Saturday, 26 October 2013

Last day.

As it turned out Thursday was our last days flying thanks to the arrival of another band of rain and strong winds, so we pack up and headed home on Friday.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Day 4.  Cold feet.

With prospect of strong winds in the morning we arrived at the airfield before eight to rig the Duo and get an early launch. Obviously lots of other people had the same idea and the hangar was being emptied as we drove in. When the wave bars are sat just behind Morven, it’s amazing how quickly you can throw a Duo Discus together.

Paul Haliday was inserted in to the front seat and we launched just after nine. Releasing at 3000ft we were immediately established in the wave with the vario pegged on the stop. At 10,000ft the lift started to drop off and it was then a slow climb to 13,500ft.

After topping out we decided to head up wind and cross over the next two wave bars and eventually ended up over Corgarth castle. At this point the cold was starting to set in and we decided to head for home.
More later when the rest of the team have finished flying.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Day 3 update.

The Duo Discus launched first with Hugh kindell and Paul Haliday at the controls and they soon reported a steady climb over the lochs to the west of the airfield. We then threw Ingram and Glyn off in the same direction, and after that went back to the club house for a late lunch .

A very nice afternoon's soaring was had by most of the team with the showers curtailing the fun for a while at 4pm. Best gain of height for the day was Ingram who topped out at 10500ft. After the showers had gone through, Gary Coppin and myself took the last tow of the day and clearly there was wave around as the tow lasted 20 mins thanks to the tug pilot finding the down going air. Unfortunately by the time we got back to the right position over the Loch’s all we could do was maintain height.

We were the last glider to land and by this time the hangar was clearly not capable of accommodating and ASH 25 and our Duo, so a de rig by hangar lights ensued.

Strong winds are forecast in the morning, so it looks like an early start tomorrow, and I promise to take a camera.



Bit of a slow start today as a trough line and showers delayed the launching. All the gliders are airborne now and the Duo has reported climbing through 8000ft in 3 knots.  More later.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Week 3. Day 2.

As we were driving towards the airfield the sight of the early morning classic wave to the East of the airfield gave some hope for a good day. As often is they were firmly in the Aberdeen airspace and would only be usable if you were flying a 737.

The wind was almost no excitant on the airfield but looking at the clouds there was a definite southerly airflow. The gaps in the lower cloud were opening and then closing fairly rapidly and this caused a number of people to stop climbing in the wave and descend through cloud on the turn and slip.

Eventually the gaps opened up and the Duo was launched towards the Southwest with Paul Haliday and Colin Watt on board. It was a slow climb over a small gap to the south of the airfield. This finally topped out at 7500ft and at the same time the gaps started to close and a rapid decent was started.

The day lasted long enough for all the expedition members to get a wave flight and some more practice at landing the Duo on the narrow Aboyne runway.
Colin Watt.



Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Aboyne Week Two Day 3

After a short break for weather flying resumed on Tuesday. By the end of the day all the team were cleared to fly the single seaters and several did until the mist came down and curtailed flying for the day (about 5 minutes before it got dark).
Landing the duo in calm conditions is quite interesting. The normal technique is to aim to touch down a third of the way along the runway and stop at the end. We needed to touch down on the threshold and hope to stop before the gravel trap, duo brakes are not wonderful.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Week 2

Another week, another team: Terry Dunford, Stewart Waldie, James Davidson, Richard Hodge and Bob Akehurst averagely led by Bob Johnson.
Sunday was paperwork, low cloud and check flights. We are now all ready for a superb week.

PS I won the bet.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Aboyne Day 6

Today the wind was easterly and the sky was – mostly – thermic. Kevin did two solos in SH9 – his first at Aboyne; and the second was an hour and a minute long. Not bad for mid-October. Darren flew SH4 again (“I’ve been spoilt, really,” he says) and Geoff had three flights in the Duo. John and Helen went soaring in 775 and had the privilege of thermalling with a golden eagle, which demonstrated its superior ability with a certain amount of elegant disdain.

Friday was the final day of week 1 of the Lasham expedition and what a great week it’s been: six out of six soaring days, five of them wave. We’ll be heading off into Englandshire now and there'll be an intermission until after the weekend changeover. Thanks to all of you who’ve been reading. We leave you with a few more photos...

