Quite a bit of cloud on Saturday 31 October with weak wave. The best being R1 getting to about 8000'.
On Sunday 1 November there was a clear blue sky day but there was unmarked wave around and if you could find it, climbs were good, though there was vicious turbulence below 2000' during the climb out and again in the circuit on return. Crystal clear air meant some fantastic views.
We should have been passing round the drams today as it was probably the best day of the year. 14 launches with nearly everyone having a long
and high wave flight. Craig Allan managed to bag his Silver and his Gold heights. The Taits in 115 went to Aboyne and back. Billy Fisher topped out
the day at 17,000' and reckoned that he could see the whole East coast from up there all the way down to Fife. Tony Mountain took R1 up to 12,000'. It
was certainly a very bright day and the lenticular clouds were neatly stacked and clearly visible across the Moray Firth all the way up to Thurso.
Andy Anderson was seen cleaning the heather and pine cone marks off the bottom of 770 after he scraped back from Ben Rinnes via Rothes, it may have
been marks from something else as he was mightly relieved to make it back. Both students managed flights to 5000' and found out what gliding is really
all about. Colin Conti had a check flight and handled it all well. All in all though a fantastic day.
After working hard at his flying all week, Sławek’s efforts were rewarded when Stuart sent him solo this afternoon. He flew an exemplary circuit and a perfect landing. Well done, Sławek! May the hours be many and the landings few!
The drawback with high pressure and gorgeous sunny weather is that it tends not to result in good lift! Still, we fared much better than our friends in the south, who have, we gather, been treated to a dismal wet week while we have been basking in warm sunshine. AGV tells me that the Treasurer will be happy because we did quite a lot of aerotowing compared with what we were able to do in the 'summer' :)
Despite the flat conditions most folk enjoyed their sledge rides, and a few lucky (or skilful) pilots managed not only to find lift, but even to stay in it for a while before they got fed up with scratching.
It was good to welcome returning visitors ATV and WA back from the south for the week and possibly more. Here's to the next time - and better soaring conditions!
John's latest video compilation for the cub, which will get a more local public airing when we turn up at Elgin High School later in the week for their Freshers' Fayre.
The Easterton clubs were well represented at the UK Mountain Soaring Championship at Aboyne last week. Robert was in 115, Phil in 753 and Stuart in R1, accompanied, crewed and supported by Bruce (who managed to rig M17 but not to fly it!), Chris, Andy Blake, Trev and Ellen. Anne was also there, on the other side of the fence, having a really easy week in 'Control'. The weather could have been kinder. We lost two days to an obstinate high pressure sitting on top of us and two days to strong southerly winds creating turbulence over the airfield. However the three days when tasks were flown were stunning, in particular the Thursday, when task-setter Lemmy conjured a superb task out of an unpromising weather forecast. Sadly, no prizes found their way to Easterton this time, the cross-country going to John Williams of SGU, and the height gain to Pete Gray of Derbyshire and Lancashire GC. Full details, reports, results and photo gallery at http://ukmsc.deesideglidingclub.co.uk/index.php
After several frustrated attempts - due to adverse weather - Alistair Webb was sent off solo by Phil later on this Saturday afternoon. A 15-minute first solo flight followed by 45 minutes or so of soaring on his second solo flight today, with an audience of adjudicators to check out his landing, of course!! Well done, Alistair (And a 10 for the landing as well !!)
We've just finished off a week's club expedition to the lovely people at Deeside GC, Aboyne. Phil led the charge, with Billy, Roger, Bruce and Colin also in attendance. The hardware comprised R1, M17 and JYC, along with something rather more exotic that I'll cover in a separate post.
Bruce set off last Sunday and M17 finally got to Aboyne courtesy of Phil, who passed up a day's shopping with wife and daughter when Bruce's car had a clutch meltdown in Dufftown. Thankfully Billy had been following and ths situation was saved.
