Wednesday 18th to Friday 20th November

Wednesday 18th.  After another 15 mm of rain overnight Thursday/Friday, the day dawned with cloudy skies and a light W’ly.  Hill soaring prospects were uncertain, given the wind strength,  but D Coppin and K Steele, visitors from the Cambridge Gliding Centre, took a winch launch in the club DG1000 to check things out.  A return to earth after 20 minutes demonstrated that the hill was not working, in fact the demonstration was so good theirs was the only flight of the day.

Thursday 19th.  The light winds of Wednesday were  replaced by very strong SSW’lies with an average speed of 20-30 kts and gusts of around 45 kts.  Consequently, no flying was possible although the wind chill was negligible with the temperature up to a very mild 13C.

Friday 20th.  Flying was delayed until after midday as the overnight front with its rain cleared away to the East.  It was a single seater day with Dean Crosby flying his Standard Cirrus and the club’s Astir, Discus and DG303 also flown.  The first period of flying covered a  period of only 22 minutes.  During this time, 4 winch launches were completed before a rapidly expanding CuNim deluged the  site with 5 mm of rain and caused a rapid return to earth for all 4 gliders.  Dean, having taken off last had a grand total of 4 minutes in the air.  With clearing skies, flying resumed at around 1415hrs with a further 4 winch launches into a 15-20 kt WSW’ly, pilots again taking advantage of the free 30 minutes of flying time in the club single seaters to explore the ridge lift.  Les Rayment, flying the DG303 for 38 minutes after lunch had clocked up the longest flight of the day, but this time was always going to be exceeded by Brian Wise in the Discus and Dean in his Standard Cirrus who were still airborne when  the writer left  a very wet airfield.  The water logged state of the site led to the interesting sight of the saturated shock rope generating lines of fine water droplets  in the air as the launch progressed and the tension on the cable and rope varied.

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