Sunday, 27 March 2022

Booker Gliding Club and Wycombe Air Park, our home of decades

 Have you noticed what’s happening at Wycombe Air Park? Back in February 2021 Bucks Council fenced off the southern part of the airfield – resulting in the airfield manager banning gliding on unspecified safety grounds – and leased it to Stage Fifty, who are busy building a film studio before their planning application has been decided. This development has been on the books for a while and is enshrined in the 2019 Local Plan, which also requires that the gliding club should be moved to the north side of the airfield. The council spent a lot of time and money on plans for a glider take-off track, planning permission for which was granted in December 2021, but this is not now progressing because the airfield manager says no – so the gliding club is homeless and facing closure.

There’s a lot that’s wrong with this situation – a decades-old gliding club which has introduced thousands to low-cost flying forced off its home base, council-sponsored building going on without planning permission, a community asset trashed, and an airfield manager with his own plans for development of the airfield - he’s the CEO of HeliAir so one can only imagine what that might mean.

If you would like to comment on the planning application, ref 21/07902/FUL, you can find it on the council website (when it’s working) here:

The date for website comments has passed but you can still email your comments to

Monday, 11 October 2021

Booker heads to Scotland

Booker's annual expedition to Aboyne, home to Deeside Gliding Club, has got off to a good start with three days of wave. Veterans have enjoyed seeing familiar sites, and new members Simon and David have been seen grinning from ear to ear after being introduced to the magic of wave. 

Meanwhile back at Abingdon, work is progressing on the temporary hangar.

Saturday, 11 September 2021


Monday, 28 June 2021

The latest newsletter

 Take a look at what we have been getting up to.......the newsletter is on the website with plenty of news and pics from our temporary base at Chiltern Park. Click here to read it.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Return to flying

 As from 29th March we have been able to fly again, although only solo - two seater flying returns on 12th April. We were unable to go on our usual Spring expedition to Lleweni Parc because of the latest lockdown, but we are currently enjoying a mini expedition to Chiltern Park, near Wallingford, as guests of Dennis Pearson of Chiltern Airsports. This is because we are being prevented from flying at Wycombe Air Park because of a commercial dispute between the airfield manager (CEO of Heliair) and the airfield owner (Bucks County Council), where we are caught in the crossfire.

While we attempt to get the situation resolved, we are making the most of our time at Chiltern Park - getting current again and exploring the local area, as can be seen from the pics below.

Symeon getting in touch with the grassroots

Jim and John ready to go

K21 316 on approach

Nick and Inge's mobile teabar - a welcome sight on a cold day

Howard making the most of the day - landing at 1814

Sunday, 13 December 2020

A look back at 2020....

Greetings to all our readers.

It's been a difficult year, but despite it all we have kept going, doing what we enjoy. Members have gone solo, and gone further and faster, we have run competitions, been on expeditions, and hosted events, all while doing our best to keep our members and visitors safe and secure. So now is the time to look back at all the good times, and to look forward to a better 2021. This month's issue of the newsletter is a compilation of 2020 activities with as many pics as it was possible to cram in.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Shep (Fred) Sheppard

We are saddened to announce that Shep (Fred) Sheppard took his last breath on Sunday 8th November with his family by his side. He had a good, long and adventurous life, much of it spent at Booker. Because of Covid there will be a small family congregation for his committal. At a later date, yet to be determined, the family will have a memorial service or gathering to celebrate his great life.

Christmas Eve 2007 - Shep with some model flying members - John Tournier, Mike Collett, Steve Brown, John Herman

Shep derigging after a flight in February 2008

Shep out-running a cu-nim in July 2008

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Aboyne expedition round up

 Every year Booker goes on an expedition to Aboyne in Aberdeenshire, home to Deeside Gliding Club, and this year was no exception, although it was all a bit different this year, with restaurants closing early and no shared accommodation. However, we made the best of every opportunity to fly, and several members achieved firsts - first solo at Aboyne, first solo at a different airfield, first wave flight. Nils provided an excellent weather briefing every morning with some very pretty graphs from the comfort of his campervan. And when we weren't flying there was plenty of beautiful countryside to explore. We are grateul to Richard and Dave for keeping us in order, and to Dave for his time in fixing some towing damage.

Here is a selection of pics from the trip.

A view towards the east coast past the airfield

Andy Duncan after his first Aboyne solo

Loch Avon and Cairngorm


316 ready to go

Dave spent a day on repairs

Nils and William enjoying a walk from Crathie

Monday, 28 September 2020

Easter Eggs and more solos

 We have converted another power pilot to the joys of gliding - fixed wing instructor Jag Nahar did his first glider solo last week.

And then on Saturday it was time for the 17th International Easter Egg Cup Aerobatics comp. The conditions weren't the best - a freezing north-westerly making take offs on 06 quite interesting - but the field of 9 made some creditable performances - that is to say, their figures were recognisable. Their expertise ranged from 'never even done a loop before' to 'practised a bit'. British Aerobatics judge Charles Baker sat out in the cold all day gazing and the sky and tuggie James Roland kept us safe - completing his 3,000th hour of tugging in the process.

The trophy went to visitor Will Jones, with recently solo Leo Sentinella in 2nd place and Jane Moore 3rd. Many thanks to Graham Saw for sitting in as safety pilot on 8 flights, finding Easter eggs in September and organising the whole thing.

Recently solo Leo now getting good at aeros

Will Jones goes off with the trophy

Maybe next year we will hold the comp at Easter for a change.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Whispering Wardrobes, solos and more

We are now firmly established back home at Wycombe Air Park and the past few weeks have been busy as we have re-started trial lessons and courses. One of our course members, Jim Pearce, who has had a bit of practice flying things like Learjets, went solo after a few flights, converted to the Pegasus and promptly did his Bronze 2 hours. He came down buzzing with the thrill of the newly discovered delights of thermalling. 

This weekend has been hectic with vintage gliders on display and flying. Sadly we had to scale down the event because of covid considerations but there was still plenty going on. And today we had another solo - 14 year old Leo Sentinella, who joined us from Bicester almost ready to go solo, has been working really hard on the final steps and today was the day.

Leo with proud dad David

Petrel and T21 on dual tow behind the Pawnee

Graham ready to go in the Hutter