Welcome to the diary page. If you want to see what I have been up to lately with my gliding then this is the place to look at. Every time I go gliding I will add an entry to this page. Note that Lasham is about 600 feet above sea level, so for example 2000 feet QNH / ASL is 1400 feet above Lasham.
2016 <- | 2017 | -> 2018 | -> Current
2017 Gliding Pictures
|Tuesday 3rd October 2017
200km in October
After another annoyingly long gap today was looking like the best day of the week between unsettled windy autumnal spells. I couldn't book a glider as SH4 was at Aboyne. But I didn't expect it to be that busy in the ballot now it's October.
I arrived at 7:50AM after slicing through heavy traffic on the motorbike. I got SH3 in the ballot while another pilot took SH2. I was then keen to grab a nice hot tea as I was rather cold after an autumnal chilly start on the roads. We rigged together after breakfast, and DI was completed by briefing at 9:30AM. We decided we would tape up at the launch point afterwards as the grass by the trailers was soaking wet from a heavy dew.
It was looking like a 14C / 6C temperature / dew point split. A 3000-3500 foot cloudbase was expected. The Petersfield area was looking like the best area with small cumulus there, and damper to West. Top cover was expected to be building from the Northwest later on. It may be ok until 4PM. So the South coast may be best. Tasks were set to the Northwest first then to the Southeast. Hurstbourne Tarrant - Cocking for the short task and Burbridge - Steyning for the bigger task. There were no notams to worry about in the task area. A 2PM jet movement was expected but we should be long gone by then.
Martin the other pilot very kindly towed SH3 out to the launch point for me. Thanks! I was ready to fly by 10:30AM-11AM as cumulus popped. It was still looking quite windy aloft so I waited a bit longer for conditions to improve a bit. I finally put SH3 into the winch queue just after 11:30AM as it started to look good and people started to stay up. I was 6th in the winch queue and aiming to launch just after midday.
I winch launched at 12:02PM to 1200 feet. Just a little way in front of me two gliders were soaring so I promptly joined them and we climbed together at 3kts to a cloudbase of about 3300 feet above Lasham (3900 feet QNH). That was a pleasant start especially for October. Just 5 minutes after I launched I set off on task towards Hurstbourne Tarrant. All was going well with a long street to blast along until after Overton. Then upwind of there the clouds were smaller and thermals weaker with some blue gaps to jump too. Just a few kilometres short of Hurtsbourne Tarrant I was struggling, dropping down below 3000 feet QNH and struggling to climb. But eventually I scratched enough height to push into the 25kt headwind and turn HUR.
I decided that, looking further upwind (towards Burbage) that this was far enough and I turned back Southwards for the South Downs. This second leg was great fun. I soon got back to the better air and followed some good lines of lift downwind past the Lasham area. Indeed the area to the South and Southeast of Lasham was the best area. I fairly quickly got to and turned Cocking (COK) but decided to continue along the street with Steyning and Parham in mind. I decided to turn Amberley (AMB) in the end near Arundel, soaking in the gorgeous views of the sea in the process.
I then decided to head back upwind again. I pretty much went back the way I came, passing just West of Oakhanger and Alton. At one point I found one of my best thermals with a good 4kts of lift and couldn't resist carrying on up into the cloud for the practice. Cloudbase was about 4200 feet, and I topped out at 4600 feet (the clouds were shallow). I had targeted Whitchurch and indeed soon turned WH2. Conditions were still OK so I pushed on, following the clouds until I got close to Rivar Hill. However by this point the top cover was starting to thicken as forecast, and I was struggling to climb and push into wind. I once again got low and for a while thought I'd be landing out. However after retreating from just 2km away I managed to scrape some lift, enough to get around Newbury South (NES). Then I saw the old Lasham DG1000 4 (now privately owned) soaring nearby. I went and joined them and together we climbed high enough to be in range of Lasham. After climbing a bit higher to be safe I started my final glide. After a nice fast 120kt flyby I landed near the trailer at 3:57PM, 3h55m after launch.
