Monday, 13 December 2010

More about young persons

Windrushers' junior member Charlie Jessop hasn’t been seen around the airfield recently because he has snagged himself a gap-year post as ground crew at GlideOmarama – the gliding operation in New Zealand based at the site of the 1995 World Championships. His duties include getting aircraft ready for the customers and putting them away but when things are quiet he gets to fly himself. His initial “site familiarisation flight” ended up at 15,000’ over Mount Cook (New Zealand’s highest peak) and since then he has been flying the Astir and the (numerous) Duo Discuses with GlideOmarama’s pundits. He is pictured here with Mike Till (who spends our summers at Dunstable) at 21,000’ somewhere near Omarama.
Charles is the one in the front seat...

More news from Charles as we get it over the electric telegraph.

University Students

We had a good intake of university students this year, from both Oxford and Cranfield. They all seem to be a keen lot, and are coming out regularly. They have been rewarded with some good weather (well apart from the snow the other week, of course). Lots of flying has been done. As we are an accredited Junior Gliding Centre, it's nice to see so many young faces around, as they are the future of the sport.

At this point in time, they are all at the end of term, and will not be around for a while, but we look forward to their return in January 2011.

Monday, 20 September 2010

It's been busy the last few months!

We have had such a busy time at the Bicester Gliding Centre recently, that we have not had a spare minute to update the blog.

Recent events include The Fabulous Bicester Regionals, the InterUniversity Task Week, and the Junior Nationals. We have had a couple of Mini GP style racing weekends too, which the participants seem to enjoy greatly.

With a new privately owned turbo Duo on site, a small group set off for Systeron to test it out, alongside the Duo based there belonging to another member and his syndicate. They all came back with big smiles on their faces. There has already been an "interesting" week or two for some members at Systeron earlier in the year, of course. So interesting (And so similar to the Old Gits On Tour thread from last September.) that one member now plans never to take a vehicle overseas again! ;)

Over this weekend we had :- another Mini GP, the Fox doing Aerobatics team training, a BI course, plus 'normal' operations, and Tony Cleeworth, the day's tuggie, flew 24 tows to a total of 70'000 feet. The club also hosted a BGA event to show the Air Cadets the possibilities of advanced training....
Where else but Bicester!
Oh, and instructor refresher training as well.

Currently we are looking forward to the annual influx of "the students", when Oxford University and Cranfield University start enrolling new members.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Great weather, great flights and a soar nose

Pilots from Bicester have been soaring cross-country with great success recently.

Debbie Thomas took the little Ka6e on a 303km task, Bic - Oundle - Gloucester South - Bic, in 5hr 34mins (similar to the time some pilots in glass do their first 300km). This was on 25 June.

Then Nigel Gough, her partner's partner (it's complicated being a gliding girl), took the 18m Lak 17 round a 515km task a week later. I don't have all the details, but he achieved a faster speed than Debs.

Fran Aitken also got round 509km, in her LS8 (15m, no need for all that extra wing, Nigel).

Inspired by all this, Alan Smith flew the Ka6cr round a 140km task, in 2 hrs 20mins, on the same day as Nigel's flight.
Meanwhile Andy Smith has been doing 500km flights at a great rate in his little ASW28, and Jed Edevean and Terry Mitchell have done 500km as well in their big Nimbus 3s.

Several others have done large flights - visit the BGA Ladder to see them all

Speaking of soaring (or is it snoring or just sore), Rob Hatschek's nose took second place in an argument with a bit of wire, and he looked sooooo pretty with his patch, that a fan club formed and immediately decided to follow this new fashion trend.
Can't see it catching on myself.

Monday, 21 June 2010

A nice few days

The last few days have produced some happy smiling faces.

Pete Garrett, son of John, went solo of Friday, in an impressive 51 flights, almost exclusively from the winch. And these were spread over several months as he couldn't attend as regularly as he wanted to, and then was held back by strong winds on a couple of visits when he was ready to go solo.

Then Charles Jessop, son of Paul, completed his Silver by flying down to Lasham - in 58 minutes, in an Astir, for his first solo cross country. Impressive by anyone's standards.

So those of you who stayed at home watching football, whatever that is, have missed several nice days flying recently. Don't be shy, come out and fly!

