Friday, 8 October 2010

Day 5

The Final day.

Expeditions tend to be an exercise in looking at every possible source for a weather forecast that looks promising and discarding the rest. The advent of the I phone now means that people are dishing out info on the latest charts and sat pictures at the launch point but for my money it still doesn’t beat using mark one eyeball to look at the sky and workout what’s going on.

Lots of gliders were rigging and ready to go by 9:30 today but the pilots were showing signs of reluctance to be the first to launch. Anyway a bit of gentle arm-twisting got Dave Draper into his LS 8 and away as the clouds was beginning to open up. It took a while for the wave to get properly set up but once people were reporting 2kt climbs the normal rush for a launch started.

All the Lasham gliders were thrown at the sky and most reported that the wave topped out at around 10,000ft. Dave Drapers persistence paid off and after 3hours he reached 16,000ft, which was enough for gold height. All the Lasham team members had good flights today and everyone finished the day with smiles on their faces. Sometimes have to remind myself that it’s a privilege to go wave flying in such a beautiful area.

Landing at Aboyne has proved a little challenging for some pilots from other clubs this week and the usual runway excursions have not failed to disappoint the spectators and frustrate there CFI’s. I have always wondered what happens when you hit your head really hard on the canopy, now i know, you make a round hole in it!

The social side of the Lasham expeditions are for a lot of people just as important as the flying and on that front this week has been excellent. The house we have rented this year is superb with all the facilities to make it feel like a home from home. The expedition members have been great company this week and have made my life easy, so thank you all.

The weather for Friday can best be described by the photo!


Day 4. Better late than never!

Day 4

Normal routine on the Aboyne expeditions is to wake up at first light and look at the sky in the direction of the airfield. The picture that greeted me on Wednesday morning when I opened the curtains was probably one of the best early morning wave sky’s I have seen in a long time. Suffice to say the drive to the airfield was faster than normal

There is always a level of uncertainty when you are first to Launch Evan when the sky looks good, so I should have stuck to my golden rule of taking a slightly higher launch to be safe. The result of my inattention was 500ft very quickly lost and then a slow climb back into the wave. After about an hour we had worked our way forward to the primary wave in the lee of lochnagar and started climbing in the upper wave system.

Going on to Oxygen at 10,500ft, I passed the comment that someone will get diamond height here at which point the lift dropped off and we topped out at 11,000ft. Everyone on the expedition also had good wave flights today but by late afternoon it was getting very difficult to contact it without taking a high aerotow.


Day 3

At Aboyne When you wake up in the morning and look out of the window, if the tree’s are bent over in the wind, it’s a race to eat breakfast and exceed the speed limit on the way to the airfield. This was how today was going until I arrived and saw the windsock’s. They are about 300meters apart and were both pointing towards each other, then minutes later they had reversed direction. The dreaded wave rotor directly over the field, so after yesterday battering we all went back to drinking tea and waiting for things to calm down a bit!

Two hours later both Lasham and Booker summoned the courage to put K21’s on the runway and give it a go. Surprisingly I only banged my head on the canopy once, not surprisingly I did not want to have another flight in conditions that were marginal to operate a K21 in.

Things began to calm down by late afternoon with evidence of wave setting up along the Dee Valley towards Ballater half a dozen people launched for a late evening wave flight.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Aboyne Week 2

Day 1.

The official day one of the second week was for some spent walking, others visited places of interest and the few die-hard’s who had nothing better to do than stay on the airfield, drink tea in the clubhouse and watch the rain fall radar on there computers

The only flying that took place was an early evening air test of a Pegasus by the boys from “the other place”

Day 2.

At last a wave day.
Clear sky’s and a moderate southerly wind was just what was needed after yesterday’s rain and I have to say that I was rather surprised to be the first person on the airfield at 8am. Anyway the slick Lasham team had the hangar un-packed and the gliders parked in prime positions at the launch point before the opposition had started to rig.

First launch at 9:30 was into a very confused looking sky with lots of rotor cloud and no defined edges to work and it wasn’t until we passed through 5000ft that it became clear how the wave was orientated. The wind at 7000ft was forty knots and increasing but the lift appeared to stop. If you failed to connect with the wave as we did on the second flight you then spent your time battling with the rotor thermals and strong turbulence knowing that there was little chance of getting back into the wave.

By the time of our third launch in the afternoon it was obviously getting rough at low level and the increasing wind had positioned the rotor over the Airfield. It was not long after we launched that the tug pilots decided that they did not want to carry on launching. In these conditions landing at Aboyne turns into a good spectators sport from the ground and in the cockpit.

At about 5pm the wind had dropped so we persuaded the tug pilot to try another launch and after landing he said that this really was enough and the aircraft was going away. Those that were still airborne had the best part of the day and Graham Bell got to Flight level 195 and was still climbing at 7kts.


Friday, 1 October 2010

Aboyne week 1

Day 5 well, the weather cleared into a nice sunny day with light southly winds. Conditions were thermic with just a hint of wave to tempt high tows to get unto it. Everybody flew at least once and height were limited to cloud base of 3500'. The day was topped off with a evening meal at Tarland which all enjoyed. Tomorrow looks wild unlikely to be flyable.
John Simmonds