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First solo

Max Lazenby has flown solo on his 16th birthday. The cake was excellent.

Goodbye to the old bus

The old bus has been taken away by the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group. If you really miss it you can go and see it at their depot. Apparently it was the last one of its type used in Cardiff.

Group Flying and Trial Lessons

As part of the clubs strategy this year to boost income, we are looking to sell more Group Flying sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Please can you help us with this? Attached is a one page Group Gliding ‘flyer’ that can be posted up in places of work or given to anyone who you may feel is interested in bringing a group of people to Aston Down for some flying.

Evenings begin in April, Gill can help arrange a date.

One note, BBQ’s will only be done for groups of 20 or more.

I have also attached a flyer for trial lessons again for any interested parties. We are looking to book more of these during weekdays, evening and around our peak launching times to minimise impact at weekends. Again they are a good source of revenue for the club and we would greatly appreciate your assistance in positioning these to any interested parties.

One again, thanks for your help

Flights in the ASH25

Ken Lloyd is once again offering cross country experience flights for pre-silver pilots. Sign up on the list at the top of the stairs in the tower.

Announcing the resurrection of Saturday Specials

Every first Saturday of the month we will be cooking some great, affordable, “plates of food” for you, your family and friends to enjoy. So please come along, enjoy the food, enjoy the company and support the social side of the club. Food served from 7pm.

First solo

Caleb McInstry flew his first solo a couple of weeks ago. The snow is a bit of a give away.

Stroud Local Plan

The Stroud Local Plan includes Aston Down.
Press release
On line consultation
The plan (large pdf)

CAA exemption for gliders & transponders > FL100 in designated areas

The attached document details the exemption for gliders to carry transponders in designated areas.

Emil's first solo

Emil Benson flew his first solo today, the day after his 16th birthday.

CGC Success at the National Two Seater Competition

A trio of CGC instructors, Tony Parker, Chris Ashworth and Mike Weston were recently successful in winning the National Two Seater Competition. This is ‘how we did it’.
Firstly, a bit of background - The National two seater competition is held annually in August by the Wolds Gliding Club at Pocklington Airfield in East Yorkshire. The Competition originally started as an alternative to the “steely eyed and serious (their words)” Nationals and is now in its 26th year having become accepted as a nationally acclaimed competition. It has grown in popularity and become more competitive over the years but is still very friendly and the Wolds GC run a very good competition.
The competition is flown over an 8 day period and is scored in a similar manner to the National ladder, this favours distance tasks and is handicapped to allow all glider types to be competitive, on a good day the wooden ships will score extremely highly so the glass ships always have to do the longest tasks and reasonably quickly to remain competitive. This year the entry list of 33 included –

Ash 25 1
Duo Discus 6
K21 6
DG1000 2
Nimbus 3 DT 2
DG500/505 4
Janus 2
Puchacz 3
Twin Astir 1
Marianne 2
K13 1
Capstan 3

The Duo 572 syndicate has been entering this competition since 2003 and with the exception of one year when the glider was not available has competed well, winning a number of days and being placed 2nd overall twice. We have been accompanied by Darrel and Ken in the Ash on a number of occasions and for the last few years have been taking the club DG500 along with various crews all gaining cross country and competition experience. The task areas usually cover the Vale of York (with all its associated airspace!), to the south over the Humber, down into Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and to the north over the North York Moors and up into Durham and Teesside.
The tasks are set to allow an element of pilot choice depending on the type of glider being flown and the conditions encountered on task and the tasks usually consist of a number of turning points in sequence with the option of returning to Pocklington after each TP. This allows options for the wooden and lower performance gliders but to remain competitive, the Duo generally has to complete the longest task set.
Launching is by aerotow in normal competition grid order which changes each day and the starts are not held so it is possible to start straight from tow or delay your start until the conditions are favourable.

So, how did we win it?

