A trip to the seaside in a glider

This is a flight I’d been wanting to make for some while, and I was just waiting for the right day. As Midlanders we don’t get to see the seaside very often (other than by car), but it was 185km to Weymouth, a 370km round trip, so it needed to be a good day. In the middle of last week, the weather started to look promising – a north westerly but not too strong and good soaring conditions particularly in the south.

I continued to watch the forecasts as the weekend got closer, and then on the day I was sure it looked on. A bit weak in the midlands to start with, but I felt sure that if I could get away from here then I’d find better conditions in the south and as the day went on the conditions would improve in the midlands for the trip back into wind.

I would just need to stay high and lift should remain good late on into the afternoon.

When I arrive at site most of the other cross county pilots seemed to be focused on the first 300k flight of the year following the resumption of the club ladder. I didn’t want to get caught up in all that – I was determined to fly my own flight.

I didn’t launch until 1.15 having been on the winch first thing and as a result finding myself last on the grid. Getting away was a real struggle, the sky was not very promising, and it took me 15 minutes to just get back to launch height climbing in broken lift at half a knot here, and half a knot there.

Eventually I found something more solid (thanks 777) and then climbed steadily to 4500 at an average of 4knots. The sky was looking better by now, so I immediately set off. A 4knot climb at Broadway to over 5000’ and then another good one at Cirencester (which I had to break off to avoid drifting into the South Cerny Parachute Drop Zone) set me well on the way. At Trowbridge with the sea now clearly visible in the distance I found a 2200’ 5knot climb.

The sky south of Trowbridge

Each time having got to near cloud base I had been able to then cruise in lift beneath the clouds turning lift into speed and this together with the tail wind was making for good task speed. Further south at Blandford I now had a bit of a blue hole to deal with and the clouds ahead were not looking so promising. I found a 4knot climb under a large Cu and took it to 6200’.

This got me to Dorchester at 5000’ and with about 12km to run to Weymouth I could see some straggly cloud a 1000’ or so beneath the cumulus a couple of km ahead – this looked like a sea-breeze front and so I headed for it – sure enough another 4+ knot climb to 5600’.

The view from Dorchester – Weymouth and Portland Bill.
Note the straggly clouds beneath the Cu ahead indicating a sea-breeze front.
Weymouth and Portland Bill

I then had the 10km glide into and back from Weymouth in relatively still air – losing some 2500’ before getting back to the sea-breeze front and some reliable though relatively weak lift. I worked my way north with the sky ahead looking great but only finding weak 2.5-3knot climbs.

The south coast looking east. Lots of cruise ships at anchor in the bay.

I was convinced better conditions lay ahead and so kept breaking off these ‘weak’ climbs to push on – working in a height band 3500-4500.

Then at Trowbridge 6.5kts from 3400’ to 6200’. Now we were cooking! From there with lots of large Cu and a fantastic sky ahead I was able to cruise along at 80-90kts between the clouds, pulling up in the lift but not generally turning so as to maintain height between 4500’ and 5500’. I was conscious that it was now 4pm and getting low (below perhaps 3000’) could be a real problem. I needn’t have worried, on last climb to 6000’ just south of Cirencester and then cruising on until I got to Chedworth where suddenly I was on final glide.

I was flying with 18m tips, no water ballast, cruising speed around 80kts and a McCreedy setting of 2.

Total task distance 372km in 3 hours 59 minutes at a speed of 92.5kph.

All in all a grand day out!

Flight on bgaladder.net

Junior Pilot Ben’s First Cross Country Flight

Last Sunday, 17 year old Junior Glider Pilot Ben L flew his first cross-country solo gliding flight from Stratford on Avon Gliding Club.

After achieving my bronze and cross-country endorsement (Thank you Mike, Barry and Andy) I was keen to take the leap and fly out of gliding range of the airfield on my 50Km attempt. But before I could embark on this adventure, I received an email saying my application for the ‘Junior Nationals’ two seat training had been accepted! I spent 10 days at Bristol and Gloucestershire Gliding Club where I flew with some of the UK’s best pilots and had a go at some competition racing. Overall, I achieved more than 10 hrs of training on my three flights, which was all subsidised by the BGA!

