Xc Title
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Turnpoint Flight on a Paraglider
Ozone Zeno 2
25th June 2024
8hrs 12mins
50.82370, 0.12437
50.82065, 0.12053
50.81812, 0.14107
50.88522, -0.53553
51.63570, -2.30577
51.77650, -2.37250
51.77137, -2.36332
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Leg 3
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Flight map

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Duration 0:00   Takeoff Distance 0
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Track data
Time: No data
Height: metres
Climb: m/sec
Speed: km/h
Distance: km

Climb and Speed averaged over 10 second intervals.

These values may be lower than those shown by a flight instrument, which has access to continuous raw data.

Metric units are used for all chart data, except for Height which is shown in feet.

Height   -   GPS data
Maximum Height
6398 ft
Lowest Save
1296 ft
Takeoff Height
614 ft
Landing Height
43 ft
Total Ascent 58658 ft
Height Gain
Above Takeoff 5784 ft
Maximum 5814 ft
Low Point
584 ft
High Point
as Maximum Height
6398 ft
Climb   -   Pressure data
Maximum Climb
4.3 m/s
Minimum Climb
-3.4 m/s
Maximum Speed
61.2 km/h
Average Speed
around course
26.2 km/h
Average Speed
over track length
35.3 km/h
Flight Duration 8hrs 24mins
Track Points 3040
Recording Interval 10 secs
Statistics Interval 10 secs
Track Length 297.1 km
Flight instrument
Type Flyskyhy
Model 8.2.3
Firmware 8.2.3

Climb and Speed averaged over 10 second intervals.

These values may be lower than those shown by a flight instrument, which has access to continuous raw data.

Average Speed around course is measured from Start to Finish points.

Track Length is the cumulative distance between track points from Takeoff to Landing.

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I met Mark at Berwick train station, at the foot of Bo Peep and we went for a coffee. I know this isn't the best start to a flying story but bear with me. Plan A had been to go to the Malverns for a triangle but frankly we've done a lot of driving out of Sussex over the years and we're getting on a bit. So we had a local cappuccino instead and, in typical old man fashion, talked about how much we loved the old days, when you just turned up at the hill, and if you went XC, it was usually a complete adventure, with no idea where you'd end up.

Funnily enough…

We got to take off around 10:30, with a plan to fly to Lasham gliding club, about 90 km away. Three out of four forecasts predicted good conditions till 2 pm, then congested cumulus and spread out - David Masson was warning glider pilots it would be hard to get back to Lasham. So landing there seemed sensible.

Skysight forecast that the trigger temp was predicted for 11 am, with cumulus by 11:30 am, and that's exactly what happened. It was a light soarable NE wind and we climbed up to 3500 ft in the blue pretty easily with good company - Gandi leading the way on his tandem, Owen, James C, Steve P, Olly S, and many many others.

With cu building over Lewes, I radio'd to Mark to suggest we start plugging our way west. I'd noticed our first climb had been over some nice, dry, cut grass fields, so we headed to a similar patch south of Caburn, and bingo, they worked too. We then hit the cu at Lewes, pushing under the good stuff for our first solid 1.5 m/s climb of the day.

After this, conditions turned on, and we rolled our way west, staying high, flying with Olly Sherratt, Steve Purdie and Roger Turner as far as I remember. We had to make a decisive glide near Steyning, but connected well, and then pushed on towards Storrington. I think around here, we got a little separated from the others. There was no noticeable seabreeze convergence ingress - again, well predicted by Skysight - and base rose to around 4500 ft pretty quickly.

As you approach Petersfield, the airspace drops to 4500 ft and you have to make a right hand cross wind to clear Southampton. We did this before on our 150 km flight to Swindon from BoPeep in 2022, which was the old site record. Again, it was a bit 'crux-y'. Mark called that he was leaving a climb at 3700 ft, which was sensible, and we got pulled to 4200 ft, still leaving a 300 ft margin. Mark flies really well in these conditions and he just connected with each core better, and glided faster, and he made the transition past Southamption airspace quicker than me.

I ended up at around 2000 ft gliding into an obviously good area, and had to push well into the shade to connect to a load of swifts and straw getting sucked up. I think Olly later got much lower in the same area, and did really well to get out.

Mark had kindly waited for me for 5-10 minutes, and we joined up again, only for him to pull away on the next two climbs, pushing 3/4 bar most of the time on transitions and just connecting so well with each core as I scrabbled below. I started to feel a bit like I was being coached, but could at least play navigator from behind, pointing out Lasham, Combe Gibbet, and the army ranges at Salisbury Plan, marked by puffs of smoke.

There was no sign of the predicted spread out, and while the wind had dropped to 0-5 km/h, there was an amazing line of clouds heading to our NW, and it just seemed rude not to follow them. We went into sailplane mode, only stopping to climb in 2-3 m/s, and staying above 4000 ft to make the most of the cold air advection keeping the air nice and buoyant in the few hundred feet below base.

Time was ticking on though, and we passed by Golden Ball and Martinsell around 4:30 pm, base at 5500 ft. The air started to calm a little, and with the street ending at Averbury, we chatted about options and selected a long glide through the blue to a couple of cumulus forming over Lyneham. I suggested we glide at trim to arrive as high as possible, and at last we could relax a little. The next climb was beautiful - a 1-2 m/s smooth.

Then, amazingly, another line of chunky clouds stretched beyond us towards the Bristol channel, glinting in the evening sun. We surfed along the sunny halves of these clouds, occasionally going 200-300 ft up the sides of them. It seemed miraculous, as the clouds to our south and north seemed to be decaying, while we had this lovely line of energy. There were some tendrils forming on a line to our south west, which may have indicated some sea air being pulled in, which may have boosted our line a few kilometres inland of it - who knows.

At 6:30 pm we climbed to around 6300 ft. We couldn't go straight across the Severn because of the restricted airspace, so had to punt north, or south. With 190 km under our belts, we had a chat, and agreed that if 200 km was on the cards by heading more north then that would make more sense as getting home would be much simpler from the right side of the river.

It was pretty cool coming in to land next to the pub in Frampton village, landing in the same direction we'd taken off. A taxi to Stonehouse station, fish and chips, a few train delays due to a lack of drivers due to staff illness (funny how an England football game was on that evening), and we were still home by midnight, grinning at the magic and unexpectedness of the day all the way.

Thanks to Mark for showing me again how it's done, and big congrats to Olly Sheratt for flying 180 km pretty much on his own which is always way harder than with company! And it's just brilliant how much enthusiasm for XC there is in the southern club right now. This was my 20th UK 200 km and it made it extra special that ours were the first 200s out of Sussex, and so, so unexpected.

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