Sunday 09/06/19 at the Park. “A short story about a memorable flight”.

Good evening fellow aviators.

As an addition to our blogs usual flying updates, I thought I would share you with you a short story about a memorable flight I enjoyed on Sunday.

It was mid afternoon on a day that had seen some good soaring between rain showers. Chris Basham was on Winch duty, and duly bashing the winch throttle, launched me and the club Astir LPM to a respectable 1350 ft.

There were many cumulus clouds of potential in sight, but I feared the cloud cover may be too dense and overdeveloped, so I headed tentatively South West into wind to try my luck.

The vario was reading 2 knots down as I approached a large black cloud. A few minutes had past with no signs of workable lift, so I decided this was the last cloud I would try, and if it didn’t work I was heading home. I ventured beneath, and not wanting to stray too much farther from the Park, I tracked gently to the left and then right, feeling the pressure beneath the wings and waiting for any signs of lift. 1.5 knots up, and the vario chirped into life, aha fellow aviators this flight may not be over yet 🙂 .

Straightening and turning, I began to centre in the thermal. 1.5 knots up, became 2 knots up, then 4, finally peaking at 6 knots up just before reaching cloud base. The lift just below cloud base was plentiful, LPM staying aloft with ease in the bountiful thermic conditions. I adjusted my course to keep out of lower cloud areas that appeared to be caused by a convergence, relaxed into my seat and enjoyed having the sky to myself for a while.

In the distance to the North however was a rather foreboding, purple tinged, black cloud towering above all the other cumulus. To the North East a rain curtain drew its veil across the horizon. Hmm, I’m quite high, and that rain looks quite close, better keep an eye it.

I continued to turn and soar and meander beneath my generous cloud companion, and as the minutes flowed gently by I kept a watchful eye on the weather to the North. The towering Wizard of Oz like black cloud to the North appeared to hold station, although still a little close for comfort, the rain curtain to the North East however definitely looked to be moving slowly my way. Ok, I really don’t want to leave this abundance of lift, but I also don’t want to be this high up in rain. Time to head back.

With an abundance of height to lose, I eased out 1/4 airbrake. 2 Knots up on the vario, was the response from my trusty steed. Ok, lets try 1/2 airbrake. 1 knot down, good, were finally heading in the right direction. Lowering the nose a few more degrees and holding the airbrake 1/2 open, I made my way to High Key.

As I began my left hand circuit, the weather to the North still looked threatening, so I was heartened that my decision to give up all that height and lift was a good one. Down Wind leg and a few bubbles of 2 knots up were felt gently rippling through the airframe. Landing area clear, RP in sight, all looking good, trimming out ready for the diagonal leg.

I’m down to 600ft by Low key, a comfortable height as were landing over the trees today at the East end of the strip. Turning onto the diagonal leg, the vario sings into life, 10 knots up, and its sustained lift not a bubble! Hmm, that was unexpected but surely it wont last, right? Final turn, 750ft! Hmm, I’m probably well lined up if I want to land at Stourhead 😉 . I ease out 1/2 airbrake and check my RP. Nope, that wont cut it. 3/4 airbrake, looking better, but I like more of a margin than that. I take full airbrake, and lower the nose a few more degrees. Bingo, were back in the slot dear aviators, the ground wafting toward me like a welcoming warm summers breeze. Round-out, float, touch down! Rolling to a halt, half way down the strip, 1 and a 1/2 wing lengths from the edge of the field, both wings parallel, textbook landing 😎 .

I open the canopy and clamber out the Glider. Calm, clement weather greets me. There are clouds visible to the North, but at ground level, nothing that would give me cause for concern. Oh no dear aviators, have I been a fool, have I just given away sublime effortless lift for no reason! 😟 .

Chris Chappell roars toward me in a Gator in her usual full throttle style, flashes me her usual full throttle smile, “what happened Damien, you must of hit terrific sink, you looked well away”. “No”,  I sheepishly reply, “I thought the rain was coming, so headed home”.

