Monday, 24 October 2011

Strong Southerly Winds, Convection and Wave

The strong southerly wind over the weekend made every take off and landing one with a full on 90 degree cross wind but all the pilots who flew rose to the challenge and acquitted themselves admirably. This was one of the few weekends where the use of runway 17 might have been an advantage, on Sunday the wind was obviously sufficiently challenging for the power traffic to not bother as there were virtually no power planes operating all day.
Saturday produced some good soaring conditions in the afternoon which went on quite late but honours for the day go to Mark Wolfe who rigged his Libelle and had a good soaring flight.
Sunday was windier with a Met Office Strong Wind warning with 25 knot gusts predicted. Fortunately the gusts didn't affect us but as most people found out, the upper wind was definitely in the region of 40 knots as forecast. On the plus side though, there was a lot of wave about and climbs of 2/4 knots were to be found. Unfortunately one of the stronger wave bars was aligned east west just south of the 2500' airspace boundary and the climb had to be abandoned so we never found out how high it went!
Martin Kicks climbing in wave over Marlow Bottom
The end of a windy weekend

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

October's Indian Summer continues

Whilst many members have been enjoying the delights of Aboyne's wave, the Indian Summer has produced many good flying days at Booker. The end of last week saw several days with multiple soaring flights averaging 90 minutes occurring.
The weather was good enough to see a reasonable level of activity in the trailer park and gliders being rigged to take advantage of the weather. There was a mixture of good thermals with strong climbs (under a low cloud base) and some weak wave that was working up to 3,000ft.
Chris Arnold enjoying Wave and Thermals
Saturday was another good day and the launch point looked more like the middle of summer than the middle of October with nearly 40 launches throughout the day.
Congratulations to Booker Cadet Ben Followell who went solo in EBZ on Sunday.
Thanks also to the Duty Crew who helped out with a minor issue on Sunday
Something is very odd though when you are still wondering around in tee shirts and shorts and then go into John Lewis to be surrounded by Christmas decorations??

Friday, 14 October 2011

Southerly wave returns

More wave flying today. Congratulations to Rob Kehr on a good solo flight in 318 climbing to 6,450. It doesn't sound very high, but this was about the best anyone did in the cloudy conditions. We launched early and had magnificent views towards Aberdeen with a gap up the Dee Valley and line of wave smoothed cumulus all the way from Aboyne out to Braemar.

The most notable feature today was the low launch heights needed to get into the wave, some pilots managing to get away with releasing at 1100 feet.

Everybody flew today and there were a number of flights over five hours. Cloud at many layers prevented any good climbs, but William Parker found an edge over Glen Tanar and then a few climbed to 8,000 ft or more.

Great pic from Rob K that shows the East-West wave bar with a line of cumulus leading off towards Aberdeen. You can also see the layer of cloud at 6,000 feet that stopped many from getting any higher.
Despite the weaker climbs and lower cloudbase, Jane 118 still made it out to Braemar, but don't let J1M know.
We ended the day with some radio controlled rocketry, which entertained locals and visitors alike.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

The wind has dropped North of the border

Photo taken by Rolf a couple of days ago. Barry Michael waiting to launch in JDV. Proof that there is a DG300 at the end of the rainbow.

Wednesday and Thursday have been a little quieter and those that have been looking at the synoptics will know that we are stuck with some slack weather. Hopefully the wind will return soon.

315 has been doing some circuit training and Rob Kehr has just returned from a short flight in evening wave and a T shirt, Jeremy has just launched with another 25 minutes until sunset.

Yesterday John H, Heggie, Glyn and Phil went fishing in a boat on the loch at Glen Tanar, we still don't know whether they caught anything.
Jim has been practising his golf swing.
Today everyone has been off walking around Loch Kinord and up Burn o'Vat.

Some of us went to the outdoor clothing shop in Ballater for lunch and spotted this old bus in the depot. The destination board pretty much described our flying tasks for this week (sorry, you have to know the local landmarks to get this one).

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Showers and wave

A good forecast for Tuesday but the showers appeared again. Despite this, the wave kept working and people were climbing above 10,000 feet all day long.
Everyone from Booker flew today except for JDV.
As the pic below from Rob Kehr shows, there were times when it was difficult to avoid the clouds, and this morning the clouds kept forming between 3,000 ft and 9,000ft. It was a bit like climbing up the middle of a packet of polos.

