Soaring Sunday 14/4/24 at Stratford on Avon Gliding Club

Sunday saw a good soaring prospects and a good turnout at Snitterfield to take the opportunity to do some soaring! Richard M ran the field for us and we had all of our two seaters in use as well as our SZD Junior.

A private Ka6E was rigged and joined the launch line, ultimately going off for an impressive climb to 5,400′ as well as the longest flight of the day at 1hr 22mins. The owner commented that while it was a fast climb, it got rather chilly since he’d climbed well above the freezing level!

Keen pilots took multiple launches to give us a total of 34 launches and most flights were soaring flights, averaging 24mins each off the winch!

One K13 which landed neatly within pushing range of the launchpoint used human power to beat the two K21s that were being retrieved by vehicles back to the head of the launch line to get its next launch.

Plenty of smiles on members face by the end of the a great flying day! 😀

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

Cloudscapes & Checkflights – Flying Report 5/1/20

It was bustling at Sunday’s briefing as the favourable weather forecast combined with a drier field had enticed many members to come to fly.

With our neighbouring club Bidford still suffering from a water logged field we also welcomed two of their members to join us and to experience winch launches for the first time.

With the field set up to dodge the wet areas whilst catering for the brisk South Westerly wind, instructors Barry K and Steve P set to work carrying out currency check flights and training our ab initio pilots.

K21 about to launch from the stub.
K21 about to launch from the stub.

Due to the position of the launch point we weren’t able to use the full length of the field however we still managed to get launches up to 1700ft.

Skylaunch to sending SZD Junior up the wire.
Skylaunch sending SZD Junior up the wire.

Best flight of the day goes to Richard H who managed to exploit the hints of wave we were getting and got a very respectable 21minute flight time in the Junior. (This is the club’s best flight of the year, and also the decade – and he still wouldn’t buy us all a beer for this big achievement!)

The scraggy cloud and the wave influence combined with the low sun provided us all with some stunning cloudscapes to enjoy.

Stats for the day:

35 flights, 25 different people flown and 25 people had a great day.

Flying out of 2019

After many weeks of waiting for a break in the weather and for the field to dry, we have finally taken to the skies again!  With a creative field set-up to ensure the launches and landings avoided the remaining water logged areas we managed to have a successful day.  With a lot of members out of currency, instructors Andy and Alan conducted a number of check flights to ensure the post solo pilots were still up to standard. 

It was good to see three of our junior pilots joining us and mucking in. One of whom was Elliot who signed up as a cadet on the day and did really well during his first flights – we welcome him to the club!

Visibility wasn’t great for the first flights

Initially the low cloud meant that flights were limited to a quick circuit, but as the day progressed the clouds lifted which allowed for higher launches and some longer flights. 

Last of 2019 for Peter

Best flight of the day went to Dan B and Ben E who caught a hint of wave in one of our K21’s and managed to eek out 12 minutes of flying time.  In total we had 25 flights and after packing up enjoyed a well deserved pint at the pub.

Dan & Ben find weak wave.

Thank you to Dave M who returned to the club following the pub and in the dark retrieved the stricken buggy that was stuck with a flat tyre down the far end of the field. (just don’t ask why it ended up down there!)

Peter Capron.

Soaring into September – Sunday Flying Report

We had a fantastic flying day on Sunday which was the first day of meteorological Autumn.

Members were on site getting the ground equipment out from 0800. The morning briefing was packed with club members as well as visiting pilots from other clubs. It became apparent at the briefing that there were a lot of instructional flights required as well as trial-lessons and check-flights.

The instructor team had their work cut out for them and all three two seaters (2x K21, 1x K13) saw full utilisation throughout the day.

Catherine J, a former member and now visiting pilot based at Portmoak, Scotland volunteered to start as launch point marshal for us. With ruthless efficiency she got a high launch rate and kept the instructional flights in order. In fact, she spent very nearly the entire day organising launch operations, achieving 57 launches by the end of the day.

Junior members launching a glider

The actual soaring conditions, as so often has been the case in the summer season were mixed. We had a solid wind of around 20 knots aloft combined with thermals, showers, blue holes and sometimes good cumulus. The occasional passing shower mostly went around us.

