Wednesday, 19 March 2014

DTE and Me

Typically there comes a time when a glider pilot moves on from sharing club aircraft with up and coming students and purchases their own glider, or at least part of one anyway.

Unfortunately for me the needs of my growing family has meant that this dream is on hold for at least another year while I fund a larger house...and perhaps a holiday.

In the meantime fellow club member Geoff Purcell has let me have an insurance share in his much underused ASW19 'DTE'. After organising insurance coverage I got my first chance to fly DTE this past weekend. First of all compared to an Astir it is a doddle to put together, two pins in the spars and the 5 control connections and your away. The cockpit is quite spacious and there is room for my 6' 210pound frame without to much problem, infact a slim parachute let me fit perfectly into the seat.

after we towed her out to the aero tow point I was a little anxious as I'd heard and seen stories of the 19 dropping a wing easily because of the low ground clearance and sloppy aileron control at slow speed. The first launch actually passed uneventfully and I only had to make sure I flew the aircraft on tow, due to the belly hook, rather than let it be towed behind the tug.

After release I slowed up in some weak wave that was present and was immediately impressed by how well the glider handled at slow speed, me being a fatty meant that I could just about hold 45kts with full rear trim in a straight line and the stick neutral. After loitering above 4000' for 20mins the wave collapsed and I started to head back to the airfield and approaching I could see that glider soaring above the town. I joined them and was pleasantly surprised that she would thermal hands off, albeit a little fast. After climbing away I tested Geoff's comment that she would fly straight hands off for several miles, and she does.

Some light wing overs and a nice circuit had me back on the ground with no bounce and no control confusion after being airborne for an hour and thirty minutes.

Lovely aircraft to fly and I am going to update the blog with our adventures over this coming season as we go looking for some gold.


Friday, 7 March 2014

British Grand Prix....ok, ok Bicester GP

Folks, for those of you that don't know, Bicester gliding club will be holding a grand prix event from the 3rd to the 10th of May.

The format, pioneered by the team at BGC, is simple and provides some fantastic racing against the countries top pilots.

The turn point radius' are adapted to a gliders handicap so therefore stubbies should be leaving and arriving back the same time as the big boys, which again makes it very exciting racing.

Contact the club on 01869 252493 or for more details there are places available at the moment.

we look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Spring has definately arrived at BGC

As I sit here in my office contemplating what to write, I can see out of the window for miles. What I notice firstly is that it is not least not over head anyway. Secondly looking at the Cu and distant CB they now seem crisp and heavy, driven by decent energy and not like the limp lifeless Cu we get used to over the winter.

This past Saturday marked the first official day of spring, the forecast looked reasonable and so I decided to arrive at the club nice and early, one to bag a single seater, and two to get the kit out nice and early.

We briefed at 09:30 in the crew room and were all out on the field by 10am. I did a stint on the winch and with clear blue skies and zero wind it was extremely pleasant sitting inside the new Skylaunches cab. within a short space of time the launch point had several K13's K21's, K8's and Astirs sitting there ready to go and they were soon joined by a Ventus (DW) some K6's.

I took a launch at just before 12 and scratched around for 20mins below 1500 until I found a good 3kt climb to just under cloud base at 2k. Over the next 30mins the base went up to nearly 3k and I was soon joined by a whole heap of gliders, infact looking back at the launch point I could see only one aircraft on the ground.

Dave Watt set off on a 230k in DW which he had to cut short at Towcester close to the last leg. I was going to attempt a short sub 100k flight but only got out half way down the first leg when I was called back having been airborne for 1:30 already.

It was great to see the fleet airborne together and everybody seemed to be mindful of us all being a bit rusty, plenty of room was afforded in thermals and with the exception of DW seemed to be sticking pretty local, just to get back into the swing of things.


In just a few short weeks the clocks will be going forward and we will have had some of our first serious thermic XC flights done....Bring it on.