Last Sunday, Stratford Gliding Club member Phil C achieved his FAI Gold Height Gain on an away visit to the Scottish Gliding Centre at Portmoak. The FAI Gold Height requires a climb of 3000meters [9843feet].
As we are a flat-lands thermal soaring club, this magnitude of height gain would be a very tall order off our winch. As such, our pilots rely on their own enterprise to seek out suitable soaring conditions on expeditions and away visits to other clubs.
Phill launched solo in the early afternoon in Portmoak’s DG505 ‘5GC’, a two seat glider with selectable 18m or 20m wingtips (Phil opted for 20m 😉 ). Launching on the winch, he made a bee-line back onto Bishop Hill and began ridge soaring to gain altitude for a push out to contact wave lift.
It was a very windy day and wave contact wasn’t straight-forward. Phil spent 40 minutes on the ridge fighting down-wave. He made three windward runs out to Loch Leven below 2000′ before making solid contact with the wave on a fourth big push.
The initially gradual climb soon erupted into a 12-knot [1215 feet-per-minute climb] which Phil described as “rather aggressive”! To add to the difficulty, careful attention had to be paid to the boundary of the massive area of restricted airspace for COP26 summit. Winds aloft were as high as 65-70knots so it would have been easy to drift back with little visual reference!
Phil’s climb peaked out at 12,024′ above sea level, just over an hour after launching. This meant Phil had climbed a total of 10,892′ and qualified for his Gold Height!
A brilliant achievement for Phil who previously completed his FAI Silver C flying from Stratford on Avon!
Well done Phil!