Monday, 28 September 2009

What a great week!

This last week Monday 21 to Friday 25 September gave us five days of perfect weather for our eleventh Going for Solo course. We had three pupils all of varying levels of experience and our staff instructors worked their socks off every day. There was a great atmosphere here all week and it was one of the busiest weeks ever with 198 launches over the five days. Two of our Going for Solo pupils achieved their first solos on Friday with the third making very good progress.

We also had two other new members flying with us – the dynamic Parr brothers! Dave Parr was a pupil on the Going for Solo course which ran from 7 to 11 September and he achieved his first solo on 11 September. Dave carried on flying whenever we could fit him in and on 18 September he flew a K13 for 51 minutes, easily qualifying for his first Bronze leg. His second qualifying Bronze flight came on 25 September when he flew the K8 for 47 minutes.

His brother Simon was inspired to learn to glide and joined us on 16 September as a Learn to Glide member and started flying that very day. He went solo on 24 September and then, just to show brother Dave that he could also fly, he was checked for his second solo on 25 September and stayed airborne for an astonishing 45 minutes to qualify for his first Bronze leg!

Our Going for Solo courses have seen a number of first solos this summer and together with our booked intensive days our newer (and a few of our more established) members are making rapid progress. We are extending the commercial side of our operation throughout the winter and we will be offering bookable day intensives on Wednesdays and Fridays at £30 per day booking fee – this guarantees two pupils to one instructor.

Monday, 21 September 2009


Well Friday came and it rained, it eased off long enough to get the Duo packed away before we went over to La Motte to see Jacques for a beer. Saturday morning Pete and Phil set off for the airport leaving us SOGS behind to consider their options. Briefing was not encouraging with a very unsettled forcast, even Dickies bus had stopped entertaining us so we made the decision to de-rig the ASH and planned to leave first thing Sunday.
In true Brit style we kept a stiff upper lip and had a BBQ on Saturday night in the pouring rain followed by much pastis and discussion on potential plans for next year. Although the weather had basically been very poor we still flew and had a good break.
Lots of ideas thrown about including possibly bringing Jacques over to Bicester for a presentation on Alpine flying in the early spring.
The return trip was uneventful and Dickies bus finally came up with the goods.
We hope you have all been mildly entertaind with our postings and invite you all to try to crack the OGS code!!!
over and out

Friday, 18 September 2009

HOGS on tour day7 continued

Well nothing is ever as good as it looks and that was true for the conditions that developed. The Duo made it to the first TP, the Tete de Clappe but options to cross the valley towards Briancon were much reduced because of a low cloud base on the mountains to the east. Meanwhile the ASH was delayed on the airfield as it could not launch with the tailwind that had now set up. The Dou backtracked to La Motte to try to find a way across to the Par Cours, in doing so nearly fell off every mountain around ended up scratching around on the Jouere for a while. By now the ASH was encountering the same problem at the Clappe so the DUO returned towords the Pic De Bure to try to team up for some photography. Both gliders met at the west face of the Pic for some very interesting rock polishing on its west face. followed by some formation flying and pikkies, back to Sisteron put the gliders to bed then beer and arguments over who had actually got further around the task, certainly the Dou had covered the most distance but had been 1 hour longer in the air. Close scrutiny of the loggers decided it was a draw. Pete spent the day sprawled out on his wing covers in the Duos trailer, some sod kept snoring and waking him up though! Good news he should be able to fly tomorrow. Weather permitting!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

HOGS on tour day7

HOGs on tour day7 (Thursday)( except Pete)
Yesterday was a washout but today looks like being the best so far. Dickies bus was collected this morning having had both drive shafts replaced CHING CHING Dickie is now 750 euro poorer, lets hope that we have sorted the power problem too. Sadly Pete has managed to bring a heavy cold with him from the UK and is disappointed not to be able to fly today, but…… One mans disaster is anothers good fortune Phil offered his empty seat to Tel, he thought about it for a microsecond before accepting, silly not to!!!
With 300km set to the north and south gliders made ready, off to the Janus for Café au lait.
To be continued…/


Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Terry’s turn on jankers so primary task to sort out Dickies bus. The weather wasn’t looking too bright so set off to the garage with Pete for support and a lift back. Checked in the bus and managed to get a banger rental for 15 euro per day. Started to rain which would be in for the day and the outlook now not looking too good until Friday. Jumped in the banger and went on exped to La Motte to see Jacques Noel .
Much back slapping and hand shaking, we were made very welcome and went to inspect their new 440hp winch, very interesting, hydraulic drive, well engineered built by a commercial company in Germany.
They are using 5.5mm 7 core cable with a polyester centre core. They use a very complicated technique to join the cable without using cleats on which Terry was given a 40 minute lesson by Jacques. Not sure he managed to absorb it all but a similar method may work with our cable too.
As we left Dickie met another old chum, Gean Renaud Faliu. Made arrangements to go there on Friday for their club bbq.


