Sunday 31 October 2010

Dual Towing from Booker

In line with sentiments expressed at the EGM to find new ways of developing skills and flying in new and different locations, the launch point was privy to some dual tow launches followed by some planned formation flying. This seemed to generate a lot of interest from the members at the launch point and more is planned for the future. The following pictures give an idea of what went on. Dual towing is a useful skill to have experience of, let the office know if you are interested and we can organise some more at a suitable time.

Saturday 30 October 2010

Local wildlife say No! to stadium at Booker

A local resident, who prefers to remain anonymous came along to support the Club's protest against building a 20,000 seater stadium in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"This monstrosity will kill off the local habitat and destroy the resident wildlife" said the caring bear.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

No to Stadium at Booker

Booker WeatherCam now supports the campaign with opening screen as below:-

Change loop time to view the actual camera images.

Image also geolocated on Flikr and Panoramio.

Stop The Stadium

The BGC Stop the Stadium Campaign is gathering steam. We have started lobbying the councillors directly and are busy filling in consultation forms. Chris has produced some great posters which we will be sticking up - you can help, and Bob has produced a great campaign web site at

If members or readers have any time, money, or skills to lend to the effort please let us know at the club. All welcome.


ps: I haven't had so much fun since I was rebelling at university!!


Tuesday 19 October 2010

On the ridges

AJ, JIM and T6 launched around midday for a romp on the local ridge. To start with it was working to 800' consistently so we wandered off to Halton. Sadly we had all of 5 minutes on that ridge before clearing for their NOTAM so left at around 1000'. We meandered past Wendover where not a lot was happening, and left the white cross at Princes Risboro' at around 600' for Scotty's house. JIM and T6 arrived at rooftop height and less than 200' but persistence worked out and we scrabbled back above ridge height, picked a therm and cruised back to Booker. A grand day out even if the clenching was pronounced at one or two points.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Another October Solo (plus some other firsts)

This weekends weather has been good compared to some of the recent wet and windy weekends at Booker and the sunshine brought lots of members to the airfield and resulted in a bevy of launches and several soaring flights today.

John White also added his name to the list of first solo's today after Paul Clarke decided the time was right to get him off on his own - congratulations John.

In line with the recent theme of flying reports from members flying elsewhere (or should that be eating and drinking around Royal Deeside?) we have updates on two of the cadets who have been doing some flying elsewhere.

MiniGat has been doing some flying with Nottingham University Gliding Club. He had shared some concerns about the 'challenges' that winch launches offer but received the sage advise from one of his fellow cadets to 'just man up and do it'. Clearly the advice and his natural ability had him solo on the winch the same day. MiniGat is now cleared to fly the clubs hot ship - a Skylark II but his abilities were not missed as he was also approached the same afternoon to buy a half share in an LS6.

Hilton Junior has been off at Halton doing an Air Cadet Gliding Scholarship and was sent solo on a Grob G109 motor glider earlier today.

Both of them report how they have had to behave in a way that is becoming of the respective clubs operations but they are still "Booker boys" at heart!

Final Aboyne picture gallery

ECZ ready to launch

Rainbow over Tarland

And another - this is part of a complete double circle

Steve in his new electric socks - the battery was flat so they remain untested

The team

Booker's final report from Aboyne

Patience finally rewarded, we got some wave on Friday. Not classic easy Aboyne wave, the northwesterly was very unstable so conditions changed rapidly, but we gave it a go. A couple of people got to 7000ft or so, and it would have been possible to go higher, but the gaps kept opening and closing. Finally we were defeated by a big shower and had to derig the entire fleet in pouring rain. Denis had set off for Fort William to have a look at Ben Nevis, but unfortunately it was covered in cloud, and so was everywhere else. He ended up in Perth, and Roland and Richard Crockett earned themselves a lot of retrieve credits for their drive over Glenshee and back to fetch him.

The three newcomers to Aboyne didn't get to see the best that it can offer, but they all agreed that they had widened their experience considerably with all the different types of flying, and will all be back for more.

