Four Counties
Gliding Club

A Member of the Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association

RAF Wittering

December 2007

Christmas Flying

RAF Operations on the airfield finish on Friday 21st December, and will not recommence until the New Year. Weekend operations will continue as normal, but midweek flying will be possible.
Check with the CFI as to when this may be happening.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

November 2007


The AGM was successfully held on the 17th November with good attendance from the club, and followed as always by excellent food, provided by the combined culinary forces of Hilly Davey & Sharon Tolson.
On the whole, the club seems to be on a steady footing, both financially and in terms of launch rates and progress.

This meeting also saw the return of the awarding of prizes to Club Members for achievements this year. Prizes were awarded as follows:

Baldwin Trophy (Best Flight of the Year) - Danny Thorogood
Bronze to full Silver in one flight to Gransden.
Shirley Trophy (Best Flight in a Club glider) - Alan Ellis
Landed just short of finishing on the first day of the Wittering ICL, in the only wooden glider on the grid.
Sharon Morgan Trophy (Member of the Year) - Pete Pearson
For his continued work as Bar Member, MT Member and Catering Assistant!
Ian Bentley Trophy (Ab Initio of the Year) - Jon Morris
For his constant enthusiasm and unshakeable determination to get to the airfield each weekend!
Merriman Trophy (Behind the Scenes) - Charlie Ingram-Luck
For keeping the fleet flying.
George Lee Trophy (Fastest 100km Flight) - Chris Armstrong
Piloting the Duo Discus to Gransden and back (with the CFI asleep in the back!)
Hughes Trophy (Flight of Note) - Danny Thorogood
Bronze to full Silver in one flight to Gransden.
Instructors Trophy - Ian Dawson
For his constant devotion to the back seat of the K21.
CFI's Trophy - Mark Tolson
Always to be found as Loughborough Uni's tame instructor, and always willing to sit in the back of a glider.
Special Award - "Rope-Runner of the Year" - Paul "Albert" Finney
To the OIC of the club, for his constant hardwork, from organising electrics in the hangar, to hooking up gliders at the ICL.

October 2007

New Club Year & AGM

Just to remind everyone, the new membership year starts on October 1st. All memberships expired on the 30th September, and must be renewed before flying again. Please fill in a membership form again, and pass you subs to the Field Treasurer as soon as possible.

NOTE Prices have increased for the 07/08 Membership year. Click here for more details.


The date of the AGM has been provisionally set for Saturday 17th November. This date may be subject to change. Further details will be posted when they are known.

August 2007

Competitions & K13's

Since the last update, the soaring season has come.... and gone. Most will agree it has been one to remember, if only for the lack of good weather.
Our hosting of the Inter Club League at the beginning of June was very successful and thanks go to Colin Davey and Dave Sharp, amongst many others, for making the weekend run so smoothly. The first day was a good racing day, and only R35 didn't make it back, with a late landout at Bicester. The second day was more challenging, and only the big wings made it back, with R35 visiting the Darlton Gliding Club at the first turn point.

The weather really set in as we progressed into July, and it was feared the Inter University Task Week at Cotswold Gliding Club would be lost in the floods. The week, however, proved to be one of the best yet, with only one morning rained off. Loughborough and their tame instructor (Mark Tolson), put in a good performance, and an enjoyable week was had by all, with Jon Morris, Loz Homer and Rob Lockwood gaining various Bronze legs.

A few members flew competitions, with varying degrees of success. The CFI had a couple of good days at the Bicester Regionals, but his luck didn't hold and the Gransden Regionals were almost totally rained off. Mark Tolson enjoyed an excellent start to the Northern Regionals, but an incident in a field landing meant he had to miss most of one of the best weeks in the year. Meanwhile in Norfolk Pete Davey suffered the same rain as the CFI, on top of not having a glider, in what is probably the wettest Junior Nationals in history. Better luck next year chaps!

Loughborough's K13 finally launched into the skies in June, after several long months of refurbishment. It had a short spell of happy flying, until it was once more grounded for new repairs. With the new university year fast approaching, we hope it will be back soon.

April 2007

Solo and Bronze in Scotland, Silver at home

Over the Easter week several club and Loughborough Uni members followed the call of far off wave north of the border, and arrived brimming with enthusiasm at Portmoak. Only to be met by easterly winds and a blue, cloudless sky! Not to be put off, Mark Tolson set about his instructing, and was rewarded with two new solos from Dayne Oldroyd and James Fitzmaurice. Congratulations to both of them, and their success pushes the tally of new solo pilots from LSUGC to five so far this year.

