First “proper” 1 hour flight

Though I have broken both the 1 hour and 2 hour mark on glider flights these were both, at least in part aided by ridge lift. Early last week I had my first thermalling only flight to break one hour. It was a relatively early launch at around 1100 into a great looking sky filled with cloud streets. The conditions were fantastic and I had so much fun hopping from thermal to thermal. At around 1 hour 20 I decided I should give someone else a go with and landed.

The landing was interesting with a approx 10 knot cross wind. Only at the Mynd do you have to content with dodging sheep as well as other gliders whilst landing. I gained a few extra knots on the final approach and didn’t hold off long enough resulting in a long, fast and bumpy ground run.

Soaring in an ASK23

I soloed in this ASK-23 (G-DEVV) for the first time the day prior to this flight with three up and down circuits. On the day of this flight the forecast of 15 knot NW/NNW winds looked good as the ridge might have been working. On the day possible wave interference made soaring on the ridge in the first half of the day pretty tricky so I stuck with Rob in the ASK13 (CCW).

In the afternoon conditions improved and people seemed to be doing well. I was offered the K23 and got away almost straight off the launch into a thermal that took me almost to cloud base at 2,400 feet. Then the thermals disappeared and apart from one small climb it was downhill all the way back to the field. It wasn’t just me struggling at the time as I landed within minutes of the club K21 and Twin Astir which meant I had to figure out a some alternate landing options. The east and west landing strips were occupied with the K21 and the Twin Astir, the vega strip had walkers on it which left the launch strip as the next option. No one was set up to launch so I landed to the right of the cable touching down a bit fast at the brow of the hill and then landing on the down hill run afterwards.

All in all an amazing flight, the K23 is a beautiful glider to fly and I can only hope for more soaring time in it.

Rhoscolyn

Last week the family all ventured to Rhoscolyn on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey for a big wedding do. I used this as an excuse to get a new toy to film the week’s fun.

I’ve stitched some of the more scenic clips together in this video. It’s all very cliched. Queue “floating” music…

 

Solo

My first flight in a glider was on October 13th 2015 at Midland Gliding Club. After 50 flights with different instructors (mostly Rob H and Dave C) Nigel L sent me off on my first solo flight in the club’s ASK 13 G-DCCW on the Thursday evening course on May 26th. The mixture of uncertainty, trepidation and pressure on myself not to wimp out is hard to describe but that first solo winch launch is a novel experience with only yourself for feedback or to save an awkward situation.

I made it back down!

I made it back down!

I flew again on the Saturday following and after a three solo flights in the K13 G-DCKR including a 25 minute thermaling flight I upgraded to the club’s Schleicher K-8. Again, an amazing experience. Two very short flights with no thermaling and I was done for the day. So, next steps are to get some longer flights under my belt and try and get my bronze badge done before the year is out 🙂

K8

Launches and landings

Three flights today with some great weather in the morning. It feels like the first day this winter without rain. I flew launches and landings with Paul. Weather conditions weren’t great for ridge flying so we just had a few short circuits. I definitely notice that the workload is decreasing as I get more time in the air. It’s now easier to think about quite a few things at once.

On another note, don’t buy cheap sunglasses, I bought a pair from Amazon for a few quid and they’re totally useless once you’re in the air. I think I’ll be dropping a few quid more on a decent pair in the next few weeks.

Towing AS K21 JGJ up the Vega strip after a simulated launch failure

Towing AS K21 JGJ up the Vega strip after a simulated launch failure

First winch launch

This is a really short entry to log my first winch launch on Sunday 20th December 2015. As has been the theme for most of this winter, the weather was crap again, wet, low cloud and cold but determined to do some flying I took myself up to the Mynd.

It was one of those days with problems with the retrieve winch and incoming weather, but I managed one short flight with Alasdair and flew my first winch launch. After the very quick launch (0 – 1200 ft in 30 seconds) new sunglasses combined with an incoming rain shower and having to land quickly I bottled the landing and handed to the instructor who flew a quick loop de loop off the ridge then a fast landing with a bounce.

In between breaks in the rain I took the versa wing for a couple of short flights off the ridge and was joined by a couple of red kites on the ridge.

Another Sunday at the Mynd

What had looked like a promising Sunday for most of the previous week turned out not to be that great on the day. I managed a quick 20 minute flight in the morning before the rain and cloud came in and we had to land.

The plan had been to practice some launches and landings into the 25 mph westerly, the weather put pay to that but I still had great fun practicing aileron and rudder coordination in good ridge lift. I briefly caught and circled in a 6 knot thermal that gave us 200 feet of lift in a single turn!

The XCSoar log from the 6 knot thermal.

The XCSoar log from the 6 knot thermal.

