20th - 22nd June

Although the conditions over this weekend didn't produce any significant soaring achievement,s that didn't stop it being quite busy. The Friday crew did what they usually do and had some reasonable local soaring. Arriving at the site at 9am on Saturday your blogger thought, 'Have I missed something ?' The ASW20 and the DG 300 were sitting, tugs ready, waiting to launch. No, not an early start for some massive task but a delegation going to the Help For Heroes fly in at Eshott which was very well attended. The big Pawnee stayed - to impress all the flying folk whose aircraft are dwarfed by it - along with the gliders, whilst the Cub returned for duty at the club. It was followed by our tugmaster who came to check out tuggies on the Eurofox which has now got its Permit to Fly. 4 tuggies carried out several cicuits each before Ken Sangster make the first tow with Dave Key in the Sport Vega. All went well and Dave's only comment was 'how much is a bonus launch behind the Eurofox ?' Later in the day the Pawnee and DG300 returned to site.

Sunday dawned with a forecast which again, didn't promise much soaring. The tugmaster returned and continued to do check flights. There was very little wind and, operating from the S end of the field, where the grass was quite thick, conditions were testing for the tugs. Your blogger and Ken Sangster decided to see how the Eurofox coped with the Astir behind. The initial acceleration was rather slow and, with the Astir not having the best of aileron response, a wing drop occurred and I pulled off. The second attempt was still rather difficult but we got away and off we went. The Eurofox reacts to thermals (as we already knew) but Ken thought towing at a slightly higher speed would help it react less which seemed to work. The climb rate seemed similar to, or slightly better than, the small Pawnee.
Astir on its first Eurofox tow

Head for the sky !
The Ka 21 was next and, again despite the lack of headwind seemed to takeoff normally. As the tugmaster observed, 'You need to run with the wingtip up to a certain speed so, if the initial acceleration is slightly slower you will have to take a few more steps !' - obvious when you think about it.

Lift off with the Ka21
 The next launch was the Puchacz, 2 up with Paddy Clarke (not a small chap - see photo below) in the front seat. They took off at virtually the same spot as our Tugmaster's Condor when he left. Bill Stephen in the back said he was perfectly happy during the take off so, quite a test. Having done some spins they returned and set off again. Oh no ! something has gone wrong - no, just Bill doing a launch failure with Paddy ! Well Paddy quite a day - you may as well try that on your own.  A lovely take off, well flown circuit and neat landing made for a great first solo (well, in gliders anyway, he's flown nearly everything else !) Congratulations Paddy !

Paddy, please don't crash !

Bill Stephen congratulates Paddy Clarke on his first solo

6th, 7th & 8th June

On Friday we had volunteer wardens from the Northumberland National Park visiting. We provided some briefings on the club's history, how we soar and how we use the various internet resources to get the best out of the weather. Two of the wardens had good thermals flights - on landing the grins said it all!

Although the conditions didn't look good on Saturday, Rich Abercrombie took an early launch which paid off. He climbed steadily to 12,000' until stopped by an approaching front. He used his height to have a trip down to the outskirts of the Newcastle airport zone returning via Morpeth. He's really getting the hang of his new, (to him), glider. Trevor Dale & Barry Lytollis also got over 10,000' - just another wave day at Milfield !

A classic edge

Richard's panel at 12,000'

Sunday gave a long day of rather unreliable thermals, mainly because it tried to wave. The wave worked to around 7000' initially but then just made the thermals appear where the wave should have been. Despite that there were some flights of nearly 4 hours duration and several laps of the local triangle completed. The main event, however, was a first solo for Mike Rose - congratulations. We wish him well for his future progress.

Mike Rose (L) being congratulated on going solo by Rich Abercrombie