Monday 12 May 2008

A Day the didn't go as promised May 12th

Well a day with a great forecast turned into survival exercise. It was obviously not going to be a large task day so a double O/R of 305k BOB-WEB-OXF-MAR-BOO was agreed as a reasonable compromise.

The cu started to pop around 1300 and the grid, 161, A9, 325, 370, 918, M2, and (how does he do it T6) were launched. It looked like we were going to have a good afternoon flying a task in reasonable climbs to a height that is more than exceptionable in the UK.

I went as soon as I’d reached the bottom of the airspace feeling that an empty Nimbus would have fun coming back into a freshening easterly. The run to Chievely was under well formed cu that gave confidence that the task wouldn’t be a problem, then a big hole appeared which only contained sparse raggedy cu. The result was a long glide to Marlborough worrying that getting down to under 2000ft was asking for trouble, but a climb to over 5000 gave a feeling of confidence in the day. Topping up at Devizes and then again at Westbury before heading back into wind it seemed that the day was going to be an enjoyable one.

Whilst I was climbing at Devizes it appeared that T6, 161 and 325 were inspecting the ground relatively closely around Membury, but obviously managed to get back into the run of things as 161 and 325 passed me heading for Westbury as I was heading for Oxford between Devizes and Marlborough.

Not long after this they were all turning Westbury. The sky looked good all the way from Lambourne, where I‘d had a good climb, to beyond Didcot and although I couldn’t see Oxford I didn’t envisage any problems.

After gliding for over 30k passing under what looked like good climbs that didn’t offer any and listening to 370 saying he’d landed out (started turbo), T6 landing at Membury and 161 and 325 struggling to survive in the vicinity of Membury, it became obvious the day was falling apart.

Oxford was off the menu and a scratchy climb around Chalgrove allowed me to glide home. When I left the airfield nothing had been heard from 161 and 325 but T6 was being aerotowed by Ralph from Membury. Hope everyone got back okay.

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