Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Saturday, 26 March 2016
Day 6 looked great but failed to produce the thermals that the clouds suggested but shade temps around 16C made for very pleasent airfield sitting while the expedition managed 1 hr ish sorties for the final day in the borrowed Duo and a Grob 103. The Lasham Duo has been repaired in time for week 4.
Friday, 25 March 2016
Wednesday, 23 March 2016
|\Time to go!|
|Terry and Bob|
|John P and John B|
Dave Griffiths and Phil Holland followed with similar flights and late in the afternoon Terry was able to also fly the Duo as Bob Akehurst flew the DG. 6 flights in one day was in sharp contrast to what had been possible in the previous weeks.
The weather was a repeat of day 1, so we were set for some longer flights. Sadly, as John P was landing the undercarriage collapsed on the tarmac runway and by the time they drifted to stop on the grass there was a hundred metres of gel coat and fibreglass left in their wake.
|No faullt of the crew as the lever was still down and locked|
Saturday, 19 March 2016
It has rained all day so no flying was possible today. After lunch Merv used the logger traces from our week's flying as the basis for a summary of what had been learned. Of particular interest were the traces showing how it was possible to cover large distances without turning along stage 4 even in relatively poor weather.
In the four days we were able to fly, there were 17 flights with a total of 31 hours 18 minutes airtime in the two gliders. It was mostly thermal lift with some wave and ridge mixed in. All in all an interesting and challenging week of flying which was enjoyed by everyone.
Bob & Merv
The DG with Jim and Merv were first to launch, reporting back that Stage 1 was working well. Graham and Bob launched next and both gliders climbed quickly to over well over 7,000'. With the high level cloud still affecting conditions to the north, both gliders headed south east past Oroel. The thermals and cloud base were significantly better than forecast. On their return, Graham and Bob gave in to the temptation to make a close inspection of Oroel. Several laps of the summit ridge provided a fitting conclusion to the flight.
|Duo Discus heading out towards Oroel.|
|Soaring with a Lammergeir (aka bone crushing vulture)|
Ridge soaring Stage 3 under the thickly overcast skies was interesting due to the lack of contrast, making it difficult to judge the distance above the snow covered slopes. Apparently the red tips on the DG help as Mike and Merv managed 4 passes in the murk.
Toya provided another excellent dinner of baked lamb and roasted potatoes followed by a group singalong accompanied by Ayala and Toya on guitar.
Bob and Merv.
Friday, 18 March 2016
Jim and Bob went first in the Duo followed immediately by Ayala and Merv in the DG. From the outset there were strong climbs over Stage 1 but the higher mountains were hidden by a combination of low cloud and extensive snow showers. With the high cloud still clearing away to the east, both gliders opted to go west with Ayala and Merv getting 50km away before looping south around the Yesa lake and were only prevented from getting to Riglos by a snow shower. Jim and Bob investigated the lake and then headed back east to Jaca. Cloud base got to nearly 8,000' in places and generally the conditions were much better than forecast.
|Ready to go|
|View left (Embalsa de Yesa)|
|View right (Cuculo)|
|Its either a big mountain very far away or a small one very close|
(Embalsa de Yesa from NW)
The second sorties followed a similar pattern going west first and then east. This time it was Mike and Bob in the Duo and Jon and Merv in the DG. The snow showers continued to press south from the high mountains to the south but the conditions along the edge of the main Jacatania valley remained good.
|Spot the Merv with a subtle hint|
Mike and Bob made a close inspection of Oroel and were surprised to find 3 climbers still at the top so late in the day. All in all it was an excellent day's flying with both gliders landing around 18:30.
|Approaching Oroel late in the day|
Everyone went into Jaca and had an excellent team meal at the Biarritz.
P.S. Although the wind was light and the sun eventually made a welcome appearance it definitely did not feel any warmer today, particularly in the gliders.
Bob and Merv
Wednesday, 16 March 2016
It was straight out to get the gliders out and go flying. No time for lingering in the clubhouse today.
John and Merv were the first to launch in the DG1000 followed by Mike and Bob in the Duo Discus. Both gliders took high tows to cloud base over stage 2 which took them directly into the wave. The gliders climbed slowly at first and with patience Mike and Bob climbed to 13,800' over the Hecho valley. John and Merv had an interesting time exploring the lower reaches of the wave.
|Mike enjoying the view from above the clouds for once|
|Duo Discus climbing well on its way to 13,800'|
|The view from above Stage 2. (and a very tricky "Spot the Merv" competition)|
|The view west from above the clouds.|
|View East over the Stage 1 fire break.|
Graham and Merv persisted and the conditions eventually cycled, but the wave was never as good as it had been earlier in the day. Graham and Merv achieved 6,500' during their 3 hour flight.
About 10 hours flown today in 4 sorties.
Hopefully it will be a little warmer tomorrow.
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
|Morag gets creative before briefing.|
It looked like it was going to take a while for the low level cloud to lift so Merv gave a great impromptu lecture on mountain flying which was a very productive use of the time before lunch.
|Merv and Ayala assessing the conditions to the north.|
After lunch everyone headed over to unpack the hanger. The weight of snow on the roof meant that the motorised doors needed human assistance to open far enough to get the gliders out. Then we had to manouvre the gliders through the curtain of water falling from the melting snow on the roof.
|Hanger with built in glider washing facilities.|
Everyone flew with the longest flight being just over an hour and a half. At 4,700' the cloudbase was low by Jaca standards but the views were spectacular with snow still covering most of the ground in the valley.
With the spare keys returned from Huesca and everyone back on the ground, the were gliders washed (courtesy of the hanger roof) and the hanger doors closed by 6pm.
Photo down the wing
How quickly the weather can change. When everyone arrived on Sunday it was a beautiful sunny day with barely a cloud in the sky and light winds. When we looked out the appartment window on Monday we found the roofs covered in snow. The 10:30 weather briefing confirmed that the day was going to be a write off as it was forecast to continue to snow all day.
The group made other plans with most heading for the supermarkets or shops in Jaca for retail therapy.
The highlight of the day was Morag catering for 14 in the instructor's apartment. Jim, Merv and Bob providing willing but limited assistance. On the menu was meatballs with spaghetti followed by carmelised oranges and greek yoghurt that looked remarkably like white emulsion.
Photos will follow if Bob can get to grips with the technology.