Saturday 17th August. โ€œA day at the Park, Streets ahead of a day spent anywhere else ๐Ÿ˜‰โ€ (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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

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 ๐Ÿ™‚.

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 ย ๐Ÿ™‚. Well done Greg ๐Ÿ‘.

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 ย time your flying over that way. Did we have aviators visiting from even further afield than we imagined during last weeks flying week ๐Ÿ›ธ ๐Ÿ‘ฝ . The truth is out there dear aviators ๐Ÿ˜‰.

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!

EUROFOX 120i COMING TO THE PARK TOMORROW

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.

Mark P

Saltby Open 2019

Hi all,

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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards,

Daniel Weston 2019 Saltby Open Winner.

Saturday 6th July

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.

Alastair

Wednesday 3rd July

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. 

Chris C

A quiet Sunday 30th June

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.

Mike T