Sunday February 5th

This weekend was the first time we have had our new Eurofox tug in service. Everyone has been amazed by the power of the new tug and today we flew it for 2.5 hours including eight tows. Picture taken with two in the tug towing a Puchacz dual.

Portmoak Expedition Thursday 19th May

A day with strong thermals to about 6000ft, but badly broken by the wave. The easy option therefore was a float around the Highlands in nice smooth air. M3 got to around 13,000ft, but I’ve not spoken to everyone yet.
The image above is Loch Tummel from about 8,000ft.

Portmoak Expedition Day 1

Portmoak Day 1 gave us a surprise wave day. By late morning, the Bishop was working  and there were some thermals. A climb to 3500ft then allowed the classic transition to wave. The wave only went to 7300ft, which was fortunate as my oxygen was in the trailer.

Friday 18th March

View west towards The Park from Salisbury in 306 todayGood call from Chris Chappell to call Friday a flying day.
The day was a little slow to develop but by 13:00 the streeting was very good and thermal averages were up to 6kts.
Most club glider flights were over 30 minutes.
BT, 194 and D2 also flew.
Chris Roberts and Adrian flew the Venture to Lee on Solent.

Wednesday November 3rd

We had a very useful demonstration today of the latest EuroFox 915iS tug. We did four Puchacz tows to 2000ft and Mark and I had a couple of passenger flights to assess the handling. I need to look at the traces but the initial impression is that it climbs exceptionally well at around 7000ft/min.

Here is a video taken on one of the tows from a Puchacz, with apologies for the tug being out of focus, but it shows the climb rate..

We welcome Tim Brunskill’s to the club with his K6E.

Task week report

Well, a flying week with four very good cross country days and one sunny and flyable day, must be some sort of record.

Despite not actually having very many club members flying, four pilots achieved Badge flights:
Martin Davidson, Diamond Goal.
Keith Longden, Silver distance, 5 hours and 100K Diploma.
Mark Smallwood, 5 hours and Silver height.
Bill Prince, Silver distance.
Ian Simmonds from Dorset GC, Silver distance, Silver height and  100K diploma part 1.

As well as these flights, there were several successful 200K – 500K flights, and three field landings with no problems. Sorry I have no pictures, but believe several have some from the air of Keith’s glider in a field at Longleat yesterday.

Most of all though, a big thank you to the winch drivers and tug pilots for volunteering to launch us.

Task week update

Tuesday was another excellent flying day with a high cloudbase and strong thermals. Tasks up to 340K.

Wednesday, ditto. Tasks up to 310K and as far as I am aware, one 300 and several of the group flew the 200K. It was certainly a lot cooler at 5000ft in the glider this afternoon than on the ground.

Same again for Thursday I think.

Day 1 Task Week Monday

The first day of the Task Week gave us some fantastic flying conditions with strong climbs to over 6000ft widely in the afternoon.

I don’t have all the details yet, but well done to Keith Longden for Silver distance and 5 hours. Mark Smallwood for 5 hours. Martin for his first Diamond 300K. And a great 300 attempt from Harriet.

919 and 306 flew 500K, with Mike unfortunately really needing longer wings to cross a huge blue sea air gap on the way home.

Tuesday is also looking good.

Tuesday 15th June

We now have another 7 tug pilots with Microlight ratings after a successful day of Type Conversions with Jonathan May in his Ikarus C42.

It was interesting to fly something new, and with a climb rate of about 10kts and a cruise of 80 – 90kts it felt very different to the Venture and much lighter than the Pawnee.

It was a very good gliding day though………as you can see in the image.


Christmas lunch

Reading that Bournemouth Class D airspace was downgraded to Class G for today, plus the forecast of a sunny day was just too much of a rare opportunity. So Sue and I flew over the Bournemouth region without ATC guidance. Also to fly in the zone we needed to set a listening squawk, which we can now do in the Venture.

It was the first time I have been able to fly over my house as well. No, not the one below, that’s Kingston Lacy.

Below is Wimborne from the West.

And this one is obvious.


Saturday 10th

It’s been eight months since last instructing, so it was good to be back in GAM today, flying with Harriet and Dan on BI training.

Windy, 20kts NW, but winch launches to 1900ft and thermals for a short period around midday with really quite good climbs. The wave looked enticing early on, but the air was all a bit too unstable for it to be a realistic prospect.

Very few members in attendance though. Don’t be afraid to book a single seater, even if you are only expecting to do a circuit. The new booking schedule will allow four bookings per day. It’s still soarable.

Tuesday 2nd June

Today was a replacement for the usual Wednesday flying. Many thanks to those who arranged it and the volunteers running the operation. We were a select few today, but the flying was some of the best since we restarted flying with strong thermals and a high cloudbase. Unlike Sunday, only 6000ft though!

I hope this isn’t the end of summer…….

Sunday 8th September

It turned out to be a better day than many of us expected I think and it gave really excellent soaring conditions. I thought it might be worth posting a few pictures from my flight, as it was one of the most satisfying in the last few years.

I enjoy visiting exciting soaring locations, and the Isle Of  Wight ranks high on my list. I have only been able to fly there once before as suitable days are rare and it’s a 300K flight to St Catherine’s Point and back. The flight is normally only possible in August or September due to the sea breezes that occur earlier in the year. The secret it seems to me is that it’s not difficult to cross the Solent, but it’s important to be able to be high enough to get to a good climb on the other side, which will likely be twice the crossing distance.

Isn’t this what gliding is all about?

Approaching Portsmouth

Looking to the IOW

Looking west


St Catherine’s Point Lighthouse! 

Heading Home, looking NE


Give it a try, it’s not difficult.

Saturday 31st August

Only three launches were possible today before the conditions became too difficult with low cloud and some rain.

The ridge was working though and it gave Roy a taste of how to fly on a ridge. The wind was 185 degrees at 15kts on the first flight, but it was not quite strong enough to maintain height. On the second flight the wind was 185 degrees again, but at 20kts and the ridge just about allowed sustained flight up to 1000ft, but it was necessary to work hard with S turns in the best parts. On the third and last flight the wind had increased and veered to 220 degrees at 26kts and it was working very easily up to the cloudbase of 1900ft QFE.

These were the best set of ridge flights I have had at The Park, so if you see a forecast of 20+ kts from 180 – 220 degrees, it’s well worth flying. 1500 feet or so may not sound very exciting, but the practice it gives in working weak ridge and thermal lift is very satisfying.

Task Week

Congratulations to the 15 pilots who took part in the club Task Week, which finished on Friday. We  flew on every day and four out of the five were cross county days. Wednesday was a proper racing day, but the other days had there challenges. I enjoyed setting them and I hope you had a fun week. We plan to run a week again next year.

Link to the final results is below.

Task week results


Saturday 6th July

The forecast front never appeared today and we flew 35 launches with 26 hours of soaring. There was very little interest though in single seat flying despite the strong thermals to around 4300ft QNH.