Sunday 30 August 2009

Team Hilton on Day 5 of the Juniors

Day 5 eventually turned out to be the last contest day of the 2009 Junior Nationals and saw the Duo of Mike Collet and Will Ellis pair fly to great effect again securing 2nd and 3rd place respectively for the day and which resulted in overall first place for Will and 2nd for Mike - congratulations to the pair of them, a great result.

The other Duo being the club's Duo Discus being flown by Booker cadet Will Hilton with his dad in the back. The task was a 264k polygon to Bicester, Cambridge, Rushen, Winslow and back to Dunstable on a day with the wind being around 20kts at flying height. After launching WIll made a good start and followed a good street into the strong wind to Bicester. The leg to Cambridge cycled quite a bit and he encountered one or two lowish spots. The strong winds took their toll with over 30 of the competitors landing out at various places. 315 made it to Waterbeach where it added to the tally of landouts (along with 2 other competitors).

Will's first taste of landing out wasn't too bad and whilst the Army wouldn't allow us to aerotow out they did keep the NAAFI open for tea and cakes. The team at Dunstable organising the 2 seater flying alongside the Juniors (led by Mike Fox) made sure that retrieves went smoothly and even though 315 didn't have a crew formally organised a crew were dispatched and the retrieve made easy.

Whilst the 2009 Juniors are over, the two seater flying alongside it are a great opportunity for Booker cadets or early solo pilots to learn and see cross country flying in a competition environment and can be thoroghly recommended - one for the cadets to put in their diaries for 2010. Thanks should go to Jon Gatfield for ensuring the Duo was competition ready and organising pilots and cadets to fly over the week.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Juniors Day 3

Day 3 saw Booker cadet Siena Whiteside flying with Andy Perkins. It was a pretty tough day with very big showers around, some of which were dumping water and electricity in large quantities. The whole Juniors fleet landed out at various stages of their task around Rugby, Newmarket and Northampton. Siena and Andy landed at Sywell airfield (so Siena has at least done her first outlanding!). Booker competitors Mike Collett and Will Ellis were pair flying and both landed at Deenethorpe near Corby.

Photo - Booker's 315 on the grid with the other coaching two-seaters

At present there are not takers for today, Friday or Saturday - if you're a cadet or early XC pilot who wants to fly give the office a call!

Wednesday 26 August 2009

15M Nationals

Things going a bit pear shaped at the moment. Wayne and I both holding up the field with Tim near the top.
Check out my blog at for day by day reports and a link to the official site for tasks, scores, and pictures etc.


ps: we should get one of those online weather gizmos for Booker.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Junior Nationals day 2

'Twas a tad breezy today and there was some discussion about whether to scrub in the 20 kt Southerly. It was a good job the decision was to go as the conditions were great with climbs of up to 9kts reported and a cloudbase over 5000' amsl. Will Hilton flew the Booker Duo today and did a splendid job, handling the flight pretty much from start to finish.

Will went North of track on the first leg and took a good first climb near Bedford, made the first turn near Cambridge up at cloudbase and had some nice runs along streets heading back to the final turn at Newport Pagnall. The final leg saw the Duo pushing well at 110kts back for another "good finish". Will flew the task at 78kph and would have come about 25th for the day!

In the competition itself the true grasping nature of Mike Collett was revealed to the world;-)
Having been a little mediocre in the motivation department he started to pay attention when it was made clear the sponsors of the competition, D3P media (go out and buy their product now! had put forward some fantastic prizes: yesterday's day winner prize was announced as an ipod touch and rumour has it Wii consoles are also in the prize kitty. Suitably motivated it looks like Mike has won day 2, with Will Ellis probably second for the day and first overall. It's amazing what a little motivation can do!

Junior Nationals

The Booker cadets are flying the trusty Duo, 315, Hors Concours in the Junior Nationals this week. The club threw it's weight into the preparation with Dave Byass and Mike Sinclair repairing logger cables, Mike and Will spent 4 hours in the hot sun polishing wings and with the CFI and Chairman washing the trailer what more can be asked for?

We trailered to Dunstable Saturday morning where Mike and Will helped rig, grid and fettle before briefing. In addition to the Booker Cadets, Lasham, Dunstable and the BGA all have two seaters flying cadets to give a first taste of cross country competition.

Day one task was 264kms: up to Northampton, out to Bury St Edmunds and back via Grafham Water. Mike Gatfield flew today and had good conditions with a cloudbase of 4500 amsl and 4-5 knot thermals in places. The start gaggle held around fifteen gliders at one point and was a bit of an eye opener (I'm not sure we blinked for five minutes or so) but everyone was well behaved and we made a start, decided we didn't have a good run out so ran back and restarted around 1.15. There was a lovely street running from the first to second turn and, with a bit of talking to Cambridge air traffic at one point, we had a reasonable run.

