Jaca 2015 Pictures

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Photos 22nd - 29th March 2015

After a fun maiden Jaca trip last year I wasn't planning to return this year, but a vacancy was advertised a few weeks beforehand and I couldn't resist. With last year's knowledge and experience preparation was a lot easier and quicker this time. I set off from Stansted rather nervous as the forecast for Jaca this week looked terrible. Indeed after taking off in nice conditions the weather steadily deteriorated the further South, with snow showers over the Pyrenees and overcast skies at Zaragoza. This time I shared a Toyota Auris with another pilot (Derek). Monday was the no fly day. The introductory briefing was ominously pessimistic. Later in the day Derek and I went exploring in Jaca. On Tuesday the clouds started very low but conditions steadily improved and we got off the ground and even found wave to 4000 feet above site. Wednesday onwards the conditions, while not epic, were pretty much Northerly winds and the air drying out and warming up. Wednesday's flight saw John and I soar tight strong rough thermals to 10,700 feet. Some of the rough rotory clouds shook us about so much I got queasy. But it didn't spoil the flight. Thursday's flight with Dave was my favourite flight with wave over Stage 3 taking us all the way to FL195 (19,500 feet). On Friday with John I released to early and was falling down off Stage 1 only to escape in a thermal from circuit height. Eventually close to the airfield we transitioned into wave and got up to 15,000 feet over the valley. On Saturday with John I struggled to do much and pretty much had fun rock polishing for most of the flight, ridge soaring stage 2 at one point with some local gliders. Then at the end of Saturday the DG1000 was derigged under a gorgeous sunset. On Sunday I repeated last year's trip to Riglos (in nicer warm and sunny conditions this time) with Derek before a smooth flight home to Stansted.

Pictures From The Ground (as well as Passenger Flights to and from Spain)

Please click here for pictures taken on Sunday to Tuesday (60).
Please click here for pictures taken from the ground on Wednesday to Friday (62).
Please click here for pictures taken on Saturday and Sunday (70).

Gliding Pictures

Tuesday 24th March 2015 - Overcast Wave Flight

At 3:30PM John and I launched in the Duo Discus to stage 1. Here we soared in ridge lift on stage 1 before picking up thermals despite the overcast conditions. We followed the vultures around who were a great help in marking the lift at times. The climax of the flight was getting into weak wave over Javierregay to 6700 feet. nice! Eventually we descended to land after 2 hours exactly.





Looking up the Hecho Valley from its mouth near Stage 1. Looking back towards the airfield from Stage 1. Cloud capped Cuculo to the South with Santa Cilia below it. Looking East along a fire break to the Stage 1 summit. Another view up the Hecho valley as we soar near Stage 1.





Shower clouds to the Southeast between here and Jaca town. Vulture. These burds are fantastic lift markers. Looking West to a showery Yesa Reservoir. Stage 3 and the high peaks looking rather moody in the overcast conditions. John and I having fun in Spain.



A closer look at the local Pyrenees mountains. 360 degree panorama as we climb away in wave above Javierregay. Another view West and Southwest from above the lower clouds.

Wednesday 25th March 2015 - Rough Thermals and Rotor

I was 3rd up with John in the Duo Discus today. So it was a long wait to fly, but well worth that wait! We launched just after 4PM. The 15kt Northwesterly crosswind made for a challenging launch. A dropped wing (which everyone else was doing too) was rescued. We climbed very quickly and had a very rough tow. We were already above 7000 feet by the time we released as we approached Stage 2. A substantial part of the flight was spent in this area playing with tight rough thermals being kicked off just upwind of stage 2. We eventually topped out at over 10,000 feet. After exploring the start of Stage 3 then retreating we got up to 10,700 feet max height after wringing the neck of a strong tight core (10kts core, turning tightly and pulling g's). Up here we could see into France over the cloud covered peaks. Then we explored west to some rotor cloud. Here it was so rough I got queasy. Strong lift was matched by even stronger sink. We retreated back past Stage 2 and went further east. All the while cloud was flowing over the peaks from France very pictoresquely. The ridge before the Canfranc valley had more rough rotor cloud. After passing this we explored up the Canfranc valley towards more snow covered peaks. In front of us was snow covered Collarada. As we got close we encountered seriously heavy sink and decided to retreat South out to Jaca, still at 8000 feet. Then we headed back towards Santa cilia, exploring weak wave nearby before descending with airbrakes to land 2h23m after launch. By the time we landed the wind had gone Westerly so we didn't have the crosswind landing problems all the others had.




Spectacular views over the mountains from between Stages 2 and 3. Spectacular cloudscape looking West to Yesa Reservoir. Looking Eastwards along the mountains from near Stage 3.





More spectacular ethereal mountain views from just below Stage 3.





Flying Eastwards from the Stage 3 area towards Canfranc. Peering over rotor clouds towards the Canfranc valley. More awesome mountain views.





Collarada from the Southwest. Jaca and Oroel from the North over Canfranc. Leaving the mountains behind as we retreat South. Jaca and the fort from the north.





Looking over Stage 1 from the South. Stage 2 is clearly visible as the next hill behind, followed by Stage 3 where the snow line is. Looking Westwards along the Rio Aragon as the sun gets low. Nice cumulus out that way. Looking Eastwards to Jaca and beyond. Oroel to the South of Jaca. Aerodromo Santa Cilia from the Northwest, with Santa Cilia village beyond.


Looking East along the valley with the airfield in the foreground. Cuculo from the Northwest.

