A great day at The Park saw a good turnout on the field with private owners tempted to rig by the last vestiges of a mostly good weather day. Warm in the sun but noticeably chilly when the clouds obscured it!
Lots of training and BI flights saw 2 Puchacz the K21 and the 2 club Astirs on the field. Had the 2 other club aircraft not been in maintenance they might well have made an appearance too. The K6 is currently in the workshop with noticeable patches of skin missing from its wings as part of it’s inspection by the maintenance team.
Dan Weston and Harriet Gamble both undertook flights to continue BI training with Alastair.
Many of our newer younger members were in attendance undergoing continuation training and a number of day member flights were undertaken.
Meanwhile in the clubhouse 5 members undertook the FRTOL exam and successfully passed, a thoroughly worthwhile licence to obtain – see write up in the forthcoming glide angle.
Condor have released an update which supersedes previous versions, there is also a separate updated hangar available.
As the dedicated server has not been updated as of yet if you are running the updated version you won’t be able to join multiplayer until such time as the server is updated as I discovered this evening.
There are lots of new features with the update, notably there is now a ‘spectate’ function so those who are not running condor can follow tasks if they wish.
Another good social tonight with George arranging a club 100k task TIS-BRU-MEL with a South Westerly 12knot wind and 4k cloudbase. 6 members participated tonight and all completed the task with George securing top honours. I languished near the bottom but made it round so that was something! Although I did recover from losing the tow at 500ft.
To make it easier I purchased a standalone wireless numerical keypad from Amazon for around a tenner which makes it easier than fumbling the keyboard for those more widely used functions (pic attached).
Just to remind you what it looks like there’s a screenshot of Keevil too!
Hi everyone, hope you are all well!
If anyone else is holed up with a bit of cabin fever and feeling bored I have finally put together a film from my Peru Trek during 2016.
Remember what the great outdoors looks like?
Its a bit lengthy, 45 minutes! So pull up a llama and grab a beer.
For those with smart TV’s you can view on youtube on the big screen.
Further to my post yesterday a few members have been in touch regards setting up. I thought I would add a few pointers here.
Before you do anything make sure that you record all your passwords and usernames etc exactly as you enter them when you install Condor as you will need this for Condor updater etc which is a separate add on.
A – Condor 2: https://www.condorsoaring.com/
B – Condor Club: Additional landscapes, forum & comps etc (separate entity from Condor) it’s free so set up a user account- https://www.condor-club.eu
C – Condor Updater – You can access the link for this from the landscapes tab of condor club above – https://www.condor-club.eu/i/CondorUpdater_Setup.exe
Joystick – You WILL need this so order at the outset. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-Extreme-Pro-Precision-Joystick/dp/B00CJ5FPTA/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=extreme+pro+3d+joystick&qid=1586345353&sr=8-1
1 – In the first instance download Condor 2 (ITEM A) and set up your pilot credentials noting exactly how you enter your name as you will need this for Condor updater.
2 – Go to condor club as link above (ITEM B)and join.
3 – Download Condor updater from Condor Club (ITEM C). (Not essential to use Condor 2 however if you want to download UK areas for free you will need it) This enables download of landscapes from the Condor Club site. I would suggest paying for the premium updater membership for 12 euros per year as this gives unlimited downloads and doesn’t throttle downloads. Condor Updater allows you to download complete landscapes without having to extract files etc or search for them in Condor Club. The updater shows which landscapes are available to download that aren’t currently in your inventory on your PC.
As before if anyone requires assistance happy to share my limited knowledge.
Having ‘thought’ about purchasing the Condor computer software in the past that was as far as I had got. In this period of unfortunate enforced grounding it seemed an opportune time to revisit the idea, especially with the offer that Martin informed us about.
Being limited in my computer know how (unfortunately I am not blessed with the level of computer wisdom such as the Pike dynasty) if I can do it anyone can!
A quick check of the required hardware requirements easily found on the Condor website had me thinking this might just work on my PC.
There are 2 grades of software available a cheaper and more expensive package, the only differences being the aircraft and landscapes available (but one 3 times the cost of the other). There is no difference in the end offering save for those aircraft and landscapes, however this need not matter, I’ll explain later.
Opting for the cheaper package, it was easily downloaded to my machine, the package allows you use the software on 2 devices such as a desktop and laptop if you desire.
The guides for setting up the software and indeed hardware are easily accessed through Condor’s website and the software itself.
There is no need for any peripherals such as a joystick or pedals but to get the full experience a joystick is definitely a requirement. From studying forums etc many people (even the pundits) don’t use pedals. As I found by not being able to complete a launch just a keyboard will not suffice.
The joystick I purchased has a twist function for the rudder which adds a lot more feel.
I’ll skip over the rest of the boring bit for now and go flying instead.
So the stock landscape is Slovenia or Slovenia and I somehow found myself in a Blanik, well I pratted around in that for a while to get the ‘feel’ of the simulator and then investigated what else is on offer. I am now the proud owner of a shiny Std Cirrus with interior upholstery straight out of old BR rolling stock (Martin, Jorn I’m coming for you).
The realism is quite uncanny, definitely simulator and not game for those who may be doubtful. Winch launch or aerotow, the choice is yours.
There are training school modes from what happens on the ground to launch failures and spins and stalls. All of it frighteningly realistic.
The great thing with the joystick I purchased is that you can assign the ‘buttons’ for various functions such as gear, trim, release and airbrakes rather than fumbling on a keyboard so adding further to the realism as everything is close at hand. Of course depending on the aircraft you can throw in a bit of flap or water just to confuse the issue further.
After getting used to my shiny new aircraft I figured a task or 2 would be in order. Never having flown a ‘proper’ task it was all very new and the thought processes involved are very real. You can build your own tasks or use the standard task in free flight mode.
