(From Simon Stannard)
With contrasting weather forecasts for Wednesday, there was nothing for it but to go to the club and see for oneself which was correct. On arrival it was apparent that the locally gloomy one was more accurate: a wildly buoyant morning, with damp patches blowing through, beneath a cloudbase of 1800’ locally. Not a day for an adventurous 300k trip downwind – at least not for this pilot!
The alternative was a refresher in JKU, one of the club’s K18s, following a prolonged absence. Being Vintage Week, the mantra was “wood is good”. And the ‘18 is a delight to fly.
The sky was very buoyant, a.k.a. turbulent, with tight punchy thermals and large blue holes marking sink. Pushing upwind was difficult and slow, but ultimately rewarded with success – the “one mast” task was completed.
Ultimately the rain on the horizon found its way downwind, forcing an end to the reunion just before the hour ticked over. A flight later in the day showed how conditions can change: very gentle ridge lift with a little wave allowed a prolonged float at around 1,000’, out into the valley and towards the Hope cement works. Winn Hill beckoned, but with more rain approaching, the decision was made to keep it safe and return to base.