With 2 students booked for the morning session and 1 for the afternoon and 2 solo pilots plus the duty team, we saw the 2 Puchaz and the 2 club Astirs at the launch point, east end. Although somewhat hazy with high cloud and a forecast of showers for the afternoon we saw some good soaring flights of up to 1.50hrs, a couple of hour or so flights including a mile high air experience flight. 7 winch launches in all plus 2 aerotows. First launch at 10.24 and final launch at 13.35. Approximately just under 5 hours soaring. Rain unfortunately stopped play and we packed up the gliders in the hanger.
A very quiet day at the launchpoint and only 25 flights today. That did though allow concentrated instructional flying for those who had booked. The new booking system is giving much more satisfaction to both instructors and trainees.
For once the typical “blue hole” over our airfield was welcome! With top cloud cover stretching as far as the eye could see to the east and slowly creeping in from the west the clear blue sky over the Park remained blue (ish), but the thermals were there!
First winch launch at 11.09 and last at 16.12 with 22 winch launches in all, 1 Puchaz, 2 club Astirs and a selection of private gliders managed almost 19 hours soaring today with the “pundits” completing various x-country tasks.
Many thanks to Stuart for volunteering to oversee the day and instructing, Dave and Nick our midweek winchers, and the intrepid Chris Basham for running the launch point.
Three of us flew on what turned out to be a pretty special day, after waving our friends off in the morning as they set off for home.
Marks Player and Hawkins and Mike T took the 561k challenge set by Portmoak hero Santiago Cervantes, and headed out towards Inverness and beyond. Thermals and streets were epic at times, but rain stopped play near Inverness as it spread like an east/west wall across our return path. We crept back through clattering snow showers to the good stuff and headed back for TP2 at Crieff, then headed back north again towards Fort Augustus, which also delivered rain/snow showers, so again we cut that turnpoint by a few tens of kilometres.
Results on the ladder for the keenies.
Great views of Loch Ness and its mysterious patterns on the water…..
Lots of 8 knot+ climbs and strong streeting made for a brilliant day out for those who could stay. This sort of mirrors last year’s trip when the best day was the Saturday. Memo…. Adjust return date for next year!
Alastair couldn’t resist a peep at what was going on whist travelling home. You can get WhatsApp messages in the air here!
After yesterday’s heroics the forecast proved to be optimistic instead of pessimistic. We had just three Park launches, each of which involved a lot of scratching in the sea air coming off the Firth of Forth.
Most toys packed away by mid afternoon although Marks H and P and Mike T are anticipating a 500k day tomorrow if we can believe the forecast. News to follow….
We had an unexpectedly good day today. This place constantly surprises; today Park members flew up tp Aboyne and into the mountains. The photographs are of the area around Dundee and the mountains towards Aboyne.
So far we’ve had five soaring days out of six. Who knows what tomorrow holds?
John Symonds took this photo of Loch Leven today. The wind was just south of east, sky was grey but with some cumulus. Unusually, I was first out of our blocks ( some decided it wasn’t worth it with little chance of cross-country), so I took a winch launch, with a deliberate plan to start the motor immediately, to reach the cu. The plan ( and the motor) worked and I found thermals enhanced by the gentle hill lift on the dip slopes of The Bishop. Mike T. was towed past me and helpfully radioed, from his thermal, that my wheel was still down 🙁 I had failed to do ” top of climb” checks! Still, it was good practice in the lower performance machine. Martin, John and Richard all joined in and Steve took Mel up in the club’s DG 505. Rain was covering the mountains west of us and progressed into wind, almost to the airfield. However, we all got down and derigged before any got to us, late afternoon. Mike followed an energy line out to Leuchars, so he wins today’s prize for determined effort 🙂
Interesting day today. The sea air came in from the south meaning that we had to struggle away to the good conditions to the north. Problem was the snow showers developing over the mountains. A couple of images below of the highlands north of Crieff from just below the 7000ft cloudbase.
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.
Sunday started with a thin layer of stratocumulus which as expected gradually broke up and it became soarable. All gliders flew, most using the west wind onto the Bishop and then transferring to thermals which went to about 5500ft. Of those I have spoken to, M3 found some wave to around 8000ft, but I think most of us flew around the area to the north and west in thermals of varying strength. Quite a lot of snow showers in the mountains though.
Expecting, dare I say it, a good thermal day tomorrow.
With the promise of some reasonable soaring in the afternoon club members turned out for annual checks, instruction and solo flying. A brisk westerly saw some 1600ft plus winch launches. The thermals were broken, quite lively and didn’t really compensate for the speed at which you could potentially drift downwind. One Puchaz and JKW were out on the field with Mike instructing, Gordon and Nick B on the tug, Andy H and Nick M on the winch. 13 launches in all, first launch 11.22 and last 15.36.
All tuck away in the hanger with dark clouds looming from the north west with the threat of rain, then the best weather of the day eventually does materialize. Those thermal gods are playing with us again!!
Also an attempt at 50k, 5 hours and a record breaking club 100k planned for Saturday by Dan and agreed by Mike, weather permitting, in JKW. Anyone willing to volunteer as standby retrieve crew please let Dan know.
I stayed overnight following the AGM and felt the need for a short walk at about 2am. For those who’ve not yet stayed over on a clear night, the starscape is fantastic! It’s got to be one of the darkest places in our area to view from. Highly recommended.
After a flying week that saw 4 hot and blue days over Easter followed by several wet days and and eventually a very windy AGM Saturday, we eventually flew on Sunday.
It was far from an epic day but plenty of hands-on time for those who did turn up and had great access to the fleet. There were some soaring flights under the gloomy overcast.
The AGM on Saturday was well attended to receive the good news about last year’s investments and successes. Chris Chappell was elected to the committee so will bring her unique knowledge and talents to bear in the coming year. Democracy Rules… Dick Yerburgh and Ron Lynch were awarded Life Vice Presidency positions in recognition of their years of faithful service to the Club. Very well deserved.
Next weekend may be quiet as a big contingent will be off to Portmoak in Scotland for the week from Friday, so get your bookings in now for those training slots.
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.