We take a crew of three to fly the Duo in the competition, two flying and one crewing, this works well and ensures that we all get a fair share of the flying opportunities as well as having a retrieve crew available. There were five competitions days in this year’s competition, which was rather better than some years and the shortest task flown was 187km, so we had a good flying week. This is how it went –

Day 1 – Pocklington – Newark – Scunthorpe – Pocklington – 187km

Pilots Chris and Mike.

The task took us south over the Humber and down the Trent following the power stations to Newark, there was a reasonably brisk westerly so having turned Newark we decided not to continue with the option of the next TP at Peterborough, this was 60km away and with the met briefing of an early cut-off we figured that we didn’t have enough time to turn Peterborough and get home. This decision turned out to be a good one as the five gliders that did try for Peterborough all landed out or used their turbos.

Day 2 – Pocklington – Pontefract –Thirsk – Scunthorpe – Sutton Bank – Pocklington – 305km

Pilots – Tony and Mike
After a slow start the conditions were good and we raced the Capstan to Pontefract.
The Capstan is a side by side two seater with a performance lower than a K13. It seems to appear at various areas of the task and we are never sure if we are doing well or poorly when we see it! This one is a beautiful example with a superb paint finish of metallic blue and competes very well, it finished 13th overall.

We had a good run up to Thirsk, racing with a Duo and a Nimbus but then struggled for a while trying to get a good climb to head south to Scunthorpe, this leg was a little more difficult and the conditions south of the Humber were tricky but after struggling back north we latched into a strong climb to 5000’ for a glide into Sutton Bank with almost enough height left for a glide back to Pocklington.

The day winners were two of the students in a K21 who recently flew at Aston Down during the Inter Unis.

Day 3 – Pocklington – Scunthorpe – Melton Mast – Pocklington – Tockwith – Goole – Pocklington 345Km

Pilots – Tony and Chris

We woke to a very misty airfield but the Tannoy said “grid before briefing” so we did. One of the comments heard was “we shouldn’t be gridding in IMC”. Actually it turned out to be a very good day.

This is Chris Ashworth’s report of the flight.

A difficult start, with WSW airflow causing the thermals to be broken by wave interference. We eventually got a good climb SE of Pocklington and set off, catching up with the Capstan just north of the Humber where conditions were improving, arriving at Scunthorpe for a slow 50 KPH leg. Tony took over and we followed the river Trent finding a good energy line with the wind direction backing to a more SW direction. We made good progress on this leg averaging 80KPH. I took over from Tony and headed back towards the Trent on route back to Pocklington with good looking Cu and gliders marking lift, which we rejected once it fell below 4 knots. We caught the Capstan just to the west of Scunthorpe ( hoping that he was on the short task!) and found a very good climb averaging 10+knots to cloud base of 6000ft and headed back to Pocklington arriving back at 3500ft after averaging 120KPH for the leg.
A large number of gliders had already landed and we hoped they had not been around the big task so set off towards York in a black unpromising sky. We spotted a couple of gliders rather low and attempting to thermal at either end of Elvington airfield but decided to head for a cloud to SW of the airfield and into wind with enough height to abort and head back to Pocklington if it did not work. Thankfully we found reasonable lift and climbed to cloud base and headed towards York and on to Tockwith under a large line of black cloud which worked well and clearly had wave influence as it was running across wind with a second similar line further west. We made good progress and then turned back towards the river and Goole under second line of cloud rather too cautiously ( as prompted by Tony in the back) and once we turned the TP had to fly virtually at VNE back to Pocklington, arriving back at 1000ft averaging just under 86KPH for the Task . A very good day.

Day 4 – Pocklington –Newark – Bolsover – Tuxford – Market Weighton – Pocklington - 248Km

Pilots – Chris and Mike

A good run down to Newark but we were a bit low at the TP making it difficult for the into wind leg to Bolsover, a spell of field spotting but comforted by the fact we had only seen a few gliders we took a diversion over Nottingham which gave us a climb to get round the TP and make it back to Tuxford, just avoiding Doncaster’s airspace. The journey home was OK except that the front vario started playing up and we had some interesting conversations about thermal flying!

