I turned up at Win Green with some trepidation as the wind was forecast as NW 16 - 20mph / force 5. I've never flown anything in a wind as strong as that before so I decided the only plane for the job was my Zagi LE. On Saturday morning there were (initially) 5 other fliers, all from the Wimborne club - no sign of CDMFC members! They egged me on & reassured me that once I'd got the Zagi airborne & past the lip of the bowl I'd be all right. I've never seen such a tatty load of Zagis before. Lumps of fibreglass tape, patches everywhere & signs of a hard life on most of their models.
The Wimborne fliers were a "jolly" crowd but didn't seem to mind skimming the back of your head with a Zagi if you didn't hear or sense it coming & duck in time! Several combat clashes ended with Zagis crashing right next to the flight line. Initially there were 5 Zagis up, then 6 - then 7! A fantastic sight & as you can imagine ample opportunity for some combat flying collisions - of which there were many. I stayed around the peripheral of the bun-fight & enjoyed watching them try to destroy each other's planes. My excuse was that I've got permanently fixed winglets on mine so I don't want them being knocked off.
Sunday was different all together with CDMFC members the only fliers present, plus an additional flyer who was a skill level above all present (I'm quoting Trevor here). He spent a lot of time inverted, doing inverted outside loops & stall turns & some manoeuvres that I'd never seen before. All with a self-designed model that somebody commented (to his annoyance) looked remarkably like a Phase 6!
I think that Brian explained the launching paradox well; " there's a slight down-curl on the up-draught up the bowl, just at the lip where you launch from, so depending upon the gusts coming up the slope your model either flops into the grass in front of you or tries to flip up over your head during the launch. It's a bit of a lottery". He was right - once the model had got past the lip of the bowl the lift was incredible, if a bit gusty & turbulent, but trying to launch it you could feel the wind was trying to either throw the model to the ground in front of you or wrench it out of your hand & flip it over your head as either side of the wing caught the gusts.
On both days I had a Red Kite fly out, half close his wings & dive down to follow the wing around the sky, usually about 10 feet above & behind it - whatever trick flying you tried. The only thing that phases it is doing a loop. Immense fun! Also on Saturday I had a Sparrow hawk play with the wing. He positioned himself above it & swooped down with his legs & talons down & skimmed the top of the wing. Luckily unlike the mischievous Crows (that Brian & Trevor told me about from previous flights) he didn't leave slash marks in the skin of the wing, but it was an exhilarating sight, one I'll long remember
Once in the air the lift was amazing everywhere. You could fly half way down the 540 feet high bowl, pull back on the stick a little & before you know it the model is 200 feet above you. Over the 1 1/2 days I got in 3 1/2 hours of flying - at the cost of just charging 2 battery packs!