Yesterday

Thanks for the posts Chris & Chrissie regarding flying yesterday, just to amplify a couple of points, at 9:15 there were just 5 club members on site, this had increased to 6 by 09:30, only one student, the remainder were just old hands that continue to support the club operation. Due to the poor turnout briefing was delayed to 10:30 on the airfield & first flight was just past 11:00. Why should so few do all the work of getting the kit out & the airfield  setup, this is a club operation, gliding relies totally on willing volunteers & team spirit,  unfortunately this seems to be waning. Thankfully those that did turn up had a great day until the low sun & misting canopies stopped play, even the tug driver was smiling!

“Getting to the briefing on time”! Saturday 19th October

With the roof down, wind in hair and driving off in the autumn morning sunshine to the gliding club, hoping to get to the 9.30 briefing more or less on time, with maybe a having to put up with a few wise cracks! Must admit even I was somewhat speechless to arrive at 9.32, and no wise cracks beckoning, to find the gliders and tug still in the hanger. 

With the winter now looming upon us, days like this are an oasis amongst the last two weeks of heavy rain and future poor weather, and should be available to all club members, including two seater trainees who wish to turn out early in the morning to get the fleet out, ready and at the launch point ready to fly. Maybe we could achieve a launch before 10.00am and get them at half price again!

A beautiful day, fantastic visibility, cloud base not much more than 1500ft, longest flight off the winch 15mins! plenty off sink around, even under very promising looking clouds.

There were club solo pilots around to help run the launch point and give our 6/7 new and not so new Bath university students who arrived after lunch time, training in gaitor driving, hooking on, wing running, log keeping etc. whilst the others were flying. A great day had by all. (well half a day and a bit!)

Chris Chappell 

Bath Wilts aviator spreads his wings 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 🙂.

Good evening fellow aviators.

I have taken a trip to the Scottish Gliding Centre this weekend to try and extend my Gliding season a little more.

It is my first time visiting here, so I have taken a few pictures below to share with you all. Hope you enjoy them 🙂.

The forecast predicted a 15 knot 240 degree wind, so I knew the ridge to the north of the club should be working.

I woke early to survey the ridge I would be flying.

The launch point is run a little differently here than at Bath Wilts. They run two Winch lines parallel to each other. With each line taking one of the two winch cables when they are retrieved.

The club tug plane is a neat little Euro Fox model.

The club weather vane and windsock is worthy of a quick photo too 🙂.

There was a large variety of private Gliders at the club, but there was one in particular I thought the longer serving members of Bath Wilts might enjoy seeing a picture of….

I chose winch launches today, as my objective was working the north ridge, which is comfortably in reach from winch height. A club K21 was my trusty stead for the day, and arguably has one of the best tail numbers I’ve seen 🙂.

The views are spectacular from the moment you release from the winch.

The club is located alongside Loch Leven. Housed on a small island in the Loch is Loch Leven Castle, and on the edge of the Loch is Kinross House. Both structures can be seen surprisingly clearly from the air.

The ridge I was flying today forms part of the Lomond Hills Regional Park. Its a great feeling flying so close to such an impressive geological feature. The detail you get to see in the landscape from this vantage point is truly beautiful.

The ridge itself works with surprising ease and predictability. With todays weather conditions, the ridge reliably generated between 2 – 6kts up all day, with the ridge effect topping out between 2000ft – 2600ft depending on wind strength.

As you crest the top of the ridge, the views keep getting better and better  🙂.

To help lend a sense of scale for those that haven’t visited here before. The waterway you can see on the image below is Ballo reservoir, situated on top of the ridge!  🙂.

This Gliding site is truly, truly, beautiful.

What a great day dear aviators.

What centre of Gliding majesty should I visit next I wonder….

….Aboyne perhaps?

Hmm…. I’m certainly tempted by tales of wave, and tremendous height gains.

Yes dear aviators, its time I think to start planning my first trip to Aboyne 🙂.

Kind regards.

Damien.

University Gliding Club News & Sports Day Report

All of us from the University Gliding Club are pleased to announce that we now have 32 full University members thanks to our recent recruitment drive! What a day we had on Wednesday 25th September. Many thanks, on behalf of all of us at the University Gliding Club to all of our wonderful volunteers from The Park for their assistance with our University Freshers Week Sports Day event on Wednesday 25th September 2019.

 The event was a true success! BWND’s Astir CS Jeans (LPM) worked as the perfect visual and attraction to get our recruitment drive off to a flying start (if you pardon the pun) and sparked the interest of so many students from all different courses, countries and walks of life. As a club that promotes equality in aviation, we’re really thrilled that ⅓ of our members this year our female! 