Above, from left: Darren Smith, Kevin Wood, Dave Paffett, John Simmonds, Helen Evans and Geoff Martin are six of the seven expedition members on Week 1 – David Williams was off-site (Pic: Jonathon Morris)

Above: Today we launched and landed to the east. This shot shows the Duo about to go thermal soaring. The Deeside clubhouse is on the north of the site, on the left of the photo (Pic: Helen Evans) 

Above: Geoff Martin pushing down on the nose of the Duo, preparing to move it to the launchpoint, today (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: Kevin Wood after soloing the Grob, SH9 (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: Loch Kinord (left) and Loch Davan in the sunshine – note the wind shadow effects (Pic: Kevin Wood)

Above: Thermalling above Aboyne (Darren Smith)

Above and below: Graham Bell took these photographs on his way down from the base of the wave box, between Ballater and Aboyne, on Tuesday, October 8 (Pics: Graham Bell)

Below: Close of play today – end of week 1 of the Lasham expedition to Aboyne. Two more weeks to go. (Pic: Kevin Wood)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Aboyne Day 5 (evening)

Flying began on Thursday at mid-day, with John and Kevin taking the Duo to 10,000ft. The interesting thing about today was the runway in use: we launched on 27 but landed on 30 due to the north-north-easterly crosswind. John has been coming to Aboyne for 15 years and this was the first time he’s used 30; David, with 30 years’ experience of the site, has used it once before.

In the afternoon, John and Dave Paffett went on a photographic sortie and spent a lot of time looking at cloud sculptures, and kept climbing and descending as the gaps narrowed and widened. David and Helen took the last flight of the day but found only gaps that narrowed.

Above: This shot of Aboyne, from the Duo, shows the two parallel runways running from west (left) to east, and the cross runway, 30 grass, starting in the bottom right-hand corner of the airfield. The meanders of the River Dee and the woodyard (just under the wingtip) help locate the site (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: A crowd of spectators came out of the clubhouse to watch the circuits and landings on 30 (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: John and Kevin landing on 30: the tarmac in the foreground is runway 27 north; note the crosswind (Pic: Helen Evans) 

Above: The view from SH4 at about 5,000ft near Morven; 775 is visible in the distance (Pic: Darren Smith)

Above: David managed to find a slot to fly with Adrian Pearson, a Lasham member with Bronze badge and Silver height, who is in Scotland on business. It was Adrian’s first wave flight, his first soaring flight above cloud, and they reached 6,500ft (Pic: Adrian Pearson)

Above: The view from 775 of Darren flying SH4 (Pic: David Williams)

The post below, from earlier on Thursday, contains a selection of photographs from the week so far

Aboyne Day 5 (morning)

There's a hopeful blue hole overhead Aboyne, which requires very little interpretation to see as a wave gap, so we're standing by for the dampness to depart and the clag to clear. The Duo Discus and Grob are DI'd and ready to go (in the hangar...). Meanwhile, to entertain you, here's a round-up of previously unblogged photos from the week so far:

Above: On the way up to 15,500ft during the Duo's last flight on Sunday (David Williams)

Above: 21,000ft at Loch Muick for a Diamond height on Sunday (Nicki Marchant)

Above: At 18,000ft over Lochnagar on the way to Diamond (Nicki Marchant)

Above: At about 15,000ft near Aboyne on Sunday (Helen Evans)

The Lasham expedition owes a big thank you to all the Deeside members who work hard to make us welcome and get us airborne, including the airfield manager, Bob Dunthorn (above), and tuggie Jonathon Morris (below).

Above: Murdo MacDonald, Aboyne glider and tug pilot, gives up his October in order to keep the kitchen and bar stocked and all the visitors fed and watered. Thank you very much, Murdo.

