Newsletter - September 1999
CFI's SOAP BOX
We are coming towards winter with low suns in the afternoon and getting darker sooner so here are some things to think about.
As the sun gets lower as the year draws to a close, life gets difficult especially on the approach and landing phase. Have some sunspecs handy, or better still land a little earlier and avoid the problem.
As the nights get shorter, the gap between finishing flying and sunset gets shorter. It is very easy to forget time especially high on a wave flight and be coming back when it is quite dark on the ground. It stays light at height much longer than on the ground. We are not Kinloss or Lossie with a lovely set of landing lights, not to mention other useful aids. So before you embark on your epic wave flight or 5 hours or whatever, ensure you know when night time starts and aim to be back 30 mins before. That should give a safety margin for errors in judgement.
A different subject entirely - JMY the Junior. Some people may wish to take Jimmy cross country. Here's the "red tape" bit you must cut to be able to do just that. Everybody wishing to do that MUST be current with the aircraft and be able to land it accurately. Those who do NOT have a silver C, in addition, must show some time recently prior to the day that they can land in a pre-defined part of the airfield with no altimeter using the two seater. This is the requirement for completing the Bronze-C so should easily be accomplished by all hopefuls. All the usual things apply, e.g. prior to the intended flight have a discussion with the Duty Instructor, who will make the final decision to allow you to go in Jimmy. The pilot wishing to go cross country in Jimmy is responsible for ensuring he/she has up to date 50 and 20 mil maps suitably marked up in the glider and that there is a crew ready to do the retrieve if required.
Be safe, enjoy.
Your friendly CFI - Angie Veitch
The day it all came together!
Looking back over the last few years I can identify a chain of events, which has enabled my gliding to progress beyond being content with circuits round the airfield. The first link in this chain was flying as P2 in the ASH in the Open Nationals. Jill Matthew was the other P2, and Mike Foreman was P1. This was a fantastic introduction to cross country flying at its best, culminating in a 500K flight over the West of England. I would recommend any member to take advantage of the unique opportunity that we have in Scotland to fly in competitions in our ASH.
On my return I vowed to buy a share of a glass glider, and was able to buy Teresa’s share of 767 which is the nearest thing to a Lotus 7 sports car on wings that I can think of – cheap, uncomfortable and extraordinarily fast! The second link was now in place.
Next I had to gain enough confidence in the Jantar to allow me to break the umbilical cord attaching me to the airfield, and it took the inter-club league this year finally to conquer the fear of venturing into the unknown. The atmosphere of the competition is such that you are encouraged to try to fly tasks, and to accept that a land-out is quite likely. Inspired by this, I flew 170K and got home one day, landed out another day and realised that this cross country business is not quite as scary as I thought it was. The third link in the chain!
So, fully fired up now, I entered Competition Enterprise, mainly because it was at Feshie and I had planned to spend a week up there anyway on holiday. The other reason I entered was that I knew I would have the moral support of Angie, Teresa and Robert as they entered too. I didn’t enter with any dream of success, and felt that being second last would be an achievement to be proud of! However, I was very lucky and all the gods of gliding shone on me one day during the competition and gave me the best flight of my life and enabled me to win a day in the competition.
The day looked promising from the start, warm with a 10 knot South wind. The met was not so good however, and the hoped for wave task was not to be. However a “sniffer” was sent up and reported strong thermals, and so they set a task with four turning points at Kenmore, Fort William, Milton (near Inverness) and Ballindalloch. In Enterprise you can pick any or all of the turning points, and you are scored for distance, number of turning points and speed.
All these looked miles away over moon country, and I was scared stiff! However we had all been soaring the ridges round Feshie on previous days, and the possibilities of ridge soaring were beginning to open up to me, and a look at the map confirmed that most of the way to Fort William has a gigantic South facing ridge alongside it.
Eventually I gathered up courage to launch, and was towed up to 2000 feet to where a glider had been circling, but when I got there he had gone, and so had the thermal. Damned if I was going back while I still had height, I flew on towards Kingussie and found another thermal which I shared with a Discus. Broken at first, it got stronger and we climbed to cloud base at 3500 feet. We were off! A combination of porpoising and another good thermal took me to Newtonmore and I could see my route West over Loch Laggan. This was the point when I decided to try the South facing ridges to see if they were working, and bingo, even at 3000 feet there was good lift.
After that the flight became an exhilarating ride over the mountains, first of all working my way from one ridge to another to Laggan, and then to Creag Meagaidh which towers over the North side of Loch Laggan. Fantastic lift there enabled me to fly West to another couple of mountains and eventually to Roy Bridge. Now I could see Fort William, and a straight glide would have taken me to the turning point where I new I could land. However a strong thermal took me up to 3800 feet, and made the turning point achievable without landing.
What now? The temptation was to try the same trick back to Feshie, but when I flew back to where I had found the last thermal I wasn’t able to find it again. Down to 1800 feet, thermals not working but I could see that the lochs going to Loch Ness had a lovely ridge on their North side. There were also a areas which looked landable so I proceeded up Loch Lochy with my wing tucked into the hill side. Unfortunates the wind was still due South and these ridges were only giving some reduced sink. However I had the wind behind me so I was making great speed as I flew down Loch Lochy. A field at the end – land or not? Well the next loch was a short one, and there was an area at the end that was flat and obviously farmed. I carried on, low beside the loch now, still with my wing tucked into the hillside and zero on the altimeter, which was set for the Feshie QFE!