This amazing experience motivated me even more to embark on my 50km flight, but with a few setbacks due to weather I found myself frustrated and looking at every forecast I could get my hands on, waiting and longing for the perfect day. That day came on Sunday the 8th September 2019 and I woke up early, excited about the potential day ahead. I helped prepare the gliders for flight and spent some time carefully wiping down the wings of the Astir, to ensure every last part of the gliders performance could be eked out. Many thanks to all that helped me prepare the Astir and to Mike ensuring my flight plan was up to scratch.

I took off at 12:45 aiming to fly 53.5km to Bicester airfield then another 53.5km back to Snitterfield! Well that was the plan anyway. After launching I secured my first climb of the day gaining 1,841ft with an average climb rate of 2.5knts. Eventually I started my task at 13:09 and with 3,500ft I pushed south leaving behind me the birds that had just aided my last thermal choice.

Following and jumping the cloud streets I flew over familiar sites, two of which being Caffeine and Machine, (a car enthusiast’s dream place) and eventually the M40, whilst still using all the ground reference points to ensure my electronic nav kit was in fact taking me to Bicester.

Eventually after only 50 minutes I found myself approaching the turn point, shortly after navigating around the restricted airspace in which skydivers would be jumping!

On my return leg I hit the most exhilarating part of the flight, I had just left Bicester and hit some tremendous lift which instilled the thought in my brain that the whole edge of this cloud street must be working so I pushed on, only to hit tremendous sink. I continued on to the next part of the street that looked remotely thermic but – more sink!

I made the decision to turn back to the lift I had previously encountered, as by this point I had already lost 1600ft and was down to 2500ft. Staring deeply at the cars whizzing down the M40 I climbed back to 4300ft and continued the flight where I managed to fly at 90Kts down a cloud street whilst holding my altitude. I was back into familiar territory and proceeded to fly towards the finishing line.

It was so rewarding and exhilarating to think I had flown over 100km without an engine! With this thought in my head I continued to fly for another 3 hrs, where I got to see hang gliders, hot air balloons, helicopters and other light aircraft! Just after landing I opened the canopy and heard ‘Well done Ben’ as some of the members congratulated me on my flight from the glider they had landed just before me.

Overall, I flew for 5 hours, 6 minutes achieving all of my Silver C Badge and part one of my 100K Diploma.

It was a great day and I encourage anyone who has the slightest interest in either taking up gliding or progressing to cross country standard to go for it!

Its awesome!!

Sunday 3 June 2018 – Neil Goes Long

On an improving RASP forecast by the morning of the 3rd, Sunday was shaping up to be a decent cross-country day for our glider pilots at Snitterfield.

With Steve B on duty, an early morning briefing saw the first launch up the wire at 10am as the check-rides and instructional flying began.

The sky took a little while to get going and the first soaring flight got away about an hour later.

Neil C launched not long after in his private LS4 “S5” on an attempt at his first 50km flight for Silver C.

Junior pilot Emily also launched in club SZD Junior “HDB” attempting a Bronze duration flight.

Numerous privateers launched in their gliders, among them Andy B and Mike C on cross-country taskings.

Junior Thermalling With K21

K21 viewed from the club Junior (Photo: Emily S)

Junior pilot Emily landed back at Snitterfield having completed her one hour duration for her Bronze C X/C endorsement. While she will need to turn 16 to hold the cross-country endorsement, she can complete the duration flights beforehand and on Sunday’s performance, her 2 hour duration is easily within reach.

Junior Thermal Climb

Thermal climb in the Junior (Photo: Emily S)

Neil who had taken a little time to get going was working his way down the country towards the BIC turnpoint at Bicester. Having a bit of a torrid time, getting low around Banbury, he gained a keen following of club members intently staring at their phones as they watched the drama unfold on live.glidernet.org!

Turning BIC after 3 hours flight time, he began making better progress back to his next turnpoint at Bidford but not before getting into another low and desperate scratch at Shennington. Making the last hop back to Snitterfield, he was on for his 5 hour Silver C duration so he set himself up local-soaring to bag the last hour for a total flight time of 5hrs 7minutes.

Neil's Silver Distance

Neil’s Silver Distance

All in, Neil flew 122km gaining both his Silver distance and Silver duration as well as his UK 100km diploma leg-1. Having already attained his Silver height gain, Neil is now a Silver Pilot! Well done Neil!

Mike and Andy were out for quite a time too.

