Sunday, 23 July 2017

Regionals final day

Nils and Richard tried very hard to find some nice weather for a final task but there was an ominous blue blob on the chart heading in our direction.

That blue thing doesn't look good
Richard therefore moved on to prize giving, and awarded the cup to Ken Barker - he had left with his JS1 to fly in a comp at Aston Down so scorer Pete accepted the trophy on his behalf.

Ken's landlord accepts the cup
Joint second place went to Mark Davenport and our very own Denis Campbell. There were also prizes for everyone down to around 8th place, thanks to our sponsors.

Richard then thanked everyone who had helped to make the comp a success:
Chairing the organising committee - William Parker
Deputy Director and Scorer - Pete Wyld
Assistant Task setter and Sniffer - Tim Scott
Met Man - Nils Wedi
Grid Marshal - Bob Sinden
Control -  Bob Smith, Jane Moore
Catering and bar - John Hubberstey
Tug pilots - Bob Davey, Jim Roland, Jack Luxton, Rocky, Pete Wyld, Rob Turner, Dave Byass
Cadets - Anna, Maddi, Michael, Luis, Samuel, Kyle
Office staff - Shelagh and Chris
Capt Blair-Monger and all at the Army Reserve Centre
Two-seater instructors - Andy Monk, Chris Roland, Jim White
...and last but not least, the competitors, and especially the visitors from other clubs

William thanked Richard for running the whole thing and that was it for another year - an excellent week making the best of indifferent weather.

Meanwhile.........after the briefing, Andy Monk got the training operation back on track, with a K21 doing 16 launches. Cadet Michael Otty re-soloed after a year's break from gliding, and Cadet Samuel Husband achieved his first solo. Sam has had a lot of firsts this week, including his first ever cross country and land out. Thanks to Jim Roland for towing (even if a lot didn't get above 400 feet) and John Otty for doing buggy retrieves.

Well done Sam

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Wet Saturday

Briefing was delayed while the Met Man and the Director struggled to find a task through the approaching showers. Finally they came up with a quick nip round Calvert Junction and Oxford South. The sky looked great overhead, although increasingly black to the south, so George decided to fly the task before the comp had even rigged, just to show 'em. He managed Calvert Jct but on the way back got rained out of the sky and landed in what used to be Farmer Brown's field (now Farmer Brian) near Cadmore End - just as John Hubb was firing up the BBQ.

The message was that the field was ploughed and the gate locked so a large team set off. Fortunately they arrived at the same time as the farmer with a pick up truck which towed Z12 - ploughing a furrow -  to the gate where the team watched while George de-rigged. Is there a record for the fastest, most over-resourced retrieve?

The team trying to look busy
The team definitely not busy
Back at the clubhouse the rest of the afternoon was spent on the very British pastime of BBQ in the rain, very efficiently cooked up by John and his brilliant pair of sous chefs.

BBQ weather

J1m at the 15s

Hi all

Arrived at Aston Down. Raining! Follow the competition at



Friday, 21 July 2017

Windy Friday

Nils tried very hard to find some nice weather for a task, he showed us lots of graphs and charts and finally resorted to looking out of the window. In the event the hoped for clearance arrived too late, and in any case the howling southerly wasn't very enticing, so the day was scrubbed.

Meanwhile, here are a few pics from earlier in the week.

Richard making the acquaintance of Jeremy's FES Shark

All out!

Paul getting tied in knots

Team 316

The JS1 has arrived

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

This is why we put wings on tyres

It was wet last night. Very wet. William (LC) had a marathon retrieve from his stubble field, derigging at record speed as lightning flashed around, and the first spots of rain were falling as they pulled out of the field. After that the only storm in the country tracked its way up over Booker, flooding the hangar.

Richard called in on his way home from the Grouse and Ale and discovered that his nice waterproof shoes weren't proof against filling up from the top. It's a lesson in why we put wings on tyres in the hangar though. William had further tribulations getting home after dropping off his trailer, roads blocked everywhere with debris and water.

Today was a scrub, all that water has to go somewhere, evaporating back up into 8/8 cloud cover. We hope for better things tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tuesday - Day 2

Today's task was a finely judged 100k (Headington - Chieveley), squeaking into a small gap of soarable weather. From the ground it looked a bit grim but the field mostly got round, only 944 dropped in at Benson and LC found a nice field about a mile from Hampstead Norris - it's hard to spot the strip from the air though. It looks as though Denis 370 won the day but our visitors are still ahead overall - just shows what a welcoming club Booker is!

