This is a circuit which has been taught and used at the gliding club for decades, for conditions where glider pilots rely solely on ridge lift to stay airborne. In these conditions a glider pilot will start the landing circuit by flying north along the west side of the airfield.
When arriving at, or around, the gulley (Deadman’s Clough) an outward turn will be made. This turn, normally made in rising air, allows the pilot to check the location of other aircraft (to the west, south & behind) and if clear, will continue with the turn to set up a base leg (crosswind leg) flying south behind the eastern boundary of the airfield.
The outward turn on the ridge will be made between 400 – 800ft, at a speed of anything between 50 – 65kts (55 – 75mph); the selected airspeed being dependent upon glider type and the likelihood of encountering turbulence/sink.
If at any time when ridge soaring a glider pilot is unable to maintain height, when flying either north or south along the ridge, they will make a turn to the east in the vicinity of the gulley (Deadman’s Clough) to set up a landing to the west, or if unable to do so, undertake a crosswind landing to the south west. In these situations, the pilot could be flying much lower than 400ft when crossing over the gulley (Deadmans Clough).
If a pilot is unable to continue soaring the ridge (because ridge lift is decaying) and gets low – see sketch opposite for a safe escape route which they are likely to adopt.
This action will avoid the need of having to land in a field in the valley and more importantly, avoid the potential danger of a pilot attempting to make a final turn, at a low level, while trying to land into wind, towards the west.
Action – When flying in a southerly direction, the pilot will cut back onto the airfield from the gulley (Deadman’s Clough) by flying over the metal gate in the stone boundary wall on the NE corner of the airfield and landing crosswind, in a southerly direction.
HG & PG pilots should be aware that this type of landing could be taking place when a glider is less than 100ft above the airfield or the ridge.