GLIDER CHRONICLES 2011 – June 4th : Strong Crosswind & Aerobatic Fun

Well, after all the action of the competition in the daytime the evening youth group turned out to be a quieter affair. In the end we had three instructors for the 8 or so “yoof”, but the conditions were windy and cross. Namely we had a strong 45degree crosswind which was curling over the trees on the approach on the north side of the main runway.

This meant that for most of the pupils, the instructors needed to do the take-offs and landings, which was not the greatest learning experience. However, it was a good introduction to just how much fun it can be battling the elements and still managing to do a great landing! The Falke motorglider was also flying and found it tricky enough that the pilot had to go-around and have another go at his landing.

Hats off to all the pilots if you ask me.

Explanation of Curl-Over
Curl-over is where the wind blows against an obstacle and on the downwind side curls around in what are called vortices. As the name implies these are twisting currents of air and are at least troublesome, and at worst, dangerous. It all depends upon exact conditions of windspeed and direction. As a recreational pilot you would not be flying if the wind was too strong anyway, so you should be able to handle them. Wake vortices from departing or arriving jets are another matter however and that will need an explanation in its own right at a later time. Go to the Lasham manual on coping with jet movements if you cannot wait!

Diagram (not to scale) of how a glider can get caught in the curlover from trees as it is landing.

A quieter Saturday evening launchpoint.

For those Cloud Appreciators among you, here is the effect you can get when a high flying aircraft disturbs the natural airflows. This is a graphic example of the effect of wake vortices. It is worth zooming into the picture and looking at it at full size to see the actual shapes of the vortices.

High flying aircraft leaves a vortex trail.

End of the Day and time for some Aerobatics
After the remaining K13 gliders had been flown back to the hangar…

Flying a K13 back to the hangar.

John and Val returned to the launchpoint to fly the remaining 2 aircraft back. Since the last glider was the K21 John took Callum and Helen up for a couple of aerobatic flights, always a highlight of the evening.

I also remember some banter about how wearing sunglasses that late in the evening was only for looking cool!

The last 2 flights of the day. A Grob102 and a K21. K21 off to do aerobatics.

Here is a shot of an earlier aerobatic glider, the Pilatus, off to practice some aeros in the “box” of sky reserved for such manoeuvres.

Pilatus aerobatic glider off for some loops.

Thats all for now, so until next time…

Happy flying!

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