Congratulations to Steve Williams on his first solo in the Pegase (yesterday). His briefings for other first Peg solos should now be even better.
Steve 318, John HXH, Phil 315, Rolf 318, Rob 315, Bob 208, Bob 279, Sarah 315, Jane 118, Richard 2R, Dave 315, Denis 370, William LC, Graham 315, all had good flights. Pete Wyld and Adrian Hegner spent the day towing. Glyn was exploring other interests at the Black Faced Sheep tea rooms.

Geoff flew off in his RV and we wait to find out whether he got through the band of rain that is forecast to be across Northern England for the next few days.

J1M at 11,000 feet over Aboyne Airfield.

We have our third badge claim with Jim White climbing high over the airfield for a Gold Height.

A few of the gang got high, but above 12,000 feet the winds increased above 70 Kts, and any cross country had to be at a lower altitude.

Denis went to Killin on Loch Tay. Jane and Richard went to Braemar, Richard getting to 16,000 feet. Bob S flew for about seven hours for his second Silver duration flight of the week.

Blair Atholl Town and Castle taken by Denis from 370

Monday, 10 October 2011

Aboyne wave update

The wave is still working and the airfield is busier this week with a bigger contingent from Lasham also on site. Some of us have held on at Aboyne for another week. Dave Byass is now wave bashing in 315 with the newcomers, and all have had at least one wave flight. Rob Kehr's first experience of Aboyne was a 12,000 foot wave flight.
Mike C took a break today by flying his own glider, HA, around the Don Valley.
There has still been a fair bit of cloud around, but there has been good wave and it has been possible to get high on both Sunday and Monday. The local hot spot of Logie Coldstone still the favoured release point.

Today we had our second badge claim, a Gold Height, Jeremy Gilbey taking FGT to 15,000 feet over Dinnet.

Your correspondent has not had time to check out all of the flights over the past couple of days. We've been flying until sunset and derigging with the help of light from car headlights. Hopefully there will be a more extensive update tomorrow; then again, we do have another good wave forecast for tomorrow ....

Saturday, 8 October 2011

There's action at Booker (but doesn't equal Aboyne's)

The expedition to Aboyne seems to be having a fantastic time with some brilliant flying and socialising afterwards - all things that make being a part of Booker Gliding Club so worthwhile. Keep giving us the updates!
Life and flying continues at Booker (albeit without the sunshine and wave), flying has continued this week in spite of the very strong winds with a lot of training and several soaring flights in rough and turbulent thermals. Saturday with lighter winds produced a day of general training and a bit of a wait whilst the Goodyear Airship navigated its way through the ATZ.

Soaring until sunset

Loch Muich from the K6 wing cam.

Friday turned out to be another good wave day, although most didn't launch until mid afternoon. Mike and Graham set off for Loch Tay in 315, Will and Denis declaring the same task, the Ventus Turbo turned back, but the K6 made it. The K6 was also the last landing at 18:45.


As always with the Autumn flying at Aboyne there were some great sunset views through the clouds late in the day.

Sunset from 10,000 feet above Logie Coldstone

Changeover day today, we did have eighteen club members here yesterday, Geoff Tabbner making the hop from Chiltern Park in his RV6.

Dinner in Birkelunn steak, chips, peas and onions or an indian from the new restaurant in Ballater.
Those lucky enough to be staying in Birkelunn have also been treated to Rolf Kern's pastry making skills with the Kern signature dish, tarte tatin, and chocolate bread and butter pudding.

Link to the BGA height ladder for flights.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The soaring is never ending

There is so much flying going on here at Aboyne that we are losing track of who is doing what. Lots of flying on Wednesday and Will could be seen at 22,000 feet in his K6; this flight qualified for a Diamond, but Will is unwilling to sponsor the BGA with the claim fee.

See the BGA ladder as most of the flights are appearing when we get the time to load them. Booker GC is leading the height ladder and it doesn't look like anyone is going to catch us.

First flights today had a great view of the first snow on the Cairngorms, but the low wave faded away at lunchtime and most landed back.

Another round of flights above 10,000 feet in the afternoon, with 315 launching for 90 minute flights all day long.

318 has been busy with Ashley and Rolf flying this morning and Robert Turner flying it out to Loch Muick this evening.

Some great air-to-air shots from our new friends from the gliding club at Bremen. Attention seeking 315 crept up and got into the shots.

Adrian Hegner arrived yesterday, but despite this the weather is still good. Glyn has booked first flight of the day in 315 tomorrow so there must be more good wave on the way.

