Updated: Jun 21
Good morning, campers....
Garry Roberts captures the early sunshine at Spamfield 😎
In this issue :
Shaw's Report - replaced temporarily by Sharon's Report.
Achievements - Congratulations due.
Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022 - the count so far.
What's 'Appened? - snippets posted on Club WhatsApp group.
Barton Blues for tardy pilots - The Flying Bard suggests a Barton strategy.
Leaping from Cloud to Cloud - Milton Turner goes paragliding cross country.
STOL Crazy - Garry Roberts on short take-off and landings competition at Sleap.
Towards Ukraine - Rob Garbutt on flying aid for Ukraine.
Licensed to be confused - Aaron Bliss at BMAA suggests what to do.
Fairman's Full Fat First FAF impressions - Craig Fairman on FAF1.
Spamfield 2022 here we come... - Steve Grimshaw flies flex-wing to Sandown.
Wales Jubilee NAV Delight - Martin Cawson enjoys a mini fly-out with Milton Turner.
Winging one's way over Wainwrights - Daniel Langton on Wainwrights with Mark Atkinson
IMPORTANT! - Diary dates of the 'official' Club tours (FAFs) for 2022 (at end of e-zine). These are now also on the 'What's On' calendar on the website.
Shaw's Report...um (not)...
While the (Top) Cat’s away ….. and all that.
As Ian has lots on his plate at the moment, like being on his ‘Stag Do’, which allegedly will be a ‘Top Gun’ experience (so we can look forward to hearing about that in due course - that which Ian can remember), your Editor has taken up the mantle for this issue.
I feel lucky to be a member of the Cheshire Flyers and never cease to be amazed by the flying adventures quietly gone about by lots of the membership, and the fantastic photos taken. This issue of CF e-zine is blessed with some epic trips, from cloud leaping to air-bagging to brake-smoking; hopefully an inspiration for those of us that have not ventured that far as yet or considered competitions.
The NAV competition is going well with 75 unique new airfields bagged to date. Even if you believe you can’t win it is worth logging new (to you) airfields as, for the rest of the club, it’s good to know something about the airfields being flown to by members. It gives a little bit of focus and reason to call into maybe more fields that you might otherwise.
Unfortunately, the guest speaker that Steve Rosser arranged for Monday has had to cancel for family reasons. For Steve the task of finding guest speakers does not get easier over time; if any of you have suggestions for speakers do let Steve know. For example, recently I met someone who manages the Harrier programme (yep – the US Navy still fly Harriers, though not for much longer allegedly), for British Aerospace. She also flies a Piper Warrior for fun. I have persuaded her to consider coming to give a talk to the club on the Harrier and what her job involves. So, keep a look out for potentials and let Steve know if you come up with any hot leads.
The summer flying season is well under way – FAF1 completed (more on that later in the e-zine) and lots of flying going on – including over the Channel for some lucky enough to pick their weather windows. There is also the attempt at LeJOG (Lands End to John O’Groats) which is hoped to happen while the daylight hours are around their maximum; if not the last weekend in June then the third weekend in July. FAF2 is coming up fast – diaried for July 8-11. Read about a first FAFer's thoughts in this issue.
Don’t forget club night on Monday (20th) – hope to see lots of you there.
p.p. Ian Shaw 😎
Club Night Report - May 16th, 2022
We had a pleasant sociable discussion around some quite important club matters and we also debated the best course to plot for FAF1. This ended up being towards the South East of England, given the forecasts available to everyone at that time.
It was agreed that a zoom FAF planning meeting would be organised for Thursday 19th evening to make final decisions on departure timings and destinations.
Congratulations to Theo Town; First Solo, 28th May, 2022
Well done, onwards and upwards...!
Cheshire Flyers ‘NAV Competition’ – 2022
As at 17June - here is how the count of 'new' airfields visited is shaping up....
15 pilots have visited 134 new airfields between them. That's new to each of them so the number of unique airfields amounts to 75. Remember it's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts. It would be good to see more pilots submitting entries. It's as much about the interesting new airfields that club members visit as how many they manage in total. If anyone wants to submit recommendations on strips they've visited please do send them to me (Editor).
Go to the club WhatsApp groups to read about club members' various adventures - snippets not otherwise covered in this issue of CF.
Ade Slater flew to Andreas on the Isle of Man for the TT. He recommends doing it; so much better than competing for space on the expensive alternatives of flying or catching a ferry. It took him 1:50 to fly home to Cheshire, just beating the weather.
Sunny Sat Nav - June: Darren suggested Caernarfon but ended up at Stoke Golding, accompanied by Charlie Appleby. Where was everyone else - nothing much on the chat about joining, though the day was breezy.
Heatwave hits and the Veritys and Creedys post about their trip via Sywell to Le Touquet - (If we are lucky, Dave Creedy may write about it later on.)
Barton Blues for tardy pilots
Dave Moore AKA The Flying Bard makes a cheeky suggestion
The Cheshire Flyers fly their planes,
from fields both big and small.
From farm strips and from airy fields,
where'er a plane might stall.