I mentioned earlier about the different package levels and having opened up a whole new world of the online soaring community rapidly learned where to ‘find’ things. The main community associated with Condor has loads of landscapes and aircraft freely available. The landscapes are ‘built’ by members of the community and yes the UK features well.
There are a huge number of online competitions being flown around the world and for those on social media you may have seen many tasks have been arranged recently in the UK. Delving further I found that one of these requires the South East UK mapping. These are large files and can take some time to download but even with my cocoa tin and string broadband it wasn’t too painful. There is a premium download option available for a measly 12 euro’s per year which I hastily signed up to.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that the South East mapping extends as far as Yeovilton! The Park yes, its there in all its sunny glory, the ridge, Westbury White Horse to name but a few all feature.
Well this changed things a bit could I get to Rivar Hill??????? That’s another story!
I’m very new to this and every day is a school day but I genuinely believe that this is a worthwhile investment at modest cost. I had the PC already but for £100 I’m up and running (Software, Joystick, Premium Downloads).
If anyone is interested in knowing anymore I’m very happy to share my very limited knowledge of getting going with you!
The annual BWND Christmas dinner took place on Saturday night in the clubhouse. With slightly fewer numbers than previous years we made best use of the additional space to spread out and fill ourselves with early Christmas cheer.
A splendid spread with starters, mains and desserts all topped off with coffee and various ‘other’ beverages.
A huge thanks again to Julie & John Hull for their tireless efforts in the kitchen to produce a delicious feast of such epic proportions!
The forecast seemed uncertain after a night of rain with billowing grey cloud but nonetheless a good Sunday turnout ensued.
With the weather conditions improving all the time the cloud cleared and a bright sunny day was in the offing.
A fleet consisting of 3 Puchacz and 1 Astir were assembled by the dewpond ensuring we could all feel the benefit of the the fresh North Easterly wind.
A useful day of instruction followed with BI’s under training and Bath University members making the most of the relatively benign conditions.
A solitary private glider was fielded which made the most of the conditions with some engine assistance, reportedly even encountering some wave.
A good solid day with 33 winch launches and a few aerotows thanks to Nick Bowers impromptu tug duty.
With everything put to bed by 16:15 we were away by 17:00 (after a slight delay due to a flat battery on a motorcycle – Top tip, don’t leave your heated grips switched on!)
The field whilst in good condition has certainly become markedly softer and all should take extra care when operating any equipment so as to preserve the condition of the field going into the winter. Remember, how we look after it now will determine it’s condition for next years flying.
CHRISTMAS DINNER! – There are just 12 names on the list for Christmas Dinner! John and Julie go to great lengths to prepare this festive feast which is a great social evening. Unless names are forthcoming there is a distinct possibility that this won’t happen!
Disappointing start to the day! 10:10 and all is quiet! Incomplete duty team, 1 pupil, no gliders on the field. Its a beautiful day at the park. Days like these are numbered this time of year and the opportunity shouldn’t be missed! To quote the duty instructor ‘one is not impressed’
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 very gloomy overcast day at The Park for a majority of the day resulted in a lot of watching and waiting. But the wait for Steve Callaghan was over as John Hull sent him solo today – Congratulations Steve! That’s 2 members of the Callaghan clan who’ve solo’d at The Park.
Flightlog tell’s it’s own story with only couple of flights of any duration prior to 16:00 with most being sub 10 minutes, the best flight of the day was from a visiting discus with a time of 1:36 from a winch launch which launched at 16:49.
Whether any tasks were completed I’m not sure but not a fantastic competition day on the face of it.
A rare treat today as Julie unexpectedly provided ice creams and ice lollies in various forms at the launch point accompanied by Chris Roberts playing the tune of an ice cream van from his phone!
Having followed the competiton with interest it looked like today was a ‘goer’ as the pilots were briefed this morning and the gliders gridded. Unfortunately it has just resulted in a scrub again.
I think we can all relate to the snippet below (especially the last 2 lines).
On a more positive note Tim Fletcher remains in the lead after the last task on Tuesday!
Following on from the open day yesterday the weather appeared to hold more promise for today. Due to yesterday’s inclement weather visitors were encouraged to return today with the possibility of taking a flight.
Despite a low turnout of club members we fielded 3 Puchacz and 1 Astir with Phil and the CFI instructing and a brace of BI’s at the ready for visitor’s.
Under character building conditions with the wind 20kts at 270 it was a great opportunity for honing skills and making the most of the lofty launches. The afternoon provided some welcome sun and an easing of the conditions.
It was great to see 2 visitors today who bought vouchers at the open day in addition to others who turned up on the off chance who we were able to fly. Interestingly some of our visitor’s got the day wrong but it proved the advertising worked!
In other news………….
Tug Bugs: The tug is currently OOA and under investigation. Dick Yerburgh, Mark Player and others toiled all day but a fault persists and work is ongoing.
Overflight’s: With the Club Class Nationals at Aston Down this weekend we were graced with some overflights from fellow gliding aviators, we did spy Tim Fletcher in his Libelle slightly to the North of us. However on checking the results tonight it’s great to see that Tim has topped the scoreboard with a comfortable margin. Well done Tim! You can follow the competition at the link below which runs until 2nd June.
Rare Bird Visit: As a result of the club class nationals we saw an appearance from the Rare Robin Orangebreast, latin name G-TUGZ. Resplendent in it’s orange and white plumage it retrieved another visitor in the form of an ASW19B which was a little out of breath and stopped for a rest.
GAM in it’s pram: GAM and its trailer were cleaned and it was de-rigged this evening in anticipation of it’s return to Tim Dews. Thanks to Tim for making it available.
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.