Good evening fellow aviators.
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!
32 Glider flights in total today. Plus a welcome visit from a Mendip motor glider.
Tomorrows forecast looks promising again fellow aviators 🙂👍.
Good evening fellow aviators.
After consulting with the oracle (RASP 😉), 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 🙂. 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 👍🙂.
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.
(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 😉 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well done to Sam Joshi for your 5 hour duration flight in LPM on Sunday 28th 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….
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.
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.
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 🙂. Well done Greg 👍.
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 time your flying over that way. Did we have aviators visiting from even further afield than we imagined during last weeks flying week 🛸 👽 . The truth is out there dear aviators 😉.
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.
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.
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.