R1 and JYC arrived on Monday, which was a day with strong thermals. A bit more flying on Tuesday, with Phil and Bruce sharing a flight in R1, in weaker thermals. Wednesday also provided some flying for those who were on hand, and Colin had some spin time with Phil in the Aboyne Puchacz.
Thursday started off with powerful wave, but this collapsed into thermals mid-morning, so no lengthy cross country. And the rest of the week was non-flying. But we had excellent craik, food and drink and a very helpful welcome from all at Aboyne. More pilots needed next time!
A photo here taken by Bruce at 8000 feet above Lochnagar on Thursday, with Loch Muick just visible mid left of frame, al,l just before the wave evaporated for the day.
It was a smashing day and, back at the ranch, a good one for training flights and trial lessons. Bruce also had a stab at a 300 and fell out of the sky eventually, close enough to Aboyne to get there confortably enough and then have a tow halfway back home.
The sky started with thermals to 3500 feet, but inland and later the cloudbase climbed up to 6000+ feet, with storming thermals and bottomless sink as well.
.... but losing two is disastrous for your competition!
This morning's sky looked awesome, and the forecast was for good wave all day. Robert set an interesting Assigned Area Task - a quadrilateral tour of the gliding sites at Feshie, Portmoak and Aboyne - but with 200 km radius round Portmoak so you could actually (just) complete the task with an out-and-return to where all three sectors intersected somewhere on Deeside.
The first three pundits were duly launched, then misfortune struck. The engine of the yellow Eurofox overheated, and tuggie Colin had to dump Geddes at just 2000 feet, turn off the engine, and make a 'dead-stick' landing, which he accomplished flawlessly.
This was followed by the disaster when the red Eurofox too began to make a new noise and was taken off line for investigation. Despite much investigation, head-shaking and a couple of test runs, the root of the problem could not be found.
We then offered winch launches to anyone current on winch launching, but had to wait while the winch battery was charged enough to start the engine. One or two did have a go, but no-one managed to connect with the wave. We were impressed to see the ASH25, with engine and two on board, winch launched to 1200 feet.
Meantime Geddes had spent some time in rotor but could not contact the wave. Roy G, who had decided just to go flying before briefing and not to bother competing, managed to achieve the task without planning to, which doesn't count.
In the fullness of time the remaining pundits began to trickle back, and shortly after the last one landed, Robert and John had completed the scoring and the prizegiving was held. Roy W, with an impressive 341.2 km in conditions that were not easy, scored 1000 points, with Graham runner-up on 780 points. Someone who had best remain nameless achieved the smallest possible positive score of just one point.
Over the two days, the total scores were Deeside 1272 points, Portmoak A 1021 points, Highland 525 points, Cairngorm 222, Fulmar 132 and Portmoak B 74 points.
Despite disappointing weather on Day 1 and technical problems on Day 2, most departing visitors were heard to say that they had enjoyed the weekend. Even Sant, who got stuck in the trailer park and had to have both trailer and car towed out backwards.
Special mention was made of the catering, and warm thanks go to (in no particular order) Trish, Mike B, Mike L and Phil for all their hard work.
We look forward to the next leg, at Portmoak in August.
The first day of the Inter-Club League was like the curate's egg - good in parts.
Forecast was for cloud to arrive from the west in mid-afternoon, and tasks were set accordingly. We launched the pundits and two of the intermediates before the sea breeze set in and the wind swung round to north-easterly. So we changed ends. Though this took just 20 minutes, by the time we had done so the cloud had arrived, three hours or so ahead of forecast, putting a stop to the sunshine, warmth and most of the lift. It wasn't long before most of the field had landed back, leaving only Geddes in Z5 tiptoeing about on Deeside. Eventually even he admitted defeat, and he landed at Aboyne and got an aerotow home.
