Yay! My first thermal for six months…!

Yes, it’s sad but true, the last time I did more than one 360 in a thermal was on Monday 29th August when I had a fantastic flight from Batcombe to Swanage. But, like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it.  And after three hours of parawaiting at Westbury yesterday (not to mention the intervening six months of parawaiting), boy did it feel nice to get up high again!

I had arrived at Westbury at 1100 only to find it very cold, very windy, and very full of hangies of all vintages (gliders and pilots)! Where was the sunshine and these light NW’lys that had been promised?

I spent the next three hours alternating between freezing on the hill and warming up sitting in my car, but finally at about 1345 we talked Alex into getting ready, and a few minutes later he took off, making it look very easy indeed. I immediately got my glider ready and once I’d got it under control after a bit of a gust I took off, hopefully making it look easy too! (It was!) By this time (1400), Alex was nice and high heading off towards Bath under a cloud street!

Alex up high

I tried to join him but only got to about 2,000′ asl (1,300′ ato) so I headed back to explore the Bratton ridge (followed a short while later by Alex) and it wasn’t long before we both found ourselves in a 2.5m/s climb up to almost 3,000′ asl (2,300′ ato) – not bad for mid-February! Ye-hah!

Not quite at base which was probably at 3,600' asl (note the sailplane thermalling in the distance)

We pushed out under this cloud street for about 2.5-3km before I chickened out and headed back to the hill arriving about 100′ below the ridge. Meanwhile Alex kept on going and was last seen heading towards Keevil (where did you get to?). By this time there were alot of other PGs in the air (the hangies were scattered about super-high all over the sky!) and I think everyone really enjoyed the smooth conditions that then lasted for another hour or two…

Lots of fun for everyone – Nick counted 24 in the air at one point

So a thoroughly good fun, if somewhat cold, 1.5 hour start to the season! Roll on spring proper and slightly higher temperatures!

One response to “Yay! My first thermal for six months…!”

  1. Hallelujah! February Thermals! Nice write-up!

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