Sat, 21 Apr 2012

1Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:01, Gain: 200 ft, Distance: 0 km, Cable snap
2Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:03, Gain: 600 ft, Distance: 0 km, Others went XC but unable to connect with any lift on this smooth tow and return flight.
3Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:03, Gain: 650 ft, Distance: 0 km, Heavy rain in-bound.
4Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:03, Gain: 700 ft, Distance: 0 km, Speedy flight; no lift and landed very close to the set-up landing spot.

Spring Competition

It had been a long time since I was in the tow fields of Suffolk Coastal Floaters, so the opportunity to join them again for a two day competition was compelling. The only issue was the weather forecast, notorious April showers.

Arriving at the airfield at 10am, the wind was blowing perfectly down the runway. Most of the gliders were rigged and the final bits of the winch set-up were being put into place. I quickly unloaded and rigged my glider then attended the competition brief. There was a spot landing competition and an all out XC. No notable NOTAM's but the weather was the one to watch. By 10:30 am, the sky already looked like it was going to over develop.

Due to my late arrival I was last to launch. There had already been some notable problems with the winch ranging from cable snaps, and tangles, all of which caused a slow progression through the pilots and by the time of my first launch, I became victim of another cable snap. Fortunately it was just after my first release and I had just enough height to turn around and land close to launch.

Stormy Skies
Stormy Skies
Stormy skies over Mendlesham as the Suffolk Coastal Floaters Hang Gliding Club's competition commences.
21 Apr 2012

After the cable was repaired, I was able to jump the queue for another launch attempt. This time, despite a very strong launch propelling me skyward a little quicker than I had anticipated, I was successful with a full tow. After releasing and a brief tour of the sky I was back on the ground without even a wisp of lift on the way down.

Andy H and Tim then managed to get away, Andy making almost as far as the coast, before my next turn came around. The sky looked very grey so I opted to sit that launch out, relinquishing my launch position to the next pilot. Moments later the quad bike returned with Keith commenting that is was "Pi**ing it down at the other end of the runway". Almost as the words rolled of his tongue, the heavens opened. Some people managed to get their gliders to the hanger, but mine remained outside for the duration.

When the rain had stopped, I found a sponge in my car and started wiping my glider down. This turned out to be a great opportunity to give the sail a clean and I was able to remove mud and various amounts of sheep sh*t that had found their way on to it. A short while later I was clipped into my glider and back in the air. Like my earlier flights, I mostly found sink and decided to go for the illusive spot landing. I missed it again, but was closer than I had been.

As I waited for my turn to come around again, the heavens once again opened up and the ritual of stowing gliders in the hanger and running for shelter repeated. This time, the rain was more prolonged and the hanger became a focal point to pilots and friends. Mike kindly prepared hot drinks for everyone and the club took the opportunity to hold their AGM.

Rainbow at Mendlesham
Rainbow at Mendlesham
As the recent shower passes a rainbow is brightens the sky. The four towlines are positioned on the floor, it's now just
21 Apr 2012

Finally the rain ceased and it was decided to run a one off spot landing to conclude the competing for the day. The wind was now non-existent and the now drenched windsocks looked to be hanging their heads with disappointment. As the sun broke through we were rewarded with a stunning double rainbow arching over the Mendlesham hanger. The spot landing competition commenced.

Double Rainbow
Double Rainbow
As the gliders drip dry, a double rainbow forms of the Mendlesham hanger.
21 Apr 2012

I was one of the first to launch. This, my final tow of the day, was my most pleasurable. After a lovely smooth climb to 750 feet, I released and sped back to the spot (flying fast always puts a smile on my face). I didn't quite get the spot, but landed only metres short of it, briefly putting me in the lead, that was until Keith M landed on the spot perfectly.

With a damp glider, the prospects of a damp cold night under canvas and a job interview to prepare for on Monday, I opted to return home. Mike once again worked his culinary magic with a hog roast and after helping to clear up, I returned home. The final bonus of the day, the Dartford crossing is free after 10pm!

Flight Details

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time21 Apr 2012 / 12:00
Height Gain200ft
Flight Duration0h 01m
CommentsCable snap

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time21 Apr 2012 / 12:30
Height Gain600ft
Flight Duration0h 03m
CommentsOthers went XC but unable to connect with any lift on this smooth tow and return flight.

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time21 Apr 2012 / 13:30
Height Gain650ft
Flight Duration0h 03m
CommentsHeavy rain in-bound.

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time21 Apr 2012 / 16:00
Height Gain700ft
Flight Duration0h 03m
CommentsSpeedy flight; no lift and landed very close to the set-up landing spot.

Flying Statistics to Date 21 Apr 2012

Total Hours :
51h 41m
Longest Flight :
1h 20m
Glider Models Flown :
4
Sites Flown :
20
Best Height Gain :
3,000 feet
Total Distance :
20.4 km
Max Distance :
13.4 km
Total Flights :
213
Hill Launches :
99
Winch Launches :
99
Aerotow Launches :
15

Total Flying Statistics

Total Hours :
95h 58m
Longest Flight :
2h 25m
Glider Models Flown :
5
Sites Flown :
21
Best Height Gain :
3,000 feet
Total Distance :
67.9 km
Max Distance :
13.5 km
Total Flights :
286
Hill Launches :
156
Winch Launches :
106
Aerotow Launches :
24
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