The evening barbecue was very well attended, and much enjoyed, though rain arrived with inexorable inevitability (why does it always rain at barbecues?) just as cooking was about to start, so we got fairly damp collecting our meat rations. Salad an puddings were set up under cover in the hangar, however. Thanks are due to Phil, Mike L, Mike B and especially Trish for masterminding the food and cooking thereof. Also to Andrew A for organising a keg of ale which went down very well indeed.
After Robert and John C had wrestled sufficiently with the scoring system, Craig Allan (Fulmar GC) took the Novice class with (wait for it!) 1.9 km and 9 points. The winning intermediate was Mike Morrison (Cairngorm GC) with an impressive 14.9 km and 71 points, but the laurels went to pundit Geddes Chalmers (Highland GC) whose epic scrape of 102.3 km along Deeside earned him 512 points.
After Day 1 Highland are in the lead with 524 points, but there's everything still to play for. Aboyne has 272 points, Portmoak A 241, Feshie 220, Fulmar 112 and Portmoak B has 2.
The participants are assembling for the coming weekend's Inter-Club League event here. We have welcomed quite a fleet of gliders, and of course accompanying pilots and crews, from Portmoak and Aboyne, and there has been much rigging and fettling going on, and we have watched a very successful experimental tug-assisted self-launch of an ASH25. We are awaiting a contingent from Feshie to complete the teams. Briefing is at 10.00 tomorrow, with the hope of an early launch after that, if the forecast is favourable - and it's looking quite good at the moment.
Best day of the year yet? Maybe, maybe. Facts: there were thermals to a cloudbase somewhere around 5,000' inland and the sea breeze kept its distance fro most of the day; Stuart and Colin got as far as Loch Ness in R1; Geddes and Craig got down to Aviemore later in the day, with Craig finishing off his skills checks for his Bronze; Phil had an hour in JMY while Ian took 753 off to Grantown and back via Keith and Huntly; Bruce did something similar in M17 - down to between Bridge of Avon and Tomintoul, then over by Dufftown and Keith. Plenty others getting flights as well - Graham, John C, Ian T, Chris. Many thanks to Ian B for tugging through the day. More of the same tomorrow?
What a cracking February weekend. The strip dried out enough to allow aerotowing and on Saturday Phil was first up in the Junior to test the air. He bagged the wave before the lower cloud rolled in and spoilt things a bit. The Twin Astir was brought out and Ruari and Robert spent 3/4 hr testing the Flarm systems with the Junior and Bruce in his Mosquito.
Sunday was much better. Clear blue skies with marked wave going up to about 5000' saw most of the fleet take to the skies with a decent amount of cross country taking place. More of the same please!
Yep, we're still here, and the site is still really damp, but today started off looking OK for the winch and a hop to the ridge. Patrick had a good flight with John T, soaring the K21 to around 2500' on the ridge, with some signs of weak wave around. The wind got up quite quickly, though, and was gusting 30-35 knots at one point. Classic for pinging weak links in single seaters, and Mark managed to break the cable one-up in the K21, so we called a halt to any further launches and managed to retrieve between 300 and 400 metres of parachute and cable from behind the hangars. No power lines were tripped during the performance of this stunt!
Robert got his newly UK registered Twin Astir rigged and into the hangar as well, all set for some shakedown flights as soon as the planets align. More wind, a bit of sunshine and no rain or snow would be the recommended recipe over the next few days.
Thanks to adverse weather and waterlogged ground, we had to wait for our first flying day of 2015, until 4 January, which was clear, cold and sunny. As the ground was still too wet for the tug, we got the winch out. Geddes and Patrick were first to go, in the K21, followed by Colin H in the Astir. There was some good lift to start with, but it fizzled out about half past one, and a few short flights ensued. Robert and Teresa arrived on site and leapt into R1. Half an hour later we heard one half of a conversation, from which we deduced (correctly) that they had made the first field landing of the year, at the bottom of Ben Aigen. At least it was a short and easy retrieve.