With overcast sky and low cloud any possibility of flying was relegated to the afternoon. There was no shortage of jobs for members to get our community spirit well and truly working overtime, with EZE to be rigged, garden furniture to be spruced up and painted – ready for us all to sit in the sun after a good days flying, with a refreshing glass of something to chill out with. Maintenance crew as busy as ever. We welcomed new member Gotthelf Wiederman who got stuck in with jobs. Not to mention the “fettling” of private gliders as well. Lunchtime saw the club room almost “standing room only” with club members enjoying lunch and chit chat about all manner of things. Somewhere about 13.50hrs Mike J announced that we were getting the aircraft out if anyone wished to fly- have you ever been in a room and it`s suddenly gone from a loud hub of multiple conversations to no sound at all – you could hear a church mouse or a pin drop!! Members duly put their hands up and a Puchaz and EZE were out on the field, first winch launch at 14.20 and last at 16.52. With the 2 Mikes and Alistair instructing, check flights and flying with members who just wanted to get their feet off the ground. Many thanks to Andy, wincher for today and Chris B for LPC.
13 Winch launches in all to-day with Mondays 5 winch launches, saw 18 winch launches for this session of midweek flying.
Despite a very promising forecast, seeing Steve rig his flying machine full of hope, like the rest of us, an overcast sky with the addition of fine drizzle presented itself from about 9.30am. Not daunted, the winch duly took itself up to the westerly end of the airfield (with winch driver of course – Dave), caravan already in situ` from yesterday we managed to get 5 winch launches and 1 motor glider flight of the ground. We welcomed a new reciprocal member, an old school friend of Mike J, who took 4 winch launches. Needless to say we did try to prize some old school secrets out of him!! We managed 1 instructor training flight into the bargain.
Maybe the Wednesday forecast will have “got it wrong” and we will have better weather than forecast – which is still “iffy” at the moment. We do have an instructor and winch driver on standby just in case the thermal gods come out to play!!
Final launch at 12.55. Friday 8th March 2019
With the weather forecast due to close in at about 14.00hrs Friday morning saw 10 club members plus our instructors and winch drivers turn out early to make the most of the weather window offered up for to-day. With 2 Puchaz and 2 Astirs out on the field, 14 winch launches were achieved with the first launch at 10.32 and the final launch at 12.15. Alas the weather window closed sooner than predicted with rain arriving an hour earlier than predicted and flying ceased at 13.05 with all aircraft promptly tucked up in the hangar by some rather soggy club members!
The ridge did offer up some lift with a moderate south westerly – Steve managed a very respectable 18 minutes in a Puchaz flying solo. With Mike and Steve instructing and giving check flights, solo pilots keeping current, and our trusty team of winchers we managed to fly all whom wished to fly. 3.5 hours produce 14 winch launches an 10 happy club members.
Not forgetting of course Andy Huggins who was on the airfield at 07.45 with his mowing machine keeping the grass neat and tidy for the rest of us aviators.
Did anyone else spot my spelling mistake? – Hangar not hanger!! Good job I`ve got John (Williams) watching my back. Many thanks John for all your ongoing advice.
Yet another unseasonal sunny, warm day for club members to enjoy some midweek flying – summer shorts braved by one member! With many thanks to the two Mikes and Alistair for instructing in the two Puchaz and motor glider. With solo pilots making the most of LPM. None of this possible without our ad-hoc volunteers of winch drivers with LPC duties being mutually shared. We saw a visitor from Shalbourne flying with Alistair in the motor glider carrying out his x-country endorsement. 23 lauches in all (3 aerotows, 2 motor glider and 18 winch launches) with the first launch at 11.08 and the final winch launch at 15.44
Much “fettling” of gliders going on in the hanger too.
There will be an instructor available with a team of our trusty midweek volunteer winch drivers. Maybe a tug pilot will make themselves available. The weather looks promising and a possibility the ridge may work – taking into account how fickle it can be.
Although somewhat overcast with a strong S.W., the midweek flyers managed a healthy 20 winch launches with Guy instructing for the day. Two Puchaz, one for solo flying, the other for instruction and JKW were out on the field. Not for want of trying by our avid pilots, the ridge refused to offer up any lift for the day. Our winch drivers on the other hand were providing us with launches of up to 1650ft which with the cross wind was quite admirable. With 9 members on the list to fly, the first launch was at 11.14 and final launch at 16.19 which averages out at approximately a winch launch every 15 minutes – not bad!
