Soaring in January

Probably the best thermal soaring day in January I have seen. For a while in the afternoon there was some impressive streeting as in pics below.  Best flight time was 29 minutes in a Puchacz.

Alastair

 

 

The Pawnee paws the clouds! Sunday 20th January.

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!

Saturday School!

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!

‘Spaced Out’ with Simon Withey
Glider Maintenance Lectures with Nick & Joe (Geoff’s hiding)
Trailer ‘Fettling’
Phil, armed & dangerous!

Club vario upgrade

With much help from Graham today, JKW and FUY have been fitted with S80 varios. They are very easy to use and will really help with soaring. For ease of use there is a simple user guide in JKW.

Sorry about the photo but the contrast of the bright display against the workshop was too much for the camera.

Alastair

Thursday 17th January

A glorious sunny January day saw 15 club members turn out to fly with Steve and Mike instructing for the day with our team of midweek winch drivers Dave, Andy and Nick enabling a total of 29 flights in all with Lesley keeping a tidy log. 2 Puchaz and JKW were out on the airfield, with the first launch at 10.45 and the final launch of the day at 16.07. A strong northly, gusting on occasions  gave plenty of cross wind landing practice. Despite some exceptionally strong sink, Andy (Callahan) managed a very respectable 17 mins solo in the Puchaz, gaining a height of 2.100ft – well done Andy!

Chris (Basham) apart from being an intrepid aviator with the rest of us has taken some great photos of members “basking” in the January sun – albeit being well wrapped up, which when I find out how to post them from my PC we will be able to share them with you all.

Chris Chappell

Midweek flying this week.

Hi All,

Thursday 17th January is looking better than Wednesday. We have instructor and winch cover for Thursday this week. With the weekend just gone not flyable either days, Thursday, weather permitting will be a good day to keep those flying skills current.

If you can make Thursday please let me know – chrischappell@live.co.uk

Chris

(Entered  unsolicited by Mike T as Chris isn’t quite  Blog active yet.  I’m sure she will be soon… )

What’s the best mobile network at The Park now?

Does anyone have good experience of solid mobile phone reception at The Park?  It used to be that O2 had the best (but still patchy)  2G coverage.  Vodafone claims the best 4G on its coverage maps.  Is this borne out in practise?

I’m about to change my phone contract and would appreciate any views from first hand experience please.

Mike T

Not Badgers but Chalk Diggers

Too-windy then too-wet weather made available a team of willing diggers to complete the excavation for the new electricity cabin base.   Thanks to all who contributed.  Lots more chalk was moved so a nice clean space now awaits a container that will be converted to house the new electrical components. Full installation will be at the beginning of March, after which we’ll be able to harvest all that lovely wind and sunshine.

Lots going in the hangar too with FUY having its tail feathers measured plus many sparks as Steve and Mel’s trailer lost its bottom to Phil’s angle grinder.

Mike T

p.s.  Lots of free chalk for anyone who wants it….

Mice meanderings

What better place to find in a wood at the top of a hill than a warm, dry, ready built shed to build a cosy nest?  It’s unreasonable to expect that the local inhabitants, mice, squirrels, pheasant, badgers etc will not be investigating our trailers and, for the mice and squirrels at least, to be delighted to find even more luxurious accommodation inside the mobile sheds.

Many years ago, in our early days at The Park, squirrels found an ideal hiding place for their nuts, inside the wing tip of a glass single-seater.  Having discovered them, now consider how you might extract them?  There’s no easy access to the inside of a 7m wing tip.  You cannot simply poke anything down there and vacuum them out!

Our solution was to raise the very expensive, pristine wing to the vertical and shake them out.  It was not an easy task to accomplish without damage but we utilised the bridge from the field to the clubroom, with the root at ground level by the kitchen and people on the bridge to steady and shake the wing.  All went well.

How do we avoid the problem?  Very expensive and awkward to fix damage, not always easily visible or easy to track down (eg. radio antenna wiring down the fuselage), can be caused by rodents gnawing and they do seem to like electrical insulation ( as well as any tiny pieces of food left in the cockpit pockets).  I was advised that an effective deterrent for old wooden gliders and trailers was mothballs and, early every autumn, I used to scatter a few in my Astir trailer, placing some carefully near likely entry points ( it’s very difficult to seal a trailer completely against mice).  I never found any evidence that mice had been in there or any damage, so I reckon it worked.   I did have mousetraps in there – not baited of course – and none were ever triggered, other than by me.

I didn’t mind the lingering mothball smell and considered it far better than the potential damage.  You cannot buy the “original” mothballs any more ( health and safety for the factory workers) but substitutes are available.  Also, many animals are deterred by the chemical limonene, according to the contents on the packaging of many products in hardware or garden stores.   I never tried “car air fresheners” but they might work.  See what you can find and share your ideas.

Phil G.

Not so nice & mice! Saturday 12th January.

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!

Ruddy Hell!

Wednesday 9th January 2019

A beautiful crisp day with a steady northerly saw 13 club members at the launch point enjoying the day, with Stuart facilitating the instruction. First flight being at 11.22 and last flight 15.17 Despite some promising looking small cumulus around midday the conditions of the day belonged to some fairly strong sink!

17 winch launches and 1 motor glider flight.

Sunday, 6th January

A grey day but a light wind, so our brand new solo pilots,  Damien and Andy, were able to consolidate with more solo flying.  Congratulations to both!  A few old hands flew too and Harriet kept us all in order.  We did ten winch launches and the Venture few three times.

Just after we finished, four youngish local gents turned up to watch but we hope they will return as potential members.  Damien recognised one of them and had a chat,  so that’s a helpful start and a good finish to the day.

Saturday 5th January 2019

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!

Wednesday 2nd January 2019

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.

Safe Flying everyone!

2018

Well we have achived quiet a lot in the past year with plans for a lot more,.

Hope you all have had a good Christmas, be it without any flying, better things to come.

Just to emphasise what has been said before, all the bits a pieces that we put outside to facilitate the laying of hanger floor, if you what it kept you, yes you, need to find somewhere for it to be stored and put it there.

When I return in the new year, I will be arranging a skip to remove all that is left outside.

And whilst on the subject of that area, It was agreed by the committee that trailers are not left outside hanger for more than one day, if you bring you glider into hanger for repair and it stays in hanger, for any period of more than a day, you must put the trailer back in the trailer park please, parking is getting very tight at times.

Bye the way, weather in Malta very sunny with light wind and cloudbase about 3-4 thou varying 0-5 eights cover, not that you could concidering gliding, there is only one glider on the island, a K8, in flight museum hanging derigged against the wall.

Happy New Year to all and I will see you in 2019

Mickl

Bye the way Mike I get notifications on all new posts

Sunday 30th Dec. The Park No Fly Zone….

Another grungy day.  Cloud down to the ground when it seemed pretty clear all around us.  The Park Doom Cloud!

Most people predicted it correctly and chose to do other things.  The self selecting few did some odd jobs then left site by about 2.30.

Let’s hope for better on New Year’s Day when Alastair will be presiding.  

Happy New Year to both (?) our readers.

I wonder how many people are receiving and reading these Blog messages. It’s a medium we should grow in 2019 if we can as it does allow easy message sharing access to and by all members who’d like to be in touch.

Mike T

Saturday 29th

Another no fly Saturday, but the flying stats show we are lucky to fly one day in four in December, so it can only get better now.

Plenty of Hangar action though. LPM is rigged but the mice have had a chew of the straps, which will need to be replaced. Mark Player has been working on the Pawnee’s Annual and is nearing the end of the task now.

We are expecting to fly on New Year’s Day.

Alastair