24/4/99 - Mike Andrews, 7.1km from Frocester
Last Saturday 24th April was the first time I had had a chance to fly since 27 March. I ignored the fact that Simon et al had gone to Merthyr, as Wendy on the Blorenge was saying NNW, and headed for Frocester where there were a number of HGs and PGs.
Despite v promising sky, lift was poor and very small. Despite this stayed up 30 mins. before finally dropping out. After stopping for a leisurely sandwich, I had been up over an hour (somebody on the ground got their canopy over a tree) when I caught some bubbles of lift as the wind increased and went more westerly. I gradually worked my way up to +600 ft. I had noticed a sailplane circling out in front and had tried to reach it. I ended up going over the back with about 800 ft and a blue thermal. I was quickly joined by two sailplanes. I cored the middle as best I could and they went round me.
It was hard to concentrate on the lift as well as two aircraft and where I was going. I had been warned over the radio by Tom (surname unknown) on the ground that the wind was now strong. By then I was at + 2000 ft under a blue sky and nearing Selsley common. Here the gliders headed for home (Nympsfield) and I picked up a 4m/sec up which encouraged me to head for the largest open space I could see to the ESE - Minchinhampton Common.
I was concerned about continuing a downwind flight into airspace. I picked up more lift over the escarpment but decided that in the strong wind I had better land in a nice big area so didn't linger in the lift and landed at the tail end of the common where I ended up being dragged a short distance before I could control the canopy in the wind. From there a kind local resident gave me a lift back to my car.
Both in the scratching and strong thermals I was very pleased with my Swing Astral. I never had a single tuck despite some turbulence. I was the only pilot to get away and I think I had the best of the soaring too, certainly in terms of duration. 30 mph on the speed-bar is very handy on occasions like this.
Start: well forward of Coaley Peak at Frocester 792012, turn point at mid Selsley Common, landing E end of Minchinhampton common 863014. 8 km.