Thursday, 28 March 2013

The photo shows a natural car-wash up the Hecho valley. It stopped raining overnight, but the sun never appeared and so the cloud-base never got up to an interesting height. The next two days look worse.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

As predicted it is a non-flying day. In the afternoon the cloud-base managed to rise above the summit of Stage One (in the distance behind the broken medieval bridge over the River Aragon). The ski-resort at Astun looked fairly well socked in so tourism was the fall-back. It should be flyable tomorrow, but looking dodgy after that.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The sun shone and everyone flew. The weather is not yet at last year's standards, but there was a highly acceptable 7000 foot cloud-base that enabled forays to Stage Three arriving just high enough to realise that you shouldn't be there. We must be thermalling better. Vultures are coming over to join us in thermals rather than the other way round.

Simon Holland reported that one way of knowing which way is down is to dribble, though I prefer to stay in vmc!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Week four duly assembled, registered and were briefed. 431 went off to Stage One and scratched while 775 went south east and scratched. The dizzying height of 6000 feet was reached (cloudbase) and a combination of generosity towards the next pilots and gravity brought everyone back in less than an hour. Meanwhile another Lasham pilot managed to put himself a small, muddy field beyond Jaca leaving only sketchy details of where he was and the location of his trailer's keys. His mobile didn't work so it was a matter of detective work. Merv deduced from the strength of the radio signal he was 10km south east of Jaca not south west as he had reported. The trailer keys were found in his locked car after his spare car key was found in his room. And, by the way, he also landed wheels up. The clag moved in, so no more flights. Tomorrow's weather looks better, but mixed thereafter, and that is optimistic,

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Jaca Crown Week, Days 4, 5 and 6


Sorry for the delay too busy flying, with the occasional meal etc of course.

Thursday 21

A fairly good day with 5 flights averaging between 1.5 and 3 hours on a moderately difficult windy and overcast day, base generally 8000.

This was the hardest of the days, with the best flight being only 3.15, 2 of 1.5 and 4 others less than 30 minutes.

Friday 22

Another good day with flights hovering around the 2 hours mark, only 1 fall down after 22 minutes but he returned and did another 2.23.

Fairly cloudy most of the day with hints of rotor and a couple of wave flights, base generally about 7-8000 but Martin did manage 13,000. Richard got to 12500, via France.

Saturday 23

Forecast only moderate with top cover and rain rolling in from mid afternoon – BUT

775 took off at 1056, released fairly early and then took quite a while to get up to height for repeated transits from the Hecha Valley to Sabinajio, restricted further by 7,500 foot cloud base to the east.

431 followed 10 minutes later and was seen frequently by us further down the valley, he returned and changed pilots.

By 1330 the valley was filling with cloud but both took off again, 775 returned 2 ½ hours later and took off again, in the meantime 431 was still away after 4 hours, I should say the weather was not what we had expected from the morning briefing.

On its second flight 775 climb up to Stage 3 and Andy soon had Paul rock polishing among the snow up to cloud base for three-quarters of an hour. The conditions were so good it was possible to fly at 70 knots and climb at 4 knots to cloud base for several miles, providing Paul with one of his best flights ever.

775 left again at 1630 and came back just 1900.

431 came back after 5pm – Richard and John managed a fun-filled 4 and 1/2 hours.

Many thanks to John and Andy for an exceptional weeks flying.

Long may this continue for next week’s group.

Goodbye from Crown Services until next year.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Crown Services Week 3, Day 3, 'Great Expectations'

Wednesday's briefing was a menu of thermals, ridge flying, rotor and wave in all directions. By 11 am 431 and 775 were up (why oh why isn't the DG here???).

In the K21, Andy took John up first, flying the length of Echo valley to 7,000 feet (stage two) using bowls and rotor for a couple of hours. John Simmonds took Paul in the Duo, polishing rock behind Andy and John, for two and a half hours.

The Fins were third away but came back after half an hour. They hadn't forgotten anything - they'd just pulled-off too soon (helpfully, somone suggested they might try not pulling off at all :-)).

Richard was next to go with Andy, taking the same route along Echo valley and finding wave to reach over 10,000 feet. In a three hour flight they took in Canfranc  and Orielio before a look at Bedun.

Adrian was John's second for the day - spending two and a half hours working Hecho valley to 7,500 feet (stage 3).

Martin was Andy's last flight for the day, two and a quarter hours polishing rock and soaring before a close-up with a Vulture.

Paul was John's last flight of the day - another two and a half hours, ending in the wave over stage 3. 

Howard reached almost the end of the Canfranc Valley - by car - and spent the day skiing.

Outlook  for Thursday - another brilliant day.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Week 3 Day 2 Tuesday

Started with a bright but cold day, fairly dry as the overnight rain did not materialise. Wind was from the east so all tailwind take offs today.

