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Saturday 14/10/17

What a grey day. The airfield was wreathed in rain and low cloud for most of the morning and it wasn't until mid-day that we could finally get airborne. Thereafter the two-seaters were kept busy flying an enthusiastic group of UWE students and Indi and Lee on the one-day course. We didn't quite have to line up car headlights for the last landing, but it was dark by the time we got the toys away. Many thanks to Richard Cawsey for driving the winch.
We all wish Chairman David Roberts a speedy recovery after his heart surgery.

23-24th Sept Balloon Fest

We were delighted to share the airfield with around a dozen hot air balloonists, using Aston Down as a base for their weekend competition.
The balloons couldn't fly on Saturday morning, so a number of the pilots had a go at gliding - I am told they found it quite refreshing to fly an aircraft that actually goes where you point it and can land back where it started from.
Conditions were better on Sunday morning and at around 8am the balloons launched from Oaksey Park and in the easterly wind flew over AD to Chalford.
Paul Lazenby and yours truly took off in the Falke to watch them from the air. There are more photos at
Team Semichon and the Scouts deserve a mention for stepping into the breach and cooking breakfast for the forty or so pilots and crew.

Club members give go-ahead to investment in new workshop

Last Saturday (16th September 2017) members who attended a Special General Meeting gave the go-ahead to the committee to implement a plan to invest in a new glider maintenance workshop facility. After a very well coherent and well-balanced debate, and after considering all other options, the decision was for a new building 12m x 20m rather than 12m x 28m. This will be situated at the rear of the present workshop with access from the approach road to the Gun Butts. Members tasked the committee with exploring the possibility of grant funding from a relatively recent fund established in Sport England, ahead of a decision to partly fund the development with loan finance from the Phillip Wills Memorial Fund (BGA).
At the conclusion of the meeting the Chairman thanked John McWilliam for his efforts in putting together alternative solutions. But the Chairman overlooked the contributions of others, and in particular Richard Carter, who had moved these proposals along over the last year or two. He wishes to thank Richard and others who has contributed to the proposals for getting us to a decision point.
DGR / chairman

Congratulations George

We have a newly minted solo pilot! Many congratulations to George Bullock who completed three immaculate first solo flights today.

BGA Newsletter

Please read the latest BGA newsletter. This contains some important matters that members should read.

If you didn't already know about this newsletter you should sign up for the BGA email updates here.

Cracking day for September

Early conditions were tricky at Aston Down with almost no wind and low cloudbase but worth the effort as it turned into a cracking day.
The BGA ladder flights logged for yesterday - Andy Smith in the Ventus completed a 519km task, as did David Briggs and Mike Weston in the Arcus, Doug Gardner, after fixing a technical problem completed 409km, John McWilliam and Stuart Pepler in the Nimbus did 508km. Mike Randle flew 310km with Geoff Dixon completing several laps of the club 100km and Tom Gooch after a late arrival at the club did the club 100km.

Not bad for September! Let's hope that there are still more cross country days to come!

Thanks to the ground crew who helped us all get into the air.

Perhaps someone who was at AD all day could comment how the day went, I'm sure that everyone local flying had a good day as well.

Remarkable achievement

Last week 's course saw a remarkable achievement. Robert, a course member well into his twenties went solo without any previous flying experience whatever, although not quite in the five days. As he was nearly solo on Friday he stayed on for the Saturday and Stan our course instructor flew with him so he could send him solo. Robert lives in Bristol and intends to join the club as a full member so congratulations to him and to Stan for his very effective instruction.

It his highly unusual for anyone not still in their teens to go solo on a five day course without any previous flying or sailing. The only other case I know about was a 25 year old Laser dinghy champion. Sailing experience does help.

New golf buggy

We have acquired a new buggy, for use for example on trial lessons for ferrying temporary members from the glider to the bus when landing long way from the launch point. It is a four seater (!) and most important it is ELECTRIC, with a new extensive set of batteries within the purchase price. We are told that when in use on a golf course the charged batteries last 2 days, which should be the equivalent of 10 to 11 miles' use. But it is more prudent to put it on charge each evening; Richard is fixing a charging point inside the hangar on the LH side, and is modifying it by addition of a tow bar, yellow beacon light etc. Richard is also arranging for a charging point from the bus, should the buggy run out of charge on the runway. Also remember to disconnect the charging lead each morning before driving off. Big reminder notices will be displayed !
It is in excellent condition, only a year or so old from a golf course that changes its kit every year, and unmarked by any misuse. Please let's try and keep it in excellent condition........

DGR / Chairman

BGA Club Chairman's update

Please see the attached which, despite its name, is of interest to everyone. In particular you should note the item about the European Gliding Championships being held at Lasham.

Sportability Day

Cracking weather for our Sportability visitors to enjoy gliding and blokarting. A moderate westerly meant the blokarting was great fun and with some strong thermals and a 3500' cloudbase the gliding was fantastic. All 9 of our visitors had some great flights (including two who had never been in any type of aircraft before!) and the clear visibility meant some brilliant views of the countryside. Thanks to Graham Turner, Andy Smart, Roger Smith and Steve Purkiss for their valued help on the day to give people less able than ourselves the opportunity to enjoy gliding.

Well done also to Andy Smith who flew yet another 500km today.

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