Sunday, 15 May 2011

Malvern Alpine Expedition May 2011.

After a long drive South the Malvern expeditionary force arrived safely at David’s place in Samoens. (Thanks again David) , only to find it raining cats and dogs. However weather forecasts suggested improving conditions and an outside possibility of flying on Sunday.
Not raining, we decide to head for the LZ for a briefing where Ian P imparts his local knowledge , mainly consisting of expected valley wind direction, likely areas of lift and sink, and the warnings of terrible consequences for those not landing in the designated area. (Turns out the white markers designating the LZ on the site guide are real and not just computer graphics). After Ian’s Briefing locals doing TTB,s convince us its worth a look, so up we go to the North Take off, where Ian P, Mark T , Brian P, & Chris H carefully assessing the conditions decide to fly down before the snow gets any worse.!!!!
Ian is off first and scoots across the valley to the sunny side climbing to 1000ft ATO and is obviously on a mission but isn’t responding to radio calls so we cant be sure. Mark goes off and heads for the landing field and appears to be low and on his way down when Brian launches and I follow him off. I plan to fly to the blue hole across the valley and see how things develop but probably just go down , however its lifty all across and I make 300ft ATO without trying . Brian takes a different route and climbs even more. By this time the sky is really looking a bit active in places and I eventually reach my blue hole and core sink down towards the LZ ,wonderful! The weather is changing all the time and not knowing local conditions its feels the ground is the place to be. At this point Ian is down and points out over the radio that the valley wind is from the opposite direction to expected (well done Ian) , Mark is on finals, I’m setting up an approach and unfortunately Brian was too far up the valley to reach the landing field, he had been upwind but changing conditions meant he was now downwind and was forced to land out. Retrieves by Kobus and Paul M Top Job!
Subsequent analysis of the photos suggested we were a bit too keen to get off before conditions deteriated. , French pilots flying 30 mins later had a smooth TTB but later in the day it overdeveloped and poured down. Interesting place!!

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