Thursday, 16 June 2011

Serres? There's fun to be had with Booker evenings

Here's another testimonial from Brian O'Sullivan on the fun to be had after sitting in an office all day:

Stolen moments...

What a cracking flight! 2000ft over High Wycombe in the 3000ft space, climbing in a 2kt thermal with the Junior above for company and Graham in the other K13 in a downwind thermal... at 7pm! I can't believe how often I look out the window at work during the day thinking, "No - you can't fly in that. Or if you can, there will be no lift!". Then I get to the field, and not only is it flyable but there is often lift around too!

As an early solo pilot, I spend most of the day before a flight worrying about the day's challenge. Be that high wind, no wind, cross wind, too much lift, too much sink, wrong colour glider paint, dirty rudder pedals, an insect on the leading edge of a K13 destroying the glide angle etc... Today the condition "out to get me" was the 8kt, 90 degree crosswind from the South. So with rope on, full right rudder in anticipation of a swing, and ready to stop the left wing lifting we set off with no complications: Turns out all the training works!

I managed to climb 600ft before I ran back upwind to high key... but dammit, I climbed 600ft on my own! These modest gains feel like winning gold medals as a low airtime solo pilot. The K13 and Junior were also on the way back, and each time I looked to the airfield, I saw different sides of Graham's K13 as he looped into the circuit! As I turned into finals, the K13 and Junior presented me with a landing challenge. I suspect there were some intakes of breath and perhaps the helpers at launch point had already started to fill in the paperwork for glider damage - however I had a secret weapon....

Steve had taken me up in the Falke on Saturday and joked, "okay I've messed up the altimeter. Have a crack at landing Lewknor" to which I had replied, "Erm... I can't see any airfields. All I can see is that bizarre straight public footpath through the middle of a field". Steve grinned in a way that was impossible to misunderstand. That is a runway! Gulp... still on the second attempt it lined up nicely. And with that in mind I told myself the gap between the gliders was significantly bigger than Lewknor is wide, so down we plonked in the middle and rolled to a stop nice and early.

What a cracking couple of evenings we've had. In fact, so far there has only been one evening I haven't flown in couple of months of flying. Even when the conditions are 'challenging' I've had some great accompanied flights - two Fridays ago Paul Clarke and I in the K21, and Symeon and another in the K13 engaged in a 45 minute battle to stay up the longest. The wind was 20kt+, but the lift was stonking!

Roll on the next one: I reckon with a bit of practice, there's a 1 hour bronze flight in there somewhere...

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