For those of your who don’t know the Cloud refers to Bosley Cloud half way between Macclesfield and Leek. Featured in the Simon Cocker round the world treatment of the best slope soaring sites, and Simon’s local site, it rises from the Cheshire Plain suddenly in the wake of miles and miles of flat land, and thus provides flyers with a magnificent view of Jodrell Bank, Manchester Airport, Winter’s Hill and the like. It is probably the most beautiful of all LMMGA sites in terms of view. The killer is the 130 step rise at the beginning of the ascent, which disqualifies the likes of Ivan, and anyone who is slightly infirm. It certainly exercises the heart, and gets the blood pumping. So hot are you when you get to the top that it is wise not to don your balaclava until you arrive at the top.
This flying session was no normal trip to the Cloud because it was an “extra” PSS meeting organised by Phil Cooke. I only saw the posting early on Saturday morning, so eagerly filled the car and set on the long 15 minute drive (aren’t I lucky to live so close?) to Red Lane where we park. Fortunately the mist had lifted and a splendid day was in store. When I arrived Phil and Chris Barlow had just arrived. It is also Chris’s local slope, but Phil has to travel from Derby. We loaded up and set off up th’ill.
When we got to the top the wind was looking promising, 20mph and slightly off the North Westerly slope – the forecast gave WNW moving round to NW, so although slightly off it was flyable.
We had each brought our Jet Provosts, mine in the Church Wilne sliver and orange trainer squadron colours, Phil’s in Orange, and Chris has a Black and Yellow one (you can tell how much background knowledge I have of scale!)
We launched all 3 models and flew in the incredible turbulent air. It is unusual to have such air at the Cloud. I put it down to firstly the fact that the wind was slightly off the slope because there was a lot of rotor close in and over the edge, secondly the air was very damp, it having rained all night, and thirdly there were bubble thermals everywhere, meaning that there were huge pockets of rise and sink everywhere. Gradually the lift improved as the wind swung round to the edge of the slope.
Phil took some fabulous pictures of my JP – this one showing it coming in low to land – not intentionally, of course, it just did. Phil then said “Can you just bring it round to the right Peter, so the sun is on it, and fly it over the slope?” – well, you know what it’s like when you are modelling (clay pots usually for me) – the man with the HUGE lens is in charge and you do what you are told, so I dutifully did what I was told, but when I got close the edge of the slope, I hit the most appalling rotor, which turned the JP onto its tip and smashed it onto one of the rocks on the path. There was a crunch, and Phil said “Oh No Peter”. Oh No indeed Phil (mea culpa of course)
I went to inspect the damage, which was just a broken wing tip, float, front wing dowel, and underneath sheeting – all very repairable of course, but nonetheless irrritating because I wanted to fly it again.
I flew my none PSSA Stormbird which went a treat – no sign of tubulence now, the sun came out, and we had lunch – isn’t it amazing how quicly coffee cools down when you drink it in a strong cold North Westerly wind. Something to do with wind chilll I think.
After lunch, I flew my Vulcan – the wind had subsided from 20 to more like 12 mph or thereabouts, and it coped well – it is lightly built plane which would have struggled in 20mph. Look at the false smile on my face – just for the photographer of course – he who must be obeyed. You can see I was wearing goggles – by now the sun was shining over the landing area, and was low in the sky, so much needed.
Chris had bought an F20 Tomahawk for £30 from the Nationals (see at the top). He had converted it from EDF. He maidened it and chucked it off. Just at that time the wind died and he struggled to keep it aloft. The C of G was too far back and it was a real handful. He did manfully well and brought it back safely, even though at one point, I thought he would have to undergo the walk of shame. Back to the bench for cockpit detail, some weight in the nose aka move the battery forward
In the afternoon we were beset with a slight shower from which there is no protection on the Cloud, but amazingly there appeared the most colourful full rainbow, with a reflection and mini rainbow beneath. We all tried to get a picture of Phil’s JP against the rainbow. We just about managed it.
Later on in the day, Simon Cocker and Andy Gough appeared with some sports models (a Ventus, and a Phase 6). Obviously, on such an elitist PSS event, because they didn’t have the right models, we couldn’t talk to them, and had to make them sit in a different area. Such are the very strict rules. Even though Simon is an International Modeller of some renown with a string of articles to his credit, there has to be space for pedantry, snobishness, and small minded bigotry, even in someone as forgiving as myself (LOL – which means that I was joking, for those about to take offence)
Sadly Andy’s Phase 6 lost all control and dived into the hill. He put it down to a dislodged elevator pushrod. We were all sad for him, but such is modelling…
So another great day up the Cloud – and not many walkers asking you how they stay up without a motor, what they cost, and how far you can fly them before you lose control, which usually gets the answer “Well if I can’t see it, then I can’t really control it can I.” followed by a hurumph….a perfectly fair question to be fair….
I will now attempt to upload the photos into the gallery. If I manage it, I will put a link the album here – PSS on the Cloud Nov 17..