Both tasking 315km SN2>GRM>ALT>SN2, Mike needed a sustainer engine run in LS10 “TT” to get home after 93% task completion but Andy in LS8 “UG” got round for 2181 points on the BGA Ladder.

After a long day’s flying with a total of 57 launched from Snitterfield, Neil C “rang the bell” at the Snitterfield Arms and bought a round as he was congratulated by his new glidernet fan-club! 🙂

Sunday 13/5/18 Flying Report – Launching With Purpose

On Sunday we had club members on the field practically at the crack of dawn. Peter and Phil will deny it but they were probably in competition to get on the flying list first to bag the club’s LS4 for cross-country flying.

The forecast soaring conditions were bordering on the fantastic according to RASP but we were taking it with a pinch of salt due to the visible top-cover and previous model inaccuracy.

There were various requests for task and achievement flight attempts in club gliders including cross-country coaching. This meant checking out the club trailers for serviceability. The new K21 trailer was loaded with the club’s new K21 which is soon to enter service so we had to dig out the ‘Silver Torpedo’ for the other K21.

It took quite an effort as it had sunk into the glider park which had been saturated for so long over winter. It was found to be in generally good condition although the overrun brake was broken so Barry fashioned us a replacement part in the workshop.

On-check pilots got their check flights out of the way as early as possible to allow for their intended task flying while others took pre-solo training including local airspace training in the TMG. We also had a significant number of trial-lessons to fly which Andy D started flying in the K13 to allow GAG to be used for cross-country coaching.

Early on, it turned out Chris E was looking to do his Silver distance and Peter and Phil yielded their claim to flying the LS4 for his worthy cause.

After his check ride, Ed launched in the club SZD Junior G-CHDB attempting “a ten minute flight that might take two hours” for his Bronze X/C endorsement duration requirement. Completing all the requirements of the Bronze X/C endorsement will enable Ed to fly solo cross country in gliders.

The task flying began early. Originally planning to task out around 1300, the sky was developing quickly by mid morning.

Chris E launched in club LS4 G-DEMG tasking out-and-return SN2-BIC-SN2 to cover his 50km Silver distance achievement then flying back to Snitterfield after turning Bicester.

Chris moments before launching on his first solo cross-country to Bicester and back.

Junior glider pilots Dan and Emily launched in K21 G-CGAG on a 80km planned tasking SN2 > EVE > ETT > ALC > SN2. This would be Emily’s first cross-country flying experience. Dan, who is a cross country and competition pilot is used to flying a fair bit quicker than is possible in a two-seat basic trainer.

Ben E also took off in the club’s Astir G-FECO and followed GAG for part of their task, limited by his requirement to remain in gliding range until he can hold his Bronze cross-country endorsement when he turns 16.

Despite the forecast, the actual soaring conditions weren’t quite epic so only a limited number of private aircraft turned out. Neil in LS4 S5 went out on a local soaring flight to the south, Barry M brought out LS8T UG to blow out the cobwebs and CFI Steve went soaring in his LAK 19T FA.

Chris E made fairly short work of his task. He only stopped briefly to gain sufficient height to cross Stratford on Avon town on the way home.

Junior glider pilots cross country in the club’s K21

Dan and Emily returned having completed their task for a comp finish at SN2. Dan felt the task was fun but a bit laborious due to the performance limitations of the K21. Emily thought cross country flying was about the best thing ever, second only to aerobatics.

Trace from the K21 task

By this time, Ed’s 10 minute flight had turned into 2 hours and he finally returned in the Junior for a 2 hour 13 minute total meaning he now only requires another 1 hour soaring flight to complete the duration requirements of his X/C endorsement.

Next up, Emily loaded out the Junior for a 1 hour duration attempt. However, the sky was changing rapidly and although she managed a soaring flight, the sky dumped all of our gliders back on the airfield in fairly short order.

Phil C and David M who were yet to fly by mid-afternoon got in K21 G-CGAG but were advised to wait over the radio by Dan B who was now struggling to climb away over the ‘ridge’ in his syndicate LAK 19T.

Waiting out some better looking clouds, Phil and David launched towards a nice looking one which turned out to be 10km or more away when viewed from the top of the launch. After a very brief excursion out toward the sunlit ground at Edstone Hall, they returned to the airfield with their tail between their legs.

