Thursday 19th October

Alas the forecast was spot on with low cloud and rain persisting.  The ever hopeful Thursday crew were there in numbers though just in case. 
 
A band of volunteers - AKA pressed men - assembled to tackle the tunnel which was crammed full of just about everything and anything that had been thrown in there over many years “in case it might be needed”.  Motivated and spurred on by Nick we eventually discovered gold in the form of the venerable old digger which hasn’t moved for some considerable while. With modest encouragement from the Duo Discus crew with battery charger and a string of jump leads to a Disco it once again roared and creaked across the tarmac to await its new owners. 
Peter Smith's favourite vehicle! (Mark Layton)
 The accumulated debris has been set aside pending the arrival of a skip to which it will all be entrusted in due course. Jill spotted and retrieved some important funny shaped pieces of wood from the disposal pile in the nick of time, thank goodness for the Denbigh weather or they would be gone forever.  
 
Last to be dragged out by a tug of war crew was an ancient corrugated iron toilet cubicle thought to date from the early mining activity.  It will be on site for a few days in case anyone wishes to give it a new home. Toilet roll holder is included as is the push button call for assistance, although we could not see what, if anything, it actually connected to.
 
There is now space to use for proper storage and parking, so a really good effort and job well done. Thank you to everyone who pitched in. - Peter Smith

Tuesday 17th October - Denbigh

After the violent winds on Monday from ex-Hurricane Ophelia, Tuesday was forecast to be a good day at Lleweni Parc, with a southwesterly breeze. 
Most were rigged before briefing and ready to go (Wyn Davies)
The ridge was working well although there was a small shower of rain to start with at the south end and the thermals were bumping in to the airspace above.
Denbigh (Jill Harmer)

Soon there were calls of finding wave in the Conwy valley, and some made the transition and some didn't manage to find it as the sky was very confused with large dark streets and small wispies, but nothing looking like wave in fact it was blue wave, and no consistent formation visible from above either. 
New wood carving inspired by words from Justin Wills "Those who fly with the Eagles should not consort with the Owls"
 Pete Startup 230 achieved two laps of the 140km ridge task, and Tom Sides DG1 completed his first Denbigh run of 140Kms. John Pursey HOG and Wyn Davies W7 transitioned into the wave - both getting above 10,000ft and Wyn explored Great Orme.  Phil Morrison and Nick Jones DD3 and Pete and Jill Harmer OL explored the ridge, thermals and the streets but couldn't find the high stuff. 
JP in wave  (John Pursey)

With the weather turning again (and not for the better) we all packed up and headed home, thanks to Chris Gill and Rod Witter for the great hospitality as usual.- J&P

Sunday 15th October - Denbigh

Another good day of wave flying and while it was a bit too cloudy to venture far the whole of the North Wales coastal area stayed clear and gave some stunning views along the coast to Anglesey. Pete 230 got to 11,000ft, Tom DG1 8,000ft and Wyn W7 9,000ft and the approach while still quite exciting wasn't quite the white knuckle ride of yesterday. Phil and Nick arrived and rigged Duo Discus DD3 and had a nice late afternoon wave flight to about 6,000ft. - Pete Startup and Tom Sides

Saturday 14th October - Denbigh

Tom and Pete departed Portmoak early in the morning in the hope of flying at LLeweni Parc later that same day. On arrival at Lleweni Parc at about 11 am they found W7 Wyn was already airborne. It was a move that proved worthwhile as in the brisk SW wind the wave was working well. Straight from the winch (no need to run to the ridge first), wave was contacted behind the airfield.
Lleweni Parc form W7 (Wyn Davies)

It wasn't truly epic wave in terms of lift rate. rarely more than 2 - 2.5 knots, but was consistent. Pete 230 eventually reached the dizzy height 17,000ft  using some of the height to do a tour of the local lakes, Tom 8,000ft and Wyn 9,000ft. Wyn also managed to use some of this height to complete the standard 140km Denbigh ridge task. A second attempt later in the day resulted in a field landing as the wind had backed off the ridge and it wasn't working too well. Thanks to 3 guys from the Kent GC for the retrieve.

