Thursday, 25 May 2017

24 May Deptford school pay us a visit

A warm thermic day, weather worsening as you head North, but very warm and sunny at Booker.

We welcomed 15 members of Deptford School today. They all had a great time, enjoying the thrills of gliding for the first time. many thanks to all the helpers that made this day a success and in particular Madi Nick and John who tirelessly helped on the ground and made sure everyone was kept safe. A very special mention to John H who treated us to fresh strawberries !!

Flying continued well into the evening. 2 happy chaps just about to take off at 7pm.

This time next week we will be at Haddenham----put it in your diary.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Guess the age of the glider. 23 May 2017

A warm front brought with it lower cloud and 1600ft cloudbases. Still thermic but not ideal for cross country.

We welcome Stephane Andre, a visitor from France. Stephane was here to view the Ventus that Alison is selling. A quick site familiarisation and he was off testing his new toy.

Preparations are starting for the  Aero Expo next week. Graham was preparing the Petrel, a very special glider and the only flying example in the world. The Petrel will be on display in the glider hanger during Aero Expo for those interested to have a closer look.

A gull wing built in 1939. The tail number does not relate to either the age of the glider or the age of the pilot. Graham did reveal that the combined ages is quite a large figure---but he didnt give any further details.

The club will be at Hullavington during the Aero Expo, so please come along and enjoy a different airfield. Thats Wednesday 31 May  to the following Sunday.

Flying conditions improved for the evening group. A good turn out and some fun flying.

A good day forecast for tomorrow.

Monday, 22 May 2017

22 May a blue day with strong thermals

A great soaring day with the occasional haze cap. Otherwise blue with

Raymond Freeman from near Henley on Thames enjoyed an introductory course.

I really enjoyed that, its great fun was his remark after the course. Well I thought it was fun too.

More good weather tomorrow


Sunday, 21 May 2017

It's a FES

A new high tech and very elegant arrival in the trailer park.  Jeremy Gilbey and Barry Michael with their new Shark FES.  Yes, apparently it really boosts your cross country performance if you join the Flat Earth Society.
I thought you said the batteries were charged up !
For those not up to speed on the latest gliding tech - FES = Front Electric Sustainer.  The glider has a small electric motor and propellor enabling it to glide on for an hour after the last thermal has fizzled out.  An easy way to avoid a landout on a cross country flight.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

First solo in a real glider

Congratulations to Luke Bishop; first solo in a real glider today. Luke came back to gliding last year having previously been solo in an ATC motor glider about 12 years ago. Luke says it is easier with an engine but, now he has mastered gliding, I'm sure he won't be needing one.

More from the film set

On Wednesday Booker played host to a film crew taking scenes for a major TV drama series to be aired later this year. After a morning taking ground shots at White Waltham they arrived at Booker for some aerial work.
Who's that man?

Beards R Us

How many people does it take to........?

Hero or villain?

Thanks to Richard Martyn for use of his beautiful K6 and to Robin Willgoss and Mike Sinclair for help on the day.

Friday, 12 May 2017

LS7 a new goal for the future

Iain Segall and David Parker admire the new LS7. Well it is raining outside and a short break from the lecture room is welcome.

We expect to see David back again to complete his conversion training. Won't be too much longer now, mainly a paperwork exercise.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Nigel Smith completes his full rating

Congratulations to Nigel Smith on successfully completing his full rating test with Richard Crockett. Nigel is an instructor from Halton.

The weather was not inspiring from a soaring point of view but Nigel Smith and David Parker (our visitor from Dartmoor) took full advantage of the quiet airfield to get their training done.


Graham grows a beard

What a great day. First launch at 8 am Graham certainly didn't have a beard when he flew Richard Martyn's beautiful K6 behind the Pawnee. A few hours later he reappeared (having been to White Waltham) and had grown a splendid bush. He then made a few more flights in the K6 for the benefit of the film crew which was filming scenes for a programme we can't name until it's aired.

A blue day, with a strong inversion at 3000ft QFE. A few adventurous flights were made, but many elected to stay within the local area.

David Parker, a trainee from Dartmoor Gliding continued his training in the K21. He made a superb cuppa on the bus cooker. Thanks.

Flying continued into the regular Wednesday evening group.


Monday, 8 May 2017

A nice day out at Shuttleworth

Yesterday two of our pilots showed off a couple of vintage gliders at an air display at the Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden. There was a fantastic range of amazing aircraft on display, not least the improbable looking Fauvel flown by Graham Saw and a kitchen chair with wing attached - a Primary - flown by Richard Crockett.

Hooking up the Fauvel

Richard checking his nails before his flight

The record-breaking Comet seen from the Primary

Sunday, 30 April 2017

New gear

Setting out the launch point and hangar packing was made easier yesterday with the introduction of tow out gear for the K21s. It will also be useful for expeditions to sites where there is a long walk back to the other end of the runway.

Steve pondering the weather

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Easter Tuesday

This is why I love flying in the Spring...

