Sunday 26 October 2008

Booker at Henley

On Saturday 25 October the Sales and Marketing Team braved the wind and unforecast rain in Henley to promote gliding and the club and to sell courses and trial lessons. The Market Place was less busy than on previous visits but we did more business than many of the shops, and met lots of people. We look forward to seeing our visitors at the launch point.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Strong streets

At lunchtime on Tuesday 21st October excellent conditions developed at Booker, with strong lift under the streets that formed in the stiff breeze.  One pilot reported 4-5 m/s...yes, metres/second at about 14:30.  KCZ even went out to Benson and back.  Unfortunately there were only a handful of people lucky enough to partake and the day resulted in a meagre 4 launches.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Aboyne round up

This year's expedition to Aboyne (to Deeside Gliding Club) was the best for some years in terms of flying weather, only 3 non-flying days in the three weeks we were up there. A total of 29 club members turned up at various times over the three weeks, ranging from seven for whom it was their first trip to veterans of dozens of visits. The flying was varied: thermals, wave, calm days and windy, and we came away with two diamond and two gold heights, congratulations to all, as well as some notable x-c flights.

Our next expedition is likely to be to Shobdon, Herefordshire, in the spring.

Friday 17 October 2008

Friday Update

315 from a Lasham Discus
Mike C and Richard C,315, 9,500ft, Balmorial
John H, 607, 8,500ft, Balmorial
Barry M, JDV, 7,000ft

Before 8/8ths and rain came in to bring an end to the day.

Denis primmed and ready before he's 570km flight yesterday

Tues, Weds and Thurs Update

Tuesday was mostly overcast and lacked any form of wind but was adequate for a couple of circuits for Richard C before we all went on various walks.

Wednesday a mixed day for many:

Mike C and Charlie Jordon (DGC), 315, 14,200ft and managed 140km
Denis C, 370, 16,000ft
Dave B and Richard C, ECZ, managed to get 5000ft in thermals
John H, 607,Steve W and Barry M practised some circuits....
370 above Loch Davan
Sunset from 315 at 11,000ft over Loch Muick


Denis, 370, 563Km at 114kph
Dave B and Richard C, 315, managed to get to 16,000ft and went to Feshiebridge and Rinnes (140km)
Mike C, 315, 12,500ft, Braemar
Steve W, JDV, 8,000ft,
John H, 607, 15,500ft, Loch morlich - Loch Muick
Running the wave towards Braemar at around 10,000ft

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Holiday snaps

The week 3 crowd are clearly having too much fun in Aboyne and have no time for blogging, so here are a few pics from the first two weeks, stills from Bob's camcorder, his new toy.
Dave showing the way

315 on tow

Sun and cloud

A relaxed chef Jeremy and his kitchen crew in Birkelunn

Dinner at the Huntly Arms in Aboyne

Monday 13 October 2008

Monday 13th

Dave B and Richard C, ECZ, 13,000ft, Braemar
Mike C and Steve W, 315, 14,000ft
John, 607, 14,000ft
Barry M, JDV, 8,500ft
Dennis, 370, 13,000ft, Loch Tay and Feshiebridge

Ballater from 8000ft

Spot the Duo.....

Sunday 12 October 2008

Sunday back in London (for some)..

....and it looks as though I missed another good day while driving down the M6. Here are a couple of holiday pics:

A sky with every type of cloud, Thursday of week 2 when it was blowing a stiff south westerly. In the foreground is the glider formerly known as 249 (now ETY) - our old friend Derek was back again for another crack at the elusive diamond, leaving his Windrusher colleagues to try their luck at Portmoak.

Snow on the mountains - a memory from week 1. Deeside's glider rack in the foreground with Glyn's G1 in the centre.

Sunday 12th

Dave B and Heather (Dave's better half),315, 14,000ft and went to Feshiebridge
Mike C and Richard C, ECZ, 14,500ft, Braemar
John, 607, 8,500ft Ballater
Steve W, JDV, 6,300ft
Barry M, JDV,8,000ft
Dennis C, 370, Is on his way back from the western side of Scotland as i type.

8,000ft over Morven

Saturday 11 October 2008

Saturday 11th

William Parker MH, 19,000ft
Bob Smith 279, 19,000ft-Both getting their Diamond heights subject to loggers etc
Rolf 318, 14000ft- Gold height
Dave B and Leon G ECZ, 19,000ft, Lyn of Dee
Mike C and Emily 315, 16,500ft, Braemar
Dennis C 370,187km, 14,000ft
Barry M JDV, 13,700ft
John H 607 ,19,000ft, Lyn of Dee and beyond
Jane 118,15,700ft, Braemar

Wave seemed to carry on well above 19,000ft but access to the wave box was denied today, but sorted for tomorrow.

