Winter is not be a great time to help you achieve your XC goals or maybe it is?
Winter is a difficult time for glider pilots especially when the days are getting shorter and the sun sits lower in the sky and thus is being restricted from heating the ground to produce the usable thermals, we love, that make XC possible.
However, the winter is the best time to put in the ground work to give you the best chance of getting the most out of the new gliding season and achieving your season goal. We also still do have ridge and wave lift for some occasional winter soaring both of which we looked at in the last edition of Southdown Soaring.
In this edition we will look again at wave soaring with a excellent article by Graham McAndrew (ex BGA Coach) who explores the practical side of wave soaring. Here also is a link to the BGA Glider Oxygen Maintenance leaflet which you may find useful. It looks at types of oxygen systems, requirements, and safety precautions.
Before the new soaring season starts we need to make sure our gliders, their avionics and navigation equipment are sorted.
We need to check that our glider trailers are roadworthy including maintaining the brakes, inspecting the tyres, fittings, and checking the lights.
We also need to check other equipment like tow out gear, water ballast equipment, covers, and rigging gear. Winter is a ideal time to sort out any equipment problems rather than chancing loosing some good days sorting any problems in the soaring season.
This is also the case if you fly a club glider and want to fly it cross country. Don't rely on other club members. Paul Tickner often could use some help with any work that may be needed on our club gliders. The club trailers particularly can be neglected in the winter.
The club has the DG505 for coaching and 3 single seater's all suitable for achieving good XC flights. For those who believe the two club Astir's are not good XC gliders take a look at the 2018 BGA Ladder. You will find a 501km diamond Distance flight by young Ollie Wheeler, who is a member of Windrushers GC at Bicester. When Ollie flew this 501km flight in a Astir he had only been gliding for 18 months.
Where are you with your XC flying and what do you need to put in place before the new soaring season starts ?
For those new to XC in 2019 make sure you have completed your bronze C exams as this will stop you from being able to fly cross country. Look out for the clubs 2019 bronze C lectures in the spring.
By John Trubridge