Did today mark a turning point in our fickle weather? After a decidedly slow start to the year today saw a flurry of activity on the field. Great to see a line of trailers on the field and private gliders at the launch point.
After much time fettling in the hangar numerous gliders, both club and private have fresh ARC’s and Annuals.
Unfortunately the tug is still having a minor tantrum but promises to be back in the air shortly after attention from our diligent maintainers.
The winch (and drivers) were kept busy today with 44 launches in total. All available club aircraft were utilised with added support from EZE.
Local soaring flights in excess of an hour were achieved in club and private gliders with the first solid shakedown tasks of the year being flown including 100 and 200 km tasks with durations of up to 3.5 hours.
A total in excess of 28 hours flown today!
Notably Dan Pike took a break from installation of our ‘smart’ electrical management system and took a flight in EZE (and enjoyed it). Rumour has it he’s catching the bug!
And the sun shone! a bit, after the fog!
A busy day at The Park today with many faces some new (welcome) and some not so (welcome also, we’d forgotten who you were!). Good to see Bath University at the club after a few logistical false starts. Well done Andy Callaghan for co-ordinating.
After a well attended briefing in the Hangar a number of club members departed for Air Traffic Control in the clubhouse.
GROUNDSCHOOL: Today was the culmination of John Garland’s excellent RT course with attendees conversing with ATC during the course of mock flights from and to various locations, through various airspace and with a few Pan Pan scenario’s thrown in for good measure.
I think it would be fair to say all attendees of the RT course were not feeling the most confident first thing but by the end were certainly feeling easier about talking to ATC whilst navigating cross country. Abeit this was a classroom scenario the requirement to speak to various ATC centres seems far less daunting now. In the future it may be a necessary requirement that we all hold RT licences so it is worth giving it some thought and maybe familiarising yourself now in preparation. Many thanks to John Garland and his ‘controllers’ Steve and Alastair.
ON THE FIELD: It was great to see the hangar empty of club aircraft today with all aircraft fielded except VN which is undergoing its annual in the workshop. The caravan was positioned at the South West end of the field with a southerly crosswind component to keep us all cool in the sun. Conditions were far from perfect due to the limited visibility but compared to where they have been it felt positively summery (once the fog had retreated enough). A great number of flights today, some for the first time, some currency flights and some just to, well fly!
YES a weekend flying report!
After a tiresome period of no weekend flying the weather declared a temporary truce.
A prompt 9 am briefing from Stuart was all the incentive we needed to get back in the air which saw us fielding 2 Puchacz.
With a strong crosswind from the South / South West we set up at the South East corner of the field.
Having ‘bagged’ the first launch an excellent launch from Doug was curtailed at a 1000ft cloudbase, just a couple of turns and a swift return to The Park. Unremarkable as it may seem the launch was a pre 10am launch. This has not happened for a while so top marks to all. I believe the CFI mentioned something recently about fizzical rewards for those achieving it!
It was great to see some of our new members today, a Father and Son (cadet) who both flew and another new cadet on a quick familiarisation visit. A total of 7 flights and a meagre but valuable 25 minutes total flight time saw the cloudbase descend around 11:30, the aircraft were put to bed and the hangar doors closed at 12:00! Amazing what can be achieved in a short time when we put our minds to it.
Work in the hangar of course continues unabated with VN waving it’s toes in the air in the comfort of the workshop. Additionally much work continues with private gliders and trailers in anticipation of the forthcoming season.
The work on providing us with a stable source of power has evolved at a staggering pace and changes take place on a daily basis. Take the opportunity to have a look around and see what is happening at your club!
Well the new year weekend weather has persisted in true style and offered us little in the way of constructive flying opportunity.
However as most of you will be aware winter lectures have continued unabated, almost! Ironically the meteorology lecture suffered a postponement due to the snow. FRIDAY: 4 members of BWNDGC attended Mendip GC on Friday evening for the rescheduled met lecture given by Gordon Dennis. It was an excellent lecture and taught me more about the weather in 5 minutes than I previously knew. If the opportunity arises I would thoroughly recommend attending one of Gordon’s lectures should the opportunity arise.
SATURDAY: John Garland hosted the second in his series of RT lectures at The Park with a number of Mendip GC members attending. It’s all beginning to make a little more sense now (to me anyway) and with John’s recounting of real world experience it really demonstrates how important RT can be. The various RT services available are there to help. As an example this was a tweet from D & D on the 13th February ‘Tonight Distress and Diversion personnel helped a lost microlight find their way in very challenging conditions. No transponder and very little radar coverage meant the team relied on experience and initiative to locate and direct the microlight home. 121.5 we are listening!’