Thursday 26th March 2015 - Wave to FL195

This was my favourite flight of the trip. I was first up with Dave in the Duo Discus. We launched soon after 11:30AM and released near Stage 1 where there was gentle wave lift. We played around there for a while climbing from 6000 to 10,000 feet. Then we jumped upwind to other wave bars, playing around near clouds before eventually finding good wave lift. From about 14,000 feet we moved upwind to the North again to somewhere near Stage 3 where better defined lenticular clouds were. Here the wave was fairly steady at 4-5kts in the best areas all the way to FL195. It was -18C up here. We were way above most of the cloud tops, and looking into France it was 8/8 cloud cover there as well as over the peaks. After a photo op we descended fairly quickly. We paused at 15,000 feet and 11,000 feet to let the gel coat warm up. At 10,000 feet we explored another wave bar for info for the next pilot. Then after running West along it at speed and exiting left through a gap to the Jaca valley near Santa Cilia we descended and landed after exactly 2 hours aloft.






Soaking in the spectacular cloudscapes as we climb in wave in the Stage 1 - Stage 2 areas.






More organised wave bars to the North. The peaks and beyond were obscured by cloud. Approaching the best wave bar somewhere near Canfranc. Jaca visible to the South. More views as we get established in the best wave bar.




360 degree panorama as we climb towards FL195. We did it! FL195. Still climbing at 4kts. Up here we are well above the wave bars. Thick cloud persists North of the peaks.






Dave and I at FL195. Why do I always get my canular wonky? Looking South towards the Jaca valley from up high. Looking West along the foothills as we start to descend. More spectacular views Northeast to the mountains.






From up here Cuculo looks rather small. Descending back past a stack of lenticular clouds. Spectacular view West along a wave bar. Look at those sculpted lenticular clouds! Looking North as we pass some moisture in the atmosphere creating a nice rainbow. Running along the wave bar as we continue to descend.


Running along the wave bar as we continue to descend.

Friday 27th March 2015 - A Low Save!

This was the most dramatic flight of the trip. John and I launched at about 1:15PM in the DG1000. It felt much like yesterday's tow near Stage 1 when we released into good lift so I released again, but promptly lost the lift. After a few attempts at bowl bashing below the summit of Stage 1 we were getting rather low and retreated back to the valley. As we got down towards circuit height we blundered into a strong narrow thermal. I wasted no time cranking the glider into a sharp turn to catch the thermal. By climbing this thermal we rescued the flight from an early landing, drifting downwind to just East and Southeast of the airfield. Eventually we got to over 5000 feet as I pushed back upwind along the line of energy. Here the lift got smooth as it transitioned into wave at a steady 4kts. At maybe 8000 feet it jumped up to 8kts for a while before settling down. By staying in the same spot we went all the way to 15,000 feet as we started to push upwind to the mountains. Lovely lenticulars were starting to form rapidly just below us. I wanted to climb up to FL195 but John was worried about the weather upwind and wanted the next pilot to have a go. So with gritted teeth I agreed to descend, pausing periodically to let the gel coat warm up again. Low down it was very rough and it was a 15kt Northwesterly crosswind. The main runway was busy so I landed us on the auxiliary runway. It was a bit bumpy but we got down without too much problem after 1hr27m.






Derek kindly took these pictures of me as I launched. Views of Cuculo and Eastwards to Oroel as we climb on the South side of the valley. Today the mountains were gorgeously clear in places. I needed my long lens for this. Another spectacular cloudscape Westwards to the Yesa Reservoir.





Another spectacular cloudscape Westwards to the Yesa Reservoir. A good view of the Firebreak Ridge just East of Stage 1. Another panorama of the mountains. The view of Yesa keeps on improving. Spectacular panorama from the local peaks to Ordessa Gorge and beyond.






My favourite of the mountain views. Views East along the Jaca Valley. Jaca is nearby. Beyond are the 'Dragon's Teeth' that lead to Sabananigo. A closer look at the Ordessa Gorge from 15,000 feet over Santa Cilia. My best view of Jaca's fort, from the West. A closer look at the 'Dragon's Teeth' and Sabananigo.





Wave bars starting to form as the air gets moister. Looking down at the airfield, Santa Cilia and Cuculo from 15,000 feet. Exploring the forming lenticulars. Behind us a lenticular marks the wave that we had been soaring in. Descending past lenticulars as we head down for the next pilot.

Saturday 28th March 2015 - Rock Polishing

I launched just before midday with John in the DG1000. We released over Javieregay and thought I'd mucked up again. But we found lift marked by the vultures after bowl bashing Stage 1 again. We spent ages there and eventually got to 6500 feet. From there we explored, flying over the top of stage 1 and to the fire break ridge to the East which was kicking off limited lift. Once we got back up to 6000 feet we set off for Stage 2 which we attempted to ridge soar with two other local gliders. But it wasn't working that well, so we escaped along the valley back to Javieregay. From 5500 feet we pushed west into the Jaca valley to cumulus. But we couldn't get it to work for us. So with it getting marginal for gliding back we returned to Santa Cilia to land smoothly after 1h51m. It was an unspectacular difficult flight but still the scenery was awesome. Other pilots apparently found wave Northwest of Stage 2 to as high as 11,000 feet but we didn't have the height to go there anyway. Never mind it was still a good fun last flight.






Another nice shot of me launching by Derek. A cloud flowing over a local peak. A fuzzy view of the best lift markers in the area. Some grand views of the mountains as we soar near Javierregay.





Ridge soaring the North side of Stage 2 while looking South back towards Stage 1 and the airfield. A pretty view down the Hecho Valley from near Stage 2. Javierregay near the mouth and the airfield and Santa Cilia beyond. A Santa Cilia DG1000 flies Southwards below us down the Hecho Valley. Yesa visible in the background. Once again nice cumulus to the West but none here.

Pictures From The Ground

Please click here for pictures taken on Sunday to Tuesday (60).
Please click here for pictures taken from the ground on Wednesday to Friday (62).
Please click here for pictures taken on Saturday and Sunday (70).