Saturday, 14 September 2019

Historic day at Booker

Well some historic aircraft at least.  Today more than 15 club members took advantage of the opportunity for a flight in a historic aeroplane.  The Shuttleworth Tiger Moth and Miles Magister came to Booker for the day.  Shuttleworth and Booker Gliding Pilots Andy Monk (Tiger Moth) and  Richard Crockett (Magister) were joined by RAF Test Pilot Willy Hackett (Magister), and they gave each of their guests a great demonstration of formation flying and of the handling characteristics of these fine old aircraft.
Many of us got some great photographs and here are some examples from John Otty, Jeremy Gilbey and Bob Smith, maybe you will want a go next year!

If you like the sight of these older aircraft then don't forget that next weekend we have the WHISPERING WARDROBES VINTAGE GLIDER event. Come along and have a go in the club T21, you never know what other vintage glider you may end up in a thermal with.

Ah, so that's why you wear a crash helmet.

Keep an eye on the RPM Biggles.

Monday, 9 September 2019

White Waltham

We were invited once again to take our sim to West London Aero Club's Members' Day fundraising event - raising money for Air Ambulance and the RAF Benevolent Fund. It's a really good day out, with some exciting air displays to distract us from offering sim sessions to those attending.

Henry chatting to a former Booker member who happened to be passing
Many thanks to Bob Smith for towing the sim there and back, and to Henry Ross, David Humphreys and Chris Collett for staffing - and to Ann Tabbner who came along to help us pack everything up.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Emily Collett

We are very sad to announce that Emily lost her life on Saturday 24th August while teaching aerobatics in her Pitts. We offer our condolences to Mike and to both Mike's and Emily's families.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

A good place for old men, and the young ones

It's a while since anything has been posted, so here are a couple of pics. There have been plenty of good cross country days recently. Lots of cross country activity during August, and a huge number of flights in the last couple of weeks for the Air League.  Today is the last day of Dunstable regionals and Junior Nationals. Booker pilots are doing well in these competitions with a possibility of podium finishes (you gotta be optimistic). Read all about it in the next newsletter, Saturday was a great blue thermic day for trial lessons and training, with good climbs to 4000 Ft later in the day.  A couple of notable events, a trial lesson for sprightly 97 year old Denys and a flight in the T21 for the slightly younger Mr and Mrs Monk.

97 year old Denys Ovenden and his pilot Matt Porter.
Andy and Charlotte take to the air in  Snoopy, the T21.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Inter Club League Round 2

This weekend the Lasham team came to Booker to contest round 2 of the Inter Club League. The weather was not ideal. On Saturday it rained, cooling ground scorched by the week's heatwave, but the visitors were kept entertained with breakfast bacon rolls and an evening barbeque, with plenty of briefing on the intricacies of flying at Booker in between. Sunday started overcast, but Met Man Nils was confident of a later clearance so there was rigging and gridding - and task setting and falling back. Finally the grid launched at about 2pm, the Pundits on a task of 155, Intermediates with 115k and Novices with a local task.

It wasn't easy, there was a gusty NW wind but a reasonable cloudbase, and the Pundits whizzed round. In the event Lasham's team of European and UK champions won the day in Pundit and Intermediate classes, with the Novices being declared a draw. The winners were:

Pundit - Mike Gatfield - demonstrating the advantage of starting gliding as a Booker cadet
Intermediate - Toby Freeman

Many thanks to the club members who made it all possible:
Bob Smith - Team captain
Pete Wyld - Scorer
Jim White - Task setter
Nils Wedi - Met man
Bob Sinden - Grid marshal and joint team captain
James Roland and Mike Richardson - Tug pilots
John Hubberstey - Chef
Davis Hamilton - grid launching
Cadet Varun - log keeping
......and not forgetting Mike Sinclair for tidying up the trailer park

Roll on 2020 and the rematch!

Lasham invasion

Mike Gatfield and Tom Arscott

Booker Novices Luke and Stuart

J1M finishing

Steve Jones in his Arcus

Friday, 26 July 2019

The hottest day of the year......

.....and still we flew. Yesterday was a bit of a challenge, with extreme temperature and a brisk southerly wind making runways 06 and 24 too risky for launching, although fine for the power traffic using 06. We therefore set up in the middle of the field and launched along the southerly part of runway 17, which also happens to be the smoothest bit of the airfield and with good launch failure options, and landing on 06. Jo was there continuing her Get Your Solo course - she's certainly had a varied two weeks with us, starting her course with a cross country in the Duo during the Regionals. We also flew a Trial Lesson customer, who had gone solo in a glider 30 years ago, and two other course members. James did sterling work flying the tug all day, although it got so hot he burnt his hand on the flap lever.