More grid-squatting ensued as Phil and David in the K21, Dan in the LAK and Emily in the Junior lined up in their aircraft for another go. A very decent looking cloud approached to the south-west so David and Phil took a dash toward it in the K21. Finding nothing but sink, they ran back for the field into a low scratch for lift near the A46.

Emily took an even more determined run at the same cloud but encountered the same conditions, having to return to the field minutes later as did Dan in the LAK. Only the K21 climbed away in a 30 feet per minute initial climb out to the sunlit east.

It was around 6pm by the time we’d finished flying and the beer garden at the Snitterfield Arms was ever so welcoming to our tired but happy pilots.


A gallery of photos from Peter C’s afternoon local soaring flight in the club’s LS4


Bidford Regionals 2017 – Peter Capron’s flying report.

The following is a diary of the event mainly focused around my personal trials and tribulations from the 9 day competition.

Friday 4th August:

The day had finally arrived, I de-rigged the club’s LS4, hitched up the trailer and I was off to my first gliding competition.

They always say preparation is the key, well with just 5 cross country flights under my belt, only one solo aero tow and no retrieve crew it could be said I was far from prepared for what I was about to experience. At least I wasn’t going to be alone, there was a contingent from SoAGC also participating – Dan Brown with his Lak 19, Mike Coffee and his LS10 and finally the Kerby’s with their Duo Discus.

As Dan had flown many comps recently he was our unofficial team captain and made sure we (well mainly me) knew what to do, reminded us on the rules and comp procedures, and offered various tips for the week.

As I had no chance of winning I had set myself a few targets of my own to try and achieve throughout the week.

  • Land out for the first time (pessimistic I know!)
  • Come last but one or better in the overall rankings
  • Fly with water ballast
  • Complete my first high energy finish. aka. Beat Up the airfield! (Different rules there Mr CFI!)
  • To gain more X/C experience and to improve my flying skills

Saturday 5th August:

Day 1 of the competition and with unpredictable weather expected a 2hr Assigned Area Task was set with the plan to fit it in between the passing fronts. As I had never flown an AAT I was glad the rain kept coming and the comp director finally scrubbed the day at 15:30. Day 1 of my comp complete and so far I was joint first – this competition malarkey was easy!

Bidford Sat 5th - waiting for the day to be scrubbed

Sunday 6th August:

Unfortunately I couldn’t rely on the rain to keep me in first position. The sky wasn’t that appealing and nor was the forecast as it predicted an early cut off from the west and to make matters it was rather breezy.

The Task:

Turnpoints:BIDford – BUG-Burley Gate – STW-Stow-on-the-wold – CWA-Chipping Warden – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Task distance: 194.72 km, Handicapped Task distance = 178.0km

Once airborne it was case of hanging around high waiting for the start gate to open. This was my initial issue, I was struggling to stay high and once the gate had opened I wasted valuable time getting back to a good height to start the task. I was probably last to call start and off I went towards the Malverns. The first part seemed to go quite well and I made some good progress. However it looked extremely gloomy beyond the hills, just where I needed to go. The forecast cut off was turning into a reality and after tuning Burley Gate I was soon trying to spot good fields. A very hard task in itself as west of the hills there is literally only a few average ones at best. I really needed to gain some height and resorted to trying a spot of ridge soaring ( a first for me apart from flying our “ridge” at Snitterfield) . I left the hills and finally found a thermal to take me east and closer to better land out options which was good as I was soon down in the weeds again preparing for my first field landing. After much scratching I got away and realised I was high enough to make it back to Bidford safely. I opted to abort the task and to head home as I had enough drama for one day and there wasn’t enough time left in the weather window for me to get around.

Bidford Sunday 6th - heading to the Malverns

Day Results:

2nd The Kerby’s

3rd Dan

11th Mike

24th Me After completing 88km of the task.

Monday 7th August:

Another day of rubbish soaring prospects but the task setter thought differently. He set the following optimistic task

Turnpoints:BIDford – BCL-Bishop’s Cleeve NW – KIDderminster – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Task distance: 120.83 km, Handicapped Task distance = 105.0 km

There’s not a lot I can I say about this. I was dropped into a very grey featureless sky and I wafted around trying to hunt out some lift. I was too cautious to go out of gliding range before the start gate was opened and so it wasn’t long before I was calling downwind to land. To my fortune the gate opened whilst I was in circuit and because I landed long I completed 370m of the task after crossing the start line during finals. I was gutted to find 2 pilots recorded shorter task distances than me!


