Getting Going - Just!


The T21 was nail-bitingly in sinking air over Cirencester (right), but lift was found, so fortunately our view of the town centre did not become as prematurely intimate as we feared it might! This is where a sailplane with superior penetration would win the day for you - you could cover so much more ground before needing lift. In the T21, this journey is more than a Delight, - it's a Work of Real Art on Mike's part, to stay up, and keep travelling. Cirencester
Steigt ist Deutsch, meaning Climb Using the lift - which can be amazingly strong when you do connect - necessitates flying circles, centred as accurately as possible in the core of the thermal. When you are solo, this won't normally affect you, but long periods of precise circling did bring on a slight queasiness for a while."Steigt" - you've guessed - means "Climb" in German. If you get "Sinkt" for 20 minutes in the T21, start picking fields, you'll be down in one soon, waiting for someone to come with the trailer.
Watching the altimeter (far left) winding steadily in the correct direction (clockwise) is a great "who needs petrol pumps" feeling - to experience it is to appreciate it more fully. There is a great deal of energy in the atmosphere -  "turbulence" in a commercial airliner is often the lift that glider pilots look for and stay in - until  they want to move on.
The Sun, which had been very hot on the ground, reflects back at us from the Cotswold Water Park, and  we zoom to 6,000 ft just under cloudbase, but then go a long time without a thermal, as the barograph trace (on smoked paper) shows later. By Fairford, 3,000 ft had been lost - possibly the only time Concorde has been overflown by a T 21 though, as the prototype was below us at perhaps a 45 degree angle as we skirted the airfield. From technology to culture - the composer Ralph Vaughan William's birthplace is also below, at the village of Down Ampney. We press on for Swindon. Cotswold Water Park

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