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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.

Financial Assistance for Young Pilots

Here are two items from the BGA website about financial assistance for young pilots:

Air League Scholarships

Applications are now being accepted for 2016 Air League Gliding Scholarships. These are for solo pilots aged 16-25 and are designed to help them to broaden their flying experience through aerobatic, cross-country or SLMG training. Awards are typically around 300 and cover flying fees at any Junior Gliding Centre or at a number of other selected clubs.

Full details and an online application, which must be completed by 19th February are at (the application process is at

RAeC Trust Bursaries

The Royal Aero Club Trust has announced details of its 2016 Bursary Scheme.

The 2016 bursaries include The Presidents Scholarships (2 bursaries each worth up to 750); the Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship worth up to 1,000; the Breitling Bursary worth up to 750; the MacRobert Trust Bursaries (2 bursaries each worth up to 500); and the Bramson Bursary, as well as a number of additional bursaries worth up to 500 each. These are available to anyone between 14 and 21 years of age wishing to develop their interest in either air sports or aviation.

Additionally, Follow-on Bursaries are available to assist committed applicants, aged up to 24, reach even higher levels of achievement through, for example, participation in national and international competitions.

Full details and application forms are available on the Trust web site at

Note that the closing date for applications to be received at the RAeC is 31st March 2016. These need to be countersigned by a sponsor such as your CFI and submitted via the BGA. To ensure that applications are processed by the deadline, your application should be received at the BGA office no later than 17th March.

Mike Randle visits his 100 year old student pilot

Last Thursday (19 November) Mike and Jane Randle had lunch with 100 year old ex ATA ferry pilot Jill Farquarson, at her home at Frampton-on-Severn. Jill was presented by the Club chairman with a certificate of honorary membership of CGC before lunch. This was all a surprise for her and for the 21 other residents of the care home "Wisma Mulia". See the news item on the blog for end of August, to see Jill in the cockpit of a Ka 21 during the Junior Nationals, when Mike took her for an extended flight over the local area.

We plan to invite Jill back for another flight at Aston Down around the time of her next birthday (101) on 28th May 2016. Ahead of that we shall call the Guinness Book of Records office to come and witness a combined age of 182 in a glider cockpit (Jill will be the 101 year old, in case anyone has doubt.......).

Local press coverage this last week is at:

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