Day Results:

7th The Kerby’s

9th Dan

25th Mike

28th Me – Completing 0.37km!

Tuesday 8th August:

Scrub day

Wednesday 9th August:

We were treated to another uninspiring day and it was only at 15:30 the sky became vaguely promising to launch the grid.

The Task:

Turnpoints:BIDford – BRM-Bromsgrove – TEWkesbury North – BROadway – EVEsham – BD2-Bidford Finish W

Task distance: 91.60 km

I decided to refuse my launch (I wasn’t the only one) as I was reluctant to repeat the previous day’s achievement. So I pushed my glider out of the way and to the back and watched the lack of progress of those who had taken a launch. The gate had opened and I continued to sit out until I finally thought I better give it a bash. It was 17:10 when I finally crossed the start line (the last one again) and I set out on what I knew would be a one way journey.

I only managed one decent climb on the task and that was enough to get me around the Bromsgrove TP. From then onwards my aim was to ignore the task and get myself back to Bidford somehow. This was tall order as the sky had now died and so it wasn’t long until I was looking for fields. After pre-selecting an ok one I was setting myself up for a circuit until I spotted a perfect field and so re-set myself for that one. It was an uneventful landing into an empty cow field near Abbots Morton. The only issue was the cow muck flung up on the underside of the fuselage.

Phil C had been tracking my demise on Spot the Glider and so he was soon over from work to gloat de-rig. (thank you Phil for your help) A quick call to Dan and he rocked up with trailer as I was only about 6 miles from Bidford. The 3 of us soon had the glider packed away and back at the club.

It was good to finally get a field landing under my belt and it helped me relax a bit during the rest of the week. The farmer’s son was initially a little concerned that I may have had spooked the cows in the adjacent field but once he had come over to see the glider he was fine. In the past they have had issues with helicopters and hot air balloons scaring the cows. The following morning I left them a bottle of wine and some beer for any inconvenience I may have caused.

Day Results:

5th Kerby’s

10th Dan

19th Mike

22nd Me – After completing 46km (only 9 actually completed the whole task)

Thursday 10th August:

Finally a day with a proper soaring forecast and so the task setter set the following

Turnpoints:BIDford – SWL-Swalcliffe – LES-Leicester South – OUNdle – WATford Gap – OLNey – ETTington – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Task distance: 301.00 km, Handicapped Task distance = 262.0 km

I decided this would be the day I would try flying with water and so I put in a barrel a side ( 50kgs total). As I was near the front of the grid I had to wait for over an hour at cloud base before I could start. It was relatively straight forward, I didn’t push too hard as I wanted to complete the task and I didn’t like the idea of landing out near Oundle and asking for a really long retrieve.

There was a moment when I did struggle over Kettering and I was down to 1800ft AGL. However Dan was nearby and calling a good climb on the radio. I therefore back tracked a few Km to use his thermal to get me out of trouble before continuing with the task.

Bidford 10th August - getting on to final glideThe sky was beginning to go a bit flat as I was on my way back from Olney and so I kept topping up regularly until I was on final glide. I had plenty of spare height and so did my best to burn it off eventually flying at VNE through the finish line dumping my water as I went.

Peter Finishing LS4 Water Dump

It was a good day and I believe everyone completed the task

Day Results:

3rd Dan

14th Mike

26th The Kerby’s

28th me – in 3hrs 45mins

Friday 11th August:

Scrubbed – therefore it was a day of Pool and Darts.

1st Me – Shame I’m not as good as comp flying than I am at pub sports!

Saturday 12th August:

The Task:

Turnpoints:BIDford – DROitwich – PENdock – ALCester – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Task distance: 110.88 km, Handicapped Task distance = 98.7 km

I struggled once the gate had opened with a strong head wind and with loads of sink I kept finding myself in. A couple of times I pushed forward only to find myself drifting back to the safety of the airfield when I couldn’t connect with any decent lift. I was just about to give up and go into circuit after the 3rd attempt when I hit a strong thermal and soon gained 3000ft out of it. There was street ahead so I called a re-start and headed for it. This line of lift got me to Droitwich at which point the sky developed into a classic soaring vista. From then onwards it was quite easy and I upped my speed culminating in a 36km final glide finishing with a 130+ kts competition finish over the airfield.

