After a two hour break, the cloud cleared a bit to give a flyable sky again. There were five trial lessons, and training continued until the orographic cloud returned late in the afternoon, this time thick enough to drizzle on us as we packed the hangar. Doesn't it get dark early now?
Unfortunately, after the first 3 launches the weather deteriorated with cloud base down to 500 ft. However, 12 students enjoyed a short briefing session from the instructors, and hope to return and fly with the club at a later date.
A glorious morning, sunny and clear, enabled 6 students to get a flight, in some cases 2 flights. The good conditions lasted until lunchtime, when mist and low cloud stopped flying again.
Around 24 students expressed an initial interest in gliding as a “taster”, so Edd is hoping that this will be consolidated into actual membership of the Exeter University Gliding Club.
Thanks to the 3 instructors Pete H, Roly and Robin. Thanks also to the ground crew, especially Dave and Don, as well as some of the former and present members of the University Club who so expertly helped with every aspect. W W-F
Plenty of visitors, including Dunstable with their K21.
Mid-morning, the wind started to pickup towards its forecast Northerly 20 kts. Simon M (SM) launched early reporting winds NNW 13 kt @ 2000 ft. Similar to Saturday but with the extra 2 kt the thermals had a different feel, stronger but more broken, could this be the first sign of wave?
JB (KJW) and Henry (CVV) launched just after lunch. JB Managed to get away but Henry found out what out-of-phase wave does to a ridge and landed shortly after.
Simon and JB both had a taste of the wave system which set up over the black mountains. Simon getting a beautiful climb to 6000 ft above site over the Cwmdu valley. Henry relaunched for a near three-hour flight, Simon and JB both had a touch over five hours each.
JB and Simon came back on the ridge for some ridge running before landing to derig.
The thermals died, the wind dropped, the wave collapsed and the ridge went soft. Time to pack up and off to the pub. Arrival at NH marked by a spectacular moon-lit lenticular off the south coast at gone midnight. Just fantastic!
Simon L was putting finishing touches to Lisa's training before her Asst Cat course, Roly made good use of his new BI rating with five areotows.
The Skylaunch winch had new stronger drums fitted over the weekend and is now ready for use. After using the trusty old Supercat for a couple of days it will be nice to get back to the smooth ride of the Skylaunch again.
What a fall back plan this turned out to be! Thermals a plenty to 3,500' + QFE, the ridge from Talgarth to Hay Bluff was working and the viz was possibly the best I have ever seen. SM managed a small wave climb to about 4,800' but it collapsed quickly and that was that, no more wave!
Simon did a couple of site checks for visiting pilots before launching but I think the 3 early birds did between 4 and 5 hours each and Henry a couple of hours but he probably had the best views as the sun set over the hills and valleys and made some beautiful shadows - Henry carrying on his North Hill tradition was the last glider to land.
I came back last night but it looks like the others are going to have another cracking day - perhaps one of leftovers could take some pictures. And many thanks to Henry who did just that - excellent pics too.
The afternoon was not wasted though, with a gang of willing helpers we repaired the wheel brake on KEK led by Chairman Peter and ably assisted by Robert
News from Halesland:
After a late night at H's party, the guys in Mark's caravan were woken early by an excited Matt W; "Get your gliders, we're going to Mendip, Dudes!!"
Matt W (477), Simon M (SM), Mark C (ENW), James, Henry (CVV) and Dave made their way up the motorway to Halesland with gliders in tow. The wind was a fresh 10 to 15 knots SW, cloud base around 2000 ft QFE. The ridge started to work well after lunch from M5 to the TV mast in the east. Showers appeared from a strong convergence in the afternoon, any glider airborne was swiftly pulled up to cloud base.
There were 18 launches of which seven were North Hill.
Simon and JB had over four hours each, Mark and Matt had over three hours, Henry nearly 2.5 hours.
The best bit was watching Dave and James ridge running in Mendip's K13!
Gliders derigged, it was time to go home.
In the evening, H gave a party in the old hangar to celebrate her retirement, and what a bash it was. More than 100 past and present members and friends gathered to thank H for her devoted work keeping us all fed and watered in all weathers for more years than anyone wishes to remember.
Chairman Peter and President Dave presented her, on behalf of all members, a short speech of thanks, Life Membership, a "Matt" cartoon, and a significant cheque. Les finished the presentations with a bouquet of flowers.
The partying went on until late in the evening with live music from Alex and Steve.
Many thanks go to Muggles and his team for cleaning out the old hangar before and after the event, and of course to H for providing the banquet.
Surprise announcement of the evening was that Steph and Chris got married earlier in the day - congratulations to both.
There were only 6 club members and 2 trial lessons. Well done to Barbie for getting back in the Junior, and to Mark L for his first flights in the Junior.
With regards to my comment above, TAU-YEO isn't actually 100km any more as the NHL TP was moved this year from the middle of the airfield to the hangar - it's only 99.7km, so if you want to do a 100km Diploma flight do TIE-YEO instead!
I should have known this as I wrote a tome about it at the begining of the season but I'd forgotten until I replayed the trace - OOPS!
During the afternoon streets set up from coast to coast with higher cloudbases (3500ft QFE) to the south. Pete (230) completed the Club 100 Taunton - Yeovil, and others ran up and down the streets from Exmoor to Seaton enjoying long flights.
It was a good day for the club - in addition to the whole club fleet flying, there were 14 private gliders soaring, 3 trial lessons, 17 aerotows and the Skylaunch did 62 launches into a difficult cross wind, again without mishap or interruption. Many thanks to all who pitched in and contributed to making it a memorable day. Dare we hope for a few more in 2010 before winter closes in?
Strangely none of the course members were on site today, so it turned out to be a normal Thursday Club day, there was one trial lesson.
Geoff's much loved SF27, which has not seen the outside of a trailer for several years, left the site for a new life in northern Germany. Hartmut, a glider pilot from near Bremen, arrived with his own open trailer, a very wise move, after an over-night 1000km drive, spent 24 hours around NHL and then returned home.
Roly has spent the last two days with Regional Examiner Adam to get his BI rating signed off.
Roly, being congratulating by Pete after the successful completion of his CFI acceptance checks.
Meanwhile the K21 trailer was put to double-use as HCX with Simon M and JimBob on board landed out at the rifle range following an approach into the curlover of the strong easterly wind. Both K21s returned safely to the club.
Late start due to low cloud and haze, launching from the West end of the field with a strong 15 kt cross wind. Weak front went through producing some rain at lunchtime.
The wind veered to SSW during the passage of the front and then backed to ESE during the afternoon. The front cleared quickly, some had already decided to leave and missed out on what became a fantastic wave and ridge evening. - wave to 2200ft in area of the south ridge / out to Broadhembury.
Two booked trial lessons, one flew, the other will revisit.
Henry, Rowan and JB, Roly and Cheryl, Ian and Heather, Lisa and Stuart all had extended flights. 1h 30m for JB and Rowan and an epic 3h 10m for Henry who both landed after the sun had set. The wind died suddenly leaving an eerie silence.
Glider pilots are an optimistic bunch of people ... today it paid off.
You should have seen the satellite picture yesterday -cumulus streets all round the anticyclone locally south easterly.
Animated Satellite Image (GIF, 9 MB)
Today the wind was more easterly, cumulus formed in streets, and the sea air started to infringe from the north coast just after lunchtime. To the south a sort of sea breeze front set up but didn't seem particularly convincing or reliable. Local soaring was easy within 12 miles but beyond that it was either blue or behind the sea air. There were 3 trial lessons. Mike (DFK) landed out towards Exeter in the sea air.