Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Drive Home.

It’s a long way back form Aboyne, and it was made more exciting this year by the snow and ice on the roads near the airfield and the strong winds. There was clearly wave over most of Scotland as the photo shows, and I am sure the rotor was down to the ground in places, as the car and trailer combination was rocked violently on several occasions travelling down the A90.

The last day.

Waking up to a light dusting of snow on the ground and a bitter northerly wind confirmed that winter has arrived early in Scotland. It was after 10 before a reasonable sized gap in the showers appeared and e could start launching. The wave was obviously setting up over the valley and by the time we were ready to launch the duo Discus from Portsmouth Navel GC was reporting a 6knot climb behind Morvan.

Clive and Gary launched first in the DG 1000 followed by Hugh and Ingram in the K21 and Rick in the Discus. It didn’t take long before people were reporting going on to oxygen at 10,000ft and a look at the sky confirmed that it could be a big day if the snow showers just stayed away. At around midday one of the local pundit started call back to the airfield too find out about the big snow showers that were developing to the North East. About 15 mins later we caught the edge of the first one, but looking at the weather radar it was obvious that the next one would hit us, so at that point all the gliders started returning.

A good morning flying with the DG 1000 getting to 12,000ft, the K21 10,000ft and the Discus 9,900ft. It was now obvious that the snow showers were getting more frequent and the next task was going to be de rigging the gliders in-between the blizzards. This took about 2 hrs due to having too scrape frozen snow off of the gliders two or three times.

The evening’s entertainment consisted of a blow out meal in the Ballater Pizza restaurant followed by a drive back to the House in blizzard.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Becalmed for three days.

High pressure sitting over Scotland deprived us of the vital component required for wave flying. As it was clear that the wind was not going to blow for a few days most took the opportunity to do some sight seeing, shopping and even a type conversion.

Thursday. Four seasons in one day

Finally the BBC weather forecast gave some hope of a wind profile that should give us the chance of wave, but with the risk of showers and heavy rain later in the day. By the time we had got the glider to the launch-point a wave slot had appeared to the North and as normal the Lasham team were first to launch. As we approached the wave cloud it was obvious that the slot was getting smaller and by the time we were established in the climb the gap had completely closed and the only sensible decision was to descend. This set the trend for the second flight, as after half an hour the gap was closing again and the launch-point reported rain showers near the airfield, so time to get down on the ground.

The rain arrived at around lunchtime and lasted about an hour. When it stopped, the temperature had dropped about 10 degrees and it felt like winter had arrived. The wind had now coming directly from the North and the wave appeared to be setting up again so all the Lasham gliders were thrown into the air, and for a while it looked like things were working well. Once again a large shower moved quickly across the airfield and all but one glider returned. Hugh Kinidell and Clive Swain in the DG 1000 decided to head west and sit the shower out on a ridge near Ballater. This persistence paid off as the wave again set up over the valley and they eventually climbed up to 6500ft before the conditions deteriorated again.

Tonight’s evening meal was fish and chip, mushy pees and the opportunity to sample a deep fried mars bar, after that I now know why the life expectance in certain parts of Scotland is considerably lower than the rest of the UK.


Monday, 22 October 2012

The bollocking is alive and well and living in Scotland.

Good to see lots of familiar faces when we turned up on Saturday afternoon and it’s not really surprising that they were all telling the same story about how poor the weather has been in the last two weeks.

 It would appear that high pressure has established it’s self over us, and on Sunday morning and the windsock was not moving at all, but despite this Graham Bell was sure that something was happening out to the North. With the courage of his convictions he took a launch and was very quickly established in weak wave. Both Lasham two seaters quickly followed and sure enough at 2500ft the vario hit 10kts and the air went smooth. Unfortunately the climbs topped out at 5000ft due to the wind decreasing with height.

 After about 2hrs the wave began to collapse and gliders were re appearing in the circuit. This coincided with a motor-glider having a braking issue while on the North runway, and a Nimbus stopping in the middle of the South runway, so you now had a blocked airfield and a Puchacz with an early solo pilot trying to land. The PIO and heavy landing that followed was not a pleasant sight, but fortunately neither the pilot nor aircraft were damaged. This obviously put the locals on edge and they felt the need to tackle even the slightest error with a bollocking.

So a good first day with everyone enjoying some local flying in the wave or afternoon thermals.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Aboyne Expedition Day 3
Dawn broke with a vengeance, frosty and light snow, by the time we got to the airfield the snow had turned to rain. We settled down to a quiet day of contemplation and thinking good thoughts. A slide show started, some guy called JW doing enormous distances at great heights round Scotland and the surrounding seas. We thought this was rubbing salt in old wounds so retaliated with a short film of Jaca and then to prove we were not lacking in enterprise and technology Mr Pullen on a primary. This led to the Black Faced Sheep (don't ask!).
As the rain had stopped we got 431 out and continued circuit training with Marko Dragosavac. Two flights later he went off on his own and didn't come back for over an hour. 776 was sent after him and also stayed up over an hour.
Awards so far:
                         First Solo at Aboyne              Marko
This added to his prowess with mashed potato makes him a strong contender for Student of the Week.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Aboyne Weak Too

After much discussion about the existence of wave we decided to enrol Entwhistle into The Flat Earth Society, we know that there is wave in Scotlant, we saw it rolling down the road towards us next to a sign that said Flood.
Sunday dawned bright and gray with very little wind, an ideal day for Recency and Site checks. Three were duly completed until rain stopped play.
Monday seemed to be going the same way until Paul decided to complete the check he had started the previous day. We came off tow at 3000ft, turned left, scratched for a bit and climbed to 6000ft. This kick- started a mad scramble and several good flights ensued. All Lasham Gliders got airborne and stayed that way for at least an hour!

