A tricky day XC

A good turnout for mid week with 4 trial lessons and quite a few members getting check flights or training from Mike Codd and Martin Watt together with a few visiting pilots as well. It was also nice to see Martin Brockington back tugging after his “eventful” trip to Kosovo – ask him about it when you see him, but be warned it’s not for the faint hearted!

A small group of us, Mike T, Mike S, Me and Alex Jenkins, set ourselves a task of 180km To Sennybridge, Tenbury Wells (just east of Leominster), Brecon and back and by luck and some skill all four of us made it around in varying times from 2-3 hrs. 
But it wasn’t quite as straight forward as that. As is the way with most XC’s an unexpected spanner is always thrown in just when you think you have it sussed out. Up until Leominster it had been a very good run with reliable strong 3kt+ thermal s, cloubase around 4000ft QNH and some streeting but then as we approached Leominster it started going to worms. Some high level cloud had moved in to that area and started shutting down the thermals with the sky going very grey and flat around the turn point area. 
So it was a bit of a “Geronimo” moment of dive in for the turn point, get back out west again and try and connect with the lift around Leominster before meeting the ground!

Well as I said we all got back but on at least two occasions between Tenbury and Shobdon I was down to just over 1000ft above the ground desperately working anything that came my way whilst keeping a close eye on landing options. 
I was very glad I hadn’t put my fleece on, and was just in a T shirt, coz I was working very hard and at the time it felt like I was generating more heat in the cockpit that the sun was producing thermals outside!

After completing the task the sky over in the Beacons looked too good to miss so I wandered over attempting a small undeclared task. As I entered the Beacons via Talybont Reservoir I was greeted by the best elevator ride you could ever want – as the saying goes “I was climbing faster than a home sick angel”. 
There was a convergence line running along the tops of the mountains that went up to 6000ft QNH and cruising along at 80kts I was still going up at 2-4 kts – outrageous stuff for Wales but great fun. I turned at Cray in some rain and then went down to check on Judith, who was working her allotment in Crickhowell, before returning back to the club.

Wonderful day and the task was good fun especially having others around you trying the same thing – more please!

Martin Pingel