With a decent flying day in prospect it’s interesting to see just how many members can get along to fly on a Wednesday. This Wednesday it was 27 plus a couple of visitors – one a BA pilot wanting to sample some real flying (not quite how he expressed it) and the other who took is first trial lesson a month ago and is now a member – welcome to George R. Lots of rigging activity with 9 private gliders out to play plus 4 club gliders. Only 4 because a small team helped Andy B at the start of the day to derig EUF ready for its 1,000 hour check.
For a change the wind was pretty much aligned with the field and there were soaring opportunities from the start. Colin B, my esteemed and generous syndicate partner, rigged our LS3-17, put it online and insisted that I fly it while he took over back seat duties. Difficult to turn down an offer like that. By the afternoon the gaps between the clouds were filling in and thermals more difficult to find. Sitting north of Kintbury I was faced with the choice of heading north to the better looking (but not great) sky and out of gliding range or wimping out and heading for Rivar Hill. Discretion being the better part, it was south west I headed. From Kintbury to the south end of the field and round to the ridge not the hint of any lift. Arrived there to find several gliders in the area sitting above me (but not by much) I followed the ridge east as that would take me to a nice position for a right hand circuit. Stumbled into weak lift and scratched away. From that vantage point I watched 4 gliders land within a 3 minute window so my plan was to continue to scratch until the runway was cleared. Best laid plans …. by the time the runway was clear I was over 3,000 feet (cloud base most of the day was 3,500′).
While I was away indulging myself with some solo flying plenty was happening on the ground. The manual light switch was periodically staying on so a switch was made to the “old ways” – car headlamps. Two gliders from Lasham dropped in. One of them took a relight and was not seen again. the other decided on an overnight stay. It got members puzzling as to what type of glider it was. turn out it was the last 2-seater to be manufactured in Britain – a YS53. Colin B found this link to the fascinating story of this glider Once you have read the first page continue to page 5 to find out more.
Of the 41 launches 5 were over an hour with Ken R and Bill C taking longest flight honors in the Duo Discuss with 2:22. Lots of 30+ minute flights with over 24 hours flown in total. After the last launch (18:30) and once everything was put away Geoff G, Alan Saunders and Trevor G set-to to try and fix the signal lights.
Another excellent Wednesday with thanks to Colin B, Peter E and Ken R for helping out with back-seat services and, as ever, to the winch drivers. Also, must not forget to thank those who arrived early to get set-up and those who stayed around to the end to put the toys to bed (a few who did both).