Sat, 26 Jun 2010

1Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:14, Gain: 1354 ft, Distance: 0 km,
2Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:05, Gain: 900 ft, Distance: 0 km,
3Sting 3:168 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:06, Gain: 900 ft, Distance: 0 km,

Suffolk Thermals

The previous evening was of a heavy drinking nature, so my usual early start didn't happen and I arrived at Mendlesham shortly before noon. The temperature gauge in my car was already reading 25°C so it was certainly going to be a hot day!

Whilst I rigged I watched a few launches and landings. The wind was blowing from an easterly direction straight down the runway. The sky was blue and watching gliders rapidly sinking back towards the ground hinted there was a lot of sink around.

It wasn't long before I was at launch and starting my tow. It felt pretty rough to start with as my glider yawed hard to the left; a couple of nudges got me back on track before the same thing happened again. At around 700 feet ATO and probably with at least 100 more feet of tow still on the line I concluded this yawing was a result of a small punchy thermal somewhere very near by and opted to find it. A quick waggle of my legs and I was off.

My left wing was still lifting so I nudged the glider in that direction and was rewarded with lift. Maintaining my bank as I started to 360 and drift with the thermal was difficult as it felt like my glider was trying to wind in, but after a few orbits I was back above launch and my vario was reading 1,000 feet and climbing. I was drifting towards Mendlesham's transmitter and after a few more 360's I was starting to get uncomfortable with its proximity. My altitude was now 1,200 feet and as I dipped in and out of the lift I found myself slightly above then slight below the transmitter's summit. Not being confident enough to fly over the top I turned away from the lift and headed in a south westerly direction towards the A140.

On a previously flight I'd made it to the A140 but not all the way back, but with far lighter winds this time I fancied my chances. Arriving over the A140 with 1,300 feet between me and the ground I turned back towards launch, pulled my VG on, stuffed the bar and started my upwind return journey.

Typically, I arrived with plenty of height to spare and started 360'ing behind launch to lose some height. Because the fields were now in crop, Keith had established a £1 crop landing fee - this focussed me perfectly on a good landing and I was able to flare perfectly landing on my feet in the middle of the runway.

My second launch wasn't as rewarding as my first as I connected with minimal lift, only maintaining for a short while before returning to launch. It was certainly luck of the draw when it came to hooking a thermal or not.

Back at launch I heard my phone go. It was Steve B who'd managed to get away and needed recovering. I was keen to get out of the sun to cool off so opted to recover him. David assisted by navigating and we soon found Steve and glider.

Later I was back at Mendlesham preparing for my third launch of the day. After giving the all out I was accelerated abruptly forwards, pulling the bar in a little as I climbed to maintain a good airspeed everything went quiet. I looked down thinking the weak link had failed, but the bridle and line were still there. I flared and landed then realised that the line had broken at the worst possible time! Fortunately, a good landing and recovery.

After the line was repaired and manually pulled back out it was attempt two. This time shortly after my feet left the ground the weak link failed. Another failed launch followed by a safe touch down; this wasn't my day!

Third time lucky and I was away without event. It was now after 5pm and the air was lovely and smooth and I enjoyed a gentle sink back towards launch. Typically, just as I set up my final landing approach my vario beeped. I was too low to 360 and make use of it so tried to burn the excess height off by stuffing the bar and creating as much drag as possible. I landed one third the way down the runway and with the long walk back with glider I concluded my day.

Flight Details

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time26 Jun 2010 / 00:00
Height Gain1354ft
Flight Duration0h 14m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time26 Jun 2010 / 00:00
Height Gain900ft
Flight Duration0h 05m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAirBorne Sting 3:168
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time26 Jun 2010 / 00:00
Height Gain900ft
Flight Duration0h 06m
Comments

Flying Statistics to Date 26 Jun 2010

Total Hours :
35h 50m
Longest Flight :
1h 15m
Glider Models Flown :
3
Sites Flown :
16
Best Height Gain :
2,508 feet
Total Distance :
7.0 km
Max Distance :
7.0 km
Total Flights :
143
Hill Launches :
81
Winch Launches :
62
Aerotow Launches :
0

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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