Wednesday 20 December 2017

Festive flying

Booker Gliding Club
wishes all its members, staff and friends
a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Over the holiday period, the club will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day but flying on those days will be available to those with self-authorising privileges.


Tuesday 5 December 2017

Making the best of it

Saturday was the date for the second of Graham's aerobatics courses, unfortunately the weather gods hadn't heard, so there was only time for one flight before the front arrived and we put the kit away. We did however have an extensive discussion in the briefing room about how exactly it is that wings work, upside down as well as the right way up.

After the kit had been put away, Rob had the bright idea of cleaning the bus. Most of it looks better now, we need a longer ladder, or a longer broom.

Friday 17 November 2017

Fast learner

Today's sunshine brought out lots of members to enjoy the autumn colours, but Max Norfolk had more on his mind than sightseeing. Not long ago he bought one of the club's Flexi courses and today, after only 14 flights and an hour in the Falke, he did his first solo, and then for good measure followed it up with another.

Richard congratulates Max
Max sells fast cars for a living and races them for fun. He's looking forward to learning about cross country racing in a glider.

Monday 6 November 2017

Waitrose Bank Balance Warning

BEWARE - Waitrose Thame has subbed out their car park to Britannia Parking. If you go over the 2 hour limit you will get a mugging with a bill for £40 (£70 if not paid immediately). Their signage is almost invisible (I have marked it with a yellow arrow) and when I complained they said 'tough shit, it is our policy'. Bandits.

My new policy is never to buy from Waitrose or John Lewis again.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ophelia has a bad influence on the Scottish wave

Storm Ophelia didn't bring much wind to NE Scotland so our trailers are still the right way up.
Having had a couple of weeks of stunning wave weather we now have lots of cloud, rain and the threat of Easterly winds; as Mr M Jagger once said; you can't always get what you want.
As any glider pilot knows, or soon finds out, the weather doesn't always play ball on expeditions, but the wait for the good weather is always worthwhile.
No flying for the last couple of days so we have been watching salmon jumping and visiting the transport museum.
We are hoping to take to the skies again tomorrow.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Wave Bar still open

Still waving well in the Cairngorms. Today the wind was slightly south of west so we had wave in Glen Tanar as well as behind Morven. We also had the experience of launching into an easterly wind and then flying in westerly wave!  All the Booker pilots here on changeover day took a launch and climbed to between 10,000 and 15,000 ft. Week 2 starts tomorrow.

Looking along the Glen Tanar wave bar, working well from below 2500 ft. 

Friday 13 October 2017

Windy but waving

Another westerly wind day on Friday, and in eastern Scotland that is a guarantee of wave. Sometimes the wind is a little too fierce though.  Wind at 10,000 ft was above 60 knots making climbs above that height tricky.  Dave and Terry Clements made it to 12,000 feet over Mount Keen in 315 and were the last to land. 
One of the fun parts of flying at Aboyne is landing on the narrow tarmac runways, the pic below shows the narrower north runway. The airfield now also has well mown flat grass either side of the runway, so plenty of room.

315 after landing (deliberately) short on Aboyne runway 27 north today.

12 October - Pete finds a new hair tonic

A very pleasant day at Booker. Lots of training going on. Well done Sam Husband, first flight in the Junior today, and Mike Sheppard doing plenty of solo circuits with an eye on the Junior.

Thanks to Andy Monk for spending a day teaching James, Clare and Martine, and to Steve for his enthusiasm for towing with the Robin.

Pete was painting his trailer with a very strange paint. It seems to have created an unusual crop of luxuriant hair. The bad news is, it has affected his memory - so where are the keys to my trailer then?

Pete proudly shows off his new hair 

Thursday 12 October 2017

Another good day in the Cairngorms

Don Valley looking North from 19000 Ft
More wave flying for most of us today. Tricky again to get away later in the day, but most of us made an early start. Most got to heights from 12000 ft to 19000 ft. Climbing alongside some classic very beautiful lenticular clouds added to the enjoyment.

Mega stack of Lennies over the Don Valley

Oh dear, looks like Donald has pressed the big red button.

Booker welcomes a new flexi course starter - Max Norfolk

Another low cloud day with blustery winds.

