January 2019 midweek flying saw a much need boost to club flying with only 3 days flyable on the weekends for the whole month.
5 midweek days: 100 winch launches. 13 aero tows. 14 motor glider launches 14.59 hours gliding 5.07 motor gliding
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.
I see it’s still snowing at the club and the temperature is around zero, so I think it’s very unlikely we can fly tomorrow due to the snow on the field and the difficulty of getting up the hill. I will take another look later today at the webcams.
Also I should add that the Bronze lecture is cancelled at Mendip tonight and the BGA Inspector seminar at the club tomorrow has been postponed, probably to March.
Back to working on my glider SDMP then…….
Surprisingly no snow at the Park and no slippery access road up the hill, having “slipped” all the way up last week, with half my car on the gravelly bit (not a 4 wheel drive on my old banger!)
Can I appeal to the committee to purchase some grit/rock salt boxes (with rock salt in them) to place at strategic points on the access road up to the Park from the farm at the bottom of the hill.
Whilst Gillingham had a dusting of snow and icy driving conditions, driving towards Mere and to the club from this direction was clear of any snow or ice as was the airfield – most unusual, not what I expected of today.
The field was somewhat frozen which delayed winching but there was plenty of demand for aerotows. First launch (aerotow) of the day at 12.09 and the final winch launch at 15.54 taken by Mike J in JKW, just as we were about to tuck it up for the night! Mike took off to go and explore a stunning cloud street formation out to the north west, looking quite dramatic against the soon to be setting sun. After soaring for 24 minutes , Mike opted to land – “throwing away his height” on some tight turns to beat the setting sun – or was it the lone gaitor on the airfield skyline? Longest flight of the day was down to dick – 38 minutes.
With 2 Puchaz, JKW, BNH and the motor glider out on the airfield, some 12 members enjoyed the day with check flights, annuals, cloud flying checks and some respectable soaring flights for this time of the year, averaging out at about 15/20 minutes. With the polar air it was an amazingly clear sky, dotted with tempting and quite dramatic looking cumulus. (pictures to follow thanks to Dan Weston) We all enjoyed home made cake and brownies too!
9 areotows, 10 winch launches and 2 flights by the motor glider.
The “fettling” crew as busy as ever in the workshop
Fortunately spotted my mistake before anyone else- phew!!!!
Flying is on for Wednesday 30th January. We have Mike instructing, with our trusty band of midweek winch drivers sharing the cosy warmest place on the airfield, (not all at once I must say!) with Guy volunteering as tug pilot, A sunny day with a light north westerly wind and some cloud – hopefully with some lift being generated. Wrap up warm and join us on the airfield Wednesday this week.
We are planning to fly midweek Wednesday 30th January, weather permitting. A sunny day with a moderate north westerly is predicted as of the present forecast. Confirmation in the next couple of days.
Parking space all full up by 09.30 for the bronze course and for lots of work inside the hangar and out. Lots of maintenance, fettling, modifications, sparks, hammering, bacon sarnies, + SMILES.
Thanks to Chris Chappel for her insomnia inspired lovely flapjack. There was still a bit left for the Sunday visitors at close of play.
Soon be Spring….
Not an airfield report but imagine if we had no airfield to report on?
I have received a further update on the Lasham Judicial Review against the CAA granting additional airspace to Farnborough. In basic terms Lasham submitted 3 grounds of complaint of which 2 were accepted, significantly the 3rd ground has now also been accepted. Fundamentally if one of the 3 grounds is upheld at a review then the CAA’s decision can be struck out.
To date the funding campaign has only 300 donors, where are the rest considering there is a membership of around 7000 in the UK?
Whilst you may think it does not affect you directly and that you dont fly cross country, just think what could potentially happen if Bristol, Exeter, Bournemouth and Southampton all grabbed more airspace?
Please consider donating the cost of a winch launch to the funding campaign!
Stunning photos of today Alistair, reflecting what a beautiful crisp January day which saw some 20 club members well wrapped up, enjoying the winter sunshine and some soaring along with the usual maintenance team in the workshop. After the briefing given by Guy, and the first launch at 11.20 and last at 16.09 we operated 4 aero tows, 17 winch launches along with 3 motor glider flights with Sue keeping the tidy log today.
Probably the best thermal soaring day in January I have seen. For a while in the afternoon there was some impressive streeting as in pics below. Best flight time was 29 minutes in a Puchacz.
There will be flying tomorrow. Another fresh crisp sunny day predicted. So wrap up warm and come and enjoy the day.
Finally! The sun dared to show itself and weekend flying resumed.
FLYING – After what seems like a very long time we had the opportunity to field 2 Puchacz, 1 Astir and the K6.
After much labouring by Mark Player and other dedicated members (I am not completely sure how many) the Pawnee returned to the sky today.
After a successful test flight the Pawnee resumed it’s tugging role with tows for a Puchacz and a visiting Shark.
There were 17 winch launches, 2 aerotows and a flight by the motorglider.
CADETS – Potential new cadet recruits from the waiting list visited the club today and I believe 5 were enrolled. Thanks to the committee members behind this initiative and the assistance of Tom & Nicky Pike.
RAVE FOR THE WAVE! – I am reliably informed by the CFI that the sun, moon, sky & earth were scared into alignment by the Pawnee’s return to the skies producing elusive WAVE on the first Puchacz aerotow of the year. A good omen indeed!
Tim Dews arrived with a Shark glider he had repaired and asked for a 5000′ aeratow. Andy Newman had a tow to 2000′ with Mike Jenks in the back and they found some gentle wave and managed to climb about 50 feet !
With much help from Graham today, JKW and FUY have been fitted with S80 varios. They are very easy to use and will really help with soaring. For ease of use there is a simple user guide in JKW.
Sorry about the photo but the contrast of the bright display against the workshop was too much for the camera.
A glorious sunny January day saw 15 club members turn out to fly with Steve and Mike instructing for the day with our team of midweek winch drivers Dave, Andy and Nick enabling a total of 29 flights in all with Lesley keeping a tidy log. 2 Puchaz and JKW were out on the airfield, with the first launch at 10.45 and the final launch of the day at 16.07. A strong northly, gusting on occasions gave plenty of cross wind landing practice. Despite some exceptionally strong sink, Andy (Callahan) managed a very respectable 17 mins solo in the Puchaz, gaining a height of 2.100ft – well done Andy!
Chris (Basham) apart from being an intrepid aviator with the rest of us has taken some great photos of members “basking” in the January sun – albeit being well wrapped up, which when I find out how to post them from my PC we will be able to share them with you all.
Thursday 17th January is looking better than Wednesday. We have instructor and winch cover for Thursday this week. With the weekend just gone not flyable either days, Thursday, weather permitting will be a good day to keep those flying skills current.
If you can make Thursday please let me know – email@example.com
(Entered unsolicited by Mike T as Chris isn’t quite Blog active yet. I’m sure she will be soon… )
Does anyone have good experience of solid mobile phone reception at The Park? It used to be that O2 had the best (but still patchy) 2G coverage. Vodafone claims the best 4G on its coverage maps. Is this borne out in practise?
I’m about to change my phone contract and would appreciate any views from first hand experience please.