 Massive thanks to Mervyn Burt for helping us rig the glider in the morning of the day, Phil G and Adam Berrisford for kindness and supporting welcoming, greeting and talking to University of Bath students about Gliding with such happiness and enthusiasm. Last but certainly not least, a very special thank-you to Graham and Anne for picking up and safely returning LPM for us, despite the weather conditions in the morning! Without all of you the event wouldn’t have been possible, so thank you!

 The glider & event sparked interested from both the novice and experienced pilot, and we’re over the moon that many students who have joined us have the aim of going solo in mind, and will be training with us over the course of the next year. We’re also joined this year by a couple of nearly solo Juniors, including Amalia Maiden, from Lasham Gliding Society with us this year, so we’re super excited about the year ahead! 

 Thank you to everyone at Bath, Wilts & North Dorset Gliding Club for making us always feel welcome at The Park. It’s going to be an amazing year & we’re all super excited!

 

Andy Callaghan

University Gliding Club  Chair 2019/20

Our Wonderful Recruitment Team from BWND & The University of Bath Gliding Sports Club

A selection of photos from the day…

Wednesday 2nd October 2019

With the weather being an oasis of sunshine, thermals and light winds amongst the wet and windy weather of yesterday, last weekend and possibly tomorrow, club members turned out to enjoy cross country tasks, local soaring, instruction and check flights throughout the day. The longest flight being just over 3 hours with height gains of approx. 4,000ft.                                  With the first launch at 10.49 and the final launch at 16.53, we had 3 Puchaz, BNH, JKW and a number of club members rigging their own flying machines making the best of a fine autumn day.

Andy Callaghan arrived as expected with 3 new Bath university students very keen to try out our sport for themselves. I`m sure Andy will have a detailed report of their visit with plenty of photo shots.

43 winch launches, 2 aerotows and 1 motor glider flight and a total of just over 20 hours flying time.

Wednesday, 25th September – meeting the students

Many thanks to Andy, Matt and Jamie for organising our visit to Bath University for the “Freshers’ Day” recruiting campaign and special thanks to Graham and Anne for picking up LPM in heavy rain, trailing it over and returning it afterwards.

Mervyn  came along to help us rig, thanks Mervyn;  Adam and I had a busy day  greeting the potential pilots of the future and getting as many as we could into the cockpit, with it’s canopy obviously removed for safety 😉  Some were a bit reluctant to climb in but they all listened to our enthusiastic explanations.

Andy , Matt and Jamie had a job to keep up with collecting all the contact details but signed up ten new members on the day; an excellent result with many to follow up.  Some have had some limited previous flying experience, so they have an idea what to expect and we have some positive recruits to work with.

Negotiating and dealing with the University authorities isn’t easy, so well done Andy and team for their efforts.

Wednesday 18th September – Blue thermals galore!

Again a glorious sunny day with plenty of blue thermals for local soaring. Graham managed 2.27 hours with a height of 2,900ft. Several flights of approximately an hour with JKW holding it`s own against BNH even though it was what we would typically call the day “a K6 day”.                                              First launch at 11.28 after we de-rigged LPM for a minor repair job to keep Nick busy for a while in the workshop. Last launch at 16.09 saw 15 winch launches and 2 motor glider flights makin a total of 9.10 flying hours for the very enjoyable afternoon.

Many thanks to Mike J and our trusty midweek volunteer winchers for giving their time, in addition to their weekend rostered duties.

Chris Chappell 

British Glider Aerobatic Nationals

Hi all,

Last week, I spent the week at Lasham Gliding competing in the 2019 Advanced Glider Aerobatic Nationals. This was the first time in recent years that the Nationals were held at Lasham, so we were all competing in a new aerobatic box which proved to be a challenge as there wasn’t a great deal marking the boundaries.

The first sequence was our Free Known which we are allowed to design and practice. This sequence went well for me as I scored 1364 points which was 200 points clear of the next competitor. The contest director had decided that we were going to do 2 flights a day so the next flight was unknown 1 – we are given these sequences a few hours before we fly them. Again this flight went well for me as I scored 1044 points winning this flight also.

The next day we had 2 flights left to do, the first one was the free unknown. We are allowed to design this sequence but not practice it!
I tactically chose my closest competitors sequence as it was silly to risk doing poorly on a separate sequence and him doing well. Should bad luck have it, I rolled the wrong way part way through his sequence resulting in my lowest score ever at 405 points ( I had a few words to say about it, when I realised I was the wrong way round). So after landing I thought I was out of the competition….

I had one flight left to do, and after talking to Maz the owner of the fox he helped me through what I needed to do for the last flight. Surprisingly it went really well, so well in fact I won the last flight!

3 wins out of 4 flights. But was it enough?

Unfortunately not.

Dave Gethin had beaten me by 1.2%. Silver medal it is.

This competition I learned a lot, and I feel even more determined and excited to do well in future competitions. Even though this season went well with 2 gold medals and 1 silver and 8,138 points (Which I believe is the most anyone scored this season in the UK)  there is always room for improvement.

