Monday, 25 June 2012

Passenger to pilot windrushers style

As I type an envelope with claims for all three requirements for Silver C is winging its way to the BGA, where hopefully the team there will see fit to sign me off and supply me with my Silver and a comp license, thus allowing me to enter the Bicester Regionals at the end of the July.

Just over a week ago I saw that there were a couple of days approaching which were looking quite good. The first, which turned out to the much better day in the end was unusable to me as I was working, so I was stuck with the second. Arriving at the airfield around 8am I could see that in the gentle ESE breeze there was a very large plum from didcot power station, this is note worthy as it showed me that the moisture (R/H) levels were very high and the air being blown in off of the north sea was very close to saturation but more on this later.

I wanted to grab the Astir or K8 but both had been grabbed so I ended up with the club Discus, which to some eyes is a little bit like cheating. I rigged her, cleaned her and loaded up my Oudie and nano before heading off for a briefing and Notam check with Alan smith. I chose, in light of the weather and now towering CU to the east that heading off WNW to Bidford would be the best bet. With the task set I towed the glider to the winch launch point, well I wasn't going to areo tow as well as use the Discus was I, to have some breakfast and wait for optimum conditions.

Talking to a few of the pundits in the morning it seemed like they all wanted to head north east into east anglia for the best conditions and I was being told that Gransden would be the better bet. Luckily for me I know a little bit about the weather, and my forecast as well as the filling sky to the east convinced me not to change task. I launched around lunch after a solitary K13 had managed to stay airborne, the first 10mins was a scratch from 1200' AGL and being blown gentle west I got to 2500 using 1/2 to 1kt before having to make a decision. I was under spread out and not climbing fast enough to be able to make it back to Bicester if it went down hill, so this was it, time to break the umbilical cord of local soaring!! I headed out away from Bicester, west into the sunlight I found a small climb to 3500' and decided to press on knowing Enstone or Heyford were viable options if I fell down. Just past Enstone I was just on glide for Bidford and ahead of me an unknown K13 was marking a thermal, I joined as he left the top and was rewarded with 5kts on the averager with peaks to 8kts and in no time at all I was 5700', well in glide for Bidford and having fun. I pressed on topping up under most CU, just to be sure, and arrived at Bidford at 4000', a couple of orbits to get the lay of the land and some guidance from the ground saw me landing up hill on another friendly, albeit soggy airfield...Job done.

A cuppa tea, something to eat, signatures and a chat saw me hooked on to the back of Bidfords Tug for the return journey, towing into bluing conditions and worsening sink made me happy I had opted for the 5000' guaranteed to get home method which was reinforced when I met up with Richard Wilkens in his ASW15 (846) I was on glide about 15k out and he was doing the same some distance below me. He landed at heyford and I got back to Bicester. After packing away and retrieving Richard from Heyford with Dave Watt in the Robin it was time to down load the trace, have a beer and relax.

Lee H

Bicester gliding the success


HOT OFF THE PRESS.. ................ Derren came away from Hus Bos today as 18 meter National Champion, beating three ex World Champions and a host of other World Class pilots!!
Sincere congratulations to him. He has dropped only two solitary points over the course of two Nationals.

This means that Bicester now has effectively got 5 National Champoins. ......myself and Derren at the 15 meter class ( It turns out that as we both got the same points we are joint ¬National Champion even though he was a second faster on the day), Derren in the 18 meter Class, Pete Harvey in the Open class and Dave Morgan in the Advanced aerobatic Class.
( Maz was 2nd in the Unlimited aerobatic class, which is, I can assure you a very impressive achievement.)

Dave Watt