Black Mountains Gliding Club
BMGC Flying Reports
Recent flying at Talgarth
Sunday 2 July 2017
Epic 500km in the Mini Nimbus....!!
I had a preplanned task for this opportunity which was Talgarth, Shenington, Builth Wells, Swalcliffe (just south of Shenington) and then back to Talgarth.
I got the glider ready early morning on Sunday while it was still cool then helped de-rig the K13 which was due for its annual. This delayed briefing and so having emerged from there I put the glider on the grid straight away. At this time of day I really didn't think I could hang around so I launched at 11.18 and started the task at 11.42 from about 4000amsl. The going was reasonably straightforward but it wasn't always easy finding the cores in what looked like good clouds and half way down track I found that I seemed to be sinking between climbs more than I anticipated so my glides were generally short with top ups. I heard two pilots talking of wave interference so perhaps that was the problem
Rounded Shenington at 13.05 and set off back to Builth. All was going reasonably well until I was about 5 miles short of Malvern and I couldn't see any decent lift. This was a bad mistake on my part and I should have diverted south somewhat earlier because I found myself in the lee of Malvern being sucked down to about 600ft agl and I then had to scrabble to get any height. After about 20 minutes I was re established in a 3 knot climb which I used to reach 3600amsl. Mustn't make that error again the the 4th leg! Finally Builth came into view though it was looking bluer which was a preface of what was to happen later, Rounded Builth at 15.14 then headed straight for Ydas where there were clouds and was soon on the march again. Got up to 4800amsl near Pershore and could clearly see Bidford then finally got to Swalcliffe at 16.47.
Turned and headed back and although the climbs were weakening a bit I was still getting averages between 2.4-3.0kts. I didn't even notice that I had passed over Malvern until I looked down. This time I was at a comfortable 4200 amsl but it was clear that the sky was bluing out as I headed for Hereford which I reached at 18.15.
Then the struggle began and I had to slow down to 60-65 kts picking up on wisps producing less than 2 kt climbs. My Oudie showed that the wind was gently backing so as I approached the back of the Black Mountains I knew I must give them a big clearance as the air would be flowing down and also on the main ridge. I started to get a bit tense (to put it mildly) since I probably needed at least two more climbs.
I turned north west running parallel to Cefn Hill at about 3000amsl I ran into a line of steady sink for several kilometres. I increased speed to get round the low hills heading straight for Hay on Wye. There is a little hill just south of Hay which I have used before and I aimed at this which initially gave me a 1/2 knot of lift. After the fourth turn I was climbing and perfectly centred (for once) at about 2kts which rose to 3. As I climbed all previous tension melted away, I was grinning like an idiot and just knew I was going to get home now.
I broke off at 3000amsl and flew home at 90 kts knowing I was a bit tired,had finished my water 20 minutes earlier so no silly fast finish. Arrived at the site at about 1000ft and landed at 18.51 with relief and the great satisfaction of achieving that objective.
Sunday 18 June 2017
Mynd - Llandeilo - tricky again....
Yes it was a good day at the club and if you look at the ladder a lot of tasks from away used us as their turnpoint.
We set ourselves the modest club task of Mynd-Llandeilo and back for 225km. I was first off but was soon struggling over the Begyns near Lane Farm after having crossed a blue gap over the Wye valley. From there it was a relatively easy run to Mynd with cloudbase at 5000ft QNH.
Things started gett ing difficult from Llandrindod Wells down the valley towards Llandovery as the thermals were very scrappy and just didn't want to take you to base which was down to 4000ft. I was continually keeping a beady eye on suitable landing fields because at between 2000 and 3000ft amsl it always felt that the flight could end very quickly. I was close to landing at Llanwryd Wells, field picked etc, but then got a mercy thermal at about 1000ft agl and managed to climb away - phew!
Just as I was pulling away John Clark came on the radio saying he was landing out and to my amazement I looked down and there he was lined up and going into a field. He landed in the boonies near a sm all village called Tirabad right on the edge of the danger area.
The thermals over the danger area were looking great but obviously we couldn't enter and to compound the problem as they drifted off the Epynt plain they collapsed into the valley we were flying down, hence the struggle in not very compliant air.
I got within 3 miles of Llandeilo before giving up as it had gone blue, which was probably sea air pushing in underneath, and the thermals were quite frankly rubbish. So I turned and had a buttock clenching glide over Usk Reservoir (remembering where Mark Fisher had landed a few years back) to Sennybridge and then Brecon. As I approached Brecon, too low to get across, I was greeted by a column of about 10 gulls merrily thermalling away, so I thought it would be rude not to join them! They are brilliant thermallers.
Flight time? don't ask - it took forever due to the Mynd-Llandeilo leg which was a big struggle and it was mightily hot under the canopy but nevertheless an interesting flight and one that is "character building" - like I need more of that!
Others? I'll let them describe their flights as I had to pack up and leave the club earlier than I'd have liked to. It would have been nice to chill out under the Oak Tree and shoot the breeze.
Looks like today will be another good day but work beckons!
Thursday 18 May 2017
A tricky day XC
A good turnout for mid week with 4 trial lessons and quite a few members getting check flights or training from Mike Codd and Martin Watt together with a few visiting pilots as well. It was also nice to see Martin Brockington back tugging after his "eventful" trip to Kosovo - ask him about it when you see him, but be warned it's not for the faint hearted!
A small group of us, Mike T, Mike S, Me and Alex Jenkins, set ourselves a task of 180km To Sennybridge, Tenbury Wells (just east of Leominster), Brecon and back and by luck and some skill all four of us made it around in varying times from 2-3 hrs.
