11/10/99 - Tom Mayne, 32.2km from Frocester
I had the following great flight yesterday:
Date - 11-10-99
After a checking out both Selsley and Frocester, and trying to work out exactly what the wind direction was, I finally set up on Frocester. The ground handling was very hard, typical Frocester in a northerly wind!? Anyway a thermal came through so I launched, soared the bowl for a couple of minutes, then transferred to the trees. Where it turned out the wind was smack on, i.e. WNW.
After a little while Frank Trunks came up to join me, he managed to find a weak thermal off the northern end of the bowl. I joined him and together we worked the very weak lift for the next 5 minutes, in which time we only gained about 300ft, but fortunately the drift was incredibly slow, at that point the thermal sorted itself out, and the climb rate increased to about 3 up (this was the best I got in the whole flight!). At around 1700ft above take-off the thermal weakened, by 1900ft it was a zero. A short bit of searching saw the climb renewed. That first climb finally topped out at 3000ft above take off at 3700ft AMSL. I glided off with half-bar through sinking air toward a scrappy bit of cloud over Minchinhampton Common, connecting with a zero which I worked a bit, then found enough lift for a short climb, before it zeroed again, and the scrap of cloud above melted away. Off I went to the next, better looking cloud, this time climbing to 4200ft, most of the way to cloudbase.
Frank who had failed to connect with the second thermal, was now storming up from low over Minchinhampton Golf Course, past me and up to cloudbase where he big-eared out. He told me later his vario had been off the clock during the later part of the climb!.
At this point we where just upwind of Kemble airfield, which although not an ATZ (midweek), is still quite busy, and not a good place to get low. So I hung around the cloud for a bit longer cooling my heals in the freezing air, while I waited to drift past Kemble. I have to say that the scene had a very wintery feel to it, the low angle of the sun, and the hazy air seemed to make the landscape seem very washed out, and cold. Or maybe it was just the cold, my fingers where numb by now.
Time to stop day dreaming, past Kemble now and, it was only a short glide to the next cloud. There I reached cloudbase (well almost) with the best height for the flight of 4600ft AMSL. Had to hang back at this cloud also, but this time because the sky ahead looked crap. Unfortunately the drift was taking us ever closer to Lyneham airspace, so off I went again, gliding cross-wind towards Cricklade, found a couple short lived thermals on the way, but only gained a few hundred feet on each. It was enough to get me to Cricklade where I searched the downwind edge of the town for a save, but nothing materialised. I landed just past the town, with Frank a couple of fields behind me (his best flight on a paraglider).
A very enjoyable flight, I just wonder what Jim and Alex have been up to?