Monday 13th July. Wave hunting from the Park 😎. Didn’t find any, this time πŸ˜‰.

Good afternoon fellow aviators.

The thermal forcecast for today was very modest, but there was the potential for some light wave πŸ™‚.

Locally, Cloud Base was 5,000ft QFE, with approx a 10kt 270 degree upper wind.

With such a modest thermal forecast we opted for aerotow flights today to the Ridge at King Alfreds Tower, to see if we could connect with any Wave.

There were signs of light Wave, but the conditions weren’t quite right this time. A high performance Glider would have had a reasonable chance of connecting with the Wave, but the best we managed today was reduced sink and a few bubbles of very light lift.

Many thanks to our CFI for today’s very informative Wave hunting instruction, and Adam B for being available to fly the Tug for us.

A very pleasant days flying from the Park dear aviators, and fear not, that Wave can’t elude us forever πŸ˜‰.

Kind regards.


Sunday 12th July at the Park. Into the wild blue yonder 😎.

Good evening fellow aviators.

Another excellent forecast, preceded another excellent days soaring from the Park πŸ™‚.

Locally, Cloud Base was approx 5,300ft QFE, with a light sub 5kt upper wind, varying between approx 245 – 325 degrees.

Thermal activity was generally excellent all day, even out in the blue πŸ™‚.

Locally, many Pilots enjoyed extended soaring flights throughout the day.

The Cross Country Pilots were out in force, and there are a few BGA Ladder updates for those interested πŸ™‚ πŸ‘πŸ».

Our CFI had a productive day instructing Pilots who are returning to flying following the easing of the lockdown.

Glorious sunshine all day 😎.

Excellent soaring all day πŸ™‚.

I took a few pictures from the day to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them.

Kind regards.


A packed Launch Point is always a good sign, of a great days soaring to come πŸ™‚.
Locally Cloud Base was 5,000ft plus for most of the day.
Strong thermal activity all day, even out in the blue.

Saturday 11th July at the Park. An excellent days soaring 😎.

Good evening fellow aviators.

The forecast for today was very promising, and Mother Nature certainly delivered πŸ™‚.

Locally, Cloud Base was approx 4,300ft QFE, with a 330 degree 5kt upper wind.

Thermal activity was generally excellent, with my vario indicating 8kts up on a couple of occasions, and many Pilots enjoying extended local soaring flights. Cross Country expeditions were equally successful, the days BGA Ladder updates are an impressive read πŸ‘πŸ».

Duty Instructor John H put the ASK 21 to another very productive days use, instructing Pilots who are returning to flying following the easing of the lockdown.

Glorious sunshine all day 😎.

Excellent soaring all day πŸ™‚.

I took a few pictures from the day to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them.

Kind regards.


Tuesday 7th July at the Park. Some moody looking skies, but happy looking aviators 😎.

Good evening fellow aviators.

A very pleasant days flying at the Park today.

The moody looking skies above the Park today looked very atmospheric, but didn’t promise much in the way of soaring. Locally however, soaring was very good with many extended flights through the day.

Locally, Cloud Base was approx 3,300ft QFE, with a 240 degree 10Kt upper wind. Thermal activity was generally very good, but with quite a lot of top cover, the lift sources would sometimes fade for a time before then re-cycling again through the day.

A good selection of Club Single Seat Gliders and Private Single Seat Gliders, were lined up at the launch point through the day.

John H, struck thermal gold locally with a climb in the blue that took him to 4,700 ft QFE, well above local cloud base! Mike T even managed a respectable out and return to Ilminster, turning back from an attempt to reach Culmstock when the thermal strength was starting to fade and rain could be seen out over the Bristol Channel.

Our CFI had another productive day in the ASK21, completing check flights with Pilots returning to flying following the easing of the lockdown. Our Club has the good fortune of having the use of an ASK21 fitted with the EASA approved polycarbonate screening modification, that shields the front and rear cockpits from one another. Greg C, Merv B, and Doug T, were the Pilots completing their check flights with the CFI today. It was smiles all round, as the Pilots were clearly delighted to be back flying again.

A very pleasant days flying from the Park dear aviators πŸ™‚.

Some pictures from the day below to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them.

Kind regards.


A moody and atmospheric looking sky above the Park for most of today.
It was nice to see so many Pilots lining up to enjoy the days soaring opportunities.
John H, struck thermal gold with one climb in the blue, that took him to 4,700ft QFE, well above the 3,300ft cloud base!
Occasionally the lifts sources would fade through the day….
But the airmass would then quickly start to re-cycle, and continued generating thermal opportunities right up to end of todays flying.

