Sunday 18th August
Today started much like yesterday with the rain and low cloud clearing around 10.00 am, but with a forecast for showers and strengthening winds and less soarable conditions.
Two K21's were kept busy all day with training and Trial lesson flights achieving duration's of up to 30 minutes, four private aircraft joined the launch Que.
With strengthening winds and with everyone flown we packed away at 17.00 hrs.
Saturday 17th August
The day started with low cloud and rain and a forecast for strong winds, as a result the One Day Course was postponed for another day. By 10.00 am the cloud started to break and rise so we set things up with one K21 just as the thermals started to develop. LRT climbed to cloud base at 3000ft above AD radioing back to the launch point and thanked by the sniffer at the junior nationals at Nympsfield for the information. Not long after we had our first of five visitors from Nympsfield landing at Aston Down as they were tasked past us out to the East.
The K21 was kept busy all day and we finally packed away at 16.00 hrs after winch launching two of the visitors, helping to de rig another and the last two taking aerotow retrieves just after we packed up.
British National Balloon Championships
For the past week we have been hosting the British National Balloon Championships, an event that is entirely compatible with gliding because flights take place before we have got out of bed or after we've finished flying. Thirteen balloons took part but the weather was awful for most of the week with flying possible on only one day. Both flights involved remote starts and finishes so Aston Down didn't see much action. The pictures show an early morning launch at Frampton on Severn and the balloons over a target on Minchinhampton Common.
Course weeks 8th to 12th and 15th to 19th July
The first week had three solos! Bob, an ex-airline pilot, soled in the K21 and then converted to the K23.
His teenage daughter, Izzy, also did her first solo.
Mick was a returnee from a previous CGC course and he also went solo in the K21.
All three did aerotowing in the K13 on the wednesday, for intensive stall and spin training. We lost one flying day to weather, but used it in the classroom.
The second week was easier because two of the participants had also been on CGC courses before and took very little time to solo once again. Dave has been flying at other clubs and flew the K 21, he would have been converted into the Ka23 had it been serviceable. Clint, an ex-member, successfully first-soloed in the k21. The third person, Robin, had brought his own Ka6 along and had a very successful 3.5hr flight in it. We also lost one day to the weather (strong gusty crosswinds).
This last week made difficult by two days of marginal blustery wind conditions, and one day was completely unflyable. However, all three students showed outstanding learning progress and we had one more first solo, Eddie, only 16 years old, who was accompanied by his helpful but non-flying Dad. Eddie did a CGC course last year. Tony Parker (not 'OUR' Tony Parker) re-soled after many years away from the sport, and Stephen was very unlucky to lose the last Friday to weather as he was extremely close to solo standard.
Course Weeks 22nd to 26th and 29th July to 2nd August.
First week Nick who was new to gliding completed the week flying the launch and circuits. Robert an ex-member re-soloed on the Friday completing a very nice launch and landing. Steve a previous course member and solo pilot re-soloed in the K21 and converted to the K18.
The Second week Richard a solo pilot and previous course member re-soloed by Friday with two 1hr flights. Roger completed most of his “B” module as part of his training as an assistant instructor and has booked the “D” module for later this year. Nigel, a previous course member and pre solo pilot was flying the launch and circuits without prompts by Friday.
Teenage Saturday August 10th
We have encouraged our small number of teenaged pilots to come and fly on Red Saturdays, in the expectation that they will form friendships with each other. Although wet and windy today Elliot, Holly, Harrison and our new cadet Finn enjoyed a presentation from Geoff and then spent several hours in a simulator. As a bonus Liz and Stuart Hayes, Finns parents, joined the club as well.
Record at Saltby
The only record achieved during the Inter-Uni Competition at Saltby was the Temperature. The picture shows the only sensible activity - pool provided by Matt Page.
But seriously, although strong winds and not easy thermals didn't facilitate much X-country, a thoroughly useful and enjoyable time was had by our UWE members and yours truly. Several sat and passed their Bronze papers, organised and marked by Matt.
We are all grateful to Cotswold GC for allowing us to take the DG500.
All the Davids and Daves at AD
Today we welcomed another stand-in course instructor, Dave Munro, who is the BGA's SRE (Senior Regional Examiner) for East Anglia. He was assisted by a few volunteer club members, most of whom were called David or Dave. There was Dave Freeman, David Roberts and Dave Hart (a regular Monday morning helper). David Howell was at the airfield as well as course winch driver Dave Taylor. Sure there was another Dave lurking somewhere. It all got somewhat confusing.
Despite the lowish cloudbase, a Kemble NOTAM until 11.00, the Fairford departures and a transitting Swiss-registered light aeroplane at 10.30 flying very low NW to SE over the airfield, a good day was held by the course attendees.
David (not Dave !) Roberts
Sat 20th July - where were you?
So RIAT and a slightly windy forecast - but we did fly. 2 ODC members flew 5 fights in the morning then as the wind had increased they agreed to book again to finish off. On RWY 27 in about 20 knots (a bit gusty) we had no (that's 0) members wanting training flights. Great opportunity for building skills. Always fun on RWY 27! 2 self launchers came out to launch with the prospect of wave in the west. As we put the gliders away at 14:30, the sun came out and the world looked great. See you next time folks - don't let weather forecasts put you off.
Sunday 15th July - One to One Instruction
The only member on the two-seater list all day was treated to the duty instructor's undivided attention. It was just as well that there was only the one such member as there was only one instructor! Competitions claimed three of the blue instructor team and maintenance commitments another, although the CFI stood by in case he was needed.
The usual six trial lessons were flown by our most experienced BI.
