Sunday started out with a great forecast and nine-oktas of reality at the airfield.
There was a pretty huge turnout; one and a half pages of flying list with plenty of ab-initios. With the field set-up for flying by 0945, there was no hope of sending any body up the wire due to the lingering mist.
To pass the time, a willing group set about rigging the club’s SZD Junior single-seater which had just come back from it’s ARC. As we were rigging the Junior, a few glimmers of sunlight appeared although the local cloudbase seemed unwilling to go up.
Briefing an hour after the field was set up, still with unflyable cloudbase, we had a packed briefing room. We only just managed to find somewhere for our CFI to sit.
Packed Briefing Room
CFI gets pride of place
Post-briefing, we still had to wait for the cloudbase to lift, starting flying nearly 2 hours late. One of the first up the wire was Geoff test-flying the Junior followed by numerous training flights. Some of our solo pilots managed some local soaring in the single-seaters while both ab-initio and trial-lesson flying was carried out in the two seaters.
We noticed Ed getting some special attention from Barry K with simulated launch failures and sure enough, Ed was cleared for his first solo saiplane flight in K21 G-CGAG. Ed’s glider solo come one month after his daughter Emily flew her first solo at Stratford on Avon.
Into the evening, some of the solo pilots who had made way for ab-initios to fly earlier in the day doubled up in the two seaters to get their flying in under a reddening sunset caused by dust particles carried in the upper air-mass by a significant low/storm approaching Ireland.
Worn out instructor
K21 at sunset
Amazingly, despite the two-hour late start, we managed to get through 54 winch launches and there was still plenty of members and enthusiasm left at the end of the day to help with the hangar packing.
Well done everyone!
Nick J took this photo of lenticular clouds to the south of Snitterfield on Sunday.
Due to SOAGCs location within the country, we do not often see lenticular clouds edge-on like this. We do contact wave from the Welsh mountains.
Lenticular Clouds over Snitterfield
The clouds were dissipating as the wind conditions changed but some pilots reported weak wave and wave influence on the (admittedly weak – it is March) thermals.
Today we managed to fly 33 more launches than on Saturday!
The field was very wet with little if any drying overnight so we had to go out and actively hunt the solid bits. The winch was set up on the southwest stub and we put the launchpoint in front of the main hangar.
The tow-out took the new ‘Z’ route along the cross runway and hugged the field edge back to the launchpoint.
The aircraft canopies took a fair while to stop misting (on the outside) which gave us plenty of time to get K8 G-CJHK and K8 former JXS ready to go on trailers to their new home at East Sussex Gliding Club.
Launch heights were good, 1,600ft was common and the cloud-base behaved for us.
Flight times were generally short but good training was done. Adrian F managed to squeak out 15 minutes and a 300ft climb on a street which was gone almost as soon as it appeared.
With careful planning, retrieves caused no problems and the field condition was not worsened.
Spot landings within a tracks width of the perimeter track on 190′ were order of the day and everybody achieved this admirably except for our Scottish visitor who had to show off his parallel parking technique. We duly kicked in his minor rut.
Ultimately, we kept flying until the canopies again began misting and the Sun escaped over the horizon.
Washing aircraft and vehicles down at the end of a good day!