6/08/04 - Jim Mallinson, 47.7km from Golden Ball

Hi Tim,

I had two fantastic flights on Friday and Saturday.

Here are the details of Friday's:

6/8/04 Glider Gradient Avax
TO Milk massif SU 106 637 1200hrs
LZ Aldworth SU 556 794 1420 hrs
Witness for everything Hugh Miller
Distance 47.7km

I was flying with Jerome Maupoint and Hugh Miller, hoping to get some shots of UK flying for Cross Country. The job was done - crop circles, stone circles and white horses topped by beautiful fluffy clouds.

Saturday's flight was an absolute epic. About 117k, from the Milk massif again. Unfortunately, I think we might have clipped Lyneham ATZ. The GPS was working just fine as we climbed above 3500' near Avebury and over Lyneham's stub. But then the batteries ran out as we were negotiating our way around the ATZ circle. Reading the map, thermalling and herding Jerome as he did asymmetric spirals to get the perfect shot from his dangle-mount was somewhat tricky. I've sent the tracklog from my Compeo to Rich Westgate. I'm fairly sure Lyneham wasn't operational anyway but I don't suppose that makes any difference if we did infringe.

Somewhere near Cirencester I heard a shout from Hugh, looked ahead and saw a sailplane going vertically upwards. It then looped, went under Hugh and went on its way. That evening I got a text message from Richard Westgate, saying "Mmm, three pg's, one blue glider trailing a probe... My bro says hi!" Hugh said he'd been looped by him before, 5 years earlier, somewhere near Nottingham. It's a small world, the sky!

We flew over Gloucester, Malvern and on to land near Tenbury Wells in Herefordshire. Like the day before we all landed in the same field, with VERY big grins on our faces.

Anyway, I won't tell you more, because there will be a big spread in Cross Country. I've had a sneak preview of some of the photos and they are awesome. Like Brazil, but better!

See you soon,