Oh, and if you are thinking of entering the most popular Regionals in the UK, you'd better get your act together. We now have 40 entrants in the Open class and 27 in the Sport class. We can handle more, of course, but the comp starts on 24th July, so don't delay entering.
Bicester Regionals 2010 website.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Aero Batties Kick Ass Results!!!

The Bicester Aerobatic Team - a.k.a. the Bats - turned up in force at the UK National Glider Aerobatic Contest at Saltby, over the 10th - 13th July, and turned in their most stunning performance yet.

Out of the five classes, they took FOUR of the First Place prizes, with two seconds and a third as well! All the winners were WAY ahead of the opposition, and in the only class they didn't win, they were a tiny fraction of a percent off of the winning score. Many club members hung around on the Sunday evening hoping to hear the results and were astonished and truly impressed at how well they had done.

Beginners - Rachael Brewin 1st, Gem Roberston 2nd,
Sports - Sally Cooper 1st, Richard Chapman 3rd,
Intermediate - Dave Morgan 1st.
Advanced - Maz Makari 2nd ( very close 2nd ).
Unlimited - Mike Newman 1st

For Sally, Dave and Maz, each had moved up a class from previous years, making the result even more impressive.

And for those who don't know, Maz and Mike are off to the World Championships soon.

Bicester Gliding Centre congratulates them on their stunning set of results.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Vintage Glider Rally

The annual UK Vintage Glider Rally is with us this week and are having a great time. They've flown Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so far. It's been good weather for these older aircraft - light winds so the winch driver has a chance of controlling the speed to suit them a lot better - and soarable everyday as well. A dozen or so aircraft are present, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.

They flew every day except the second Saturday! So many smiling faces.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Summer is just around the corner

Well, summer is just around the corner now (although it might seem hard to believe given how cold it's been the last few days - must be the volcanic ash effect). There have been several good cross country flights in the last six weeks, although not everyone is entering them in the BGA Ladder.

We have had a couple of successful expeditions, one to Portmoak and more recently the older generation went to France and had an "interesting" time. ;)

And guess what, we have the Cranfield students going off to Portmoak, again, and an intrepid group of comp pilots heading for a German comp, starting on 8th May.

You can follow the comp pilots' progress at Hahnweide online. In case they don't put up a full English version of the site, Wertung is the results page and Aufgaben is the tasks page. We have Martin Durham in LS8, Al McNamara and Steve Archer-Jones sharing TC, and Owain Walters in LL, all in the Standard Class, while in the 18m Class there's Derren Francis in F2 and John Spencer in 601. There's 115 gliders in total, so it's a big comp with FIVE classes.

PS the web cam out there today looks very disappointing - rain, low cloud and poor vis, so nothing new there for a comp.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

BOG's on Tour .... Again!

So here we go again, off to soar the Alpine mountains of southern France, after weeks of planning we set off on Friday morning, Dickie and Stu with the ASH and I travelled with Pete towing the Ventus. Although we crossed on separate ferries the plan was to meet up half way at.( somewhere north of Macon)........... for a leisurely night stop. The forcast was not so good for Saturday so we planned to take an easy drive down to arrive Saturday afternoon. During Fridays trip I was toying with not writing a daily blog because I didn't think there would be much to tell. How wrong was I?

Me and Pete set off from the hotel 07.30 Saturday morning with Dickie and Stu not far behind, all was going well bright sunshine and a forcast for the Alps that looked great for Sunday onwards, good conversations and chewing over prospects and goals for the coming expedition.
Everything going to plan with a meet up at Sisteron with the RAFGSA guys who were already there and looking forward to a really good 2 weeks .......RING RING goes the phone "
Hiya Tel", from the tone of Dickies voice I knew all was not well.
errrrr "wossup Dickie"?
"We have a slight problem, the engine on the galaxy has just thrown all its toys out from under the bonnet and it doesn't look good"
Great - we were 4 hours from Sisteron around Lyon, and Dickie n Stu were 30 miles behind us near Macon totally stranded. We pulled into a parking area and considered the options. This may sound bad but it made perfect sense to leave Dickie and Stu behind, after all we were all right weren't we!!!So we left them to organise a tow off the motorway and pressed on to Sisteron to await news on the fate of the Galaxy.

Some time later Pete and I were told the bus was terminal, "never a dull moment with Dickie is there" Pete was heard to say, "You can say that again" was my reply. So we pressed on to Sisteron arriving at around 3.30, checked into the Gite , unloaded and without even a cup of tea, left Pete to sort himself and the gite out while I set off back to retrieve Dickie and Stu.... and they hadn't even landed out.

