Friday 30 December 2016

2017 Bronze briefings

Winter Briefings 2017
If you are working towards your Bronze badge, want a bit of a recap or are thinking of becoming an instructor, the Winter briefings are for you. On Saturdays throughout January and February, starting at 10am in the briefing room. All welcome.
7th January            Navigation - Steve Williams
14th January          Meteorology - Jane Moore
21st January          XC Skills Development - Jim White
28th January          Flight Planning and Performance - Bob Smith
4th February           Mountain Soaring - Geoff Tabbner
12th February         No lecture: Aboyne Expedition
18th February         XC Meteorology - Jim White
25th February         Field Landings - William Parker and Richard Crockett
TBC                       Radio Telephony - Ashley Birkbeck
                              Task Flying - Tim Scott
                              Principles of Flight - Symeon Economou

Weird December sky

It's been a bit foggy this week but on Tuesday we had some welcome winter sun. Visibility below about 1500ft was poor, but higher up the air was perfect for some aerobatic practice, with the top of the inversion giving a perfect horizon. The low level murk formed itself into what looked remarkably like wave bars, at about 1000ft, but they didn't provide any noticeable lift. Very pretty from above though.

The view from the launch point.....

.....and from above

Higher up
Into the sun

Saturday 26 November 2016

Winter Saturday

Not a bad Saturday considering some forecasts suggested fog and much cloud.  The early mist cleared by mid morning, and a number of trial lessons and club members took to the sky.  Later there was some low cloud about, but with sufficient gaps to tow above them for spectacular views, including some ghostly shadow effects...

Friday 11 November 2016

Sunny November afternoon - 1st Solo

A crisp sunny Friday saw Peter Jones make his first solo in 316. Peter joined the club around May 2016 and his hard work all came together today. Congratulations !
Richard congratulation Peter Jones after his 1st Solo in 316

Friday 14 October 2016

Expedition round up

The weather this year has been unusual because of the stationary high pressure over Scandinavia which has blocked the lows out in the Irish Sea and provided easterlies. In the first part of the week this produced warm sunshine and opportunities for thermal soaring over the Cairngorms, but in the last couple of days we have had rain. However, this area provides plenty of alternative entertainments.

The River Dee which passes by the airfield has changed as a result of the epic floods last December, it's now rather wider and the fishing hut has disappeared. There was heavy rain last night and today so the water level is back up, below are pics from earlier in the week and today.

The Dee transformed
...and after the rain
Glen Tanar, the other side of the ridge to the south of the airfield, was the place to go wave hunting when there was some south in the wind. It's also a great place to go for a walk, with several trails of varying lengths.

Fishing lake in Glen Tanar
Braemar seemed to have been taken over by knitted fish and other sea creatures, and the walking trails also had orange stripey fish at intervals for no apparent reason. The walks were good though, and the cafe.

Braemar bridge

Loch Muick is the place for wave in a northwesterly, which we haven't been fortunate enough to experience this trip, but it's a great place to go for a walk - almost 8 miles all the way round.

Loch Muick panorama

When the rain is too much for walking, there is the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford, which has a fine selection of steam and motor vehicles, and a steam organ.

Back at the airfield, there has been a lot of model flying, much to the alarm of the local bird life.

Surprised heron
And finally........our loyal readers have it seems been disappointed in the lack of culinary reports. The local restaurants and takeways have been doing good business but culinary expertise has been in evidence......

Add some peanut butter - delicious

Sunday 9 October 2016

Interesting weather

Today was very calm, warm and sunny, ideal for site checks for new arrivals. The early morning mist filled the valleys and also produced an unusual phenomenon, a fog bow, pics below.

Saturday 8 October 2016

Scottish sunshine

The warm weather has continued, with some nice thermal soaring - and wave for the lucky (or skilful) on Thursday. Since then there have been alternative entertainments. Model flying passes the time quite nicely - as does fixing them when they crash. The pic below demonstrates the need for a good look out.

Tundra and Radian flypast
There hasn't been much by way of soaring weather since Thursday but there is plenty else to do. Craigendarroch by Ballater is a rocky hill left over from glaciation, the summit offers great views towards Lochnagar, and the circular walk halfway up is also very interesting. In the other direction, the walk up to Tom's Cairn at Finzean (pronounced something like Fing'un) gives a 360 degree panorama of the Dee Valley. And there are good cafes near both sites for post-walk restoration.

Tom's Cairn - or one of them

Thursday 6 October 2016

Waving over Scotland

Late on Monday reinforcements arrived in the shape of Richard and Callum with 316. Tuesday wasn't very inspiring in terms of weather so there was circuit practice for Callum and alternative entertainments (cafes, walks etc) for the rest. Wednesday was very windy so the flying was mostly in 2 seaters. It moderated slightly towards evening and Dave and Nick found themselves unexpectedly at 15,000ft after launching in 316. Those on the ground enjoyed the stunning sunset.

Today there was wave for the early birds but most of us enjoyed good thermals in the light southerly.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Booker expedition to Scotland

The annual expedition to Aboyne, where we are guests of Deeside Gliding Club, is well underway, with everyone settled into their accommodation and getting familiar with the local eating places. There have been some changes as a result of the devastating floods earlier this year, with some old favourites no longer in business, but there are new places to explore.

