Wind speeds of 50 knots at times today ensured that the doors were kept closed and the hatches battened. Lots of creaks and groans from the tortured building and trees.
As usual, quite a bit of hangar activity. Work continues on VN’s annual. The off-grid power system delivered many kilowatt hours and the generator was provoked into life for a few minutes only by deliberately loading up the system. Otherwise we harvested wind and sun for all our needs. More work continues this week to bed-in and refine the system.
Tim Dews kindly delivered his Grob Twin Acro EZE to help us through our heavy maintenance period. Not often a glider gets delivered by someone wearing patent leather shiny shoes, but we see do some firsts at The Park.
No flying (again) today, so I sat in on Gordon McDonald’s Inspector Seminar that the BGA held at the club today. This was for me an interesting and informative session and something I think most glider owners would have learnt a lot from.
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.
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.
It was blue all day with a light south-easterly wind and a very strong inversion, ideal for first time flyers ( Uni & Day members), annual & other checks and early solos.
Andy C. brought along four other students. He was checked out on aerotow and John Symonds did annuals, both having 3000′ tows. John H. gave Damien a check to convert to the Astir [ I’m too heavy to fly with him in KAN 🙁 ]. We flew two day members and new cadet, Lysander.
We were launching and landing away from the sun, which was good but by sunset the downwind leg was tricky and canopies were starting to mist, so we gave in just before legal night.
Apart from the Buzzard, which John knocked out with the Pawnee, we had a good day, with a total of 32 launches, including 4 aerotows. Thanks to all, Phil.
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!
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.
Rather unexpectedly we have a Medium size Heavy Duty Polo Shirt embroidered with the club logo for sale from the recent batch. Navy Blue (white logo) still sealed in it’s bag. Cost £18.75 to the first bidder. Please contact Julie (or John).
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!’
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!