Black Mountains Gliding Club
BMGC Flying Reports
Wednesday 31 December 2014
SW Wave to 11000
We had 10-15kts SW wind on the ground, 20-30kts higher up, cloud initially obscured the top of the South Bowl & Ydas. Tony Crowden took the first launch in the club K6 straight into wave from a 1,200 ft tow, I followed in the SHK & contacted wave from 1,500 in the South Bowl, getting a 6 knt average climb up to 5,500. Tried moving forward into primary wave closer to Brecon but it wasn’t any stronger. Last climb occurred between Glasbury and back to the middle of the main ridge which eventually topped out at just over 10,000 ft above site - Tony C’s & my flight trace are on the ladder if you want to see details of where the climbs occurred. Those out included Tony Bartlett as Duty Instructor, Geoff King towing, Richard Robins flying his DG, Anne Crowden, Julie King & Mike Codd. Flight times for the day ranged from 58 minutes to 3 h 20 mins, a great day & a great end to 2014.
Sunday 28 December 2014
Wave to 6000
Sunny day with a gentle variable breeze on the field. There were signs of wave with a patch of intermittent rotor over Troed. Mike Codd led the way in the K13 straight off tow into 2-3 knots. Encouraged by the K13 disappearing upwards I took a launch in DNX. Looking at my .IGC trace afterwards I made 6070' and I think Mike made about the same height. The wind gradually decreased during the day from a max of 14/110 at height until the wave collapsed so we put the kit away early. From the top of the wave there were spectacular views in crystal clear air of ranges of snow capped peaks stretching off into the distance - You know the expression every glider pilot HATES TO HEAR ..........you should have been here!.....sorry about that! Thanks to Martin Brock for the tows.
Sunday 7 December 2014
NW wave to 6400 QNH
The forecast was pretty much bang on as we had a good NW blow with some hefty showers rattling through the club although rather too often for comfort at times.
Wednesday 22 October 2014
Wave to 6500 QNH
Sunday 12 October 2014
Unexpected wave day - the Tuggie's Report!!
A pity so many people left around 1.00pm because we started flying around 2.00pm. NE wave was working up to 6000ft above site even though the wind profile suggested wave was unlikely. Multiple layers of cloud lit by the sun looked magical. Both K13s were out and Greville made good use of the Junior, but he looked very cold when he landed!!
I've said many times before that I'm still surprised by the flying at Talgarth and it's usually a nice surprise. Earlier launches showed a bank of fog hanging over Langorse Lake and the edge of the fog steadily retreated downwind to the South West. The first launch was to be a high tow overhead the airfield and rotor was contacted about 2000ft. Subsequent launches were directly into the wave which was contacted about 1500ft where the wind was blowing around 10kt. The wave edge was clearly marked with cloud by then making my job a bit easier. Mike Codd and son Chris had the last launch of the day by which time the sun had dropped below the prefrontal Cirrus and gave us a brief but colourful sunset. I think Greville's flight was the longest at almost 2hr.
First launch was logged at 14.01 and the last at 17.23. The wind on the field was a light NW - launching from near the gate. The wind at flying height was around 060 - 070, ~10kt. This created a Fohn gap from Hay Bluff to Y Das with no lift that I could find on my descents, but the cloud was reforming into broken stratus about 1/2 mile out from the ridge and the base would have been ~ 1000-1500ft QFE. At Bronllys you were probably under the stratus. The wave over the site was marked by thin, wispy cloud under high overcast from the approaching front. In the tug I didn't go further south than the spine, but I believe the gliders were exploring the Cwm Du valley at heights from 4000 to 6000ft.
Saturday 4 October 2014
Classic post cold front flying
After a slow start waiting for the remnants of the cold front to pass it turned out to a beautiful day with classic post cold front conditions, thermals to 5000ft and plenty of cloud streeting so you could explore large areas. A very active airfield kept everyone's concentration high but the day passed off without any problems and everyone went away with that glow on their faces knowing that they'd experienced a truly great day at BMGC.
Wednesday 30 July 2014
an early start....
The day started with first launch at 0550hours - not a glider, but a BBC film team and a hot air balloon. Seems they are making a sequence for a series called Secret Britain which goes out, I believe, on Sunday evenings. I was in my tent on the airfield so did not really appreciate the 5 am wakeup …. but it was pretty and I have posted some shots taken by Gerry Martin.
