Posted by: 13rob | April 7, 2016

Apr 6 – At last some flying

A fairly limited area of forecast reasonable conditions. We had a day of flying in the area to the North and West of Locarno and Lake Maggiore. Very pretty but always framed by a lot of cloud.


The morning grid of around 35 gliders and 10 self launchers.



Some views from 13, whilst breath-taking, the low cloud made any serious cross country impossible. But a new(ish) area for us so a chance to enjoy the scenery.

Posted by: 13rob | April 4, 2016

4 Apr – Steaming trees


Nothing but steaming trees today, a very soggy airmass and no chance of flying. All we get is tales of how they flew everyday this time last year!

Posted by: 13rob | April 2, 2016

San Vittore – Switzerland

IMG_1239.JPGLanding at San Vittore after the first flight for 13.

The swiss gliding groups get special permission to fly from San Vittore during each Spring, for just 2 weeks. For the rest of the year it is closed with just occasional use by the Swiss Army’s helicopters. It is on the South side of the Alps a few kilometres East of Locarno. This year we had the opportunity to join them, thanks to Peter and Hans-Peter from the Beromunster club

In the picture I was flying with Hans-Peter, who co-incidently featured on my last post, flying in Namibia.

Posted by: 13rob | November 21, 2015

20 Nov – Namibian Grand Prix

It sounds very grand, but it was a great way to finish the “Flying with the Champions” program in Namibia. 5 Arcus from Kiripotib and 1 from Bitterwasser joined together over Pokweni and ran a 280km race which took us over the 3 gliding sites in Namibia ending overhead Bitterwasser.


As you can see yet another blue day, so a good way to use such a day. All gliders completed the task within a few minutes of each other with speeds around 125kph.


Some of the guys after the last flight. Richard and Hans-Pieter (2nd and 4th from left) two of my students for the week. Phil (Left), a fellow instructor. For the record Richard and I came 3rd, though we don’t know if we picked up any penalties yet.

Posted by: 13rob | November 20, 2015

19 Nov – Late afternoon convergence

A good day was forecast with some clouds in the North East. Michael and I were allocated the Arcus E, an electric motored Arcus. Unfortunately, the radio was having problems so instead of joining the others in a flight to the NE we did our own task to Mariental and Stanspriet.


Mariental and Hardap Dam on the Fish River

We then noticed some clouds a long way to the North. It looked like they were about 150km away close to Kiripotib, so we headed North. We had a good climb under the first and ran Westward towards Reheboth before turning and discovering a convergence which took us at some speed and height towards Gobabis.


Heading along the convergence, with a cloudbase of 18,000+

We flew 180km along it before turning back to Kiripotib and flying home at more than 200kph including the headwind. The arrival at Kiripotib was very windy due to the arrival of cooler air from the NW undercutting and creating a big area of lift. Fascinating flight.


D-KWKU, the electric powered Arcus

Posted by: 13rob | November 18, 2015

18 Nov – Group task to the West

Yet another blue day, though the thermal forecast suggested decent climbs. So we set a task to the West (Gerbaud) and South (Maltahoehe) and back around 470km. In the event a group of 7 gliders completed the task with speeds around 125kph. A lot of fun.


Patterns on the ground near Kleine Aube on the Western plateau of Namibia.


Distinctive pans within the dunes North of Bitterwasser on the last leg.


My partner today flying in an Arcus M, was Michael S from Canada

Posted by: 13rob | November 17, 2015

17 Nov – We go West

The forecast, once again favoured the NE, with the chance of cumulus and some high bases. 4 days in a row to Gobabis and the NE was too much so Hans-Pieter and I decided we would go West and see how the weather was. For blue conditions it was pretty good with good thermals going to 10,000′ and later 12,500′, the visibility was fantastic so we enjoyed the sight-seeing too. Here are some of our sights.


The amazing orange dunes of Namibia. That little white mark is a glider, we were at 10,000′


The mountains surrounding Windhoek, but all inside their control zone, so this is as close as we get.


A ring of hills NW of Kiripotib displaying a colourful mix between mountain and desert.


Posted by: 13rob | November 16, 2015

16 Nov – Botswana again

Hotter again today and some decent climbs from early on. The only place to find clouds today was again in the North East where there were plenty. Good climbs and eventually a cloudbase at 18500′. We had a task but this required a route into the blue over Botswana, when a street along the border drew most pilots.


This was the afternoon view of the sky in the North East showing the cu around 18,000′


Here, Richard, my student for the day enjoying a blast in the Arcus M. That blast gave us a flight of 6hrs 50 and 805 kms, so things are improving.

Posted by: 13rob | November 15, 2015

15 Nov – Botswana and back

A hotter day today, so thermals were reasonable though still blue around Kiripotib. The best weather was reserved for the NE corner of the gliding area where it meets with Botswana. After an hours flying to the NE we eventually reached the better skies and cumulus. After a couple of decent climbs we had a great climb to 17,000′ and made Buitepos, the Border post with Botswana. Hans-Peter my partner in the glider, was surprised that at 10km to go, the TP looked almost below us but then we were 5km straight up.


The straight line in the centre of the picture is the Namibian/Botswana border, Botswana on the left. You can also see that stronger winds aloft were moulding the clouds into wave bars. This wasn’t helpful as it made climbing in the thermals surprisingly difficult. A nice day nevertheless.

Posted by: 13rob | November 14, 2015

14 Nov – Blue skies over Namibia

Our first day, but with only 32 degrees forecast, it was going to be blue and rather late in starting. In the end we launched around 1pm and after half an hour climbing slowly we set off for Gobabis in the North East. Not a great day but we did reach Gobabis and were rewarded with a few high cumulus in that area. We managed 12,000′ in rather weak broken lift, the clouds which we never reached were probably 3000′ or 4000′ higher.


The endless blue skies, looking South East along the Eastern dunes, from Arcus HB-2482 “AX”

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