This weekend the club hosted a pre-solo to pre-bronze training weekend for a group of junior pilots from across the country. The weekend was a great success and the club managed to do over 150 launches over the two days.
We had 14 juniors from 9 clubs come to join us for the weekend. They managed 81 launches, 4 type conversions, 4 people Solo at a new site, 6 bronze exams, 1 bronze flying test and 1 Cross Country Nav Ex. Feedback from the weekend was very positive, so this will hopefully have been the first of many to come.
Thank you to all the club members who helped run the launch point, drive the winch and generally being friendly and welcoming to our visitors.
Hangar packing and battery charging help
In the hope that those members who stay to the end of the day to pack the hangar will still be able to read, here is the guide to hangar packing (south side version; the north side one is the opposite instructions) being put up by John McWilliam. The purpose is to ensure the cockpits of gliders are located close to the battery charging drop-down plugs and cables in the hangar. Objective: all club gliders have fully charged batteries every day.
Tow bars for Ka 21 and Ka 23 and tail dolly for Ka 21 ENK
Thanks to John McWilliam for organising the re-manufacture of tow bars for the Ka 21 G-CLRT and the Ka 23 G-CGCF (pictures below). Note the crossbar holds the tow-bar upright and aligned to the holes ready to push the pin in and lock it. We have also ordered a new IMI (Czech Republic specialist manufacturer of gliding equipment) tail dolly for Ka 21 G-EENK. It should arrive in about a week (picture below).
Please look after these items of kit, along with everything else. Prior to the refurb John had to rescue one of the tow bars from the long grass where it had been broken and abandoned.
DGR / chairman
Larry Bleaken awarded the Bronze Medal of the Royal Aero Club
On Thursday evening 18th May Larry Bleaken, who is our Club's President and the longest standing member (since the Club formed on 1st August 1964), received the Bronze Medal of the Royal Aero Club of the UK, at the RAF Club London. The presentation was made by the Commanding Officer of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Squadron Leader Andy Millikin. Larry's flying partner in his Stemme S10, Andrew Flewelling, and Club Chairman David Roberts accompanied Larry to the event and 'dined him out' afterwards.
Congratulations to Larry !
Sunday 21st May: Flying with the Spartans
It was an interesting (and surprisingly hassle free) experience sharing the airfield with the Spartan Race. Throughout the day the PA was blasting out an eclectic range of motivational music for the competitors, such that at one stage we were retrieving the K21 to the tune of the Village People's YMCA.
Despite the truncated launches we had a good day's flying in the sunshine. Chris Blackmore had over an hour in the K21, climbing to over 4,000 as his Mum watched from the ground, Half a dozen pilots went off cross-country - I believe Blandford Forum - Lasham was one of the tasks. Darren Edge closed the day with a display of aerobatics. Many thanks to Alex Jones and Graham Turner for driving the winch.
Wolds Gliding Club on TV
The link below (to BBC iPlayer) takes you to a programme shown on Saturday 20 May featuring the Wolds Gliding Club and the two-seater competition, about 2 minutes into the programme. If you not already registered with iPlayer, it is simple to do so.
Sometime later this year - don't know when - Cotswold GC will feature in Countryfile on the BBC.