Sunday 27 July 2014
...a castle and a triangle
A lovely sunny Sunday with scattered cu. and a 10 kt NW wind. Only a few folk at the club – we all had a great day’s flying.
Thursday 12 June 2014
Blue thermals to 3500
Early morning mist in the valleys first thing soon burnt off to give a beautiful day at the club.
Friday 6 June 2014
An interesting day
An interesting day with the forecasts changing frequently making it difficult to select the best direction to go. I opted for a run up and downwind to Sennybridge - Bidford - Brecon SW for just shy of 280 km. I think we had some of the best weather with it being difficult to the north - Gerry had trouble trying to get to Ludlow and I heard a couple of people on the radio struggling around the Mynd.
Conditions out to the west saw cloud base slightly lower due to the usual moister air. Things really started coming together after returning past TAL and heading east. I managed a straight glide from before Hereford to the M5 without having to turn, at cloud base, which topped out at over 6000 feet QNH.
The return trip into wind was a bit more taxing but the climbs were predictable and although it started to go a bit more blue a scrape around the Bluff enabled another climb at TAL to get the final turn at Becon SW.
Those out playing included Mike and Adrian in HUR who had a jaunt around Sennybridge and Builth, Gerry who went north and then was seen to be charming a member of the fairer sex in the K21. Robbie was 464-ing and Geoff and Robin seemed to be having fun in their Pegase.
Sunday 1 June 2014
Not a bad day with a good sprinkling of members and visitors out to play.
Wednesday 21 May 2014
Another great day at TAL
Another great day at TAL. Best areas were to the north with cloud base going to nearly 6000' QNH. A bit soggy initially with some localised convergence over the Black Mountains.
Mike R went to Welshpool, Sennybridge and Usk whilst Tony C went down the Beacons and on towards Carreg Cennan Castle. Anne had a fly afterwards and reported that all the 'new' parts (hip) seemed to be working OK! Alex Jenkins was wearing a groove to the north whilst Robin Howarth was having fun in his Pegase. I did a yo-yo to the north taking in Newtown, Brecon SW and Halfway House (always wanted to go there!) for just over 300k. The sky was still working to the west at nearly 7:00 pm.
Wednesday 21 May 2014
Welshpool, Sennybridge, Raglan...
The RASP showed that the favourable flight direction might well be N -S so I was advised to fly mynd usk and home if possible. The sounding showed an improving afternoon with cloudbase 5000'+
Off tow at 1400 and a climb in 2-4kt to above cloudbase curiously (615 later reported similar) and off to go. 1.5kt thermals up 15 mi west of the mynd and decided to go for Welshpool as climbs slowly improved as per the forecast (mynd looked unpromising). It was blue of blue N of Welshpool airfield so I turned back from near the SW border of the airfield at 3000'QFE. The high cloud to the east was coming in fast and quenched the lift at Builth.
Patience rewarded from a rather low point just south of Builth enabled a pleasant cruise west to Sennybridge along the south side of the firing range (nothing seen or heard;). A whizz over to the middle of the Black mountains to try a developing cu was rewarding and then a cooking street was used to Raglan as the great blackness developed to the Severn estuary.
The 2kt lift under the gloom enabled an easy drift around the usk turnpoint then two more cu to the NW saw HUR at the sugar loaf at 4000+. The run from RAG back to TAL via usk required no circling whatsoever so a jolly around the length of Talybont res. completed the flight. I could see the K13 at some great height heading toward Brecon.........Bo with a lucky visitor having a wonderful time.
More of the same would be good.....
Saturday 17 May 2014
TAL Grand Prix Day
A 2 pm start had seen cumulus bubbling off Troed and I’d climbed off tow to 5,700’. After nearly abandoning in the blue hole to the north I hit a monster near Shobdon that averaged 8 knots for the last wild 1000’. Pressing on to Shipton the sky was booming and I could dolphin above 6000’. Two days previously I had flown in the 21 for a couple of hours with Kevin Atkinson, our coach for the Aim Higher week. He’d been giving me non-stop advice and ‘feedback’ – “stop faffing about, don’t accept a 2 kt climb when there’s a 3 kt on offer, circle slower, use more top rudder, dig the lower wing in with the gust, force the glider into the core”, etc.. I had waved raw garlic around the cockpit, but his ghost was still behind me, urging me on – higher! faster! After Leominster it went blue and windy and weak climbs weren’t enough to get me up the hill to Talgarth (in fairness this had been covered by Kevin on slide 176). If only he could see me now…
As soon as my wheel touched down I realised the field wasn’t as smooth as it looked from the air. Luckily the strong headwind, airbrake and wheel brake stopped me quite quickly. I did skid the wheel though and did an interesting power-slide, wings level, through about 80 degrees. Note to self: remember to dump tail water before landing.