Well as I said we all got back but on at least two occasions between Tenbury and Shobdon I was down to just over 1000ft above the ground desperately working anything that came my way whilst keeping a close eye on landing options.
After completing the task the sky over in the Beacons looked too good to miss so I wandered over attempting a small undeclared task. As I entered the Beacons via Talybont Reservoir I was greeted by the best elevator ride you could ever want - as the saying goes "I was climbing faster than a home sick angel".
Wonderful day and the task was good fun especially having others around you trying the same thing - more please!
Sunday 14 May 2017
The forecast was for an unstable SW airstream with possible showers, drying out as the day progressed. There were only a dozen or so intrepid aviators at briefing with a few people away elsewhere. The SW ridges were working well with dynamic lift and thermal to a base of about 4000' QNH initially.
Thursday 11 May 2017
Unexpected wave to 7200
RASP indicated that wave was unlikely: No inversion (actually quite a high lapse rate) and wind veering markedly with height. However after morning tea (how civilised!) our eagle-eyed tug pilot Tony Crowden spotted an edge in the clouds in the lee of the Black Mountains overhead the Wye Valley. So off we went in search of it. After a lively tow through the rotor we eventually found 4 knots of the smooth stuff. All the way up to 7,200 feet. Running from Hay , past site and all the way down the Cwmdu Valley. A nice surprise for a trial lesson and Ray Smith who also joined me in K13. What a fabulous site we fly from.
Wednesday 10 May 2017
Another great day out!
Anyway I a mercy thermal and scuttled back towards the club but then diverted into the Beacons, joined by Mike T, where we had a brilliant time in a convergence directly over the tops running almost all the way to Llandeilo at heights up to 6000ft amsl - a final glide 40km says it all.
Lots of other flying going on and when I left at 6pm Mike Codd was still flying some visitors.
Great day (yet again)
Sunday 7 May 2017
A great day out...
I'll have to give this report from my perspective because I was in the air for nearly 6 hrs and so don't really know what else was going on.
We set ourselves one of the club tasks (see the ladder for the whole list) of Llandeilo -Mynd and back for a 224 km triangle.
Oh nearly forgot to say congrats to Dave Hope as he was the only one to get around the original task.
Yes it was a lovely day - summer is here!
I went quite high and slow all day - it probably paid off.
I'm sure we don't use the local convergence patterns enough. It was predicted by RASP - just click on the 'BL Max. Up/Down (convergence)' button for about 2pm on any sunny day with light winds.
Wednesday 3 May 2017
NE wave 9000 ft
The forecast brisk NE wind made conditions on the field a bit sporting!!! During the morning, Cu bubbled up nicely with no sign of the cursed wave - Hoorah! The forecast also predicted cloud increase by Midday. I took the second launch onto Troed in my recently returned, refinished and fettled Nimbus. The ridge was working well and the thermal climbs were vigorous. My plan was to push up wind to Hay Bluff and to use the Pandy ridge, but that wasn't possible on the first attempt so I dropped back on to Troed. And lo, the sky changed, the Cu disappeared and the wave set up, curses.
A broken climb to 6000ft and the sky changed again with a sudden build up of cloud, I spiralled down through a closing gap - no drama - just being cautious. Once below cloud base I had enough height to reach Hay Bluff, the Cats Back was working well but I felt that the wind needed to be more Easterly for the Pandy ridge to work - no problem to reach Hatterall Hill, but getting back might be an issue. On the other hand, reaching the Blorenge would be a breeze (down wind) then the Llangattock ridge would get me back to the Cwm Du or onto the Beacons.
And so it came to pass, on returning to the Cwm Du, the sky had opened up again, the wave was better organised and I climbed to 9000ft. The wind decreased above 8000ft and so did the climb rate, there were good looking wave bars to the North but nothing went as high as in the Cwm Du.
Wednesday 26 April 2017
ice and stuff ...!
A fun day at the club with 10kt northerly and lots of big clouds some of which were dumping ice and stuff down to ground level. Crystal clear visibility with 6/7 knot climbs tempted a few to attempt the Mynd but in the end it was too showery up there. Mike Codd was clearly an aiming point for the USAF when a couple of heavy jets came far too close on the main ridge... an airprox is being filed by Mike. Quite a few out playing today,,,,
Monday 24 April 2017
Turning up in the morning with the cloud halfway down the hill, drizzle in the air and a cold front on the way -- didn't look very promising we would be getting airborne. The tug pilot decided to go home after a couple of hours of watching cloud base descending.
Come 15:00 the conditions started to improve, I wanted to rig but no tug pilot! a quick call to TC solved that problem. 16:00 I had a launch followed by Mike Codd in his Ventus. The main ridge was working nicely and it was relatively easy to find an energy line and go exploring. As the airmass dried out and became a lot more stable there were definitely signs of wave. I was surprised when I contacted wave over Y-das, though unfortunately the sun was sinking faster than I was rising, so couldn't get a ladder flight and had to break off whilst climbing at 2 kts, landing at 20:00 (at least I could derig in the light).
A really enjoyable evening flight and both of us getting some wave. Thanks to Tony who came up to give us a launch.
Thursday 9 March 2017
First good day of the year - wave to 7000ft
Ground is a bit soft but drying out fast. First good day of the year and nearly 4hrs cruising up and down the ridges with some lovely mellow thermals and then a wee bit of wave to 7000ft - the season has started so get up there and get some in ! :)
Those out incl Tony B, Tony C, Tony P, Anne C, Mike R, Andy Sutton and a visitor from Usk. Mike Codd did the briefing and instructional flights whilst Keith and Tony C shared the tugging. John and Edna Horley made a welcome visit.
Meanwhile the bore hole is pumping water out at a substantial rate whilst the plumber completes the installations.
Updated: 2 July 2017 MF