Climbing near Didcot

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

50k success

Phil Binnee took advantage of the strong thermals today to fly Enstone for his Silver Distance (50km). He did have the advantage of flying an LS8 (we might have to send him off in a Junior to do it again) but he had to deal with dodgy batteries which put paid to his nav equipment, so he had to resort to actual map reading, a lost art.

Congratulations Phil!

Back in the trailer park

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Jane out-manoeuvres the men, again.

A great end to the instructor week, more feedback on that to follow in a future post.  A good day for the increasingly popular Easter Egg Cup Aerobatic competition. All ten competitors flew, with most electing to complete the Standard pattern.  Dave H went for the more advanced Cor Blimey sequence.
Many pilots had not done any more than a loop before the weekend, but thanks to some excellent coaching, and safety pilots, everyone posted a good score.
The top three were - 
1st  - 83.7% -  Jane Moore.
2nd - 78.7% - Rob Kehr
3rd  - 78.1% - Chris Collett

For those that can speak Aresti, the sequence diagrams are shown below. See Mr Saw for a full translation.

A heated debate took place at prize-giving about who was the best aerobatic coach, perhaps next year there will also be a prize for best team coach.  
Jane won for the second year running; many were heard muttering about how many years one person can win before moving up in to the Cor Blimey class.

Thanks as always to Graham Saw for organising the event, and to Charles Baker from Lasham for scoring. 

Club Chairman William Parker presents Jane Moore with the Easter Egg Aerobatics Trophy.
Looks like he is keeping hold of that Easter Egg though!
In other news - 315 flew two XC tasks in one day - including first landout of the year at Bicester. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

No course or expedition is complete without a food entry

The instructors week meeting at the Grouse and Ale. Great middle to the week's events and still 3 more days to go. The week has already generated about 150 launches and 10 hours in the motor glider.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Our new seasonal tug pilot getting to grips with towing

Adam Ropka has joined us for the season as our tug pilot. He his currently being trained but will be about and ready to tow you soon. Please say hello and make him welcome

Briefing for day 3 of the instructors week

Using the swanky new interactive whiteboard  (no pens allowed!)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Evening groups up and running

Hurrah - the evening groups have begun again!

In a blaze of determination brought about by lack of flying we managed to fit the following activities into a couple of hours on Tuesday evening:

  • Jump in the glider for a take off on 24 - wind at 90 degrees to take-off.
  • Receive instruction to change runway to 06 from the tower.
  • Strap most of the launch point to the buggy and race across the field before the tug lands.
  • Sneak in some more flights vaguely in the direction of 06 - wind still at 90 degrees to take off.
  • The evening tuggy, then rushed from cockpit to lectern to deliver a fascinating talk on mountain flying.
If field selection in flat lands causes dread, reading the instructions for emergency landing fields in the Alps is not for the feint of heart: My recollection of one such landing field is as follows:

"Fly over the first electrical wire, but under the second. With 18m wings, sideslip a lot to fit between the trees, then land on the first rock at no more than 60 knots, so that you only have a glancing blow on the second boulder at 45 knots... and do not land long: The lake at the end has piranhas with a taste for dehydrated glider pilots. Successful landings usually require retrieval by helicopter. Ratio of successful to unsuccessful lands so far is... "

I exaggerate for effect of course...

Then we dreamed of having the skill and nerve to soar amongst the magnificent peaks - whilst making "friends" with the chef at the pub, by ordering eight meals two minutes before his home time.


Talk about squeezing a lot into a short amount of time.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Some more pics of fun at Lleweni Parc

The members on the spring expedition to Wales had another fantastic ridge day with everyone here spending several hours beating up and down before showers brought an end to the day around 1730.

Here are a few pics:

A view of the ridge from ground level

27 launchpoint

Somewhere over Wales

Ed in KV, photographed by his syndicate partner Phil from 315

Ed again

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A happy bunch of pilots

The smiling faces say it all. All the young students after they had flown. Several came up to me after their flights to say what a great time they had had and to thank the club and their instructors. My thanks to the instructors, tug pilots, cadets and office for making it all run so well 

BA/Air League day at Booker today

Booker hosted another BA/Air League sponsored work experience day today. 30 young students from around the Heathrow area are part of the scheme BA are running which includes seeing different aspects of jobs at BA, interviews, CV writing, team building and giving them a few life skills that school doesn't  (as well as an aviation experience). We flew all 32 who attended and and still had time for lunch.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Welsh catch up

Here are a few more pics of Wales from various angles

Lleweni Parc - 850m of tarmac

Snowdon - snowed on

Snowdon below an inversion

316 on finals
Here's what we did on our rest day last Wednesday:

Boys being boys

Beaten by the locals - Chris from Lleweni Parc with Gold
And more sedately:

Llandudno prom, looking towards the Great Orme

View from the top of the Great Orme

And some local livestock:

Gulls on a Jaguar

Sheep. Of course.