Many thanks to Deeside Gliding Club for their hospitality once again.

Friday 15 October 2010

Booker on Deeside

Wednesday was a bit grey and the wind was westerly, not enough to produce wave but OK for circuit practice. We finished the day back at Birkellun with a delicious Thai curry cooked up by Richard Crockett. Dessert was apple crumble and ice cream provided by Denis. And the evening finished with the whisky that was on offer at the Co-op.

Yesterday the wind blew northwesterly, but not with quite enough effort to produce noticeable wave. We rigged and everyone flew, mainly on ridges, but a couple of people got into weak wave for short periods. Mike and John were low enough ridge running to startle some deer. All good fun, and certainly different from the flat lands of Booker.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Misty Tuesday

Monday night was cold and clear, the sky was full of stars, the Milky Way was quite a sight for us southerners used to the light pollution of big towns. Tuesday dawned misty, and remained that way, so we turned into tourists.

One group went to the Speyside Cooperage Centre to find out about the making of barrels.

They then moved on to the Glenfiddich distillery to sample the stuff that goes into them.

Another group went for a walk up Burn O'Vat, a local beauty spot.

The young ones went cycling, along the disused railway track from Aboyne to Ballater and over the Cambus O'May forest trails.
There was also a fair amount of eating going on, the courgette and Stilton soup in the Black Faced Sheep was very good, unfortunately the cheese scones had all gone by the time we got there.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Sunshine and blue skies

The morning mist took a while to clear so one party set off to explore the Linn of Dee up past Braemar, where they saw salmon battling through the torrent. Meanwhile back at the airfield, by lunchtime we had a clear blue sky and T shirt temperatures. John P. Henry and David H all had check flights to get a look at the scenery and the circuit. There was a strong inversion, so no soaring, but reportedly very pretty views. Here's ECZ's final launch:

As the sun dropped, so did the temperature, and the mist came up from the river as if the tide was coming in. Most people went to the Boat in Aboyne for dinner, where the fish and chips and the steak pie are particularly good. Then back via the Co-op for Mackies ice cream and chocolate to be consumed back at Birkellun with some of Denis's whisky. The helicopter entertainment failed despite Henry's best efforts.

Monday 11 October 2010

Booker Gliding Club explores Deeside

The cloud refused to break yesterday, so we set off in various directions to sample the delights of Deeside. The lunch offerings at the Black Faced Sheep are second to none, the goats cheese and tomato bruschetta can be particularly recommended.

There were several separate expeditions to Loch Muick for the 8 mile walk around the shore, which gave us an appetite for tea and cake back at Birkellun, where we are now all comfortably installed.

Others went to the whisky castle at Tomintoul, and to visit Corgarf castle (actually a fortified house).

In the evening a brave band set off to the Co-op to buy dinner for 12, which was excellent, and the evening was rounded off with a taste of Denis's whisky.

Today we hope for blue sky and a chance for the newcomers to practise circuits and get a feel for the local scenery.

Sunday 10 October 2010

There's more to Aboyne than gliding

The southerlies have now given way to easterlies, which is unfortunately the only wind direction which doesn't produce wave, there being no hills in that direction. What it has brought is damp grey weather, which we hope will clear later to give us some thermal soaring.

However, there is still plenty to do. On Friday those staying at Clearfield hosted a tea party for all club members, plus Phil the tuggie who is towing for Deeside GC during the wave season. There were plenty of dainty sandwiches, plus cakes provided by the guests, including some typical Scottish delicacies.

Yesterday there were a number of trips. One party went to sample the local whisky and find out just how much water to put in a dram.

