Saturday, 31 August 2013

HCGP Day 5

After a scrub day and a cold front, today conditions were excellent once it got going. The task was Banbury North - Newport Pagnell - Chipping Norton, and with climbs averaging 6kts or more it was a good fast race, and most people had an excellent day out.

Steve Williams took 3rd place, Jim White and his co-pilot Jeremy Gilbey came second.

Jeremy selecting his prize
 Wayne Aspland won the day, giving Jim a bit of a rest from the fizzy stuff. Jim's still leading overall though, and it will take something dramatic to knock him off the podium.

Wayne inspecting the bubbly
 The day ended with a stupendous barbeque cooked up by Marnie and her assistants, attended by a large number of members, family and friends.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

HCGP Day 4

Day 4 of the Booker Handicap Grand Prix, and the sun shone for us again. The scheme of paying by the day seems to be working well with members dipping in and out if they can't manage the whole week. Today's task was Buckingham-Goring-Oxford East, making the best of the weather ahead of the approaching front. Jim and his co-pilot Robert won the day with a time of 1h 50m 35s. Jim's now leading the field with 44 points, but there's still time................

Jim and Robert with the bubbly

Wayne was slightly slower in his LS8 with a time of 1h 52m 01s.

Wayne prefers red

Bob took a little longer, but he looks quite happy with his time of 2h 14m 33s - or maybe the grin's because it's his second bottle of Rioja this week.

Bob and Chairman Geoff

Rob got a special mention for his epic flight in his beautiful Super Javelot, he didn't get round but he made it up to Buckingham and back to Goring, not bad considering the strength of the wind.

Rob making off with the beer

Geoff made it back in time to take all the photos after a speedy retrieve from Chalgrove.

Tomorrow might be a rest day but who believes a forecast?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

HCGP day 3

Another full day at the launch point and a field of eager competitors.
The met suggested the best task area was a line roughly north south with blue conditions up to 4000/5000 feet and the possibility of a small amount of cu (with Jim forecasting a convergence line similar to that experienced by Tuesdays competitors).

With that in mind the task was set as Stokenchurch South-Whitchurch-Calvert Junction-Goring-Hambleden Church- Booker 206.2km.

Launching commenced and the start line opened at 14:10 - there were no landouts and the conditions broadly followed the forecast. In the event, there was more cloud than forecast but the cloud that formed seemed to follow Jim's "convergence line forecast" - uncanny how he does it?

Honours for the day went to Mike Gatfield (beating his Dad who flew the Duo Discus with Craig Cairns), 2nd place went to Bob Smith and 3rd place to Jim White.

Mention should also be made of Rob Kehrr's flight in his recently restored vintage Wassamer Javelot. He may well have won the day but for missing the last control point (BO1) by a few metres.

The day concluded with prize giving and some well deserved drinks and the forecast of more good flying again tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

HCGP Competition Day 2

After a bit of head scratching about the best direction to send the fleet, we launched on a 160k round Towcester, Bozeat, and Watlington. Very tricky getting started with little cu to go on. The day improved on track but many found it difficult to start.

Prizes went to Mini Gat for grinding round in his 20 shown pictured with proud father.
Geoff Lyons in second for persistence:

and Jim for being a cocky sod....albeit posing shyly against the setting sun!




Monday, 26 August 2013

Booker HCGP - Day One

The first day of the 2013 Booker HCGP utilising the task planning tool that Tim Scott has been working on tirelessly this season (and which is gathering a lot of momentum throughout the gliding movement as a whole!) was a resounding success today.

Under a less than promising sky in the early part of the day, the task of SOS-TOW-BED-OXF-BO1-BOO (191.5km) was set. Launching of the 15 competitors started into a slack and uninviting sky which had most competitors grateful to be able to maintain their height after releasing from tow.

The start line was opened at 14:10 with most competitors setting off pretty much straight away but as they set off down the first leg, conditions rapidly improved and regular thermals of 5kt were to be found which was reflected in the speeds around the task with the top 5 pilots exceeding 100kmh and the rest not much behind.

Spectators at the launch point were also able to witness a constant and steady stream of finishers.

Competitors eagerly awaiting the results
There was a real 'buzz' around the trailer park and club house afterwards from pilots, spectators, tuggies, crews etc. (even the comp director (Richard) was seen to be smiling) and all with a forecast of more good soaring weather for the rest of the week.

So no excuses, get yourselves up to the launch point and have a go yourself - we may even get the scorer to smile as long as we get our traces to him as soon after we land as possible (it really isn't fair to have him wait after we have had all the fun flying).

Day one results

1st Jim White/Nick Newton (Duo Discus) - 12 points
2nd Bob Smith (LS4) - 10 points
3rd Simon McCracken (Discus) - 8 points
4th Doug Hilton (LS7WL) - 6 points
5th William Parker (Discus) - 4 points
6th Jon Sugden (ASW20) - 2 points
Day 1 winners Jim White and Nick Newton
2nd Place Bob Smith
3rd Place Simon McCracken
Jane Moore - prize for the furthest distance flown

Friday, 23 August 2013

MiniGat showing the way at the Juniors

Well done Mike. Prelim results show that Mike won the day yesterday.

Excellent stuff. Now lying 8th overall c. 600 points behind the leader with three days to go

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Fast and friendly launching

As usual the launch point was well organised to get the grid off quickly when the conditions started to develop. Lots of kilometres flown and lots of launches.
Simon scored the hat-trick flying the Club task and achieving his 5 hours and height gain to complete his Silver.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Gliding Heritage Centre's new hangar - and weather vane

Graham's not just an ace pilot, take a look at the amazing weather vane he made for the new hangar at Lasham built for the Gliding Heritage Centre.

