Firefly's Flying Diary - Issue Six


XC Virgins Weekend II - This Time It's Terrible!

April 24th - Merthyr Common

Paramania / Snowdonia

Yeah - it's me ground-skimming again!


Hello All! This may well be the first of two or three editions of Firefly in quick succession now as the summer's here and the time is right for dancing in cloud streets, or something (oh, my giddy aunt, he's totally flipped now........). In this chart-busting re-release of last year you'll hear:

The Colour of Spring - brightening skies filled with punchy thermals and climbing gliders - if you're on La Isla Bonita anyway. Unfortunately, John Kettley is our weatherman (and so is Michael Fish) and we've been Free Falling - well, alright, not quite, but April and May weren't exactly Top of the Pops, were they?! More Cheggers Plays Pop really .....

Nevermind, if there's one thing this club's good at it's making the most of the hand it's been dealt and we're certainly capable of Fighting for our Right to Party!

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XC Virgins Weekend - The Sequel

A week after the first failed attempt to hold the weekend we convened in Aber on the Saturday morning and made our way up the Long & Winding Road to the Blorenge. Half an hour's gentle soaring in the NE bowl later it started to hail! Ginger Spice decided to go home but then came back again and was glad he did - the wind switched round to the NW and we all walked round for a fun afternoon's flying, although thoughts of going XC were rather dampened by the prospect of the usual 10-down sink hole behind the hill. The afternoon ended as we all flew down to the Bridge Inn to escape a Massive Attack of rain that came pelting down the valley from Brecon! It did clear up again but pub suck won the day before everyone decided to Race the Clouds Home to England.

Concerto for a haily day ......
Concerto for a haily day ......

And the boy stood and stared at the hill; and the hill stared back
And the boy stood and stared at the hill; And the hill stared back

After a quiet (alright - that's a lie!) night in Llangattock, Sunday dawned better than expected and we summoned everyone back across the Severn to Merthyr. Oops. Well - we had a fair fly around in the morning but it was probably a good idea that there were no low airtimers in the air later on, when the wind suddenly picked up and sent pilots scurrying off in all directions, Firefly ending up most of the way down the hill, glider in a small tree, after yo-yo-ing out under Big Ears. As I walked, knackered, up the last few, very steep feet all I could think was "This is where some b**tard throws a burning car on my head!"

So, no knickers removed whatsoever, but none soiled either. Better luck next year, I suppose?

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April 24th - Merthyr Common

An eventful day, and the first decent XC day of the year for many, began with the revelation of MacSplittie and The Webmistress making it to the site first for a leisurely fly-around. Soon after we arrived, The Piper contrived to get so hacked off with the tangle his glider was in after the previous weekend that he reached cloudbase without his flightdeck, frantically radio-ing MacSplittie to retrieve said item from the front of the hill! More galling for us was that he landed, took off again and climbed straight back out, leaving the rest of us on the deck in flat calm! He made 27km to Newport, including a sea breeze convergence leg.

MacSplittie & I then fell out of a climb and ended up on Fochriw, feeling slightly guilty at leaving several other pilots trapped there as we immediately flew down for a retrieve, courtesy of Choccie Digestive. On our second climb out with Steve, Donna's friend, we foolishly thought we were going to make it to base but the climb again petered out and we ended up on/below Abertwssyg, whilst Steve somehow made Blorenge - Aaaaaargh!

Clive LP gave us an interesting second retrieve and everyone watched amused as I decided to go and fly the SW face. When I went up they suddenly brought all their gliders straight across, for some reason.... An hour and a half's enjoyable soaring out over the valley then ensued, also including an interesting incident with an invisible cravat!

(Sorry for the absence of piccies here - bit of an argument between my mail reader and The Piper's!)

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Paramania / Snowdonia

The weekend started with good omens - Captain Fantastic was flying the end of The Mynd as I passed New Radnor and on to the new heights of civilisation he'd arranged at Fforest Fields, with our very own pub garden-style table! As the evening progressed the camper van coral was slowly built, although sadly missing were Ginger Spice & entourage.

Saturday, saw very light NNE winds, a very long wait on the hill above the site and a mass fly-down at the end. Sunday went South-Easterly and the party split in two - oh, alright - I split from the party because I couldn't be bothered to walk up Tal-Y-Bont (!), where Mr Jet-Tastic spoilt his holiday by falling down a hole on launch, breaking his lower leg - rumour has it he'd been studying Our Tone's launch technique - and then had to fly down and land on the good one. Monday saw a frustrating day at William Hague, with the wind coming right up the spine between the NE and SE faces, the latter having been in the shade of a huge, stationary cloud all afternoon. At least we didn't go to Bache, where the day was canned after an Ozone Proton spun into the hill - much safer, these Serial Class gliders then.

Take It Easy, Take It Easy - Mark flies down on one leg
Take It Easy, Take It Easy -
Mark flies down on one leg

Party Fears Two
Party Fears Two

Of course, Snowdonia was going to be different, and we moved on up on the Monday evening, Firefly's scouting ahead for suitable half-way stopping points being rendered fairly pointless when The Piper & MacSplittie drove straight past despite much headlight flashing, horn screeching etc.! After breakfast near Dolgellau we reached the cottage early Tuesday, only to find that one of my shock absorbers had exploded, showering my back wheel with oil - nice ;-)

Naturally it wasn't different - much rain, wind, wine, beer, other things; you know. And no flying (except a short evening XC by yours truly), despite two walks up the Glyders - OK, only Firefly, MacSplittie and Choccie Digestive were mad enough to walk up the second time (!) but it was worth it for the view of the lake in the middle of two walls of mist. Third time lucky?

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In The Next Issue

The Camera Never Lies - I'll remember to take it out of my flight deck more often!

On The Trail of the Lonesome Pine? How are Laurel & Hardy getting along?

And much, much more !!!

And now the end is near -
(With apologies to Kid Creole & The Coconuts)

"Doris, you can ban me from The Brit'
Doris, you can tell me I'm a twit"
Doris, you can have my Firebird kit"
But Doris don't take my lighter flint."

(Ask The Piper!)

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