Steve and John went off to Aberdeen to buy electric socks, after which the toys came out and model cars were soon screaming up and down the runway - until Glyn's stopped rather smartly in a puff of smoke. When they took it apart the conrods came out in bits.
Later that evening the Victoria Restaurant at Dinnet provided an excellent dinner, well worth a return visit. Denis has mentioned roast chicken, though no clear promise to cook it. We will have to see how many cooks we have staying in Birkellun this week.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Launch point Webcam

Please note that the webcam at the launch point has moved to a new web address:-

The Old Windsor WeatherCam (near Heathrow) has also moved:-

If anyone is interested in hosting a WeatherCam towards the West (Ridge?) then please let me know.

Mike R.

Friday 8 October 2010

Aboyne picture gallery

Thursday 7 October 2010

The hoped for weather we had on Wednesday failed to materialise. The wind had gone round to the southeast, it was mild, very pleasant and there was some soaring for those that took to the air.

We had visitors from BBC 4 Science. Both the presenter and producer flew with their recording equipment and our curios neighbour Red Kite provided additional interest by joining our thermal. The BBC are making a three part series on the atmosphere called ‘Thin Air’ which is due to go out second week of January, further details to follow.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Sunshine all the way.......

.....after a bit of a grey start. A couple of people launched in what seemed like futile gestures but when they could be seen climbing directly over the airfield the rush set in. Timing was everything as the wave moved around, but there were achievements:

Richard Clark 318 - 9500ft and definitely Silver this time
William LC - Loch Morlich 15,300ft
Steve JH - Balmoral 10,400ft
Alan AJ - Dalachie 12,800ft
Dave/Bill 315 - 8,000ft
Jane 118 - a mere 5500ft but very picturesque

Glyn, Mike, John and the other Richard went biking.

Booker South Wednesday 6 October

…meanwhile back at the ranch the front went through earlier than expected leaving us with nice crisp air, 12kts south westerly, 18 degrees, 2-4 octas, 3500ft cloud base, good 3kt climbs and a 4-5 hour window. Superb. Thursday looks good too.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

What a great day!

The forecast wind was SW and so it proved. The day dawned with high cloud cover and signs of wave below, so we rigged and launched. The skies cleared and we had fantastic wave which changed around enough to make it interesting but not so much as to be difficult. A few pics below (the blog uploader is very slow), details of achievements following:

Destinations and max heights as follows:
Richard Crockett 318 - Corgarff 11,000ft
Glen 987 - Lochnagar 10,000ft
Jim/Dave 315 - Lochnagar 11,000ft
Glyn G1 - Feshie 11,000ft
Alan AJ - Feshie 16,700ft
John JH - Feshie 13,400ft
Tim HXH - Loch Lee 15,000ft (Gold height)
Mike 7Q - Loch Lee 14,500ft
William LC - Feshie 14,500ft
Richard Clark 987 - Ballater 7,500ft (possibly Silver height)
Jane 118 - Braemar and Loch Builg 14,900ft
Bob 279 - Loch Muick 13,000ft
Bill/Dave ECZ - Balmoral 8,000ft
More of the same please!
Chinese takeaway tonight.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

More southerlies and sunshine

It was blowing a gale last night, and still fairly breezy this morning, a bit damp, so after some bike ridng (Superfit Glyn followed in the distance by Mike C, John H and Richard Crockett) and riverside walking we reconvened around 2pm for Jim White to experience landing in a turbulent southwesterly in ECZ (with Dave B in the back seat). His quote: 'Made me feel like a novice again'. It calmed down a bit later on so various people took to the sky including Steve in JH who got to 11,000ft. The sky was amazing as the sun set.

The forecast for tomorrow is still for southerlies, but probably not quite so strong, so it should be a good day.

Martin FFoulkes funeral 2nd October 2010

BGC and BBC Gliding were well represented and as we waited at The City of London Cemetery outside the gothic Victorian Chapel in the lovely autumn sunshine we heard the sound, smell and sight of a magnificent steam engine coming up the drive followed by a horse drawn hearse. Martin had varied interests, steam engines being one of them.

The service was a multifaceted affair with tributes, three fantastic examples of flamenco music and one of Martins recordings as he was an accomplished flamenco guitarist known as ‘El de la Camisa Roja’ (He of the Red Shirt). There was also a beautiful flute piece and some poetry. At the graveside we had red roses to drop onto the coffin.

