Monday, 16 December 2013

Extreme air. Sat 14 and Sunday 15 December

Saturday morning saw me up early and heading for East Lomond with my Extreme to get some flying in before the predicted rain arrived.

Early start today
The wind was almost due south (190 deg according to my compass app) and blowing 50+mph. Enough wind then! I stuffed all the ballast in the Extreme and it went like stink in the fairly smooth air, much to the entertainment of the sceptical dog walker who was watching! Fortunately he headed off before I landed for a cuppa. A roller-coaster of an approach although the touchdown was okay. 

Extreme cowering in the lee of East Lomond.
After about an hour I could see the predicted rain heading my way so I high-tailed it back to the car. The wind was getting stronger all the time and the first part of the walk down the hill from the gate with a STRONG crosswind was a chore!!

Sunday morning saw me up Kilspindie for more of the same but slightly less wind although still just a hair west of south and blowing a nice 30+mph. I ended up flying from the well-defined edge 75m south (left) of the trig point and my Extreme was going very well and EM turns were great when I got them right. There was an issue with the low winter sunshine being quite dazzling but by diving under the sun's disk each lap it was okay. My Weasel Evo got some flight time too although the wind strength was about as much as it can cope with. 
East and West Lomond in the distance. Not as gloomy as it looks in this picture
The flights I had with my Extreme at Kilspindie are the best I have had for ages. A good wind on a reasonable slope for a change. It was cold though and my hands were frozen so I tried out my tx cover with the 2.4 antenna inside. I was concerned about range but it seemed to work fine although launching left handed is a challenge for me when it is windy.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Auctherhouse Hill on a gloomy winter day

Auchterhouse Hill is only about a 20 minute drive from my house and I have heard it is used by the local Dundee club. I tried the hill several years ago with a foamie and wasn’t too impressed but decided that the forecast for a south west wind would make it worth a visit with my Extreme.

Snowy Auchterhouse
The ground was frozen hard and there was a covering of snow and when I got to the top after a 30 minute climb I discovered the wind was well round to the west and badly crossed. My Extreme flew ok but the lift was rubbish. There is only a fairly short slope before the hill turns away to the south so not much chance of getting 100m course setup. 

Low cloud and mist hanging around. Kilspindie behind my Extreme.
A grey day.
I landed and walked over the top of the hill past the iron age hill fort hoping there would be a west facing slope but there isn't. Then the snow came on!

However, when the snow stopped the wind swung south west so I headed back to the main slope and gave the Extreme another go. There was more lift this time but well out from the slope and not much close in. There was just not enough of a ridge to get my Extreme going well. 
Extreme with Scotston Hill in the background
By this time I was cold and wet so I headed back to the car. Not the best day’s flying but some interesting winter views. When I got back down the hill I could see that low cloud had descended so I left at the right time. 
Looking back up the hill as I get near the car, Cloud envelopes the top of the hill
I headed home for a cup of tea from my flask which I had left on the kitchen work-top. Muppet!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Frustrating weather

The forecast of very light westerly winds led me to plan climbing Bishop Hill on Sunday but the forecast subsequently changed to suggest the direction could swing north-westerly. So with the possibility of not getting any flying after the big ascent, I headed up Gallow Hill with my trusty Spark. When I got to the parking area near the tv transmitter it was a lovely day with hardly a breath of wind.

Looking south towards Angus transmitter, Dundee, River Tay and Fife. Cracking day for a walk.
I got to the slope to discover it was virtually flat calm, no more than 4mph and from the north-west. Just as well I didn't waste my time and effort climbing Bishop Hill. 

Becalmed on Gallow Hill
Being an eternal optimist I chucked my Spark off and managed a few short flights but there was just not enough lift for it. I had a few walks to retrieve if from the front of the slope and did managed a couple of flights of about 5 minutes but most were very short. I made one interesting discovery though. If you stall the Spark in a turn by flying too slowly it will spin and the resulting decent rate is quite startling! Just got it level before it hit the heather. Fortunately it was nice and soft springy heather! A couple of more short flights and a cuppa and I headed back to the car. Not too disappointing because this hill is not far from home and it was a lovely day for a walk. Met the farmer for for the first time on my drive down the access road and had a long chat with him. Nice chap and wasn't asking me why I was using the private access road through his farm steading which leads to the tv mast!

Monday looked more promising (I had a day off work) with a 15-25mph wind forecast for East Lomond. I met up with Peter at the car park late morning to discover the forecast hadn't mentioned low cloud on the hill. Rain too. We had a cuppa and a chat and were about to pack up and go home but decided to try the low slope to the west of the car park where I have flown my Alula and DLG in the past. Peter's Freestyler proved that the slope worked okay and my Ascot was going quite well too. Promising lift was noticed further out from the edge above a low ridge but any hope of leaning more was quashed when the low cloud descended to our height so we hastily landed to wait for it to clear. It didn't! 
Peter hoping for an improvement in visibility.