Thursday 29th August. “Refreshingly Cool 😎”.

Good evening fellow aviators.

After some very warm days this week already, today at the park was a very pleasant and clement 18 degrees celcius. The wind varying between 230 – 250 degrees, 10 – 15 knot ground wind, 20 knot flying wind. This made for respectable launch heights, and some very welcome assistance in staying aloft from our local ridge.

The forecast was a respectable one for local soaring, and although not a stellar day for soaring, extended flights were enjoyed throughout the day.

There was only a small scattering of aviators at the Park today, but fortunately Barts dog ‘Google’ was available to lend a “paw” at the launch point.

Until retiring to her “lunch” point after a busy mornings work πŸΆπŸ¦΄πŸ™‚.

The skies to the South West of the Park reverberated to the sounds of multiple military fast jets and helicopters performing “high energy training manoeuvres”.

Merv and Gordon were so inspired by the days soaring opportunities, that in the absence of a spare Glider began experimenting with alternative methods for achieving a quick solo flight πŸ˜‚πŸ™‚.

A total of 27 Glider flights today. First launch at 11:05, last landing at 17:50.

A refreshingly cool and enjoyable day at the Park dear aviators.

Kind regards.

Damien.

Wednesday 21st August. “Terrific local soaring, but more challenging for Cross Country”.

Good evening fellow aviators.

It was a good forecast for today, and there was some terrific local soaring from very early in the day, right through to the very last flight of the day.

By the time the Gliders and launch point were prepared and ready, the sky was already showing promise.

2 Club Puchacz, all the club single seaters, and an array of private gliders lined up at the launch point, with up to a dozen online at a time. No pictures of this unfortunately as I was in the launch point line getting ready to fly with everyone else πŸ™‚.

Locally soaring opportunities were plentiful, but the Cross Country guys reported conditions were more challenging out on task, with weak lift and cloud bases as low as 2000ft at times. Mark H fared better than most however, and managed to strike out to Northampton and complete a 250k task.

Former club members Steve & Kath Grzeskowiak made a welcome visit to the Park today. They have travelled back from Australia on a whistle stop tour visiting family and friends in the UK. Steve took to the skies around the park once again this afternoon with Stuart N in the Motor Glider. Taking the controls for all but the take off and landing, on a 1:20 flight, Steve managed a respectable engine off Glide time of approx 40 mins during the flight.

41 Glider flights today, 1 Motor Glider flight, plus an aero tow home for a visiting Dorset Gliding Club member Richard, who landed at the Park after completing a 50k.

First launch 10:43, final club glider landed at 18:04.

Another great day at the Park dear aviators πŸ™‚.

Kind regards.

Damien.

Tuesday 20th August. “Good soaring day πŸ™‚”.

Good evening fellow aviators.

A good forecast preceded a good days soaring from the Park Β today.

A steady 10 -15 kt WNW wind was present throughout the day, but glorious sunshine persisted and the temperatures remained warm and comfortable all day.

The Cross Country Pilots were out in force, tackling a variety of tasks, and travelling as far and wide as Bridgnorth and Milton Keynes. Alastair encountered one particular thermal that averaged 11.5kts up during a 1000ft climb!

Mike J, was kept busy locally with training duties, and even tried his hand at a bit of inflight photography. Please see picture below dear aviators πŸ˜‚πŸ™‚!Good first attempt Mike πŸ˜‚πŸ™‚.Β 

The launch point took a momentary step back in time at one point this afternoon, with a trio of K6’s on line ready to launch πŸ™‚.

32 Glider flights in total today. Plus a welcome visit from a Mendip motor glider.

Tomorrows forecast looks promising again fellow aviators πŸ™‚πŸ‘.

Kind regards.

Damien.

Monday 19th August. “Soaring between the showers”.

Good evening fellow aviators.

After consulting with the oracle (RASP πŸ˜‰), we knew today wouldn’t be a strong soaring day, but sometimes its just nice to get off the ground, even for just a few minutes. For those pilots wanting instruction, Mike J was on hand, and was kept busy all day training.

Showers were frequent but short throughout the day, and we were generally managing two launches then parking the Gliders for 10 minutes to let a shower pass through, before wiping the gliders dry and launching again. The enthusiasm to fly remained undiminished throughout the day, with every opportunity to launch being grasped.