You can find the scores here: https://www.aerobatics.org.uk/contest/result/164

The last image was taken on the Sunday, when our coach decided he wanted to winch the Primary as we had free day. Soon as I have 200 hours I’m going to ask to fly it. Carl a team member is stood by the glider in the picture.

Launching the Fox at 9am

Wallop!

A unique opportunity presented itself on Sunday when a few members visited Middle Wallop under the invitation of PNGC.
A Brief History (from internet sources and my local knowledge):
Middle Wallop has long been an active station and at some time or another been host to all three UK services and the USAAF. The station opened 1940 as RAF Middle Wallop which operated the Spitfire, Hurricane and Beaufighters.
In 1943 the USAAF operated the P38 Lightning and P51 Mustang. 1944 saw the RAF return with Mosquito’s before transfer in 1945 to the RN and back to the RAF in 1946 until 1957.
1954 saw the first operation of helicopters and the formation of the Joint Experimental Helicopter Unit in 1955. In 1957 army aviation became independent of the RAF and the new Army Air Corps was born at Middle Wallop.
Mostly this comprised of rotary aircraft with helicopters such as the Gazelle, Lynx, Apache and Wildcat.
Activity has been much reduced in recent years with I believe much of the operation moving to Shawbury.

As I’m sure many of you are aware Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre ceased operation at it’s long term home at the Former HMS Daedalus last year. Unfortunately the whole site was taken over by the council and subsequent commercial pressures left the PNGC with no option but to cease flying activity there after 69 years.
PNGC has since seen it’s fleet somewhat dispersed to the four winds with it’s tug on loan to Talgarth and gliders being utilised at various sites. PNGC has been operating from Upavon in conjunction with Wyvern and has been seeking a permanent home.
This weekend was an opportunity for PNGC to trial an operation at Middle Wallop and saw circa 50 launches by winch and tug on the Saturday.
A varied fleet of aircraft was present in the guise of K21’s, Puchacz, Duo Discus, Discus and numerous private gliders including a ‘flaming’ libelle.
A familiar runway designation of 26 / 08 was in operation with the winch and tug lines operating next to each other, there was even a familiar dip (although no slope) and some tree’s! A vast expanse of neatly mown grass was beckoning.
The opportunity arose to fly a Duo Discus and it would have been foolish to turn it down never having previously flown such a machine! After a briefing I was ready and the instructor having finished his cuppa (rarely seen without one) sat behind we were positioned behind the Robin for a 2k tow.
Not being the world’s most profilic tug customer there was a degree of apprehension as we set off (don’t drop the wing, don’t drop the wing) what felt like a fairly long ground run saw the Discus flapping its wings as we became unstuck! I was immediately struck by it’s stability and the silence! I have definitely never experienced anything as quiet and with the exception of the air vent it was super silent!
We were soon at 2k after an uneventful tow and released alongside the danger area of Porton Down turning back towards Broughton (undercarriage, check!). The lift was pretty much non existent but we didn’t encounter much sink either. I had been warned about the ‘slippery’ characteristics of the Discus and I was struck by how it retained height, it just kept going and going!
There was an excellent view to the coast with Fawley and the Isle of Wight tantalisingly close.
A very different outlook to the Park with nothing like the unudlating ground that we enjoy in our immediate playground.
We headed back towards the airfield with the LX9050 barking ‘Airspace’ yup we were in it (legally) and enjoying it too! After a couple of orbits over the houses of Middle Wallop and pre-landing landing checks complete (undercarriage, check!) we positioned for a right hand circuit (powered on a left hand circuit).
I had been warned about the very flat approach attitude and how closing the brakes would see the aircraft rapidly gain speed, this being an aircraft with a minimum 60kt approach with barely a sniff of headwind.
A long base leg and into the final turn saw me lined up (unusually) neatly to the left of the trees, speed on, brakes open, looking good, in the undershoot, brakes reduced, speed good, floating, over the peri track, touchdown! A landing I was very pleased with which earned a metaphoric pat on the back from the instructor too!
A real buzz and an ear to ear grin ensued.
Being a low hours, pre bronze solo pilot I have flown at a couple of different sites and in different aircraft each time (first time on type each time) and have found it really fulfilling. In my opinion it is really useful to fly as many different aircraft as possible as every aircraft flies differently BUT you have the skills to fly them (I’m sure there are some caveats in there somewhere).
To add to that, the same aircraft types also fly very differently in my (limited) experience.
Thanks to PNGC and the opportunity to fly a different aircraft in a very unique environment (I’ll take up the invitation to fly 805 the single seater Discus another time).

A Blue Saturday to reward tenacious scratchers.