Due to the poor weather and volume of liquid sunshine there will be no flying tomorrow AM. This will be reviewed for the afternoon after the lecture. Should flying be possible this be will be aerotow only.
Duty winch team to stand down, LPC may be required for afternoon.
As The Park was closed today it was the ideal opportunity to take a look from above. Apart from lots of snow there’s not much to show apart from an errant Yeti’s (Damiens!) footprints from yesterday.
The strip was fairly clear of snow and the track looked passable in a 4×4, however the farmer hadn’t been up and I wasn’t going to attempt to undo the padlock – far to cold!
Apologies for the dull photo’s it was late in the day and the light was flat.
Not an airfield report but imagine if we had no airfield to report on?
I have received a further update on the Lasham Judicial Review against the CAA granting additional airspace to Farnborough. In basic terms Lasham submitted 3 grounds of complaint of which 2 were accepted, significantly the 3rd ground has now also been accepted. Fundamentally if one of the 3 grounds is upheld at a review then the CAA’s decision can be struck out.
To date the funding campaign has only 300 donors, where are the rest considering there is a membership of around 7000 in the UK?
Whilst you may think it does not affect you directly and that you dont fly cross country, just think what could potentially happen if Bristol, Exeter, Bournemouth and Southampton all grabbed more airspace?
Please consider donating the cost of a winch launch to the funding campaign!
Finally! The sun dared to show itself and weekend flying resumed.
FLYING – After what seems like a very long time we had the opportunity to field 2 Puchacz, 1 Astir and the K6.
After much labouring by Mark Player and other dedicated members (I am not completely sure how many) the Pawnee returned to the sky today.
After a successful test flight the Pawnee resumed it’s tugging role with tows for a Puchacz and a visiting Shark.
There were 17 winch launches, 2 aerotows and a flight by the motorglider.
CADETS – Potential new cadet recruits from the waiting list visited the club today and I believe 5 were enrolled. Thanks to the committee members behind this initiative and the assistance of Tom & Nicky Pike.
RAVE FOR THE WAVE! – I am reliably informed by the CFI that the sun, moon, sky & earth were scared into alignment by the Pawnee’s return to the skies producing elusive WAVE on the first Puchacz aerotow of the year. A good omen indeed!
CLAG! Flying was never on the cards today! January is misbehaving, or at least the weekends are! Unfortunately no repeat of Thursday with cloudbase on the floor.
GROUNDSCHOOL Fortunately as if by magic, a double bill of lectures was planned for today. Firstly Simon Withey, Mendips CFI had the unenviable task of presenting the lecture on Air Law, Laws and Rules & Operational Procedures. An essential but less than exciting subject matter was presented with both enthusiasm and humour.
After a welcome bacon sarnie break the second of our double was presented by the workshop team comprising of Nick, Geoff & Joe. A vital lecture for glider owners covering the EASA Self Declared Maintenance Programme certainly opened a few eyes.
With only 2 Bronze lectures remaining the end is in sight! This will see then the groundschool moving on to the Full Radio Licence Lectures by John Garland.
MAINTENANCE With the multi skilled workshop team lecturing today does not mean there is no maintenance to do! Annuals on club aircraft carry on unabated. Phil our resident Farrier has been hard at work with the electric glue machine sticking metal together! His work on rebuilding a steel and aluminium glider trailer is an impressive sight!
CLAG! A main course of 0ft cloudbase with a liberal side of drizzle ensured that flying opportunities were most certainly limited to groundschool today.
GROUNDSCHOOL On Friday evening a number of BWND members were hosted by Halesland as part of the Bronze course. An excellent lecture on Airspace by David Close followed with a military viewpoint from an RAF perspective as an added bonus.
This was consolidated today with a Mendip members returning to The Park for lectures on Navigation by Alastair MacGregor. Having delved into the intricacies of airspace on Friday, Alastair set a number of challenges to consolidate this. The grey matter certainly had a workout with Saturday morning arithmetic!
It’s encouraging to see that already qualified members have been attending the lectures as refreshers and this was notable today due to the lack of flying.
MAINTENANCE continues with annual inspections by our ever attentive workshop crew, the tug is nearing completion and FUY was turned back on it’s toes with it’s rudder refitted. Alastair also replaced the radio in the caravan to meet the new standards.
MICE! It was discovered today that mice have a fondness for DI books and canopy cloths having nested in the cockpit pocket of a private glider, this is in addition to the vistor to the club glider LPM a few weeks ago. I would encourage all those with aircraft in the trailer park to check!