There were short periods of good soaring interspersed with flat conditions which provided the spectacle of some normally expert pilots in advanced machines almost beating the tug down.
At the end of the day the DG500 and the UWE K8 were packed in their trailers ready to go to the Inter-Uni competition at Saltby.
Getting ahead of ourselves?
Last post - 29th July?? 29 June I think. The heat on Saturday obviously got to the author !
Saturday 29th July - 32 degrees!
Forecast to be the hottest day of the year so far but also forecast to be a poor soaring day. It meant that only one or 2 private gliders came out to launch. This was fortunate because with all club gliders at the launch point and the tug, we were able to pace the launch rate to suit the heat - as far as I know, no one suffered from heat induced issues and the sun cream dispenser on the bus was used to full effect.
Our 2 one day course visitors had 1 to 1 instruction thanks to Chris and Doug in DG500 and K13. The club list was short, with both winch and aerotow instruction in LRT. Our keen bunch of junior and student members made good use of the single seaters with another conversion to the K18. Mike Weston had a fun day taking family and friends up in the Capstan for Aerotows. Thanks to all who turned out today - i’m sure that like me, you slept well.
* If you’re confused as to why 32 degrees is not enough for good thermals, there are many books about Gliding Met that cover this subject. Suffice to say in simple terms that heated surface air can’t rise in air that is hotter still at height. (We did get thermals to 2000’ later in the afternoon by the way)
18 June Another wet day in paradise
winds 190/ 05, showers at times
The grass has been lifted for the spartan event and the courses are starting to appear around the airfield.
6 gliders queued for launching in the drizzle and were eventually returned to their parking spots, not great for soaring but plenty of banter on the bus.
The course continue to do well. Practice circuits ,Brian Mcdermid resoloed in the K21 and passed his bronze C exam so well done to him.
Mixed weather predicted for club day tomorrow.
17 June A break in the weather and welcome to the Culdrose boys
Winds 210/20 with weak broken thermals cloudbases around 1700ft
The course welcomes back 3 serial course members. Brian McDermid, Marcus Williams and Phil May. A busy day today for them getting back up to speed after layoffs of around 8 months each.
The grass in the South field is now cut in readiness for the Spartan event.
Many thanks to all the assistance given on the field by the Culdrose expedition, it is very much appreciated. The instructors took over ENK and nensured the guys refamiluarised themselves with winch launches (Seahawk use auto tow and aerotow).
Looking forward to lighter winds tomorrow and possibly showers pm.
15 June Tim setting up the field in the drizzle!
Low cloud at times , rain showers and wind 210/10.
Tims cup is half full, it was a delight to see his enthusiasm.Before 8 in the morning he was setting up the field for a days flying
The 2 one day course students spent time with Tim while he explained the basics of gliding and they waited for the weather to clear.
Some groundschool was given to Peter who is preparing for the bronze oral test.
14 June Last day of course
winds 230/10 low cloud rising during the day and showers developing.
Start off in the classroom with a briefing on met. Well done Clinton and matthew who have completed their bronze oral test.
We managed some flying later in the morning dodging some heavy rain showers.
Good to see Brian back from warmer places for a few weeks.
The white truck is back on line thanks to Richard and Tom, today they were giving the buggies the once over.
We said goodbye to the Southdown boys, who were leaving after a very disappointing week. Who would have thought this was June!
13 June more cloud and rain, the gliding school keeps going
winds 210/10 cloudbases rising to 1000ft QFE, rain showers.
The morning was spent in the classroom, Matthew and Clinton presented the weather as part of their bronze C preparation that was followed by a lecture with coffee and cakes.
The Southdown guys took the opportunity to visit the helicopter museum at Weston.
The rain stopped and we all stepped outside to practice a few more circuits---getting quite good at these.
A talk on circuit planning followed and then dinner at the Ragged Cott.
12 June Club day, less wind and Matt resolo
winds 020/05, low cloud to start lifting pm.
A morning of launch failure practice, well what else with 400ft cloudbases. All the course guys became familiar with the ASAS procedure and more comfortable with the whole idea of launch failures.
Well done Matthew who resoloed today. Clinton and Nick making very good progress towards solo and bronze C theory.
Cloudbases rose in the afternoon with some thermal activity Enough for some upper airwork and for Matt to do a couple of solos.
Thanks to Barrie Taylor for the great pictures
11 June Clinton perfects a method to keep his jeans dry!
Winds 030/25 cloud bases around 1000ft QFE, showers of rain
The morning started with briefings for the bronze oral test, flight limitations, weather and notams.
The rain finally eased up around 11 and we set off for some flying training. Nick is now mastering the winch launch while Matthew and Clinton are flying unprompted circuits in strong winds.
The evening lecture was on spin recovery followed by some practice on the sim.
10 June Another low pressure system does not deter the course
winds 050/10 with several fronts and yellow weather warnings for rain.
We welcome Matthew, Clinton and Nick on this weeks course. Matthew from Culdrose and local lad Clinton are serial course members, Nick is new to the sport and had a PPL many years ago.
We also welcome the Southdown club expedition. The hardened veterans accept the weather as part of life---very pragmatic.
Despite the rain we managed a full days flight training, followed by classroom briefing on approach control and the problems associated with wind shear and clutching hand.
Many thanks to Barry who has joined us to help train the course on the ground tasks.
7 June Ok fire up the sim
winds 090/25 and rain and low cloud.
The last day of the course had some grim weather.
Briefings on Met and Spin Recovery before practice on the simulator.
Thanks to Graham and Dave Breeze for being available for winch driving, unfortunately the weather was not suitable.