Head bowed, I hold the wing and start back for the hangar, its time to pack up, so no time to revisit my haven of soaring this day. I can feel the cheeks on my face still flushed hot with the thrill and delight of the flight, but I cant shake my dismay that I may have just thrown away something special 🙁 .

We park LPM on the grass, and go to help put the K6 away. Holding one end of the tail strop, we enter the cool shade of the hangar. My ears prick, is that a few taps of rain I hear on the corrugated hangar roof? The taps build in intensity and within seconds the heavens have opened. As the rain falls my heart sings. Yesss dear aviators!! I did make the right choice 😃😃 . I had ventured into the wild once more, enjoyed the thrills of soaring with mother nature herself, brought pilot and plane home in one piece, and given myself a 15 minute safety margin ahead of the coming rain!! What a tremendous flight dear aviators 🙂🙂 .

Recounting with delight the story of my adventure to anyone that would listen, I received two excellent pieces of advice for countering excessive lift experienced while in the circuit. The first was from Mike Jenks, “if that happens again, open your airbrake to counter the lift as its happening, don’t throw away all the extra height gained, better to be a bit too high, than a bit too low”. The second was from Nick Bowers, “right then, its time Damien for you to learn the art of Side Slipping”.

What a day dear aviators. Next job on my ‘to-do’ list, learn the art of Side Slipping 🙂 .

kind regards.

Damien.

Friday 24th May. The end of another great ‘Flying Week’ at the Park 🙂

We were treated to another great ‘Flying Week’ at the Park this week fellow aviators 🙂 .

I think you’re right Mike, everyone was so busy making the most of the great flying weather, our beloved blog was left unattended too.

I flew everyday this week apart from Monday, and the soaring opportunities were plentiful.

As a relative newcomer to the sport, I took on board a very handy tip from Mike Thorne and pushed my own limits this week, by setting myself local soaring tasks. I used turn points at Longleat, Stourhead, and a Farm South East of the Park (clear of the circuit). I then tried to fly round this short local circuit quicker and quicker each time.

The Cross Country Pilots have the Ladder. Perhaps my fellow relative newcomers to the sport, could have our own local soaring, “Step Ladder” league table 🙂 . Good practice in readiness for our own future Cross Country endeavours.

I had a fantastic weeks flying. It is my Birthday today, and I even spent that at the Park flying with my fellow aviators, I can’t think of a better way I could have spent it.

As it is my Birthday today, I did of course bring a selection of cakes with me to the Park (picture below).

I think there are some sticky toffee cakes left. If they haven’t yet been devoured by a hungry aviator, they can be found in the caravan, any early birds at the Park tomorrow, feel free to help yourselves 🙂 .

Kind regards.

Damien.

Tuesday 21st May at the Park.

What a great day dear aviators 🙂 .

RASP promised good things (screen shot below), and Mother Nature delivered.

Glorious sunshine and the promise of plentiful soaring opportunities saw a full launch point of pilots, many of whom had Cross Country ambitions for the day. I’m sure Alastair will update soon on the days Cross Country achievements.

On a personal note, as a relative newcomer to the sport, today I flew the club K6 and achieved my 2 hour duration which will form part of my Cross Country endorsement, and also gained my Silver height (picture below) 🙂 .

Another glorious day at the Park dear aviators, with a full summer ahead to look forward too 🙂 .

Kind regards.

Damien.

The Park Saturday 4th May. Windy and Wild.

Good evening fellow Aviators.

RASP predicted great potential for Saturdays flying at the Park, but the soaring opportunities arrived with strong gusting winds to add a little extra excitement to the days proceedings, (see screen shots below).

Severe gusting cross winds delayed progress in the morning, and a change in wind direction required a change of ends at the Park. As the morning drew on the gusting wind component eased, and club members were treated to some very strong thermal activity, with members regularly sustaining climb rates of 4 – 10 knots up to cloud base at 5000 – 5500 ft.