Approaches and landings provided quite a spectacle for those on the ground watching as the wave rotor sat over the airfield and made for a wild ride - not so much fun for those doing the flying though! - Pete Startup and Tom Sides

Sunday 15th October

With today's forecast to be "almost like a summer day" in terms of sunshine and temperature a number of members turned up bright and early to make the most of the forecast good weather.
However the weather was not true to forecast, with low cloud and a brisk Southerly wind deterring aviation. As ever there was a good level of optimism that everyone should wait to see if the promised clearance of the cloud might transpire in time for some flying to take place later in the day.

After lengthy discussion, over late breakfasts and hot drinks, about anything and everything various members ventured out from the Clubhouse with purpose - the Junior and both K21s were brought out of the hangar and the DG505 was derigged ahead of the imminent Club expedition to The Mynd. Then the K13 was derigged and put into the workshop ahead of it's annual inspections.

And with some glimpses of blue sky amongst the grey skies and some brightness here and there a decision was made to have lunch ahead of some potential flying in the afternoon should the weather continue to improve.

Early afternoon the decision was made to set up the launch point in the North East corner of the airfield, the winch was taken to the opposite corner of the field and the Junior and K21s towed across to the launch point.

The first launch of the day confirmed both that a reasonable height could be achieved on the launch and that the South ridge was working in places albeit with a need for high standards of lookout to keep an eye on other gliders in and amongst the odd clouds drifting across the airfield and the hazy horizon.
Launchpoint (Mike Sloggett)
As the afternoon continued so did the flying but against a backdrop of increasing low cloud which was steadily reducing in height - and by late afternoon, with everyone who wanted to having flown. a decision was made to put all the toys away.

A total of 14 flights for just over 2 hours, Well Done to John Purcey with the longest flight of the day, 38 minutes in the Junior.
Thank you again to everyone who helped others to get into the air - great teamwork enthusiasm (and patience) all round. - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 14th October

The forecast was for overcast skies a light SW wind and a clearance by midday. On that note a small but dedicated team where at the club early to start getting things ready; first prize going to Dave Woodward who left home at around 06:00 to be at the club around 08:00, now that’s dedication to the cause! Having got all the ground kit out the gliders were then prized from the hanger, but with successive bands of orographic cloud forming off the SW corner of the field the focus changed to cleaning rather than flying. By around 10:30 cloud base was beginning to look flyable. After some discussion DI Stuart Procter agreed it was good to go so James Flory and David Woodward took the first launch to almost 1400 feet, although there were patches of orographic cloud all around the field. Stuart and James then worked through the training list with Peter Smith joining in to help around midday. Phil Grant and Alan Turner both had short flights in the junior, but ensured they stayed current.

We were joined around midday by a couple of instructors from Camphill who had flown down especially to look over R37 with the prospects of buying it; note that was a scheduled flight down into Exeter, rather than an extreme cross country in completely flat conditions! The forecast clearance didn’t appear a lunchtime, why were we all not surprised by that! With bands of cloud hampering fall launch heights, it did however offer a good opportunity for people to practice different circuit patterns and launch failures. By around 15:30 the winch was reporting cloud lowering again. With one last flight for one of the instructors from Camphill to fly the K13 all the kit was returned safely to the hanger. Sadly not an ideal day, but those who flew managed to get the opportunity to practice launch failures, fly in different conditions and most importantly stay current. Thanks to all those who helped but were unable to fly, your help was much appreciated.  Congratulations to Chris Woodward who gained his white card and was signed off checks by Stuart. Needless to say as we all sat having a chat and a last cup of tea at around 16:30 the forecast clearance finally appeared and we all left the club under clear blue skies, darn weather, but we flew and that’s what counts. - James Flory

Friday 13th October - Denbigh

Sightseeing North wales coast from W7 at 8000ft (Wyn Davies)
Wyn packed up Thursday evening to make an overnight trip to Denbigh.
 
