Well done Steve (Callaghan) on your solo on Saturday.
Well done Steve (Callaghan) on your solo on Saturday.
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.
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!
I have arranged for the demonstration of this Eurofox variant tomorrow with Roger Cornwell, the UK agent.
As many of you know, we have had other engine variants at the park and assessed their performance.
This one is more powerful and we need to test it with our 2-seaters when fully ballasted and also possibly a
single seater with full water ballast.
There will be a number of 2-seater flights available to members at the price of a winch launch to a height of 2000 feet. This will be on a first come first served basis.
If you would like to take part or just have a look at this aircraft please come along. We will need video
footage of the ground runs so anyone with a good camera will be most welcome.
I have just returned from the 2019 Saltby Open, this competition was my first time competing at Advanced level. The competition was a one day competition with a low number of entries at 8, yet 4 of them were from the National Team including myself, so it was still a hard field of pilots to compete against. The competition is 2 unknown sequences ( Which means we don’t know what the sequence is until 1 hour before launch- it’s my least favourite).
The time came around and I towed to 4100ft AGL in the Fox only to be clouded out as a large CU came in between me and the judges so I had to airbrake down, I’m pretty confident that’s the fastest anyone has ever come down off a 4000ft tow as the fox “falls” from the sky at 100 kts full airbrake.
We then decided to wait till the cloud base lifted , which worked and we managed to get the whole competition in on the Friday. With 2 flights each.
I was happy with my sequences as the only error was falling off the tail slide instead of travelling backwards before the tuck. In the evening the judges added up the scores, and you can see the results below !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Daniel Weston 2019 Saltby Open Winner.
The forecast front never appeared today and we flew 35 launches with 26 hours of soaring. There was very little interest though in single seat flying despite the strong thermals to around 4300ft QNH.
What a glorious day this turned out to be – sunshine and thermals!
With club members turning out for instruction, check flights and solo flying, not to mention the volume of private gliders busily rigging first thing in the morning for tasks of up to 500k – this I`ll leave to others to share their task experiences and achievements.
Doug Trimmer gained his 2 hours towards his Bronze, Nick (Machin) converted to JKW. Cloud base being just over 4,000ft with thermal activity late into the afternoon and early evening enabling club members to receive their upper air exercises. First launch at 10.49 and final launch of the day at 17.18. 43 winch launches and approximately 68 hours of flying time with club and private gliders, the last landing returning from is task being 18.51
Many thanks to Mike and Phil for covering the instruction for the day.
Where were all the prospective flyers? Whilst Saturday was hot and blue, Sunday was quite a lot better, with thermals until about 15.00 and eventually sea air from the NW. We flew 6 visitors and several training flights, but there was space for more.
It wasn’t a cross country day, but I came home with a sunburned nose so the forecast was worse than the reality.
The tug behaved very well after Mark’s recent ministrations. We could even refuel it after we found the fuel manhole cover key where it had been dropped on the ground beside the manhole. It’s now attached to the fuel clipboard!
Looks like a reasonable week ahead. Let’s see what Christine organises for midweek flying.
The first of our group flying days was almost thwarted by some forecasts of strong winds but eventually we did fly after a late decision on Thursday.
We eventually managed 16 launches (5 x A/t) with a brisk wind down the strip we were managing about 1500ft launches, mark player got the tug working later in the day so we did some 2000ft tows as well with Steve L driving the tug.
Any thermals were non existent so we had shortish flights but our visitors enjoyed a day in the sunshine and some flying, I think everyone went away having had a good day out, let me know if they didn’t Jan……
These things don’t happen without the help of our members who turned up and made it all work for our visitors, cake was supplied by Polly and a certain Mr Parkes went away with the last slice!
A big big thank you to everyone that came along and helped and make the day a sucess.
I took the cracked exhaust manifold to Paul Grellier this (Friday) morning and he repaired the defect and I refitted it this afternoon.
After a successful ground run and test flight, Steve Lambourne did 5 tows with it and all was well.
This update added by Mike Thorne just in case people thought it was still U/S. Thanks To Mark for his rapid attention to this.
After the carburettor repair the tug has unfortunately developed another problem. After towing on Saturday I found a fine crack in the port exhaust manifold. This has put it out of service until it can be repaired.
I have an appointment with a CAA approved welder, near Winchester on Friday morning so if all goes to plan I will be able to refit it on Friday afternoon and hopefully it will be back in service this weekend.
Here is the picture of the crack. Notice all the white deposit which is especially marked on the shiny SS nut, it was this the alerted me to look for a crack.
Great club attendance today and a chance for several to do some interesting flights in good conditions.