Bidford Saturday 12th - task 5 - on my 36km final glide

Day Results:

6th The Kerby’s

12th Dan (Though he was the quickest around the task and was scored lower due to a “technicality”)

14th Me – 1hr 17mins. My best position all week

26th Mike

Sunday 13th August:

As it was the last day of the comp I was hoping they would set a smallish task in order that everyone would be back in reasonable time before heading home. It wasn’t the case as with RASP showing a cracking forecast they gave us Thursday’s task to undertake again.

The Task:

Turnpoints:BIDford – SWL-Swalcliffe – LES-Leicester South – OUNdle – WATford Gap – OLNey – ETTington – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Task distance: 301.00 km., Handicapped Task distance = 257.2 km

When I launched the conditions were already great so as soon as the start gate opened I headed out on task. I soon got myself into a rhythm and put into practice what I had learnt during the week and from the Aim Higher course I attended in June.

For once it felt easy and I was soon ticking off the km’s whilst keeping my task speed in the 80’s kph. However this wasn’t going to last as when I got close to Husbands Bosworth the sky started to become overcast and after I turned LES it was 8/8th on the route I had to take (this was not in the forecast!). From then onwards it was a real struggle to search out the thermals and if it wasn’t for others marking them I would have been on the deck. By staying high I tip toed around the next part of the task.

Bidford 13th of August_over northamptonI was glad for the change of conditions over Northampton where the sun had found a route to the ground and I climbed to 6000ft under a decent cloud – my height record to date. Then onwards it was back to the fully over cast sky ‘leaching’ off others to stay airborne to give me a chance to make it back. Once the pros had left me for Bidford I kept pushing ahead alone but getting lower and lower in the progress. I gained a few feet scratching around over Kineton but I was still not higher enough to make it back. A field landing looked on the cards but my last hope was to find some lift off the village of Ettington and so I dumped my water and headed towards it. My gamble paid off and I found myself a bubble which slowly took me above glide. Typically I then kept flying through lift but that gave me some extra height to finish my first competition in style with a final beat up of the field.

Day Results:

8th Dan

13th The Kerby’s

20th Me – 3hrs 53min

25th Mike


Final overall results (out of 32):

1st Cook & Marriott 3673 pts (Lasham)

2nd Bill Inglis 3530 pts (Bidford)

3rd Moulang & Moulang 3389 pts (Southdowns)

4th Dan Brown 3274 pts

7th Kerby & Kerby 3072 pts

21st Mike Coffee 2198 pts

25th Me 1807 pts

Dan also gets a special mention as he picked up 2 trophies, best junior and top placed in the 15m glider category.

Bidford 13th August - Dan picking up one of his trophiesIf anyone is interested all the results can be seen in detail here http://www.soaringspot.com/en_gb/bidford-regionals-2017-bidford-2017/results

You can also download all the traces for each task if you’re super keen.

Post competition reflections

Flying at Bidford was a great introduction to competition flying. It was a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere where everyone was there to have fun, to fly as much as possible and to not take the competing element of the week too seriously. For me it was a great experience doing something I had always wanted to. Throughout the week I further developed my flying skills and cross country techniques – all of which should help me fly further and faster in the future. Looking back to my original pre-comp targets I fortunately managed to tick off each one. With the two most memorable being my first field landing and crossing the finish line at VNE whilst dumping my water ballast. Thanks to Dave M for filming this, I’ve being boring many people with this footage of me ever since!

I highly recommend it to anyone from our club who has their Silver and wants to try something a bit different. Any lack of experience isn’t a problem at Bidford, there was a pilot from Talgarth who prior to the comp had only flown a maximum distance of 50km. He completed the 250Km task in his Vega earning himself special recognition at the next briefing and a bottle of wine for his achievement.

Finally a few thanks

  • Ben E for being our Crew Chief for the whole week. Not only did he help the Stratford pilots, he assisted all the other competitors. On the days he didn’t manage to bagsy a back seat ride in the Nimbus 4DT he was found compressing and launching the grid and generally getting stuck in with the comp operations.
  • Chris E & Dave M for being at Bidford for a lot of the week and making our lives easier with the gridding, launching, rigging etc. Also for offering to be my retrieve crew should I have landed out miles away
  • To those at the club who also messaged me to offer retrieve services should I have got stuck for help
  • Dan B for coaching me during the season and making sure I was as prepared as possible
  • Bidford Gliding & Flying Club for putting on a fantastic comp. It was brilliantly organised with slick operations and everyone will agree Annie’s food was a highlight.
  • Finally to the committee for allowing me to hire the LS4 as without this none of the above would have been possible.