It's all a bit of a laugh

Even the pilots are happy

The tug pilot needs his sleep though

Monday, 17 July 2017

Monday, and a task

The weather was not straightforward today. The first task set was a double out and return to the SW involving Avebury and Marlborough, but as the day progressed it became clear that the approaching top cover was going to be a problem - and the snifter reported nearly landing out, which is never a good sign. Task B was again a double shuffle, but this time north/south. The grid launched. and we followed their progress on the live tracking on Booker's website - exciting stuff. The finishers included William LC who was visible from the finish line but went back to turn Huntercombe and then scraped home from the Hambleden valley - good effort! There were some landouts, but at airfields and farm strips, so they were soon retrieved by aerotow.

Results here:
Dr Nils the Weather Man


The K21 dream team
Keeping cool
Retrieve from farm strip at Cuddesdon

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Keeping up to date with the Regionals

If you can't manage to get to the airfield you can follow the action from the comfort of your armchair with these links:

Live tracking on the Booker website:

Results and updates on Soaring Spot:



Booker Regionals day 1 (again)

Dr Nils was more optimistic at briefing this morning, so much so that we had interest from a real aviator. Or maybe it wanted to get in the warm. There was heated discussion about species, in the end the consensus was partridge.

Outside looking in
Anyway, a task was set, gliders were gridded, pilots were re-briefed.....and then the day was scrubbed.

The forecast for tomorrow looks a lot more promising - fingers crossed.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Booker Regionals Day 1

Thanks to lots of hard work by Bob Smith, registration went very smoothly yesterday and today, with competitors walking away with armfuls of goodies provided by our sponsors, Hayward Aviation Ltd. Pete Wyld is all set up to do the scoring, so we are ready to go as soon as there is a suitable weather window. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Dr Nils Wedi, our in-house meteorologist, who explained lots of interesting graphs and charts at briefing, all of which suggested that it was in fact raining, the cloud didn't clear until the evening. Early days, we hope for better tomorrow.

Richard at briefing in the TA Centre

Friday, 14 July 2017

13 July Air League successful day at Booker

The winds were light, thermal activity late to start, calm conditions with an overcast sky .

Perfect for the 32 Air League young people, here to learn about gliding and experience a flight.

The 9liders were all out and ready to go at 9.08am, everything from a K21 to a Duo Discus was available for the visitors to see.

Gliders lined up before briefing

And of course a selection of tow planes
Too many people to fit in the standard briefing room
Huge thanks to Maddi, Louis and John, who with the very able assistance of Mel made the ground operations the slickest we have ever seen. Fantastic teamwork meant the flying was all completed a full 2 hours ahead of plan - very well done to everyone involved.

The Air League guests were all very enthusiastic and were great fun to fly with.

Some weak thermals kept us going during the afternoon, Nick and Glyn trailblazed by going off together in a K21 to prove to everyone it was worth taking a launch.

The day finished with a pleasant meal in the Grouse and Ale, definitely living the dream!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Planet of the Apes arrives at Booker

Today turned out to be a great day after a somewhat dull looking start but the weather forecasters got it right with the sky clearing around 11am and a fabulous soaring sky with good lift and obvious clouds to find the lift in.

HA, 118, EN, 161, T4, 949, HSB, LTY and KV were out and all flying x/c. Thanks to Ed who jumped out of his glider to get in a tug and help launch a few before getting back into his glider.

The 2 seaters were busy with course, trial lessons and a group from Go Ape who were all up to experience the delights of soaring above the trees. Thanks to Richard, Graham, Don and Bob who saw that they had a good time and the feedback from them was along the lines of "Awesome!, Brilliant!, Such Fun!"

11 July Persistence pays off

The weather today gave us periods of low cloud and rain showers. Jan got us airborne just before the first rain shower arrived, then it was time for coffee. Jack insisted we wait "just a little longer", and he was right - another slot appeared and we managed to finish the days training for Louis - I suppose it's all that sailing that makes him so clever.

The builders still got the crane out, despite the weather, we all hoped the driver didn't drop anything!

Richard arrived all spruced up for yet another meeting with the local council, very important work to help secure our future.

Louis gave the buggies a spring clean in the engine compartments.

Work continues to prepare us for the Regionals starting on Saturday, lots of interesting promotional items have arrived from the sponsors (Hayward Aviation Insurance). That is a week not to be missed.

The Daily Inspection being completed under very grey skies

 Building works continue, Mike pointed out that 2 wheels are off the ground!
  A break in the weather occurs and Jack climbs into the Robin
Smiling faces, it was worth the wait and Louis gets his training flights.