At ground level a steady 10 – 15 knot westerly wind, occasionally gusted to 20 knots. The wind was very slightly warm, and brilliant sunshine was there to be enjoyed between showers. The flying wind up to 20 knots westerly.

Conditions delivered excellent launch heights, giving pilots the opportunity to make the most of the limited lift to be found. The Puchacz launching between 1500 – 1600 ft, the Astir 1700 – 1800ft.

Merv B re-solo’d today πŸ™‚. Merv returned to gliding last year, after 15 years away from the sport. He took to the skies this afternoon, once again a solo pilot. Well done Merv πŸ‘πŸ™‚.

16 Glider Flights in total today. A very productive instructional day, and a very pleasant days flying for the soloists.

Tomorrows forecast looks promising, so we will take to the skies and try our luck once more fellow aviators.

Kind regards.

Damien.

Saturday 17th August. β€œA day at the Park, Streets ahead of a day spent anywhere else πŸ˜‰β€ (Updated version).

(Good afternoon fellow aviators, I have updated Saturdays blog with a motor glider flight made by John H. I didn’t hear about this flight until Sunday morning, but it was well worth a mention in the blog, so I have included it below).

Good evening fellow aviators.

RASP predicted workable local lift at the Park today and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint.

Soaring got off to a slow start in the morning, but from lunch time onwards long workable energy lines of cloud streets started to appear at the Park.

A 10- 15 knot westerly wind made progress a challenge at times, but many sustained soaring flights were enjoyed during the day.

After the Motor Gliders 50 hour inspection was completed, John H ran it down to view the team setting up next weeks Steam Rally at Blandford. On the return leg he noticed a large cloud street south of Gillingham. He switched off the engine & glid out getting to 1500 amsl before hitting a bit of lift. This took him to the edge of the Yeovilton MATZ in a gentle climb to 2000ft. Starting to feel the effects of a bit of jet lag from his and Julies recent transatlantic adventure, he turned for home. About 5 miles west of Wincanton John took a 5knot climb to 3900ft, then glided all the way home. 35 mins engine time, 40 mins noise free.

Later in the afternoon, Mike T managed to ride a convergence to Castle Cary and back in the motor glider. I tried valiantly to ride the same convergence in the Astir, but was a little too low to make the most of that one.

Weather conditions through the day were very pleasant. The westerly wind was very slightly warm, and very refreshing. Bright sunshine most of the time too, reminding me how rejuvenating just helping out on the airfield between flights at the Park can be. The perfect tonic after a weeks work.

A total of 27 Glider flights, and 2 Motor Glider flights today.

Not the strongest of soaring days at the Park, but still ‘streets’ ahead of a day spent almost anywhere else πŸ˜‰ .

Monday 12th August

Many thanks to Alistair for test flying our new syndicate DG101 Elan (Hugh, Bill and myself) and subsequent briefing. Hugh then taking an aerotow and Bill a winch launch, with excellent local soaring conditions (I need to eat some more doughnuts, being a little too close for comfort to the minimum weight – more lead ballast to be made by the technical team for me!)                 With a bit of a grey, low cloud start to the day, first launch at 11.19 and final launch at 16.08 we had Mark and Stuart giving two seater training to members and an aerotow for completion of an annual check.                               Many thanks to Chris Basham for winching for the day, Mark and Stuart for instructing.                                                                                                                                      The afternoon gave us excellent clear air and good soaring conditions. 14 winch launches and 3 aerotows.

Chris Chappell

Sunday, 11th August

We were thin on the ground, with only two booked pupils because of a strong wind forecast, with the likelihood of an early bath ( around 1400, when the occluded front was due to dampen our spirits).  With that scenario, we could only manage two Puchacz on the field and we switched Roy C to morning, to beat the expected weather.  We also had an interesting visitor, who made his way from Bristol by train and taxi, to fly with us before his return to France in the week ( more explanation later).