The gusting winds didn’t ease of completely however, and provided excellent cross wind training for students.

Club members were treated to an aerobatic master class from John Hull in one of our club Puchacz, including Loops, Stall Turns, 3G turns, a Quarter Clover, and final ‘bow to the crowd’ Hammer Head Stall.

Chris Chappell had seen it all before (picture below)

Dan Weston had a valiant attempt at his 100k, but after encountering an impassable stretch of blue sky with a 6 knots down component, he was forced to land out at Beckhampton. A safe and well executed field landing ensued, and Dan waited in the conveniently located local pub for his retrieval. Many thanks to Jorn Schuster for leading Dan’s retrieval, particularly as Jorn wasn’t even at the Park on Saturday and agreed to be on standby at home for Dan’s retrieval.

Pictures of Dan’s well executed field landing below.

All in all, another excellent days flying at the Park, with the club achieving 15 Winch Launches, and 1 Aero Tow.

Kind regards.

Damien.

Blog bereft aviator.

What has happened to our beloved Blog dear aviators.

There have been so many recent Blog worthy events since it was last published. We enjoyed a glorious Bank Holiday weekend, a Flying Week of soaring highs and lows, and today another Sunday of noteworthy aviation. All have come and gone with not so much of a hint of BWND Blog recognition.

In the past ten days, our club members have reported experiencing 6 knots up of lift on occasion, and I’ve heard of at least three successful flights in Wave.

Grace our computer screens once more dear Blog, you have been greatly missed.

kind regards.

Damien.

Wednesday 13th February, Flying Report.

Good evening fellow aviators.

The car park at the club was full today. The weather appears to be improving every week now, and it was terrific to see so many members turn out to make the most of today’s flying opportunities.

26 Winch Launches, and 2 Aero Tows were achieved, including some Full Cat training, BI training, and Annual Checks.

The ridge was working well for part of the day, with one lucky pilot achieving a flight time of 1:07 in a club Astir, and another pilot managing to stay aloft for 0:39 in the club K6.

The workshop team worked busily all day as usual, completing maintenance tasks on club Gliders, and also assisting fellow club members with airworthiness checks on their own aircraft.

A very productive and enjoyable day all round.

Our ubiquitous club cameraman Chris Basham, was on hand to capture some moments from the day. For your viewing pleasure dear aviators, a selection of Chris’s pictures can be enjoyed below.

Thanks.

Kind regards.

Damien.

A full car park at the Club today. Terrific to see so many members turn out to make the most of today’s flying opportunities.
The club Astir and K6, enjoyed some good ridge flying during the day.
The launch point was kept busy all day, with the days final flight landing shortly before sunset.
Chris and Sue had far too much fun, as usual! 🙂

Flying Report Sunday 10th February. “Fortune favoured the brave”.

Today resulted in some great flying.

It wasn’t a promising start to the day from a weather perspective. It was raining in the early part of the morning, and bitterly cold, with a windchill that would have given a polar bear “paws” for thought, 🙂 .

However, the spirits of the skeleton crew of hardy aviators was not dampened. The weather improved as the morning rolled on and we took to the skies. Rain paused play briefly, conveniently enough it was at lunch time, and flying resumed again shortly after.

We managed 7 Aero Tow flights throughout the day. Cloud Street formations developed around the Park in the afternoon, resulting in 2 of todays flights having a thermal gain of 500 ft each after releasing from the tug.

I uploaded some pictures of the day to share with you all, please see below.

Kind regards.

Damien.

Todays wind chill was bitterly cold, but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the team to get flying.

No caravan comfort for this hardy band of aviation enthusiasts, just a landy and a gator.

Some stunning views were enjoyed of the skies and countryside around the Park.

As the afternoon rolled on we were treated to some Cloud Street formations, resulting in some great flying for those lucky enough to be in the sky at the right times.