Once on the ground the other Discus pilot, who was already down and starting to derig, and a couple of other people, came over to help pull me off the landing area. We then proceeded to derig both gliders and put all the gear away. This was completed by 4:40PM, after which I made my way to the clubhouse, chatting to people on the way. After collecting my motorbike gear from the office I ate my lunchtime sandwiches at 5PM, put my gear on and then departed at 5:25PM for a fun blast home through very heavy traffic, happy to have managed a fun 214km flight in October, which made me feel a bit better after a very poor year of soaring for me. Now to look forward to the 2018 season.
|Saturday 2nd September 2017
Return to Discot and Oxford
I had booked SH4 on Wednesday having seen that today looked the best in the forecast. I arrived by car by 7:45AM and grabbed batteries and parachute before having a nice brekkie at 8AM. (I was asked to draw the ballot for the ballotees while I was ordering breakfast.) We had rigged by 9AM and I went early to the 9:30AM briefing. I was feeling rather tired and drained this morning so I was taking it a bit slowly.
There was forecast to be almost no wind even at height. A 4000 foot cumulus cloudbase was expected with maybe 4/8s cloud amounts. It was expected to get a bit moister later on. Further North it was looking a bit damper so maybe more cumulus and some spreadout possible. But it was a good unstable airmass. High cloud was incoming into the west. It looked a bit drier in the middle of the country with 5500 feet around duxford and 6000 feet beyond in East Anglia. Perhaps a 12PM start was possible. Bournemouth, Sywell and Conington were places to avoid today. Tasks were set to the North and into East Anglia, and also to the West. I decided I would try for Didcot and then maybe head Westwards and see where I go without too much pressure.
Getting to the launch point today turned out to be a major faff that took over an hour. It took a while to find an idle buggy left near the hangar. I teamed up with the pilot of SH2. We got his glider out. But then as we were about to go back to get SH4 the buggy got taken off us by the launch point controller as it was the only buggy at the launch point. Doh! Eventually I found another buggy and between us we towed out SH4 and the Imperial College glider 496. Phew! I then wasted no time getting the glider into line as the grid was already going and I was 6th in line at 11:30AM. I had the best part of half an hour to get things ready for flight.
With regular winch slots during the grid launch it wasn't much slower than normal. Soon enough I was at the front. After a long hot wait on the cable I got the go and launched at 11:58AM. I only got 1000 feet on the launch (the SH2 pilot I later spoke to and he said the same for him so that was the way it was in the light wind) but I was 2nd cable and there was weak lift close to the winch so I circled around in the lift slowly gaining a couple hundred feet. By then a larger cloud was close by to the North with gliders circling. I went there and soon got to cloudbase at about 2700 feet above the airfield, or 3300 feet above sea level. After sampling a few more clouds I set off at 12:10PM and tiptoed my way Northwards. Despite the low cloudbase I made slow but steady progress in the easy conditions. By Newbury I was getting above 3600 feet above sea level. I carried on and made it to Didcot Power Station, the first time I've been there in atleast 2 years. Then I struggled to get away. I was down to 2600 feet at one point struggling in weak lift. But after an age I managed to find enough lift to climb away and get to better clouds the other side of Harwell. I then pointed the glider towards Melksham and had a straight forward run Westwards. Climbs were good and gaps not too big and I made fairly fast progress. I carried on as far as Trowbridge. Just past there I was thinking of going round the back of Salisbury Plain and turning Wincanton but decided not to as it looked rather badly spreadout over there. I decided to return past Trowbridge and head towards Chievely along some decent streets. That was a good idea as I was able to go for miles without turning at times. Once past Marlborough I could see that towards Oxford it looked much nicer now than earlier with any spreadout gone and cloudbase at a decent height. So I diverted Northeastwards past Abingdon. I had targeted Bicester but just past Oxford East there was a huge gap to Bicester. It was 3PM and the thermals suddenly seemed to get weaker and hard to find. I was struggling to climb and getting down towards 2600 feet again so back near OXF I climbed back out eventually and decided now was the time to head home. I took a brief cloud climb Northeast of Didcot for fun. I then had a straight forward glide home. I got up onto final glide near Newbury and returned to land by the trailer at 4:08PM, 4 hours 10 minutes after launch. The trace shows an official start time of 12:02, and a task time of 4 hours 4 minutes. That includes 8 minutes of local soaring. 67kph wasn't very fast but not bad given the slow first leg and the two sticky patches.