The 240 wind was supposed to reduce slowly and veer to around 280 but actually did neither!  By mid pm, it had backed and maintained or even strengthened.  The starting direction allowed us to gain some support from the White Sheet ridge and take thermals as they came through.  There were lots of slope-soaring modellers down there; we didn’t cross over them and I only saw two gliders up at a time, doing some “high energy” ridge bashing. Roy and I had two good flights, getting to a cloudbase of 2900′ but then, heading into wind,  finding ourselves above the lower cloudbase of 2600′ to port.  I cannot explain that; it wasn’t a convergence or a step from sea air (non visible and a good soarable cloudscape).  We followed the line but didn’t find any special lift effects, so maybe it was simply that we had a higher cloudbase to the north of the A303 than the south, because of the lower ground to the south.

We had a short break with a little rain but John G. had checked Andy N out.  We could see heavy rain towards Shepton Mallet but that was not coming towards us.  Andy then flew solo and, because the wind had backed by then, was able to try the Brimsdown ridge and thermals as they moved through.

Our visitor was very interesting.  He is involved with teaching commercial pilots and air traffic controllers to communicate in the international aviation languages, English and French, to those whose native language is neither eg. Africans, Chinese etc ( no jokes about Aussies or western atlantic colonial cousins please).  He had flights with John and myself and expressed his gratitude for those, the warm welcome and the lift Mick gave him back to Warminster station – thanks Mick.  The visitor, Nick, is planning to come back in the autumn, maybe to organise some flying for French pilots and ATC, so start brushing up your language skills!

Although we didn’t get the forecast storms on time, everybody had done enough to be satisfied when lightning was seen in the Longleat/Frome direction, so time to retrieve Dennis from the winch; he doesn’t need defibrillating!

As I left the site, big drops were starting to fall and the roads back to and beyond Frome had many deep water traps.  We  were lucky to have had a good day.

 

 

Wednesday 7th August “Dodging the showers”

Despite numerous showers during the day, members enjoyed a day of two seater training, check flights, solo flights, intrepid thermal hunting and plenty of cups of tea, briefings and social “chit chat” in the caravan between the “wet stuff” falling from the sky.                                                                                   Many thanks to our volunteer winch man, Dave P. Mike J and Steve L for covering the instruction for the day.

Chris Chappell 

Alan Milne’s funeral.

Past Instructor and CFI Alan Milne died 2 weeks ago.  Six of us went to his funeral in Poole today, lead by Vice President Dick Yerburgh.  Alan had a distinguished past in Gliding having started in the 1960s at Portmoak in his native Scotland.  He was Chairman of that club at one time, before moving south with his wife, Jane, to Ferndown in Dorset.  He was an instructor in the Dorset Gliding Club and moved to The Park soon after the Club began operations at its new home in Kingston Deverill.  He retained his friendships with members of the Dorset GC, several of whom were there today.

Alan was a hugely respected Pilot, Instructor, Committee member and a great supporter of the club in many quiet ways.  He retired from gliding when illness reduced his mobility, selling his then glider, Ventus 808, which now lives at Keevil.  Alan’s gliders always carried comp no 808.

May he rest in peace.

Mike Thorne

Flying Group. Friday 26th July

We flew a group on Friday from a Probus club in Romsey, returning for their third year running.  (Professional and and Retired Businessmen’s Association).

Despite the heat wave preceding the day, the forecast teased and prodded us but in the end the weather proved to be adequate to the task with no rain.  18 flights were made by a mix of aerotow and winch, totalling 6.5  hours.  Lots of smiling faces went away vowing to return next year if we’ll have them.

Thanks to the gallant band of Team Park helpers, lead by Nigel Warren clutching Polly’s cake, who made it all happen and were willing to give their time to this.  These events create a bit of money for the club and make for a sociable day sharing what we like doing.

If you can get a group together please liaise with Nigel about getting them booked in for a day of evening.  Our real target is prospective members but we’ll take anyone’s money….

Mike Thorne

Sunny Wednesday 24th July

Another beautiful sunny day, with a cooling SW breeze and with a forecast of an inversion and zero thermal activity, we yet again were pleasantly surprised with some soaring flights of up to 50 minutes. This “hat” goes to Adam (Berrisford) in LPM , with Mike (T) soaring away in the blue yonder (local of course) in BNH for 39 minutes. Many thanks to Stuart and Mike J for instructor cover and of course our ever faithful winch drivers Dave P and Andy H, Gordon, Adam and Alistair for volunteer areo-tows.                                 24 winch launches and 2 aero-tows. First launch 11.00 am, a very civilised lunch break relaxing in the shade of the caravan with the last launch at 16.07. flying time amounting to 6.25 hours.

