Pocklington TSC – Day 2 (a different perspective)

Jack Carter has sent this in to share with you all. 

The photo is unrelated to this post but the BBC were caught filming DGC’s Janus, so we thought we’d share it with you.

On with Jack’s story:

Pilots – myself and Craig Hobson.


Early start this morning to grid the gliders before the briefing at 10:00. However, many chucked their aircraft on the runway and ditched them to rush to the briefing early and pinch all the task sheets. Then there were also the opposites who probably missed the memo and went to add theirs to the grid later than everyone else. This caused the pressing to take longer than it needed to. It gave the BBC plenty of time to prepare their cameras though.


Once we’d managed to grid and press the gliders, we headed over to the clubhouse for briefing, where we discovered that they’d managed to forget to provide DTC with a table. So we made one for ourselves. Alongside this, we had no task sheet, but this was consistent with half of the room due to the thieving teams stole them earlier. The briefing commenced with a quick notification about the BBC’s visit; followed by the regular site rules and info; then came the optimistic weather report; then the briefing was concluded with the course: POC-WET-PCT-MEX-CCR-BRN-POC, which was around 226km. (A near-impossible distance for today). Once the briefing was over we collected a freshly printed task sheet or two for our team. We then returned to our region of the campsite and prepared for the flight.


The initial launch time of “No launches before 1130” was pushed on further into the day as the sniffer hunted for any hope of decent flight. During this time, the BBC crew were taken up for a flight in the club’s motor glider. The sniffer struggled on for quite some time and then we finally heard the much welcomed “All pilots and tugs to launch point immediately” at about 13:30. So we drove over to the launch point on runway 18 and Craig and I prepared for launch.


We took off swiftly after we arrived thanks to the efficiency and quantity of tugs. Our launch was fairly uneventful with few turns; we released at 2000ft. After we released we found trickles of lift dotted around, so we decided to join four other gliders in a thermal, most of which were higher than us. Soon afterwards we left the thermal as we saw a small wisp of a cloud forming. After about 2-3 turns underneath the cloud two of the gliders from the previous thermal decided to follow us to the point where there were three of us all circling in the same thermal at the same height, nose to tail. Then suddenly the FLARM started wailing at us and someone raced past underneath us and pulled up in front of us, joining the thermal. So now there were four of us in the same thermal, nose to tail.


We decided that it would be best to leave after several turns in the thermal as it wasn’t generating much lift. We then proceeded to do some lone flying and headed towards Elvington picking up any thermal activity along the way. At this point we had been scratching away, trying to climb enough to get away to the first turning point. Technology wasn’t on our side as Craig’s Oudie wasn’t working and I wasn’t sure how to read or operate the Oudie. It didn’t take long, however, but at that point it didn’t matter because we had very little chance of getting far. After hunting for rising air, we’d lost plenty of height and decided to head back to Pocklington.


After making it back in range of the airfield, less than 900ft, north of runway 18 and prepared to start circuit, there was suddenly some thermal activity more exciting than any other we’d had in the flight. We quickly climbed up and another glider joined our thermal several hundred feet higher than us. Soon after, we reached 2000ft and there was a small amount of lift left there at that point so we headed back towards Elvington and after that we could only find sink and hopped on every tiny slither of lift we passed.


For almost all of the flight, the heat accumulated intensely and it required slurps of water and scoops of air every five seconds or else we could have melted in our seats. At this point in the flight we both agreed that we weren’t getting anywhere and we should land back at Pocklington for a break and cool down, and also see if Richard was willing to fly.


After landing, at around 15:30, we were informed that this was not the case so Craig and I waited 10 minutes to cool off and switch around the technology. And afterwards we were all ready to go and we launched quickly thereafter. The launch was very smooth and uneventful in the same direction as the launch before.


As a matter of fact, the whole flight was fairly short and uneventful with a few dozen turns in 0-3 knots of lift. It had managed to get as hot as last time very quickly. It wasn’t long before Craig and I decided there was no possibility of completing a course and we headed back to land at Pocklington. We entered circuit and hit some decent lift, but we went straight through it as we had committed to landing. Once we turned base leg the vario was screaming at us, which wasn’t much help when landing.


After touching down, the retrieve crew arrived quickly to take the Janus back to its resting area. A few hours later we all ate in the pub and participated in a rather discombobulating quiz

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