Brass Monkey Saturday 25-11-17
Flippin' heck it was cold today. Despite the spectacular wind chill from the fresh north-westerly we had a good day's flying for the time of year. Our one-day course visitors Peter and Simon had a fun day in the DG 500, with yours truly. And yes, by the end of the day they both managed to remember what CBSIFTCBE stands for. Mike Weston and Simon Lucas were kept busy flying ATC cadets and UWE student in the K21 and K13 respectively. We had an enforced break at mid-day for a royal flight out of Kemble and an impressive rain shower around mid-afternoon, but otherwise managed a good launch rate. We are indebted to Adrain Giles and Richard Burgoyne for driving the winch.
The weather went almost precisely to forecast. The heavy rain that greeted us at 8 o'clock cleared through the morning and we were able to get in the air just after 11.00. Thereafter, the two-seaters were kept busy flying the one-day course and enthusiastic groups of ATC scouts and UWE students. Flying was delayed in the afternoon by one of the most impressive winch snarl-ups I have ever seen (who would have thought you can crochet steel cable?), the tow-truck getting bogged down in the wet grass and a change of runways. The last flights of the day were completed to the backdrop of a spectacular sunset.
Portmoak Expedition October 2017
This years Cotswold Gliding Club one week Autumn Trip To Portmoak Scotland took place on the 21st October. 14 pilots and 12 aircraft made the trip north in a bid to sample ridge and wave flying, the weather was kind to us and we sampled ridge and wave lift on five days with only one non flyable day.
We were joined by five aircraft from Shalbourne gliding club, which meant the airfield was very busy at times.
On Sunday Morning Christoff and Stuart Thackary had site checks and Craig had ridge checks, with 17 visiting aircraft and numerous local aircraft the ridge was very busy, in the after noon the wave set up and a number of pilots took advantage with my self being prevented from going higher than 8000ft because of airspace and sunset fast approaching.
Monday and Tuesday morning were non flyable due to rain, on Tuesday the weather broke at lunchtime and flying started at 1400hrs, Craig endured more two seat flying on a busy ridge while several Cotswold pilots had wave flights to over 7000ft.
Wednesday started as Tuesday had finished, Craig took another two seat flight and again several pilots found wave but this time only to 5000ft, with the wind getting stronger and more turbulent flying halted at 1400hrs.
Thursday was a quieter day wind wise but wave was in the forecast, Craig took his first solo ridge flight and nearly all CGC pilots got above 4000ft.
Friday was another day with wave forecast, Craig experienced wave for the first time soaring above the clouds to over 5000ft (if only he had a logger it would have been silver height), All CG pilots sampled the wave to varying heights with myself getting to 10000ft which was the highest of the day (it did take three and a half hours to get there).
I am sure I have missed some notable flights as it was difficult to keep track while flying.
There were no great heights achieved or distances flown but a great week was had by all at a wonderful site.
The next trip is planned for the 21st April 2018, accommodation is limited so anyone interested in joining in let me know as soon as possible.
What a grey day. The airfield was wreathed in rain and low cloud for most of the morning and it wasn't until mid-day that we could finally get airborne. Thereafter the two-seaters were kept busy flying an enthusiastic group of UWE students and Indi and Lee on the one-day course. We didn't quite have to line up car headlights for the last landing, but it was dark by the time we got the toys away. Many thanks to Richard Cawsey for driving the winch.
We all wish Chairman David Roberts a speedy recovery after his heart surgery.
23-24th Sept Balloon Fest
We were delighted to share the airfield with around a dozen hot air balloonists, using Aston Down as a base for their weekend competition.
The balloons couldn't fly on Saturday morning, so a number of the pilots had a go at gliding - I am told they found it quite refreshing to fly an aircraft that actually goes where you point it and can land back where it started from.
Conditions were better on Sunday morning and at around 8am the balloons launched from Oaksey Park and in the easterly wind flew over AD to Chalford.
Paul Lazenby and yours truly took off in the Falke to watch them from the air. There are more photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm8izY3y
Team Semichon and the Scouts deserve a mention for stepping into the breach and cooking breakfast for the forty or so pilots and crew.
Club members give go-ahead to investment in new workshop
Last Saturday (16th September 2017) members who attended a Special General Meeting gave the go-ahead to the committee to implement a plan to invest in a new glider maintenance workshop facility. After a very well coherent and well-balanced debate, and after considering all other options, the decision was for a new building 12m x 20m rather than 12m x 28m. This will be situated at the rear of the present workshop with access from the approach road to the Gun Butts. Members tasked the committee with exploring the possibility of grant funding from a relatively recent fund established in Sport England, ahead of a decision to partly fund the development with loan finance from the Phillip Wills Memorial Fund (BGA).
At the conclusion of the meeting the Chairman thanked John McWilliam for his efforts in putting together alternative solutions. But the Chairman overlooked the contributions of others, and in particular Richard Carter, who had moved these proposals along over the last year or two. He wishes to thank Richard and others who has contributed to the proposals for getting us to a decision point.
DGR / chairman
We have a newly minted solo pilot! Many congratulations to George Bullock who completed three immaculate first solo flights today.
Cracking day for September
Early conditions were tricky at Aston Down with almost no wind and low cloudbase but worth the effort as it turned into a cracking day.
The BGA ladder flights logged for yesterday - Andy Smith in the Ventus completed a 519km task, as did David Briggs and Mike Weston in the Arcus, Doug Gardner, after fixing a technical problem completed 409km, John McWilliam and Stuart Pepler in the Nimbus did 508km. Mike Randle 310km with Geoff Dixon completing several laps of the club 100km and Tom Gooch after a late arrival at the club did the club 100km.
Not bad for September! Let's hope that there are still more to come!
Thanks to the ground crew who helped us all get into the air.
Perhaps someone who was at AD all day could comment how the day went, I'm sure that everyone local flying had a good day as well.
Last week 's course saw an unusual achievement. Robert, a course member well into his twenties went solo without any previous flying experience whatever, although not quite in the five days. As he was nearly solo on Friday he stayed on for the Saturday and Stan our course instructor flew with him so he could send him solo. Robert lives in Bristol and intends to join the club as a full member so congratulations to him and to Stan for his very effective instruction.
It his highly unusual for anyone not still in their teens to go solo on a course without any previous flying or sailing. The only other case I know about was a 25 year old Laser dinghy champion. Sailing experience does help.
New golf buggy
We have acquired a new buggy, for use for example on trial lessons for ferrying temporary members from the glider to the bus when landing long way from the launch point. It is a four seater (!) and most important it is ELECTRIC, with a new extensive set of batteries within the purchase price. We are told that when in use on a golf course the charged batteries last 2 days, which should be the equivalent of 10 to 11 miles' use. But it is more prudent to put it on charge each evening; Richard is fixing a charging point inside the hangar on the LH side, and is modifying it by addition of a tow bar, yellow beacon light etc. Richard is also arranging for a charging point from the bus, should the buggy run out of charge on the runway. Also remember to disconnect the charging lead each morning before driving off. Big reminder notices will be displayed !
It is in excellent condition, only a year or so old from a golf course that changes its kit every year, and unmarked by any misuse. Please let's try and keep it in excellent condition........
DGR / Chairman