Tuesday 16th June at the Park β˜”οΈβ›΅οΈπŸ™‚.

Well we certainly made the most of what todays weather had to offer us πŸ™‚.

The soaring forecast for today wasn’t a particularly good one, so understandably only a small but hardy band of aviators assembled for some local soaring.

Our CFI Mike J led the way today, taking a Cloud Climb to Flight Level 100! Before having to leave the 8 knot averaging thermal that had taken him there, as our club craft don’t as yet have onboard transponders. In typical Mike J style he made good use of the available height during his descent with a multi-turn spin, and a few aerobatic manoeuvres that were enjoyed by the Pilots waiting back at the Launch Point 😎.

As the day progressed the soaring conditions did tail off unfortunately, with the lift becoming very patchy. All Pilots who wanted to fly did get the opportunity. Chris B had an enjoyable flight in the Motor Glider, Trevor H and Nick M scratched away in the cooling conditions extending their flights as much as was possible.

I took the final flight of the day. It was a tentative attempt only, as we had already identified rain curtains visible to the South East of the Park. As I released from the top of the winch at approx. 1400ft QFE, the elevated perspective confirmed our suspicions that rain was on its way, so I promptly headed home. I was logged down with a flight time of 3 minutes! Not sure if that’s a record short duration from a full launch flight, but I’m claiming it until someone tells me it isn’t πŸ˜‰.

Heading back promptly turned out to be a good call, as some rain did arrive not long after. Realising the best of the days weather was now behind us, we decided to pack away. We got everything packed away in the Hangar in good time before the worst of the weather arrived, but did get a little wet in the process.

From the safety of the hangar, we watched the weather build in intensity while tracking it on the Met Weather Radar.Β  The Park was soon to be enveloped in a tremendous storm. Rain of almost biblical proportions ensued β˜”οΈ. Even though the inclement weather had shortened our Gliding day, it was smiles all round. It would appear everyone enjoys watching the spectacle of good storm, from the comfort of a warm and dry vantage point πŸ˜‰.

While driving back home across the Deverill’s this afternoon, I did keep a watchful eye for a large wooden vessel ⛡️, captained by a bearded gentleman by the name of Noah. ButΒ fear not dear aviators, I saw no such vessel, so our Flying Week will continue πŸ™‚.

I took a few pictures of this afternoons monsoon to share with you all, hope you enjoy them.

The Park found itself right in the heart of a storm this afternoon.

From the comfort of the hangar, the ensuing storm was an impressive spectacle.

Challenging conditions at the Park today dear aviators, but we made the most of what opportunities there were 😎.

Kind regards.


Monday 15th June at the Park πŸ™‚.

A great start to Flying Week dear aviators 😎.

Locally we had a usefully high cloud base of approx 3,700 feet QFE, combined with abundant thermal opportunities πŸ™‚.

The Clubs Cross Country Pundits had a successful days flying also, no doubt we will see a few updates on the BGA Ladder later today πŸ™‚.

I took a few pictures from the day to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them πŸ™‚.

A usefully high local cloud base today of between 3,600ft – 3,700ft Β QFE.A useful high local cloud base today, varying between 3,600ft - 3,700ft QFE.

No hunting around in the blue today. One spectacular cloudscape after another continued to roll in throughout the day 😎.

Kind regards.

Damien πŸ™‚.

Sunday 7th June. Some Cumulus of potential πŸ™‚.

Another bright, sunshine filled day at the Park. Quite a few Cumulus around today too πŸ™‚. Not quite as strong a soaring day as some of those we have been treated to recently, but still a very pleasant days flying πŸ™‚.

I took the below picture shortly before the first launch this morning at 10:45.

Kind regards.


Tuesday 2nd June: A few pictures from the day.

Another great days flying from the Park dear aviators 😎.

Glorious sunshine and an abundance of excellent thermal lift πŸ™‚.

It was mostly blue around the Park, but before taking off, I took a few pictures of some very picturesque cloudscapes to share with you all.

Hope you enjoy them.

Kind regards.


“Just smile and wave boys…. smile and wave” 😎.

Good evening my fellow aviators.

I enjoyed my first ‘Wave Flight’ today.

I’ve taken a trip up to Portmoak in the hope of finding some extended Ridge and Wave flights. Portmoak has not disappointed. The weather conditions here have not been as stellar for soaring as they can be, but there has still been an abundance of very workable lift.

The Wave I encountered was only a gentle 1 knot up, but it was still a terrific experience, and the views were as spectacular as they always are here.

I have taken a few pictures below to share with you all, hope you enjoy them.