As the week progressed the weather improved and the wind came round to the west, allowing several members to experience their first taste of ridge soaring. Jon Morris and Loz Homer took advantage of the improving conditions and both managed their two bronze half hour legs, while Rob Lockwood converted to the Discus and gained a Cross Country leg in the process.

The long weekend at Witering was also productive. Danny Thorogood took the '18 to Gransden for his 50km Silver Distance flight, and managed to gain his Silver Height and stay up for 5 hours in the process. This is a particular achievment for Danny as he gained his Bronze some 27 years previously! Not content with the flying he did at Portmoak, Chris Armstrong joined Danny at Gransden to claim his 50km flight. He would have made it 100km but the weather did not allow a return trip. The same day Jon Morris also achieved a Silver leg, gaining the height twice! The second time with a logger to record the events. Dave Chisholm has also had his claims approved and is now the proud owner of a full Silver badge. Well done to all of you!

The AGM went ahead on the 31st March and was well attended, with some interesting discussion prompted by the new Exec. One of the main results of the meeting was an increase in launch and soaring fees. See the Prices page for the changes.

Word on the street is that the Loughborouh K13 will return from its extended stay under repair at the end of this month and will make its long anticipated debut at Wittering. To mark the occasion the University K8 has been uncovered at the back of the hangar and has seen daylight for the first time in quite a while. It is currently in the workshop, and plans are afoot to find out just how badly damaged it is, and hopefully get it flying again!

March 2007

AGM, ICL and other acronyms

Firstly, congratulations go to our three newest solo pilots. Jon Morris, Loz Homer and Chris Bellew, all members of the affiliated Loughborough University club, soloed within two weeks of each other, Jon and Loz in the same half hour! These make the first new solos for LSUGC since joining us, and we hope for many more.

The club has now aquired a second bus, in the form of the flower power scout mobile that had been skulking in the woods in Rogue Sale. This is Phase 1 in Pete Pearson's grand scheme for a fully functional and integrated launchpoint solution, or something like that!

This year the club plans to make a re-entry in to the Inter-Club League (ICL), a competition run over several weekends of the summer, where various clubs from our area compete against each other in racing cross-country tasks. The ICL is aimed primarily at introducing novice pilots to the concepts of cross-country flying, and thus is split into three groups; Novice, for pilots who have not yet flown large cross-countries; Intermediate, for the more experienced cross-country pilots; and Pundit, for the hardened race pilots.

Each club hosts a weekend of the competition at their site, and we shall be hosting the other clubs at Wittering on the 2nd and 3rd June.

If you would like to compete on any of the dates, or help out in any way with the event at Wittering, please contact Mark Tolson.

Finally, the AGM has been scheduled for the 31st March. The meeting itself will be held in the Officers Mess, with the usual food and festivities back in the clubhouse afterwards. All club members are welcome to attend.

January 2007

Happy New Year, New Website, and New Pilots

As promised, the shiny new site is complete. After a long wait, and some delays, the new site is finally up and running. All the pages are active, and while there is still some content to be added, the site is pretty much finished. I hope you all approve.

A note on the members area, for those that don't yet know, the password system has changed. If you would like access, email me at the address on the members page, and I will send you the username and password. There is only one logon ID now, as for some reason, the system in it's infinite wisdom, decided to delete some members. There should no longer be any problems logging on, although some people have reported occasional faults. Please report them to me if you find any.

Congratulations are in order (if a little late!) for two of our regualr members Jim Douthwaite and Stan Watson, who soloed towards the end of 2006. Stan, our "man in the know" at Wittering has put in a lot of work both on and off the airfield for the club, and is well deserving of his achievment. The winter months also meant that Jim, normally occupied on summer weekends touring the Airshows with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, managed to get in some real flying time, and his dedication paid off with his going solo. Congratulations to you both.

On the fleet side, the Uni K13 is still two weeks from completion, and the Acro has finally departed for pastures new, taking up residence at Cranwell with the Nottingham University Gliding Club, many of whom already know it quite well!

The workshop is now partially active, and several C of A's are underway. Discus R10 is due its C of A in the next few weeks, to have it ready for it's expected trip to Portmoak. All help with this when it happens would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, best wishes for a happy and enjoyable 2007!

Four Counties GC
RAF Wittering