Diary 2017

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.

2018 <- | 2019

2019 Gliding Pictures

Sunday 5th May 2019
Very cold, Severe Spreradout, Local Soaring

I had booked SH4 on Friday as it was looking potentially nice. Yesterday was also tempting but the showery forecast and very strong winds put me off a bit. I also had a bad back which was also a factor. But I decided to go today and see how things went. I wasn't well enough to fly in April do I was glad just to get back into the air. Anything else was a bonus.

I arrived at 7:40AM. It was a frosty start with 3C on the car thermometer. Traffic was very quiet. Wave clouds could be seen from the motorway in an otherwise fairly clear sky.

We rigged and DI'ed the Discuses before breakfast after I drew the ballot for the ballotees. Rick had SH3 and another pilot had SH2. Meanwhile aloft a layer of cloud was arriving from the North and clouding over. The gliders were all ready by 8:45AM so I then went for my usual delicious cooked breakfast. Stories of yesterday with snow showers and perhaps not as good as expected maybe unless you could get to Wales. Some epic flights for those that got West though. The briefing was at 9:30AM and the room was packed to the rafters.

The wind was light unlike yesterday and still coming from the North. So runway 27 was being used. Only 10kts Northwesterly at height. Avoid Abingdon as an airshow was taking place. We were tasked to the South anyway where it was all quiet on the notam front and where the best weather is. The freezing level was below cloudbase as expected. Expect a lot of spreadout. 4-5k cloudbase. It looked as cold as -5C at cloudbase.

I was ready to tow out by 10AM. The cloud layer appeared to be clearing and the sun was coming through and cumulus popping. I managed to grab a buggy to tow two Discuses out. After a little while I joined the winch queue soon after 11AM. I added foot warmers and put extra layers on as it was pretty cold aloft. More sun was getting through to the ground and I hoped it would be soarable by the time I launched. There was a small delay as the grid started to launch but that was all good.

I winch launched at 11:45AM to 1100 feet. It wasn't high because there was a slight tail wind at launch. But it didn't matter as I released straight into a thermal which I could use as I was drifted away from the launch area before the next launch was ready to go. The thermal took me gently all the way to cloudbase at 4400 feet above Lasham, 5000 feet above sea level. It was indeed -5C as expected up here. A second thermal nearby took me to TMA at 4800 above Lasham / 5500 feet above sea level. So cloudbase was varying with the spreadout and top cover aloft and the variable heating it gave. Cloudbase stayed generally in this range for the whole flight. I didn't go too far from Lasham. Early on I explored South towards Petersfield but didn't go much past Fourmarks as a big dead hole was followed by total overcast downwind. After returning North and topping up nearer Lasham I explored between Basingstoke and between Fourmarks and Popham for a while before trying my luck further North and West. I eventually followed some streeting clouds as far as Newbury South, then after backtracking to Kingsclere headed out and turned Newbury Racecourse before heading back to Lasham via Overton. To the Noprthwest cloudbase was generally a 100 feet or so lower than at Lasham. I couldn't resist one more climb on the North side of Lasham to cloudbase at the TMA ceiling of 5500 feet above sea level before descending to land by the trailer at 3:07PM, 3 hours 22 minutes after launch.

On landing Rick and SH3 were already on the ground by the trailer. We wasted no time getting the gliders put away, which was completed by 4pm. I continued to extract a logger trace and put my gear, parachute and batteries away before walking to the launch point to check my log times.Then I promptly left at 4:35PM for a nice quiet drive back. (Thankfully the usual Sunday afternoon traffic was not present as tomorrow is a bank holiday. I wish home to Lasham and back was always as quiet as today.)

It may have been severe spreadout, freezing cold and local soaring for me but after the last month I was glad just to get back into the air. I hope it won't be quite so long until my next flight.

Sunday 24th March 2019
First Flights and Thermals of the Year

I hadn't flown for four months. But today was looking soarable once a cold front wiped away a week of murky warm sector air.

I arrived at 7:40AM. It was nice to come by car with a heater, music and no traffic. I would have needed all my thermal layers on the bike. It was a quiet start in the clubhouse. At 8AM I had the whole single seater fleet to myself and do initially picked Discus SH4 before having the usual nice brekkie. Local stubborn orographic cloud formed for a while before eventually clearing nicely to blue.

I couldn't find any help to rig SH4, Grob 102 SH7 was at the front of the hangar and I was only after practice and local soaring. So I switched to SH7. I DI'ed it in the hangar before 9AM and then helped get the gliders out after the briefing had finished and people came out. I got SH7 to the launchpoint by 9:40AM. I missed the cross country briefing but I heard 300km tasks were set to the Northwest. I saw someone else rigging SH4 but that was fine. A cross country grid formed but I was happy at the launch point as I wanted to take it easy today and just have gentle fun. Wisps of Cumulus were already popping at 10AM. It warmed up very quickly and I soon felt warm. Around 10:10AM I decided it was time to take my first practice launch and pulled into the winch queue.

I winch launched nice and smoothly at 10:21AM to 1350 feet. From 1300 feet nearby I found a weak thermal under a wisp of cloud. As I had launched on the 2nd cable I took the thermal. It slowly took me to 1400 feet while a Red Kite kept me company. Once the cables were retrieved to the launch point I moved away to the North to avoid delaying the next launch. I never really found much of use after this. There was some more weak lift but I decided it was time to land as this was a practice flight. I landed smoothly at 10:39AM and I was pretty pleased with that. I didn't feel rusty at all. I pulled the glider back to the winch queue.

My 2nd launch was at 10:54AM to 1400 feet. By now the thermals were getting stronger and more numerous. I got away and after several weaker climbs I found a good one to cloudbase at 3500 feet above Lasham (4100 feet QNH). I then explored to the Northwest upwind to bigger clouds. Beyond Basingstoke looked to be a blue hole which was slowly moving in. I stayed under the bigger clouds and went downwind as far as Alton. Eventually small cumulus peppered the blue hole and I went back upwind almost as far as Kingsclere. The thermals were cycling quickly so the best lift was not necessarily under the best looking cloud. Cloudbase rose steadily. At times I had more buzzard and kite encounters. My last climb near Alton with another glider and a paraglider was the best of the day, 3-4kts to 4500 feet. Up here the temperature was 0C. So my ski jacket had been a good idea. Then I pushed upwind and slowly descended to land back at the launchpoint at 2:10PM, 3 hours 16 minutes after launch.

Another pilot interested in flying the glider made himself known to me very quickly. I gladly handed the glider over to him and helped tow the glider back to the winch queue. Then I got a kind lift back to clubhouse where I ate my sarnies before departing at 2:50pm.

2018 <- | 2019