Buckminster Expedition 2016

For the 5th year a group of Milfield pilots made the trip South to Saltby, home of the Buckminster Gliding Club. Sadly, this year, we were missing some of our regulars, Alastair, Bill and John but, as usual we were made welcome by the Buckminster members, many of whom have visited us over the years for their wave expedition. Saturday and Sunday were both soarable days but Chris Davison set tasks on Monday to Thursday. Keen to provide encouragement to have a go at Gold /Diamond tasks Chris set a 303km task to West Burton Power station (GA2), Newmarket and back. At one point all of us were to be seen on Flarm radar, along with a Buckminster glider and Robbie Tatlow in his Janus, approaching the power station. This led to Stuart Black christening us the Milfield Wanderers ! Condition were difficult so all except Robbie gave up. Robbie got around Newmarket but was watched on Flarm slowly descending into the Peterborough & Spalding club's site at Crowland. Although further 300km + tasks were set each day we found ourselves trying 100km tasks out to Crowland. Having beaten Buckminster's 100km best speed achievement spurred on the locals and George Risk walloped us all ! At nearly 100kph it was an impressive flight, even more so when cloudbase was, at best 4000' but down to 3000' as you approached Crowland.

The Flatlands leading out to Crowland beyond the A1
The forecast for Friday was for heavy rain all day and for Saturday, howling gales so an early departure was made - although I think we were all ready for a rest ! At the end of our trip we had done nearly 58 hours flying from 20 launches and covered more Kms in the week than any of us have in the last couple of years. A great trip.

Crowland's that way !

Milfield Wave - Sunday 17th July

At what should be the height of the thermal season what do we get at Milfield ? Wave ! To be fair the RASP forecast did show wave, although not particularly strongly. We started off towing to the Tors and thence to Cheviot and, after a while hill soaring, the wave started.

This is the wave forecast for around 1000'. If you look closely there is a slightly stronger patch just to the SW of Cheviot and that is where the first contact was made. It gave 2 - 3kts up to around 6500' where there was a layer of cloud. The sky was quite confused and it was hard to decide where to go but, going on past experience a trip downwind to S of Wooler took your blogger straight into solid lift.

This is the RASP forecast for around 5000' and it shows a strong band of lift. It actually gave a pretty steady 3kts+ from around 5,500' up to about 11,500'. At that point a bit of a search then gave another climb which took me to just a fraction under 14,000'. The cloud cover was thickening by this time and so descending and flying down to near Alnham I met drizzle. The return, going back over to Cheviot and along the Tors was all through patchy rain and, shortly after landing this became quite heavy and we called it a day. What a day !

The view on the way up looking NW - not looking particularly promising above

but with 3.7kts on the averager there was still some way to go
Note to self : next time you photograph your knees make sure you have clean jeans on !