End of Season Update
It has been a while since the last news update, so there is a fair bit to tell. The summer has been less than fantastic, much like last year, and has rarely favoured the weekends with the few bright spells that did occur. Despite this, however, the club has managed to make the most of the conditions we were dealt.
In May, the club hosted a home-grown BI Course, which resulted in Pete Davey and Alan Ellis both gaining their Basic Instructor ratings, along with John Doubleday from Fenland (RAF Marham). Congratulations to all three. Also that weekend, the club hosted a visit from the Nene Valley GC, based at Upwood, bringing several gliders and members with them. The weather stayed flyable, but the soaring possibilities were limited. One or two members did, however, get to experience the open cockpit of the Vintage T21, brought along from Upwood. Around this time, Charlie Ingram-Luck stood down from the post of aircraft member due to increasing work commitments, and so we welcomed John Bennett, also a member at Upwood, to take up the role. Many thanks to Charlie, and best of luck to John.
In June, the chance came to test out the skills of our new BIs, as we hosted a Station Flying Day. Taking place on a Friday, this was an opportunity for Station personnel to come out and experience Gliding during work time. The day was a great success, managing to fly nearly 50 station personnel, fitting in around the odd Harrier movement, and has certainly raised the clubs profile on the Station.
Club members visiting competitions this year had more success than 2007, with the CFI competing on several days in two competitions, while Pete Davey made it two years in a row to be at a soggy Junior Nationals, although some flying was done, even if it was straight into fields! At home, Wittering once again hosted a leg of the Inter-Club League, and while rain held off, the Saturday proved mostly unflyable. The Sunday, however, was a task day with most competitors getting round.
Early August saw the club host its first full flying week, as the Harriers moved out to Cyprus. Several members of Welland GC, at Lyveden, joined us for the week, bringing a fleet of their own gliders. On top of this we borrowed several gliders from other GSA clubs, including the Duo Discus XT, a Ventus 2ct and an LS8. Sadly the weather didn't play ball, but flying was had every day, and despite the lack of soaring, everyone enjoyed themselves, and we even managed to fly a few more Station personnel. A successful week, which sadly we may not be able to repeat next year due to 20Sqn movements.
Although the "Summer" proved less than ideal, September turned out to be a most surprising month, with some
of the best weather the club had seen all year. Alex Eden decided to capitalise on the decent weather and set
Newark out and return as his task in the Discus, completing 115km at around 65kph for his 100km Diploma,
congratulations to him. Pete Davey accompanied Alex on the task in ASW20 'LD', and proceeded to complete two
more tasks the next weekend, the last of which was a lengthy and tricky 200km. On the same day Ian Dawson
succeeded in escaping the airfield for a 100km attempt from Lyvden to Cranwell and back, which he completed.
Earlier in the year, however, Jon Morris (LSUGC Chairman) proved that you don't need posh glass gliders to fly cross country, flying his 50km to Cranwell (via Lyveden), and then a few weeks later, flying to Barkston Heath and back for his 100km diploma, all in the venerable wood and fabric K18 'R36'. Congratulations to Jon, who is now a full Silver pilot.
Further congratulations go to Matt Faulkner, our Air Cadet bursary student, who succeeded in going solo at the end of September, and with credit left in his account, well done Matt!
The next few weeks should see the arrival of the new Loughborough students, and we hope to introduce as many as possible to the joys of gliding. The K13 is almost airowrthy again, and so should be ready to fly the students round.
The Club Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 23rd November. Details will follow as soon as they are known.
Power, Soaring & Awards
The year has started well, with power finally connected to our buildings on the Charlie South Apron. This means we have light in the hangar, and heat in the workshops! Very important with with the Maintenance season well under way. The blustery weather in early January gave way to much more pleasant conditions, and the new lights have been a useful addition as we make the most of every flying day, often packing up as it gets dark.
On the subject of good weather, the first hour's thermal soaring has been done already this year, as Dave Sharp showed us how it is done in the K18, in what appeared to be surprisingly consistent lift for this early time of year. This can only bode well for the coming season!
Earlier this month we also discovered that our Chief Flying Instructor, Colin Davey, has been awarded a BGA Diploma for "Services to Gliding", in recognition of his 5 or more years as CFI, taking the club through one of its most turbulent periods.