Coming back west we passed Starship Campbell heading East and had a good time running alongside the juniors. Getting onto final glide was easy and we crossed the line with plenty of energy for a nice finish. A great first day for the comp, for the cadets and for Booker pilots Will Ellis who finished second and Mike Collett who finished fourth in the main comp.

Hope fully we'll get a day Sunday when Will Hilton is due to fly.

Thursday 20 August 2009

Ten men went to mow...

Wednesday evening saw a bunch of willing volunteers get together to tidy up the trailer park, cut the grass and discover all manner of loose sump-busting items lurking in the shadows.

Here are a few pictures of the Trailer Park Cleanup Team ... or perhaps the Wildlife Sanctuary Destruction Squad? Apologies to the displaced mice, shrews, voles and wildebeest now seeking new homes.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Tuesday 18th with no get me home

The day which should have been a good 500k day rapidly became 8/8ths so I went home for lunch, with a view to seeing how it went later.

By 13:00 the sky was opening up and looking more reliable so back to Booker. Tony had just rigged 114 and I suggested we try Market Harbourough-Bullington and if the day didn't get much better we could always cut it short.

A9, Glen was waiting to be launched as we pulled onto the grid and he said he'd have a go too.

Tony started first then me and then Glen. Passing Aylesbury the sky started to become more overcast with embeded cu and Tony said he was struggling near Mursley, when I arrived he was turning in something so I joined him eventually finding the core a terrific 1.2 knots. The sky seemed to be getting better so we pushed of to Milton Keynes and had a climb to cloudbase. A9 said he was having no fun at Aylesbury and was going home if he could get there.

We were going to try for Bicester straight away but as it was just soarable I suggested we turn Stony Stratford and then make for Bicester (ha ha). We both turned STS and then set off for the most acceptable looking clouds at Buckingham. We both had a climb which petered out at a height which just wasn't quite enough to reach Bicester. At that point A9 Glen said he was back at Booker and available for retrieve which was a relief as the little puffs that appeared on track didn't work at all. It was all over and I heard Tony land as I struggled to use the odd bubble which never developed and landed a few minutes later.

The field was huge with a road running across the middle of it. The aim was to stop just short of the road. Picture shows result. The farmer was friendly but didn't want any vehicles on it as it had just been drilled (sowed) with rape. Glad I got as close to the road as possible.

Thanks to Glen with Sally for getting me and Chris Roland for getting Tony.

With engines we'd have both been home 3 hours earlier but then that's not gliding is it!

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Tuesday 18th August

A busy day at Booker despite the weather. The promised conditions did not materialise and most of those who ventured off, landed out. The weather to the east was good but it wasn't possible to get back.

Ely Cathedral

Monday 17 August 2009

Midlands Regionals

Well done to Rachel Hine who came a close second (with Jon Meyer) to Andy Davis in the Midlands Regionals. A tremendous result.

1. 3567 Andy Davis
2 3482 Jon Meyer Rachel Hine
3 3390 Matthew Davis


Sunday 16 August 2009

Last day of the Task Week.

Well that's the task weeks out the way for another year, unless like the lucky retirees any day is a good day.

The day promised to be blue (according to RASP that is) in our area. Despite that Mike set a 260 MEM-BUC-RIV and a couple of smaller ones, same first turn then Thame Chievely or Thame and home.

918, 732, 719 and 949 launched earlyish and enjoyed a local soar trying to reach the elusive cloudbase of the few cumulus that appeared for a short time and once there tried to connect with the wave (it was there you could tell by the way the thermals didn't follow normal patterns.). Whilst their were few cumulus this side of Oxford it looked great beyond. Over the next hour the cu gradually made its way towards us and eventually it looked good enough to start (by then cloudbase was 3700asl). 732 started first and reported good conditions at Chiltern Park, then 918 and 949 pushed off (didn't hear from 719 at all). Despite the wind it was possible to make quite good progress into wind until 20k from Membury when a blue hole didn't look so inviting. A period of waiting and climbing in scrappy climbs ensued. Eventually clouds appeared to the turn and the run in went OK. Just before the turn 732 having already turned was climbing steadily and the clouds to and round Membury all gave good lift although the base had come down 500ft. The run downwind looked OK until it blued out and lift seemed very poor and scrappy until just short of Didcot when good climbs beneath cu came available. 732 meanwhile turned Thame and said he was heading for home (Eventually landing at Thame).

The run to Buckingham was no problem after that and the cu reached 6/8ths. Back to Bicester under a great street and then the cu didn't perform as well south of Bicester found myself looking at Islip mast then Headington roundabout convinced that something would give a good climb. Eventually climbed over Oxford, meantime J1M had started, turned Mem, and decided that it wasn't the day to be breaking record and was going home and 949 said he was in the weeds (landing in a field near the prison I believe).

