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Sunday 11th September

A good forecast brought out a large grid of private owners alongside the club fleet and four instructors but sadly again, no winch driver! Many thanks to Paul Lazenby who instead of instructing, drove the winch for the morning session. Apparently the day looked better than it was with a number of private and club gliders landing back, others had some good flights. Some new members and trial lessons kept the instructors busy and conditions improved towards the end of the day for some extended flights.
One of the funnier moments was a radio conversation that went like this - Aston Down, glider XXX downwind for runway 08 - then Aston Down XXX finals for 08 , XXX Aston Down, we don't have a 08 - Aston Down XXX main runway then - XXX Aston Down, good landing on runway 21.
The day ended with a retrieve for Kevin Russell who having been to Lasham didn't quite make it back and landed in a cultivated field next to the polo field which required a 4x4 retrieve!
Let's hope that there are a few more days left in the season.

Brian Birlison wins 18M National Championships

With all the attention in the blog on our newly arrived Ka 21 and the Juniors' week last week we have overlooked congratulating Brian Birlison on his success in winning the UK 18m National championships at the Norfolk Gliding Club at Tibbenham on 27th August. That new ASG 29E glider - number 565 - must have played a part in the mind games against top UK pilots competing there. Here's the link to the article on Schleicher's website, with two photos taken back at Aston Down after Brian's return from the wilds of Norfolk. Complete with Estela and their 9 week old baby girl, Florence.

Where next Brian? The European championships?

DGR / Chairman

Juniors storm the week at Aston Down

For the whole of last week a group of 12 junior members took the opportunity to fly with the same two volunteer instructors - Mike Randle and Robin Birch - and Gerry our CFI, and to consolidate their learning and skills. They were blessed with some good weather. On the 29th, bank holiday Monday, they had to mix it with lots of private owners wanting the launch and get away cross-country, as well as operating alongside the normal weekly course with three student pilots, and other club flying. Aaron Jones went solo in the Ka13 on Thursday, and there were two re-solos during the week. The instructors survived not only all the flying but the youngsters' cooking as well ! By Friday there were some very tired but happy youngsters. It is planned this becomes a regular flying week for young people, to strengthen the Club's status as a BGA Junior Gliding Centre.
The first two photos are of Aaron Jones's first solo.
DGR / chairman

ASW19 for UWE Freshers Fair 16 Sept

Just to let everyone know, the ASW 19 will be away in Bristol on 16th September for the UWE Freshers Fair. The Ka 23 will be away from mid week (7th) to end October / early November in Slovenia for refinishing.

DGR / chairman

Seen on the office wall at the Aviation Directorate, European Commission, Brussels

On Thursday I was at Aviation Directorate in the European Commission in Brussels, and saw this on the wall of a corridor.

DGR / chairman

New Ka 21 is at Aston Down

Philip Walker and Andy Smart arrived back at Aston Down late Thursday evening (1st Sept) with our new Ka 21 G-CLRT after driving from the Schleicher factory east of Frankfurt in the day. They did not take on any extra crew in the trailer or cockpit at Calais though I gather it was a close-run thing.
The weather for their trip was excellent, judging by the photos. So here are a few, with the last one being Andy Smart (right) celebrating the new glider with Schleicher owner Uli Kremer (left).
This weekend we'll be doing some of the prep work, such as waxing it, towards getting the glider ready for flight probably from 1 October.

Our thanks to Philip and Andy for making this trip.

DGR / chairman

New Ka 21 (G-CLRT) collection from Germany

Philip Walker and Andy Smart set off from the Club early on Monday 29th August to collect the Club's new Ka 21 from Schleicher's factory at Poppenhausen, Germany (east of Frankfurt). The photo is of the trailer parked on the road today, below the factory. They plan to be be back at Aston Down on Friday. The glider will be on ground risk insurance only and will not be flown for a few weeks because the paperwork has to be turned around with the CAA, and we want the annual maintenance date to run from October not September.
More to follow......!

DGR / chairman

Saturday 27th August - Thunder and Lightning terminate flying

After operating with a skeleton crew (where was everybody?) a spectacular lightning display terminated flying.
Apart from the two people for one day courses there was only one member requiring instruction from the full complement of instructors present. Everybody sheltered on the bus lower deck during the storm - the roof is only fibreglass!

Like old pilots, old parachutes don t die !

A couple of old tired parachutes that had reached the end of their useful life ( for us anyway) were given to a group of Adrian's friends going to Malawi in west Africa last summer. Malawi is one of the poorest contries in the world, and the children there can find good uses for all sorts of things, including parachutes! I wonder what they could do with a Ka8.

Sportability Day

Bright blue day with thermals to 3000', all the Sportability visitors enjoyed flights of over 20 minutes and left with big smiles, especially Richard who enjoyed some aerobatics on his birthday. The course had a good day and a few private owners were tempted out but the blue conditions made it difficult for anything other than local flying.

Photos at

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