So it's weather is here, wish you were nice!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

10 July Louis has his first flying lesson for a year and Jan calls out the breakdown service

Another good day for training. Operating on 24, 3 knot thermals for most of the day.

Louis Mattey started his week of work experience, helping out on the airfield and getting an insight into how we try to make things happen on the field. He was rewarded with a flying lesson, introduced to trimming and stalls.

Trial lessons kept us fairly busy along with Iain Segall who started flying again today after pulling a muscle in his back.

Jan called out the emergency services to get the tug started after suffering a flat battery.

The Emergency service arrived in no time at all. Richard's new venture, jump starting light aircraft, good idea Richard, but the vehicle does not to be so up-market!

For Richard it was probably a welcome break from planning the Regionals grid arrangements. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

7 July Comic Relief through the Air League

Another very hot day, strong thermals all day.

The day started with a briefing, all hands to the pumps to fly a number of students. What a great group, great fun and safe.

Air league group sheltering from the sun
Many thanks to all the instructors and helpers who helped make it happen smoothly. GH had a minor electrical issue that was quickly sorted out, LH was also made available to us to speed up the launch rate. The Pawnee came back on line today in readiness for the Regionals in a weeks time.

Matt continued his training and is now flying basic circuits without any prompting from the back seat - getting close to that solo goal.  Soaring not too shabby either.

It was good to see the club single seaters in demand, the Pegasus is shown ready to go - or is it?

Of course he didn't take off with the tail dolly on. The ABCD checks are a useful method of avoiding this kind of error.

The evening group took over with Symeon at the helm.

Looking forward to a good weekend.

6 July - Another great day, a strange way to keep the K21 trailer cool!

The forecasts threatened thunderstorms, but these didn't happen. An awkward southerly flow meant we started on 06, but later in the day we moved to 24. Good soaring conditions from midday through to late pm.

Matt Bignold continued his 5 day course, he is now doing the take off and landings, and making very good progress with thermal soaring. Jane and John Wood continued their refresher training and beginning to get back into the groove.

Well done to John Blake, converting into the SZD Junior, good job.

The launch point set up complete by 9 am, now all we need is the pupils! Richard, as always buried in some club admin.

 John, the buggy and trailer won't fit  under the gazebo - you should know that! Or is it a creative way of moving the gazebo to 24?

Regionals just a week away, and another good day tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

5 July 2017 - Good task day today. New member Steve Gaze joins us for some soaring

Winds very light but favouring 06, mainly blue conditions. Thermals to 4000ft QFE

The good weather brought many people out of the woodwork today, the tug kept busy

The course members today included John and Jane Wood and Matt Bignold. Matt experienced and enjoyed his "spinning" lessons in the K13 before settling into circuit training (with a little thermal practice) in the K21.

Chris Whelan was cleared to fly the junior and had a good soaring flight.

Welcome to Steve Gaze, a new member who also flies at Shalbourne. Steve has a cross country endorsement and is looking to do some cross country flying now.

Steve at 3000ft taking a look around during his familiarisation flight

The evening provided some excellent thermalling opportunities for Chris and the evening party.

The Booker Regionals are just a week away - are you ready?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Coming soon................

4 July - a great day, but spot what's missing?

Light winds, lots of cloud cover in the morning, but clearing to give a good soarable afternoon.

We can now see the windsock from the clubhouse window, how is that?

I huffed and I puffed and blew that house down!

Matt Bignold continued his 5 day course making good progress, circuit planning tomorrow!

Jan was tugging for us this morning and Pete took over pm, the Pawnee still in having its brakes fixed.
Pete getting prepared for a busy afternoon

Mike Sheppard continued his PPL training, just need to get aerotowing cracked and we will be there, if only the tug would stay in the right place!

Mike getting ready to fly
Oliver Heidkamp spent time with Richard learning the tricks of the trade for field landing and navigation. Cross country endorsement complete, well done. Oliver is a pilot from nearby Haddenham.

Various cross country flights during the day, good to see the weather being kind to the single seat pilots.

Graham Saw took the flying into the evening with the busy evening group.

The end to another fine day at Booker.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

3 July New course week starts

Wedged between 2 fronts, the day started with overcast at 1800ft, soon lifting to 2200ft and then becoming SCT at 4000ft. Very good thermals late afternoon.

The Pawnee was wheeled around to the workshop for Robin to fit a new set of brakes, good to get that done before the Regionals in 11 days time.

Matt Bignold started his 5 day course today and got treated to some very good thermals later in the afternoon.

Matt describes himself as a "number crucncher" and works in Reading.

Thanks Jim for doing his usual fantastic towing and running around to keep us flying, and all with a big smile.