Saturday 14th July  (John Whyte):  A very enjoyable day for all concerned, with  a total of 8 flights ranging from 19min to 4hrs. Steady 20kt wind straight down the strip with plenty of lift about but a cloudbase below 4000ft and 8/8 coverage for most of the day restricted ambitious touring. Two trial lessons were flown resulting in 1 new local member!  In addition we welcome Joni Baikie as a new youth member who proved himself a capable pilot and also a mean hand with the axe (see left) following Miles' efforts in chainsawing over a ton of firewood. Those members who had to leave early today will be pleased to know that I asked Joni to leave some logs ready to split and stack available for their attention.

 

Sunday 1st July (Andy "busybee" Farr):  Another hot summer’s day. Dave Weekes was putting the finishing touches to his Skylark, Paul Myers was fettling the tug, and Miles set about cutting the grass.  A young visitor, Stewart, who had previously flown in February but felt unwell, showed up again with his BGA mini-course voucher which entitles him to three flights.  The general consensus was that today's winds were "too sporty" for him to to chance it again.  While his family waited and had a cuppa, Dave Weekes launched into the wide blue yonder with hardly a ripple on the launch. Must be just good luck, we thought. Then Paul came back with the tug and landed – again with hardly a ripple. Nick suggested we launch, so PK was readied and off we went. Everything was fine until we started a turn demonstration when he suddenly felt sick again and we had to return pronto. Not pronto enough, but good use was made of the paper receptacle. He soon recovered when back on the ground.

Miles took a short flight in the Astir, Nick and John Whyte flew the ASH, then Bill Anderson flew the next turn in the Astir, managing to stay up for an hour and a half.  Jim McQuade and Ray Hill took PK for a wee spin while I briefed Stewart’s dad who had decided he wanted a go as well. Donald had not flown since 1997 when he was aboard a light aircraft flying between (not over) the Alps in Switzerland. He did not elaborate, but I think he had had a bit of a fright. However, DaisyETA and commented he had got over his phobia at last. We used DaisyETA because the rear wheel in FYA was flat. FYA is currently off line until this is sorted. When fully inflated, the valve protrudes and prevents the wheel from turning. It would appear it has been running underinflated as a result, resulting in the damage.

Miles made up for his earlier short flight with another jolly in the Astir (1 hr 25 min) and then a whole crowd of folk arrived resulting in two more Air Ex’s. So a rather busy (and hot) day, with 11 flights in all, totalling 12hr 35 min. The longest flights were Nick, hogging the skies for about 3 and a quarter hours, and Dave at just over two hours. I was last to land, took the log sheets upstairs but noted the radios were missing. A quick search revealed the mobile phone lying on the couch in the green caravan, and one of the radios perched in the pocket of one of the fold away chairs.  No sign of the other radio. I’ve searched high and low for ages to no avail. Soooooooo, next week, if anyone comes across it, it will defo need charging.

Thanks to Paul for tugging, and everyone else for mucking in when I was unable to carry out the DP function due to instructing. See yer all next week!

 

Saturday 30th June  (Andy Farr):  A hot summer’s day, where the sky was blue and not a cloud to be seen.  Bob, our friendly neighbourhood tuggie, arrived for his tour of duty, and we were latterly graced by the presence of young Thomas the Tank, fresh from his erstwhile adventures high diving off of mountains.  Paul readied himself in the Ventus (after bidding Alison and Elizabeth farewell. They were heading back home ‘daan saaff’).  Jan got ready with the Cirrus, and Nick and Thomas followed them both in FWW.  The oil temperature gauge in the tug had apparently gone into the red, but I guess that’s what tugging an ASH in this weather does. Paul and Jan, clearly in competitive mode, managed 2hrs 52mins, and 3hrs 4mins respectively.  A local chap from Kingussie arrived for a trial lesson, and Lee took the hangar flight in PK. Five flights in all, just shy of 8 hours’ flying time.