Welcome to Max Norfolk who took to the skies for the first time today. Sporty conditions but fun,

Max is in Sales Management and races cars as his other interest.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Relentless Wave

View towards Ballater under lowering cloud
A good day today with the classic smooth continuous 2 to 4 knot climbs from below 3000 ft right up to above 14000 ft. Bob S T4, Denis C 370, Jane M 118, John H HXH, Dave B & Nick H 315 all getting to Braemar and beyond, Chris R getting to Lochnagar at 10000 ft.  Climbing above 14000 Ft was tricky as the wind increased to 60 knots.  Loads of photos and gourmet updates to follow, but many of us are off for an early night with the possibility of very good conditions in the morning.
Loch Muick and Lochnagar

315 leaves Loch Davan En Route to Tomintoul

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Aboyne wave still working well

Congratulations to Mike Sheppard going solo in a proper flying machine. Meanwhile up in Scotland we also had a good day.  Air was a little unstable and the wave moved around a lot compared to a classic good day.  Those that launched early got away from Logie Coldstone just North of the lakes.
Notable flights for Dave in FI, Richard in 315, Denis in 370 and Jane in 118 all going cross country or getting above 16000 ft.  Those that launched late struggled to get away as the wave broke up low down. Some, including Simon Phelps in his ASW20 HUT, took a relight later in the day and had good wave flights.  Between us we had five gold heights, but only for pilots that already had gold!
Dinner - Birkelunn, Steak, Bread and Butter pud. Clearfield - Seafood Paella, Margherita ice cream.

Towards Montrose from 16'000 feet.

Loch Muick on the left and Lochnagar bottom right.

View from FI. Typical autumn Aboyne sky.
FI heading southwest.

Mike Sheppard goes solo at Booker

10 October and the main body of the club is at Aboyne in Scotland.

Meanwhile back at HQ, cloudbases about 1200 ft and the occasional spot of rain.

Steve stepped into the breach to ensure we have a tow pilot, and Mike braved the weather to bash out a few circuits. So it was solo for Mike today---well done.

 Steve clearing the rain from the wings before getting airborne.
  Mike getting ready to solo after completing his PPL conversion training.

Monday 9 October 2017

Ten thousand feet over Loch Muick, it must be Aboyne

Week 1 of the Aboyne expedition has kicked off well with Sunday and Monday both producing wave. On Sunday we were stuck with a lot of 3500 ft cloud so climbs above that were possible but tricky. The skies cleared at lunchtime on Monday with 370 and 315 visiting Loch Muick, Linn of Dee and beyond.  All of the newbies have now had a wave flight with Simon Phelps experiencing an 8 knot average wave climb in 315. Most Booker pilots flew in wave to between 6000 and 10000  Ft, a couple having a rest day after the excitement of yesterday.   Terry and Dave took the last launch in 315, and despite a weak looking sky they got high enough to make it to Loch Muick at 6000 ft. Good weather ahead so check back for updates.
And for the all important culinary update that we know our readers find so informative.
Clearfield, last night  - Fish and chips, peas, tartar sauce, fruit cheesecake. Tonight, Spaghetti Puttanesca con Sardinas.
Birkelunn - Fancy Campbell Chilli last night. Tonight; Thai Red and Green Curry courtesy of the CFI.
Restaurant update; La Mangiatora in Ballater has re-opened as the Clachan Grill, fancy steak, but above the average gliding expedition pilot budget (eg dinner costs more than a 3000 ft aerotow).

Monday morning mist above the river Dee. Beats the rush hour view on the M4.

Above Logie Coldstone, Monday.

Terry and Dave take the last launch

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Aerobatics Course - Now taking bookings

A reminder that every Winter, Graham Saw runs aerobatics courses on the first Saturday of the month.  These courses are a great way to brush up your handling skills and increase your confidence.  Suitable for pilots with 5 to 5000 hours. You do not need to be solo as all training is in a two seater with a safety pilot.
The BOOKING LIST IS NOW OPEN so if you are interested in attending one, or more, of these days put your name on the list in the clubhouse, or contact the office.   Smoke not included.

Sunday 24 September 2017

More wardrobes - and a car

The Vintage Glider Club re-convened today for some more fun in fabric and wood. COnditions were slightly more challenging for light gliders, with a brisk southerly breeze making an unorthodox approach to take off and landing directions necessary.

Hutter and Kite with a passing vintage car - an MG?

Hutter on tow


Nick set up his mobile café and kept everyone going with hot drinks and biscuits.

Nick's tea bar
Luke Bishop went for a more modern approach and converted to the ASW19 - nicely flown in the cross wind.

Looking confident
Meanwhile in the trailer park Rob Turner was plodding up and down pushing a motor mower, tidying up the grass for us all - thanks very much Rob!

One man went to mow........

Whispering Wardrobes

Day 1 of Whispering Wardrobes, aka International Rally of the Vintage Glider Club, saw a fine array of colourful flying machines rigged...... and flying. If you missed it, there will be more today, well worth a visit. Here is a sample.

Graham peering out of the improbably Hutter

Colourful Skylark 4

Goofy the T21

Sunday 17 September 2017

Sunday sunshine

The morning started grey with Booker firmly in the clouds. Paul took cadet Luis off to the hangar to learn the art of glider polishing. Those left in the clubhouse passed the time 'helping' James Giles mug up for his Bronze paper. He read questions out and the combined brains of 4 instructors and an airline pilot attempted to come up with a consensus on what the right answer might be. After a while we looked out of the window and decided that flying might be more fun, since blue sky was starting to appear.