Day 5 –Pocklington – Rufforth South – Burton on Stather – Tuxford – Pocklington 193km

Pilots – Tony and Mike

Without doubt the most difficult day with 25-30 knots on the ground and probably a day that normally we wouldn’t even bother to rig. We were lying second overall so knew that we needed a good score today. We were ninth on the grid and were not too hopeful when 6 of the 8 gliders in front of us landed back. Luck seemed to be on our side though as we had won a free aerotow in the daily draw and our tug dropped us in a strong climb to cloudbase of about 3000’, we set off into wind and flew the 25km to the first TP without turning (this drew a groan at the prize giving when I recounted ‘how we did it’). The leg down to Tuxford was a matter of using any thermal available and occasionally getting something decent but then we were down to 900’ and looking at a field, luckily the airspace around Scampton was open and we drifted towards it (and the 8 Red Arrows on the tarmac) eventually getting a climb up to cloudbase. We turned Tuxford and watched the Vulcan fly under us then decided that we had done enough for the day, the wind had shifted and so we had a 27 knot wind on the PDA and which was now almost on the nose to get home. We set off back and after about 5Km got a good climb to around 5000’, this was when we had a moment of indecision, the Ash 25 flew past us and we saw a Duo below us, both heading south, having had a good climb we made a decision that to maximise our points we needed to go further to the next optional TP of Bottesford. We set off and after about 20Km hit a large blue hole that extended well beyond Bottesford so that was it, decision made, time to go home. This took forever having to take some weak climbs and mostly pointing at about 45’ away from our destination trying to get back into the strong wind. We then found that the Ash had turned back at Tuxford finishing in a slower handicapped time and the Duo started its engine, we were the last glider home and won the day as one of only two finishers for this task.

Overall we had two day wins, were well placed on the other days and were placed first in class and first overall. At the prize giving we had bottles of wine for winning the day, bottles for first in class on the day, bottles, decanters and wine glasses for winning the competition and a rather nice cup, we needed help to carry all the prizes away!

For more details on the task and results, go to the competition website at

Wolds Gliding Club run a great competition, they have one of the best club houses in the UK with good facilities and they provide food all day with good quality evening meals. Entertainment is provided on most evenings and this year included a presentation by a local sculptor (which I will cover in more detail below), an evening with Paul Scorer, the ‘RASP’ man, a quiz night, a horse racing night and a fun 70’s night. We also had a very useful impromptu presentation on SeeYou on one of the scrubbed days.

The presentation by local sculptor Peter Naylor was on how he was commissioned to produce a memorial to 158 Squadron who flew Halifax’s out of Lissett airfield during the war. Lissett had been identified as a windfarm site and the company involved commissioned Peter to produce a fitting memorial to the 851 members of 158 squadron killed during the war. His rather simple but effective idea was to produce a memorial depicting the seven members of a Halifax crew, the sculpture was made of sheet steel and the 851 names are engraved across the chests of the figures which are just larger than life size. The heads are transparent and take on a different appearance depending on the background light, the sculpture can also be viewed from both sides. The presentation was very moving and interesting, Peter is very passionate and knowledgeable about the subject and we took the opportunity on a scrubbed day to drive out to Lissett and see the memorial. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area, Lissett is quite close to Bridlington and was also the closest wartime airfield to Germany.

And finally

The two seater competition is a great competition with tasks set over an interesting area, for a few years we have tried to encourage club members to take the opportunity to gain experience in the DG500 (personally I also think that a PW-6 would compete well with its low handicap but that is a challenge for next year) so If you think that you would like the opportunity to fly in this competition in 2012 (or Competition Enterprise as well) then let me know.

For sure, Tony, Chris and I will be defending our title next year in the Duo...

Right then, anyone want to fly with a National Champion?

Mike Weston

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