So the forecast has not been great this week but we decided to give it a go. Greeted with brighter than expected weather, overcast but there were certainly dark bits of cloud possibly worth exploring, so Steve rigged the ASW 24 and Bob White rigged the KVGC Oly. I took long term member Terry for a K13 flight and we climbed a couple of hundred feet under a bit of dark looking stuff. Steve had a less successful first flight in the ASW but his second was more successful. A group of trial lessons (picture attached) arrived to keep Paul busy and the day was turning out rather well. However, early afternoon, the air suddenly turned cool, Steve put the ASW away and I admit I rather expected a dull ending to the day. Only the pasties kept us cheerful. Then suddenly the sky cleared and the sun came out and within half an hour cumulus everywhere and all pilots scrambling to their machines to take advantage. Gordon and I put in six useful flights in the K13 to get him nearer to re soloing (former power pilot), a day I rather look forward to. So thanks to all who turned up and put some effort in, it is going to be a tricky summer and the club needs people to step up to the mark in the coming months to fill vacant roles.
Low cloud start to the day but sky looked promising. And so it came to pass. A couple of early flights with Maurice S and I thought the time had come for his second solo. Off he went, a lovely launch, a lovely approach and his best ever landing. Later he did some soaring achieving a Bronze leg. Top effort. Steve managed nearly an hour in his lovely K8 and British Junior gliding team member Mat treated a half day course particpant to some excellent extended flights. Come the afternoon and the sky was stonking, any landing circuit being difficult simply due to the lift every where ! I believe the lesser spotted club chairman was also seen in a K13 but these reports are yet to be substantiated. Newish member Gordan and I were able to consolidate a few exercises and we all went home happy shortly after five. Some good days lie ahead this summer, come and particpate !
Two busy days. A good early start on Saturday and soaring flights from the off. Bob even got the motor glider out and did a couple of good flights. The sun shone, it might be my aging bones but I was freezing in the northerley breeze. Simon gave us all great launches almost from dawn to dusk and Tony from SE Aero Service spent the afternoon inspecting the gliders. Sunday, the wind had dropped, though this became a nuisance, we had to change ends 3 times during the day as the wind shifted with sea breeze and sun shine. Despite this good soaring flights for nearly everyone and no where near as cold as the previous day. A group of cadets had a good day and their efforts working on the field were much appreciated. Ireckon this could be a good summer at WDP. Come along!
So it’s 9.30am and I am ten miles west of Waldershare in the sleet and snow, headlights on, wipers on full blast thinking the chairman of CGC is bonkers. I arrive at the airfield to find the sun trying to break through and a few keen members walking gliders to the south end of the field. My goodness that wind has a bite to it, and snow starts falling. Still the chairman insists it will be soarable, very worrying. A bit of sun appears and we launch the K13 with Ron on board. Then the K6 with Steve C back from his USA adventures.
Well you don’t need those US of A thermals now do ya ! Half an hour or more for both of them.
The season kicks off, the K13 completes trial lessons, the K6 does further half hour plus flights and although everyone is bit chilly we all get flown. Top effort those that turned up. Mat, UK team member will have his LS8 at the field shortly and the sun will shine and flying will blossom, and the Oly of VGC fame is present on the field and a mix of old and new will soon be gracing the skies.
Come on jet stream, move north and play the game !
Still think the chairman is bonkers though !
Not getting much chance to fly at the moment with work & weather so while marooned away in Los Angeles I thought I’d potter up to the Southern California Soaring Academy in Liano to experiance some soaring outside the UK.
It’s still not quite in season in Southern California & I didn’t get up to Crystalaire Airport where SCSA is based until mid afternoon. However I had called Julie who runs the office before setting off & she had kindly reserved us an almost new K21, a Pawnee to aero tow & enough delightful home made cookies to alter the ballast calculation.
As luck would have it I managed to fly with Dale Masters who is absolutely the man – with 30 years experience flying the Mojave Desert & the Angeles National Forest mountains south of the strip. I have never flown in terrain like this before but Dale allowed us to get low over locations I never would have had the confidence to tackle myself. In 50 minutes I felt learnt a huge amount & given the time here there’s a wealth of experience to be gained.
Worth noting though this may be the desert but although it is flat there’s shrubs & rocks the size of grapefruit everywhere. Off the strip there’s no where to land out within 5 miles. Not such a huge problem as in season the thermals apparently go up to 14,000 ft but worth bearing in mind all the same.
All in all can’t recommend it enough – if you are out this way as a visiting pilot I recommend you give Julie a call. SCSA is well set up to make getting a flight as easy as possible. Next I have to see how to convert my European licence to an FAA one which I gather is a paper work exercise & arrange some hull insurance so I can perhaps progress to one of their Astirs.
Would also strongly sugest you reserve a flight with Dale just for the experience - if you ask him nicely afterwards he’ll even sign a copy of his book.