The place was deserted after landing. The Grob trailer was being prepared to retrieve SH8 from a field between Basingstoke and Newbury and was blocking my way to the trailer. I downloaded my trace while I waited. Then they moved off and I parked up, cleaned the glider, gathered my stuff and put the batteries and parachutes away and stuff in the car. By now SH2 had landed so we proceeded to put the toys away. SH3 also returned. By about 5:30PM everything was away and I had a much needed cup of tea before departing at 5:45PM to join an unexpectedly horrendous M25 to get home.
|Tuesday 1st August 2017
Surfing a Long Shower Street
It was the summer holidays (yay!) so just light traffic which was handy as I had come by car. The M3 speed limit was back to 70mph again too which was lovely after years of roadworks and 50mph average speed limits. I arrived at 7:35AM and after a short rest got SH4 in the ballot (I was unable to book it as another Discus had been booked and only one is allowed to be booked at a time). Together with the pilot of the booked glider we rigged before breakfast, and were ready by 9AM. Then I had a nice breakfast before the 9:30AM briefing. Meanwhile I decided I would stay in the bunk house tonight and collected the key for room J. I was due to drive to Hove tomorrow so rather than go home and then back out along the M25 I would aim to go cross country direct from Lasham to Hove instead.
In the brieing it became apparent that there were troughs to west, one close by. The wind was 10kts on ground, 20kts+ aloft from the Southwest.
We were maybe looking at a 3500-4000ft cloudbase but destabilising later perhaps. It was looking like drier air than in yesterday's forecast but moister to the North and West with showers and spreadout. The Southeast will be sea air so not much cross country prospect. I was targeting local soaring anyway as I already knew this from the forecast from yesterday. Some small tasks were set to the West and North. There were no notams to worry about. The launch point had been set up on Medium cross runway 23 into wind which meant a nice short tow out. We used a Lasham pickup truck to get both Discuses towed out quickly and ready for an earlyish start. In the end both Discuses were in line by around 11AM. There was a showery street SW-NE just NW of the airfield which I think was the closest trough, and it was getting closer. With good cumulus approaching Lasham it looked like the best time to launch before the day got wiped out locally.
I winch launched at 11:14AM to about 1400 feet and had no problems getting away to about 3000 feet above Lasham. I soon found my way to the edge of the trough line with frills of lower cloud below the main cloudbase, perhaps down to 2500 feet, and showers forming under the darker areas. I had fun going up and down the street between Odiham and the Southampton airspace and raced up and down several times, sometimes getting wet wings as I climbed in 6-8kts lift on the edges of showers. I also explored further Southwest at times but the smaller clouds were much poorer for soaring so for the most part I opted to stick to having fun on the edge of the trough line. However the trough was shifting Eastwards slowly. I could see for much of the flight it was dark and damp looking at Lasham. Beyond to the North and Northwest cloudbase was much lower and it was many miles to the nearest decent looking cloud. To the South conditions were poorer as the air had not had much land track, so too close to the upwind coast. Between the trough line and the sea air I was getting increasingly hemmed in as trough edged over Lasham. Cloudbase remained at 3000-3500 feet above Lasham stepping down to 2500 on edge of showers. In the end I had nowhere to go and cloudbase was dropping with a pulse of heavier rain on its way to Lasham. From near Alton I flew back to Lasham under light to moderate rain and landed with wet wings at 2:19PM, 3 hours 5 minutes after launch.