A couple of intrepid pilots planned and launched on short cross country flights but despite their best efforts had to fly back to Snitterfield without having completed due to cross-country conditions. At least they tried!

The last two launches were Stratford’s based K21 trainers on member’s mutual flights. Initially scratching away over the winch, both gliders climbed away together, ultimately attaining over 3,000feet in height after 1800 in what was, by then, somewhat calmer air.

The last K21 landed well after 1830 local to end what was a very productive flying day.

Bidford Regionals – Flying Report by Peter Capron

The following diary of the event provides an insight into my participation in the competition and the achievements of our fellow SoAGC pilots.

Friday 6th July:

And so for the second year running, I made my way over to Bidford in readiness for the Regionals Competition. As this was my second competition there were no pre-comp nerves as there were in the previous year. Perhaps I was a bit too relaxed about it as until that day I had not done any preparation for the event!

The committee had kindly allowed me the use of our clubs LS4. To save the hassle of de-rigging it, my ferry pilot (Dave M) flew it over for me that afternoon.

Stratford was well represented at the comp. We had Barry and Sharon (Kerby & Kerby) in their Duo Discus, Mike C in his LS10, Andy B with is LS8 and finally Dan B with his ‘Battle’ Lak 19.

As I did last year, I gave myself a few targets to aim for during the week as I knew I’d never be in contention for any trophies.

They were:

  • Fly faster
  • Beat my personal height record
  • Get my second land out under my belt
  • Not come lower than my 25th last year
  • Oh, and perform a better competition finish for the cameras!

With the weather forecast predicting great conditions, we were all looking forward to a cracking week of fun and flying.

Saturday 7th July:

Day 1 of the competition had arrived. Going back to my competition preparation, or lack of it. It is probably worth mentioning I hadn’t actually been cross country since September 2017.

Despite my enthusiasm to get into the air, my lack of experience was countered by the knowledge that I could always just follow my fellow SoAGC pilots around. – Surely they wouldn’t leave a man behind?….

7th - photo 1 - First day on the gridThe Task:

BIDford – ETTington – NOW-Northampton West – GRW-Grafham Water – KWO-Kibworth – ETTington – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E.

Handicapped Task distance = 209.3 km

My strategy was to go slow and steady and not to land out on the first day. The flight was quite straight forward and it only got a little eventful towards the end when I started getting low which forced me to route towards Shennington, just in case.

Luckily I found a thermal above the munition stores at MoD Kineton which got me back on track. With a little top up near Ettington I was soon on final glide and racing back to finish.

Day Results

5th Andy B

8th Dan B

9th Kerby & Kerby

10th Mike C

22nd Me

Sunday 8th July:


BIDford – WOC-Worcester Racecourse – MYNd – NWT-Newent – STP-Stourport – EVEsham – BD2-Bidford Finish W

Handicapped Task distance = 210.1 km

As we got ourselves prepared on the grid the sky was beginning to look amazing to the East. However our task was to go West and into the blue. My experience of flying in the blue to date had been a few occasions wafting around locally to Snitterfield.

So with over 200km to fly in the cloudless conditions my strategy was to, a) Follow other gliders!, b) Fly straight and hope to bump into lift. c) Route over towns.

As soon as I came off tow I hit a good thermal over Bidford and gained 3000ft. This boosted my confidence that things would be all okay.

Once the start gate was opened I put my strategy into place and started to follow the other gliders. Andy led the pack and I was not far behind.

Everyone was doing the same and the gaggles soon become quite large and the climbs inefficient. I therefore chose to go alone. Quite often I’d find a thermal and then straight away gliders would rush to you like a swarm of angry bees! Fortunately I was soon left alone due to my slow flying speeds.

Beyond Tenbury Wells the sky changed and we had the luxury of cumulus clouds to mark out the thermals going forward.

The visibility that day was amazing, from 5000ft I could make out the sea at Cardigan Bay and the mountains of Snowdonia. I’ve since checked on the map and the sea would have been about 60miles away from where I was.

