Sunday 30th October

A late start with very few members but at around 1230 the first launch was
taking place. The cloud had cleared from 8/8 on the deck to 2/8 within half
an hour. There were signs of wave but at very high altitude. Longest flight
was only 12 minutes but with the sun shining the field was relatively warm.
Play was closed at 1530 with a line of drizzle rolling in. - HF

Saturday 29th October

What a fantastic day, the forecast was for a strong, southerly wind so Mark and I arranged to meet at the club nice and early for a trip to the seaside. We experienced a very intense aerotow in the DG 505 avoiding the clouds, arriving East of Sidmouth courtesy of Robin. I soon realised that the cliffs do work very well and we had 3 + hours travelling at various speeds between Sidmouth and Beer. Simon followed our progress from the ground and with the help of his 2 boys retrieved us from Farway Common, A great experience for me and one I would like to repeat should anyone like to come with me! Thanks Mark! - LH

Wednesday 26th October

Another good Wednesday, a long list and an early start, and all the club gliders out and soon airborne, early flights contacted weak wave in the moderate S/W wind.

As usual the wave stopped as soon as it became thermic, the thermals topped out at 2,500ft with some good cloud streets, Nick H made best use of the conditions in the Oly, most other members had reasonable soaring flights.

Wyn & Dylan LS7 480, Pete S Discus 230 and Matt ASW20 M5, all flew their own gliders, Carl & Colin are threatening to finish work on the Falke. - JSt

Saturday 22nd October

The south wind blew and the cliffs at Sidmouth beckoned...First up was Steve W Discus FER, followed swiftly by Ian M Discus JZG and then Phil M and Rowan in DG505. The cliffs were working to about 2100ft AMSL and for a time cloud cleared to blue sky before some south westerly wave clouds set up. Steve and Ian (turbo) got back. Phil & Rowan landed halfway back at Farway Common.
The cliffs Sidmouth to Beer

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, training and check flights continued in the strong southerly crosswind. There were two trial lessons from our association with Bovey Castle Hotel.

Date for the member's diaries: Saturday 5th November Bonfire party and barbeque on the airfield.

Thursday 20th October

Many people saw the good forecast and turned up early to start flying in a gentle westerly wind and clear blue sky. Cumulus started popping at 800ft but was not useable. The sky filled in with strato- cu, although early afternoon it did provide a few thermals. Three two-seaters were kept busy with training and check flights, solo pilots were flying the Junior and there were 4 private gliders out - Dylan LS7 480, Eric LS7 194, Martin LS3 KMV and Joe ASW19 877. Congrats to Tom and Anthony, who both converted to the Junior. We welcomed Steve from Walking on Air at Portmoak to have a short flight in our hand-operated K21 HCX.

Wednesday 19th October

A good bright sunny start today for a change, it was soarable from the first launch in the northwesterly wind and soon all the club gliders were soaring, by mid-day the thermals were reaching 3,500ft and everyone had a soaring flight.
JB Ventus KJW, Tim ASW19 ,Trevor DG100 DG1, Eric LS7 194 and John Si B4 CVV all flew their own gliders, well done to Dave C for nearly an hour in the Junior. - JSt

Tuesday 18th October, Talgarth revisited.

On Sunday the forecast for Tuesday looked pretty good for some more fun at Talgarth, so plans were made and Pete S (Discus 230), JB (Ventus KJW) and Matt (ASW20 M5) braved the week day traffic on the M5 with the aim to get to Talgarth with enough time to rig before the 10am briefing.

The cheesy grin says it all!

The wind was a very strong westerly at 20 kts increasing to 45kts at 5500', which made the ridges incredibly rough and the unstable airmass meant that the thermal convection played havoc with the wave that was trying to set up.

The aero-tows dropped us on Y Das and after trying to fly south skimming the ridge on the eastern side of the Cwmdu valley, we managed to find some wave and take refuge from the bone jarring ride low down.