After parking up I grabbed my rain coat and sarnies and ran back to the clubhouse to eat while the heavy rain passed through. It had cleared by 3PM so at that point I headed back out to put the glider away. I used the squeegee from the car to dry the glider and got it ready to put away. The place was deserted so it took me a while to find help. However at 4PM I got the help I needed and the glider was away by 4:15PM. Then I got cosy in the clubhouse with tea, cake and my laptop. I looked at my photos and had fish and chips at 6:30PM. I also spoke to Paul Haliday who was after more photos for the big screen in the clubhouse. So I processed a few for him from today and sent them to him. Exhausted, I retired at 9PM to the bunk house and had a good night's sleep before being up and ready by the time the restaurant opened for breakfast at 8AM the next day. I then departed at around 8:30AM for a lovely drive along the country roads to Hove via Petersfield and the A23 as the weather deteriorated behind me. (Indeed it turned into a very wet day but that didn't matter so much on the ground.)
|Friday 7th July 2017
Short Cross Country and Soaring a Stubble Fire
After a long break I was looking to fly again. On Tuesday this day had looked consistently the best day of the week so I booked SH4. I arrived at 7:45AM on the motorbike. Traffic was lighter than expected. It was a cool start but already hotting up again (it was 30C yesterday). Another pilot, Toby, helped me rig and was also looking to learn the ropes and convert to the Discus. So I gave him a lesson in rigging. The glider was ready by the cross country briefing at 9:30AM. It was looking good for a while then spreading out and top cover from mid afternoon. So it looked like a short flying window. There were no notams to worry about in the task area. A 192km and a 303km task were set to the Northwest and dogleg to the North. I planned the 192km task to Wroughton, Didcot and Burbage although I would be happy with any soaring today.
After the briefing Toby used his car and tow rope and we got SH8 and SH4 out to the launch point by 11AM. I then drunk plenty of water and ate lunch while waiting for the thermals. I could feel thermal gusts blowing but it was pretty blue. Puffs of cumulus could be seen in the distance to the West and North but it stayed blue around Lasham. Around 11:30AM the gusts were getting stronger and a scramble started for the queues. I joined at 7th in the winch queue which suited me, gambling that it would be good as I launched. Meanwhile I had agreed to bring the glider back to the launch point instead of the trailer afterwards so that Toby could convert to the Discus.
The gamble appeared spot on. I winch launched at 12:04PM to 1500 feet above Lasham. Close to the winch launch I found a blue thermal that took me to over 3500 feet above sea level. I then played around locally for a while. I could see cumulus in the distance on track towards Wroughton. So I set off at 12:22PM and tip toed my way slowly Northwestwards hoping to get to better air. I headed towards Basingstoke and beyond to Newbury taking any reasonable lift I could find. Thermals soon took me to over 4000 feet above sea level. Just past Newbury I reached the first cumulus wisps. Now I could see where the thermals were it was much easier. I carried on towards Wroughton. However top cover was increasing and just 5km from Wroughton it was looking dicey. I backtracked to a decent looking cloud. Then I noticed more sun reaching the ground at Wroughton and better clouds so I finally went for it and turned WRO without problem. I was then keen to get out of there as to the Northwest thick top cover was threatening to push in. The next turnpoint at Didcot looked poor with a massive gap and thick top cover so I headed Eastwards along a line of cumulus back towards the Newbury area. Conditions were still OK around Chievely but to the North it looked horrible. Soon enough the top cover was indeed coming in and the thermals cycled down a bit. I was able to scratch my way up to around 4500 feet and a marginal final glide back to Lasham. So I set off slowly homewards after turning CHV. On the way back conditions improved a bit and I was able to get well above glide. To the South just off track there was a large stubble fire that looked interesting. I now had enough height to go and explore. I approached from the North and entered the closest smoke tower to the fire to find a very rough and fun 4kt climb to over 4500 feet. I then moved West into clear air between the smoke and the burning field as the fire seemed to die out. There was still 2-3kts of lift to be found. Meanwhile cumulus was popping locally to Lasham. So after flying through the smoke again from the North towards Lasham I played in local thermals for a while, topping out at 5100 feet (4500 feet above Lasham) before descending to land at the launch point at 3:36PM, 3 hours 32 minutes after launch.