Still, it was a lovely flat field next to the Wye near Witney, with only about 50 swans for company. Little did I know that, after a challenging 3 hour flight, the day’s exertions had only just begun. [a very long retrieve story omitted here!! - ed)
Eventually we made it back to the club as night fell for a jolly BBQ.
Wednesday 14 May 2014
O/R to Llanfair Caereinion in SHK 812
I went for the Talgarth - Llanfair Caereinion out and return 149k task , same as the K21 & Skylark. Launch at 1.30pm straight into thermal off tow & climbed to 3,500 QFE & set off, most of the thermals were reasonably on track with 2.9kt to 4.0kt average climbs & the run up to Newtown took less than an hour, 66kph average speed with a 5-8kt NW wind
Then as mentioned by Mike T there was an area of poor air from Newtown up to the TP, so quite a struggle getting there and back, got low several times with fields selected & just patiently worked the lift around Llanfair Caereinion - frustratingly there was a nice cloud hanging around near Newtown bu t all I could get initially was a max height of 2,300 & the thermal was around 12k away. Wind strength was slightly higher now at 11kts & more Westerly. Finally managed to work a broken thermal to 3,400 QFE & headed back to Newtown. By now this 28km round trip had taken 1.5h.
On the run back thermals were still working but not as strong (1.8 to 2.2kts) or
going as high, the wind was helping though (this had now dropped to 8kts) and the
thermals were kicking off on the sunny facing slopes of the hills. 35k to Tal with
4,300 was looking promising but there were still areas of sink around so not home &
dry yet. 20k out and now nicely on final glide with 3,000' arriving back at Talgarth
5.12pm. Final task speed had dropped down to 40kph because of the time to do the 28 km
out & return from Newtown into the first TP. Hard work but rewarding day over Mid
Wales area, task time 3h 33mins.
Wednesday 14 May 2014
XC to Montgomery
The forecast was for light N/NW backing, high pressure with a front nudging in from the NW later in the day which may shut things down. The front stayed far enough away to have no effect and the cu were seen to be going from 10:30 with weak ridge to help.
I set Cray-Newtown-Brecon-Montgomery for 304km. I put the Cray TP in to enable a 300 without getting too far north - my concern being that with a forecast N-ish wind we may have got poor air coming in from the Cheshire gap area and spilling across the flat lands behind the even higher ground around Snowdon. This seemed to be the case on the return leg up to Montgomery.
I started just after 12 with a good run down to Cray but with lowering cloud base (as is usual). The next leg up to Newtown saw base rising to around 4600 QNH with some good climbs but a few areas of broken thermals/Cu. The return to Brecon was good with base reaching 5000 QNH, a downwind component and Mike Stringer in KAC for company.
Pushing towards Mongomery I could see the conditions going more blue, especially over the flat ground to the north of the TP. Mike and I parted company here - he headed for Welshpool and a ragged lump of Cu whilst I topped up as much as possible before gliding out and scratching back to the high ground, headed back south for home. Now I had to make a choice. The route home was over the high ground and I was low, the area over the low ground wasn't working but gave some ground clearance. I couldn't route east because that would put me in the NOTAM area (where the Co looked better!) Half an hour of working pretty hard finally saw a climb that enabled me to connect with a few wisps (the Cu had stopped playing) and a possible glide home from 35km. As usual when you have finally made glide, the thermals cycled slightly just when you don't really need them!
A nice day out over an area that we don't often get to fly - forced on us by the
Hope it may be of some use.
Monday 5 May 2014
SE wave to 6000
Forecast was grey with increasing SE winds and rain later so it was with real
enthusiasm that I looked forward to my Duty Dog session along with Alan Cridge today!
Launching was interesting but survivable and both Alan and I managed to contact SE
wave to around 5K above site and give our visitors some superb BMGC flying! Not many
members out but special thanks to Bob Walters for his usual help and energy at the
Thursday 24 April 2014
Cloud surfing in Snoopy...