DGR / chairman
News of recovery of Jessica Kill
Many of you will have followed the story last year of Richard Kill's daughter, Jessica, and the need to raise substantial funds for her to go to the USA for a life-saving operation that was only available there. Many CGC members provided financial support. Here is an update from Richard:
Thanks, Jessica is progressing very well, she has started back at work, for the moment, just doing three mornings a week with a plan to extend that gradually over the next couple of months. She is still on some medication and has to have regular specialist physiotherapy but that is also progressing well. In March she had another upright MRI scan to check that the metal screws in her neck were still in the correct alignment and that the bone was reforming around them. Again, I am glad to say, all is well. We always knew that it will take about a year for her to make a full recovery without the need for some medication and physio. We as a family went through a lot last year but were overwhelmed by the generosity, not only of friends but of the general public at large who helped to basically save her life. So please include in the newsletter Jessica’s and the family’s heartfelt thanks to everyone at CGC who supported her. I attach a copy of the scan (to follow, Ed) which clearly shows the metal screws in her neck. I hope the club has a good season and the comps go well; hope to bring Clara (my boat) down to Frampton sometime in the summer. All the very best, Richard
Club Briefing Saturday 20 May @ 18.30 hrs, and Spartan event
We are holding a Club Briefing in the clubhouse at 18.30 hrs on Saturday 20th May, after flying. All are welcome to get an update on various things topical. It is also an opportunity for new members to meet other club members and learn about how the club operates. There will be food - a home-made curry - for up to 60 people, and bookings will be taken through a link I'll set up for 'Doodle' calendar.
Next weekend is also the Spartan event ( http://www.spartanrace.uk/en/race/detail/1924/overview ) car parking for which will be on the main runway south of the intersection of the runways. We shall be operating on a shortened main runway, as we did last year very successfully. Operational instructions for the day will be posted in the clubhouse and on the bus, including where to park equipment and where to rig private gliders. If the wind direction / strength is such that the cross runway (09/27) would be the obvious choice, we cannot use that due to cable drop risks in relation to car parking and the west side perimeter track traffic. Whilst the Spartan event causes us a limited amount of disruption, the financial benefit to the Club is very substantial, so please do not complain !
Honourable Company of Air Pilots flying scholarship
There is a further opportunity to apply for a place on a residential gliding course funded by an Honourable Company of Air Pilots flying scholarship.
The Scholarships are aimed at those with little or no flying experience who might otherwise not have the necessary resources to experience gliding. They will fund a week-long residential course at an approved BGA Junior Gliding Centre: London Gliding Club (Dunstable), Derby & Lancs Gliding Club (Camphill) and Portsmouth Naval Gliding Club (Lee-on-Solent) between 12-18 August and 27 August – 1 September.
More details on the BGA website.
Not from Aston Down but worthy of mention. On 7th of May Klaus Ohlmann flew in mountain wave from the French Alps, to Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and finally landing in Southern Italy. Details on the OLC website.
Lechlade Duck Race May 1s 2017
Members took a DG200 and a simulator to the Lechlade Duck Race is support of Help for heroes. They sold six trial lesson vouchers, and talked about the club to numerous visitors. Before the event started a helicopter landed very close to the rigged glider and gazebos, with surprisingly little disturbance.
Not Quite So Epic Wednesday
Yes, Tuesday did qualify as Epic for flights from Lxxxxm and elsewhere but this blog is for Aston Down. We have a nucleus of pilots who regularly fly over 500 Km and who are an inspiration to us all. Today two of them were absent at work or abroad, nevertheless we had flights of 503 Km, 416 Km and 316 Km. One other enjoyed spectacular conditions at the south coast before returning.
The day started with good thermals but later in the afternoon wave conditions enhanced thermals at times and suppressed them with massive sink at others. A few pilots reported climbing into wave, reaching 5-6000. Those who launched when the massive sink was over the airfield had very short flights. The course and the Wednesday regulars had a very good day's flying.
A forecast promising an "Epic" day didn't quite live up to that but nevertheless tempted so many to rush to the airfield that the launch queue looked like a busy weekend day. The good conditions produced two flights over 500 km and two over 400 km plus numerous lesser achievements. Thermal strengths ranged up to 7 kts and cloudbase almost 6000 ft ASL.
A Sportability day enabled 9 people with disabilities to experience the joys of soaring flight.
An excellent training and cross country day, or it would have been a good training day if there had been more U/T members to take advantage of it, so a lot of two seaters were sitting on the ground much of the time.
