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1 September Colin Stringer goes solo

Winds forecast 320/10 visibility 25K, showers cloudbases rising to 2500ft

Launch failure practice this morning before Tom Coles and Sam Kennett resoloed.

Well done to Colin Stringer who went solo for the first time today.

Doug Gardiner was tempted out by the threat of thermals and did set off before arriving back in a heavy rain shower.

The Nympsfield club LS4 couldn't quite make it back to NYM and landed out at AD. Aerotow retrieve for him.

Lots of tug activity today as various tugs returned home after the comps.

The evening flying group took over at 6 pm. The evening promised good visibility calm conditions.

31 August Courses restart

Heavy rain, low cloud and light northerly winds was the Monday morning greeting.

Welcome Tom Coles, Sam and Richard Kennett and Colin Stringer. Tom and Sam are working towards resolo. Colin, an ex PPL is on his 2nd course and Richard is just learning.

While we waited for the rain to ease, we filled our time with a number of briefings before venturing out onto a very wet airfield. We managed 8 introductory flights before the drizzle returned and we retired to the clubhouse.

Many thanks to the hard-working volunteers who helped clear the post competition debris, emptying bins getting rid of various bottles and cans and presumably dishing out head-ache pills to those still suffering from the night before.

Many thanks to our guests who did their bit towards clearing up and leaving the camping ground in good order. We look forward to seeing you again---please bring better weather next time!!.

A Special Guest at the Junior Nationals

On Saturday 29th August we had a special guest at the daily briefing of the Junior National Championships at Cotswold GC. Jill Farquarson used to fly at Aston Down, not in the era of Cotswold GC but in WW2 as a member of the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary). The ATA had some 166 lady pilots delivering all sorts of aircraft including Spitfires, Stirling bombers, Lysanders etc from factories to the front line fighter and bomber stations. About 10 days ago Jill was brought from her home at Frampton on Severn to Aston Down by her carer, Ann Rigelsford, to 'see the place where she used to fly'. Club chairman David Roberts got into conversation with her and invited her back to present the day prizes at the Junior Nationals. Jill told the audience she gained her pilot's licence on 14th June 1942, and that "if you follow the rules and do not do anything stupid you may survive as long as I have" !
Jill had a wonderful morning, a sustained round of applause from the competitors, and then to cap it all an aerotow flight in a Ka 21 (to over 2000ft) with Mike Randle. Their combined ages in the cockpit, probably a UK record for a glider, was 181 years. And no, Mike is not 95. But Jill is a sprightly 101. A few pictures from a very emotional morning, not just for Jill but for her instructor and others as well. The last picture is after the flight.

21 August last day of courseand beginning of comp.

Winds 190/25. isolated showers of rain and cloud bases at 400ft to start.

Launch failure training again. Cloud bases did eventually rise around 1 pm.

Remy and Paula managed some more solos and Peter did more instructor training.

Winds picked up in the afternoon until solos were no longer advisable.

The bus now has a new livery, as John Docherty fitted the new sponsorship signs to the advertising panels. A good jet wash and the bus will look quite smart.

During the afternoon competition members started to arrive and tents popped up. Tugs started to provide launches to those pilots that wanted to familiarise themselves with the site.

Lets hope the weather is kind to the comp.

20 August Caroline and Remy go solo

Forecast winds 190/15 and visibility 25K. cloudbases low to start and increasing to 2000ft later. Occasional rain showers.

The first launches encountered low cloud, so we practiced launch failures to start. Peter continued his instructor training by demonstrating the correct procedures.

Caroline completed her training and went solo. She encountered some rain---nothing new to her this week--and handled it perfectly.

Remy completed his training and went off solo with his Mum watching anxiously from the ground.

The first of the competition visitors started to arrive today, lets hope the weather breaks for them.

Evening Flying was interrupted by showers of rain, until the team decided to stop.

19 August rain on its way so lets get started. Police request suspension of flying

Winds forecast 180/20. Messy frontal systems out to the west. cloud forecast at 2000ft.

