Monday, 28 May 2012

15M Nationals

Hi All

Completely unprepared, I am once again flying the 15M Nationals. This year at Lasham. If you are interesting in following my progress in the competition, I will publish a daily report here Nice supportive comments are welcome.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mixed bag of weather but plenty of flying with 3 first solos

An interesting mix of weather after the previous weekends glorious xc weather. Lots of wind and (more rain) on Monday and Tuesday but this didn't stop all flying. Wednesday was glorious with strong thermals to over 4,000 ft and the rest of the weak provided lots of opportunity to practice thermalling in weak lift - guaranteed to improve your climbing when it gets good. 

We had a number of first solo's - initially Martin Emery (one of our new seasonal tug pilots - so say hello to him) who was checked out in the Super Cub and then later in the week Duncan Sharp and Zeljko Livancic who have been on basic courses (with top ups) and then on Friday, Chris Burns who has been doing a PPL to solo conversion course. All 3 have indicated that they intend to carry on so look out for them around the launch point.

 Martin Emery (seasonal tug pilot) after being sent off on his own
Duncan Sharp and Chris Burns shortly after soloing in CFA

 Saturday was a misty, low cloud day which didn't stop our flying and gave a chance to spot some of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Flypast aircraft on there way back to various bases after overflying Windsor Castle. Booker was 'bracketed' to the south by a couple low level C-130's and 12 helicopters and to the north by a VC 10 with a pair of Tornado's in tow.
Our competition weather man has already predicted that next week is going to become better so don't forget the Task Week is running which is a great way to fly and improve your cross country performance.

Monday, 14 May 2012

At last the weather has improved - xc galore

After what seems to have been an unbelievably long wet spell, the weather finally broke to give us a great weekends soaring with cloud bases around 5,000 feet and reports of very strong thermals.

With this in mind, we saw a good grid out and ready to launch by 10:00 on Saturday along with all the clubs 2 seaters and single seaters. Saturdays tasks seemed to route south/north (and back to Booker), with a mix of tasks ranging from 200km to 300km as well as a full programme of training flights and local soaring (depending of members experience levels).

There was only one landout at Abingdon (who were happy to allow an aerotow retrieve) and a great time was had by all.
 Saturday's grid

As if the airfield isn't wet enough already we were treated to a score of jubilant pilots returning from their respective tasks and dumping several barrels of water each as they finished.
One of Saturdays's finishers

Whilst Sunday wasn't forecast to be as good, it still provided yet more excellent soaring and again the whole of the club fleet was out and busy all day as well as several private owners going cross country. Conditions were much better than the forecasts earlier in the week and just goes to show that you need to get up to the airfield and be ready to fly - the forecasters don't always get it right. Good climbs of 6 to 7 kts were available and with a cloud base around 5,500 altitude, attention needed to be made to ensure no airspace infringements occurred.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Soaring again after 10 days of drought!

Clearly we have been having the wrong sort of rain for the official drought to be called off. After an immense amount of rain over the last 10 days that have stopped all flying at Booker we were delighted to have a dry day with good soaring conditions giving 4/6kt climbs to 3,500 feet.

The airfield has survived the soaking remarkably well (although at the rains peak there was a lot of surface water) and a canoe would have been more use. On a positive note though, the airfield management have used the opportunity of the softer surface to get the roller out and start to flatten out some of the unacceptable bumps that have been growing over the last few years. This should be part of an ongoing improvement program for us.
The 35 Runway marker in its own large lagoon

Also during the day we saw evidence of the increased military presence in readiness for the Olympics with multiple passes of RAF Typhoon's just south of the airfield and a visit from a RAF Griffin Helicopter as part of Exercise Taurus Mountain.