Author Ray Willis
Contributer Tony Williams
The day looked perfect for thermalling, fluffy little cumuli just developing at about 10.30 a.m., and cloud base was expected to be between 2,000 and 3,000 feet.
We arrived at Pandy at about noon ,that is John Croll, Nigel Milnes and myself. Wind was about 5 to 10 knots north easterly.
I took off and immediately entered a gentle (200 feet/minute) thermal which carried me from the common to the trig point. Unfortunately on the East face there was no lift at all and I eventually landed half way between the trig point and the north easterly bowl.
About a mile of frustrating struggle followed to get the fully rigged kite onto the North East face by foot. Eventually I took off into about 5 knots north easterly wind and felt that I was going down. Small patches of lift indicated the presence of thermals and flying out toward a farm complex gave about 200 feet/minute lift.
I circled back over the black moorland on top of the hill and picked up fairly consistent workable thermals of about 300 feet/minute.
At about 2,000 feet I drifted over the back of the hill and experienced, for the first time, the fantastic feeling of freedom which leaving the ridge downwind gives.
The Sugarloaf looked really challenging and I pointed the kite towards it, arriving at the foot with about 700 feet. I positioned myself over a farm building and was rewarded with a fairly-bumpy thermal. The lift was so patchy that I did not notice myself passing over the Sugarloaf with about 1,000 feet to spare. Then it was on toward Abergavenny and hopefully the Blorenge.
Another thermal, then nothing, just as I was going to fly over to the Blorenge - nothing - I decided to use maximum glide to land somewhere near it and was very surprised to be setting up a landing on one of the fields half way up the Blorenge. The landing was abysmal, I landed in another field after converting over a 20 feet high tree.' Still I was down and set off to climb to the top. (Never gives up this lad. Ed.)
Flyers on the hill had not even seen my flight, John Fack though I had walked up for the exercise!! Full of enthusiasm I rigged up, intending to continue my hang-walk through the Black mountains, took off and, much to my disgust, went down.
The Fack twins and Paul Baker took off after me and had one of the best flights I have ever witnessed, I'm sure they']] write about it themselves? (oh yeah ED).
At the end of the day I,was pretty tired but extremely pleased with a modest 8Â¾ miles, cross-country.
Ray was another gifted pilot who was usually guaranteed to make the best of whatever flying was available.