Briefing was at 7.15 with first launch 8.00am.Launch failure practice to start---Caroline found herself above cloud and only at 600 ft herself, very pretty but clouds were significantly lower than they appeared from the ground. The picture below was taken around 9.00 o'clock, a bunch of enthusiastic club pilots waiting to get flying.

Mid morning we were asked to suspend flying while a police helicopter carried out a search for an escaped convict. We see it all at Aston Down.

One private aircraft appeared on line, Darren Wills trying out the Jeans Astir for size. By midday the rains appeared and most of the gliders were packed away in the hangar. The course continued operating between the rain showers until we were also forced to give up.

The course rather wet by this time dried off and went down to the Weighbridge for a pie and a pint. On our return a small team were seen putting up a large tent in readiness for the competition. All I know, it was dark and raining when we went to bed---the tent was still being assembled. Thats dedication for you.

18 August--Paula goes solo and lots of interest in the K23

Winds starting 300/15 and veering southerly. Visibility 30K and improving. cloudbases from 2000ft.

It took most of the day to realise that the soaring conditions were not going to develop. That didnt stop a few members from taking the opportunity to fly the (new to the fleet) K23.

Paula finished her launch failure training and went off solo. She is pictured here with Peter ,her father. peter was celebrating his birthday so well done Paula and happy birthday Peter.

With the buggies desperate for fuel, we were delighted to see David, our chairman, appear with some full cans to replenish the stocks. He also brought a broom so Caroline could sweep out the bus, which she did while muttering we are an untidy load of ******rs.

The briefing in the evening included an excellent explanation of trimming presented by Peter Howarth. This is part of his instructor training.

Tomorrow we start at 7.15, will we see you there?

17 August and course No 21 starts

Winds VRB 05. Visibilty 30K Cloudbases 4000ft +, and soarable for part of the day.

We welcome Paula Howarth and Peter her father, and Remy Brooks Johnson and mother Caroline. Paula and Peter are from Dartmoor and are looking for concentrated training. Caroline and Remy are returning from a course earlier in the year with the aim of getting closer to solo.

Peter Howarth and Josh Vaggs were cleared to fly the K23, well done to them.

Mike Randle entertained some Dutch visitors (I suppose that is double dutch?). They enjoyed themselves in the DG500.

A number of cross country pilots came out to try out the conditions which became surprisingly good with cloudbases of 5000ft and strong climbs.

Thanks to Chris Power for his help and the photos.

Unseen helpers have been working away preparing for the Junior nationals next week. banners in the hangar, a cordoned of parking area and freshly painted airfield identifiers.

A great day and we look forward to another tomorrow.

14 August ---too wet even for the course.

winds forecast 320/20. visibility in light rain of 15K. low cloudbase.

The synoptic chart says it all. Briefings covered spinning with practice on the simulator. IMSAFE and then a wrap up completing the paperwork.

Michael Blake is off to his beautiful boat in Greece, Sarah Eckereder is back home to find a gliding club and Bryan Field is back to work at Kidlington airfield. Thanks for a great week and we hope to see you again.

The Hay bales have been removed thanks Gill, The runway has been swept thanks Dave, the gents showers have been put into working order thanks Richard and the K21 seat back has been strengthened ready for saturday thanks Robin.

13 August Excuse me, did you drop something?

Winds forecast 060/15 visibility reducing to 15 Km showers of rain and low cloud.

This course group were not going to be put off by such a negative forecast. The day started with 500ft cloudbases and launch failure practice. Steadily the cloudbases went up to the dizzy heights of 1200ft. 28 launches later, we packed away---tired but pleased with ourselves.

The challenges of the day were increased with a farmers bale in the middle of the approach path!! We think he must have dropped it.

Our visitors couldn't be tempted to fly, they contented themselves with reading books and flying the simulator.

John was busy in the clubhouse organising floor cleaning in the showers. They really are beginning to look smart now and have been designated unisex showers. As John remarked it isn't mandatory to shower with a friend but it would save water.

The course day ended with a pleasant meal in the Weighbridge.

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