After lunch the rain and clouds cleared and I ventured off to maiden a new blunt nose versa slope soarer from the modeler’s bowl. The wind had dropped to 4 mph so there was almost no lift off the ridge. My first RC soaring flight gave me an idea of how it works but after eight or nine scrambles up and down the hill I gave up and returned to the MGC club house.

Tridion Developer Summit 2015

In September I was fortunate enough to attend the 2015 Tridion Developer Summit in Amsterdam. It was great to get out of the office and spend some real time with the other Content Bloomers to meet so many new people who are working with Tridion. We also got to see lots of the cool stuff that is coming in Web 8 and some really interesting things that people are doing with Tridion right now. There is so much to remember and this post is just a glimpse of some of the highlights.

Amsterdam airport has Tesla Model S taxis!

Amsterdam airport has Tesla Model S taxis!

I flew over to Amsterdam a day early to attend Alex Klock and Tanner Brine’s Alchemy workshop. Lots of interesting questions, quips and suggestions made by so many people with plenty of experience and real-world insight.

Tanner, Nick and Jon on the Ferry to the Eye

Day one of TDS and a little worse for wear. Tanner, Nick and Jon on the Ferry to the Eye.

Day one of the summit opened with a cool little video by Robert Curlette followed by a keynote presentation of SDL Web 8 by Nuno Linhares.

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There’s some great new stuff coming in Web 8 that will make life so much easier for Tridion (SDL Web) implementors and users. My particular favourites are the ability to move items around the blueprint model and the site creation wizard. Oh, and free development licenses too!

Nuno presenting the SDL Web 8 site builder wizard. It worked after some teething problems as is the way with demos.

Bart Koopman presented lots of new stuff for DXA 1.1 and the roadmap for the future of the project.

Bart Koopman presented lots of new stuff for DXA 1.1 and the roadmap for the future of the project.

On the evening of the first day we were all carted off to Pllek for food and entertainment, a live band playing some funky funk as well as a 2015 rendition of this. I have to say it’s an odd experience being shepherded into a shipping contained on an industrial estate. It’s fair to say we all had a good night and held out to the last, I think we may have been amongst the last to leave.

The entrance to Pllek

The entrance to Pllek

An early start on the second day and Tanner, Alex and I left the rest of the CBers sleeping on the houseboat we rented for the week as it departed the mooring.

The accommodation floating away from its moorings

The accommodation floating off with a sleeping team CB.

Day two started with a presentation of Alchemy and the great “build a GUI extension in 5 minutes” party piece by Tanner and Alex. Then the live launch of DD4T 2.0 by Quirijn Slings.

Tanner and Alex presenting Alchemy

Tanner and Alex presenting Alchemy

 

Quirijn Slings

Quirijn Slings launches DD4T 2.0

And Finally Will Price, with a broken voice, and Jan Horsman showed how they built a SmartTarget web service for JavaScript rendering of personalised SmartTarget content on a cached website. I can see this being picked up a lot in the future.

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Will Price demoing SmartTarget on cached content

Will Price demoing SmartTarget on cached content

There is so much more that I’ve missed or skipped over and it was a great couple of days. The future is definitely bright for SDL Web and events like this really help to keep momentum in the community which has created and shared so much amazing work and knowledge.

Thanks to Robert Curlette for all the hard work he put in to organising the summit. It can’t be easy but it’s so valuable. Thanks to all the presenters and attendees for being there and sharing the cool stuff they’ve been doing and thanks to Content Bloom HQ for letting me bunk off work to hang around the Eye and eat cake in Amsterdam for three days 🙂

 

The mini quad is back in action!

I was having some strange problems with my ZMR 250 mini quad at the start of the summer. One motor kept out during flight, there was also some strange pitching behaviour during aggressive manoeuvres. A lack of time to do anything over the summer meant that it was mothballed.

I had a couple of spare hours this week whilst avoiding the last episode of Downton Abbey to take a look at the problems. It appeared that one motor had a short. Testing the resistance between the motor leads and the stator found the short. A quick motor swap and solder job and it’s back in flying condition again so I’ll be getting some FPV in again when the winds calm down.

Back in action! #zmr250

A video posted by Mark Williams (@willburt) on

Aerofly FS

In an attempt to improve my flying skills I’ve started playing around with flight simulators once again. I picked up a pretty cheap set of CH Pro rudder pedals from eBay as well as a good second hand joystick from CEX (A Logitech Extreme 3D pro).

I bought Aerofly FS from ipacs and I’m pretty impressed. It’s definitely a fun simulator and pretty far from the “realism” of X-Plane and Flight Simulator X. The graphics are good and it’s fun just to have a blast around the alps when the mood takes.

There are a couple of gliders in the aircraft inventory but they really don’t conform to reality. They lack any noticeable adverse yaw for a start. I’m looking at Silent Wings or Condor as proper training aids for gliding but for now this is a good bit of fun.

 

Screenshot 2015-11-07 09.53.09
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