Summer already

Really, you would think that this being Scotland, a little bit of winter would be mildly in order, but no, none of it. The great wise Sky God, in his wisdom, appears to have decreed that summer shall, at least for this season, commence in the month of January, with February forming the start of truly high summer. At least, if yesterdays weather was anything to go by. Clear skies till latish afternoon with a little cumulous forming up towards dusk, perhaps just for a little variation.

I hear voices asking if it was actually flyable. The answer may depend on whether you tried to fly at Bishop, or were content to soar Forret Hill and Walton. Certainly these two latter provided a thoroughly worthwhile days entertainment with enough yahoo factor to keep grins firmly in place on quite a few faces. Forret was great early in the day. With conditions perfect for ridge soaring with the addition of a little bit of thermal, we might not have been in too much danger of exceeding the 1000ft QFE limit agreed with Leuchars zone on the radio, but nevertheless it would have been a bit churlish to complain about a plethora of cycles and lifty areas which kept students and more experienced members alike both airborne, and having to think about next moves. With up to five gliders in the air at one time, and two first time pilots taking turns at p2 on the tandem(dual control), there was still plenty of safety margin, even if it took a little coordination to play the big version of musical chairs.

When the wind direction shifted, it was off to Walton, where the work was a bit harder, but new pilot Ian Hunter thoroughly enjoyed his first solo flights there, after getting perhaps 40 minutes soaring time on the tandem. Couldn’t stop him, he kept running back up the hill, and taking off again. Except when the retreive could get down quickly enough to chuck him forcibly in the back and carry him up. Lordy, aint life hard.

Good to meet Johnny Blunder after a few emails, and his mate Jim, who’s keen to fly as well. Still keen I should say, as Murray took him upstairs to fly the tandem under supervision. John has had a turn tandeming already, and was soloing his x-act in the gentle afternoon /early evening lift.

An excellent day. Jim and John came over from Stirling, Murray from “The Toon”, Duncan from the Granite City, Ian from the sticks (Alyth), Trians from Greece (oh alright, Dundee)and Ian Hunter and Mesen from Carnoustie by the sea. Marvellous. It all had to end sometime, and that was half an hour after sunset. Honest.

 

And so today came round for Murray, Alan Coffin and me. We went to Forret first, then on to Lindifferon, and finally Little Ballo.  Conditions were as they say, light and variable. In fact at Forret, I noticed at least one 180 degree change in a matter of seconds, but it was so light it didn’t really make much odds. Light wind takeoffs are NOT my forte, so I had to suffer the indignity of watching Alan take off TWICE, as I struggled to get my glider off the ground. I am told I may blame my tools to some extent, flying the Xenon, but I scorn such cottton wool, preferring to name myself duffer of the day instead. Still, I did have some success between driving retrieves, taking the dog on walks now and again, and in the end I was getting into the air, having got(I am again informed) my shit together. Hoorrah for me, I’m a horses arse. 

Aside from the serious business of my deflated ego, Alan Coffin did some impressive stuff, not only showing me how to perform nil wind reverse takeoffs, but demonstrating for the first time, his abilities regarding cliff launches. With the wind almost strong enough to soar in, he proved several times he can taxi through a changing airflow, reliably control the glider, take off safely, carve, I say carve a turn, and land into wind on a tiptoe. Cool!Great stuff

One Response to “Summer already”

  1. Murray Hay says:

    Great to have yet another fantastic weekend with more new pilots coming out to start their training as well as existing members enjoying the sky!

    Re-training students as usual showing steady progress in current and new flying skills, especialy in the important time of light and variable take off conditions… not a “commited” (apt term!) launch to be seen rather (in general 😉 a LOT of controled and measured XBRL launches enabling the pilots to leave the ground with the wing fully flying 🙂

    Once again it is great to see pilots coming from all across Scotland.

    MH

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