The field at the end was quite nice, dead flat and long enough, although a fence at one end and the loch at the other were going to concentrate the mind. That was going to be the one for me, although a scream from the electric vario made me try a turn with the thought that to get away with minus 200 feet on the altimeter would have been a real thrill! It was not to be however, so I popped the wheel down and after two of the best hours of my life 767 came to a gentle halt in a very sweet field at Bridge of Oich, half way between Fort William and Inverness.
The flight won the day, not because it was the longest but thanks to the speed advantage which ridge flying gave me over the other competitors who were thermalling. It also won the John Cadman trophy for the most meritorious flight of the competition.
So that was it. Starting with being P2 in the ASH, and thanks to taking part in the Inter Club League, I won a trophy in a National competition.
I hope that by telling this story other pilots will be encouraged to take part in competitions, both as P2 in the ASH and in our Inter Club League.
The stats for Andy's trip are. Distance flown was 104 km
Time taken - about 2 & 1/2 hr making average speed of nearly 48 kph. Given the difficult soaring conditions (thermals upset by wave plus hill soaring) this was a very fast speed to achieve !
NEWS FROM THE SGA
In case you don't recognise the acronym, the SGA is the Scottish Gliding Association. It is a federation of all the civilian gliding clubs in Scotland, and its principal function is to act as liaison between the clubs and Sport Scotland, which was formerly called the Scottish Sports Council.
This is also the organisation which considers applications under the Lottery Sports Fund. Funding from Sport Scotland is becoming ever scarcer. Iain Davenport, who is designated (presumably among other things) Gliding Liaison Officer, wrote to the SGA to say that as a result of a reduction in the money available to the Lottery Fund, the policy for the distribution of money has been revised, and applications are not being accepted at present. The total budget for Lottery funding for "National" and "Regional" projects is now £500,000. The general tone of all this seems to suggest that applications for Lottery funding are less likely to succeed than they have been in recent years. In fact two recent applications from gliding clubs have been rejected at a very early stage.
Applications will still be considered, each one "on its own merit", but the limited amount of money available is bound to have an adverse effect on financial assistance to all sports, including ours.
The other major item which comes under the SGA is the ASH25. Utilisation in 1998 was down substantially, mainly because of adverse weather. There will be no change in the system of allocation of the glider to member clubs, so it is up to us to make the best use we can of this resource. One change is that for a trial period of a year, a member of a non-SGA club may fly in the ASH25 at the discretion of an SGA host club, and for this access will pay an annual fee of £15. This should boost utilisation and income to the SGA, and will meet a demand from visiting pilots.
There is a vacancy on the Operations Committee, which manages the ASH25, and clubs are invited to submit a nomination for this. The chairman is Mike Carruthers of the Scottish Gliding Union/Centre (Portmoak), and the other members are Colin Wight of Angus Gliding Club (Drumshade) and Al Greensmith of Deeside Gliding Club (Aboyne).
The SGA also continues to provide grants towards the cost of instructor training courses.
The Bank of Scotland Tercentenary Trophy for the best junior pilot went (again) to John Tanner of Deeside Gliding Club (Aboyne), and the Grampian Gliding Club Quaich for the best flight in the ASH25 to Kevin Hook of the Scottish Gliding Union/Centre (Portmoak).
The good news is that there will be no change in SGA subscription rates or ASH25 flying fees.
You may have read that John Tanner again won the trophy for the best junior pilot in an SGA member club. One of the reasons John has won this so often is that (apart from being a good pilot) he gets very little competition! So CALLING ALL JUNIOR PILOTS (that's anyone under 26). You can submit your flights to the SGA - scoring is by National Ladder rules
SOARING IN SKYE?
Alistair Robertson of Cairngorm Gliding Club now lives on Skye and is looking for pilots interested in soaring the Cuillin Hills. If there is enough interest he will arrange for a tug to provide aerotows from Broadford airstrip. You will have to provide your own glider though. There is reported to be one landable field at the base of the Cuillins! He is thinking about a couple of days between 11 and 17 September.
If you are interested contact Alistair Mondays to Fridays at Talisker Distillery on 01478-640203.
Anne has some clothing which was found in the caravan during the great clear-out in May. The garments have been laundered and await their rightful owners. There are a green Oakland fleece, large, with gilt-edged buttons, and a black-and-beige GAP Indonesian cotton pullover with a crew neck.
If they are not claimed within six weeks of the Newsletter appearing they will be donated to Oxfam.
Moving the Bus
A couple of weeks ago some damage was done to the cooker and equipment because they were not secured. The easiest way to do it is to have someone to hold the cooker and cupboard doors while the bus is moved. If this is not possible the equipment can be secured by putting the water container, gas cylinders and cool boxes in front of the cooker and cupboard doors. The important thing is not to move the bus too fast until it is straight and on the winch track. If you have any problems see me and I will show you how to do it.
Jacquie the Soup Dragon