Tuesday dawned bright and sunny! Believe it or not, it was actually very cold last night, there was even a frost in the early hours of the morning. The differential in temperature between the night time temperature and the daytime temperature can actually be very good for gliding, and this clearly is what the Director thought as he had us all rigging and gridding the gliders before the 10:00 briefing.
The set task was 272km Lasham – Newbury – Northampton – Silverstone – Andover – Lasham. Being in Class B, we were second on the grid behind Class A and whilst waiting for the first group to launch, there was a heavy hail and rain shower. The Mosquito is a complete disaster in the rain whilst flying and practically falls out of the sky, so definitely not my favourite weather. The glider had to be completely dried before I could take off, but there were obvious showers around and the forecast for it to become worse later in the day.
I started the task at 12:46, one of the first to leave in an attempt to get ahead of the rain showers. I progressed as far as Newbury and then instead of turning North, I kept going West to fly around a huge shower that had developed to the North of Newbury. I think a few other pilots wondered what on earth I was doing, but soon realised what the problem was ahead and began to follow me. Ahead was a large blue hole, but I could see a small cumulus developing so I flew towards that and fortunately found a decent climb. Somehow though, I never did easily connect with the thermals easily each time and I did find it rather a struggle up North to Northampton. As I arrived at Northampton, I switched the navigation device to map as I always do to ensure that I correctly rounded the turning point, only for it to switch to FLARM and the map positioning where other FLARM users are, only this wasn’t showing anyone else because it has to be set to ‘Privacy Mode’ when flying in competitions, so that you cannot cheat and use this to see where everyone is. I tried switching various switches, but couldn’t get rid of the FLARM screen, which panicked me a bit because if it stayed like that, I wouldn’t be able to use it to calculate my final glide. Eventually, I switched the screen to TP and then Task, and it righted itself…there’s new instrumentation for you; I must have touched a button unintentionally.
The run through Silverstone and around Andover went reasonably well with higher cloud bases and I finished the task at 16:23 (3:36) which put my speed at 82.4km/h, which is really not fast enough at all. I knew I was struggling, especially up the first track. The winner did the task at 102km/h. Must try harder…..
I must tell you what I got up to last night…Well as I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve taken up running with some of my colleagues at work and it’s something I intend to keep on doing (so long as my right knee allows anyway). I had measured the perimeter track around Lasham in my car and it is exactly 3 miles – that is a distance that I’m determined to cover before the end of the week. So early last evening, I changed into my running gear, grabbed the dog and off we went in the rain. Now, I’m not exactly keen on running past the clubhouse at Lasham in a sweaty exhausted state, so rather than run completely around the peri-track, I decided to have a go at running half way round, to the opposite side of the airfield, and then retrace my steps back to the caravan. I’m pleased to say that I completed the whole run without stopping! Three miles may not seem a lot, but it’s a huge distance and I was really pleased with the achievement. By the way, Django also completed it and he really hates the rain!