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Nick's Airtime '09

Went to Rhossili today with Viv.  Steve Bain and Simon were up on top of the hill.  A nice day but it seemed a bit light for soaring.  However, a breeze materialised from I don't know where at  around 17:00 whereupon it became nicely soarable until sundown.  :-)

Fan G windless until 11:30 whereupon the breeze kicked in from the west.  Nice conditions ensued and it was possible to fly a good way  out front using lines of weak lift.  Some good climbs under the fluffy bits too !  - cloudbase 3500' amsl - alas, no clouds over the back!
The wind strengthened a bit from the northwest as the afternoon went on which seemed to
kill the thermals but it remained nicely soarable.  A good turnout too - faces old and new :  good to see Steve Adams on the hill again.  Victor from Abergavenny too. And from the club :- Gerry, Jared, Viv, Steve J and Max T.      :-D


Some pleasant, mellow late afternoon  soaring in overcast conditions at Heol Senni giving the weakest of thermals with occasional height gains of around 500'

02/04/09 - Ambled up to Heol Senni late afternoon as the cloud cleared away.  Arrived to find a few in the air and good conditions.  Enjoyed a nice waftabout in weak lift along with Viv, Steve Adams and some guys from the Joint Services.  Similar conditions to the day before really but the sunshine made for a beautiful evening.

Went to Cwmafan early and it seemed a tad strong but by the time I had got ready and Steve, Andy and Viv had arrived, it seemed to have dropped  off too much.  After about an hour's parawaiting and debating whether to walkup to the top takeoff, Andy H showed us the way by taking off, heading out to the left and finding some generous lift.  Thence followed, a peachey climb to cloudbase at around 3500'(t o 850').  Lots of lovely lift all around so headed off downwind which was easy for a while but upon crossing the Neath Valley, the cloud line Andy and me were tracking along melted away along with all that lovely lift(sea air pushing inland we all think!) so we landed at Resolven.  I was just getting on a bus when I spotted Steve J. coming in to land in the same place.  Oh well,  my first  taste of UK XC flying for some time!  Thanks Viv for the lift back up the hill.

Headed down to Rhossili for late afternoon hoping that the wind would have veered around to the west as the weather cleared.  Arrived to see a fair few gliders in the air and apparently they had all been flying since 13:00(How could I have doubted "Reliable Rhossili")

After a good floataround on the Sigma 7, I spotted my tandem passenger Chris arriving on the pimple so it was time to get the BI-Beta out.  I am pleased to report that the Club Tandem is in fine fettle and flying like a dream!  Thanks Gerry for the anchor!  Some nice lifty bits in the air but the sun went in at about 17:00 and then came out again after everyone had landed and packed up!      :-D

11/04 - Bust a gut to get work finished and get up to Fan G.  The sky looked good when I arrived and some good clouds were lining up to mark the XC route but the wind was very light.  Andy H launched and proceeded to float up to the heavens.  The light conditions on launch made the others justly hesitant but after a while Gareth and Tom G took the plunge and hooked into a weak one and they were slowly up and away  I was now ready and waiting....and waiting and watching the others wafting around up aloft and showing patience in the light conditions.  Then, I saw some straw wafting up on the breeze and gave it a go.....plummeted to the bottom and faced with a punishing walk up.  Steve J, Viv and Phil weren't having much luck either.  By the time I had got back up, there seemed to be no wind so we stood around for a while and waited for the mythical Fan G 4 o'clocker. And when it came through at 16:15 it was a real humdinger....the whole place lifted off - Steve was at the north end of the hill and me at the south and we converged near cloudbase at a cool 6000'

We set off tracking an Atos that had come over from Merthyr and at a point south of Penyfan I headed east to the only patch of sun on the ground and lost site of Steve who was just below me when I had last seen him.  Struggling for a climb, I headed over towards Tal Y Bont and got a good save over the hump out front.  Cloudbase again with a sailplane and then a slow transition to a huge line of active cloud going north up towards Talgarth. Cruising along, I noticed that my GPS had gone blank so I had to make an inflight battery change then I found another climb back up to 6500'  at 19:00 with another sailplane and glided out towards Hay on Wye to land at 19:20.  A great day in the hills!
Oh and the retrieves worked well too!  Big thanks to Steve J for coming to pick me up in my car after dark.    :-D

12/04 - Fan G again.  Arriving on top of the hill to find nil wind, I wondered if we had made the right call as the hill was cast in shadow and I thought maybe we would spend the afternoon sitting in the shade.  The cloud drift was southerly too.  However, as we hoped - when the sun moved around to the southwest, the cloud cover peeled back a liitle and bathed the hill in sunshine and a breeze started to come up from the southwest.

Launching mid afternoon, the conditions were alarmingly snotty low down and most of us bombed initially but Mike Thomas managed to get up nice and high but reported on the radio that it was looking shaded everywhere over the back.  Steve J got up and away soon after and was last seen at base working his way eastward along the sunny edge of very dark looking clouds.

Thereafter, a few of us got some reasonable height gains but the southwesterly became quite strong leaving us with the option of a downwind dash into the gloom or stay in the sunshine.  We stayed but Mike Thomas got up much higher again and went off towards SennyBridge to make a creditable 14km but Steve J won the day with his 23km flight to Brecon.  Conditions on the hill remained rather lively until the evening restitution which gave me enough height to float over the back and fly round in a nice arc down to the carpark.  :-)

18/04 - Abernant didn't work very well so went up to Heol Senni for an evening flight with Gerry and Stevie G.  Smooth conditions but not much restitution - I gather it had been cloudy up there for most of the day.  :-)

19/04  Heol Senni again, a gorgeous day but a hazy inversion in the morning took a while to break and clear away.  No clouds whatsoever over us but a seabreeze cloud line pushed a long way in from the coast.  Alas, thermals were too weak to get away- the best I managed was around a 1000' a.t.o. at about 16:15.  What happened to the Rasp prediction?
No matter, a good turnout and lovely weather made for a great day on the hill.  :-)

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