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A good day out

Sunday 13th was good for both cross country and training achievements.

Plenty of very strong thermals were reported, both locally and further afield. I heard one reliable report of a steady 8 kts and many of over 5 kts.

According to National Ladder postings Cotswold pilots completed five tasks of over 300 km including two of the big two seaters flying over 420 Km at speeds of 93 and 96 Kph over the same course, one being credited with 3 Km less due to using 'Barrel' TPs rather than FAI sectors.

The club DG500 was used for its intended purpose of cross-country training, although requiring an aerotow retrieve from Shennington after running out of the wherewithal.

There was the usual training and trial lesson merry-go-round. Two members achieved conversions, one to the K23 and one to the Astir.


Tuesday 8th August - Kemble Scholarship Cadet Flying

The plan today, apart from the normal course operation was to fly 12 cadets on the Cotswold Airport scholarship program but the forecast wasn’t great and the cloudbase was around 800’. The expectation was that it wasn’t going to improve much so Stan’s morning briefing was all about launch failures. The cadets were spending the morning at Brize Norton, so we had a few hours to hope that weather would improve and luckily from about 12:30 it did. Rather timely as I was just about to call off the event!

With Ed Foggin in the K21, me in the DG500 and with help from Graham Turner, Dave Hart and the course members we managed to fly all 12 cadets, some weak soaring was available so most had some extended flights with the ‘occasional’ aerobatics. We were surprised on one flight to see two Hercules passing not far in front and below us.

The scholarship program is interesting, it is a fully funded program for young adults from 14-18 from the area of the local counties and provides the opportunity to experience career options in the aviation industry. One of the cadets told me that for 2017 there were 400 applicants, reduced to 20 after application reviews with 12 selected after formal interviews. The 12 then get 10 days of activities including various flying opportunities at Kemble, gliding with us, visits to Brize Norton, Bristol Airport and Rolls Royce. Several of the cadets that I flew with yesterday hoped to have careers in commercial flying or in the services. It was a very interesting day.

We packed away the gliders just minutes before a torrential downpour!

Thanks to everyone that helped.

Weekend 5/6 August

Back to normal after the competition. Both days were flyable albeit with thundery showers interrupting Saturday. Sunday was better than forecast and the thermals were ready almost before first launch. There were a couple of cycles of over-development but all the cross country pilots got away by lunch time and despite challenges along the way, everyone got back. A small band of club flyers made good use of the fleet with everyone getting a soaring flight. Very nice to be flying with members who've returned to Gliding after first sampling it in the 20th century! The Trial lessons included a "recovering stag party". Fortunately, sick bags, though available, were not deployed. ;-)

UK airspace heat-map of gliding 2000 to 2017

Interesting portrayal of where gliding is done in the UK. We know it already of course in relation to no-go areas of controlled airspace, but all the same, some gliding ventures to places we would not think of automatically ! Data from flights uploaded to the BGA Ladder since 2000. There are many more not recorded on the ladder of course, especially in earlier years.

BGA Glide Britain arrives

Bit of late news. The Glide Britain team arrived at Aston Down this evening from Mendip Club with the Lasham Ka21 - by road as there were no thermals to fly from Mendip to Aston Down. On Wednesday morning (19th) the cameramen will be pointing his lens at our activities as part of the making of a marketing film for gliding. Although very late to be asked to organise this, we have a young member, one of the Lazenby 'boys' lined up to talk to camera about our wonderful sport, and we have our oldest active pilot also lined up - Ken Lloyd who at 88 is still flying one of the hottest gliders at the Club, his ASH 25.
For late night owls, if you want to be on film tomorrow for posterity - and maybe TV next year - do turn up by 09.00 please and smile sweetly at the lens !

Work continues for the Nationals

Mike Oliver was busy mowing the north end of the airfield late this afternoon. This follows others including Jules Eaton, Richard Carter and David Breeze who have been cutting other areas over the last few days. There is more to do before the weekend. 110 acres plus of grass does take a lot of time to cut - probably around 2.5 to 3 days ! So thanks to the grass cutting team of volunteers. More volunteers are needed; training is essential and mandatory to use the equipment.

Mass balloon arrival at AD 23 and 24 Sept 2017

Subject to weather, there is a planned mass competition balloon arrival early morning (est. 06.30 to 08.00 BST) on Sat 23 and Sun 24 Sept. The last time this event took place was two years ago. Come to see the spectacle and mingle with balloonists. Breakfast first come first served. There may be opportunities to fly in a balloon for free, but it will mean getting up very early. If interested please let Gill have your name for a list. Again, FCFS.
DGR / chairman

Aim Higher

A busy launchpoint for the Aim Higher course

Andys 750km achievement

Thanks to Paul Lazenby who was at club 06.30 to get the kit out including winches, replacing all the ferrules before I arrived 8.45. We gave Andy Smith his launch at 9.45 for his declared 750 km task. Here's a pic of Andy after he crawled out of the cockpit after some 9.5 hours.

What surprised me was that there were only four other private gliders at the launch point at 10.30 and the club gliders weren't arriving until a few minutes later.Where was everyone on the best weekend day of the year so far ? Even during the peak of the day I think only about 12 privately owned gliders had launched. The duty team was also very thin on the ground in the morning, other than the instructors and one other person.

Anyway, those who did turn up had a great day - there was a 515km (John McWilliam) a 450 for Jon Huband, a 333 for Rob Corbin and 246 for Tom Gooch. There was even a 818km done from Lasham !

So, great day out, eh Grommit?

DGR / chairman

First 750 K from Aston Down

Sunday 2nd July was the day the first 750 K from Aston Down was completed by Andy Smith in his recently acquired Ventus 2CX, flying 751.1 km at an average speed of 80.6 kph.

His declared task was:


Here is Andy's account as entered on the National Ladder:

"Started at 10am with lots of help from the Aston Down regulars. Forecast was spot on from Dave Masson, great improvement around 1:30. Bad task setting meant that I had to cross the Severn Valley after the sea breeze had gone through about 6pm (wouldn't have done it if I didn't have a turbo). My early start allowed me to faff around at May Hill and contact the sea breeze."

Several other highly experienced pilots reported that it wasn't an easy day with thermal cores being difficult to find and a tendency for good-looking clouds to produce little worthwhile, which makes Andy's achievement all the more remarkable.

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