Back at base

...after a successful sortie

Week one discussion group

Should we take off now?

Deeside Gliding Club

Where it's all happening...

Later on Friday

The wind continued strong from the SW, which made it interesting. Dave B flew in 315 first with Leon and then with Nick, on the second flight reaching 11,000ft. Mick C flew with Barry in ECZ and got to 14,000ft. Bob 279 went to 13,000ft and Steve JDV to 11,700ft. John 607 and William MH went to 6000ft and then tried to go somewhere else but with winds of 50kts at 5,000ft progress was difficult and after a while they were back on the ground. Jane 118 was also beaten by the wind.

There will be more pics when time allows, we're all having too much fun to play around with computers.

Friday 10 October 2008

Friday catch up

While we wait for the rain to pass, here's the latest from Booker in Aboyne. Thursday produced a fairly windy south westerly, and an unpromising looking sky. But Booker was not deterred, the following all reached around 9000ft or so before hitting the upper cloud: Dave B and Leon in 315, Mike C and Emily in ECZ, John 607, Steve JDV, Bob 279 and William MH. Denis 370 declined the opportunity having breakfasted on porridge with Drambuie served up by his hotel. The rest of the team leaned into the wind waiting for the landings, occasionally falling over when the rotor shifted and the wind on the airfield suddenly dropped.

In the evening almost everyone met at the Huntly Arms in Aboyne for a surprisingly good meal organised by Leon, who is staying there. The Cambus O'May contingent then went back to their cocktail bar while the others dispersed to their various abodes.

Today may well turn out good later on, if the wind doesn't pick up too much.

And here's a picture of the afternoon tea earlier in the week, hosted by William, Bob and Jane at their house Clearfield.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Wednesday pictures

Ballater from 7000ft (bottom left of pic)

Wednesday 8 October 2008


......looked good first thing and Booker was rigged and ready to go before anyone else showed up. The wind was light and the lift unpredictable, but everyone flew, some more than once. The score is roughly as follows:
  • Emily 318 10,000ft
  • Leon and Mike C 315 10,500ft, Loch Muick and Balmoral
  • Nick and Dave B ECZ 10,000ft, Loch Muick
  • John 607 8200ft, Loch Muick
  • Rob RM 10,000ft
  • Bob 279 12,000ft
  • Symeon FUN 6500ft, first solo climb in wave
  • Steve JDV 6000ft
  • Jane 118 8,000ft
  • William MH 7,000ft
  • Rolf 318 6,000ft
  • Nick 318 a sleigh ride from 4,300ft
  • Barry JDV first solo flights here, and a ride in the Duo to end the day
  • Denis 370 went north somewhere and used his engine on the way back

Pictures to follow, the views were spectacular.

Rainy Tuesday

A wet easterly and no prospect of flying, so the team split up to find alternative diversions. Some went to Aberdeen, others went to the Bridge of Feugh in Banchory to watch the salmon leaping, and afterwards to the excellent cafe opposite. William MH, Bob 279, Jane 118 and Symeon FUN set off on a short x-c of 4.8km. Mostly the going was good but at one point they had to divert from track due to gorse and ended up in some serious sink. Later the team re-assembled at Clearfield, the house in the hills, for afternoon tea provided by Parker, Smith and Moore. It was quite a sight to see the gang making polite conversation while consuming tea and daintily cut sandwiches and cake.

Late Season Sun n' Fun

Well past the equinox now but still enough energy to give useful thermals as today's video shows. A little later getting going as the sun sinks lower, this timelapse video spans the 2 hours from 11am to 1pm (BST). Nice to see the grass is still being cut.

Monday 6 October 2008


.........started unimpressive, good for check flights for Barry, Leon and Rolf. Most people rigged in hope, and after lunch there was a sudden rush of enthusiasm. Booker took to the skies in an interesting southerly airflow with plenty of cloud. John 607 got to 13000ft, Steve JDV, William MH and Bob 279 to 9000ft or so, while Jane 118 was soon back on the ground. Symeon went to 5000ft three times in ECZ. Andy P and Chris R took 315 to great heights, giving Chris his first taste of wave, Mike C/Emily then went to 7500ft. Former Concorde Senior First Officer, Senior Training Capt 777 D. Byass and Rob Munro, Banker (retd) went to 8300ft in 315. Around 1700 we were thinking of calling it a day, but Barry/Dave B in 315 and Leon/Mike C in ECZ fancied another check ride. While they were in the air the sky recycled and they got to 7000ft in the late evening light and only came down because it was getting dark.

