At the Mynd
Four of us have arrived and sussed out the bar. There were some exciting roads to contend with on the way up to the ridge-top site, but both the cars made it! The weather seems to be changing very quickly indeed, so forecasting is tricky to say the least, but we're hopeful of some good flying tomorrow.
We'll keep this post updated with the latest news of our trip, so check back soon. They'll be pictures in the gallery, too.
Sunday 8th April: We set to work this morning clearing a minor snow drift from in front of the doors before unpacking could begin. Malcolm jumped in the K21 and had a great flight, with a spectacular practice approach and go-around back on to the ridge. Then the cloudbase and the showers closed in, so we retired to the clubhouse for some lunch.
Conditions improved greatly after lunch, and everyone got the chance to enjoy themselves on the ridge. Zooming along below the top of the hill, machine-gunning the winch driver -- it makes a great change from winter circuits at Gransden, especially for Keshav who started gliding only this year and had never been aloft for more than 8 minutes! There was some wave lift around and some managed climbs in the smooth air up to 4000'; Malcolm took advantage, staying up for exactly two hours in the club K23 to complete his Cross-Country Endorsement -- so when the hangar doors were closed at about half past eight, the first round was on him.
Bar banter centred around new and exciting launch methods, most of which involved a really long metal pole in some way or other. Forecast: Monday is looking a bit rainy, possibly a clubhouse day, but Tuesday looks promising.
Monday 9th April: Rain. Pinball. Silly board game. Bed (pending completion of silly board game).
Tuesday 10th April: A great flying day with a moderate westerly on the ridge. Julian (an instructor from our home club at Gransden Lodge) arrived to help out with instruction and definitely earnt his beer, completing more than half of his required hours of instruction for this year in a single day! The single-seater also saw plenty of air-time, with Malcolm, Graham and James all having flights in the K23.
There are some pictures appearing in the gallery; more to follow soon!
Wednesday 11th April: The winds had dropped right down today but there was still plenty of lift to be had. After we got the hangar unpacked, I got in the front of the K21 with Julian instructing. We thermalled away and headed for some promising clouds, finding strong smooth lift in front of them. We climbed up underneath a shelf of cloud, then headed out over the valley. A couple of sideslipping exercises helped to lose the height and we were soon back on the ground. Meanwhile James and Malcolm were busy playing "after you Claude" to jump in the single-seater K23 until after all the best lift had died away! This was Malcolm's last day with us at the Mynd before he headed off to France to go skiing (lucky so-and-so). It's great to have another more experienced pilot in the club (even if he did originally fly with Warwick UGC).
Thursday 12th April: Julian went home today but not before completing his required instructional hours for the whole year -- in three days flat. We're really grateful for your help Julian, we got loads of training done and it's always good to take some pressure off the local instructors. Graham got soaring in the K23; James compensated by taking lots of launches in it. Jono got a nice long flight in the K21 with Julian. Then I jumped in for a couple of short flights, including a exciting and rather awkward simulated cable break, doing a 180 degree turn to land back up the field. After that I flew it solo briefly, dodging showers and coming back before the approaching storm got too close.
Friday 13th April: Fairly calm conditions made for a perfect opportunity for me to convert to the single-seater, so I jumped in the K23, climbed away from a moderate winch launch, and promptly did my 2 hours soaring flight while everyone else was enjoying their lunch. The thermals were strong and it was easy to stay up once you got high. The K23 is very straight-forward to fly and it was a lot of fun -- a flight I'll remember for a long while! James took a spin the K8 and floated around in that for 45 minutes or so. Then later in the day Graham and I took turns to throw the 23 into a difficult sky, managing only a few minutes each before the ground came back up to meet us. Jono and Keshav both had good flights with Rob (one of the MGC instructors) in the DG505, taking the chance to fly something a little shinier than K21s.
All in all it's been a fantastic expedition! We've managed 27.5 hours of flying between us -- not bad at all for a ridge site with all the associated weather. Thanks to all the instructors who've helped us out this week, the catering staff for the excellent food (definitely to be recommended!), and to everyone at MGC for being so helpful and welcoming. We'll be back!