Following on from Jim and Mike's adventure on Friday, FZA took off to clear sky but was cut off from the airfield by a snow shower that appeared from nowhere! Rather than try to fly through the snow and sleet, height was maintained in the lift on the edge of the shower and a good field selected in plenty of time and a safe field landing made. The retrieve was made in near darkness as HNK had to be rigged to make room for FZA!
Twas the Weekend before Christmas
Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the clubhouse,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The gliders were packed in the hanger with care,
In hopes that summer thermals soon would be there.
The pilots were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of final glides danced in their heads.
And Sheilagh in her ‘kerchief, and Sue in her cap,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the launch point there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the clubhouse to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The wind so strong blowing north side of west,
Gave Jim the idea, fly to the ridge at its best.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the Pawneee and K21 to the rear.
With a little old driver, so lively and steady,
I knew in a moment it must be St Heggy.
More rapid than eagles his launches so stout,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called “launch All Out!”
Out on the ridge with good beats west and east,
Maintaining their height, 1400 feet at least.
Come says Jim this all very good but now let us press on,
Crossing Risborough a doddle and then on to Halton.
The joint decision is made and it’s time for best glide,
Setting course to the north what a wonderful ride.
The snow on Coombe Hill so fluffy and swell,
With height running out it’s not going well.
Children looked up low over the roof tiles of Wendover,
As a hearty cry went out – I have control the flight it is over.
The landing was smooth in the Aylsebury clay,
A soft muddy landing for Mike and his sleigh.
Elves duly arrived and carried it out all covered in mud,
An epic rig by the FOGers to much cursing sweat and blood.
The ground so crisp and icy that Crockett used his head,
He bashed into the tailplane – concussion, phew not dead!
Back at the apron where rumours’ abound,
Sat flying school planes tied firm to the ground.
The Duchess looked drained, things right on the verge,
But outcomes look up following a merge.
Sunday looms glorious so FZA with Rob has to fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, cloud showers in the sky.
Return to the airfield no longer an option it’s time to land out,
Field selection was good – winter wheat and not Sprout!
"Now Cooling! now, Phelps! now, Parker and Herman!
On, Williams! On, Hilary! On Davey and Richardson!
To the trailer park! to the top of the wall!
Now retrieve away! retrieve away! Retrieve away all!"
So off to Rockwell End they flew,
With the trailer full of HNK! and trestles too.
The light getting dim, cross field they plodded
The mud thick and sticky their shoes they were clodded.
With glider derigged all hearty and hale,
It was time to head back to the old Grouse and Ale.
But on arriving back at the clubhouse all frosty and cold,
Was an old man dressed in red standingever so bold.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a guffaw,
And away they all flew down the line of 24.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘noise abatement to the right’,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"