Dan Weston couldn’t quite make the jump to Aston Down for his 50K, but Alastair went to Snowdon O/R for a 500K. Several other 200s and 300s flown with lots of time in the air for those honing their thermalling skills more locally. Trevor Harrod flew and recorded, on the national ladder, his first declared 100k. Ed Beadle visited for the day to do a navex in the Venture. Ben Collins materialised for the day in his solicitor’s car. Welcome to Mike Perry, an Open Day visitor who joined today; another born again glider pilot on a motor bike.
Tomorrow looks a bit iffy for anything other than local training flights, but let’s full our boots while the summer’s here.
At last a decent flying day on the final day of the flying week. 43 flights, several club gliders flying for over 2 hours and up to nearly 5000 above site.
Several good XCs flown, the most heroic undoubtedly being Steve Lambourne’s 8 hour 500k attempt which ended with a turbo return after 460k flown. Alastair and Mark P flew 300k. Bill Prince and I took a coaching Puchacz XC to have a look at the Glastonbury festival site, then turning Trowbridge in a 2.5 hour flight. Greg CW got away at a third attempt to fly for nearly 2 hours in a Puch and to earn a bronze leg, on his first solo flight of more than 10 minutes, just missing a silver height. Sam flew his silver height qualifying flight after a motor glider expedition to Aston Down. Big smiles all round.
A busy day for Andy Huggins who did most of the winch launching. Thanks Andy.
Toys away about 6.30.
First time using the blog so apologies if I get anything wrong.
Saturday is looking like a reasonable day to try and go further than 49.73km, so I was looking for some help to come rescue me if all goes wrong on this attempt.
I would be extremely grateful if people are ok to be on standby on Saturday (As long as the forecast holds) please let me know if you would be happy to do this. Thank you !
On a different note – The photo I have attached was from my 2 hour 12 min stint on the ridge from Sunday , surprisingly it was mostly thermals that were keeping us aloft, the best I found was 5 knots, in 25 kts of wind at around 1600ft above site, shame cloud base was only 1900ft. Lower down the ridge worked well even at 75 kts. I just wish the ridge was longer, next extension plan?!
Low cloud and breezy.
Not much opportunity to coach or be coached in the air today, although some classroom work took place this morning. The cloud lifted after mid-day and we flew 10 local flights and a motor glider trip.
Tuesday’s forecast is dire so the day is scrubbed. Possible thunderstorms and lots of rain. Mike Jenks will advise on BGA national coach Mike Fox’s schedule by E Mail later.
Did we use it all up in the June flying week? Hope not….
The grass gets ever greener as the rain continues to fall. It might have been flyable about 16.00!
Lots of private fettling, sticking bits back on, getting radios working, a K6 asleep on its side in the workshop with Geoff stroking it lovingly. Ahhh.
The glider battery charging arrangements have been upgraded today. We now have 10 charging points with a batch of individual mains powered chargers. If batteries don’t last the full day now we’ll replace them. Please let Mike T know of any battery that fails during the day, and mark it up with the red marker pen that’s on the bench.
We had a visitor from Dorset GC late in the day, letting us know that support is needed for their airfield purchase plans and taking a look at us perhaps, just in case it all goes the wrong way for them.
Our Weds leader Christine appeared in her open top Merc. Very sporting today! She checked that we weren’t misbehaving then left….
GlideAngle came out today. There will be tests of comprehension on Saturday, so get it read!
Speaking of Saturday, we are having a trial of the latest version of the Eurofox EP120i tug on the weekend of June 15th/16th. The date may change depending on the weather so watch this space. See website home page for details.
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 🙂 .
With a reasonable forecast and a promise of some soaring the day turned out to be an unusual day of virtually 8/8 dark cloud with some potential good looking dark areas of cloud streets. Mike T in the motor glider (engine off naturally) flew the Street out to Henstridge and back. Most of found the sink quite steadfast with Bart managing to “scratch” a challenging 24 minutes in JKW. Instruction in the Puchaz with some annual checks were part of the day
Many thanks to Chris Basham for winching to-day and to Mike J for instructing.
16 winch launches and 2 motor glider launches. First launch at 11.30 and final launch at 16.45.
I had a nice little run in the motor glider, engine off, under a long convergence line this afternoon. I ran it from The Park to Henstridge Airfield and back at between 2500 and 3000 ft. I could have kept on going but was time limited.
Can’t load video files this big on the Blog so I’ve put a short video on You Tube, a whole new experience for me. Find it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKx-D9aZv6k&feature=youtu.be
Here’s an attempted upload of a second video heading back from Henstridge towards Gillingham
Bad news for our colleagues at Dorset Gliding Club; their landowner has decided to sell the airfield. The club is trying to raise money to buy the field and have already raised a considerable amount towards the cost. Inevitably they need more and have started a crowd funding page to try to raise funds. The link is here https://bit.ly/2Kg1ULD. It is in the interests of all pilots to keep as many airfields open as possible especially gliding fields. Hope a few of us will be able to help our friends at Dorset.