Not to mention of course the hive of activity down at the clubhouse and workshop.
Great team effort to-day despite the forecast. Stuart and Chris Teasdale took the first winch launch at 9.59 precisely! The first half price launch for sometime. With the two Puchaz on the airfield by 9.40, briefing done, all who wanted a flight, flew before the weather closed in, albeit the cloud base being approx. 1,000ft and subsequently lowering itself, prompting us and flying machines to return to the club house and hanger retrospectively at lunch time!
Is the now, established midweek flying going to become bookable the same as the weekends? With the new bookable system soon to be introduced at the weekends is the flexibility of “flying the weather midweek” going to be a thing of the past? It was not ruled out at the briefing of midweek flying this week. As in this months Glide Angle, mentioned by the ED, to which I also agree, the very mention of this possibility needs to be lobbied by club members who prefer the existing systems of club operations for midweek flying which generate plenty of extra volunteering and camaraderie whilst it brings about additional flying opportunities to club members and extra finances to our club.
Have your say!
Yet another overcast Sunday morning – so just passing some time with reconciling Januarys` financial figures for our efforts to fly midweek thanks to all the extra volunteering that is required from the instructors, trusty winchers and tug pilots. This is not an absolute accurate figure, it is a gross figure, but to my reckoning £1,823.99 added to the club “coffers” is not bad going for regular midweek flying, following the weather window where possible that John (Williams) developed from the odd one or two flying Wednesdays of old! This figure includes winch and aero-tow launches plus time spent in the air.
G-BVUK flew approximately 5hrs .7mins with 16 take offs (this may differ to their personal log in the motor glider slightly.
Test flight for FUY Wednesday 6th February.
The decision not fly Thursday this week has been made.
The workshop crew having finished and rigged FUY managed to make use of a weather window today where Nick and Joe were able to have an aerotow and give it a test flight.
That looks fun – winged suit next?
There may be a possibility of flying if the weather improves. Whilst the forecast is not great, we do have instructor and winch driver cover for Wednesday and Thursday – whichever day looks to be the better. So it will be a last minute call.
January 2019 midweek flying saw a much need boost to club flying with only 3 days flyable on the weekends for the whole month.
5 midweek days: 100 winch launches. 13 aero tows. 14 motor glider launches 14.59 hours gliding 5.07 motor gliding
Surprisingly no snow at the Park and no slippery access road up the hill, having “slipped” all the way up last week, with half my car on the gravelly bit (not a 4 wheel drive on my old banger!)
Can I appeal to the committee to purchase some grit/rock salt boxes (with rock salt in them) to place at strategic points on the access road up to the Park from the farm at the bottom of the hill.
Whilst Gillingham had a dusting of snow and icy driving conditions, driving towards Mere and to the club from this direction was clear of any snow or ice as was the airfield – most unusual, not what I expected of today.
The field was somewhat frozen which delayed winching but there was plenty of demand for aerotows. First launch (aerotow) of the day at 12.09 and the final winch launch at 15.54 taken by Mike J in JKW, just as we were about to tuck it up for the night! Mike took off to go and explore a stunning cloud street formation out to the north west, looking quite dramatic against the soon to be setting sun. After soaring for 24 minutes , Mike opted to land – “throwing away his height” on some tight turns to beat the setting sun – or was it the lone gaitor on the airfield skyline? Longest flight of the day was down to dick – 38 minutes.
With 2 Puchaz, JKW, BNH and the motor glider out on the airfield, some 12 members enjoyed the day with check flights, annuals, cloud flying checks and some respectable soaring flights for this time of the year, averaging out at about 15/20 minutes. With the polar air it was an amazingly clear sky, dotted with tempting and quite dramatic looking cumulus. (pictures to follow thanks to Dan Weston) We all enjoyed home made cake and brownies too!
9 areotows, 10 winch launches and 2 flights by the motor glider.
The “fettling” crew as busy as ever in the workshop
Fortunately spotted my mistake before anyone else- phew!!!!
Flying is on for Wednesday 30th January. We have Mike instructing, with our trusty band of midweek winch drivers sharing the cosy warmest place on the airfield, (not all at once I must say!) with Guy volunteering as tug pilot, A sunny day with a light north westerly wind and some cloud – hopefully with some lift being generated. Wrap up warm and join us on the airfield Wednesday this week.