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A Busy Weekend

Which started on Friday with a very bright and breezy day with fantastic views in the clear air. Club gliders reported 4 knot climbs to 4000' with Tony Parker venturing a little further west contacting wave to 6000'. The afternoon was busy with club instruction and 6 trial lessons brought along by Aaron, all had really good flights and left with big smiles on their faces.

On Saturday the first sign of activity was the sound of the bus brakes around 7:30, which had to be Tim! I looked out of my caravan to see a layer of frost on my car and a hazy outline of the tower through the very thick mist. Cups of tea were in order until the mist started to clear with the first launch at 10:08. A busy day with 49 launches in total despite a break from 12:00 to allow a Notam'd flight out of Kemble, a call to Brize and Kemble got us back in operation a little earlier than the hour in the Notam. A few private owners as well as the USK pilots were enticed out and there was some soaring available in the afternoon to between 2500- 3000'. We finished as the sun went down and by then it was getting rather cold.

Another busy day on Sunday, but this time it was bright from the start but rather than the expected SE wind, it was a brisk easterly so the operation was set up on 09, not long after the wind did change to a more southerly direction so the operation moved to 21. Again the Usk pilots joined us for the day and a winch problem meant an aerotow operation only , this was rather a surprise to Jonathan Apperley expecting to do just a couple of tows and a big thanks to Jonathan for coping with the conditions and enabling everyone to fly. The chairman joined us in the afternoon and took a high aerotow in the K23, the treasurer should be pleased with the last 3 days :-)

30/1/22 - Thermals in January!

And I am not referring to underwear.
The hangar doors were open shortly after sunrise at 7.54 and it turned out to be a beautiful morning. Plenty of blue sky, sunshine , and yes thermals with wispy cumulus (remember them?) to 2,000. The conditions even tempted some private owners to rig, with the SHK, Ventus RB and Cirrus 188 all joining in the action. Ed Foggin and Andrew Turk were kept busy instructing in the two-seaters and we are grateful to Andy Smith for winching and Jonathan Apperley for piloting the tug.

Sunday 23rd January - a bitter winter's day

In spite of the uniformly dull grey overcast and 3 deg temperature in a chilling breeze, enthusiasm seemed unbounded. Paul Graham and Martin Hayward got the winch out and cables DI'd good and early, enabling quite a few members to complete their winter refreshers. Amazingly, Adrian Irwin in the K23 found a thermal under the complete 1000 foot cloud cover without even a glimmer of sunshine which gave him an intermittent 1/2 to 1 kt, keeping him airborne well beyond the normal circuit duration.

Thursday 20th Jan - a beautiful winter's day

Aerotow to 5000 ft in HZR - and this was the view!

Sunday 16th January

A misty start to the day compounded by misted canopies, the sun poked its head out of the clouds around 10:30 and after a bit of manoeuvring to ensure the sun reached all parts the canopies flying commenced at just before 11 am. Despite reservations regarding the mist returning ( which it did not) flying continued, last launch was at 16:10 and everything away by 17:00.

New years day

After a band of rain passed over the airfield we were left in a moist airstream but no further precipitation. Wind 15 to 25 knots straight down runway 21 and surprisingly smooth. Fran took the prestigeous place of being the first launch of 2022 at Aston Down, flying the K23. Cloudbase was only 900 feet to start with, but by the mid afternoon we were launching to full height. In all 25 flights were done including a couple of Grob take-offs. An enjoyable first day of the year and great to be out in the fresh air.

Sunday 5th December

A hardy bunch arrived and got the gliders out. Unfortunately the North West wind was dead between the two runways and above the crosswind limit on both. After waiting until lunchtime with no improvement looking likely, the hardy bunch put the gliders away again. In the meantime they had made themselves useful by rigging the K18 and derigging a K21 for a little attention in the workshop.

Sunday 28th November

A much calmer day after storm Arwen passed by. Wind only about 10 knots from NW but enough to need laying off to the left on launches. Colder than of late so everyone was wrapped up warm. We got off to a slow start due to a water leak on the winch but once up and running had an enthusiastic cohort of UWE students and club members to fly. One notable flight was the K23 which took an aerotow to 3000’ to do some aerobatics but still managed an extended flight after finding some “good air” on the way down.

Once the afternoon arrived, so did more cloud cover and by 2:30 we had 8/8ths which quite suddenly came down to less than 1000 feet. The last aerotow was aborted at 700 and the K13 did a land ahead “launch failure” (actually they were chopped for not drift correcting). Last 2 launches of the day were into light drizzle to just 900 feet for hangar landings. Your scribe drove home through a mini blizzard at the Air Balloon!

Sunday 21st November - An excellent training day

A good turnout enabled much basic training, check flights for members who had joined from other clubs, plus annual and 5-year checks for several instructors by the CFI. The moderate N wind was nearly straight down the run. Although the winch run was shortened before we started, a gradual increase in wind speed during the day was enabling launches in the DG500 nearly to 2000 ft at the end. Many thanks to all who helped, especially Doug Gardner who responded to my appeal to make up for an instructor shortfall.
In view of the recent scare, everybody wore masks when flying dual. The start was delayed by the bus refusing to start, eventually solved with a piece of wire by that master of all trades - our CFI. The day came to a slightly premature end when the cable retrieve truck decided it had done enough for one day, refused to continue its journey back to the winch and couldn't be restarted.
The Eurofox agent demonstrated his latest 140 HP offering, causing amazement among the heavy brigade by towing their two-seaters to altitude in record time. Methinks It would leave very little time on tow for beginners to learn much, however.

Sunday the 14th - not quite such a good day.

The winch was out early thanks to Martin and Graham and contrary to the forecast the sky was clear and bright. We were all ready for the mile high aerotow but as we got the kit out, the sky clouded over from the east. The first winch launch was to 1500' above the low wisps, the second to 900', followed by a couple of low launches to get the gliders back to the hangar and that unfortunately was it for the day.

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