Posted by: 13rob | September 7, 2016

Sep 6 – Nice afternoon


The local Llanbedr hills after the low cloud cleared. Guest Blogger: Liam Bennett

The day started rather poor, with a gloomy outlook of “it’ll be flyable but not very soarable” during the morning briefing. However the optimists unpacked most of the hangar and got ready for the mass tow out to the launch point mid-way up Runway 15. After waiting a while for it to clear up, everybody decided to retreat to the cafe to avoid the drizzle and have lunch. After lunch the weather improved with a light wind (about 8 knots) directly down the runway and along the Barmouth ridge, the cloudbase increased to around 2000ft and cleared up with enough gaps in to make aerotowing higher possible. So we towed out and lined up for a stream launch. JWD was first, followed by 62 and myself in O8. By the time I released from the tow at about 2300ft JWD was already rejoining the circuit to land. Before launching Rupert and I discussed trying “the knob” as it appeared to be angled almost directly into wind. So Rupert and I tried “the Knob” and it was weak but giving between zero to 1.5 knots, at 2200ft the wind was around 12 – 16 knots (according to the oudie!). There was a large amount of cloud which was formed at the top of the ridge due to the moist air condensing as it rised, this covered the top of the ridge, forcing us to stay high and be extra cautious given the low viability around the edge of the cloud. Graham in KNV was convinced to try the Barmouth ridge, however this didn’t pay off and he ended up joining us quite a bit lower. Robert John in 26E also climbed out under his engine to Barmouth and ran the ridge back, also getting half a knot down the entire way and ended up soaring the same small stretch of “the knob” Eventually more gliders joined us and it got rather run sporty having 8 gliders all within 200ft of each other trying to share a 1km stretch of ridge, which was still covered by the cloud, making it rather difficult to see. Although the views were spectacular. Eventually a few gliders left and typically after they landed the clouds disappeared allowing us to get closer to the ridge and thus easier to make use of the weak lift. Rupert then suggested we try the ridge to the North of “the knob”. Robin Hodge and I then pushed north to the next ridge. Arriving at 75 knots (which feels much faster in an ASW15) straight into 4 knots of rough lift followed by very strong turbulence and a bipolar vario, after a few S turns we worked out we must be in the rotor of the ridge to the south and perhaps it wasn’t the best place to be soaring! We both bailed out (and surprisingly Rupert was watching from the smooth and gentle lift of “the knob”) and  I returned back to the airfield to land.

The day certainly was better than forecast, and the majority of us had great flights, with Rupert in 62 winning the day with just under 3 hours. Numerous check flights were also completed in JWD today, with Nathan Hampson-Jones, Sammy Venables and Roger Rhodes all cleared to fly solo. Tomorrow is looking promising so hopefully we’ll have a lot more fun and possibly some trips to Snowdon!



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