Wednesday, 8 April 2009

400k day

Arriving at the airfield a little earlier than my norm I was surprised how windy it felt. Bob had rigged already and the problem became how big could we risk setting.

A 500 seemed to much and a 300 to little so 400 it was to be. Booker Bridge-Marlborough-Oundle-Broadway-Booker. 406k.

When Bob and I were off tow AJ arrived and asked the task and thought he'd have a go as well.

We set off with a cloud base of just 2800 along reasonable cloud streets, the wind didn't seem to much of a problem, except AJ once again found his nemesis around Membury (no problem with an engine) so he went back to start another task. Oundle-Evesham.

The run to Oundle for me seemed quite difficult but Bob romped along and turned whilst I was still 20k short.

By now the cloud base was around 5500 asl with good tight climbs of 4-6knots when you could find them. If you didn't find them then one ended going backwards. It was on this leg it occurred to me that setting a leg under the Daventry Airspace at FL45 wasn't clever.

Just south of Daventry Bob found himself out of it and eventually made a landing at Bicester for an aerotow retrieve.

By the time I reached Banbury I was beginning to have doubts of ever reaching Broadway as the streets were disappearing, as were the cumulus. After a climb over Shennington I was ready to give up when what appeared to be a strong cumulus formed over Honeybourne A/F (disused) this gave me a strong climb to 5500 and allowed me to push round Broadway and glide out on the way home in the blue. AJ who had turned Evesham and then contacted the wave climbed to 8000 and had a lovely glide home.

In the blue just North of Little Rissington a weak climb and another stronger one off Blenheim Palace allowed me to glide to the cumulus which were still forming to the East of Kidlington and onwards to Booker.

It was some day with just 2minutes short of 7hours flying time 6hours 21 mins on task.

When will the first 500k arrive; hopefully when Jon Gatfield isn't at work or he'll have my guts for garters. (Sorry Jon)

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