Sunday. After the glorious soaring of Saturday, Sunday dawned initially brightly but this was very soon replaced by a low overcast and a steadily increasing S’ly wind accompanied by rain from 1400hrs. Consequently no flying was possible except on the simulator. John Marsh, however, did a 9 hour stint on the tractor/grass-cutter that was completed early Monday morning, although I am sure he went to bed Sunday night.
Monday. Sunday’s rain was initially replaced by a 10-15 kt, cloudy, S’ly airstream but this veered into the West by lunchtime to bring in brighter skies and good thermals in the afternoon. Two Trial lesson pupils were flown via AT before the change of wind direction and increasing strength resulted in a change to winching, enjoyed by a further Trial Lesson pupil. 10 winch based flights resulted, 4 by private owners and the rest by the club K21s, DG1000 and Discus. 6 of these flights exceeded an hour with Martyn Johnson having just over 3 hrs in his DG600, while John Marsh/Rob Bailey had 1.7 hrs in the club DG1000.
Tuesday. Given the available synoptics, most of the attendees at the morning briefing were surprised to find a light/moderate S’ly wind blowing, which quickly brought in low cloud that delayed launching for a while. However, once cloudbase had risen and broken up a little, 16 ATs were flown off runway 20 although, as the day progressed, the occasional light showers of the morning were replaced by bands of increasingly heavy rain in the afternoon, with general rain setting in around 7 pm. Fortunately, the intervals between the bands of rain were sufficiently long to allow time for the gliders to be dried and 2 or 3 launches flown before the next band of rain arrived. 2 of the 16 ATs were flown by private gliders, Dave Ashby in his ASW 22 and Lindsay McLane in his Ventus each having 1.2 hrs, courtesy of weak thermals under a medium/high level overcast. Frank, a Day course pupil, and 4 Trial Lesson pupils were also flown between the showers. As well as weak thermals, later flights experienced weak wave, while the S ridge over the White Horse and the main bowl between Gormire and Sutton Bank were also soarable as the wind picked up. Ken Duxbury utilised the latter part of the ridge in his flight of 51 minutes in the Astir, while Jack McGregor/Tim Howle had 40 minutes in the K21. George Rowden flying Trial Lesson pupil Barry in the K21 encountered an UFO during their flight, the object in question looking like a tumbling and misshapen box kite as it passed by above the glider. Suggestions to its identity are welcomed. On the last flight of the day, Ian Plant & Frank Wilson made a wet approach to a equally wet landing on 20 in the DG500 as a very big shower band moved in.