A large group of visitors from the Chepstow U3A (university of the 3rd Age, I believe...) were on site when I arrived and I had to look hard to find any familiar faces. But then I spotted Robbie on the HOGS seat, so all was well. The U3A people had booked about 10 trial lessons and these were being fed through in stalwart fashion by Phil Swallow and Bo.
After holding a few bits of wood in position while Robbie assembled the new information board for visitors (check it out on the webcam) - I helped retrieve the K21 and Phil was needing a break, so I took the next 2 flights. I already had been offered a flight later in Snoopy with Robbie by this time so things were looking up!! I had picked the right day!!
There was a lot of cloud, and the very light wind was an unfavourable light southerly, so I wasnt sure what we were going to get, therefore high tows were the order of the day. I always find the decision to go a bit higher is a lot easier when instructing!! We found an unusual sort of lift on these flights, we were able to climb up the side of the clouds for some reason, and I wasnt sure if this was some sort of wave effect. A climb to about 4000 QFE along a cloud wall parallel to the NW ridge definitely puts one in mind of SE wave conditions, but even so I am not convinced there was enough wind to create this. It was perhaps some type of thermal effect combined with maybe some weak wave effect? By this time the clouds were working OK with normal thermals, earlier they'd been a bit weak.
That is the beauty of flying at Talgarth, always something unexpected!! Playground in the Sky - as Ivor Shattock once called it.
After these 2 flights, Martin the CFI had finished his flight in Snoopy and I found Robbie at the launch point so I quickly looked out some warm clothing and joined him for over an hour of great armchair flying, although it was getting a bit chilly towards the end of the flight.... Again we had the thing where we could climb up the side of the clouds, but this time well away from the NW ridge, more out in the open over the area between Talgarth and Llangorse. The thermals eventually faded out and we coasted down for a perfect landing by Robbie with several hoots on the horn as we rolled to a well judged halt near the hangar at around 5pm. Another great day flying at Talgarth.
Apart from Snoopy and the trial lessons, only one other
member flew (Mike R in his Cirrus HUR)
Monday 14 April 2014
Talgarth Triangle day...
What went well
For next time
Sunday 23 March 2014
WNW - strong ridge lift and wave to FL125
Didn't start flying until after lunch due to persistent showers passing through. In the afternoon there was strong ridge flying to be had with a WNW wind. Greville got the best height of the day in the club Junior bumping into the base of N864 at FL125. Late in the day some of the Culdrose Exped started to arrive, and as Simon and I had finished flying all the club members we managed to do their check flights (one of whom was most impressed as he hadn't flown on a ridge before)!
Monday 17 March 2014
3K in weak wave
I had called to collect the banking but the wind was blowing, cloud clearing, a tuggie
& K13 available what were we to do.
Robin and I had a very pleasant couple of hours in the air. The ridge was a little rough
as was the approach, with snifters of wave about unfortunately only getting us to 3K above
site but very enjoyable nevertheless after a flight starved winter.
Sunday 16 March 2014
NW wave day
Another lovely day although somewhat soft at times on the NW ridge which was influenced by wave effect.
Clarkie got to 7000 ft over the Beacons I believe but most wave seemed to be up to about 3000 ft and somewhat fickle. Lots of rotor cloud around so perhaps the best wave was well into the valley but I am not that brave in the K13.
6 or 7 Trial Lessons , several club and visitor check flights and everyone had a good time in the Spring sunshine.
Before I launched I took advice from those who had been up and returned for various reasons. It seemed the ridge was unreliable, and this seemed likely to be due to some sort of wave activity although I am not sure if anyone had contacted it at that point.... So my launch in FYG was to a conservative 2000 feet rather than a cheap lob onto the ridge. Also as I hadnt flown at Talgarth since December it seemed only sensible to be cautious. My 2000 foot aerotow took me to Ydas and I pulled off into a very gently rising trend, so I stuck with it. some light cloud started forming like a cap on Ydas, and I saw a spectacular "glory" on the cloud surface, a circular double rainbow with the glider shadow in the middle. Initially it appeared very large probably due to being quite close to the cloud surface. My attempts to record it with my camera did not capture the full experience, you can just about see the Glory on the first pic...!.
Averaging less than 1kt I got to 3000, them moved forward and got a similar weak climb eventually to 4100 QFE. Several others joined me, including Mike Stringer in his DG200 "KAC" and Dave Hope in his Discus "FNR" plus the newly refurbished yellow K13, I think it was necessary to take an aerotow to about 2000 to contact the wave, some gliders were never able to transition from ridge to the wave.