Kind regards.


A small sample of some famous Portmoak Wave.
A modest 1 knot up, but still a terrific experience.
The views at Portmoak, as breath-taking as always.
And the soothing glow of a deep red sunset, to warm our spirits as we packed away.

Bath Wilts aviator, continues his odyssey of spectacular UK Autumn/Winter Soaring sites 😎.

Good evening fellow aviators.

Continuing my tour of spectacular UK Autumn/Winter Soaring sites, I visited “Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club” at the weekend.

DLGC is a hill-top Gliding site nestled in the heart of the Peak District National Park. The airfield sits 1350ft above sea level with soarable ridges flanking its Western and Southern edges. Locally there are three more soarable ridges. To the North is Win Hill ridge, and Mam Tor ridge. To the East is the Froggatt Edge/Hathersage ridge. The wealth of available local ridges, combined with local wave effects, creates soarable conditions throughout the year, dependant on suitable weather conditions of course.

As it was my first time visiting here, I have taken a few pictures below to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them πŸ™‚.

Being situated in a National Park, means even the views at ground level are special.

The airfield is generously proportioned, with take off and landings possible in Northerly, Southerly, and Westerly directions, dependant on wind direction.

The launch point is run a little differently here than at Bath Wilts. They run two Winch lines parallel to each other at DLGC.

Fear not dear club members, no need to put down your evening glass of gin & tonic, you are not seeing double πŸ˜‰! The winch area is run a little differently here than at Bath Wilts. At DLGC they set up two winches side by side, and run the two cables from each winch to the launch point.

The cable retrieve land rovers are modified with extendable cable mounts so that they can tow 4 cables at a time to the launch point, this enables more Gliders to be launched per cable retrieve.

Fear not dear aviators, you may continue to sip your evening cocktail, you are not seeing triple πŸ˜‰! This trio of hardy machines are the Glider retrieve vehicles used at DLGC.

This was my trusty steed during my visit πŸ™‚.

This was the view from the cockpit while I was readying for launch on the Southern edge of the airfield. The port wing was resting on the ground when I took this picture, but I think you can still get a real sense of some of the undulating terrain of the airfield from this shot. The undulations of the airfield surface, and the spectacular terrain of the Peak District surroundings give this site an enticingly adventurous feel.

The moment you release from the winch and reach level flight, the beauty of the National Park surroundings washes over you.

The first few seconds of flight here are quite intense, as the view appears to become more and more beautiful as you survey the panorama.

It’s an emotional experience, and one I thoroughly recommend.

The waterway you can see in the picture above is Ladybower reservoir. The Derwent Dam, which separates Ladybower reservoir from the Derwent reservoir, was used for bombing raid training during the Second World War by the famous “Dambuster” Lancaster Bomber crews, in preparation for raids on strategic German targets. During training, the Lancaster crews would approach Derwent Dam just 60ft above the water of the Derwent reservoir! The Dambuster crews were said to have been specially selected for their prowess and ‘press on spirit’.

As you can see in the picture above, the fields surrounding DLGC are plentiful and generally not used for crops. This gives gives good ‘land-out’ options for Glider pilots. One weekend every year DLGC gives pilots the opportunity for real ‘land-out’ practice with one of their instructors in a local field.

An interesting facility at the DLGC is their Gliding Simulator. The two seater fuselage you can see above was converted from a Janus two seater trainer.

The simulator runs Condor 2 software, and utilises a three projector screen display system.

The simulator can be used for a wide variety of Gilding training including launching, circuits, soaring, and aerobatics. I spent a fascinating few hours with the simulator and club instructor Dave M.

Dave very kindly sent me a link to the BGA forum for Simulator use, as well as a report on Simulators by the Gliding Federation of Australia, and a handbook on Sim training produced by the French Gliding Federation. I would be very happy to share these with any club member who also has an interest in Gliding Simulators.

All in all dear aviators, I had a terrific time at DLGC πŸ™‚.

Many thanks to all I met at DLGC. A special thank you to Andy W, Sylvie and John, for settling me in over the weekend and making me feel so welcome. A special thank you also to club instructors Dave M, Bryan A, and Chris R, for sharing with me their wealth of technical and local soaring knowledge πŸ™‚.

If you visit a Gliding Club that sits on a hill-top, 1350ft above sea level, in the Peak District, in autumn, you will likely need to wrap up warm, but I promise you it will be worth it πŸ˜‰.

Where should I visit next I wonder dear aviators….

This Bath Wilts aviators odyssey of spectacular UK Autumn/Winter Soaring sites continues 😎….

kind regards.


