the thermals seemed to either break apart, or I was blown too far over the back to make it back to the front of the ridge. This forced me to leave the thermals prematurely and effectively, placed a cap on the height gains I was able to make.

After 20 minutes I observed some of John's students launch. Not wanting to get in their way, I scratched across to next bowl to the north. This bowl and the adjacent bowl are much smaller than the main Swanborough bowl, so I spent the majority of my time carefully beating back and forth in this area. Ozzie joined me for a short period, flying a school glider, but for the vast majority of the flight, I had this area all to myself to play in. In fact, I spent so much time here I decided that perhaps it should be called Dan's Bowl as everyone else stayed in the main Swanborough Bowl. Several times I was able to follow the contours of the hill around to Kingston village and, as experienced in the main bowl, was able to catch the odd thermal that gave me much needed height top-ups.

An hour passed and my hands had become numb from the cold. After I had made height for a top landing I headed to the top landing field. Swanborough is always full of surprises and as I turned to set-up my landing approach I knew I was high so allowed the glider to drift over the back to compensate. With the accelerated air flow across the top of Swanborough, I very quickly cleared the top landing field and was now over the field behind it. When I turned back into wind my speed across the ground ceased and I began to drop from the sky. The barbed wire fence the separated the two fields now looked to be my chosen landing spot. As I recalled my previous barbed wire incident, I was keen not to repeat this. Fortunately the gate between the two fields was open so I focused my gaze there [e.g. look at where you want to go]. The glider and myself successfully passed through this opening and safely touched down [albeit, a little further back than normal]. Nicos was on my nose almost instantaneously which I very much appreciated as I was no longer able to feel the fingers!

As soon as I had warmed it was time to pack the glider away so I could make my 4pm appointment. Annoyingly, as soon as I lifted my glider on my car, the clouds started to dissipate and the sun broke through. The sky now looked epic! Damn it, I had to go!

Flying Log(s)

TypeHill Launch
DateFri, 29 Mar 2013 - 12:40
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
Duration01h 10m
CommentsCold with occasional thermals ato around 700ft. School soaring flights and top landing through the gate
Height Gain700 ft
Total Hours57h 35m

Total Flying Statistics

The total flying statistics up to and including 29 Mar 2013:

Total Hours57h 35m
Longest Flight1h 20m
Gliders Flown4
Unique Sites Flown20
Best Height Gain3,000 feet
Total Distance28.6 km
Furthest Flown13.4 km
Total Flights227
Hill Launches105
Winch Launches103
Aerotow Launches19