Long wings completed their 300k tasks but shorter wings had difficulties and one landed out
Course Week 3rd -7th April
I had the pleasure of running the course this week which was for me a unique experience for several reasons. First we flew on five consecutive soarable days and only had flying interrupted briefly on the Tuesday. Second we had 3 enthusiastic visitors, Steve, Alice and Harry (more on them later), Thirdly I learned something about how instructing is carried out in Poland from our new resident instructor, Stan. Some useful ideas we could perhaps adopt. Finally I managed to go through a considerable portion of the solo syllabus in a really concentrated session of flying which I miss with just weekend instructor duties.
Steve was flying his 17m Cirrus and was joined by his syndicate partner Mike early in the week. Steve had a great week completing his first flight in his Cirrus and going on to completing a 1.5 and 3 hour soaring flight later in the week. Understandably he left at the end of the week a happy man. Well done Steve.
Our ab initios on the course were Alice and Harry. Harry returned to CGC, having not been put off from a previous one week course last October. Alice was (almost) new to flying gliders.
Both made great progress during the week flying with both myself and Stan, and Alice was keen to drive every type of vehicle the club had; and by the end of the week could probably qualify as a London bus driver as long as she didn't have to park the bus ! Both Alice and Harry became accomplished at soaring and enjoyed some great views on clear day with birds of prey circling with us in the thermals. By the end of the week they were both doing all the flying so great progress.
Our CFI Gerry and regional examiner Tony were present as some point on each day and it was great to have them as a source of advice and support. Unfortunately Gerry had a cold so could not fly from Tuesday onwards ( the day after he had his flights with Stan - no connection there I think ??). Gerry was certainly under the weather as he did not even recognize( or possibly even know of ) one of his syndicate partners Pat who seemed rather surprised at his apparent anonymity when he turned up to fly on Wednesday!
We all enjoyed a meal at a local pub on Thursday. Thanks to our local members who helped out ( especially Dave and Lesley on Mon/Tues) and our winch driver Dave provided good reliable launches throughout the week.
UK Junior Gliding
A big thank you to the club for letting the juniors borrow the DG500 for the Winter Series events over the past few months. We had three very successful trips to Portmoak, Long Mynd and Nympsfield which gave many young pilots the opportunity to experience ridge, wave and thermal soaring at different airfields.
The Winter Series is organised by the UK Junior Gliding group which promotes gliding to young people throughout the UK. The Winter Series and other events play an important part in getting more young people into gliding and ensuring a prosperous future for our sport.
Here are a few photos from a ridge day in Scotland and cross-country flying in the Cotswolds. Thank you all for your continued support of our junior members.
First course last day (with tractor again)
The first course final day had similar conditions to those pertaining all week i.e strong winds which made approaches and landings difficult. Nevertheless they all seemed to go away happy.
The tractor appeared again without warning driving on the runway in use in the middle of the morning while we were flying. It then operated on the grass on the east side of it, holding us up for some 2.5 hours. It came back again at 3.20 and raked the grass between the control tower and the runway for the rest of the afternoon.
A bevy of two seaters from the Juniors event at Nympsfield descended on us during the afternoon. If they had contacted us beforehand we could have warned them about the tractor but fortunately none of them hit it.
First agricultural hiatus of 2017
The first course of 2017 had a good day apart from a 50 minute break in the middle of the afternoon due to agricultural operations which started as usual without warning or consultation.
Sat 11th March
Mist and Low cloud at the start of the day was forecast to lift, so 2 K21s, the K13 and K23 were DI'd and parked on the runway. First launch was onto a 500' cloudbase but the aim was lauch failures for a WR so not a problem. CB lifted to 700, then 800 feet before finally melting away so that we could take launches all the way to the top. Steady breeze from SSE - good training conditions. Over 50 lauches by the end of the day. Of course there had to be a winch issue on the last lauch of the day with a loop thrown, so the winch team got their night rating. Many thanks to all who helped - hope you got what you wanted from the day.