Sun, 5 Apr 2009

1Target 16 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:02, Gain: 300 ft, Distance: 0 km,
2Target 16 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:03, Gain: 400 ft, Distance: 0 km,
3Target 16 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:03, Gain: 450 ft, Distance: 0 km,
4Target 16 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:04, Gain: 500 ft, Distance: 0 km,
5Target 16 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:05, Gain: 600 ft, Distance: 0 km,
6Target 16 : Mendlesham (T) Duration: 00:05, Gain: 800 ft, Distance: 0 km,

Return to Suffolk

Another trip to Suffolk's Mendlesham Airfield. With the forecast predicting an easterly wind, the set-up was the opposite orientation to that of my previous visit. The drive up from West Sussex took a little longer this time, mostly contributed to the exceptionally large abnormal load travelling along the M25.

I eventually arrived at Mendlesham and after finding a track that led to the opposite end of the runway (we're not supposed to drive along the runway), I dropped off my glider before returning my car to the hanger.

Walking the length of the runway, I retuned to my glider where I rigged it and slipped it to one side. Soon after, towing commenced.

Tow 1

The wind was non existent, possibly slightly tailwind? After giving the "All Out!" instruction I was hauled forward but not upwards - damn, these nil wind launches require you to fun fast! My first cable release was a little premature and as the full tension transferred from the top line to the bottom, the bridle cut into my left hand. It hurt like hell, but I had to concentrate on my flying. A short while later I top released, probably around 400 ft and I started heading back to launch. I wasn't that high and I wasn't sure if I'd make it all the way back. I didn't, but squeezed a good landing in as close as I could. I then noticed my control frame was covered in blood, a result of my premature bridle release leaving a lovely rope burn through the skin on my left hand. Ouch - I must get some gloves!

Tow 2

There was a little more lift now and more of a cross-wind. It appeared to be more southerly than easterly, so much for the forecast! To make things easier, a launch trolley was now in use. Unfortunately, after its first use, both the leading axles were bent rendering it useless! When it was time for my second tow, it would be another foot launch along with a very sore left hand! This launch went much better and I was able to gain a little more height during the tow and was able to land back at the launch area.

Tow 3

The launch area was getting busy and there was some confusion as to who was up for next tow. To address this issue a helmet queue was formed, that is, we place our helmets in order of launch. My helmet ended up pretty close to the start so it wasn't long before I was hauled along the runway and up into the air again! Conditions were improving and one lucky pilot had already vanished into the clouds somewhere. I was less fortunate, managing to bump and probably bounce off a few lumps of rising air. I squeezed in a few 360s but didn't really connect with anything and before I knew it, I was landing close to launch again.

Tow 4

Steve had already launched and was flying just to the left of the runway and another pilot was walking his glider the length of the runway back to takeoff. So a perfect time to launch! It was quite interesting passing Steve heading in one direction and myself winching in the other! I was going up and Steve slowly heading down. With each tow of the day I was gaining more and more height, mostly contributed to the increasing easterly wind, now blowing down the runway. This of course resulted in a longer return to earth with a few tantalising lumps of rising air to turn in, none of which really took me upward, just helped me stay up a little longer!

Tow 5

An uneventful flight until the landing! I landed very close to the takeoff area but as I flared a thermal gust caught the nose. I was able to get my feet on the ground but the glider lifted further. The keel touched the ground and like a pole vault, the glider headed more and more vertical. I was now convinced a ground loop was imminent! I shrieked a cry of help, but no-one heard and it was at that point the breezed eased and I was able to drop the nose to a more favourable position.

Tow 6

This was my last tow of the day and this was to be a spot landing competition. It was an extremely good tow with a reasonable wind almost straight down the runway. The top release was around 800 feet and I found myself directly above the winch. After wiggling my leg, I released then flew over the ploughed field trying to find some rising air. This had very limited success and I was now on my way to attempt a spot landing! I think it was Keith that had launched before me and he was having more success finding lift. For a moment I thought we'd both converge at the landing spot at the same time, but I was descending much quicker. I landed close'ish to the spot, but not on the runway! Keith however, did a much better job and ultimately won the competition!

After packing up after a full day I contemplated heading to the pub, but the 122 mile return journey won out and I hit the road in an attempt to get back home at a fairly reasonable hour.

Mendlesham Winch Launch
One of my winch launches on an Aeros Target and Mendlesham in Suffolk.

00:00:14

Sunday 5 Apr 2009
Perfect Landing
After being winched, I perform a rare perfect landing on my Aeros Target. Filmed at Mendlesham in Suffolk.

00:00:06

Sunday 5 Apr 2009
Mendlesham Launches and Landings
A collection of short-clips of the launches and landings at the Suffolk Hang Gliding Club's Mendlesham tow field.

00:02:19

Sunday 5 Apr 2009

Flight Details

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time5 Apr 2009 / 00:00
Height Gain300ft
Flight Duration0h 02m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time5 Apr 2009 / 00:00
Height Gain400ft
Flight Duration0h 03m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time5 Apr 2009 / 00:00
Height Gain450ft
Flight Duration0h 03m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time5 Apr 2009 / 00:00
Height Gain500ft
Flight Duration0h 04m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time5 Apr 2009 / 00:00
Height Gain600ft
Flight Duration0h 05m
Comments

Flight TypeWinch Launch
GliderAeros Target 16
SiteMendlesham
Launch Date/Time5 Apr 2009 / 00:00
Height Gain800ft
Flight Duration0h 05m
Comments

Flying Statistics to Date 5 Apr 2009

Total Hours :
22h 21m
Longest Flight :
1h 05m
Glider Models Flown :
2
Sites Flown :
11
Best Height Gain :
1,056 feet
Total Distance :
0.0 km
Max Distance :
0.0 km
Total Flights :
78
Hill Launches :
66
Winch Launches :
12
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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