As well as a handful of trial lessons we welcomed Clive who took 3 flights as part of an IntroPlus course, he thoroughly enjoyed himself so I think we will be seeing more of him.

Eventually a heavy shower put paid to flying and it was time for tea and biscuits.

Last flight - Mike R setting off into the dark

Paul and Clive planning their next flight before thinking better of it

Wednesday 13 September 2017

12 September 2017 - A fun September day

Busy day, a little breezy with a relatively small soaring window and shower dodging.

We welcome Andrew Barrett onto day 2 of his PPL conversion course. Andrew flies a Piper Tomahawk from Booker and has done for a number of years.

Andrew enjoyed exploring the differences between power flying and gliding, including our rather different approach to circuit planning. Needless to say he adapted very quickly.

The airfield was generally busy with pilots taking advantage of the pleasant conditions and Jan permanently sat in the Robin.

We are expecting a windy night and breezy morning.

Thursday 7 September 2017

We say a sad farewell to Geoff Tabbner

The weather decided to be kind to us today and we managed to get some training done in the morning. As a mark of respect to Geoff, flying ceased at midday.

Huge numbers filled All Saints Church in High Wycombe to say a sad farewell to our friend Geoff.

A celebration of Geoff's life was then held at the farm of Pete Wells, a spectacular practice session of the Twister air display and fireworks and very moving speeches from Geoff's wonderful family and close friends.

Spectacular display, thanks Pete

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Tuesday 5th September - How does this work, Graham?

Another cloudy and wet day.

The bus saga continues, removing the thingemyjig from the bus was proving problematic. Graham could be quoted as saying "we don't know what it is called, or indeed what it does - but it is broken".

After some discussion Graham was heard to say "Oh give it here, I will have a go", the next thing he is under the bus like a ferret.

It's that funny looking thing there.
Ok I will take a look.
The next stage will be to figure out how it works, and then fix it - straightforward really. When it is fixed we will be able to use the bus at the launch point - so a big vote of thanks to the team.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Monday 4 September - drizzle and low cloud

Low cloud all day, a weather front sitting over the country bringing dismal conditions - but it still all happens at Booker GC.

A very grey sky at Booker
Vic said he thought the bus repair would be futile if the track in the storage area was left unrepaired, because the air valve is very close to the ground and the track is very undulating. Fix the valve and damage it again, he warned.

It turns out Barry has a bulldozer, and professor Mike could help get it running. So a belch of black smoke later and the bulldozer is up and running, 

Barry filling in the holes on the track
Mmmm that's a lot better, thanks guys. Just tramp that down and we are done.
Now thats what I call teamwork - another good job completed. One of the hundreds of tasks completed by the silent few.

Mike was last seen trotting off to pick blackberries and Barry returned to his Aladin's cave of aircraft stuff.

Part of the collection in Barry's yard

Saturday 2 September 2017

First Saturday in September and some excellent weather

It was a busy day today, with instructors kept very busy flying students while the single seaters set off on a Handicapped Distance task.

Meanwhile the marketing team was at White Waltham with the sim, invited by West London Aero Club to take part in their Members' Day, a charity fundraising event. We spent the day introducing power pilots to use of the rudder, and to spinning.

Start 'em young

We had a grandstand view of the various displays by interesting aircraft, rounded off by our own Emily Collett flying aeros in her Extra (Emily started her flying career in gliders at Booker).

A clutch of Tiger Moths
Back at Booker, the evening was enlivened by a Virgin balloon 'landing out' the wrong side of the airfield hedge.

 The customers had to get out and push.....

The retrieve

Friday 1 September 2017

31 August - A perfect day for Maddi Roberts to go solo.

A day for dodging showers. Towering cumulus appeared as soon as the sun got to work.

A busy day on the airfield with one serious downpour at lunchtime.

Bob Smith made many trial lesson visitors very happy as they flew with dramatic cloudscapes. Toby O'Brien and his family all flew as did Graham Langley and Martine Hutchinson.

Welcome back to Terry Clements, who spent time today getting back into the groove.

Well done Maddi, solo today---perfect landing too!

 Mike Shepherd preparing to get to grips with that dang aerotow, if only the tug would keep still.

Meanwhile Jane and John Wood spent the day with us, enjoying the sun and Richard's attention as their instructor.

Wilf looking thoughtful
Wilf explained that his Blue fronted parrot enjoys "scrunched up" cuttle fish. It's amazing the things you learn on a sunny airfield.  Wilf has now realised the parrot is able to scrunch the cuttle fish up itself - saves a job!

Let's hope September (that's tomorrow) brings some more good weather.