HCV at the Junior Nationals – day two

After many, many scrubs days filled with karting and other activities we finally got a day that might be good enough for a competition task!

We eventually launched at 3pm after sitting out countless showers on the grid.

(sheltering from the rain whilst waiting to launch)

When the start gate opened myself and Tom Russell set off together towards the first turnpoint.  Getting there was rather easy as the wind was blowing towards the turnpoint so we could sit in a weak thermal and still be progressing down track.  It took about 5 climbs to get to the turn, after which we had to start heading into wind back towards the club.

After a few nice climbs by the turn I was at 4000′ and pushed on with a couple of other gliders towards the second turn.  Just after popping into the turn I found a climb at 2200′ with another gaggle which we took to almost 4000′.

At this point I went left with Alex Harris whilst the rest of the gaggle went right.  It turned out that right was the correct way to go as myself and Alex struggled to stay high and gradually got lower.

Alex was a little higher than me and decided to try and push on back to the club whereas I’d spotted a nice grass field with a DG505 in so joined him.

Alex didn’t quite make it back to the club, instead landing out a couple of km further on that I did.

It was a lovely field with a gate straight onto the main road and only a 20 minute drive from the club.

(couldn’t have picked a better field)

Thanks to Lance and Keith for picking me up.

Even better than the field was the fact that I was 15th for the day!

HCV at the Junior Nationals – day one

My first competition day!  I spent the morning rushing around getting everything ready, despite the weather not looking very promising.   Almost 70 gliders were lined up on the runway, a rather awesome sight!

(view of the grid taken from the sniffer)

Launch was originally planned for 11 but kept being pushed back until we finally started launching at 13:15.

As I was on row 12, by the time I’d released from tow there were already gliders marking thermals (at this point mainly in the blue) so I managed to find a weak climb and had my first proper experience of gaggle flying!  Flying with 30-40 other gliders in one thermal was a fantastic experience, especially when at the top and looking down a funnel of gliders.

(HCV ready for launch with Dan McCormak behind in KMF)

The weather didn’t look very good, even after having waited so long to launch.  I waited around the start for a while with quite a few gliders and set off with a bunch of them.  We flew 15k before finding any lift and by that time was at 2300′ QNH but luckily found a small thermal.

After that we seemed to be getting lower and lower finding little pockets of lift until we found a decent 3kts when at only 1300′.

(Dan Welch thermalling in Arcus ‘EW’ next to the shower)

Several of us, including Tom Russell in 566, caught some nice lift right next to a massive shower which we somehow had to get round.

I didn’t.

After trying to skirt the shower, myself and another ASW19 got low and tried to join the same thermal as a glider a couple of thousand feet above us which was the only option around.  Expectedly it didn’t work very well so I soon found myself low enough to start picking a field.  The first thing I spotted was what seemed to be a little farm strip slightly uphill and directly facing into the 20kt wind.  I then saw a motor glider taxi off it towards a hangar by the side so this seemed proof to me that the strip was landable.

The strip turned out to be very smooth and had a very friendly owner who showed me around his two motor gliders whilst I was waiting for my trailer.

(HCV pushed to the side of the strip incase any other gliders decided to land)

Rhoan, who had got back and won the day, very kindly came to pick me up so thanks for that!

I finally got back to the club at around 9pm and was pleasantly surprised after handing in my trace that I was 27th for the day!

Overall a fantastic flight during which I learnt loads.  With quite a few scrubs days appearing to be lining up I hope we’ll get some better weather towards the end of the week so we get some more flying in.