After a lack lustre August, September got off to a fantastic start on Sunday the 1st. August ended up being not as bad as I had feared. It wasn’t the least number of flying days for an August (1 better than the lowest), nor was it the least number of launches (about average). Flying time was another matter. Previous worst was 85 hours (2006) and a best of 189 (2017), this year came in at 78.
Sunday 1st September was a very different story. To my chagrin I wasn’t able to get to the club that day. Instead, tortured myself by occasionally looking at GlideAndSeek and looking at the sky. Hopefully, someone who was there on the day will make a contribution to the blog but in the meantime I can report that Chris B in the Ventus, Jim C in the Nimbus. Pete S plus Claire W in the Janus and Phil M plus Alex J in the other Janus all went walk-about and there were several other flights of over an hour who may or may not have gone somewhere. Duty instructors Richard D and Laurie C were kept busy and in the afternoon Martin H and Colin B helped out with some back seat flying. Richard reported climbs of 6 to 8 knots to 5,500′. Matt B was flying the club’s Vega and was seen on GlideAndSeek a good bit south of Lasham, returning to the club after 5 hours and 2 minutes to bag all 3 Silver elements in a single flight. The K8, on the other hand, did not return (well, strictly speaking it did but by road on its trailer). Report on the land-out can be found below.
It looks unlikely we will have a repeat of last months performance. Lowest hours for September is 37 hour (2011). On Sunday 32:31 was clocked up! I will just add that last September achieved the highest number of hours with 146 hours (quite a margin ahead of any other year, second best was 121). It’s the first Wednesday of the month, as I write, and the sky is looking very promising. So, why am I writing this instead of flying? Bringing my gaze down from the sky I can see the trees dancing in the wind Fingers crossed for tomorrow (and enough members turning out to fly).
A Tale of Landing Out
by Martin S
I had been advised not to go downwind in Denzil, but I was overconfident after the ease of soaring and even reaching 5400ft, plus seeing Matthew’s upwind return from near Petersfield.
Starting a final glide from 4000ft over Andover did not register as a concern when I started back. I was going to return via the wind turbine at Linkenholt but turned west when I became unsure about the lack of clouds. From then on it was directly into headwind with our airfield remaining resolutely in the same position on the canopy for the next 15 minutes as it slowly dawned on me that I was losing the final glide in.
Looking at the k8 polar curve: Best speed into 15 kt headwind seems to be between 45 & 48 kt which was what I was doing. I was getting a steady 1.5 to 2 down on the vario. 27 L/D at 45 kt. But against 15 kt headwind L/D falls to an effective 18 to 1. I don’t think I can blame sink because, by calculation, 16 km into 15 kt headwind requires 5100 ft for 800ft arrival height. It all tallies: losing 200 ft per minute and I was indeed about 1000ft too low by Vernham Dean.
From the log I can see that there was still lift around. But for me only one broken blue-sky thermal at 1200 ft, with which a better pilot might have saved it. But I needed to focus on a field. I reckon I touched down at 20kt ground speed, straight into wind, slightly uphill, wide field. Much easier than negotiating a cross-wind landing on a narrow, glider-cluttered, grass strip at Rivar Hill!
Conclusion: Complacency which on another day could have been escaped from by a lucky thermal. On this occasion:lessons learned the hard way. Also a good start to my landing out record.But I don’t intend to be chasing Nikolai on this activity.
Denzilwas very cold at all altitudes. I would have come back ssssooner if I hadn’t been wearing my flllleece. I was glad to be out of it after an hour. Ozzie suit next time.
Big thanks are due to: Bob Symonds (who was on the phone before I was unstrapped) plus Pete Smith, Claire Wilson & Jim Clarke
For those with what3words app on their phone, I came to rest at triangles.glosses.rushed