With a strong SW wind blowing on the ridge and wave forecast, it promised to be a good day.
The ridge was rough with low cloud and uninviting. 

The predicted wave was accessible at the “Tusk” – a bump on the ridge downwind of the airfield - and most of the flight was spent in smooth air, sightseeing the north Wales coast from wave.  Wyn Davies

Friday 13th October - Portmoak

Friday was the first day of the expedition when it would clearly not be flyable, so we headed off for the National Museum of Flight  at East Fortune Airfield. 

Significantly enlarged since last time members visited, it provided an entertaining afternoon....
Pete *2

Tom, Woolly and Pete
.... However the highlight of the trip was watching a video called 'Flying for fun' in the Civilian aircraft hangar where we were delighted to see a section from a Balleka video with 230 and M5 enjoying a crystal clear day at Portmoak. 

And a big thank you to Chris and everyone at Portmoak for the usual great hospitality.- J&P

Thursday 12th October

A weather forecast of good flying conditions all day ensured that the list was rather full before 8:30 with a variety of training and card checks being requested by the members present alongside the completion of some solo flying to maintain currency. Fortunately the Duty Instructor team had also seen the weather forecast so the hangar doors were open well before 9 and all the Club gliders brought out and canopies cleaned in and amongst the completion of daily inspections of the gliders.

Whilst there was little wind of any direction or strength at the start of the day with the forecast being for the wind to be South Westerly as the day progressed a decision was made for the launch point to be set up in the North East corner of the field. With a keen and enthusiastic group of members all demonstrating great teamwork to get everything ready to go it was not long before flying could start.

A quick group discussion was completed to work out a plan for the morning's flying which included allocating the K21 and K13 for solo flying to complement the Junior being available for same. And then it was all systems go with the Instructors having various levels of "fun" with training and card check duties. Flying continued throughout the morning, lunch was called at 1 when everyone stopped, took on board food and drink (non alcoholic) and then it was on with some more flying in the afternoon.
Lining up (Mike Sloggett)
Just before lunch at one stage there were four gliders making use of the sporadic thermals around the airfield with John Borland completing a soaring flight of 45mins in K13 (R37). The day saw Mark Courtney completing some aerotows and then changing hats to help Pete Smith and Mike Sloggett with the instructing duties. And slowly but surely the flying list was worked through until by just before 6 everyone had flown.
North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
Well done to Dave Cowley who has been 'signed off' as a winch driver and to Hans Jenssen who (after offering Mike Sloggett the opportunity to 'throw anything at him') made good progress towards his Red Card and as part of same continued his winch driver training.

During the day we welcomed Roger Spall, visiting from Canada, and also Gordon Hodgson, a friend of Ian Hunt, who had his first glider flight for many years and said the winch launch was still just as "interesting" (translated from his actual words on the launch!)

Well Done everyone for great teamwork on what was the second Thursday of flying in October - can we make it three in a row next Thursday? - Mike Sloggett

Thursday 12th October - Portmoak

There was a lot of cloud just above the hill this morning, and after a couple of quite heavy showers which washed the gliders out of the sky on a mass landing, lunch was called. 
A lot of cloud in the morning (Jill Harmer)
After lunch, there were signs of more threatening showers so some gave it a go and others towed back to derig. 

Eventually the sky opened up with some stripey clouds, and Paul Medlock HMS got to 2600ft, whilst Pete Startup 230 surpassed the locals reaching 8000ft. Pete also added a few more kilometres to his record attempt for the week of  'Bishop bashing' - 2000kms and 400 laps so far. 
Stripey sky later (Jill Harmer)
With the potential Ophelia effect expected, most have packed up to head south or southwest. - J&P