Many of the expedition members are staying in Birkellun, which for readers who have not visited, is a very comfortable Norwegian log cabin with a grass roof.

Sunday provided wall to wall sunshine, it started chilly but as the day progressed it heated up and people shed their warm layers. The flying was thermals, ideal for site checks and familiarising with new aircraft.

Phil and Dave waiting for the tug

First launch
On Monday we had southerly wave, which produced good lift to 10,000ft, higher later in the day, above Glen Tanar and along the Dee past Ballater. Later the wind shifted a bit and made some wave along the lee of Morven. The views were excellent, and the flights very calm and peaceful until the final minute when a bit of attention was required to deal with a spot of turbulence, to be expected in a southerly

Somewhere over Scotland
Today a front is producing a bit of cloud with the occasional rain spot but it is fine for circuit practice for new arrivals.

Monday 5 September 2016

On Thursday 1 September, Roger Neal took an anniversary flight - 60 years to the day since gaining his A and B certificates with the ATC, and the CCF from school, at RAF Hornchurch. The CFI there was Bill Verling, 614 Squadron.

Original certificate

Saturday 20 August 2016

Grandfather's flight

We were recently visited by former member John Porter, who was at Booker from 1969 to 2006. His granddaughter Laura arranged a flight for him, and he flew with Graham Saw. To judge by the smiles it was a great day out.

Graham and John

With granddaughter Laura

Just like old times

Sunday 14 August 2016

Sunday activities

Some people went to church today. A long glide to get to the better weather, or a later start. A variety of tasks flown in what turned out to be a pleasant day.

Aliens and crop circles

It has now been confirmed, crop circles are created by grazing UFOs 6th August 2016

Sunday 7 August 2016

Weekend successes

Yesterday the weather looked promising, the trailer park was busy with rigging and various people were soon setting off across the countryside. Notable is Nils Wedi in his LS4 EN who did 400k (Bullington-Grantham), struggling home into wind having been in the air for over 6 hours.

Nearer to home Phil Binnee went to Enstone in 319 for his Silver distance. Back at base Chris Whelan converted to Pegasus 318 and then flew for 2h 15m for a Bronze leg. Ruth Jackson and Hamid Alidousti also achieved Bronze legs with flights of 1h 45m and 1h 15m respectively.

Meanwhile our boys are doing well at comps elsewhere. Jim White came second today in the 15m Nationals at Lasham with a final overall position at 12th. Tim Scott in the same comp came 4th overall. In the Dunstable Regionals William Parker finished 6th.

Congratulations to everyone!

Saturday 16 July 2016

Air League visit

It was all hands on deck on Thursday for a visit from Andy Perkins of the Air League with a group from British Airways work experience programme. With a slick ground operation and fast turnrounds we accomplished 64 flights - 56 aerotows and the rest in the Falke. The group had a great time, lots of grins, as the pics demonstrate.

Andy in the captain's seat

Add caption

Monday 11 July 2016

Booker Regionals prize giving

We were very lucky this week, not only with the weather but also in having Nils and Tim on the case setting tasks which made the very best of the windows of opportunity available and enabling competitors to enjoy their week. The weather ran out on Friday but we had 6 contest days. On Sunday Nils struggled hard to find a final gap in the clouds but in the end we moved to the clubhouse for champagne and prize giving.

Richard began by thanking our generous sponsors - Hayward Aviation, NavBoys and Sailplane & Gliding - who had provided so many prizes that there were enough to go to 8th place. The results were as follows:

1st - Jim White - trophy, champagne, a subscription to SeeYou, Runway HD and Aerolack

Congratulations Jim

2nd - George Hunter - a subscription to SeeYou, Aerolack, G Dale's book 'The Soaring Engine'
3rd - Denis Campbell - a subscription to SeeYou, Aerolack, G Dale's book 'The Soaring Engine'
4th - Nils Wedi - large model glider
5th - Geoff Lyons - medium model glider
6th, 7th, 8th - Nick Jennings, Steve Williams, Simon Vardigans - small model glider

The How / Why award was given jointly to Alex O'Keefe and Andy Monk for flying the week in the K21s - they received subscriptions to S&G

Sticking together

And last but by no means least, the Good Spirit award was given to Ashley Birkbeck for carrying on despite unwelcoming landouts and other misfortunes, he received a copy of G Dale's book.

Still smiling
Richard also thanked all the members who worked hard to make the comp such a success:

The Regionals Organising Group and Airfield Tidy Up crew: William Parker, Adrian Hegner, Bob Sinden, Bob Smith, Chris Collett, Geoff Tabbner, Graham Morfey, Henry Ross, Jane Moore, Jeremy Gilbey, Jim White, John Herman, John Hubberstey, John Otty, Nick Jennings, Rovert Turner, Symeon Economou, Nick Hoare

Control: Bob Smith, Henry Ross, Jane Moore, Chris Arnold, Bob Sinden, Graham Morfey

Met: Nils Wedi

Scoring: Pete Wyld

Deputy Director / Tasks: Tim Scott

Two seater instructors: Alex and Andy

Tug pilots: Sam, Sean, Robert Turner, Bob Davey, Jim Roland

Office staff: Shelagh, Chris, Callum Harris

Evening events: John Hubberstey

Briefing facilities: Roger Neal and the Army Reserve Centre staff

Cadets: Callum Harris, Filip Livancic, Jamie Driver, Louis Mattey, Alice Birkbeck, Michael Otty, Samuel Husband, Maddi Roberts

Airways Aero Association, Wycombe ATC and the Duty Crew

Jim White then thanked Richard for his hard work as Comp Director.