It was a satisfying day, but we were all very glad to go home and cool off!

Jo about to lainch 316

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Regionals Day 5 - again

And so we come to the end of another Regionals. The weather was less kind to us than last year, but still with Nils's excellent forecasts we managed 4 contest days plus a couple of good efforts. Today like yesterday was hard to judge, two tasks were set, with Task B actually longer than task A in case conditions were better than forecast. In the event it all went to worms. The grid launched with task C but found it increasingly hard to stay up in the gusty thermals with a lowering cloudbase so they very sensibly came back and landed.

Boys with their toys
John cooked up another barbeque while Richard went off to buy prizes for the podium places, which were:

3rd place - Jan McCoshim and Dave Byass

Jan collecting the beer

2nd place - Jim White

Jim with a smile
1st place - Denis Campbell

Denis thanked Jim and Tim for inventing the Handicapped Distance Task format which he said had revitalised his interest in cross country flying. He also noted that in two years time he will have been gliding 50 years and at that point the beers would be on him! And finally.....he remarked that having an engine definitely made it easier.

Richard handing over the trophy
Richard thanked all those who had worked hard to make sure the comp ran smoothly - Pete the scorer, Bob the grid marshal, Jane and Bob running control, Chef John, as well as Nils the forecaster, all the tug pilots, and last but not least, Shelagh and Chris in the office.

Next weekend we will be hosting a team from Lasham for the InterClub League.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Regionals Day 5

The day started damp and the briefing at 1130 was indecisive about whether or not there would be a task. In the end two short tasks were set with a rebrief after lunch. It was a bit breezy out on the field but the snifter reported a cloudbase of over 3000ft, although thermals were broken. At this point George appeared with his trailer, he rigged in record quick time while the grid launched on task B. After watching them all struggling to stay up the Director scrubbed before the gate opened - George just had to park out ready for tomorrow. Everyone landed back - except Denis who set off to prove that the task was possible - in a Ventus 2cxt. He made it round but did have to use his engine.

Meanwhile the rest of the competitors, officials and club members were tucking into John Hubb's excellent barbeque and Jan's salad selection.

Some serious drinking going on

Chef John

No, we don't know either! Add your own caption.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Regionals Day 4

It turns out that George managed to liberate his glider on Wednesday evening after all. The price of the key to the gate was £100 but fortunately a householder with a garden backing onto the field allowed him to derig through his garden gate - with help from his crew William and John Hubb.

How to fit a 15m glider through a 2m gate
After overnight rain, Thursday's weather was less than promising at briefing but Tasks A and B were set and the grid was set out. As the cold front disappeared to the SE the weather improved, but with time passing they fell back to Task B - Bicester NW-Stony Stratford-Didcot. It was a bit breezy with big gaps and a couple of pilots took relights but eventually they all set off. There were good climbs to be had but the wind was a bit tough on the shorter wings. Steve got back first but in the event was beaten by a whisker by Jim, with Denis in 3rd place. Ashley dropped in to Bicester but was soon retrieved by Dave and Jan in LH.

Steve finishing

Today was a scrub, but in other news, Tim Peake dropped in at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford. Fortunately our cadet Maddi was on hand to explain how to fly a glider.

'While flying you must always keep a good lookout.....'

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Regionals day 3

The forecast today was affected by the approaching front and the top cover casting a shadow over proceedings. Nonetheless the Director set a task of 304k out Alconbury way and launching proceeded in the usual efficient fashion. The competitors set off at much the same time and to start with made good progress but conditions deteriorated and Jim, Nils and John came back. The others struggled on, and five landed out. Steve and Jan had aerotow retrieves, Ashley and Howard were rescued from fields, and George, who very nearly made it back, had to leave his glider in a field overnight because of a locked gate. Denis and Geoff made it all the way round. Richard made it to Alconbury but skipped one of the TPs.

Howard hoping to improve on yesterday's blistering 96kph by polishing the u/c doors

Ashley's good looking field near Olney

Howard's retrieve from near Waddesdon

Richard's view of Alconbury
Meanwhile back at Booker, Jo continued her training with a lot of flying in a K21 with Bob D, and the Wednesday evening group took over at day's end.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

A great gliding intro and regionals day 2.

A fantastic gliding day today. A 320 Km cross country for the Booker Regionals Competition pilots, with Denis Campbell romping round at 115Kph.  Many pilots were heard commenting that today was their fastest ever cross country flight.  Special congratulations to Howard Joseph who took the club ASW19 round and got 4th place.

Richard and Jo arrive in style

Our latest course member Jo had a comprehensive introduction to gliding. A trip in the K21 in the morning to practice stick and rudder co-ordination, then a speedy cross country in the Duo Discus with Richard.