There was probably better lift away from the local area, radio talk suggested Usk pilots were getting good climbs to about 8K in the Blaenavon area.
Sunday 16 March 2014
10000 in NW wave - How I did it by John Clark
A while back one of our newer members asked for a "how i dunnit" type of report (sorry I can't remember who). As the Beacons needs a bit of local knowledge I thought I'd chip in here.
In my humble opinion, the Beacons work best when the wind is between NW and NE ie. 315 degrees to 045, my personal preference is NNW about 340 degrees. The wind on Sunday was 280 to 300 as measured by my C4 vario, so clearly not right for the Beacons except that there is a west facing ridge beyond Pen y Fan (Tyle Birth). This ridge looks down on the Brecon to Merthyr road near Storey Arms and wave has been contacted there on many occasions, so that ridge was my target.
I had tried unsuccessfully earlier in the day to reach Pen y Fan and established a good low point on the Llangorse ridge before getting back onto the main ridge. This had now gone out of phase with the wave and a few of us were struggling near Y Das while Dave Hope had contacted the wave above. I went along to The Twmpa which was working nicely. Looking west from Twmpa the wave was marked by cloud and it was fairly straight forward to head west and join Dave at about 4000ft (all heights QNH) above Y Das. From there I headed towards Brecon and lost only 200ft getting there - lift all the way. From there it was an easy drop onto Pen y Fan and the Storey Arms ridge, they weren't working especially well but I was able to stay about 4-500ft above the tops.
I decided to run back home down wind by following the crest of the Beacons. The first ridge behind Pen y Fan (Bry-teg) gave me a tumble drier ride then the second ridge (Cefn Ciff) gave a good boost of smooth lift so I turned into wind, the climb steadied into a 3-4kts up to 7000ft. As I came up under the airway at FL75 I had to move further west and the climb slowed, a pity really as with my earlier low point I was beginning to think of a diamond height. My little bit of personal lift eventually took me to just over 10,000ft. The wind here was 280/28. The run back home was via Cray and (almost) Builth. On the radio I could hear pilots from Usk and Shobdon calling similar heights, the local wave wasn't that well organised so I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Saturday 15 March 2014
What were the conditions like?
What did I do well?
What did I do badly?
Tuesday 11 March 2014
SE wave to 6000ft
Another very pleasant day in the sun. Not a classic East wave day as the wind was slightly south of east. The local hot spot was just north of Y Das and climbs to over 6000ft altitude were had. 7 launches in total shared between HUR, BMW (2 each) and CKV with Tony Crowden.
Sunday 9 March 2014
Soaring in the S Bowl - field slowly drying out
Sunday started with a light and variable Southerly wind which later became a moderate SE. Check flights for members and visitors alike had both K13s busy with Gordon Dennis (duty instructor) helped by Mike Codd and Tony Bartlett. Tugging duties were shared by Geoff King and me - 15 launches in total. The only single seater out was Dave Hope in his Discus - seen to be skying out in the South bowl. Martin Brock decided his new sunglasses were rubbish after a ride in K13. Shobdon pilots were heard on the radio using wave to the north of us.
Wednesday 5 March 2014
The First Flying Day of 2014!!
The first meaningful flying day since 29th December - now that must be some kind of record for the club, but not one we'd like to see get broken!!
Only a handful of us turned out, which I guess was due to the short notice given by me. Apologies but it was touch and go as to whether the airfield was going to be suitable.
As it turned out there are large areas of very usable airfield but equally there are big patches of no-go areas, one of which we got my nimbus and one of the K13's stuck in. Unfortunately this patch is directly on the take-off run from the gate. In fact it's almost in the position where the tug stands as you start your launch so at the moment only the westerly takeoff from just below the gap in the trees is usable. Even then there is a large soggy area in line with the club house that is just where you'd like to be lifting off, my take off run was much longer than you'd normally expect as the ground refused to let go of its grip and the tug was over the road, entering really wet ground, before it got airborne but we did get away without any incident.
So the day consisted of 1 flight with my Nimbus, one flight by the recently refurbished Ka13 and two flights by K13. It was perfectly soarable, if a little soft at times, with a light WSW. The westerly ridge running from the south bowl up to Y Das was working fine to 2000ft above the airfield. Also the SW side of Mynydd Troed was soarable.
Updated: 31 Dec 2014