Bath Wilts aviator spreads his wings 🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 πŸ™‚.

Good evening fellow aviators.

I have taken a trip to the Scottish Gliding Centre this weekend to try and extend my Gliding season a little more.

It is my first time visiting here, so I have taken a few pictures below to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them πŸ™‚.

The forecast predicted a 15 knot 240 degree wind, so I knew the ridge to the north of the club should be working.

I woke early to survey the ridge I would be flying.

The launch point is run a little differently here than at Bath Wilts. They run two Winch lines parallel to each other. With each line taking one of the two winch cables when they are retrieved.

The club tug plane is a neat little Euro Fox model.

The club weather vane and windsock is worthy of a quick photo too πŸ™‚.

There was a large variety of private Gliders at the club, but there was one in particular I thought the longer serving members of Bath Wilts might enjoy seeing a picture of….

I chose winch launches today, as my objective was working the north ridge, which is comfortably in reach from winch height. A club K21 was my trusty stead for the day, and arguably has one of the best tail numbers I’ve seen πŸ™‚.

The views are spectacular from the moment you release from the winch.

The club is located alongside Loch Leven. Housed on a small island in the Loch is Loch Leven Castle, and on the edge of the Loch is Kinross House. Both structures can be seen surprisingly clearly from the air.

The ridge I was flying today forms part of the Lomond Hills Regional Park. Its a great feeling flying so close to such an impressive geological feature. The detail you get to see in the landscape from this vantage point is truly beautiful.

The ridge itself works with surprising ease and predictability. With todays weather conditions, the ridge reliably generated between 2 – 6kts up all day, with the ridge effect topping out between 2000ft – 2600ft depending on wind strength.

As you crest the top of the ridge, the views keep getting better and better Β πŸ™‚.

To help lend a sense of scale for those that haven’t visited here before. The waterway you can see on the image below is Ballo reservoir, situated on top of the ridge! Β πŸ™‚.

This Gliding site is truly, truly, beautiful.

What a great day dear aviators.

What centre of Gliding majesty should I visit next I wonder….

….Aboyne perhaps?

Hmm…. I’m certainly tempted by tales of wave, and tremendous height gains.

Yes dear aviators, its time I think to start planning my first trip to Aboyne πŸ™‚.

Kind regards.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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˜‰ .

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.


Sunday 09/06/19 at the Park. “A short story about a memorable flight”.

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 πŸ™‚ .

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 πŸ˜‰ . 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”,Β  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 πŸ™ .

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 πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ . 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 πŸ™‚πŸ™‚ .

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 πŸ™‚ .

kind regards.


Friday 24th May. The end of another great β€˜Flying Week’ at the Park πŸ™‚

We were treated to another great β€˜Flying Week’ at the Park this week fellow aviators πŸ™‚ .

I think you’re right Mike, everyone was so busy making the most of the great flying weather, our beloved blog was left unattended too.

I flew everyday this week apart from Monday, and the soaring opportunities were plentiful.

As a relative newcomer to the sport, I took on board a very handy tip from Mike Thorne and pushed my own limits this week, by setting myself local soaring tasks. I used turn points at Longleat, Stourhead, and a Farm South East of the Park (clear of the circuit). I then tried to fly round this short local circuit quicker and quicker each time.

The Cross Country Pilots have the Ladder. Perhaps my fellow relative newcomers to the sport, could have our own local soaring, β€œStep Ladder” league table πŸ™‚ . Good practice in readiness for our own future Cross Country endeavours.

I had a fantastic weeks flying. It is my Birthday today, and I even spent that at the Park flying with my fellow aviators, I can’t think of a better way I could have spent it.

As it is my Birthday today, I did of course bring a selection of cakes with me to the Park (picture below).

β€ŽI think there are some sticky toffee cakes left. If they haven’t yet been devoured by a hungry aviator, they can be found in the caravan, any early birds at the Park tomorrow, feel free to help yourselves πŸ™‚ .

Kind regards.


Tuesday 21st May at the Park.

What a great day dear aviators πŸ™‚ .

RASP promised good things (screen shot below), and Mother Nature delivered.

Glorious sunshine and the promise of plentiful soaring opportunities saw a full launch point of pilots, many of whom had Cross Country ambitions for the day. I’m sure Alastair will update soon on the days Cross Country achievements.

On a personal note, as a relative newcomer to the sport, today I flew the club K6 and achieved my 2 hour duration which will form part of my Cross Country endorsement, and also gained my Silver height (picture below) πŸ™‚ .

Another glorious day at the Park dear aviators, with a full summer ahead to look forward too πŸ™‚ .

Kind regards.