Well Jim and I are just back from the worst distillery trip in living memory… … trouble was a load of flying got in the way!
Firstly though a misconception to set right, Aboyne airfield is lovely. Not only is the runway plenty long enough, its wide tarmac, OK not wide wide but certainly more than the ribbon you imagine. and there is a nice 10m grass verge either side, which is OK. A grass cross runway completes the set.
<credit deeside gliding club>
The first couple of days had light winds so Jim and I stole a Duo and checked each other out. We even found a wee thermal.
On tuesday Jim blagged an ASH25, there wasnt much low down or local but the donkey took them to contact weak wave, they were the only ones.
<credit Roy Garden>
On wednesday a wind blew, a wind like no other, a wind they call simply “The Wave”. Actually on the airfield it wasnt windy at all. Actually no one called the wind anything. Actually it was Wednesday. Jim flew to 22,000 feet. 3rd Diamond done.
Meanwhile, I had a go in the back of the ASH. We tried cross country, fell out past Balmoral (nice pad), dropped on to a ridge, bashed that for a bit before abandoning with the engine as the 56kts wind was making it a bit daft.
<Balmoral in the centre>
We then climbed back to 11k feet.
We got up early on Thursday and rigged in the dark. We were 3rd in line when the first glider went off at 8.15 into (out of) an amazing sunrise.
I was flying B1, it was calm on the ground, but all hell broke loose at wind sock height. Roy, the tug pilot’s briefing was to only get off the rope if he was on fire and I could see the flames! He rolled right against full aileron as I rolled left against full aileron. (It may have been the other way around.) Eventually, and with bleeding knuckles it went smooth and I released. I climbed in the first bar to 15,000 feet before pushing forwards to the next bar, it was cloudy but the few holes remained constant and I climbed to FL209 for diamond height.
<credit David Hurst PNGC>
I made my way back down for a full Scottish breakfast, a can of IrnBru and to give Jim a turn, with him also reaching the same height.
Friday was much calmer on tow but with good wave going to about 17k. Jim and I stayed lower up to about 13k and enjoyed an amazing playground.
Thank you very much to Chris for the loan of his spaceship, Deeside Gliding Club, PNGC and the other visitors. What a week!