It was quite a straightforward task once the clouds were out and it wasn’t long before I was high enough to complete 45km final glide to finish the day.

Day Results

4th Dan B

6th Kerby & Kerby

8th Andy

14th Mike

22nd Me

Monday 9th July:


BIDford – BC3-Bicester N – ETTington – GRM-Great Malvern – EVEsham – BD2-Bidford Finish W

Handicapped Task distance = 153.3 km

This all started so well. I romped down to Bicester North bouncing off the thermals and only taking 2 very good climbs to keep me near cloud base.

I turned for Ettington and again everything was working as planned and I felt like I was flying the fastest cross country I had ever done.

My hopes of a good day result were dashed when, after Ettington I just couldn’t find another climb, nothing seemed to work. From down within the weeds I managed to get a little bit of lift to stop me looking for field landing options.

I crawled on looking for a decent climb to get me going again. Finally I picked up one near the airfield at Bidford and gained over 3000ft. As I was heading towards the Malvern turnpoint I got myself on final glide after which I enjoyed the stress free 46km of straight line flying all the way to Malvern and then the finish line at Bidford.

Day Results

1st Dan B

3rd Kerby & Kerby

13th Andy B

18th Mike

23rd Me

A fantastic day for Dan. His first ever day winner at a Regionals Competition.

Tuesday 10th July:


BIDford – BRIdgnorth – NWT-Newent – SH3-Shobdon E – EVEsham – BD2-Bidford Finish W

Handicapped Task distance = 205.0 km

Off we set towards a not very inspiring sky. My cross-country speed wasn’t that fast but nor was anyone else’s and initially manged to keep up as best I could.

It was uneventful up to Newent, but things were all about to change. As I turned Newent I was presented with a routing dilemma to Shobdon. Do I go under the overcast sky and seek out embedded CU or do I go for blue and hope it is still working?

I chose the overcast route and went hunting for lift. It wasn’t long until I found an embedded CU with lift and so I began to think I had chosen the right option…That lift was my last proper thermal that day.

Things were getting desperate as I turned Shobdon E (Quite close to Leominster). I frantically searched for sources of lift to give me an option of landing out at Shobdon Airfield but I just couldn’t get high enough for a safe glide there.

This area of the county is not renowned for its landout options because of the undulating ground and the very small fields. I must have been still just over 2000ft high when I switched my focus from searching out lift to looking for a possible landing field.

I spotted a nice but smallish pasture that ticked all the boxes. I decided I wasn’t going to leave this unless I got back up to cloud base. (wishful thinking)

As I drifted lower I noticed Barry and Sharon in their Duo coming towards me. Surely they wouldn’t leave a man behind and would help by joining my search for a good thermal to get me home? Of course not, they were struggling themselves and so they went on by leaving me to prepare to land.

I spent a while planning my circuit into the field and so when I got to the point of no return it was all very straightforward getting down safely into the field.

I should have mentioned earlier. Dave M had offered to be my Crew during the comp, and so he was put into action to come and get me and the glider from a village called Humber. It was bit unfortunate for him/me that I had pretty much landed out the furthest possible distance from Bidford I could do that day.

In the 2hrs from landing until Dave turned up I tracked down the farmer’s wife to explain the situation. She was great about it and later on brought her whole family over to take a look at the glider. All her kids took up my offer to sit in the cockpit and pose for pictures.

Dave and I got back to Bidford about 21:15 that night. A very long day in the end but all part of the fun of pure gliding.

Annie prepared the late-arriving landouts with a delicious gammon, egg and chips dinner!

Day Results

4th Mike C

6th Andy

9th Dan

14th Kerby & Kerby

19th Me

Wednesday 11th July:


BIDford – BRIdgnorth – PENdock – BA1-Banbury W – EVEsham – BD2-Bidford Finish W

Handicapped Task distance = 192.7 km

A straightforward and a quick task for me which was good, given my land out the day before.

I was able to build on what I had learned in the last few days and I was rewarded with my equal best placing of the competition – 18th

Dan had a cracking race again and picked up his second 1st place of the week.

