Buckminster Expedition

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A hardy crew made the trip South in the hope of getting some good thermal flying. We weren't dissapointed ! Some strong lift (and matching sink !!) and super visibility helped.

The averager (showing 6.4) had been reading 7.8 - honest !

Looking out towards The Wash
Tuesday :
Well, disappointment, it wasn't as good as we had hoped. Whilst the Nationals at Bicester were doing 500kms and a lady pilot set a 400km speed record further South, we struggled to complete any mammoth tasks. Having said that, the total flight times and distances were impressive by Milfield standards. Richard Abercrombie went for a romp in the Duo Discus with Les Merritt and covered around 230km. Bill Stephen declared a 300km task but some high overcast made him cut the task short so, again, around 230km. Barry Lytollis covered a 120km task and Andy Bardgett & Steve Marriott have both have been pounding the local 'Olympic' triangle (Andy leads 3 : 2) and visiting Newark. Len & Ron both had decent flights in the Vega and Derek tried out his new Mosquito managing some good soaring.

Logger trace from Richard's flight
Gaggle flying
Wednesday :
Signs of wave ! That's not what we came for ! There is some high cloud which looks as though it will kill the thermals so some keen folk are going to have winch refreshers. Derek says 'tomorrow is going to be good' Alastair Fish and Bill Stephen got checked out on the winch and Richard Abercrombie made a start on his meanwhile Steve Marriott had the longest flight of the day, 49 minutes.

Thursday :
Warnings of thunderstorms. Derek says 'tomorrow is going to be good' - again ! Meanwhile Jules 'Dark Horse' Sutton revealed that he had snuck around the 'Olympic triangle several times ! Your correspondent manage to scrape around 2 TPs at very low level before slumping back to site.

Friday :

A fresh breeze across the strip proved interesting and, with it being the last day for most, encouraged some brave folk to fly. Just to maintain standards, Steve Marriott landed out ! Alastair Fish, who took off some time later, flew overhead at 3500' on his way around the Olympic triangle and wondered 'How on earth did Steve manage to land there ?' Meanwhile your correspondent & Richard Abercrombie arrived as retrieve crew and thought exactly the same. Steve had landed in a cut field which was full of large round bales. I suggested to Richard that, when we reached the glider, we would probably see a clear strip between the bales - but no, it looked like a minefield ! Steve explained that, when he selected the field about a third had not been baled so he landed in that part of the field. But the contractor, probably on a fixed price, simply continued baling around the glider, finishing just as the retrieve crew arrived !!

So, the end of a good week. Plenty of flying, good company and far too much to eat and drink !

Milfield 18th August

Strong winds and numerous showers made for a poor gliding day but we managed two flights before a protracted lunch break.

After lunch it wasn't any better and we were about to pack up for the day when Tim and Phil decided, after much debate, that there was wave over Wooler.  One very bumpy tow later they pulled off and indeed found some wave.  Sadly it was short lived and they soon made their way back to the field, had an interesting approach and landing and promptly returned G-FEVS to the hangar. Phil reflected that less debate and an earlier launch would probably have been more successful!  

Tim and Phil getting ready to go wave hunting

Wave over Wooler?

Tug Pilot not impressed with the weather ahead!

Saturday 10th August

Not great day for the pundits and only one enthusiastic single seater pilot took a launch.  However, our pre-solo pilots took advantage of the conditions to further their training and even managed some soaring!  We also had a number of visitors who thoroughly enjoyed their experiences.

Visitor being briefed prior to their Air Experience Flight

Standard Cirrus being preparing for launch

Pilot and Instructor returning from a training flight

Sunday 4th August

"Never rule out wave" How often do we say that ? Well it was said at today's briefing although there was no obvious signs of it. It looked thermic both to the North and South but there was a noticeable lack of thermals over the site. Your correspondent took a tow out over the high ground to the West of Wooler and, although there appeared to be good lift around it wasn't over the high ground ! Beating a hasty retreat to Wooler confirmed that the thermals were working but no contact was made with wave. However, after a foray down towards Alnwick, which gave a photo opportunity at Old Bewick Hill Fort (right), the return to Wooler paid off with a steady climb to just over 8300'. Russell Young made a valiant effort to make contact, reaching 4,400' during his 56 minute flight, sadly just missing out on his Bronze hour. Next time !

Wave Caps at 8000'