WOW! What a start to the year, that’s 2 solo’s in 2 flying days in the first week of January.
Congratulations to Andy Newman who was sent solo by Steve Wareham today and completed 2 solo flights.
Chris Bauer converted onto the K6 today and we understand that all being well he will be starting his conversion to fast jets in March courtesy of the RAF!
In other news – The Bronze Lectures continued with lectures in both Radio Communications from John Garland and Principles of Flight from Phil Gascoigne. Good to see members from Halesland at The Park!
A committee meeting was held simultaneously with the bronze lectures, maintenance tasks and flying all fortified with bacon butties provided by Sue & Julie!
A total of 29 winch launches and 2 motor glider flights today curbed by the impending gloom and misting canopies!
Don’t forget SUNDAYS NEED YOU! Now is an ideal opportunity for currency flights!
Finally with decorations stowed away, our feet left the ground on the 2nd of January after a very average December (2 days flying in 8). Note – these figures are pretty much the annual trend as corroborated by Alastair’s records. We achieved a respectable 34 flights today with 30 winch launches and 4 motor glider flights. With 2 Puchacz, the K6 and an Astir at our disposal it was certainly a great opportunity to give some of the fleet an airing. Thanks to Sue and Lesley for log keeping in bitter conditions. Notably we were delighted to see Mark Hawkins back on the controls after his enforced absence and Damien Murray solo’d – Was this the first solo of 2019? We’re claiming it! We had great opportunity to practise the new CBSIFTBEC + DBL pre launch checks. This is not significantly different to our usual process but formalises the hooking on procedure. Meanwhile our fairies have been busy altering radio frequencies in advance of the imminent change and the workshop are fully occupied with annuals and maintenance tasks. It never ceases to amaze me how much the infrastructure changes at the club with each visit. Please take the opportunity to have a look around at what has been achieved and is being achieved on a daily basis!
It really looks like 2019 is shaping up to be a great year.
After a ‘pitch inspection’ following the copious rain on Saturday we fielded 2 Puchacz and 1 Astir with a valiant attempt by the motor glider.
Unfortunately the forecast weather materialised earlier than anticipated which put paid to flying prematurely with the aircraft put to bed at 12:15!
The final flight from a total of 5, being abandoned after launch as a wall of water was observed heading for the park! Unfortunately the motor glider only achieved a taxi ride from the hangar to the launch point as the conditions deteriorated.
Meanwhile the workshop and members are busy carrying out annual maintenance tasks on club gliders, private gliders and the Pawnee tug.
As is often the case, Sundays have a great deal of spare flying capacity and today was certainly no exception!
As of this morning the Lasham fund has reached £56000, but still needs further support to reach the target of £100000. Please consider making a donation to the Lasham Airspace Campaign if you have not yet done so. If everyone in just our club donated the cost of a winch launch that would be significant. It may seem unimportant but has the potential to greatly affect all of us and threaten all areas of general aviation.
After the previous night of overindulgence a few optimists and the duty team assembled in very windy and uninviting conditions.
The decision was taken to delay starting until such time as the weather improved as forecasted. This provided an ideal opportunity to rig JKW in the hangar which duly fell together aided by the super smooth billiard table floor (thanks Mick).
A late start at 13:00 with a single puchacz saw a total of just 9 launches and 39 minutes flown. The conditions were character building to say the least with a 15-20 knot crosswind and 35 knot component at altitude. An incredibly fast downwind leg coupled with the increased approach speed ensured everything happened rapidly.
Unfortunately the last cable was sent home empty handed due to the returning liquid sunshine and the hangar doors were closed at 16:00.
It was intriguing to see that our neighbours at Keevil managed individual flights of 2.5 hours ridge bashing today with some venturing as far as Wroughton and utilising the Ridgeway. It just goes to show that optimism in gliding pays off!
Following on from Saturday’s wash / grey out, an exceptionally grey and dismal Sunday offered little promise at the outset. Being eternal optimists we fielded 2 Puchacz at the far end of a draughty field. Hmm whats the cloudbase? We all settled on around 700ft and we were spot on although this did lift (a bit).
All in all a very practical short flying day with more practice launch failures than full circuits! 14 winch launches with a total flying time of 40 minutes and maximum height achieved of 1280ft AGL.
Meanwhile in the clubhouse those who sensibly decided to keep warm attended the first winter series lecture on the subject of cloud flying. The workshop meanwhile continued with vitally important and relentless maintenance tasks on club and private aircraft alike!