After about 30 minutes Toby appeared and on Chief Flying Instructor Colin's instruction I gave him a briefing on the glider with some helpful pointers from Colin mid briefing. Then I left Toby to it as I was I was very tired and keen to get home. I collected my motorbike gear from the office and after an ice cream break I set off around 4:45PM. Traffic was very heavy on the M25 and reminded me why I prefer the motorbike on a weekday!
|Wednesday 24th May 2017
Local Soaring and Sea Breeze Fun
I had booked glider SH4 2 days ago. It was hotting up with high pressure after bad weather but today was looking like the best day of the week so I decided to take advantage of that.
I arrived just after 8AM on the motorbike after leaving late at 6:45AM and filtering through the rush hour jams. I had had breakfast, rigged and was ready by briefing at 9:30AM. I had a headache but some pills helped, albeit I was feeling tired. It was looking like the best area was South of the M4 to the West. So tasks were set accordingly in that direction. After the briefing I found a buggy and a volunteer to help me tow the glider out. I was parked up on runway 09 by 10:30AM as cumulus slowly started to pop. I needed to sit down for a while as I was feeling very tired. I wasn't planning to push too hard today. At 11AM I was thinking about getting into the winch queue but just ahead of me was a mad scramble with about 10 gliders joining the queue in front of me. So I ended up 12th in queue. I was hoping to launch at midday now. However the sky didn't look convincing enough before that and others were landing back so I think the delay was a fortuitous one. To the South top cover seemed to suggest spreadout. While in other areas it was blue or small clouds.
I launched at 11:55AM to 1300 feet and moved forward to a thermal nearby that was marked by another glider. It took a while to get away as thermals were fairly weak and narrow and cycling quickly with only small clouds aloft. I eventually got up to a 2800 foot cloudbase (3500 feet above sea level). To the South of the airfield were some nice clouds where I stayed. To the North and Northwest was a big blue hole. It looked nice to the West from the ground but as I explored that way it was quite weak with decent clouds into the Southampton airspace and out of reach. I also heard on the radio from people in the Andover area reporting poor conditions further West. Meanwhile the top cover to the South had vanished and it looked good. So I eventually went that way under the bigger clouds. Cloudbase was only 3000 feet above Lasham still but it was fairly easy going. Soon I arrived at and played with a sea breeze front just North of Petersfield. It was very pretty and great fun! When I headed back inland again I found that cloudbase had jumped up to 4000 feet above Lasham just inland from the sea breeze. It was a bit lower near Lasham but there were big clouds with nice thermals now, some quite strong, up to 6 knots. After 3 hours I'd had enough though and after burning away my height Northeast of the airfield I landed back near the trailer without any issues at 3:13PM, 3 hours 18 minutes after launch.
There were a lot of bugs on the glider, but it was all nice and shiny again after a good clean. I put everything else away and so when a helpful man walked past I was able to get help derigging. The glider was away by 4PM. I rode off at 4:30PM. It was a hot ride home in the heat!
|Saturday 8th April 2017
More Red Kites and Blue Soaring
I had booked SH4 for today ages ago as I was attending a committee meeting at 4PM anyway and would fly beforehand if the weather was good enough. Fortunately it was looking soarable so after a frosty start at 3C I had a nice drive to Lasham, passing through a fog bank on the M40. After arriving at 7:45AM and having a nice breakfast I found help to rig SH4 at 8:30AM. I also helped get the Grob102 SH9 out of the hangar too. Then it was off to the 9:30AM briefing. It was looking warm and stable with a light variable Southerly flow for most of day. The fog had burnt off and it was looking like 19C / 6C temp / dew point. But there was a strong inversion at 2500 feet at best, 3000 feet further north so totally blue and a slow start with local soaring only. If there was too much wind then we probably wouldn't get above 2000 feet. I had to land early anyway so local soaring and blue practice suited me today.There were no notams to worry about.