The newly installed S80 indicated some respectable climb rates beneath the Cloud Streets.

The path to be taken is clear dear aviators.

Good evening fellow aviators.

I visited the Park this afternoon to check on conditions there, and you will be delighted to know, that all is now largely clear of snow.

Most of the snow has melted away, and the early signs of spring can be seen trying to burst their way through to greet us.

The B3095 main road across the Deverill’s is clear, but still has some snow lining the road sides and verges, so must be approached at a cautionary speed.

The farm track up to Park is clear, and the main body of the airfield is also clear. The ground is of course still very wet, with a heavy mist hanging in the air whilst I was there, with some occasional light rain also, to moisten matters more.

For your viewing pleasure, some pictures from my visit below to share with you all.

Kind regards.

Damien.

The path to be taken is clear dear aviators. The track to the Park now almost completely clear of snow, and very easy to drive up.

A little snow remains at the top of the track, at the Park entrance. But it’s very easy to drive over.

The farmers crop has returned to full colour, cheerily shrugging off its snowy adventure.

Indeed, the whole of the countryside around the Park appears to have bounced back vibrantly.

The main body of the airfield looks in great shape. But is of course still very wet.

Where once a mighty 3ft snowdrift once nobly stood, only a light dusting of snow remains to remind us of cooler times.

The Club Hangar, the beating heart of our aerial ambitions, completely clear of snow. Free once more from natures wintry embrace.

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I’m starting to feel Springs eager approach.

Anonymous aerial visitor (addendum).

Fantastic Aerial photographs from yesterday.

The fourth image is my favourite, what a view!

I also wonder Mike, who is our anonymous in house artist?

Could it be Banksy?

No Mike, it was Chris Teasdale. You can see his name on the RSS feed, please pay attention dear fellow. A little too much Tenerife sun perhaps, for our esteemed former Chairman.

Thanks.

Kind regards.

Damien.

The Park gleamed in todays winter sun.

Good evening fellow aviators.

I simply couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the Park today, and experience its snow covered splendour.

The park is still inaccessible by car, but is of course perfectly accessible by the intrepid adventurer who enjoys a good walk.

I took some photos of my visit to share with you all.

Hope you enjoy them.

Kind regards.

Damien.

The track leading to the park, is passable by only the most capable of 4×4’s.

The track up to the park feels much steeper on foot than it does in the car!

The view from the top of the track, was well worth the effort made walking up it.

The photograph below is of a snowdrift. On this short section of the track the snow has built up to 3ft deep! Thats the club hangar you can see in the distance, it’s well clear of the snowdrift fortunately. 

The club house / hangar was surprisingly clear of snow. The snow around the building perimeter only a few inches deep.

The airfield was literally gleaming in the winter sun, and was breathtaking to see. It felt more like a mountain plateau than an airfield. 

Still Snowing in Mere – B3095 Road Closed due to Snow.

Good afternoon fellow aviators.

Mere is resplendent in a thick blanket of crisp white snow. Mere is approximately 3 miles South West of the Park. It has snowed here all day, and is still snowing as I type this blog update.

The B3095 Road used to access to the Park is closed due to the snow. I spoke to a highways officer at the Mere entrance to the B3095  at 16:30 today, and he confirmed the snow was  up to six feet deep in some places, due to high winds blowing snow across the fields, and much of this snow then building up between the hedge rows and fences that line the B3095.

A snow plough is en-route, and the road is expected to be clear by the morning. However with low forecast temperature tonight and tomorrow, driving conditions in this area are likely to be challenging.

Wonderful weather for bracing walks, and building snowmen, but not weather best suited for travel.

Picture below is St Michaels Church in Mere, I took it this afternoon while enjoying a very pleasant amble in the snow. Hope you all managed to keep warm and comfortable today, and also made the most of the days seasonal snowy treat.

Kind regards.

Damien.