Staying in Touch

Hi All

A written message and a video message are going out to all members today to bring you up to date with what is going on in the club. My video message is here Video Message We are asking or your help in putting together ways of staying in touch with each other and also having a bit of fun. We need loads of ideas and also teams of people to make it all happen. Lets start a conversation here about what you would like to see and how you might help.

Photo Captions

The captain of the first aircraft in the queue was heard on the radio saying 
“ATC have changed runways. We all need to turn around. Pass it on”.
The number of airfields sold for housing development has now reached a critical stage. The few that are left are suffering from severe over crowding.
Farnborough’s new airspace restrictions are already having an impact.

Bournemouth airport

I came across this unusual image of Bournemouth airport yesterday. If you are reading this from an email you will probably need to look online at the blog to see the image

In these difficult times I thought it might be worth a caption competition.
Any suggestions? Perhaps “Airport proves traffic forecast doubters wrong?”. But I am sure you can do better.


21st, Good launches and soaring

We certainly got the stiff easterly forecast, though it didn’t really feel cold – partly because we were dressed for it  but mainly because we were all kept active outside the caravan – no huddling allowed!   Richard H. gave us some very consistent launches; I thought 1900 feet was OK but take a look at the KTrax link on our website, where the launch heights are in metres ( and do your own maths)  🙂  

We did 14 flights in total, 2 of which were aerotows and about half were soaring.  Mark P. doing the best and I think his was the best winch launch too – a record???

We kept to the Covid19 guidelines very well but the rareity of a strong wind straight down the strip, combined with the “one person per vehicle” rule and solo flying only, gave us something to think about.  We couldn’t keep the Puchacz rudder on one side when towing out, so we stopped and got help.  Potentially the same problem after landing was solved by good short landings and someone walking out to hold the rudder.  If we get another similar day, we could put the caravan further east eg. just beyond the dew pond, then the retrieves would just be short tows forward.

Thanks to all the duty team and everyone for pulling together to make it happen in challenging times.



Looking forward to Saturday

I’m looking forward to flying on Saturday, 21st, with two clear objectives:

  1.  To conduct a safe flying operation on what is expected to be a bright, sunny but cold day in a relentless, brisk easterly wind.  Use of the caravan is restricted to one person at a time, so please come fully prepared in warm clothing and with food and your own drinking arrangements.  We are still under winter rules, so no cars to shelter in either.
  2. To respect the advice we’ve been given to avoid, as well as possible, any cross-contamination of the Covid19 virus.  Of course, you won’t turn up if you or anyone you live with are feeling unwell but we can be carriers without knowing it. 

Phil G.

Keeping the show on the road.

There were about 8 people at the club today all keeping 2M from each other whenever possible. 

Two desperate Venture syndicate owners topped up on their circuit and landings currency in a brisk wind.  Cloudbase was just 800ft but there was a wave hole over Gillingham that would have been much more fun if the size of the hole had been bigger.   Definitely a wave day!  No rain in the event but cloud too low for winching.

LPM had its arms put back on after a diligent annual by Alec and Greg, including the fitting of a launch assist sensor.

There’s now a white K6 wing in the workshop!

Lots of midnight oil being burned now on how we operate under coronavirus restrictions and concerns.  Watch out for important messages soon.

Mike Thorne


As part of the risk reduction process being undertaken by the catering team all china cups will be withdrawn from the caravan on Saturday and replaced with a quantity of recyclable cups that have been purchased. These are not cheap and should be used frugally, so please put your name on them and keep for re-use by yourself later, PLEASE DO NOT leave them laying around in the club or caravan as they will be disposed of. To avoid further waste, you are requested to bring your own mugs.

Please also remember to wash all china cups, crockery and cutlery using the dishwasher. If you don’t know how to use this just ask, also please use common sense when to set the dishwasher running (it takes about 45 mins to complete a Quick Wash cycle).

Many thanks for your help and co-operation


Although unable to fly due to the high wind, there was a huge number of club members beavering away in the hangar. We were worried at one point when we saw a person on the hangar roof, fearing the worst we set up a suicide watch but it was only Mike Thorne clearing the gutters!

Yours truly & Andy Huggins set to rolling the airfield and have removed many of the ruts caused by the vandals last week.

Chrissy continues her sterling effort at redecorating the inside of the caravan, it’s looking great but you are advised to bring a set of welding goggles as it’s a bit bright in there now.

Lastly thanks for the cakes & sweets donated to the team.

New Scam

Dear all

Not a gliding matter so apologise if this is not appropriate but the scammers are now picking up on Coronavirus, so far today I’ve had infected websites offering masks & disinfection wipes etc, be very careful & check the link address etc.

Saturday Report

Thanks to everyone who turned up to fly today. After a late start due to low cloud, poor visibility & a bit of faffing we managed to do 19 launches & 6 1/2  hours flying, the motor-glider also flew again doing three sorties. The ridge eventually started working when the wind went south & picked up with 2 flights over an hour each & a couple slightly less. Thankfully Adam Berresford returned to do his duty instructor despite his membership lapsing, we all had a whip round & raised 10p towards his daily membership!

Congratulations to Andy Newman who, after 35 years  days of solo flying was able to convince me that he is safe enough to be released from daily checks, well done that man!!!

