Friday, 2 May 2014

Jaca Day 6

Possibly the last day for a Lasham Expedition, ever. All four pilots had good long flights. That made four good days out of six which we would have gratefully accepted in advance. David Williams managed to get to 11,000 in weak wave. On the second flight JMcC and Howard got half way along the Yesa lake up to 8000 feet. It was a good end. Let's hope it is adiĆ³s and not despedida. Many thanks to Toya, Ana and Jav for some great times. There is a very good restaurant in Ouistreham called Le Roulis. They take as much care over their cheaper menus as the pricier ones.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Jaca - Week 4 - Days 4 & 5

Day 4 is only mentioned in case anyone thinks I have forgotten one. In short Thursday was wet. A few went to brieing and were told that it was wet, while others got their information by looking out of the window.

Day 5 (Friday) was breezy and thermic. 776 towed beyond Stage 2 and climbed in weak wave to 7200. 775 was towed just below it and scuttled back. When 776 were just about to say nah,nah ni nah nah, the wave vanished and so 776 had to scuttle back. to Stage 1. For both gliders a battle with choppy thermals and vultures followed before it was decided the other pair should have a go. They weren't interested, which is quite annoying since we could have stayed up there.

Because the wind was westerly, it meant that anything in the Hecho valley and downwind was bound to be churned up. This was proved on the final flight which was towed to the smoother air in the Verdun direction where the thermals were more amenable.

After unsuccessfully struggling to get the tyre off the Duo's tail dolly, (it was flat), we decided to cut it off on the grounds that it seemed to be filled with Holt's emergency tyre gunge. After sawing it away we found it  wasn't, so why it was impossible to shift is a mystery. (It wasn't a two-piece wheel incidentally) We had taken this action on the grounds that Neumaticos stocked these things. We were just about to set off for Jaca to get a new tyre when a bright spark suggested we phoned them up first. They were out of stock. Merv is bringing another one out today.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Jaca - Week 4 - Day 3

The briefing claimed it would be raining by 4pm but it might be flyable before then. Consequently we stood staring at the sky for a few hours, first outside the club-house and then outside the hangar without actually getting gliders out. Meanwhile we were entertained by helicopters in an exercise flying simulated wounded people to a temporary hospital on the south side. More staring at the sky followed until we concluded at around 1:45 that this was as good as it was going to get and that this wasn't good enough.

Jaca - Week 4 - Day 2

Another sunny morning, slightly more relaxed start, gliders out and parked in front of hangars before briefing. so far this week Lasham have exclusive use of the airfield.

Wind from the South East, launching at 13:00, 775 went first to experience a very rough tow around the sky, eventually creeping over Stage 1, and finally releasing in lift under Cu forming in the valley. The Cu over the valley showed the most promise as substantial streets formed. Steady progress to the SE up to 8000', passing Oroel below and on the left. (Oroel is very imposing from the ground, less so from above), and onwards until Sabinanigo, then crossing the valley northwards, to get to fly above above the snow, working back towards Sant Cecilia.

776 followed a similar pattern, looking for wave but finding only the rotor.

After a change of P2, 775 launched again finding lift at Stage 1, but nowhere else, the climb exercise was repeated several times, before getting back with the assistance of airbrake to get down.
776 launched again, and narrowly avoided beating the tug down.

In the evening, the party was again guided to an excellent restaurant in Jaca.


Monday, 31 March 2014

Jaca - Week 4 - Day 1

The day dawned bright and breezy and the team were raring to go. We got the gliders out and DIed before briefing. With a steady east wind we took them down to Runway 09, only to be told at that the wind would shift and we would almost certainly be using 27. Faced with the prospect of moving them to the other end, we decided to wait and see. By launchtime at lunchtime the wind had only shifted 45 degrees and so we launched on 09.

The first two flew around the local hills up to 7000 feet QNH and we landed on 27. The Duo pair added a cautious extra 5 knots to the approach speed and its occupants noticed, as the windsock whizzed by, that there was a significant tail-wind component. The glider stopped conveniently at the far end with at least 10 yards to spare. We launched again on 09.

The second pair flew in slightly better conditions to 7500. The best distance away from the airfield was just to the east of Canfranc. Last landing was 5:45 as the high cover finally won. We all reconvened to the really
excellent El Porton restaurant.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Jaca - Week 3 - Day 5

The day was late to start and with the wind swinging round to the (unusual) south east, nobody knew what the day will bring, not even the locals, who when asked by our esteem instructors where is the best area to launch, answered "over there to the east...and maybe the bowl to the south....possibly down to the west...or maybe the home hill to the north will trigger something..".

And so it was, a very confusing but very productive day. Mike (Truelove) and John were the first to brave a launch in the Duo and after a high tow and promising start, climbing up to 7000 (heights all QNH) in rotor/thermal/wave (nobody was sure..), fell down to 4000 and soared locally for an hour and a half.

Richard and Bob in the  DG were not so lucky (or smart) and after releasing below 4000 came down within 15 minutes much to the dismay (or delight??) of the rest of the group on the ground.

Ayala and Bob were next in the DG, releasing at 4500 into a gaggle of vultures and straight into good wave (or thermal or rotor, nobody was sure..), climbed up to 7000, running a line east-west, just to the south of the airfield. They then jumped north to the next bar, expecting huge sink but found excellent lift in what looked like a north-south wave said already, it was a very confusing day..

They run that great energy line almost to the snowy peaks, but then on turning back found the line has collapsed and the leg back into wind was more one point low over the valley found a wonderful 10kts climb to put them back on glide home.

Next was Jon with John S, staying for 2 hours mostly in rotor (thermal/wave/ridge) and Richard and Bob in the DG definitely (maybe) finding wave to allow them a run east up wind towards Jaca.

Last flight of the day took off at 16:30 with Mike Truelove and Bob in the DG and together with Mike Rubin and John S in the Duo, were still soaring at 18:30 in complete 8/8 and finding the time for an aerial photo shoot, watch this space.

Dinner was a rustic affair in a tiny bar somewhere in the Echo valley, and was rounded up in a typical gliding tradition with many landout stories (oh and much beer).

Today, Saturday is our last day and the wind is much the same but stronger. Expecting more interesting flights and stories and more arguments over the type of lift we were climbing in.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Jaca - Week 3 - Day 4

Today was forecast to be the best day of the week with some good thermal soaring to be had. We got the gliders ready before briefing and then waited until around 12:30 to start flying. We all flew in the end.

Ayala had fun running a line of thermals at high speed into the mountains to the west and back a couple of times with John.

Mike T had fun rock polishing around the snow line with Bob.

Richard also had fun rock polishing with Bob.

Mike and John had a low save early on in stage 2 followed by a run west towards the Yesa Reservoir and back along a cloud street, then played around at the mountain tops as cloudbase rose to 8500 feet.

Jon B had fun soaring around stages 1 and 2 with Bob.

Tonight's plan is to go to Restaurante El Porton in Jaca town. It looks like we should get more good flying in tomorrow with the weather closing in again at the weekend.

-Mike R