Roll on next year!

Thursday 7 July 2016

Booker Regionals Day 6

The run of good weather is continuing and yet again Nils the Met Man and Tim the Task Setter got a task out of a small window of good conditions. Tim came first (flying HC) with Nils a fraction slower. John Otty came second and Geoff Lyons third.

The K21s were out again, this time Andy Monk in 316 managed 6th place with Alex O'Keefe in KCZ coming 8th.

Full results on Soaring Spot.

The overall winner at this stage is Jim White, with George Hunter second and Denis Campbell third, but there is still time for this to change.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Booker Regionals Day 5

The weather gods are on our side, we had another day of sunshine, and this time a real racing day. The task was 145km to make the most of the day before the warm front arrived, and competitors were back almost before the kettle had boiled for tea. Star of the day was KCZ, a K21 flown by Alex O'Keefe, with David Hamilton as crew, which came in first, closely followed by Task Setter Tim Scott in his ASW27. However, both were flying HC so the real winners were:

Nils EN - LS4
George A9 - Ventus 2b
Jim J1M - ASW27

Jim is still in the lead overall but George and Denis are hot on his heels.

KCZ - day winner

Just look at that sky
Finishing - we hope!

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Booker Regionals Day 4

It looked OK at Booker but it seems that conditions weren't so hot down track. The task was a 300km double shuffle to Northampton, and  a few people cut the task short or landed out, but some got back and we have winners.

Task Setter Tim launched the grid and then went and took his covers off, took a launch and won the day with a speed of 80.6kph. He was flying hors concours though, so the podium places go to:

1st - Nils EN - LS4
2nd - Jim J1M - ASW27
3rd - William LC - Discus

The K21s again gave it a good go, coming in ahead of an LS6c-18 and a Discus Bt.

More sunshine tomorrow.

Follow the action on Soaring Spot and on Spot the Gliders.

Monday 4 July 2016

Booker Regionals Day 3

A difficult day for task setting but our excellent Comp team got a day out of a very small weather window. With a lowering cloudbase and strengthening wind, some competitors chose to land back and go for tea, but a handful pushed on with the 104km task. Once again the Handicapped Distance Task format proved a winner. George A9 came first in a Ventus (he landed out at his workplace, Zulu Glasstek, let's hope he hadn't called in sick), Denis 370 was second in a Ventus 2cxt and Alex and Hamid third in..........KCZ, a K21. As they were flying HC, third place in fact goes to Nils EN in an LS4.

Well done everyone, full marks for effort.

Sunday 3 July 2016

Booker Regionals Day 2

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, with a mere light breeze compared with yesterday's gale, and it looked promising for a racing task. The grid launched at 11.30 on Task A, 218k round Wantage, Olney and Didcot, with a few control points thrown in. Speeds were not high - the winner said it was 'awful' but most people got back.

Places as follows:
1st - Jim J1M
2nd - Martin RN
3rd - Nils EN

Andy Monk and cadet Michael Otty deserve a special mention for getting round the task in a K21, in 11th place, 2 places behind Michael's dad John in his ASG29. Fantastic result!

As to the podium places, Jim has an ASW27, Martin (a visitor from Sutton Bank) flies a Pegase 90 and Nils has an LS4.

This clearly demonstrates the value of the Handicapped Distance Task format, which allows everyone to have fun flying gliders with a range of handicaps.

K21 finishing

Jim looking happy

Martin concentrating

Saturday 2 July 2016

Booker Regionals Day 1

Our wonderful British weather has not been kind to gliding comps so far this year, but our Met Man Nils and Task Setter Tim got us a day out of some interesting conditions.

The day started with briefing in the Army Reserve centre which offers excellent facilities. Director Richard welcomed all the competitors, crew and helpers, and acknowledged the generosity of the comp's sponsors, Hayward Aviation Ltd, who have provided impressive goody bags and the day prizes.

The task set was a double out and return to Wantage, to make the best of a windy day with the usual collection of showers blowing through. The launch was at 1330 and several people took relights, but timing proved to be crucial as the Task Setter threw on his wings and launched well after the grid, and won the day with an impressive speed of 126.5kph. Hor Concours though so provisional places went to:

1st - Denis Campbell - 370
2nd - Jim White - J1M
3rd - Geoff Lyons - 949

There were some landouts but retrieves were soon underway, and meanwhile back in the club house the beer was very welcome.

Briefing is a serious matter
Denis in 370
Jim after a successful task
Geoff 949 being encouraged by his syndicate partner, Bob
Gratuitous pic of tug against cloud formation