And here are a couple of pics from the 41st International Vintage Gliding Rally held last week, featuring the T21 based at Booker.

Vintage style?

Before the invention of Flarm

Aerobatics Ace

Congratulations to Graham Saw, 2nd place in the Retro Glider Cup aerobatics comp in Zbraslavice, Czech Republic: contest results
Photo by Stephen Greenham

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Big sky country

A better day in East Anglia today.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A day for celebration!

We are delighted to announce that our application to Sport England's Inspired Facilities programme of lottery funding has been successful and we have been awarded £47,820 which will be used to:

- re-clad the blister hangar
- improve the structure inside to create a briefing/activities area and an area for members to work on their gliders
- acquire a trailer for the simulator being built by members
- landscape an area outside the hangar to provide a space for recreation and relaxation

The aim is to use the simulator to allow young people, those on low income and those who do not meet the medical requirements for flight to participate in gliding. We intend also to take the simulator out to community groups and to marketing events.

The idea for the project came from Richard, our CFI, who is looking pretty pleased about the whole thing.

Today we invited the great and the good to come along and help us celebrate. We were joined by Councillor Ian McKennis, Chairman of Wycombe District Council who presented the cheque, and Anita Templar, founder of the Horizon Club and Chair of Wycombe and Marlow Sports Council who supported our application. Also present on parade was Cadet Corporal Ellie Ford of 1811 (Marlow) Air Training Squadron who later had her first flight in a proper glider (the Duo) which she thought was great.

Our Chairman Geoff is away in Rieti upholding the UK's honour in a comp, so it fell to Denis to make the necessary speech. Club members turned out in force to get their photo taken for the occasion.

The Lottery Project Team was led by Denis Campbell, who kept it all going when spirits flagged. Richard Crockett was the man with the idea, Graham Morfey did the numbers, Jane Moore filled in the form and William Parker drew the picture.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Handicapped Grande Prix

Ready to launch on the Handicapped Grand Prix.
The task worked well with EN, 370 and Z3 landing within minutes of each other. I think J1M snatched the lead at 97.1 kph with Z3 close behind.
As Jane said in her blog there were a few landouts. Shows that people are pushing their boundaries and trying hard on what was a tricky day.

More success

Cadet Peter Kirkwood converted onto the K18 today, and promptly set off on a flight of 2 hours 20 mins, giving him a second Bronze leg. He had plenty of time for taking photos:

Airfield view - string nicely in the middle


Keeping that scan cycle going....

Elsewhere, the GP task was Membury-Westcott, which proved quite tricky for some as conditions were decidedly variable. David F sneaked into Benson and wandered around unchallenged for some time before anyone noticed him - makes you think - but he was made welcome when he was finally spotted. John S dropped in on Chiltern Park and got an aerotow back, and Steve W ended up somewhere near Chieveley.

There should be some soarable days coming up, so keep an  eye on the forecast - and don't forget to look out of the window!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Hard work - but worth it...

A belated write up - Tuesday promised great things, but then struggled to deliver. High level cloud made conditions very tricky.

I fell down from my first flight - any lift was very scratchy, and the rest of the sky was "blessed" with strong sink. I took a 3000ft tow at 3 pm and stayed up for nearly 3 hours. It was knackering!

Todays lesson was, bring enough water - when I say enough, I actually mean "any". Yes - I have already written a thousand times, "Do not leave your Camelback at home if you want to fly on a sunny day".

The first hour was hard work - and very much a case of never giving up. Eventually the low level scratchy lift would relent. I would like to think my pig headed bloody mindedness forced the juvenile thermal to stop buggering about, and turn into a proper thermal. You need to show them who is boss. Never show them weakness.... I tell you, none of this makes it to the "How to really soar" books!

The sky took all day to get organised and from 4pm to 6pm it gave its best. Had I brought more (any!) water, there was at least another hours flying left.

The puzzle seemed to be solved by:
  • Getting established by finding lift on the sunny side of the clouds.
  • Working the lift until it faded
  • Keeping the turns tight - as 30 degree thermalling left a chunk of the circle out of lift.
  • Cruise to an area where sun had got to the ground for at least 10 minutes.
  • Meet a new thermal coming up before it created a new Cumulus
  • Repeat!

There were enough Kites in the sky today that I was considering submitting a NOTAM on their behalf. They also seemed to be flying purposefully about the sky rather than indulging in thermal "show boating": They are magnificent animals, and it is truly a privilege to meet them in their domain - but when they cruise up the inside of YOUR thermal in a high speed invisible elevator, reading the local newspaper, sipping a Pernod, with a Gauloises hanging from their beak as if to so say, "oh zis - zis is nothing. mon amis" ... the whole magnificent animal thing starts to wane.

But once I had stopped sneering in their general direction, I followed to see what they were up to - and blow me down, they were finding wonderful passage through the sky of zero to 1/2 knot lift. This was very handy in the early parts of the flight because the air was binary. It was either going up strongly in a tight core, or plummeting to earth with much gusto. So having a path of gentle zero sink drawn through the sky, was very welcome.

They really are very clever pilots... show off's... but clever show off's, I'll give them that.

And as I plonked down to earth, consumed several litres of water, tea, chocolate and more tea. I reflected on the long flight in tricky conditions and felt satisfied and knackered. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow at 9pm, dreaming of gentle skies with wide thermals, and Kite's in tree's saying, "Wow - what a guy! How does he thermal so well!".