Above: Not MORE lenticulars... (Helen Evans) 

Above: The view from the back of the Duo on Sunday (David Williams)

Above: Sunlit lenticulars above the lower wave system on Sunday as darkness approaches... (David Williams)

... and on the ground at the end of an exceptional day (Kevin Wood)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Aboyne Day 4

Lasham took the only launch at Aboyne today: David Williams and Helen Evans in Duo Discus 775 aerotowed to 3,800ft. The reward for spending more than half an hour in most forms of lift known to glider pilots – rotor, wave-influenced thermal, and (David insists) a bit of ridge – was contacting laminar wave. Maximum height for the two-hour flight: 8,200ft. Conditions in a brisk wind, slightly north of west, were exhilarating but not unsafe, and a small crowd of spectators emerged from the clubhouse to watch the circuit and landing, as if planning to award marks out of ten. A few minutes later, John Simmonds and Dave Paffett were lined up, hooked on and ready to go at the end of runway 27 when the rain swept in. We returned the toys to the hangar and waited a while before reluctantly scrubbing mid-afternoon.
Text and photos: Helen Evans

Above: The nearest thing to an obvious wave bar we saw: at about 4,500ft, looking towards Loch Kinord (LOK)

Above: Looking towards the east coast of Scotland. Visibility was so good it was possible to see all the way south to Fife.

Above: Loch Kinord is just visible on the extreme left of this photograph; the one in the centre is Loch Davan. The rainbow is a hint of things to come...

Above: So near and yet so far: Dave Paffett (front) and John Simmonds prepare for a flight in the Duo. We got as far as hooking on the rope...

... before rain stopped play.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Aboyne Day 3

Below: The view from 775 at around 5,000ft on the home wave bar at Aboyne, looking towards the North Sea – you can just make out a cloud shadow on the water in the far distance (Pic: Helen Evans)

We can’t believe how warm it’s been on the ground at Aboyne this week – although that may be about to change... This morning was sunny with a wave system shifting as the wind changed. The afternoon was cloudier, but with good gaps much of the time. At one point this morning, at least ten gliders were sharing the home wave bar at between 4,000ft and 6,000ft – the only short beat available at the time. Reminded John and Helen of a hill site on a ridge day!

Lasham’s Duo took the first flight of the day, at 0830hrs: 775 was fully utilised, with David and Kevin going first, followed by John and Helen, who wave soared about 20k NW along the bars, and then David and Geoff, whose scenic tour of the Scottish Highlands took them to Loch Muick, before John flew Kevin again. Kevin and Helen have both been cleared to fly solo at Aboyne in suitable conditions.

Dave went soaring twice in SH9: his first flight was marred by technical gremlins but he went up to a pleasurable 7,000ft on his second. Everything worked, he had the sky virtually to himself and great views of the sunset. Meanwhile, Darren launched in the morning and showed immense patience working the wave slowly up from a low point of 2,800ft to 14,600ft. Sounds like the Gold height he was cheated of yesterday! Well done, Darren.

Lasham visitor Tim Lean, after previous Diamond height gains without logger or barograph, went to 20,700ft near Loch Muick today to claim the height, subject to ratification. He was flying DG-300 950 on his last day here this year. Congratulations!

As well as the Lasham expedition and one from Booker, Aboyne is hosting visitors from various other clubs, including two gentlemen, Morten Norgaard and Morten Olsen, from Kolding Flyveklub in Denmark. After a morning spent wave soaring in Deeside’s ASW19, GCA, Morten Norgaard told us that the highest hill in his home country is 147 metres (just under 500ft) high. It’s called Himmelbjerget – “Heaven’s Mountain”.

Helen Evans

Above: Lasham’s Duo was first at the launchpoint and first to launch today (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: The Duo photographed from Aboyne’s ASW19, GCA, by a Danish visitor to the club (Pic: Morten Norgaard)

Above: Kevin Wood on the first of his two wave soaring flights today (Pic: David Williams)

Above: Loch Muick from 7,500ft, with David Williams instructing in the Duo (Pic: Geoff Martin)

Above: Darren took this shot at around 14,000ft on his Gold height, almost overhead the airfield (Pic: Darren Smith)

Above: Looking down from 14,000ft (Pic: Darren Smith)

Above: A happy Darren after landing back at Aboyne (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: Lasham member Tim Lean in the clubhouse at Deeside GC after his Diamond height near Loch Muick (Pic: Helen Evans)

Above: Part of the upper wave system in which Tim got his Diamond height, photographed from 18,000ft (Pic: Nicki Marchant)