Cross Country

Flying P2 with Mike gave me an opportunity that I didn't have when flying solo - that of being able to look around and take a few photographs. When alone up there, Mike in particular had impressed on me the need to keep my head turning to ensure separation from other traffic. Photography was normally a lower priority than staying safe!

Here we are, having collected parachutes and the very last club aircraft left - a long-serving trainer, the Slingsby T 21, "Sedburgh" in the RAF, and sometimes referred to as "the barge", but very robust. Hardly a prime choice for a cross country, being slow for anything more than local training - imagine the drag caused by trying to push that thick wing section  through the air!

You can see what a cracking September day it was, by the group between the wing and the strut, who are enjoying a picnic. Note that my head is considerably higher - not, mind you, bigger, - than Mike's. It  was caused by the the parachute being literally the last choice left in the loft. This proved to be crucial a couple of hours later. Take-off  - a heavy load for the tug - was from the Eastern (left) end of the Nympsfield site, seen below. Ready to go - the T21
Nympsfield - home to Bristol & Glos Gliding Club The Bristol Gliding Club used to fly at a former RAF site, Lulsgate, now Bristol International Airport. When the club had to move to make way for airliners, it nearly chose Roundway, a soarable hill outside Devizes, Wiltshire, but instead chose the splendid ridge you see here, and added the words "& Gloucestershire" to its title. The field has since been extended, and is owned by the club, having been purchased with a mortgage. Stroud would be out of sight, left.
We appear to have asked for a 2,000 ft tow from the field (700 ft above sea level), and pulled off rather early into lift, no doubt to the relief of the tug driver. Once Mike had centred the T21 in that lift, a good climb was taken to 4,000 ft a s l, over Stroud. We then set off over  Cirencester, the Cerney Cotswold Water Park, and Fairford.

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