JB cruising in wave

Pete and JB managed to get to 5500' in the wave and Matt followed a cloud street west over Brecon village (bit bigger than a village Matt was corrected by a local) and jumped across on to Pen Y Fan the highest point of the beacons to check out some hill walkers. Pete and JB pushed out west but a small shower scuppered their plans to follow and they retreated back to the catch net of Langors ridge.

We enjoyed, ridge, wave and thermal lift, keeping us airborne for over 5 hours and were forced to land eventually by the lowering sun and even lower temperature. Winter is definitely on its way!

Pen Y Fan

Sunday 16th October

Not a very inspiring start to Sunday with hill fog followed by low cloud, by 10.00am very few members had turned up so the gliders stayed in the hanger.
By 11.00am a few more members turned up and the weather looked as if it might clear so we got the kit out, after a met flight we decided on an early lunch.
By 1.30pm the the cloud base had risen to 1,500ft so we made a start, as the afternoon progressed the flights became longer and by 3.00pm it was booming with cloud streets, thermals to 2,500ft and traces of wave.
Liam had several more flights in the Junior and Geoff added a couple more solo flights to his score, Robin, Andrew and Wyn flew their own gliders. - JS

Sunday 16th, October. Talgarth Last

Talgarth Airfield basking in the evening sun

At about 22:30 last night I saw a post by Simon M on a popular social networking site, enquiring about the possibility of a quick trip to Talgarth. A few text messages later and the adventure was organised. 6am departures to meet up on the road to Wales, quick brekkie at a cafe a few miles before the Black Mountains Gliding Club, rig and be ready for the 10am briefing.

The forecast low cloud and hill fog was due to clear mid morning, and for once things seemed to be going to plan weather wise, the 8-12kt westerly wind had even started blowing. Simon in SM (ASW20CL) and Matt in M5 (cooler ASW20L) were 2nd and 3rd in the aerotow queue and were soon deposited on the spine of the south bowl of Y Das, which was working well in the westerly wind.

SM turning north in the Cwmdu Valley

The wind strength and direction allowed us to run between Hay Bluff in the north and Pen Allt-Mawr at the southern end of the Cwmdu Valley, a straight line distance of about 14km which also gave the hill walkers time to recuperate between flypasts. Later after some forays onto Langors Hill and as the air dried out some weak wave set up in the Cwmdu Valley in which SM climbed to almost 3000' using some wave boosted thermal to make the transition.

After 5 hours of flying it was time to put the gliders to bed, before pub dinner and the couple of hours drive home. (Well it would have been if we hadn't missed the turning!)

Saturday 15th October

The day started with blue sky which didn't last long as it soon filled in with Statocumulus in the light southeasterly wind. All the wanderers have returned safely from far-off places and the how-I-dunnits were flowing at the clubhouse. Mark was kept busy in the Pawnee on his first rostered tuggie duty.
Arthur Clapp and family called in - member from 1960-70s. Ian M in the Rotax Falke conducted cross-country endorsement flights for some Brentor members.

Thursday 13th October

We all hoped that the change in wind direction, behind the overnight front, might clear this persistent low cloud and drizzle of the last few days. Early on it looked as if it might break and the sun peeked through, so we got all the kit out and waited a bit before walking it all to the far end of the field. Then a little drizzle sent us back into the Clubhouse for a cup of tea, and there we stayed until mid afternoon when we decided to put everything away.
Time was not wasted, however, Pete gave a couple of briefings on local airspace and altimetry, Mark L successfully completed his Bronze exams, and we drank more tea.
The Falke appeared out of its hangar and aired its new engine whilst taxying around the field testing the rudder/tailwheel springs.
As might be expected on driving off the hill it was quite obvious that we had been sitting in the orographic cloud all day, elsewhere it had been quite a sunny and warm day.