I used the Lasham pickup truck to tow the glider out at 10AM when it was offered to me. I was tempted to try putting the GoPro on the end of the wing but a couple of people suggested wingtape would not be good enough. So I bottled out of that idea and waited for the thermals to get going. Meanwhile at 11:30AM we changed ends from runway 09 to runway 27.
In the end I winch launched at 12:20PM to 1200 feet and it was indeed local blue soaring in weak thermals as described in the briefing. I stayed fairly close to Lasham and was thrilled to soar with Red Kites during this flight. It certainly made an otherwise relatively boring flight much more exciting. I eventually landed at 2:59PM after 2 hours 39 minutes in the air as I needed to be ready for the 4PM meeting. 3PM was my target down time so I pretty much nailed that. Meanwhile a nice Russian guy landed in anothert Discus SH2 so we helped each other to derig by 3:30PM. That gave me enough time for tea and cake at 3:45PM before the 4PM meeting. The meeting was short and sweet in the end and I headed home at 5:20PM. It was nice to be involved at the committee level again and I look forward to future meetings.
|Sunday 2nd April 2017
Soaring with Red Kites and First Cross Country of the Year
It was good to be back after 3 months out due to poor weather and illness on the rare occasion when it was nice. There was a good long range forecast of gentle conditions and soaring and Renée was busy so I booked Discus SH4 midweek. I was expecting a slow start so that was good for having a practice launch or two.
I arrived at 7:45AM. There was a bit of top cover and it was rather soggy after heavy showers yesterday but it was seemingly clearing up. I had a nice breakfast before rigging SH4 with other pilots. They were ready by the 9:30AM briefing. In the briefing it had become clear that an upper cold front had been added to today's synoptic chart in the last day or two so it might be showery towards East Anglia. A light 5-8kts Northwesterly wind was expected. We were expecting a 12-12:30PM start and a maximum temperature of 16C. Maybe late afternoon a higher cloudbase was possible. The 1PM soundings suggested cloudbase would be 3500 feet above sea level, going to 4500 feet later in the day. It looks drier to west but to the North-Northeast towards the front there was a spreadout risk. Around Lasham just 2-3/8 cloud amounts, and thermals lasting until 5-6pm. There were no local notams to worry about. Tasks were set to the West and Northwest mainly.
After the briefing I was ready to tow out. There was nobody nearby or in the maintenance hangar. I was hoping to borrow one of the pick up trucks. However the fire truck needed taking out to the launch point and a suggestion was made to use that to tow out the glider. That was a stroke of genius and I soon had the glider at the launch point. After using a buggy to return the tow out gear to the trailer I was ready for a practice flight.
At 10:39AM I took a fast launch to 1200 feet. I quickly found some weak thermals but struggled to gain any height. However it was very pleasant after a long gap. I felt fine and had a good launch and landing. Most of the time was spent at 1100 feet or just below but eventually in a better thermal I got back to my launch height and then decided to come into land after 39 minutes. The highlight was soaring with the red kites and then buzzards over Lasham village.
After landing I parked up for a while to have a loo break before marking up my map and setting up the ClearNav for a possible cross country. The glider was in the winch queue again soon after midday as the grid set off. I ate my lunch as I waited.