First launch with Adrian And Andy was possibly a little early at 1200 as we returned 40 mins later. 775 with Richard and John was 20 mins later and managed almost 2 hours.

The longest flight was Paul and Andy in 431 with almost 2 ½ hours. John and Martin both made nearly two hours later with most of them reaching low stage 3 due to cloud at 8000.

Weather for tomorrow shows wind moving round to the NW with a possibility of Wave.

week 3 day 1 student supplementary

Week 3 Day 1 Student Supplementary.

It’s Crown Services week again at Jaca, hoping for, but not really expecting the same exceptional week we had last year.

The main party arrived via Barcelona with John Simmonds on Sunday with Andy Aveling being flown in midday on Monday by Paul Wheatcroft in his RV 8, a little late due to English weather.

After a rainy and snowy Sunday, Monday morning’s briefing showed signs of improvement for the week but not much hope of flying on Monday.

Just after Paul arrived early Monday afternoon, Adrian, Howard and Richard decided to check out the skiing resort at Astun. There was beautiful snow and it was very busy but it was too late for us to get on the piste. So Adrian and John drank wine while Richard downed a coffee. On our return to Jaca we found much better weather and, rather surprisingly, both aircraft in the air.

John Adams returned after 90 mins in 431 on his first ever visit to Jaca, closely followed by Martin Hollowell who had 2 hours in 775, both mainly flying the valley to the south.

431 departed again with Richard Taylor and John with 775 taking Paul and Andy off to the local bowl; Adrian and Howard regretted their earlier glass of wine .
431 returned shortly afterwards but tried again heading for the bowl to catch 775 but by this time the weather was closing in and both were back before sunset.

An excellent first day considering the last two weeks struggles.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Week 3 Day1

Crown Services Week! Most arrived on the change over Sunday. Andy Aveling and Paul Wheatcroft arrived in the RV8 early Monday afternoon having gone over and under heavy cloud. Although there was quite a bit of rain showers and low cloud around we launched and managed to dodge rain and vultures to run streets in the valley up to 7000ft. Paul Wheatcroft, Richard Taylor, John Adams and Martin Hollowell all flew. The forecast is looking good up until the Friday. Tomorrow looks like lighter winds and drier!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Week 2 - Day 6 Rain arrived ahead of schedule

At briefing there was some hope of flying in southerly wave but with conflicting forecasts of when the expected rain might arrive.

Signs of wave over the north hanger. 

We prepared the gliders for action but as we did the weather closed in from the south and west and it is now raining. Looking like a scrub for today. 


Week 2 - Day 5 Dinner at the flat

On Friday night the instructors entertained the Lasham South team with bangers and mash followed by the star attraction, Gordon's legendary Tiramisu.

Gordon may be a culinary genius when it comes to making Tiramisu, but he didn't cover himself in glory when shopping for the ingredients.

Failing to find sherry he thought an appropriate alternative would be kiwifruit cordial. 20% on the label referred to the juice content rather alcohol content. I suspect the bright green colour was really what attracted his attention.

However it was his choice of eggs that was most entertaining. The first clue ought to have been the fact that the eggshells were covered in butter but it was only when Gordon tried to crack open the first egg that the truth dawned. He had bought a dozen hard boiled eggs!

Fortunately Toya came to the rescue with fresh eggs and home made moscatel.
Gordon realises his mistake

 Gordon supervises Werner's portion control. 

The meal was enjoyed by all and was a great success. Many thanks to Morag and Merv for organising. 


Friday, 15 March 2013

Week 2 - Day 5 A good day (at last)

The weather described at this morning's briefing wasn't quite what we had been promised the day before. Instead of light winds, strong thermals and cumulus, we were offered weak blue thermals to 2,500m with the strong NW wind abating by the afternoon. Still, at least it would be a flying day!

Stage 3 makes a welcome appearance. 
 Werner and Gordon led the way in 775 and quickly climbed away in wave enhanced thermals and explored as far as the Ordessa gorge in conditions much better than forecast.
Werner gets in the spirit of Red Nose Day

Bob and Steve followed in 431 but had to work a little harder, taking several attempts to escape the clutches of stage 1. They eventually made it to 9,000' with good views along the main ridge.

Steve looks out at stage 3.
 Both gliders returned for second sorties with Adrian in 775 and Roger in 431.

Roger and Bob ready to go.
Roger looks out at Jaca
A happy P1, Roger must be doing well.

Both gliders had good flights but some high cloud killed convection earlier than hoped, this prevented a third sortie for the remaining member of the party.

The weather looks more difficult tomorrow but we are still hoping to do some more flying.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Week 2 - Day 4 A little more flying

The weather improved enough for us to risk a speculative launch but it turned out that the wave was difficult to find.

