Step-up Sunday – 22/4/18 Flying Report

68 launches and a raft of achievements for Stratford on Avon Gliding Club pilots.

Late on Saturday night, a few members had made their way back up to the club from the Snitterfield Arms and witnessed a spectacular light-show in the form of large storm cells passing over the field. The inevitable downpour that accompanied them set the scene for the field conditions the next day.


While the airfield had been drying fairly well, the situation on Sunday morning was a bit hit and miss. We could tow two cables directly to the launchpoint but the landing area was alternately firm and completely unstable depending on where you went.

The worst bits were coned off and with a very solid turn-out of members on the flying list, we began flying.

There was a little light rain around for a while but nothing we couldn’t work around. The post-frontal sky wasn’t particularly orderly but there was lift to be had with several pilots going off soaring early on in both the two seaters and the single seaters.

An early achievement flight was had by Ed who despite having flown most of the glass fleet had never solo’d a wooden glider. He launched solo in vintage K13 G-DCBW after a couple of check rides with Allan R.

This adds to Ed’s achievement on Saturday when he moved onto his second single-seat sailplane type, the club’s Astir CS77.

Other pilots were getting their hand in both remembering how to or learning how to thermal depending on their experience level. The lift conditions were cycling frequently giving many opportunities.

Along with the whole club fleet, two private LS4s and a DG 300 were rigged and flown.

Next up for achievements was Ben E converting onto the club’s LS4 G-DEMG. 15 year old Ben flew his first glider solo with us on his 14th birthday and had flown both the club’s SZD Junior and the Astir as well as a few high performance two-seaters.

Ben took several launches including soaring flights in the LS4 and commented that it is a fantastic aircraft to fly. 😎

With a number of pilots looking for field-selection practice, Mike took the club’s TMG for a short flight to test the field conditions but unfortunately it wasn’t quite firm enough for two-up use at the moment.

After briefing by instructor Mike, 15 year old junior glider pilot Emily converted onto the club’s Junior. Flying with us since the age of 13, the SZD 51-1 Junior is Emily’s first single-seat sailplane type.

Hard to be sure if she liked flying single seaters as she took several launches and an extended soaring flight in an apparent effort to make up her mind 😉

Richard H also converted onto the club’s LS4 on Sunday. Having flown the rest of the fleet, Richard now has the LS4 available to him for local and cross-country soaring flights. The LS4 allows cross-country endorsed pilots to develop their task flying skills and also allows for competition flying.

For pre-solo junior glider pilot Jenna, landings finally ‘clicked’ and she felt she’d made real progress flying with instructor Mike. Onwards to first solo!

The launch rate was steady throughout the day with few hold-ups. After 68 launches and a very long day, we were starting to feel it a bit but the enthusiasm for flying and the progress made by our pilots made it worth it!