Flying Report 18th April 2017 – Another 300 First.

The briefing room was unusually full for a Tuesday morning but with the RASP forecast showing 5* red over most of England you could see why. I wasn’t the only one to ‘skive’ work that day and the numbers were further bolstered by a few Juniors on their school holiday who all wanted to make the most out of great predicted soaring conditions.

Dan and I declared a 308km task of Snitterfield SW – Aylesbury – Alcester – Thame Airfield – Snitterfield and Dave M declared a 147km task of Snitterfield SW – Thame Airfield – Snitterfield SW.

The mini-grid of single seaters before launch

The mini-grid of single seaters before launch

Dan in his Lak and myself in the club’s LS4 got ourselves airborne around midday and after checking the conditions over Stratford we returned through the start gate and tentatively made our way to Aylesbury. Things started improving and the second leg back to Alcester was quite good helped with some very strong climbs. The third leg had a bit of dead patch in the middle around Bicester but here we bumped into Dave in the Astir who kindly marked us a thermal. The 3 Amigos? circled over Bicester Airfield with the local boys joining us below. Once at cloud base we parted company, Dave back towards Stratford and two of us towards Thame. Just before the turnpoint we hit a stonking thermal – a much needed boost. The final leg was slow after Bicester as the sky was beginning to die and I had to scrape a final glide to get home where at times I thought I’d be paying Wellesbourne an unscheduled visit.

The task was meant to be a pairs training flight for the forthcoming Bidford Regionals competition however this was made quite difficult with failed batteries for 2/3’s of the flight. I’m still new to this X/C malarkey, so loads of areas to improve on before the comp.

It was great day out of the office and my first 300km.

[Editors note: Peter’s flight in the club LS4 is the first recorded 300km+ flight from Snitterfield in a club aircraft]

Peter Looking Tired and Emotional

Peter looking a little tired after his first 300km flight.


Dan & Peter’s Flights

Other notable achievements:

Well done to our 14 year Junior Ben for completing his 2 hours in the Junior. He wasn’t that short from his Silver Height too, next time?

Dave M completing his longest X/C flight to date.

[Editors note: Also his longest final glide at 31km 😉 )

David's Astir Flight

David’s Astir Flight

Mike C completing the longest flight of the year – 350km (‘underset’ in his words for the conditions)

Mike's 350km Task

Mike’s 350km Task

It was great day at the club and everyone had a good flight or two. It is just a shame we didn’t have more single and two seaters for people to enjoy longer flights.

Thank you to Alan W and Nick J who instructed all day and for making sure everyone had a good flight. With only 2 two seaters available (one is in maintenance) they were kept very busy all day. A final thanks for Dave M who graciously gave up the LS4 after having first call on it to allow me to attempt the 300km.

On a side note I have recently registered our club’s LS4’s FLARM ID with http://wiki.glidernet.org/ , this now means we can track it on Spot the glider when it is flying. If you’re interested follow this link https://tinyurl.com/SOAGC-LS4 and look for EMG to see how they’re getting on, or how they’re not getting on! (Most of our X/C privateers have registered their aircraft too so also look out for their competition ID’s such as FA, TT, UG etc.)

Peter C.

Flying Report Sunday 2nd April – Launching the 2017 Cross Country Season

With RASP and TopMeteo suggesting in the days before that Sunday would be a good day, our members were looking forward to it’s arrival. For this time of the year it certainly didn’t disappoint and the following report gives a small insight to what we got up to from Snitterfield that day.

One of the most fought-over trophies at our club is the one awarded for the first 300km of the year. Andy our Chairman, and Mike decided they’d go head to head to try and win the accolade and the first bragging rights of the season.

Initially the sky didn’t look too promising so whilst we eagerly awaited it becoming thermic the ab-initios cracked on with their training and check flights.

Once the first gliders began to stay up Andy took a launch in his LS8 which was soon followed by Mike in his LS10. As they set off we placed bets on who would complete the task first!