Chris Chappell                      

Powering down when leaving The Park

Today’s the first time it’s happened I think but when the site was vacated this afternoon the domestic power was left on.

If you’re last out of the door please remember to touch the “Vacate Building” button on the display next to the exit door when you leave, to ensure that the building is left in a minimal consumption mode.

Mike T

Wednesday 17th July. Great local soaring day πŸ™‚.

Good evening dear aviators. RASP predicted some excellent local soaring at the Park today and Mother Nature delivered.

A usefully high cloud base of around 3500ft above the Park, gave good opportunities to travel between thermal sources through the day.

Carefully following the energy lines as they developed throughout the day, regularly resulted in sustained lift of between 1 & 4 knots up in level flight.

Greg successfully completed his first 2 hour duration flight, clocking up a very respectable 2:41. He was duly rewarded with a high five from Chris Β πŸ™‚. Well done Greg πŸ‘.

17 flights in total at the Park today. 14 Glider Flights and 3 Motor Glider Flights.

All in all, another very pleasant and productive day at the Park. Plentiful local soaring opportunities, and plentiful training opportunities.

P.S. I was treated today to the tantalising sight of a mysterious crop circle in a field over toward the A303 Services, South East of the Park. I didn’t mange to take a picture this time round, but take a look next Β time your flying over that way. Did we have aviators visiting from even further afield than we imagined during last weeks flying week πŸ›Έ πŸ‘½ . The truth is out there dear aviators πŸ˜‰.

kind regards.

Damien.

Inter Club League comp weekend at The Park

We hosted this weekend’s regional Inter Club league competition. We had teams from Dartmoor, Mendip, Upavon and The Park. We were restricted by the Yeovilton Air Day just to the west on Saturday, but in the end there wasn’t much risk if getting in their way.

Saturday teased us all day with a sudden flurry of activity about 3.30 when the sun came out through the overcast. It continued to tease but even the most successful scratchers didn’t leave the local area, but it was good for site familiarisation and blowing the cobwebs away.

Sunday was forecast to be almost as bad as Saturday. Pundits and Intermediates were set a 100k task of Park, Salisbury South, Blandford, Park. Novices were tasked with Park, Tisbury, Gillingham, Nunney, Park, at 60k.

Conditions were better then expected but a bit “Curate’s Eggy”. Cloud bases varied between 2000ft and 3500ft above airfield height around each task, with a large unhelpfully-orientated sea breeze front down south, and occasional 6 knot climbs if you could find them.

Several got around the tasks. Lots of fun and war stories. Results to follow! A great social weekend with friends old and new at The Park.

Task Week

Congratulations to the 15 pilots who took part in the club Task Week, which finished on Friday. We  flew on every day and four out of the five were cross county days. Wednesday was a proper racing day, but the other days had there challenges. I enjoyed setting them and I hope you had a fun week. We plan to run a week again next year.

Link to the final results is below.

Task week results

Alastair

Saturday 13th July – Steve Solo’s and the Interscrub (Almost) League

A very gloomy overcast day at The Park for a majority of the day resulted in a lot of watching and waiting. But the wait for Steve Callaghan was over as John Hull sent him solo today – Congratulations Steve! That’s 2 members of the Callaghan clan who’ve solo’d at The Park.
Flightlog tell’s it’s own story with only couple of flights of any duration prior to 16:00 with most being sub 10 minutes, the best flight of the day was from a visiting discus with a time of 1:36 from a winch launch which launched at 16:49.
Whether any tasks were completed I’m not sure but not a fantastic competition day on the face of it.

A rare treat today as Julie unexpectedly provided ice creams and ice lollies in various forms at the launch point accompanied by Chris Roberts playing the tune of an ice cream van from his phone!

Hopefully Sunday will prove more fruitful!

Steve Callaghan with John Hull after his first solo flight.

Quick, lets go!