2016

 

Looking at the forecast, yesterday (Thursday) was likely to have been the last flying day this year. There was a good turnout of folk on a blustery day with obvious signs of wave around. The wind occasionally gusted into the 30kt region on the deck but it was a case of picking your moment to launch.
Phil, Geddes and later on Colin Haddow and Martin in the K21 all rubbed shoulders with FL100 between Dallas and Ben Rinnes or a little further south. Scott and Jim also flew but found more sinky stuff than lifty stuff. Winds at 2000 feet were reported at 50-55kts, becoming a bit less ferocious higher up, and circuits were, as Robert would say, "sporty".
Many thanks to a heroic Toni for her tugging efforts through the day - character forming doesn't come close!
These photos were taken at the end of the day, giving you an idea of what you missed!
And so it just remains to wish all our members, visitors and friends a safe, healthy and joyous New Year. May 2017 bring all you might wish for.

 

A good weekend for the last official one of the year. Some wave around yesterday (Saturday) with Phil having the best of it heading down to Linn o' Dee and back at up to around 10,000 feet, Derek making good progress with Geddes in the K21 and Angie and Bruce sharing an hour and a half in 115, after Robert had flown one of Rurai's pals.


Today (Sunday) was pretty benign, though Billy got away in 354 for a grin-inducing float around Craigellachie and Rothes in weak and shifting wave, followed by a VNE blast across the field. A few power visitors around as well today. And Patrick and Derek again had some intense training from Carl, with out of position tows and steep stalls for Patrick and more handling and coordination work for Derek.


Any flying over the holiday period will be weather and people dependent, though the coming week looks quite windy (!) on the long range forecasts. And we may see the Perfo arriving later in the week. A great way to work off seasonal excesses when it comes to laying it.


To one and all, a Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and safe 2017.

 

 

Billy Fisher's flight n JYC today and his first on the BGA ladder. Shows what can be done by the midweek flying group with just 3 pilots (BF + Geddes + Phil) and Toni driving the tug on a cracking but tricky wave day. Well done guys!

http://www.bgaladder.co.uk/dscore.asp?FlightID=62734&RC=X

 

Well, the forecast on RASP didn't look too promising today, so I was a bit surprised to turn up at the club at 10.00 this morning to find 4 x Full Cat instructors and 1 x ex Full Cat on site, beavering away at getting toys out of the hangar or rigged from trailers. And another Full Cat joining in later.


The day turned out to be a really good one for "firsts". Toni having her clearance flight in the tug and then her first solo aerotows from the front end, Mike Black being sent off in the Venture for his first solo flight in it, Jim Cox getting more solo flights in the K21, and a very enthusiastic trial member from RAF Ops who loved her first glider flight experience.


All this on a basically weak day when Trev got the longest soaring flight in R1 at a couple of hours, but most were up and down in an hour or so. Tony Mountain took Francesca off the Mull for a scallop lunch in the Europa and Dave Kelly had a buzz around in his Tailwind. And when not flying, there was lots of warm sunshine and landing jury duty to be enjoyed on the deck!
A lovely day for mid September.

 

A handful of long duration flights yesterday with John Thomson in JMY for 1hr 40min, Tony Mountain and Francesca getting into wave at Fochabers and directly over the site to 10000ft for almost 3hours. John Campbell and Robert Tait went on a 3hr 30min cross country task in 115 - EAS, Loch Kinord, Lochindorb Castle and back. https://www.bgaladder.co.uk/dscore.asp?FlightID=62371&RC=X

Conditions were tricky to begin with, with about an hour stuck on the ridge and surrounding area at 2500ft trying to find that elusive thermal that got us up into the wave. Once up there conditions were stunning and 10000ft could then easily be achieved directly above Easterton!

Pics from John C in 115

 

          

 

With the sun burning a hole in the ground in Inverness and in Findochty we were greeted on arrival with Eastertons little micro climate of drizzle and low cloud! Thankfully this cleared around 2pm and we managed to get HYJ and JMY launched.

Cloudbase crept up to about 2000ft, a bit lower in places, with lots of blue holes and scratchy broken thermals to keep things interesting.

Our trial lesson who came through from Aberdeen managed to get airborne into some of the best conditions of the day and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Mike Laity and Mark Norton each had a flight in JMY with John Campbell polishing up on some back seat flying with John Thomson in HYJ.

Thanks to Ian Lane and John Bisset for tugging.

Pics and Video from John C in HYJ

Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj7T0ybtpv0

  

   

 

 

Not much flying, as the sky was less than promising early on, but a somewhat bizarre event in the afternoon. We were more or less packing up when a busload of people turned up, claiming to have emailed us repeatedly saying that they were coming. No-one at the club seems to have got these emails...

It was a bus load of 43 plane spotters from all over the country touring airfields up and down the UK.

They were all very friendly and Mike Black and Robert showed them around before they set off to log the buccaneer at the garage on the outskirts of Elgin. Then on to Insch and Aberdeen!

 

 

Bruce's latest Speyside field, a landout this afternoon, quickly and efficiently retrieved by Billy Fisher and John Campbell.


This morning, we got HYJ weighed and rigged after its annual. Very light winds and lots of top cover, but cloudbase was variable from around 3,300 - 4,200 feet. Thermals were mostly quite gentle affairs. Some tow training done by Phil this morning with a visitor from Devon and Andrew pitched up, still on holiday from Edinburgh Uni and keen to lend a hand.


Quite a reasonable day, with JYC, Z5, M17, R67, R1, JMY and HYJ all airborne at some point, as well as a late afternoon expedition in the floater for Stuart Naylor and Alexander.