Wednesday 12th October

The day started misty, it soon cleared but leaving a rather a low cloud base so we all had an early lunch.
At 1.00pm the afternoon started with the departure of the Falconar that had a dead-stick landing last week. The cloud was still rather low so we had to be content with launch failure checks and check flights.
It was nice to see Peter Stoker at the club again after his recent illness.
Light rain put an end to flying at 5.00 but all who wanted to fly had done so by then. - JSt.

In the evening the second group of members visited the controllers at Exeter airport tower, as part of the national 'visit ATC' safety initiative.

Portmoak, Tuesday 11th October

More damp air and westerly winds greeted the gang this morning, however the showers conspired to miss us, until lunch time when the big one came through and the airfield soon resembled Arnhem. Second launches followed lunches and there was the added bonus of some wave, in which Pete S (230) managed to climb to 11000 feet over West Lomond. The wind up there was 50kts. The ridge worked all day and again the setting sun signalled it was time to head back to put the gliders to bed. Tomorrow's forcast, easterlies and rain, so a rest day by the looks of it.

Are you alright Wooly?

Portmoak, Monday 10th October

Another damp start with a westerly wind but the rain cleared much earlier than yesterday, so gliders were prepped and Chris H in CLM was the first onto what soon became a very busy Bishop ridge. Fingers were crossed that yesterdays wave would set up again with Wooly (611), Martin (KMV) and Rowan (CLM) hoping to bag some more height badges.

Unfortunately the airmass was very damp and unstable with showers to the north and south which eventually merged and chased us all down for tea and scones. The rain cleared again and the gang were soon all blasting around on the ridge and hunting for the elusive wave. More rained threatened, prompting a few to land, but the shower passed to the north and as the sun lowered and the thermals died down the wave finally made an appearance. Dave J (EZ Brentor), Pete (230) and Matt (M5) climbed to about 6500 before having to race the oncoming darkness back to the field.

Portmoak Sunday 9th October

After a very wet Saturday, today dawned overcast and moist . However, by lunchtime the crud was blowing away to leave us a good afternoon of excellent ridge flying and local-ish wave flying. Best heights were around the 12,000' mark but because of the cloud amounts and 5okts+ wind at flying height, we weren't brave enough to venture too far, Perth being the hotspot today with short lived climbs of 4kts.

Rowan bagged Silver height (only just in at 8,000') and Paul C took his new toy for a trip and had a good flight climbing to 8,000' which gave plenty of time to get used to the handling.

Saturday 8th, Talgarth

We all arrived at the club early after a huge breakfast at the Bell, cloud was sat halfway up the hill and the wind was 10 mph 270 deg. Being an adventurous sort we headed for the hills by car to explore the landing options of the three commons.
The group then decided to have model combat, Steve W, feeling aggrieved at being picked on, resorted to his SAS training and proceeded to try and shoot down Simon L model when he ran out of pellets, he simply used his bouncer training to beat Simons model into submission.
Our sides were hurting from laughing. We headed off to Hay-on-Wye for coffee and cakes, Simon soon chose an appropriate book "how to avoid the snipers gaze"
Model flying cheesy grin-ometer 9.
Full-size cheesy grin-ometer 0 (that is a fat nil out of ten)
Better forecast tomorrow so hopes high! - MC

Friday 7th, Talgarth

Simon L, Steve W, Mark C, and Jimbob had wheels rolling at exactly at NHL (Ian M was still running on British Mitchell time and failed to arrive for the planned group departure). As day break arrived somewhere near Bristol we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise, It was going to be "epic" yees!!

