Thursday 23rd. 2 mm of rain overnight preceded a otherwise dry day, the light to moderate wind from the SSW being accompanied by a bright morning but increasingly cloudy skies as the day progressed. This increasing cloud put an early stop to John Carter and Steve Ogden’s wave climb in the DG1000, the climb being broken off at around 4,000 asl while still in 4 kts as the wave slot progressively closed, their flight landing after 33 minutes. The increasingly low cloud base also put a stop to flying after 4 ATs, all but one of which were in one or more of the club 2 seaters, the exception being the only private owner launch of the day, this being by John Ellis in his DG800. John made good use of his engine to contact the wave west of the site by climbing to around 3,400′ asl and then exploiting the wave to climb to 16,719′ asl, during which time he made use of his phone’s video capability, the results of which he is hoping to send to me for later inclusion in the Blog. John was aloft for 3:19 to record the longest flight of the day, with the next best being by Andy Parish and David McKinnley who had 41 minutes in K21 JVZ, while the Falke had a single sortie.
Friday 24th. Another cloudy day with the light to moderate, mainly SW’ly, wind again persisting, saw John Ellis repeat his wave climbing exploits of the previous day, the engine of his DG800 again being used to contact the wave, again west of the site , but this time at just over 5,000′ asl. John then climbed in the wave to just over 14,000′ asl in his flight of 2:35. this being the longest of the day, although a number of other pilots exceeded an hour. These included Bill Payton and his guest Mr Bunford who had 1:06 in K21 JVZ and one of the visitors from the Nene Valley GC who had 1:04 in his DG300. The latter was one of 6 private owners to fly, the remaining 7 launches all being in K21 JVZ, this glider being used by Andy Parish and J Hartley to record a flight of 48 minutes of the last AT of the day.
Saturday 25th. The wind remained in the SW but had increased to moderate, with gusts into the high 20’s, with the result that launches were initially by AT but reverted to winching after midday, 13 ATs being flown followed by 21 winch launches. None of the ATs, which included 3 Scouts and 2 First Flight pupils plus 2 private owners, resulted in any flights of over an hour, the best being 59 minutes by Steve Thompson in the Discus, with Andy Parish and Dave Hartley having 48 minutes in the DG1000 off the first flight of the day and Charlie Jessop and A Sammut having 40 minutes in the DG500 off the last AT of the day. Soaring conditions had improved once winching became the launch method with 15 of these launches leading to flights of over an hour. Robin Hutchinson and Colin Troise set the mark in K21 JVZ with 1:23 off the first winch launch of the day, with Bill Payton again treating his guest Mr Bunford to the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 2:53 in the DG500. Steve Thompson and Joan Wilson shared a flight of 1:29 in K21 KLW as all 4 club 2 seaters were flown, while Ken Duxbury recorded 1:33 in Astir KRN, one of the 3 club single seaters to fly. Among the 6 private owners to launch by winch, Paul Whitehead had 2:20 in his Ventus while Rob Bailey had 1:48 in his ASG 29.
Sunday 26th. Initially moderate, the mild SSW’ly increased to moderate to fresh during the day, with gusts to the mid to high 20’s. Consequently, it was another winching day with 28 flown, 10 of which produced flights of over an hour. All the club 2 seaters were flown but only one of the single seaters, the Discus, while 4 private owners launched. One of these, Club President Nick Gaunt, flying his LS7, posted the longest flight of the day, 3:51 during which he reached around 7,000′ asl in wave. Nick reported that getting into the wave was somewhat frustrating due to the extensive cloud, but eventually he contacted some good lift off the northern end of the forward ridge and climbed through the cloud into the pristine air above. The wave pattern was difficult to work out, possibly due to a significant S’ly component to the wind, and Nick failed to climb up to some prominent lenticulars above which he estimated to be around 15,000′ asl. The descent prior to landing required the traversing of some 2,000′ of cloud. John Ellis, another of the private owners to fly, spent some 50 minutes in cloud during which time episodes of an brightening environment suggested that his emergence into clear air was soon to take place only for his hopes to be repeatedly dashed. Tony Drury, flying K21 JVZ solo, had 1:45, while private owners J Donovan and R Williams flying their DG505 had 2 flights, one of 1:30 and the other of 1:42 minutes. Jim McLean, flying the Discus had 1:30 and Roger Burghall, flying first with Steve Ogden in K21 KLW had 1:05 and followed this with the same time in the same glider with Robbie Norman on a day when 4 First Flight pupils were introduced to hill soaring.
Monday 27th. The club welcomed 3 ATC instructors from Essex, G Hayes, T Horsley and S Cuthew and introduced them to the more informal ways of civilian gliding on a day when 9 ATs were flown in either of the 2 club K21s, the initially moderate S’ly slowly decreasing to become light to moderate as the day advanced. Overcast skies didn’t promise much in the way of lift but John Carter and Colin Troise flying KLW managed to eke out their flying time to 48 minutes by making use of some broken areas of lift in front of the the southern ridge. Theirs was the only flight to exceed 30 minutes in the air, with Dick Coles’ flights with the 2 First Flight pupils of the day being next best with 23 and 20 minutes respectively.
Tuesday 28th. A bright start to the day was followed by increasingly cloudy skies as an active cold front moved SE’wards over the country. 12 ATs were flown before the reducing cloud base and declining light levels led to flying stopping just before 1400 hrs, the gliders, tugs, Falke and ground equipment being returned to the hangars etc before the rain arrived around 1600 hrs. 4 First Flight pupils were flown as well as a Day Course pupil, Mr Fox, his introduction to gliding comprising a flight in the Falke with Albert Newbery followed by a 30 minute flight in K21 KLW, again with Albert. 8 of the day’s flights managed 30 minutes or more, with the Southern ridge and some bits and pieces of weak wave slowing down sink rates rather than providing consistent lift for the majority of pilots. 3 of the club’s 2 seaters were flown as well as 2 of the single seaters with Naomi Kennard making the most of her flight in the Discus with 42 minutes, with Andy Parish and ATC instructor T Horsley coming close to this marker with 41 minutes in K21 KLW. However, one of the other ATC visitors, S Cuthew, made it a personal achievement day by successfully flying his first solo AT in K21 JVZ and then showing how it should be done by remaining airborne for 1:14.