William MH at 7500ft

Toys away, the forecast for tomorrow is for teashops.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Sunday report

The start of Week 2 and lots more Booker people have arrived.
A stiff northerly today, making for some interest on take off and landing. Various people launched and explored, but mainly found themselves experimenting with ridge lift: Andy P and Chris R in 315, then Mike C and Symeon, DR and Leon in ECZ, then DR and Barry, Glyn and Heggie in 3D, Steve in JDV, Bob in 279, William in MH and Jane in 118. John H in 607 cracked it, managing 2.5 hours and reaching the dizzy height of 5000ft.

27 launch point

The view from 2500ft over the lochs

The wind dropped towards evening, producing ideal model flying conditions. So far Glyn and Bob S have crashed their models, John H and Mike C are still doing arms length aeros.


...........was showery, too wet to rig, so we variously went shopping and lunched and ate cakes. For week 2 we don't have Birkelunn so the team has split up and is lodging in different places. There are plenty of interesting cottages and hotels around the area, handy for the airfield and with great views of the mountains and the weather.

Saturday 4 October 2008

Freezing Friday and windy Saturday

Friday continued with bright sunshine and some spectacular skyscapes as big showers of rain and occasionally sleet passed through. Finally Ed decided he had to leave, so Julian and Jeremy took 315 for the only flight of the day. The day finished with yet another fine dinner at Birkelunn, masterminded by Chef Jeremy.

Saturday has dawned very wet and windy, so no flying for now. It's a day for exploring the local attractions.

Friday 3 October 2008

Freezing Friday

Rain in the night, snow on the local mountain, Morven, and an icy NW wind. So far there has been breakfast and tea drinking. Ed and Julian have rigged the Duo and are going to do a photographic sortie in due course.

Thursday update

The day dawned clear and cold, a cloudless sky and ice on the wings as we rigged. Clouds were starting to form as Glyn 3D launched with Heggie, they found weak broken wave to around 4500ft. They were followed by Jane 118, Jeremy JDV, Bob D 208, Julian/Ed 315 and Don 318 who all after a while found that what they were actually flying in was thermals. But it was very enjoyable, the vis was excellent and the views superb. After lunch it looked as though the promised bad weather was arriving so we derigged most of the toys, leaving DR and Arnie still doing the rounds in ECZ. Then the wind picked up and Ed and Don had a short excursion in 315 and found wave to 4500ft in interesting conditions.

Our master chef Jim P had headed south but he was ably replaced by Jeremy, assisted by Don, who produced a magnificent feast to end another excellent day.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

The front arrives

Wednesday 1st October was forecast to be miserable...and did not disappoint this time. A rescue crew of brave Booker pilots was assembled in the morning and departed at 9am in Roland's MPV with Glyn's trailer to retrieve 315 from Abington in southern Scotland, which is 198 miles from Aboyne, or 190 depending whether you are coming or going. 315 had to be abandoned there when one of the trailer's wheels fell off on the journey up. A few of the more optimistic, stupid and desperate pilots rigged early and then spent the day looking forlornly up at the low cloud base and intermittent rain.

The day finished with yet another dinner served up by Jim P, aided by his two friends from RAF Leuchars.

The forecast for the rest of the week is mixed but everyone is ready for the rain to break for some more great wave days.

Surprise weather

Tuesday 30th September started out looking bleak; high level cloud and a forecast of rain, with very little wind at ground level. DR and Don launched with the intent of doing some circuit practice in ECZ but nothing was heard from them for an hour, so the wave must have been working. Julian went off in 118 and got to 11'000, Jane and Roland shared a triplet of climbs to 5'000ft in ECZ, Arnie flew 318 and Bob got to 10'500 in 208. Ed Garner arrived in the morning after an eventful trailer towing journey, which left 315 stranded a few hours short of Aboyne and flew with Glyn in Duo Discus 3D.

After lunch the conditions seemed to get even better, prompting Jane to launch again but this time in 118, reaching 11'600ft in bright sunshine. Jim went up in 208, got to 11'500ft and flew halfway to Feshiebridge before retreating in the face of strong sink on the downward side of a wave bar. Jeremy experienced an interesting reversal of fortunes in JDV when exploring why not to co-ordinate stick and rudder during the landing ground roll. His rapid 180 degree turn did however give him an excellent view of the gliders on final approach. Ed and DR experienced a very interesting flight with a combination of both thermal and wave flying.

A few drinks in the bar and dinner at Birkellun rounded off another fantastic day of mountain soaring up here in Scotland.