20/06/02 - Mike Andrews, 10.7km and 24.5km from Combe Gibbet

Hi Tim

Congratulations on your epic flights with Martin. Why do I always seem to be flying on my own?! My timing was not great. I was surprised to see Adrian Thomas who launched with me, head north and disappear towards Oxford in what looked plaqued-out sky. Later he came back and overflew me. What was he up to? Of course his canopy could penetrate a lot better than mine.

A batch of pgs and hgs had got away as I arrived. Launching about noon, I got a thermal pretty quickly but found it hard to get high without drifting way back. Finally gave it a go with cb about 2,500 ft - flew back over the wind-generator. I found more weak lift but there was little sun on the ground and no clouds. I had the pleasure of out-climbing a sailplane. Landed at an attractive farm called Woodcott to find another TVhgpc pilot (John Moore I think) had just packed up there after his first flight of the year and his first XC. I encouraged him to take the Pilot exam! I persuaded a kind neighbour to give us a lift back to take-off. This was just as well as there was no traffic on the lanes at all. Swing Astral - Combe Gibbet SU358623 to Woodcott SU 435548 10.7km

My second flight (14.05) took quite a lot of patience. The wind was more westerly and a lot of people were going down in the varying and quite turbulent conditions. I hunted over the far edge of the first wood. I was in the air for about 45 mins before catching a thermal strong enough to give decent height and got right to CB, this had risen to 4,600ft. In fact I had to use big-ears and speed bar to stay out of it. Downwind, again, the sky was pretty plaqued-out. I got another slow climb to cb over a farm east of Whitchurch and saw another pilot on a half-blue Gradient go down. I chased such sunshine as there was and any hopeful looking clouds, and made it to the A303. There I was close to Popham aerodrome - which reminded me of a wasps-nest with all its buzzing micro-lights. I had to abandon the thought of low saves to land clear. Combe Gibbet SU358623 to Cobley Wood, Popham 523442 23km.

Best regards