So you might think the story from here gets a bit boring.... It doesn't. Never a dull moment did Pete say? Check in tomorrow for the next installment of the retrieve from hell.TM


So here I am driving as fast as the law permits back up the motorway to Macon, a quick call to Dickie I need to leave at junction 29, they had detailed instructions but told them would call for them later. Three and a half hours and 325 km later 3 mile from junction 29 give them a call......bling bling..... battery warning on my phone, I tell Dickie to send directions by text cos my battery is going, this is what I get
Simple I thought, followed instructions to the letter took me to an industrial estate, no sign of them, text.... where are you? SAME MESSAGE AGAIN. Sent another... bling bling battery!!!! Thats where I am but D17 is at least 5km west of motorway motorway.... bling bling bling!
Hell if this battery goes we are really in the guano! Reply ON D17 1KM FROM MOTORWAY I sent.... Dickie I am 1km west of motorway Reply N 46deg 18 658 E4deg 47 484Oh great now I have to work out how to use this sat nav, after a while punched it in. I sent...Dickie that location is 20 miles from here! bling bling flaming bling
So now we are east! and all signs lead to Charnay de this and Charnay de that. Dickie sent SORRY WEST J 29 1KM WEST J29 ON D17
I've been there!!!!!!!!! By now I am east of the motorway and virtually lost.
bling bling bling ( if it goes to four blings we have had it!)
No use to me at all, then I get
Pulled into another hotel asked for directions to the hotel Moulin. Nice receptionist then produced a map for me that filled an A4 sheet with about 6 roundabouts and junctions to negotiate....bling bling bling bling.. One and a half hours of driving in circles after arriving at J29 finally found them! After we had a good punch up on the side of the road we hooked up the ASH and retraced our way back to J29, Dickie and Stu went very quiet when they saw how far out their directions were, so then Stu blamed Dickie for abbreviating the detailed instructions they had been given, nearly another punch up in the car!!! Back to Sisteron arriving 2am, 10 hours after I had left the previous afternoon, absolutely knackered. Stand by for the next installment of SOG's on tour!15:46 28/04/2010TM

Weather is looking great for the week the first couple of days were spent re-acquainting ourselves with the local terrain and on Tuesday Terry and Dickie set a racing 313km and were back by 3pm, so a further 180km was set which they completed at 120kph by Wednesday we were setting tasks into the northern Alps with Dickie and Stu paying a visit to Mont Blanc for a 506km flight at 99.8kph!, most days we flew 5 hours plus. and evenings spent relaxing in the usual French style, Vin, Pastis etc etc.

On Thursday Stu and Terry completed a close inspection of the lower rocks of the Ecrin for a 400km plus flight.

Friday, weather not looking great waving everywhere so went for some French pavement cafe culture, with Pete and Stu leaving in the morning a quiet dinner with Chris and Nigel from Lasham in a Sisteron town restaurant followed by an early night!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

BATs - Clean Sweep at Dan Smith Aerobatic Comp!

The Bicester Aerobatic Team sent four members to Dunstable to compete in the Dan Smith Memorial Aerobatic Competition - and took First, Second and Third places!!!

Congratulations to Dave Morgan for taking first place, Maz Makari who took second place and Sal Cooper for taking third place. Richard Chapman came sixth.

As you can see Dave was pretty keen to get his hands on the trophy!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Mexican Night

The Mexican meal night was a great success. A total of 42 hungry members turned up and enjoyed a great meal with a large selection of dishes to choose from. Some of us chose from so many dishes that we were so full that I had to turn down a free drink afterwards! Yes, I turned down a freeby.

Some of those turning up decided that airfield clothes were not appropriate and dressed to suit the theme. The gun fights resulted in few casualties, mainly because the pre-meal drinks of free Margaritas meant that they couldn't aim straight. The Mexican beer probably didn't improve their aim either.

Overall, a great night, a great meal, and thanks to Carol and her helpers for all the effort they put in.

