Weekend 16/17 February (Andy Farr):  Saturday was a bit blustery, but otherwise bright and sunny, and the airfield was busier than at a flying week! The Puchacz was flying when I arrived,  and there were a few of the usual suspects hanging around the green caravan. The rest were hiding in the clubhouse, some doing the usual: drinking tea and coffee, and some upstairs in the office at ‘Ground School’. Others were busying themselves working in the hangar. Someone commented there were three tuggies and five instructors on site!

Pete Thomson brought his recently arrived JET into the hangar to check out some electricals, and then rigged it, but not early enough to fly. Sniffer Smith had been first out the traps at 1030 in DXG, but lasted a mere 13 minutes, followed by young Thomas the Tank on a check flight that lasted only 18 minutes. Deary me, what was wrong? Dave Weekes and Steve Struthers managed to stretch it to 23 minutes followed by John Anderson and Ray Hill who managed a whopping 51 minutes.

Phil and I re-assembled the rear canopy strut on DaisyETA and flew for 40 minutes, returning only because of the impending rain which in the end, never came to much. Nick gave Thomas a few simulated launch failures then Ray and Bill Longstaff flew for 51 minutes, matching John Anderson’s top dog flight time.  A lady visitor was flown, and asked if there were many female club members, commenting it was a bit ‘blokey.’  She enjoyed her flight, however, and may even return next week before going home at the end of her holiday break.

Rounding up the day, John Whyte, fresh from his overseas adventures, flew with Dave Weekes for a short but sweet 14 minutes. Eleven flights in all, and just over 4hr 30min flying time. Thanks to Roger for tugging – oh, and how could I forget?  Miles sat his bronze papers. He managed to complete and pass most of it but has one item still to pass. Well done, Miles, and good luck with the re-sit!

Sunday morning and much of the afternoon was extremely windy, with squalid [good description - Ed] showers later. So, understandably there was no flying. Two more worthies (Tony and Jordan) went to hell and back with the dreaded Bronze papers. Both have passed most of it, but both need to re-sit two items. So, well done guys, and good luck with the re-sits. Many thanks to Nick and Mike who tortured the lads with the ground school and allegedly managed to refrain from the use of the tawse!

Weekends 2/3 February and 9/10 February  (Tony Cresswell):  An excellent couple of weekends saw myself and 3 fellow Bronze wannabe's benefit from the great knowledge and ability to pass on said knowledge by CFI Mike Morrison and Nick Norman upstairs in the office.   Knowing that we weren't missing out while other members flew to their hearts' content outside helped which is why these aims were mooted in the first place.  Winter is a good use of time to get over this hurdle!  We parted on Sunday afternoon with a pledge to keep at it, through most if not all of the Wintry month of February until we are up to the task - well the exam anyway.   Time will tell, and our combined gratitude for our mentors efforts cannot be over stated.


Weekend 26/27 January:  (terse report from Craig Chatburn):  Johnny and Andy were in full flow when I arrived cutting, chopping and stacking. Some progress was made on PK catching the few items Dave W hadn't done.  DB appeared, Johnny went home soaking.  Just as Andy, DB and myself were setting off for Kincraig Burns Supper (highly recommended) Pete the Jet arrived with the Jet, looking a very happy chap.  Morag looked even happier now the toy kit is complete again....

Sunday:  very wintery.  I left sharp and Andy was doing some admin. Hangar doors never open...


19 January:  (Jordan):  "Sun, White & Blue Skies"

A White Saturday morning it was upon the Feshie valley,

At present was few pilots but stood tall and ranked ready. 

A delay to opening the toy box for Ian C had shit to do,

Fabricating the tuggy  and mending it with the good ol' fabric glue.

At last we made the move and opened the hangar doors,

Dave Weekes, Stew Hills and Andy brought out Puch & Daisy with a roar.

DI & checks completed the flight of the Valkyries had begun, 

First off with Dave And Stewart, through the smooth cold air they were flung.

From 3000 feet and pleasantly they drifted slowly down, 

Stewart had already uploaded photos before they had hit the ground!

Daisy once again, stood fast and ready on the white strip,

Taking up Phil & Andy, always the lady- never the bitch!

The greatest pilot from Feshie took up the dear Puchacz with Dave for a taste,

Chandelles were executed with grand demeanour, fine skill and absolute grace.

Four flights totalled and fit to the day very snug,

A nod to Ian C who cared to operate the tug.

I made an attempt for solo and to take the final flight,

Iced up wings on dear Puch she told me "Sorry J,  not tonight."


Weekend 12/13 January 2019  (Nick Norman): I arrived on Friday evening for a convivial drink with Dave Weekes and ALF.  The next morning saw the arrival of Johnny early as usual, Craig, Ian Carruthers,and later Jan K and James Cochrane with Bill L popping in to check up on us.  The weather was murky but with a pronounced wave slot over the A9. Johnny and I were towed by Ian in FYA into it (Johnny doing his first “entire aerotow” from stationary to 3000’ – well done!) and then we climbed.  And climbed. And ended up at FL107. Johnny was impressed to see Mr Easyjet a few miles away and below us on its way to Inverness. However there was a lot of cloud and no sun and it was cold and windy (about 55kts at 10,000’) and so keeping ahead of the cloud was a struggle. But we did manage some stalls, spins and a loop in between long periods battling upwind.

Finally the cold and FYA’s leaky canopy was too much and we descended back to the relative warmth. Johnny got lots of practice with the airbrakes!  Canopy iced up a bit on the way down but cleared at around 2000’ and by the time we landed, the ice on the wings was unfortunately gone (no hero points for arriving on the airfield looking like a lollipop).  Airborne for just over an hour.

ALF and Craig flew ETA for 1hr 45min reaching about the same height, and Dave also flew FYA solo.  After I had defrosted I took James up into the wave.  However by then it was significantly more gloomy with showers threatening, made worse because the slot had moved over the high ground of the Monadliaths and so the gap twixt cloud and ground was not much.  We struggled on for about 30 mins getting up to 7000’ but at that point I decided it was getting too murky so we returned to the airfield under a cloubase which was by then about 1800’.  End of play!  Unsurprisingly, the pub beckoned that evening.

Photo by Craig

Sunday saw frequent heavy showers, which was unfortunate since in  between them, the wave looked good. But just not enough time between the showers to warrant getting the toys out.  So a day of maintenance ensued.  PK had been derigged so Craig and Dave started its annual.  Ian did some work on the tug.  I did some work to 979’s panel.  ALF was as usual busy with housekeeping matters.  Bill Anderson and Steve Struthers held a "syndicate meeting” about re-equipping GCD which I was privy to. I always like spending other people’s money.  Also Phil and Fiona arrived with cake!  So all in all a pretty good weekend – 4 flights totalling about 4hr 15min and many many thousands of feet gained. Not bad for mid-January. And thank you Ian for the tows.