Toad in the hole at Birkellun!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Aboyne Pics

Quick escape
While flying we must keep a good look out..................
15,000ft over Ballater
Arne Over Tarland
Try and set that shot up again.....

Tuesday Climbs and Cloud

Another good wave day North of the border. A little too windy for cross country with 60 Kts at 15,000 feet and lots of height lost when crossing in-to-wind wave bars. Lots of flights, with 315 going well above 10k on five flights.
Cloudbase was 4k and the gaps kept easing closed only to open up again. A few of us climbing to around 15k in the strong lift then descending below cloudbase only to repeat the fun later. Best climbs, as so often, just North of the lochs.
Some launched late in the day for some filming, the results are in the editing suite, hopefully there will be a new Aboyne video soon.
Daily heights and flights, provisional. (Flights will be on the ladder soon).
Mike & Russell, 315, 13,500ft
Ashley, 318, 15,400ft and then a second flight to 8,500ft
Mike & Arne, 315, 13,000ft
Denis 370 (evening flight to 10k)
Graham & Mike 315, 13,500ft
Mike & others, details to follow
Barry, JDV, 19,200ft, not quite a Diamond.
Bob, 279, 19,400ft (17,200 gain)
Bob, 208, 15,000ft
Robert & Mike, 315, 13,500

As I write this on Weds morning, 315 is climbing in wave for the second time today and 118 has just launched, so we're all off to do it again.
Rolf has arrived taking Booker numbers up to fifteen and the forecast is looking good for a busy few days.
Photos to follow.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Aboyne on Monday

Aboyne Wave Working Well

Over the weekend the first group of fourteen Booker pilots arrived at Deeside Gliding club for the annual wave soaring expedition.
Sunday was wet, but it dried out enough for the first round of model flying. Will Ellis demonstrating his electrified Discus, Pete Wyld dug out his micro video camera and we taped it to the Cub. In flight video to follow.

In the evening we had the first group dinner in Birkelunn; we know how keen our blog readers are to hear about the culinary aspects of any expedition. A Roast Beef dinner of the finest quality, ten out of ten for Chefs Will and Graham. Will's melt-in-the-mouth steamed treacle and marmalade pudding ensuring that we met our daily calorie allowance.

Monday was the first flying day. A classic wave sky (see the photos). Team Booker were first to rig despite not arriving till 08:30, Ashley and Mike launching around 9 in 315.

After a few fettling issues for some private owners most flew.
The roll call of achievements follows.

Bob D, 208, 17,623 ft over the lochs.

Mike & Ashley, 315. 10,000 feet, Lochnagar then Braemar.
Denis, 370, 10,000 ft, Lochnagar then Braemar.
Jane, 118, Flat tyre, barograph inop, oxygen broke, then 10,500 Ft over Cambus o May.

Bob S, 279, 8,000 ft, Ballater
Mike & Robert T, 315, (TBA)

Will, 10,000 ft, Lochnagar & Braemar - Distance flight of the day!

Will is flying his K6 and the wind at 6,000 feet was 50 Knots SW!

The circuits were sporty, and we packed up when the cloud arrived after lunch.
Not sure about tomorrow, the wind may be too strong, but might be OK with an early start.

Photos courtesy of Ashley Birkbeck and Robert Turner.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

September sizzling summary and October openers

With headlines like that I should be consigned to the News of the World - lucky it is no more.

September really did deliver an Indian Summer and there were only 4 days in September when the club didn't fly. Over 450 launches were achieved during the month that inlcuded several cross country flights late into the month and a significant amount of soaring.

Several instructors have been frantically getting hours in before renewals expire (the message here is to do it sooner!) and the Bronze course run by Richard C was a success with Phil Binnee and John Lambe getting their Bronze badges, 1st solo for Neil Parkinson and type conversions with Ali Elliott on the K18 and Sam Gervais on the Junior. This list doesn't include the other achievements already mentioned in earlier September Blogs.

Jonathan Morris chose Booker as the best place to learn aerobatics having been awarded an Air League scholarship and went away having achieved his Basic level award under Graham Saw's excellent tuition.

The 1st October arrived hot and sunny and even though a large contingent of the club are wending their way to Aboyne, there were still 38 launches on one of hottest October days known. The sunshine brought out the T21 and all the flying was done in shirtsleves.
Jim White giving a pre-flight brief (?)

Jonathan Morris after gaining his Aerobatic badge
Chris and Jeremy take to the skies in the T21
Vannessa Faulkner after her Trial Lesson that she won in a Borlase School Raffle