Day Results

1st Dan

4th Andy B

5th Mike C

17th Kerby & Kerby

18th Me

Thursday 12th July:


BIDford – BCL-Bishop’s Cleeve NW – ETTington – EVEsham – BIDford

Task distance: 86.07 km

The weather meant a wait until mid-afternoon before we were sent on a quick romp around the local area.

I was slow but once again Dan cleaned up!

Day Results

1st Dan (119km/h!)

3rd Kerby & Kerby

5th Andy B

15th Mike C

21st Me

Friday 13th July:

Rest day

Saturday 14th July:


BIDford – WALford – WTM-Worthen – TSW-Telford SW – BRY-Bromyard – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Handicapped Task distance = 210.1 km

I was feeling confident so I decided to put some water ballast in for the first time in the week. It wasn’t good going so I dumped it over Clee Hill as the thermals were very weak. But typically a few kilometers later the sky started working properly and I wished I had kept my water.

It was great to overfly the Long Mynd for first time and to look down at the gliding club in action below.

Andy in his first competition was the day winner and Dan was top of the overall leader board still with just one day to go.

Day Results

1st Andy B

3rd Dan B

6th Mike

13th Kerby & Kerby

20th Me

Sunday 15th July:


CWA-Chipping Warden – COB-Corby South – POTton – CHT-Chatteris – WATford Gap – ETTington – SFW-Stratford West – BD1-Bidford Finish E

Handicapped Task distance = 275.8 km

The final day and it was time to fill the wings with water ballast to hopefully quicken my cross country speed but more importantly to give me a more dramatic finish at the end!

The forecast was great for the day and so they sent us out East to make full use of the best conditions.

The weather delivered as per the forecast and I experienced some of the best conditions I have ever flown in, which included getting my new personal height record of 6500ft.

The only tricky bit of the flight was the last 50km when it went blue and we were constrained by the airspace. At one point I routed right along the runway at Gaydon hoping the asphalt would kick off a thermal – fortunately it did.

Once the runway at Bidford was in sight I sped up to about 150mph and released the water to complete my competition week in style.

Unfortunately for Dan he couldn’t keep hold of his lead and Peter Stafford-Allen pipped him to the coveted first place trophy.

Day Results

3rd Kerby & Kerby

4th Andy B

6th Dan B

12th Mike C

18th Me

Total Results and Final Positions

1st Peter Stafford-Allen 5476pts

2nd Dan Brown 5439pts

4th Andy Balkwill 5345pts

7th Mike Coffee 4952pts

9th Kerby & Kerby 4894pts

19th Me (Peter Capron) 3194pts

A great performance from the Stratford pilots!

Final thoughts and thanks

We were fortunate to have some of the best soaring weather for a competition for many years. Over the 8 days of flying I added 27 more hours and 1500 more kilometres to my log book but more importantly I had the opportunity to develop and to better my cross country flying skills.

I set out to do better than last year and so I was really happy to get 19th overall. A few more years and I might be able to give the other Stratford pilots a run for their money!

The Bidford Regionals is a very well run but relaxed competition. I would highly recommend anyone who wants a fun week of flying to enter next year.

I wouldn’t have been able to participate without the use of the club’s LS4. I therefore would like to thank our committee for allowing me to hire it.

A big thanks goes to Dave M who was my dedicated crew. He was always there to assist me at the beginning and at the end of the each day and it made my week so much easier.

Lastly Stratford pilots were very much involved in helping to launch the grid each day. We had Chris E as one of the tug pilots, Ben E running the wings, and ‘Emerly’ S plus Dave M drawing out the tug ropes. Thank you to you all.

Bring on next year!





Sunday 10/6/18 – That One Thermal

Sunday was a busy, hot and tricky day.

It was possible that the soaring conditions would develop well so a number of private gliders turned up at the west-end launchpoint along with the busy club flying fleet.

The club’s LS4 was back online and flying thanks to Barry as well as the in-demand SZD Junior. The actual soaring conditions were limited with no well-defined cumulus and top cover moving over the sun at intervals.