    

 

What a great day we had today! Thanks to Billy for organising us all. Those who gathered at the club under a very blue sky this morning included, in no particular order, Scott, Anne, Bruce, Ian, Trevor and Phil, with Martin flying the tug. Gliders taking to the air included R1, 753, R67, HYJ and M17 (twice).

Some XC prods down the Spey valley and also down towards Ben Rinnes. Blue thermals and later on some cloudy ones, up to a base around 5,500 feet.

blue and buoyant with some rollicking thermals around, hidden by chasms of endless sink. Billy fixed it on the midweek flying email - well done! 5 gliders and 7 pilots. Brilliant!!!

And a final word of thanks to our friends at ATC Lossiemouth for their patience and understanding :-) Proof, if we needed it, that midweek flying can produce a really succesful and enjoyable day

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A surprisingly decent number of flights for what not the best of soarable days. Solid top cover at 3,000' and showers to the south and south-west. Nevertheless, flights in HYJ, R1, R67, 753, JYC, M17 and the Venture.
The main event today was Jim Cox being sent off solo by Geddes - congratulations Jim! Hope it's the start of a long and enjoyable attachment to the sport. Tomorrow's forecast (Sunday) is for a healthy breeze, which may kick off some of that wavey stuff if we can get rigged and off the ground.

 

 

Ruari, the youngest of the Tait dynasty (at the moment!) sent off solo today, on his 14th birthday, by proud dad and club chairman Robert. An ace flight, a sniff of soaring and a greased landing. Well done Ru !! 3 generations of Tait pilots on hand with grandparents Jim and Ruth, mum and dad Teresa and Robert and Ruari following in the solo footsteps of his big brothers Ian and Dougie.

This makes Ruari the first in Scotland to go solo at 14

See the gallery for a larger selection of photos.

Also, watch the video of Ruari's flight

 

Craig has nailed his 50K on a bubbling thermal day - great stuff! And plenty of other soaring flights as well, from Capstan to Duo Discus and lots in between.

 

 

Another busy weekend, with Saturday devoted to the revival of winch launching (yes, we still do that thing!) and the soaring duration prize going to a 12 minute effort of bloody-minded willpower over gravity in a fairly dead sky.


Yesterday (Sunday), we had a livelier sky (slightly) but still a low cloudbase, so there were quite a few flights between half an hour and an hour, but no-one was going very far. Highlight of the day undoubtedly Scott Napier re-soloing in 115 after a 6 year lay-off.

 

Looking forward to our club Spring flying week next week and another visit from ATC cadets the week after that.

 

Entertaining AGM last night with lots of good humour and no blood on the carpet (other clubs please note - this IS possible!).


Board members were re-elected and the usual suspects (Robert, Anne and Bruce) thrown back into office as Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.


Excellent announcement of Mike Black as CFI designate when Geddes and Helen leave us to head south later in the year.


And then the prizes, all based on ladder postings and logsheets:
Duration in club glider - Chris Gill at 3'05" in R67
Height gain - 11210' to top out at 12960' - Craig Allan
Ladder distance - 278.9 km - Bruce Gordon
Meritorious flight - the same flight - Bruce again
CFI's Shield - for pushing and cajoling maintenance issues - Chris Gill
Monkey - for Murray Mints left where they shouldn't be - Angie Veitch


We committed ourselves to go ahead with the reinforced runway this coming summer and the funding application is almost in place now, with a minor change to the constitution passed unanimously as well.

 

Onwards and upwards!

 

Robert and Ruari in royal company last week at the Airborne Systems (Irvine) parachute factory in Wales. The things you have to do to shake a future king's hand!

 

HRH meets Robert and Ruari Tait, members of the Caterpillar Club. The Club was formed in Ohio in 1922. The only membership requirement is to have successfully used a parachute to bail out of a stricken aircraft.

 

Fantastic weekend of club flying, with mostly everything that could fly up there enjoying it, including most of the power hangar occupants. Saturday had a cloudbase at around 2300'-2500' QFE and everyone had some sort of soaring flight. Sunday was blue but still with weak and intermittent thermals. Longest flights around the hour mark. Plenty of rust cleared away after such a prolonged spell of soggy weather. Great to see Scott, Matt Dutoy and Patrick back flying. The K21 is in Holland for a maintenance issue we couldn't deal with in-house, but the Twin Astir is doing sterling service as a temporary replacement.

Some pictures from John C

 

Geddes giving John C a backseat check ride followed by cloud base at Rothes, 115 being towed to the launchpoint, cloud shadow over the Rothes ridge and Sunday's blue thermals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry sunny weather at long last all this weekend, and the strip has dried out enough to be usable for aerotowing. It was almost windless so not much in the way of hill lift or wave, but the first thermals of the year were in evidence, and most of the fleet ventured past the hangar doors. No spectacularly long flights - the longest was under two hours - but after weeks of wild winds and water coming both down on us from above and up to us from below it was just great to get airborne in pleasant conditions. Here's hoping this is the first of many good weekends in 2016.

Our ASK21 G-CHYJ has gone to the Netherlands for essential work to be done. None of the qualified workshops in the UK could even look at the job until high summer - one told us that they were already working at capacity and turning away several jobs every week because they can't take them on. HYJ had some adventures on the way, but has now made it to Terlet, and we hope it won't be long before it's on its way home. In the meantime the Club has the use of the Twin Astir, by kind permission of the syndicate, so training can continue while the ASK21 is away.

 

 en route to the Netherlands

 

HYJ at Terlet undergoing repairs.HYJ at Terlet

 

The AGM is in a couple of weeks, on Saturday 12 March at 6 pm. We hope to see a large turnout of members for this important annual event.

Highland Gliding Club
Easterton Airfield
Birnie
Elgin
Scotland
United Kingdom
Tel - +44 (0) 1343 860272

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