Really good day for this time of year. A dozen or so flights, some finding a but of wave over the windmills and later above Rotges glen. The wave was weak and patchy, with the sky changing all afternoon. We also got the K21 rigged, and might have washed it if the light hadn't been going (any excuse!)
More flying tomorrow for the last day of the year, though no sign of wave in the forecast.
Quick pre-Christmas update. The K21 is in Yorkshire for repairs and we're hoping to have it back fairly soon. The field was very soggy in places yesterday and just as soggy, but a bit colder, today. Bruce had a controlled descent to earth yesterday after finding nothing more than some reduced sink on the Rothes ridge and some drizzle on the way there. John took Richie up in 115 and flew into snow at the south end of the ridge. We called it a day when the next launch was chopped for a misting canopy.
No gliders flying today, though there were a few power flights, including Tony taking Adrian for an hour's sightseeing.
There may well be midweek flying over the holiday period. Keep an eye on the webcams, though there might also be an alert through the midweek mailing group.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and safe New Year!
We've had a weekend of flying, despite the fact that the site is pretty wet still after the recent rain. A good round of training and refresher flights yesterday, the first time we've had the K21 back online after a tricky annual inspection.
Thanks again to the 115 syndicate for lending us the twin for a couple of months.
More training going on today in very slack and variable winds. The Junior and 354 also had a couple of outings today, including Robert adding a new type to his logbook, which doesn't happen often!
We also said farewell to our old red International tractor, which has been quietly standing at the back of the site for years. No one can really remember when we last used it. But it's off to a new home (actually an old one - the bloke we originally bought it from!) and may well be gracing a farm vehicle display somewhere near you in a year or two, once it's been restored.
The airfield is still really soggy - visiting pilots be warned!
A busy weekend for us, with a good number of soaring flights both days. Saturday had some wave around from 3000 feet or so, mostly out to the west, enough to keep Phil up for an hour and a half in 753. Wind on the ground was pretty weak and across the field again, so we were changing ends to make the best of it.
The long grass caught us out a bit later in the day, with the Eurofox front wheel spat and the K21 wheel well both absolutely ram-packed with grass lifted off the field.
Today, weak southerly again, and completely blue for most of the day. Weak thermals this morning got a bit more oomph as the day went on and the K21, Junior and 354 all had soaring flights. Ian took a long tow down towards Aboyne in 115 to reposition it for the UKMSC, which starts next weekend.
Exceedingly blooming hot this afternoon, at 28 degrees. And quite a long day, with the last TM launching after 5.
This is what Toni pulled out of the tug's front spat!
A pretty wind day yesterday, but at least it was straight down the strip, letting us get some useful flying done. Training and soaring flights in HYJ and R1, though it was all a bit powerful to let Adrian go off in the Junior until the wind died down a bit in the late afternoon.
Today, we were greeted by a similar strength of wind, but this time right across the strip, gusting well over limits for the tug and with frequent showers going through. We took advantage of lulls in the wind to get the ASW15 into the workshop for its annual and move the fuselage for our simulator into its (nearly) exact position in the clubhouse, where Mike and Ellen, Robert and Colin all got the cleaning materials out and started clearing away a year's worth of workshop grime.
Next phase is to build the enclosing partition walls and work out some control connections.
At least we're getting some impression of the changes this will make in the clubhouse!
What a grand weekend! Actually flying both days is a step forward and we even had some local soaring. No-one going very far (I heard people were out towards Forres and Findhorn area yesterday) but a fairly well-filled log sheet for both days. Great to see young (reducing the club average age by a big factor!) Ian Tait back in the saddle after finishing off his degree and to know that he's got a job here, so we'll be seeing him around a good bit more. Adrian also making progress in the Junior and a god number of members around today.
We also managed to get Gary flying after a few weather-failed attempts and he seems very keen to get into proper training. All rounded off by some happy trial flights on both days.
This afternoon there was a de-rigging and packing-up exercise for 770 and 354, both of which are heading south next weekend on our wee club expedition to Wolds GC at Pocklington in sunny south Yorkshire, along with 753 and maybe Otto. We're hoping for some sunshine and decent thermals during our week there, along with flat land flying that might allow some decent cross-country aviation
Saturday was a day when cloudbase cycled from 2300 to 5000 feet, with some strong thermals around and changing ends as the wind swung from West to east and back again.
Adrian, who went solo a couple of weeks ago, had his first conversion flight in the Junior. Here looking a bit pensive as he gets comfortable in the cockpit, waiting for a light shower to pass through.