The second winch launch at 12:47PM took me to 1150 feet above the airfield. It was a bit better aloft now but still cloudbase remained low at no more than the forecast 3500 feet above sea level. I stuck with local soaring, exploring out towards Popham and then back towards Kingsclere and then Newbury South. At 2:30PM I felt very tired for a little while but water and nibbles fixed that. By 3PM cloudbase was starting to rise and the shallow wispy clouds had become better formed and more numerous clouds with easier better thermals underneath. I was now easily getting up above 3500 feet so I decided to embark on the shortest cross country flight task that was set in the briefing. I flew over to Ashbury (ASB) and then to Andover Southwest (AND) without problem, albeit staying high and not rushing. To the South cloudbase had risen markedly and my last climb took me to 4500 feet near Andover (3900 feet above Lasham) before I final glid my way back to Lasham for a nice competition style finish to land by the trailer at 4:19PM, 3 hours 32 minutes after launch. LAS-ASB-AND-LAS was 132km. It was nice to be back!
After finding help, the glider was put away by 5PM. I left half an hour later relieved to be current and having had the cobwebs blown away.
|Thursday 5th January 2017
It was a clear frosty start. The rush hour was a little quieter than normal but I arrived just after 8AM to a pretty empty clubhouse. The temperature was as low as -5C between Blounce and Golden Pot. -4C at Lasham was relatively balmy! So I was glad to have been warm and cosy in the car. After a nice breakfast and tea we went to get the gliders out at 8:45AM. I grabbed SH8 from the front of the hanger. A layer of ice formed on the wings as soon as it came outside. After the DI I sorted out my annual membership renewal before returning and DI'ing K13 C too. By 9:45AM SH8 was out at the launch point. I got the worst of the ice off the wings with a stringy sponge and had the glider into the winch queue soon after 10AM. The two gliders in front were sitting unused so the launch point controller suggested I moved SH8 round to the front. I duly did so and took the first winch launch of the day.
My first launch at 10:18AM was nice and smooth and took me to 1500 feet - not bad for the conditions with a light northeasterly wind. The second launch at 10:46AM seemed fine until near the top when I thought I had back released and got to 1300 feet. Later, talking to the winch driver, it turned out that the weak link did break which was curious as everything seemed normal. So we put it down to one of those things. The last few days had seen challenging launch conditions and a lot of other breaks so perhaps the link was weakened by the recent conditions. Both launches were followed by an uneventful circuit and landing on the North side of runway 09 right by the launch point. The second flight was on the last pair of cables before a jet movement so I landed near the peri track on the North side next to a parked up SH9 to stay away from the runway. 5 and 6 minutes were the flight times.
Just after 11AM a jet started to move and after a short while was roaring away on runway 09. Then once clear the race to repopulate the runway began. As SH8 was towed back the winch queue was relatively long while the aerotow queue was just one glider that launched before I got there. So I decided to have a high aerotow.
At 11:37AM I launched behind the cub for a 4000 foot high aerotow. I took my camera and GoPro with me this time. There appeared to be inversions at 700-800 feet and around 3000 feet. The chances of soaring was nil I reckoned. (Apparently there was soaring yesterday but today was much more stable.) After an uneventful tow between Lasham and Basingstoke I released and gently glid my way back down enjoying the hazy views from the sun glinting off the sea to the South to a fumulus plume over Didcot Power Station to the North. It was very smooth and stable up there. Soon I was down to 1500 feet near Basingstoke and time to get back. At the high key point I was just below SH9 and we joined the circuit together, SH9 close behind me. I landed as close to the runway as I could to give him space but another glider in the landing area meant he was happier overflying and landing long. No problem though with a quick retrieve. I landed at 12:05PM, 28 minutes after launch.
The other pilot interested in flying had grabbed SH9 so without another pilot to fly I put SH8 into the winch queue for a hangar flight. I put my bags behind the head cushion to take them with me. But at 3rd in the queue someone showed an interest in flying SH8 so I gladly handed the glider over. I took my stuff out and happily walked back to the clubhouse for lunch at 12:40PM. I left for home at 1:20PM. Busy traffic meant I was home for tea at 3PM. Mission accomplished today feeling good and current, albeit tired and happy to finish early.
2016 <- | 2017 | -> 2018 | -> Current