Then it was off to the pub to celebrate Martin’s life led by the steam engine which remained outside for hours attracting a great deal of attention and prompting stories about Martin. Real Style.

You can learn a little more about Martin and his flamenco guitar here

Monday 4 October 2010

Blow the wind southerly......

Today was warm and sunny, thanks to the 10ish kt wind across the runway, which strengthened later. Those that either towed high or stuck with the rotor thermals achieved great things:

Richard Clark and Dave Byass in 315 - 7500ft
Glen Alison in 987 - 13,oooft
Bob Smith in 279 - 10,000ft and about 6 hours flying
Mike Collett in 7Q - FL195 and to Tomintoul, Feshie and Loch Lee
Alan Johnson in AJ - 9000ft
Bill Winthrop and Dave Byass in 315 - 15,000ft, and then in ECZ 12,000ft out by the Linn of Dee, they couldn't go higher because the oxygen had run out, they recorded 12kt climbs at one point
Tim Jenkinson in Aboyne's Discus HXH got to within 100m of gold. He'll just have to do it all over again.
John Herman came back late from somewhere or other and provided entertainment for the drinkers with his circuit.

No pictures today, too busy flying.

The forecast is for same again but stronger winds, so tomorrow will be fun one way or the other.

Sunday 3 October 2010

Aboyne week 1 - day 1

Booker Gliding Club's annual visit to Deeside Gliding Club, based at Aboyne airfield in Aberdeenshire, is now underway.

The team has assembled, and all the kit has got here in one piece, through rain and flood and rainbows. The sight of notes on the club noticeboard with suggestions for rainy day entertainiment was not encouraging, but we have got off to a flying start.

Meanwhile Glyn's model racing car was buzzing noisily up and down the runway and over the grass. Flying was abruptly curtailed when Bob's aerobatic plane 'unaccountably hit heavy sink on finals', as they say, and broke in two.

We then rigged ECZ and 318, and Capt Byass test flew 318 with its shiny refinished wings, which was an interesting spectator sport.

Time for dinner.

Food report: Clearfield contingent had some tasty grilled salmon last night and the rest had chips in the clubhouse. And we can report that the cafe in Ballater next to the outdoor shop does excellent pea and mint soup. The scones looked good - next time.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Two solo's to start October

The first weekend in October had a poor forecast but after the early morning mist cleared provided a promising start with clear sky's and a light southerly.

Steve Williams had everyone under his command pull the kit out and started getting students airborne before the forecast rain stopped operations. The cloud started coming in from the south but before it had the chance to develop too much we were delighted to have Simon Vardigan go solo in EBZ and Mark Sempers re-solo (after a 4 year layoff).

Too early to have any flying reports back from Aboyne yet but I daresay the culinary delights and 'Wainright' reports of walks around the lochs will start to come in soon - have a great time up North and keep us updated on events.

Friday 1 October 2010

Thursday 30 September

The sunny autumn day brought a light south westerly, a 1000ft 2/8 octa cloud base with mist in the valleys, the view from on top was breathtaking.

John Lambie, John Hubberstey, Michael Gardener, Peter Taylor, Peter Cross, and Jack Fox enjoyed flying FZA, HNK and DJK. It was Jack’s first flight in the K18 and he was enchanted by the handling and good manners which he described as delightful. Roland Wales and Glen Allison assisted with the instruction with Roy Highfield and Geoff Tabbner tugging.

318’s refurbishment is now complete, in time for the annual pilgrimage to Aboyne. It’s been a significant team effort that was made possible by dedicated club members putting in a considerable amount of time, well done. Robin Wilgoss towed it out to the launch point and Julian Saakwa-Mante had the privilege of doing the test flight; he reported all was in order and it flew superbly. On landing Robin was keen to know if the wheel brake worked, essential for stopping at the end of the Deeside runway. Then it went back into the trailer ready for its highland adventure...