HMS Seahawk Gliding Club has frozen Spring lamb over Easter
Six members of the Seahawk Gliding Club from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose braved Arctic conditions over Wales, taking to the skies during Exercise Spring Lamb 13, their annual Easter Gliding Expedition.
In normal years, swooping and soaring over the Welsh countryside in spring would attract many budding young glider pilots. But the Coldest Easter on record and temperature drops to as low as minus six overnight, saw crews from RNAS Culdrose pack thermal s instead of shorts and sunscreen. Setting up base camp at Talgarth Gliding club, South Wales, members prepared for flights over the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. The move 250 miles away from their Cornish Naval Air Station allowed instructors and Students to experience ridge and wave gliding, not available at Culdrose. But although affected by the poor weather only 2 days of flying were lost, members completing 23 launches and over 24 hours in the air; gaining some much valued gliding experiences in tricky whether conditions as well.
“Waking up to snow, It was difficult to remember if we had come to Wales or Alaska”, said Air Engineering Technician Danny Furlong from 824 Naval Air Squadron. The aim of the Spring Expedition was to introduce new students to the basics of Gliding and four AET’s from Culdrose took up the challenge. Danny continues, “We scaled ridges to start with to get a feel for where the best lift was. Evidently there was a lot of good lift as we were in the air for two hours. I enjoyed being in control, practising turns and trimming the aircraft”.
By the middle of the week lighter winds provided excellent training value for students to progress from straight flight to turns in the gliders. Light snow showers had little effect on flying and there was some thermal activity allowing gliders to climb to 3000 feet and show another way of staying airborne.
Commander Chris Bryning, Expedition Leader and Chief Instructor, thanked those who contributed to Exercise Spring Lamb 2013, in particular the students who soared to the challenging conditions. “Every student did really well and had over four hours flying with our gliders. With wind conditions light enough by the end of the week this allowed the use of Talgarth’s vintage, side by side open cockpit glider trainer called 'Snoopy’ This was the experience of a lifetime for the four guys lucky enough to fly in her”.
Seahawk Gliding Club has already put in for the use of Talgarth’s excellent facilities for next year; let’s hope the forecasters can predict a warmer Spring Lamb for 2014!