After all the time spent learning to aerotow I finally managed to get away today and put in a few miles, not many, but each one felt like a gift… each one made all the better by being in the company of Ozzie, again in the air for the first time since Slovenia.
The day started earnestly getting the microlite out and up to the field the sail rigged the operation organised, almost everything was done nice and fast. We all left sorting our own gliders until after everything else was ready to go.
Ozzie had another briefing, shorter than the last but highlighting that we needed to get our names on the list creating a slight race to get our names on quickly sorting the launch order, luckily I was near the top… I had seen Taka glide off for a good looking cloud then saw Ozzie launch then is was me. After a rather sporting first few hundred feet, with my new glider for the first time, I released at 2000ft and aimed straight for where I could see Ozzie circling.
Made a slight error thinking he was coming over to wave when actually I was getting in the way of him climbing, but since I found this out when Oz was holding a beer I bought him it did not seem so bad… then – sorry Oz –
The flight started ok but the lift promised on the lapse rate charts seemed to be elsewhere and once we started to journey it became progressively more difficult to find and use so it did not take too long before I had to select a field.
Looking at it afterwards I think it seems leaving the last cloud I had found over the ridge was the mistake that lead to us both landing. I had reached cloudbase and lost sight of Ozzie so I wanted to clear off soon. I went for other clouds I had seen but they were not as solid looking as the one we were in. I was keen to move forward thinking that Ozzie would be too and also that the sea air may get us. Time would have let me assess if the clouds were building or collapsing.
If you look at Taka he managed to stay high over the same area and then continued to Ashford for 72km. Patience and staying with that cloud until we saw something more solid to go to may have been the better option and kept us high. Possibly being on our own would have helped as our focus would have been on the air totally and not each other. For me I was able to split my focus although this meant that I was not mindful of Ozzie while I was feeling the air and when I was looking at Ozzie I felt I was flying through the air rather than in it.
My landing was pants – undershooting the upslope I was aiming for ended ignominiously, almost, in a ditch which had an almost invisible electric fence running along it – one day Ill have a good landing…
Thanks to Steve Marnier for kindly picking us both up from our various fields…
PS – no real comparison to others in the same air…