Well it's all over for another year...3,631km flown by 30 pilots in 111 flights - that's an average of 32.7km per flight which is better than last year's average of 31.5km per flight. However that's about the only good point of the year, well that and the fact that we had three 100km+ flights (Mike Coupe 133km, Jim Mallinson 115km and 100km). the total distance flown was over 25% down on last year (admittedly that was our best year ever), and the number of flights was almost 30% down.
But I think the year was most memorable to me for the lack of decent weekend flying days - all the good days were definitely midweek... now let's see if the evidence backs that up :-)
Later... Yes it does. Only 38% of flights were flown at weekends or bank holidays compared to 57%, 55% and 65% in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively. This is the lowest ever ratio since I began my records in 1993.
Also, the ratio of average weekend flight distance to average midweek flight distance is the lowest for three years at 0.78 (ie. weekend flights were on average 22% shorter than midweek flights). Now I know that stat is a bit misleading since it's mainly the top pilots who fly midweek so you would expect them to fly futher, but even so it all reinforces the picture of a frustrating year for us weekend flyers!
Anyway, enough moaning, onto the highlights of the year!
The last time Jim Mallinson won the league was in 2002 when he flew 282km in his tom six flights (an average of 47km per flight). Well this year he's flown 487km in six flights (an average of 81km per flight) which is only 20km less than Alex flew in last year's record breaking season. So a big round of applause to Jim whose flights included two 100km+ flights as mentioned earlier.
And the battle for 2nd place was pretty intense this year with only 4km separating Ken in 2nd place from Alex in 3rd place. Consistency was the name of the game with Ken and Alex this year, no record breaking flights, but all good!
Mike Coupe missed out on a place in the top three but gets the honour of the longest flight this year, 133km from the Malverns on the hottest day of the year (Wed July 19th). This was the day that Graham Steel got to within a whisker of 10,000' also flying from the Malverns! Well done Mike on an excellent flight!
And then there's the rest of us - old xc dogs and xc virgins alike, whose flights made up the remaining 55% of the flights entered this year. Notable amongst these flights was Fi's 92km flight from the Malverns on the same day that Mike flew 133k (indeed they flew together much of the way), and Stafford's 75km flight from Merthyr on Tuesday 8th August.
Leading the xc virgins this year is Alan Ng with 49km in his two flights, and congrats are also due to Nigel Doe, Steuart Padwick and Jonathan Rose on their first xcs.
Anyway, well done everyone who's entered a flight into this year's league - let's hope for a better 2007!
Hmm, not alot to say really - only one flight of any merit, Tim Dent's 30km from Frocester on Wednesday 4t...
Well it was better than August, but it was only xc'able on two days, Friday 8th and Tuesday 26th so not much good for us weekend warriors... Still, Alex finished the season on a high with a 70km flight from Frocester. Not bad for the end of September.
The consolation prize for the rest of us was a fantastic weekend at the Homegrown Festival on 8th/9th Sept. For me I had 6.5 hours flying over three days! Photos here... This more than made up for the wet and windy Mere Bash the weekend before!
In a word, crap. Only five flights entered, 144km in total, with over half done by Stafford in a new PB flight from Merthyr on the 8th. Looks like this will be the first year out of the last four that we won't do more than 4,000km...
Big Wednesday 19th - 10 grand cloudbase and some big distances! Mike Coupe's 133km is the best I believe! Read about it here... Fiona did a 92km flight on the same day! There's been some other great flights too on other days: Jim's had a couple of 65km flights and a 50km, Alex a 48km, and Jo, Garry, Graham, Ken, Stafford and I have all done flights in the 30-40km range...
There's also been quite a few virgin xc flights - congrats to Alan Ng, Jonathan Rose and Stueart Padwick!
Overall though, July hasn't been a bad month with 931km flown in 27 flights. Doesn't sound much compared to last July with 1,648km in 52 flights, however the next best July was 611km in 1997!
Well, "flaming" June has certainly lived up to it's name so far with the hottest weather of the year and some great flights, notably Ken's 67km triangle and 63km flat triangle from the Blorenge on Saturday 3rd during another BCC round. Since then Alex flew a 70km triangle also from the Blorenge, and Mike Coupe did a 47km triangle from Westbury, as well as a 20km out and return on the same day! Evidently Nant-y-Moel was nice on Sunday 17th with Andre Odinius flying 21km and Iain Mac flying 39km. Nothing much happened until the end of June when Jim flew a lovely 115km from near Milk Hill.
Some nice midweek days which Jim's been making the most of with 79km and 61km flights on the 5th and 12th respectively. Overall it was a bit of a damp squid with flights only entered on four days! (5th, 12th, 28th & 31st). Ken finished the month with a nice 56km from Merthyr ending up near Chepstow during a BCC round.
Well, what an April it's been, with 1,095km entered from 32 flights, it's beaten our previous record - 1,052km in April 2004 - by 43km! On the 4th and 5th alone we had 470km entered in 13 flights, with Jim's 100km flight from Leckhampton on the 5th the best. Ken, Mike Andrews (50km) and Robert Kerslake all flew over 50km on the 4th...
Then between the 9th and 14th another 300km was flown with lots of 40km+ flights, and the month was rounded off nicely on Sat 29th (yes, a weekend!) when another 230km was added by eight pilots flying from Leckhampton. Unfortunately quite a few of us came up against Lyneham airspace which put paid to any dreams of really long flights! Click on the image below to see how my flight ended...! (the white track is my track over the ground)
Four pilots flew more than 100km in April - Jim 191km, Ken 132km, Alex 122km and Wayne 119km... Not bad!
Leckhampton was definitely the "happening" site in April, with 85% of flights and distance flown from there.
Tim Dent gets March off the mark with a 6km flight from Selsley on Sat 4th.
Not alot to get excited about really - Howard's 12km flight from Frocester on the 17th was the highlight...
Saturday 21st January
Well, what a start to the year! Mind you we have had to put up with weeks of miserable weather up until now, but it was worth the wait! Westbury at its best! Many people had over 2 hours great soaring, with gentle thermals occasionally getting us up to 800-900' above take-off! It's going to be a good year! See my photos here.
Meanwhile up at Selsley, Wayne had a nice flight down to Frocester then out in front just failing in his attempt at a 9km triangle - nice try though! However it is the earliest start to the xc league ever so well done!