At Oxford lots of Open class and Standard class gliders passed going North. (it didn't seem the right time of day in these conditions to be heading away from Lasham. Consulting the web site later it appeared it was another total landout day) Eventually after Didcot it was obvious I could continue and landout or glide for home. I choose the latter.

It was an interesting day to finish on but roll on next week for even more punishment.

Dave C

Friday 14 August 2009

Task Week Day 5 - Friday 14 August

Early promise and an optimistic forecast led a handful of people to rig, but the wave influence made life rather difficult. Z3 made it to Newbury, 918 to Goring, the rest enjoyed the challenge of staying up in the local area. There were cumulus to be seen out west, but too far away to reach.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Task week day 4 Thursday 13th August

"One minute"

Despite being abandoned to our fate by Nils the met man, the grid launched and set off. The Duo and 918 raced of around BOB-DED-STN-BOO, whilst 118, 279, 281, 609, 719, 949 and JDV opted for BOB-DED-BLY-BOO. JDV dropped in for tea at Bicester to tell them about cross country flying, and 609 had a lengthy discussion with his PDA. 949 went walkabout and 370 wandered off to East Anglia entering a slow bicycle race from Newmarket to BSE: On the way back a chat with a helpful controller at Cambribge let him cut the corner to get to some good lift and an easy ride home.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Task week Day 3 - Tuesday 11 August

Yesterday was a day of two halves - not counting 370 Denis who was heard passing Northampton while the rest of us were still scrabbling around at Booker. How does he do that? Cloudbase when we launched at 1400ish was around 2200ft, and it was hot and steamy. The faint-hearted stayed local, those with more nerve set off north for Rushton. And some of them got back - 315 Mike, 918 Dave and EN Nils the Weatherman. 949 Bob and J1M landed at Thame, 279 Bob at Halton (where he enjoyed barbeque and beer while waiting for his retrieve). Jeremy wins the prize for farthest field, having landed at Northampton. Nice field though.

Today is a rest day. More fun tomorrow.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Task week Day 2 - Sunday 9 August

Another excellent day, three tasks: Rivar Hill and then Oxford East, or Northampton South, and for the hotshots back to Rivar Hill again. The day took a while to get going and a few diversions to get round the blue bits, but there were swarms of comp gliders to show the way.

Monday was a rest day. Today we are showing great faith in Nils's forecast and are rigged and ready for the promised clearance.

Sunday 9 August 2009

Task Week Day 1: Saturday 8th August

Nils forecast good weather in East Anglia;
He was right

The Hundred Foot Washes

Running towards Bury St Edmonds

6.4 kts average


Saturday 8 August 2009

Friday's visit from the Press

Yesterday we entertained the Financial Times - or at least one of their journalists and a photographer, the plan being to give them enough information for an article about gliding in the FT magazine. Having scrubbed Wednesday, we watched the weather with some anxiety, and in fact the morning was awful, but the time passed quickly with a briefing and an introduction to Denis's Ventus 2cxt, which impressed them greatly.

Then off to the Duo and a launch at 1520 for a jaunt round Buckingham-Chieveley. Meanwhile back at Booker we were treated to 3 beat ups by the Spitfire before it set off for Oxford. There was no time for aerobatics for the journalist because of the late start to the soaring, but at least he had a good introduction to the concept of flying without an engine.

An interesting day, let's hope it raises the profile of gliding in the wider world.

First day of the second task week

It's time for our second task wek of the year! Today the briefing room was filled with pilots eagerly waiting to heer what the met forecast was and what tasks had been set. Until last night everyone was really ecited by the prospect of Saturday being a great x-c day. Overnight something happened though and the soundings, RASP and Metcheck were all consistent in their analysis that it wasn't goig to be a very good day. So, we did what all good glider pilots do - we looked at other forecasts, webcams, satellite pics and even looked out of the window in the hope that there'd be something better to cling on to.

Eventually conditions did improve and the Cu began to pop in the distance. And then it overdeveloped and then the sky looked quite iffy for a while. Nonetheless a set of tasks were declared:

214km for the modest and meek - Booker Bridge - Kingsclere - Northampton South - Booker SW - Booker.

300km for the more adventurous - Booker Bridge - Andover - Market Harborough - Booker SW - Booker

400k+ for those who wanted to go to East Anglia (tempted by the comment that the weather at Newmarket was meant to be really good).

So how did the day turn out? Well Denis Campbell did 403km (Booker Bridge - Leicester South - Bury St Edmunds - Stony Stratford - Booker SW - Booker) at 93.2kph. I did 214km at 70kph. Not sure how everyone else went on.

A good start to the task week. Well done Mr Caunt for setting the tasks and getting things rolling. Let's hope there's more to follow.

Friday 7 August 2009

Every picture tells a story

Booker cadet Siena has a busy week this week. Having just turned 16 she went solo in a motor glider with 966 (Wallingford) Squadron ATC :
She followed this up a day later with a solo in a glider at Booker:

Another success for Booker's cadet scheme.