On a sad note some vandal(s) decided to try trashing the airfield during the week (probably Thursday evening) by driving a vehicle up  & down the strip & digging up the grass over the entire length & bredth of the airfield, I have taken pictures & the chairman & CFI have copies, investigations are ongoing, rest assured that thankfully the damage looks far worse than it is & isn’t a safety hazard.

Great Day’s Work

A great day yesterday (Monday) when nine club members turned up to do a lot of work at the club. Primarily the team completely re-painted the clubroom, toilets, kitchen & briefing room including the floors in the kitchen & loos. While all this was being done Julie cooked bacon butties for the helpers, then completed a deep clean of the cookers (a filthy job at best), and Mike Thorne & Mick Longhurst fitted a new main access door, Chris Chappel was busy completing the re-painting of the interior of the caravan. Thanks to everyone who helped & Alastair for organising the day. The whole place now looks bright & shiny, please help keep it that way! 🙂

Soarable at last! Wednesday 5th February

With at least 14 members on the flying list for both Puchaz and the 2 Astirs plus all the “fettlers”, glider maintenance guys and the motor glider having its` rudder re-fitted, it was truly a very busy day at The Park today.

The weather as predicted was very light winds with the promise of some thermals. It didn`t disappoint! Launching from the club house end on the north side with a wind of no more than 5 knots all day, we still had some very respectable winch launches. Many thanks to our intrepid winchers, who managed 28 winch launches between them. We had one areo-tow. First launch 11.02 and final launch 16.40.

Our two volunteer instructors for the day Stuart North and Steve Lambourne were kept busy all day when finally the light fading and the sun becoming low in the sky the flying came to a halt with all the club members achieving the flying, annuals, check flights, training and solo flying they had wished for. Many thanks to Stuart and Steve for enabling this to happen.

Yes, we had some substantial soaring flights with the longest from a winch launch of 41 minutes with the pilot letting down from cloud base (2,300ft) with air brakes open to enable other single seat pilots to have an opportunity to have a soaring flight (could have stayed up for hours!)Both LPM and JKW had soaring flights as did the Puchaz. Several flights of 20 – 30 minutes with smooth conditions.

Home made Chocolate cake and tea all-round kept everyone going 

Chris Chappell

Sunny Wednesday 29th January 2020

In addition to Phil G s` blog, we all had a great day yesterday with many thanks to Phil for volunteering to instruct, our merry band of midweek winchers and Stuart for flying a visitor from the Long Mynd on business in this area whom called in on the off chance of an areo-tow. Our visitor from the Mynd was a BI and an ex tug pilot – well he was very interesting to talk to about how his club is performing with a similar membership volume to ours, but they are a 7 day a week club and have professional staff from catering to CFI and instructors, accommodation the works. They operate on the flying list system, intend to keep it that way and encourage members to engage in many social meals and gatherings to enhance the club income and social cohesion which as he said was an important part of their club. As they don`t own a tug, he had not aero-towed for about 6 years he said, so he thoroughly enjoyed his aero-tow with Stuart to 3500ft.

Graham H held the record for the longest flight of the day from a winch launch of 15minutes in broken, bumpy thermal activity of some sort, with other members averaging about 9/10 minutes a flight.

17 winch launches and tow aero-tows and cups of tea for Phil G!


Wednesday, 29th January

Having cancelled flying due to foul weather last Sunday, I was able to fill in as today’s instructor and enjoy a useful day’s flying.  Puchacz launches were good, around 16-1700′, in the chilly 10-15kt wind, which started more or less down the strip but backed a little later on.

I had candidates for annual checks, daily checks and pre-solo instruction.  We also had a visitor from The Long Mynd, who wanted spins and Stuart took care of him.  There were occasional patches of cloud but aerotow heights were not limited as they cleared through.  Solo and mutual pilots took advantage of the fine weather slot to maintain their currency, so important in these winter days, when we are sometimes limited by low cloud and rain.

Thanks to the whole team who shared the workload, without providing any extra work for the maintenance boys 🙂



“Just smile and wave boys…. smile and wave” 😎.

Good evening my fellow aviators.

I enjoyed my first ‘Wave Flight’ today.

I’ve taken a trip up to Portmoak in the hope of finding some extended Ridge and Wave flights. Portmoak has not disappointed. The weather conditions here have not been as stellar for soaring as they can be, but there has still been an abundance of very workable lift.

The Wave I encountered was only a gentle 1 knot up, but it was still a terrific experience, and the views were as spectacular as they always are here.

I have taken a few pictures below to share with you all, hope you enjoy them.


Kind regards.


A small sample of some famous Portmoak Wave.
A modest 1 knot up, but still a terrific experience.
The views at Portmoak, as breath-taking as always.
And the soothing glow of a deep red sunset, to warm our spirits as we packed away.

At last a half sensible flying weekend.

Saturday 4th Jan was notable in that we did about a dozen flights before rain stopped play.  The committee met for the whole time that flying was going on, making the usual momentous decisions about our future.   (Watch out for GlideAngle!)

Sunday 5th: guess what!  We flew again!  We did about 20 flights before darkness intervened, including some check flights, ridge scratching, currency recoveries, basic training and a number of Astir flights.  The field was damp but usable and a fun day was had by all.  Thanks to all who kept the show on the road.

Soon be summer!  The nights are getting shorter…..

Mike Thorne