Sat 14th Sept was a beautiful sunny one.  Not a cloud in sight, and a gentle SE wind.  Hardly the glider pilot’s vision of a great gliding day!  Several were rewarded with prolonged flights though after Chris Teasdale showed us where to find the lift, in HTR, over the higher ground.  The whole club fleet was out and well used during the lovely warm day.  Cady eked out the last dregs of the day, scratching for over 40 minutes above the same spot on the ridge, honing his turning skills after a summer lay-off.

The Longleat balloons were on show in the morning and evening, book-ending a very pleasant autumnal day.

(For KTrax flight log enthusiasts, don’t believe all of the exaggerated times on yesterday’s log file.  There were obviously some logging issues.  I don’t think anyone flew much over an hour and a half. )

Glorious Friday 13th

Well what a glorious day today! Beautiful clear air which is quite unusual with an inversion as predicted.                                                                                               For those of us up early enough and living local there was the extra wonderful sight of over a hundred hot air balloons taking part in the Longleat 3 day balloon festival. So be sure to be about early tomorrow and Sunday morning to see this amazing sight. A couple of years ago we had a few land on the airfield early in the morning – quite a sight to see.

Steve L managed a very respectable 2.45 hours of local soaring in totally blue thermals – not a whisper of a cloud! With Ron having a more challenging flight in LPM for nearly half an hour – which he declared was really hard work.  With members enjoying two seater training and check flights with Mike J, and the rest of us, well sitting in the Autumn sun with plenty of chit chat and tea. We were joined late afternoon by Dick and Mary flying in for visit in G-COBLY,  having been to Old Sarum for lunch before returning to Compton Abbas.  Mike T took himself off to Portland Bill in or very own motor Faulke – which I`m sure he may well add some pictures and blog himself.

16 flights in all, including one aerotow and one motor glider launch. Approximately 6.30 hours of flying time. First launch 11.27 and last launch 16.24. What a great relaxing day, flying and much socialising listening to some of the great stories of the early days of tug flying from Ron L.

Chris 

Sunday 8th September

It turned out to be a better day than many of us expected I think and it gave really excellent soaring conditions. I thought it might be worth posting a few pictures from my flight, as it was one of the most satisfying in the last few years.

I enjoy visiting exciting soaring locations, and the Isle Of  Wight ranks high on my list. I have only been able to fly there once before as suitable days are rare and it’s a 300K flight to St Catherine’s Point and back. The flight is normally only possible in August or September due to the sea breezes that occur earlier in the year. The secret it seems to me is that it’s not difficult to cross the Solent, but it’s important to be able to be high enough to get to a good climb on the other side, which will likely be twice the crossing distance.

Isn’t this what gliding is all about?

Approaching Portsmouth

Looking to the IOW

Looking west

Ryde

St Catherine’s Point Lighthouse! 

Heading Home, looking NE

Portsmouth

Give it a try, it’s not difficult.
Alastair

Saturday 31st August

Only three launches were possible today before the conditions became too difficult with low cloud and some rain.

The ridge was working though and it gave Roy a taste of how to fly on a ridge. The wind was 185 degrees at 15kts on the first flight, but it was not quite strong enough to maintain height. On the second flight the wind was 185 degrees again, but at 20kts and the ridge just about allowed sustained flight up to 1000ft, but it was necessary to work hard with S turns in the best parts. On the third and last flight the wind had increased and veered to 220 degrees at 26kts and it was working very easily up to the cloudbase of 1900ft QFE.

These were the best set of ridge flights I have had at The Park, so if you see a forecast of 20+ kts from 180 – 220 degrees, it’s well worth flying. 1500 feet or so may not sound very exciting, but the practice it gives in working weak ridge and thermal lift is very satisfying.

Thursday 29th August. “Refreshingly Cool 😎”.

Good evening fellow aviators.

After some very warm days this week already, today at the park was a very pleasant and clement 18 degrees celcius. The wind varying between 230 – 250 degrees, 10 – 15 knot ground wind, 20 knot flying wind. This made for respectable launch heights, and some very welcome assistance in staying aloft from our local ridge.

The forecast was a respectable one for local soaring, and although not a stellar day for soaring, extended flights were enjoyed throughout the day.

There was only a small scattering of aviators at the Park today, but fortunately Barts dog ‘Google’ was available to lend a “paw” at the launch point.

Until retiring to her “lunch” point after a busy mornings work 🐶🦴🙂.

The skies to the South West of the Park reverberated to the sounds of multiple military fast jets and helicopters performing “high energy training manoeuvres”.

Merv and Gordon were so inspired by the days soaring opportunities, that in the absence of a spare Glider began experimenting with alternative methods for achieving a quick solo flight 😂🙂.

A total of 27 Glider flights today. First launch at 11:05, last landing at 17:50.

A refreshingly cool and enjoyable day at the Park dear aviators.

Kind regards.

Damien.