And some are based at Barton,
(Oh whoops!, Manchester City!)
Where planes are seen of many types,✈️🛩️🛶
And some of them quite pretty.
And anyone can land their plane,
at any time of day,
As long as FISO's in the tower,
To watch the pilots play.🤨
But if the pilot comes home late,
He has to pay a price,
For someone has to stay and watch,
And maybe give advice.🤔
The price is only payable,
If someone knows you're due,
Forget to call, you'll have a ball,
Your landing fee quite small.😀
Don't hesitate, just aviate,
It's what you do aloft.
Just aviate, and navigate,
(Communicate quite soft).
Leaping from Cloud to Cloud
Milton Turner goes cross country without an engine
A paragliding trip always starts in the same way; continuous surfing of favourite weather sites to find ‘the’ day and, as that day draws close, deciding where to launch. On April 30th 2022, I chose Eyam Edge as it would be almost into wind at take-off but, more crucially, the upper winds needed to line up with the airspace downwind. The objective is always to fly cross country but having no engine makes the challenge infinitely difficult and complex.
There were lots of pilots at Eyam that day, all chomping at the bit for a big flight, which is just what you want, as each one of us, once airborne, marks an area of lift or sink. The day started with a blue sky and, on cue, the little puffy cumulus started forming, marking the thermals we need in order to stay up in the air on a cross country flight. It is possible to go cross country on a ‘blue’ day, but that’s a tough flight as there are no visible clues to the location of the thermals. When flying with no power plant you are constantly descending, which, in still air, is at approximately 200 feet per minute, so you are relentlessly searching for rising air.
The above picture was taken shortly after taking off; fortunately, I launched straight into a thermal climbing at roughly 400 fpm. Once you have entered a thermal you start turning in order to stay in the column of rising air, and then refine that turn in order to find the thermal’s core and the strongest lift. On your way upwards you are turning tightly, around and around, while looking downwind trying to determine where to aim for next. We generally try to avoid entering cloud, so I had to stop climbing as I approached cloud base, which was then 5000ft. At this point I had to understand the drift and work out the direction to glide downwind, hopefully it would coincide with my observations in the climb and another fluffy cloud.
The cloud on the left is what I'm aiming for; it’s nearer and hopefully has rising air below it. The line of cloud to the right would be a better choice; darker base being defined indicating good lift. I did hop over to the cloud on the right, then surfed the lift just below cloud base on its left side.
Over Sheffield here, you can see another paraglider climbing to base downwind.
At this point, compared with the first part of the flight (see first photo) there is a lot more cumulus. Ideal conditions are about 50% cloud cover and the task in theory is to climb under one cloud, up to near its base, then stop climbing and head for the next cloud, and repeat. But it’s not often that easy. Cloud base on this day was roughly 5200ft and downwind the airspace ceiling is 4500ft and Doncaster’s airspace is on our right. Average climb rates were now up to 500 fpm, but the hot air rising has to displace the air above, resulting in air descending at a reciprocal rate. You do your best to avoid descending air by either speeding up a bit or changing direction.
“Houston, we have a problem”; the cloud has spread out and there’s barely any sun on the ground. The sun’s radiation has now diminished significantly, resulting in far fewer thermals, and in these conditions any you can find will be comparatively weak. At this point you have to change gear - no leaping from cloud to cloud – and enter survival mode. I spent what felt like an age 360-ing in and out of little bits lift at this point; the best climb rate I could manage was about 100 fpm. You just have to cling on to anything that’s going up; even when your variometer indicates zero you know that you are in air rising at roughly 200 fpm because gravity means without lift we’re always sinking. During these times you hope that you are slowly drifting downwind and that the sky will regenerate.
My friend Mike joined me, having seen me climbing ever so slowly. We both stay in survival mode for a good while. This worked and we were able to fly a further 50km together. The majority of the flight was spent above 1800ft, often looking down on passing light aircraft probably oblivious to us. Quite a lot of paragliders ended up landing in this area, let down by the poor sky.
Mike and I were lucky and survived to fly into much more active air; the sky looked much more promising now. I changed gear again; with clouds nicely spread out it was back to leaping between thermals. There was now no need to climb up to cloud base. With a good amount of reliable lift around it is possible to ‘porpoise’ your way downwind and benefit from not needing to go so high; visually planning your route, imagining an aerial motorway, and consequently able to stay in slightly warmer air.
In the active air, with Mike upwind of me, and the Humber meandering in the distance. I was climbing at about 800fpm at 5500ft and getting rather cold. I needed to escape the lift before entering the white room, which I really don’t want ever to do! I have to accept a bit of a battering; leaving air going up that quickly into adjacent air which, in all likelihood, is descending, tends to make a wing with no structure ruffle a bit. As it happened my wing did resemble a writhing snake for a brief moment; not a huge problem though, if you have anticipated that event.
Over North Yorkshire, I saw a sailplane below trying to join the thermal I was in. Shortly after that I decided to land, concerned that there would be no trains to get back south on if I continued on to Skegness.