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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
Bye the way Mike I get notifications on all new posts
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.
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.
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!
No surprise about the lack of flying today, but we had a good attendance for the first of the Bronze lectures. It was great to see a contingent from Mendip at the club for the course.
Steve Lambourne set everyone thinking about how wings produce lift – and it’s not the way many suspected. Mark Player gave a talk on Human Performance. (Not sure what he would say about Steve’s beverage though……)
The hangar and workshop of course were full of fettlers. Graham and Stuart I noticed were installing some fancy electronics in FUY’s radio microphone which will improve its operation.
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.
Well it didn’t rain and the field was dry enough to use. We filled up one log sheet with 2 seater flying, Astir and Venture flights.
The elusive wave remained just so, although there were promising clouds and bits of reduced sink.
About a dozen of us enjoyed a chilly but respectable day on the field, with Mike Jenks instructing, Graham Hoile and Andy Huggins winching, and Chris Chappel making sure we all turned up and behaved. Thanks for organising us Chris. She’s been given detailed instructions on how to write a Blog post today so let’s all look forward to her first efforts shortly…….
Indoors, on the new floor, Mark Player began the Tug annual in ernest. The bottom fell out of Steve Lambourne’s trailer. Geoff and Phil were doing stuff in the hangar.
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!
Christmas is officially under way at the Park. Last night’s excellent dinner party prepared by Julie and John Hull was enjoyed by over 40 of us.
The rain hammered down on the roof but we were warm and cosy, fortified by Julie and John’s super food, wine supplied generously by Clive, and pre dinner tipples supplied from the Bar.
Presents, prizes and cards were distributed. Chairman Martin presented flowers and bottles to Julie and John thanking them for their considerable efforts in preparing for and running the evening. Special mentions also to Mick for managing the new floor laying and to absent friend Sue for her continuous work throughout the year in the club’s catering, bar and so many other things.
The ever-hardy Pike family camped overnight in their camper while the wind howled and the rain poured. Parking the van across the wind seemed ambitious but let’s assume it stayed upright……
2nd half of hanger floor has now been cut, more water used to cut down dust so floor is now very wet even though we swept out as much as possible, be aware of slipping on our new ice rink.
Drains from around South side of hanger and cabling for power supply now laid and covered, Beware if you go around there, two deep leaf traps that have been put in near base of gutter downpipe are still open, new covers on order and should be at club Saturday.
Drain across hanger apron will sink a bit in time and contractors have put more stone on the muddy part of apron.