With the cloud base starting to rise, Ben our 14 year old solo pilot, set himself the target to complete his 1hr Bronze soaring achievement and so took a launch in one of our K13’s.

Peter looking totally calm and collected before tasking.

Dan in his Lak 19 and myself in the club’s LS4 set ourselves a 121 km task to blow away the winter cobwebs and to practise team flying in readiness for the Bidford Regionals later in the season. The task Dan suggested was Snitterfield W – Pershore – Banbury W – Alcester – Snitterfield. Dan launched first and I followed 10mins later – (Thank you Ben for marking my first thermal!) After a couple of climbs over Stratford to warm up we went through the start line and set off towards Pershore. We went around the majority of the task together working the sky between as we progressed. Apart from one low point over Shennington GC it was relatively straight forward to get around task ending with my first competition style finish.

For those who are interested the traces of our flights can be found here:

Dans: http://www.bgaladder.co.uk/dscore.asp?FlightID=63334&RC=X

Mine: http://www.bgaladder.co.uk/dscore.asp?FlightID=63338&RC=X

Meanwhile back at the club everyone was making the most of the conditions.

Ben could have easily completed his 2 hour achievement but the need for two-seat gliders meant he came down after 1hr 20mins to allow others to fly. Well done still on your completing your 1hr on the first attempt and showing your dad up on the day!
Nick rigged the “best Dart in the country” and flew for a couple of hours with the rumours suggesting he ventured as far as Wilmcote.
Neil and Kit, both yet to complete their X/C endorsement still managed to tick off some local turnpoints in the club’s Astir whilst staying in gliding range.

And Dave tried out his new selfie stick! – [insert photo here]

Meh – Selfie sticks are overrated.

Back to the main event – the 300km battle. In the end Andy was the first to complete the task crossing the line about 5mins before Mike. Well done to both, but the winner of the trophy goes to Andy.

You can view his flight details here. http://www.bgaladder.co.uk/dscore.asp?FlightID=63305&RC=X

Stats for the day

Total Launches: 44

Total hours: 37

Thank you to all the instructors on duty that day especially as you missed the chance to fly your own gliders.

And finally. With Ben completing his 1 hour Bronze soaring flight he is starting to cement his position at the top of the achievements badge ladder. But who’s going to win it this year? Click here for further information and the current standings. https://www.stratfordgliding.co.uk/members/badge-ladder/

Peter C.

Flying Report 21/7/16

Cross-country wise, we’ve been trying to make the most of the taskable days presented to us. Today was another day that looked sufficiently taskable to result in a turnout of cross-country pilots.

The expectation was that the milky top-cover would be thin enough to allow an early thermal start followed by an early shut-off as the top cover thickened. The topmeteo and RASP forecasts were broadly in agreement and they turned out to be right.

General tasking was South-East as far as Aylesbury or Thame and then North East to Alcester with a leg back to Edgehill. Several 18M ships took this tasking along with a Duo Discus. The club’s 15M LS4 tasked shorter along the same line with an out-and-return from Bicester.

The 18M ships made their Southern turnpoints but on returning to the Stratford area were met by an overcast sky with scarce thermals. The club’s LS4 turned Bicester and made it back around the same time. Meanwhile Duo Discus 666 managed to get around the whole task by taking some pretty long glides through thermal-less areas to reach better climbs.

X/C pilots are now generally very quick to upload and score their traces after a day’s flying so the (h’cap) results look like this:

Barry K (with Mike) in Duo Discus 666: 229.9km @ 72.1kph – 1367pts
David M in LS4 G-DEMG: 106.9km @ 63kph – 692pts
Keith L in LS8 302: 149.7km @ 54.1kph – 671pts
Sharon K in ASW28 777: 143.3km @ 56.5kph – 652pts

Peter C’s first cross country.

Well done to Peter C who flew his first cross-country flight on Saturday from Stratford on Avon Gliding Club at Snitterfield to Windrushers Gliding Club at Bicester!

The flight distance of 50km in Stratford’s Astir CS77 gives Peter his FAI Silver distance. The flight was flown on Saturday 26th which was say fairly tough local soaring conditions.

Peter at Bicester with Stratford's Astir

Derigging Astir at Bicester

The only other Stratford glider to task on Saturday was Mike C who flew 203km in his LS10 (18m).