775 took a high launch but didn't connect and spent the next hour grinding away in rotor thermals before finally getting up to cloud base and into wave over Santa Cillia village.

The smooth wave was a relief after the turbulence of the rotor.

431 launched after 775 reported that they were established in the wave but the wave system then collapsed. We are not having much luck this week!

Peter in 775 looking down at the main valley. 

775 topped out at 8000' over Cuculo and then descended slowly back to the airfield.

We are hoping that tomorrow's forecast for a no wind thermal day is correct.


Week 2 - Day 4 zzzz

More alert Lasham members poised for action.

Zen and the art of gliding

 Post lunch nap.

Worn out Blogger. 

Week 2 - Day 4 French snow 1, Finnish glider 0

The Lasham gliders are now ready to go but are still in the hanger.

777, the Finnish glider took a launch into the small Fohn gap above the airfield but slowly descended and landed back.

E6 were next in line...

Julian and Merv ready to go. 

Are they mad?
Even Merv decided that launching into snow was not a great idea so they pulled out of line and retreated back to the clubhouse with everyone else. 

Now back to waiting and keeping warm. 

The excitement .. catching. 

Week 2 - Day 4 More wave expected

The briefing was for more northerly wave but like yesterday we are at the Western extremity of the Fohn gap with light snow flurries.

About to go and get ready to fly.

Week 2 - Day 3 Update

Unfortunately the weather didn't improve enough to make a second sortie possible. The light flurries of snow  (An unwanted import from France) had reduced visibility over stage 1. Also the warmth of the restaurant proved irresistible.

PS Sadly the restaurant is not operational at the moment.  Some vending machines are currently the only option available.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Week 2 - Day 3 Airborne at last

As forecast the wind moved round to the north and strengthened overnight but it didn't look too promising due to the large amounts of cloud.

The briefing indicated that the cloud would clear but an inversion would limit the wave to 10,000 feet.

Wave over Cuculu
The Finns were first to take off and test the conditions but despite a high tow failed to connect and were quickly back on the ground. 775 tried next but it was E6 that proved that it was possible as they managed to climb away.

431 followed their lead and climbed slowly over stage 1 finally topping out at 11,500'.
Adrian and Bob ready to go. 

In wave over stage 1.

775 climbing  in wave. 

431 with snow shower to the west. 

The weather that had been lurking out to the west started to move towards the airfield so all 3 gliders landed to wait and see if it cleared through.

Tiring work for pilots and crew.

Currently waiting for the weather to improve.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Week 2 - Day 2 Ski trip

The forecast had suggested that the ski resort of Astun might have been shrouded in cloud and that it might be snowing so we were surprised to find it bathed in sunshine.

Merv negotiated a good deal on ski hire with the help of Joanna's translating skills. The less experienced opted for a lesson and the rest took the nearest lift looking for some easy runs.

Getting into ski boots can be difficult.

Steve and Bob audition for a new Fanta advert.

Not quite sure what Werner is doing...
...but he seems very pleased!
Gordon and Merv take a tow.
Watching the instructors being instructed was very entertaining. "Gordon you are not listening to me" was heard frequently.  

Unfortunately no cameras caught their collision when they forgot the first rule of gliding.  "You must always keep a good lookout."

Adrian refuels. 
Everyone had a good time, but I suspect that there will be a few aching limbs tomorrow.
We are hoping that the forecast for northerly wave on Wednesday is correct so that we can go flying.


Week 2 - Day 2 Bearings fitted

prompt start from Gordon and Bob saw the bearings fitted before briefing.

New larger bearing, a perfect fit.

Gordon delicately fits the new bearing.
At briefing the weather forecast was for a short window for weak thermals to just above stage 1. This didn't sound too appealling so plan B was for a skiing trip to Astun.


Week 2 - Day 1 correct bearings found

On Monday evening, thanks to directions from Gordons iPad we had a problem free trip to an industrial estate outside of Huesca to purchase the correct bearings for 775. The soft tones of the Google maps directions "turn right at junction 575" were accompanied by two snoring co-pilots who only sprang to life on reaching the shop. We returned to the airfield too late to fit the parts so that was left to Tuesday morning.

Julian was head chef and we had his excellent variation on spaghetti bolognese.


Monday, 11 March 2013

Week 2 - Day 1 supplemental

Gordon is adamant that this will not work.

Week 2 - Day 1 update

Gordon gets to work. 

Werner tries to meet the standards set by his supervisors.

Add caption Gordon looks for a bigger hammer. 
Well the new bearing arrived and Gordon removed the main wheel from 775, but it appears that not all Duo Discus bearings are the same! So the plan for this afternoon may include a foraging expedition to Huesca.

Saturday, 2 March 2013