Awards so far:       Shortest Flight         Paul Haliday
                             Longest Flight         Paul Haliday
                             Lowest Flight          Paul Haliday
                             Longest Flight         Paul Haliday
                             Best Mash              Marco Dragosavac

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Lasham Aboyne 2012 Week 1

As the Week leader I foolishly asked "Grimshaw" to do the blog, so do take what he says with a large pinch of salt but enjoy the fun John S

E. Grimshaw... still doubtful about Scottish wave... or indeed wave in general!

Lasham's Week 1: a very mixed bunch of reprobates with a wide if not outrageous range of aeronautical opinion. Alongside such illustrious characters as Dave Paffett, Steve Powell, Bob Westlake, Mike Dawson and Russ Fletcher are more shadowy LGS types like the Rising Air Editor who doesn't amount to much (I agree with Wally) but I can't say that too loudly as I rely on him to print my hard-hitting articles for Ab-Initios. And there's myself.

Since Aboyne is primarily a wave site and since I infamously don't believe in wave, it was unanimously agreed that I should write the blog. This was  actually John Simmonds' idea, but suddenly remembering he was supposed to be in charge he became more thoughtful and demanded Editorial  Control... so I can't guarantee that what you read will be accurate!

I have to say I am truly staggered by the extent they try to keep this wave myth going. At Lasham only the senior people are in on the hoax but up here they're all in on it! You get given your own piece of oxygen tubing to connect the 'Mountain High' oxygen to your nostrils (nobody wants to share for some reason) and my suggestion that the large 'N' written on the tank probably stood for 'Nitrogen' did not go down well. On the clubhouse wall there's a photo of the Lairig Gru photographed from a 15,000 foot aero-tow. Must have cost a fortune... no wonder they put it on the wall...

SUNDAY 7th A lovely calm day... the house at Crathie is warm and spacious with suitably upmarket neighbours. These LGS people certainly know how to maintain standards. The drive to the airfield is long and very pretty but the airfield itself is a bit of a shock. For a start there are no runways (ignore what they tell you)... you're supposed to land on a pathway and take off on another without deviating by more than 5 feet. In practise, the instructor takes over if you wander by more then three. It's the only airfield with two hard 'runways' that can't be seen from the air... you have to look for the huge timber yard and follow the bend in the river back to locate it. We get briefed on what to do and what not to do. It is clearly nothing like Lasham, Sutton Bank, The Mynd, or indeed, anywhere else.

MONDAY 8th Another lovely calm day. Bob Westlake claimed 11,000 feet in his and Russel's Ventus, ... but I didn't see it myself and I don't think anyone else did either. I did actually hear John Simmonds on the radio saying he was at 10,500 with Steve Powell and they were 'on oxygen' but he was clearly just winding me up. He was calling 'downwind' not long after... I noticed (Well you would be if 8/8 cloud cover suddenly occurred, Ed). When I finally got into the air myself the best Mr Simmonds could manage was 4,953 feet in combined thermal and hill lift which pretty much summed up the whole week as far as I was concerned. Having been led to expect all sorts of meteorological horror I have never seen Scotland look so benign and sunny.

TUESDAY 9th Similar to Monday except without the outrageous height claims as presumably word had got round that I was about.  Mr Simmonds did at one point suggest that he and I were clearly in 'wave' but it was such a small area north of Loch Kinord it simply had to be an unusually smooth thermal. I was about to insist it was hill lift but, looking down, I couldn't actually see a hill.
Mike Dawson misheard John saying that the Editor and Dave Paffett had released and then released himself at 2,800 feet, too low for the "wave". Day saved by J.S ... apparently.

WEDNESDAY 10th Same again... still no 'wave'. J. S. reported 'rotor' out in 'bandit country' (Mount keen) but this was obviously simply a rough thermal.
I must admit people were staying up somewhat longer than you would expect from the conditions but not me. The only way I got to 5,000 feet was by taking a 5,000 foot tow... don't let anyone tell you different. During one of the more quiet moments a plaintive radio call was heard: "Lasham Ground from Editor... am locked in New Shiny truck. Estimate ten minutes oxygen..."

THURSDAY 11th: The long-awaited warm front arrives and it all goes very quiet. Forecasts not good. Russel and Bob give up and tow home.

J. Simmonds:  "Today it's soarable but not flyable, and later it'll be flyable but not soarable.."
G. Bell: It's actually quite interesting up there if you look in the right direction. Somebody else should definitely have a go..."

IN CONCLUSION: There were, admittedly, a number of times when gliders strangely stayed up a lot longer that they would at Lasham. But the air is a mysterious business... who knows? To give the whole wave hoo-ha a truly Scottish verdict it has to be:


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Aboyne 2012

October 7th - 26th