A note from our CFI:
Just a short notice to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped out in any capacity before and during the ICL weekend. The weekend started off looking like the weather was going to be against us. On Saturday we gave up on the task but plenty of people enjoyed local soaring flights. On Sunday the forecast was initially not optimistic but in the end we had a really successful day and we were able to efficiently launch the whole fleet with almost everyone getting away on the task. It’s no mean feat to host so many visitors for the whole weekend and get them all off flying. It’s even harder to do all of that and have the visitors tell us they had a really enjoyable ICL weekend. The feedback I have received has been nothing but positive and that’s really good for both the HGC and all of its members. So many thanks again to all.
While we had a big team off site at the Gordon Castle Country Fair yesterday, things were busy and exciting back at Easterton, as CFI Mike sent Adrian Morgan off solo. Huge congratulations to Adrian, who's been making the trip all the way from Ullapool, with real dedication, over the past few months!
And more congratulations to Colin Conti, who spent a busy weekend last week fitting a new fire door for us and sorting out lots of other joinery work around the clubhouse, and then re-soloed yesterday after a fair spell away. Excellent to see him back in charge!
We were on static display duties at Gordon Castle today. Lots of folk met and endless photo shots of young folk sitting in 753. Thanks to the owners for lending it for the day, and thanks to John T, John C, Andy, Ross, Ellen, Francesca and Bruce for a long day's work!
What a great weekend! Useful training sessions for Adrian and Jake yesterday and Ross today. And some enterprising and brave cross-country flying by Mike, our CFI, who bagged a 300 yesterday in his ASW15, with Tony shadowing the same task in R67. The first 300km flights from Easterton for many years. Congrats to both of them! Ian, Bruce and John T also spread themselves around Speyside.
Today there were some more xc flights, with Trevor setting a 300 and getting about two-thirds through before landing out in Rothes Glen. Bruce was down towards Loch Morlich.
Trevor's retrieve proved quite tricky when we got the trailer grounded on the way out of the field, and it took four brains and nearly an hour to get the thing out, via a different gate. Great field, BIG slope up to the road!
And a couple of trial lessons thrown in for good measure.
A surprisingly good weekend for us, considering the hefty crosswinds we had from the south. They made for some sphincter-clenching tows yesterday, and sporty doesn't really do justice to the approaches!
In between, there were rowdy thermals up to around 4,000' and several soaring flights.
Today, the wind was a tiny bit more from the southeast, so the tows were still "hands on and stay sharp" through the day. But the thermals were strong and a bit broken up and cloudbase edged up from 3,500' early on to around 4,500' in the afternoon. Again, soaring and training flights and some currency checks.
Good to see so many members out over the two days, and new ones too, including young Jake, who had a useful half hour today with Mike.
Special thanks to our brave tug pilots Stuart, John and Toni, who notched up her milestone of 300 power hours this afternoon.
The midweek group struck again today, making two days out of five for the flying week. 753, HYJ, 770 and R67 doing their stuff, with thermals to the upside of 4000' and a bit of SE wave on top of that. Thanks to Toni for the tows again and to the stalwart ground crew!
Today proved to be a great example of our midweek flying group doing its thing. Bruce, Colin, Robert, Andy and Ian all had wave flights of 2.5 hours or more, up to 10,000' and more for the transponder fits. Spread around from Dufftown to Aviemore, Lochindorb to Rothes. Smashing day! Photo is from around 8,000' over Aberlour looking north east.
No flying over the weekend - low cloud, gusty winds across the field and loads of showers going through. However, we had the Highland AGM last night with a reasonable turnout, despite the lack of a flying day!
Robert, Andy and Anne were voted back on to the board and, at the short board meeting after the AGM, Robert, Anne and Bruce were reappointed as chairman, treasurer and secretary respectively.
Prizes were awarded to the following:
Duration in a club glider: Stuart and Ellen for their epic 7 hour twice-around-the-track task at last year's UKMSC in R1;
Absolute height gain: Phil, up to 19,000' last autumn;
Ladder distance: Geddes, by a clear margin of the few ladder recorded flights;
Meritorious flight: Toni and John, for their outstanding retrieve of the Eurofox after repairs, involving a diversion to Portmoak;
CFI Shield: Bruce, for general secretarial stuff and the trailer excursion to Kent and back with the tug;
Monkey: several possible candidates, but ultimately to Phil and Trevor jointly for an incident involving R1 - nuff said!
Third great day of soaring in a row today. Half a dozen good soaring flights in weak SW wave. Solid cloud cover overhead, with the first gaps a long way West.
Cracking wave today with half a dozen flights up to FL100 and beyond. Some very sporty tows and surprisingly bouncy high level rotor, but lots of smiley faces!
A beautiful, crisp day for scenic soaring. Big blue sky and enough wind to make the ridge work. This pic taken by Anne from the Eurofox. Stuart and Robert in R1.
We had a handful of flights yesterday on the ridge, the first of the year. A more unusual visitor popped in today, despite the low cloudbase that prevented any glider flying. A jolly from Easter, a quick cup of tea and off again before the weather clagged in any more.