Team Kerby & Kerby in Duo Discus 666 optimistically tasked out to the south-west, hoping to get some practice in before the Bidford Regionals. They had to abort somewhere out past Bidford when it became apparent that staying aloft was the hardest task.

One fairly reliable line of energy was present beginning near the village to the east of the field and extending past the south edge of the field.

At one point, pretty well all of the private gliders and flying club aircraft occupied the same thermal just to the south of the field. Iain R captured some brilliant photos of this gaggle while flying as a passenger in DG500 “LSL”. For the pilots, good lookout was paramount!

Achievements wise, Bob made a heroic attempt at his Brone 2 hours duration but the lift didn’t quite play ball. Other members undertook their annual refresher flying to ensure their flying skills are maintained at the required standard through 2018.

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!

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! 🙂

Saturday 19/5/18 Flying Report – Alistair gets a leg-up.

There were fewer members than usual on site on Saturday as some of the membership were on the Sutton Bank expedition in Yorkshire. Still, some enthusiastic pilots were ready to do some flying and Andy S was our duty instructor.

The morning briefing centred around the Article 239 RA(T) at Ragley Hall for the Midlands Air Festival. This restricted airspace 6 nautical miles west of the field presented a problem for cross-country task planning and local soaring. As well as this, two ‘holding areas’ were defined East and West of the RA(T) as nav-warnings for aircraft displaying at the event. The closest of these, centred on the large solar farm extended to a point as close as the Birmingham road.

With light winds, Andy set the field out with the winch at the east end so we would be coming off the wire at a point as far as possible from the nav warning area.

Just Mike C and David M decided to task. Mike planned to task south and then northeast in the LS10 and David planned club task Bicester out-and-return to stay well clear of the RA(T).

The RASP forecast was for a 5* soaring day but we were taking that with a pinch of salt on past experience and sure enough the first cumulus was very shallow with a notable haze layer aloft.

Mike launched early in the LS10 tasking SNI>OXN>NEW>MAH>CAL>SNI. David declared SN2>BIC>SN2 in the club’s SZD Junior as the LS4 was away with the club Sutton Bank expedition.

Peter C went up in the Astir to mark a thermal for David who was launching after him but unfortunately he ended up in a low scratch while David climbed to the East. Peter did however manage to get a picture of David as he came out of the SN2 start on task.

David starts his task in the Junior

David starts his task in the Junior

By early afternoon, David was back, finishing with a 27km final glide from a point south of Shennington and 106.9km flight total. The task had been a bit tricky due to wide gaps and poor visibility in the working band.


Next up with a tasking was junior glider pilot Alistair who we encouraged to try his Silver Height gain which requires a total climb of 1000m (3280′) above the lowest recorded point. Peter C kindly furnished him with a Nano barometric logger and he launched in the club’s SZD Junior.

He was back in 5 minutes having contacted nothing but sink from a relatively low launch.

Not willing to give up, Alistair launched again and this time got away.

We watched as he made a couple of solid climbs in the airspace available to us away from the Ragley Hall event, the highest being directly over the airfield at Snitterfield.

We were confident he had made the height gain but watched with anguish as he returned to circuit height after about 50 minutes. Just 10 minutes more would net him a Bronze X/C duration achievement.

Unfortunately, Alistair landed just short of the 1 hr duration goal at 55 minutes from release. This didn’t put too much of a spoiler on his flight though as he’d managed to brake his previous best soaring flight of 18 minutes by a round sum.

Official Observer Peter also verified that he’d completed his Silver Height gain by a comfortable margin meaning he now holds one of his Silver legs before completion of his Bronze C.

Well done Alistair!

Mike also completed his tasking which gained him 1968 points on the BGA ladder for 346km at 79kph.

More photos from Peter C:

As the afternoon went on we saw several of the aircraft displaying at Ragley Hall including encountering some manoeuvring east of the holding area over Stratford. It was definitely a day for solid lookout!

A P51 Mustang gives us a wide berth as it transits out to the North East:


  1. In the late evening, long after flying had finished at Stratford, we watched the distant mass-launch of hot-air balloons from Ragley Hall.

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