Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Jaca 2019 Week 1 Day 3

The weather continues to be very obliging with the cold front passing through overnight. As I started to walk up to the airfield it was quickly apparent that it was going to be a very different sort of gliding day with a strong northerly wind and showers already visible in the west. All the warm clothing that we had been shedding on the previous two days and more was going to be required today.

The weather briefing confirmed our suspicions that it could be a very good wave day though there was always the risk of the showers to the north and west sweeping through at any time. On seeing the conditions at the airfield Ray thought we were joking when he was told we were planning to fly.

Google's attempt at a panorama view of the airfield
(Note the showers in the distance on the left)
To keep things interesting the instructors swapped gliders so it was Paul and Merv off first in the K21 followed quickly by Ray and Bob in the Duo Discus. There were plenty of strong and turbulent rotor thermals but the wave eluded both gliders. There was no clear pattern to the wave and the sky was continually changing with very variable amounts of cloud.

Ray experiences a rotor thermal and actually enjoys it...
The K21 did best, getting to over 7000' in front of Cuculo with the Duo oscillating up and down over stage 1 mostly between 5 and 6 thousand feet. Unexpectedly both pilots declared that they enjoyed the experience, despite not getting into the wave proper.

After a quick turnaround the gliders were ready to go again though the tug pilot didn't seem so keen as it was now a 25kt crosswind from the North West, making it marginal for the tug.

Charlie and Bob went first in the Duo followed by Kevin and Merv in the K21. By this time the sky had opened out over the main valley and it was possible to climb up to cloud base just west of the airfield. However it still took over an hour for the Duo to finally get into the wave and climb clear of the clouds. A case of perseverance and the luck to be in the right place at the right time.

Charlie working hard to get into the wave 
With no lenticulars marking the extent of the wave it took a while to find the strongest lift which peaked at over 7kts with the wind in excess of 45kts at 16,000'.

Charlie finally connects with some of the strong stuff
We finally got to use the oxygen which we have been preparing every day in expectation of wave.

Face mask and shades - essential items for wave. 

The view east from 16,000'
We flew about 10 hours in total today with the cold and personal comfort bringing us back rather than the conditions which were still going strong when the K21 landed at 18:30.

Kevin, Ray and Charlie were the hosts for this evenings meal. They upped the ante by providing 3 excellent courses and port to go with the cheese. Whoever cooks next will have a hard act to follow, fortunately the plan is to eat out in Jaca tomorrow.

Lovely meal at the troublesome next door neighbours flat
The weather for tomorrow is still looking good but we are hoping for a little less wind.


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