After a quick stop at Magor services for a bargain breakfast (£19 for two!) we trundled along looking at wave clouds all around yeeeees!!! As we got closer to our destination the weather had completely changed to low cloud and drizzle noooooooooo! . The number of times I have turned into the gate looking at the hill shrouded in cloud feeling depressed is far too many.
We rigged all gliders quickly before the met brief at 10, then attended with eager anticipation, there was talk of wave and strong ridge lift, surely not?? The brief was indeed brief from "Bo" a very relaxed guy, to our surprise we left the room and glanced at the hill to see the cloud had gone!
Usain Bolt would of been proud of the speed that we pushed the DG and the ASW20 ENW to the launch point passing hoards of frantic men with white hats rushing to rig, boy does it pay to be early!
Bo launched the Talgarth K13 onto the hill with a 1000ft lob soon to be followed by the DG. Looking down you could see Ian and "Pilchard" from Cornwall shaking their fists!
I followed behind in ENW, the ridge was booming. We hurtled up and down waiting for Steve W FER to catch up before we set off on series of wave hunting runs into the valley. This carried on for 2 hrs with the wave teasing us all the time, we kept going further out every time knowing that the ridge was giving 6kts to give a top up. This was going well until one of the runs back to the ridge was interrupted by a short 30 sec of rain.

As anyone who has flown the DG in rain will know it shudders and shakes and does not climb at all well. The DG joined the ridge at Hay Bluff and with Steve, Simon and myself trying to thread in between at least 6 other gliders, the stress level was well elevated. Steve opted to jump the gap to the main ridge (very brave) and headed for home climbing as he went, I pulled the speed off and stepped down the flap settings giving me an extra 100ft enough to hit the sweet spot on the now soft ridge. The DG could not maintain and Simon made the right choice to abandon the ridge and head for the valley, minutes later he was sat in a field owned by a lovely farmer.
The retrieve through the farm yard was very difficult and if it were not for the farmers co-operation the DG would have been there forever.
Steve and I and about 8 other gliders took in turns to head home and land with about 5 minute intervals trying to avoid the showers that were now joining hands quicker than the children at a birthday party.
The DG returned to the airfield to find it pretty well deserted, they were all up having fun. The decision was made to rig and fly again. Gerard M and Mark C jumped in and had a fantastic evening flight with wave to 4000ft, Ian M got to 6500ft (without his engine he says mmmm). Steve did well and had another 2 hrs, "Pilchard" flew everywhere including in wave over Langorse lake presumably looking for shoals of fish! And SL finished the day with a flight in the ASW20.
What a day ! Cheesy grinometer score 9!
Tomorrow's forecast not so good but with a large amount of hours flown today we are not so worried, what a site !!! - MC

Friday 7th, Portmoak

As Kung Fu Panda says, "There's no charge for awesomeness!". Epicness however requires a little sacrifice. After the retrieve saga, the long drive north and about 4 hours sleep in our cars, Pete (Discus 230) and Matt (ASW20 M5), felt like the price might be a bit too high.

Snug as a bug!???
The morning sky however was showing signs that epicness was definitely on the cards. By the time the admin bits were sorted out and the gliders rigged, there were at least 15 gliders on Bishop with a gaggle still in the queue to launch. The wind on the ground was a steady 310°/18kts, increasing to 50 odd kts at 18000', .......technically perfect. (Ed: Congratulations to Matt for Diamond Height - you're far too modest!!)

We connected with the wave by thermalling up to the 4000' cloud base and pushing out to the upwind side of the cloud bar which was forming over Benarty on the south side of club. To the north west the wave bars were lining up and lenticulars were forming over the usual hot spots at Crieff and Loch Tay. Moving out to the west into the mountains was relatively straight forward, certainly compared to previous attempts and the views were spectacular.

Loch Tay with space ships ready to beam us up.

The adrenaline highs took about five hours to wear off and our lack of sleep coupled with the cold had us heading for home, that and the fear of being late for dinner. So we final glid the 75 odd km back from Pitlochry to end an epic day's flying. The price was well worth it!

