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Aston Down on Countryfile

Rose Buck and her imprinted geese were on Countryfile today. For the next four weeks you can see it on iPlayer. The item starts at 54m55s.

Saturday 23rd January

An enthusiastic crew was onsite for 8.30am, however the weather wasn't quite so enthusiastic and we had to wait until midday before the mist cleared. Thereafter we had pleasant afternoons flying. As in previous years, we were pleased to be joined by visitors from Usk who came to launch their Grob 103 from our tarmac. Doug Gardner and Helen Wilson landed 10 minutes after sunset having contacted some weak wave in the K21. Thereafter we adjourned to the club house for a well attended AGM.

Freezing Saturday

On Saturday 16th a number of members turned up early and the hangar doors were open before 8:30. The day had dawned cold and bright, with clear blue skies and little wind. One of the K21s was looking grubby, so many thanks Darren Wills for braving the cold and washing the muck off. At the launchpoint we had to wait for the air temperature to rise so that water did not freeze on the glass fibre wings. The Capstan had the winch to itself while this happened. Chris Swann and Chris Power took the winch out, and John Docherty followed his morning duty pilot role with a winch session in the afternoon. Andy Smart aalso did some winching, but here were many others who also played their part. At the end of the day we had achieved 42 much appreciated launches, not bad for January. Oh and Mike Weston flew both his Arcus and his Capstan. He didn't say which he preferred!

Sunday 10th January - Flying from a paddy-field

Flying started late morning when the rain stopped. To avoid making further ruts after yesterday because of the state of the airfield, landings were confined to the runway with only one K21 being used. All trial lessons were cancelled.

Sale of 2nd PW6 (KRX) and other fleet news

Before Christmas the Essex GC confirmed they wanted to go ahead to convert the option we gave them to purchase our 2nd PW6 ("KRX"), having bought the1st PW6 from us in June 2015.
Today a group of grounded glider pilots at Aston Down (you did notice the rain.....) got the PW6 into the workshop to give it a good clean and polish before it is collected by Essex GC, which may be next weekend of the one after. If you want to say goodbye to a glider that has served us well since 2008, now's your chance. The fuselage is in the workshop. In part exchange Essex GC is selling us the Ka21 trailer that belongs to "ENK", and which will service both ENK and our brand new Ka21 which is scheduled to be collected from Germany in June (date being verified later this week). In the meantime we have the use of a Ka21 loaned to us by London GC at Dunstable, to back up our own "ENK" Ka21.

The Ka13 "HXJ" should be flying again in the next few weeks after extensive refurbishment and overhaul. Lastly the Ka23 is still scheduled to be taken to Slovenia late March for a complete refurbishment, which should take about 6-7 weeks.

DGR / chairman

New Years Day 2016

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers" It was a select band of brothers (and one sister) that turned out to launch the club into the New Year on a somewhat cold and grey day, The fresh easterly saw us consigned to operating from the west end of the cross runway (blehh!). Darren and Geoff Dixon claimed the first flight of the the year. Thereafter there were some enjoyable aerobatic flights. Rain stopped play at 14.00 and we adjourned to the club house for some excellent sausage rolls courtesy of Lesley Waters. Many thanks to Paul Lazenby for driving the winch.

Last thermals of the year

Several members turned out on what's likely to be the last flyable day of the year. A gentle breeze straight down the runway gave launches to 2200' and the odd thermal meant some of us ended up paying soaring fees.

The Shortest day (almost)

Sunday 20th December - the first flyable weekend day for a very long time. Although the airfield was very squelchy underfoot, sometimes giving the buggies trouble in moving two seaters, we are better placed than some clubs in having hard runways and a well-drained airfield. Many without these advantages couldn't operate after the monsoons of recent weeks.

Every serviceable club glider was out except the ASW19. Many members enjoyed their first flights since October. Apart from a prolonged hiatus while we sheltered from torrential rain, all three glass two seaters were kept busy all day giving flying to those who felt rusty and completing Winter Refreshers for two members, as well as a lot of Trial Lessons.
The wind thought to be in excess of 40 kts at height enabled launches to around 2000 ft and at least one to above 2300 ft.

The modified winches with automatic pay-out brakes were tried out for the first time. One has been completely re-furbished and the other is awaiting similar treatment.. The opportunity is being taken to give all winch drivers refresher training while familiarising them with the modifications - a start was made on this by Simon, Andy and Chris. It is hoped this re-training will enable everyone to be kinder to the winches, so keeping them in their newly re-furbished state for longer.

Festive aspects to the day included Darren's headgear and Jane's mince pies, distributed after hangar packing.

Photos by Tim Barnes

Important advice on Flarm updates

For the Flarm addicts, this and the subsequent postings seem to be an important bit of advice:

DGR / Chairman

Are you insured?

Here's another warning from the CAA, this time about a balloon pilot who was caught without insurance.

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