On the 27th March we will be having a New Soaring Season Party - although with Miff soaring cross-country on 4th Feb, and cross-countries this week as well, the party is overdue.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Soaring and even some cross-countries

We've had some soaring days midweek, and the Nimbus 2 owners have even stayed up long enough to get some cross-countries in. Short ones, admittedly, but it's February and they did use thermals, so well done guys. Friday had several gliders staying up, and Saturday was good too, although Derren may not have been as happy when a conversion flight to the new Discus by a relativley inexperienced pilot resulted in him taking off before Derren and landing some time after him. It was a pity that Derren said, shortly before launching in the Ka8, that he just join under the Discus and climb up the middle of the thermal past him... And then a dozen of us stood watching this not happen. ;) Still no sign of Derren's jet arriving either.

Congratulations to Rory Barker, the first new solo this year. Just last week he was saying how he didn't think he was making much progress and wondered if he'd ever go solo. Still, not as embarrassing as Derren's statement, eh. Now if only some more of the University students turned up, perhaps we'd have a few more new solos to report.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Mexican night

27th Feb - Mexican Night - food, drink, party.
Tickets £10. Please let the office know in advance so we know how many to cater for on the night. See you there.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

We've got a new toy!

Last year we substantially improved the fleet with the addition of a motor glider, which has proved to be extremely popular and before that with the addition of a Robin tug to replace the one on loan to the club, kindly purchased by a group of memebrs for our use (some of whom didn't have a PPL and only had a ten minute flight in the three plus years it was available, while others never set foot in it. Thanks guys!) So this year it was the turn of the glider fleet. Just recently the Ka8, EED, which was here when I started gliding many years ago, returned to Bicester after its adventures in Cyprus and is now being used by our members. But something hot was also required.

So the committee has been on the look out for a new addition to the fleet, to enhance the choice of aircraft available, and after almost three months of searching and assessing those available (and rejecting several so-called "bargains") we have acquired a Discus for our members to fly.
Now there will be no excuse for not getting round a 300km or 500km task (unless someone else bags it first!).

Monday, 25 January 2010

Soaring already, and winter lectures

Well, it's January and the snow has finally melted, so Lukas Brandt decided that a little bit of thermalling was required to make up for some of the lost days. Okay, it was only a bit of thermalling, and one or two others did so too, on Sunday 24th, but we do like to take every opportunity to soar. Even in winter.

Danny Lamb is giving this year's Winter lectures, and it's two down and three to go so far (although more may be added, perhaps).

Dave Watt's score your skills test has had several takers so far, and all seem to have enjoyed it. I haven't had a chance to find out if everyone would let us place there scores on the web, but it might happen.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Gliding in January

Here are the images, as promised in the Happy New year post.

The first problem might have been getting in through the gate. (Although first Derren, then Alan Smith, needed rescuing to get OUT again. ;) )

Once in, the depth of the snow can clearly be seen by the ruts to the left of our young model.

And finally the brave heroes man-handled the T21 out to the launch point - all the posh sleek gliders were impossible to move as snow would fill up their wheel boxes.

Some people prefer gliding in warmer sunnier conditions - Pete Stratton and Terry Mitchell in the Alps, for example. Great video. Nice editing and music added by TM. And did you know young Philippa was once in a Pink Floyd tribute band and the last track in the video was her party piece?

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Happy New Year

We had our usual Xmas party, and then the New Year Party at the club, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Thanks to Tony for keeping the bar open on New Year's Eve instead of going out partying himself. Everyone present appreciated his efforts. I know from experience that serving a load of party-goers single handed is hard work.

Boxing Day was celebrated in the traditional Bicester way, with a couple of flights in the motor glider.

On New Years Day, as usual we dragged out the gliders again, and had 15 flights to start the year we intend to go on - flying whenever it is possible. And just for luck, did another 25 flights on the 2nd.

And although the airfield is now currently a whiter shade of pale, some brave souls have proved that if you want to fly, we can get you up in the air. They decided that one of the T21s needed an airing and took it out today, 9th Jan, for a float around, admiring the view. Very pretty it was too. Apparently it was much easier to admire the snow covered landscape when flying over it than when stuck in a traffic jam in it.

Unfortunately I couldn't make it out of the valley I live in, and the local police down here in Kent are impounding any cars abandoned near the top of the hill, so if I had managed to get out, and got stuck on the way back (it's snowing again as I write this), the car would probably not be there any more. Obviously they think abandoning a car on flat ground is a more reckless action than taking it down a 1 in 8 slope covered in ice and snow...