Cruising with Flying Saucers

Thursday 6th Nympsfield

As a precursor to Portmoak, and its on the way, Pete 230, JB KJW and Matt M5 headed up the motorway to NYM expecting a couple of trips down the ridge to Bath race course BAT and back. A quick de-rig, cup of tea and continue north to Scotland. Simples! Pete threw a spanner in the works by saying, "The last thing we need to happen is for one of us to land out!"

Trevor Stuart said there was enough north in the wind to include the ridge north to Lower Clopton, LCL, but we would need thermal assistance to get round the turn point. So the 3 North Hillers and 4 dudes from NYM set off north in crystal clear air with good wind and strong thermals in attendance. It all went pear-shaped at LCL. The group became separated and "Every man for himself" was the call over the radio, which got a few nervous laughs in response. The route back into wind included many low scrapes and parking on a little ridge waiting for that ever more elusive thermal. The final straw was a massive shower that moved over NYM and effectively killed the thermals in an even bigger radius and backed the wind so that the ridges became useless.

Steve Eyles (Nym LS4), JB and Matt scratched their way to the ridge just north of NYM but only Matt was high enough to jump the gap to the west ridge at NYM, arriving level with the people at the view point and had to climb in the bowl to then be able to fly a circuit to land.

Matt, Pete, Steve, Gregg, JB and Fred

Here's a question, How do you retrieve 6 gliders with one retriever. Get JB's van and go and fetch the pilots, come back and set off again with with trailers in tow. The upshot being that it was 730pm before Pete and Matt closed the farm gate and started the 8 hour drive north.

De-rigging in the dark

Thursday 6th October

Where were you all? the forecast wasn't that bad!!!
Eventually we got a quorum of 5 members to fly, between dodging rain showers we had 4-6 knot thermals to 2500ft. After the rain, the wind picked up (K21 stationary and unstalled at 1500ft) and the ridge was working really well to 1600ft.

Sunday 2nd October

No report of conditions at North Hill, but rumour has it the Liam converted to flying the Junior, and Wyn and Dylan have flown their LS7 for the first time. Well done everyone.

News from Talgarth
Again the day did not look promising. The front sat over the north had moved south into Wales. The wind was very light southerly, up to 5knts. The sky was overcast to the north and just after the briefing it started to rain. The rain quickly stopped with sun to the south. We decided to launch early in case the conditions deteriorated. The Talgarth K21 towed to Castle Dinas and the back bowl on the ridge but I decided to go for Langorse Lake with the option to come back to the ridge if there was no lift over Langorse. After a very slow climb on tow we released over Langorse. We scratched about and found weak wave which took us to 4100ft over Langorse Lake. Everyone had a similar flight including some ridging in the back bowl. Another good day's flying.

Saturday 1st October

Hot, hot, hot, and a gentle south easterly wind, Andrew L K6 managed to stay up on the South ridge for 21 minutes. The beach weather meant there were no pupils and very few members, the slack was taken up by trial lessons. Congratulations to Wyn for being cleared solo on aerotow, and moving into private ownership with the family glider LS7 480.

News from Talgarth
Briefing at 10am. Oh dear it does not look good. Wind Is south to south east still to 10knots. The worst conditions you can have at Talgarth. The duty instructor confirms that no heavy gliders are flying and that includes the Talgarth K21. We wait! The first launch finds weak wave but is back quickly. Gradually conditions improve but the tuggie is still not happy to tow out the DG or the K21. By now gliders are reporting wave over Langorse Lake to 4000ft. We wait and after lunch persuade tuggie to give it a go! Myself and Gerard McQuire strap in ready to go. Not the lightest of crews!! We bounce into the air taking off to the west. We miss the trees on tow out - just, and its a very slow climb behind the Pawnee to 3000ft over Langorse lake. We release in wave and 15 minutes later we are at 7800ft!
Looking for that last few hundred feet to make 8k'

The next 3 hours are spent wandering around the Brecons. A great flight. Mark Wallis has a similar flight with Talgarth pundit Robbie Robertson in the K13. A good days flying from a gloomy start. - GA