Good evening all,
Firstly a quick update, the blog has been running for a while now and has now had over 25,000 views. For a small little club like ours thats not too bad, it shows people have a keen interest in what us little folk do, so this year I want more stories from you lot about your experiences and perhaps a few more pictures. We have grown as a club and all as individual pilots, so lets show everyone that.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask the members to let me know what there aims are this year, however great or small (Russ please don’t say fly to France).
Also as most of you are aware I am first reserve for the Junior British Team, the only thing preventing me from being in the team is lack of funding. I would like to thank those who have already donated some money to the BGA to go in the funding pot so I can be in the team, but I would like to know if anybody else out there would like to help, even £50 – £100, every little helps. I am around £1,000 short, Paul has put me in contact with a council sports fund but even if I am successful that is only £300 so still quite a bit short. In return I will dedicate time to anybody who would like to develop any of there soaring or cross country skills, and maybe even valet there glider(?). A desperate plea I know but anyone who knows me will know this is something I want very much.
Thanks for reading.
Well, my first visit of the New Year to WDP and not a bad day at all. 25 launches in total which given the problems getting the winch through the mud to the south end of the field was not bad at all.
Thanks to everyone for their efforts and of course Simon in the winch.
Bright and early, a clear blue sky, barely a breath of wind, and a relatively dry week leading up to this weekend, enthusiasm is at a high. Spirits started to dampen as we walked up to the winch hanger, knowing full well if we can’t get this big heavy beast of a winch out, it’s going to be the 7th week in a row without flying and some very sad pilots.
To start with there was only a handful of us, Ron ‘Del Boy’ Armitage was up cutting the old Ka7 trailer/fueslage and various other metals so the club can sell it for scrap.
The time finally came, we were there in numbers, Ron had his 4×4 at the ready and Simon was in the winch. The rest of us eagerly awaited the outcome, Adam and I driven by not the want but the need to fly were behind the winch pushing. Fail. The winch wheels are spinning and the 4×4 hasn’t got the oomph to pull it on its own.
We’re away!!!! Ka13 out! Looks like it may rain, 1 flight each just to get airborne and if we have time maybe a second.
The first 4 flights were quite uneventful 4 or 5 minute up round and downs…then Stafford and I went for a fly. At first we thought there was a problem with the vario, it was pointing up, not only had I not flown for months but all of a sudden I had to thermal!? Okay a mere 7 minutes (defiantly under logged, was more like 9), but it was there. Nigel was up next, he hit 8 minutes.
The sky had what could barely be described as cumulus, more like a random scatter of mangled unorganised puffs of cloud. Nevertheless a time had been set and there was potential for it to be beaten, so I did what any one would do in this situation, get out the ka6. Steve P got out the ka8 and it started to look like a gliding club. I went up,came down, a whopping 5 minutes, it took me longer to get the glider out and DI’d than this… Ron had a guy and followed suit. And then Maurice Seymour on flight number 2 with Stafford got away…okay they were drifting down wind, not really climbing, but they were certainly not getting any closer to the ground. RIGHT, Steve and I were soon on the case, I went up followed by Steve,and we contacted the lift as well.
No you don’t have to wipe your screen or clean your glasses, by lift I did mean 1 knot… Up’s up…. I managed to scratch my way from the winch launch to just under 1600ft, by this time Stafford and Maurice had made there way back to the airfield and joined the thermal with me.
Once reaching the pinnacle of this cloud I pushed back upwind towards where Steve was just about holding his own, Staff had taken the 13 back down to continue flying the members doing a respectful 20 minutes with Maurice.
Steve did 22 minutes and I managed 27. No record breakers but it was cold and it got us all airborne and finally started the season off.
Finishing off with washing the gliders down from a muddy airfield…
and a few rounds down the pub.
A real strong atmosphere today, a lot was done despite it sounding so minimal. It makes you realise however great those 10 knot thermals to 6,000ft are, you can have just as much fun standing around in 2′c and scratching in half a knot for 30 minutes.
Hopefully this sets the quota for the rest of the reason. Lets have the best season yet!
A good turn out on Saturday with many jobs completed or well underway, The field is still very wet now the big thaw is underway and the winch was also suffering a flat tyre Thanks to Ron the Don and the Potter who enjoyed playing lumber jacks as well as Bob and Maurice who gave the fleet a good inspection etc, Simon was busy looking after the winch maintenance and new tyres are now due to be fitted to the winch this week. Paul B refused to put on the marigolds and went straight in to cleaning mode and I gave the Dyson a trip round the club house Russ has been up to the club and surveyed the boot room ceiling and door for repairs so plans are in place for that area of the club house to be put back in to use ASAP Hopefully some flying days will be with us soon however if not another working day is planned for next Saturday, the club house is now clean and the coffee and tea has been replenished as well as the chocolate bar tin and cans of drinks. Please can all members keep muddy boots out of the club house and I recommend you bring an old pair of shoes you can leave in the club house, I will invest in a new shoe rack for that purpose The club requires a second hand vacuum cleaner if anyone has one