Delighted CFI Richard thanks his student Jo for a great flight in the Duo.
Flying continued well into the evening with a busy Tuesday Evening group back to normal after recent closures.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Regionals Day 1 - third time lucky

Today was a good racing day and the task (Devizes - Oxford East - Ilsley) was 215km for those with the highest handicap. Jim White romped round in just over 2hrs, with Denis Campbell on his heels and John Otty not far behind. No landouts.

Denis Campbell in 370

Nils Wedi in EN

Dave Byass in 161
It was very pleasant back at the launchpoint for those waiting for finishers - warm sunshine and a light breeze.

The judging panel

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Booker Red Kite Regionals Day 1 - again

The day started with breakfast, served up by John on his trusty barbeque. Then at briefing Nils showed some more of his colourful graphs and suggested that there was the possibility of a task later in the day.

Having set up the grid, a number of people set off on a sweep of the field to check for items left behind after the recent community events on the airfield. It was well worth the walk as we found some interesting items to add to those found on previous days.

After lunch, Jan and Jim took a launch in a K21 but found cloudbase still low and thermals weak. By mid afternoon things looked a little better and Nick and Jane launched. Nick found cloudbase of 3000ft and some nice thermals, but conditions on track were leess than promising so in the end it was another scrub, followed by beers on the verandah.

Cooking up a storm

FOD plod - the view from the tower

Treasure trove

The view towards Henley

Booker Red Kite Regionals Day 1

Saturday started well with the launchpoint set up and gliders gridded. Nils the Met Man gave an in depth explanation of the weather and the Director set an HDT task to the south and we waited. Eventually the Director launched for a sniff around but reported that cloudbase only just made 2500ft QFE and there were large poor areas near the airfield so we scrubbed. And then the sky cleared, but it was too little too late. Some competitors took off for a bit of practice, others packed up ready for whatever Sunday brings.

The Grid Marshal and the Met Man share a joke with the Treasurer

Just lying around...

....or standing

The LS8 - deceptively spacious

In other news, Maddi checked out on trailer towing with her new car (and licence), including reversing round corners and a trip round Handy Cross.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Sunshine successes

We've had some type conversions this week. Jetsada Machom and Mark Dyos took advantage of yesterday's good soaring conditions to convert to the Junior, and at the weekend David Lowe flew his new Discus for the first time.

Jetsada. The T-shirt? No, we don't know either.


We haven't yet tracked David down for a mugshot.

Remember that the evening groups are flying again, so come on down to the airfield make the most of the long summer evenings.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Proper gliding weather

Yesterday was an excellent day, and Nils (EN) set a task down to Goodwood and up to Northampton and places in between. He set off with Denis (370) and Steve (HA) and a few hours later back they came, with Steve having completed his first 500. Some esoteric rule about barrels and sectors means he can't claim it for a Diamond, so he'll just have to do it all again!

Steve being congratulated by the task setter

The task
Today was a bit different - hot and blue - but it was easy enough, if a bit nerve wracking, to make progress as the climbs were consistently over the villages. Having a wet hat helped!

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Booker playing away

This weekend Wycombe Air Park was taken over by Armed Forces Day but Bicester very kindly offered us hospitality. Saturday was hot enough to melt fibreglass but today four of our members braved the wind and wave for some enjoyable flying. The task was Ely-Bottesford-BC1. Denis got round, Steve and Nils nearly made it, and Hakan had a good time more locally.

Getting ready under a rather messy sky

A happy gang of four
We will be back to normal ops this week - until the Regionals start on 13th July.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Klippeneck 2019 - Day 13

So we come to the final day (summer solstice)  for the Klippeneck 2019 expedition.  We have flown every single day we have been here and amassed a lot of airborne hours and kilometres flown.

The forecast was similar to yesterday but with a little less chance of the very heavy storms early in the day. The Duo Discus, K21, 944, NVM and HA all flew before the forecast rain and good flights were had by all.

315 needed a bit of TLC before it could fly due to a punctured tail wheel but this was soon fixed and took to the skies.

The usual ratio of watchers to workers for Booker

Iain on aerotow in 316

Ashley landing in time to derig before the rain

Everyone planned to land in sufficient time to derig before the rain and with the exception of 316 this was achieved.
The rush to derig

As seems to be tradition, a final meal was had at the "halfway house" and the concensus of all concerned was that it has been a another great success.
Happy aviators enjoying a great sunset

Thanks must go to Richard for organising the expedition and making it such fun and to the members of Klippeneck gliding clubs who have hosted us and made the flying possible. It wouldn't happen without their support. Bring on the 2020 summer expedition.

Kit all packed ready for the journey home