Today Dickie is on jankers, Stu and Tel’s turn to fly.. Conditions looked good. Looks often decieve and in this case came true. Pete and Phil set off first with a high tow to Trainon where there appeared to be good thermic lift generating a cu, Stu and Tel took a tow 30 minutes later to the Gash and were soon joined by the Duo which had fallen off Trainon. For those who have yet to fly here Trainon is at around 5,000’ and is usually the second step towards getting to the higher ground, the Gash is around 4,000’. It wasn’t long before the mighty ASH fell off the Gash closely followed by the Duo. We both struggled for the next hour scratching around but finally climbed away from Blachere near La Motte GC. All plans were thrown out the window as our intended task area looked too soggy so we set off to the lower land in the south. With the weather cycling we spent the rest of the day sight seeing. I understand this sounds like the conditions were poor but we were climbing in 5kt averages to 7,500’.
This was a day of two halves, while we were flying Dickie decided to replace the fuel filter in the bus. Power had returned but we were sure it would be the same when we tried to tow, so as the filter was the cheapest and easiest option this would be our first step. Did I say “easiest option”, we really should stop tempting fate. Dickie replaced the filter while we were flying but having done so the bus went into complete limp home mode, couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. After we had touched down we were approached by a very depressed looking Dickie and the bus which only just managed to pull the ASH of the piste, he was well pisted off. We put the glider to bed and after a beer took at look at the bus. VOILA!!!!!! Dickie had knocked off a plug to the mass air sensor this should fix it, spoke too soon.
The plug now re-connected Dickie drove off with Tel for a test drive, the bus pulled like a train, in his elation Dickie floored the throttle to give it a good thrashing, all too late Tel saw it coming but could not warn Dickie in time……. WALLOP full belt into a speed hump…… OOOOOERRRR whats the clunking noise? Dickie had now sheered one of the bus’s drive shafts, that’s gonna be a garage job!!

Monday, 14 September 2009


So day 4 arrives with a similar forecast to yesterday, Stu's turn for jankers Tel and Dickie headed for the mountains. Not so easy conditions today just trying to stay in the better weather but still managed to clock up nearly 200km with a forray into the lower southern hills where the thermals were more frequent. Cloudbase was a little lower today with most thermals averaging 5kt plus to 8,500'.
A closer look at Dickie and Stu's flight the day previous showed several climbs that peaked at 14.6kt to 10,000'. Pete and Phil arrived mid afternoon after stepping off their flight to Marseilles and stepped straight into the Duo, ( we rigged it for them earlier) they managed 2.5 hours staying fairly local. 6pm gliders all tucked up off to the Janus for dinner and beer. the evening was rounded off with several pastis and g&t's. Tomorrows weather looks better.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Weather forcast is for more storms later and after a bright start the cu popped over the higher ground. After a quick FLARM installation the ASH set off for the mountains. Tel remained at Siseron on jankers. Dickie and Stu returned 3 hours later with reports of 10kt climbs having been up to Briancon dodging the odd Cb. With Cb's now developing all around the airfield we hastily bagged up and tied down Dickies other bus ( at least this one performs OK) then off to the Janus for beer and tiffins. The outlook is for an improving situation with the weather and looking forward to Strats and Phil arriving tomorrow.


So someone suggested we go off to Sisteron for a late season exped to the
Alps, sounds like a good idea, lets take the ASH.All packed we set off for Dover with Dickie Stu and Terry on board, the plan being to meet up with Strats and Phil who were travelling out by "squeezy jet" fly the Duo. Nothing could possibly go wrong! WRONG!!5 miles from Dover Dickies bus suffers a sudden loss of power oooer. Quick decision, abandon ASH in layby and find a Ford dealer, backtracked to Canterbury to a dealer who put the bus onto a diagnostics straight away ( thought this is going to be expensive) but oddly the engine power returned
during the trip to the dealer. Diagnostics couldn't find any problems mmmmm!
next bit was the bill.... NO CHarge things were starting to go our way.... Or
so we thought!!! Got to the port missed our ferry, small print says we need to pay £25 admin
and £??? rebook fee, they let us off RESULT! Stu did some number crunching and deduced that we had enough time to take a more scenic route driving through the night via Andorra and Madrid, on reflection and with 20/20 hindsight this may have been our first BIG mistake. 20 mile out of Calais the bus decided to teach us a lesson in forward planning and reduced its power to about 40bhp, this gave us enough to increase momentum to 50 mph on the flat and 20mph or less on the inclines, ( Stu's new route was going to be a bit hilly) and with 800 miles still to go
we were beginning to wonder if we would ever make it. We struggled for 3 hours when it was time for Tel to drive, after a stop for fuel we set off again, miracle, power now returned, much discussion as to what caused this but we were now happy to be cruising along at speed, 10 minutes later the bus throws its toys out again and we were back to slug bus mode. During the next 3 hours we discovered that cycling the ignition could restore the power but
after each cycle the cure only lasted a few minutes. We settled back for a long slow trip. After a second fuel stop power returned for just long enough to get us over the foothills to Grenble before we lost it again. We finally arrived at Sisteron 15 hours after leaving Calais with Dickies Cassandra continually telling us we were going the wrong way... Knackered!!


Well we were here, at least we would get to fly................That is as
long as at least one of us could pass through the French medical requirements. Off to the ECG Doctor Sammini to get fully wired up, ching ching 40 euro's later we were told we can continue with all the drugs, fags, booze, fatty foods and sex, no dicky tickers here. Next to Dr Neuveux for a full medical, ching bl.....dy ching another 80 euros, methinks a JAR medical before we leave is the best way to go, however all this does allow us to fly here until 2011.Back to the airfield a bit more paperwork, rig the ASH, fed and watered and all fit to fly tomorrow. Then it RAINED, followed by thunderstorm followed by power outage, maybe Dickies bus has jinxed the weather too!

Monday, 7 September 2009

More competition success and more happy visitors

Congratulations to Dave Watt on coming second in the 15m Nationals, only 10 points behind the winner, while Fran Aitken was 8th in the Junior Nationals.

We had 18 power pilots in six aircraft from the North Weald Flying Group visit us for a day out to try gliding on Saturday 5th September. They had a lovely time organised by the club, including an excellent lunch. Several were rather successful on their first attempts at aerotowing, and all left with a smile on their face.

We hope to organise a few other events like this next year, so let the office know if your flying club is interested.