 

Thursday 21st June (Nick Norman): We are coming to the end of Paul’s flying week. Mixed days and a slightly disappointing turnout from club members, but today was really good and with a reasonable turnout. Eight launches with everyone getting into stonking wave up to 12,000’ or so. Only John Whyte failed to fly - he was up to his elbows in axle grease repairing the brakes on JWR trailer. But some of the club gliders spent quite a bit of the day on the ground, which was a shame on such a super day. FYA didn’t fly at all.

 

Pete Smith and Jan were bullied into another 300km attempt. Pete Thomson and I went round in the ASH at 123kph which is a personal best for me, just to set the pace, the task being Bridge of Gaur, Bridge of Avon, Moy Lodge and back. The Terrible Twins got round Bridge of Gaur but struggled after that, with Jan returning home before reaching BoA. Pete persevered round BoA and was rewarded by a field landing at Nethy Bridge. But a good effort though. Pete told us that it was a perfect landing but clearly not that good as the glider had exploded in the field. 

(photo by Nick)

HUMAN BALLAST REPORT from Sunday June 17th (Miles Davis):  I took part in my first ICL event today at Aboyne.  Admittedly I was only human ballast but it was amazing to experience what is possible if you have the nerve (Nick was P1), the machine (the ASH), a bit of luck and the conditions to go cross country.

The weather was marginal, cloud base at 4 -5000ft and raining to the west.  The start was delayed as there was minimal lift, however we got going at 12.15.  The task was Loch Kinord - Linn of Dee - Ballater - Tomintoul - Rhynie - Dinnet - Aboyne in two and a half hours.

We pulled off at 2000ft even though we had the option of going to 3,000ft as the lift was marginal - Nick's first comment was "hmm maybe should have held on a bit" - however we managed to get up to 4000ft and headed off setting the pace.  Picking up every scrap of lift on the way, made it to Braemar which was inside first sector and with squalls ahead turned back to Ballater scraping along various tiny ridges to stay aloft - shared a bit of time with an eagle near Morven.  

Lift was still minimal so headed back towards Aboyne thinking that was probably the best we could do. Got down to 1000ft on the approach to Aboyne thinking "Oh well good effort but we are stuffed" when a lovely thermal kicked off.  Made it up to 4000ft and this renewed our enthusiasm to continue.  Headed towards Tomintoul, picking up thermals along the way sometimes up to 5000ft but often down to 2000ft.  Got well into the Tomintoul sector before heading for Rhynie, again taking any lift that showed itself.

Looking at the hills ahead I'm in the back thinking we'll never get over those!  Which field will we  use?  However the cloud was broken allowing sun through to the ground in places and gentle thermals helped to lift us over the hills.  We emerged into the Tarland bowl and with some time to spare we could get to the far reaches of the final Dinnet sector before returning to Aboyne.  An amazing flight and I learned what its like to take part in a gliding competition.  Thanks to Nick for taking me and to the ground crew John, Stephen and Craig who fortunately had no retrieval to do.

May 28th:  Another beautiful hot sunny weekend in the current settled spell, but very few members turned up on Saturday.  Perhaps they thought Miles Davies might nobble them to muck in with the firewood logging session that he had planned in advanceMiles and Ray were chainsawing while Phil, Caroline and Sandy were throwing the hard birch logs into the big four-wheel trailer, and Mike was helping later with the splitter machine.  Between us we managed to cut and stack 3 cubic metres of wood in this way, but Miles thinks it will take another three similar sessions in order to fill the wood shed for the winter.  He is thinking of hiring a wood processing machine with two experienced operators at a cost of £45 per hour to tackle the rest, but the Committee aren’t keen on the idea.

On Saturday afternoon, however, Phil and Miles had their deserved reward with a 2½ hour flight in the amazing thermal conditions, exploring the local area at heights up to 7,500ft.  The cool mountain air at that altitude was a refreshing change to the sweltering conditions at ground level.  A visiting pilot from Poland brought a vintage Foka 4 glider to the airfield, painted in brilliant yellow colours, and Roger Fothergill was lucky enough to get a flight in it later.  This elegant Foka was apparently the Open Class winner at the World Championships at South Cerney in 1965, flown on that occasion by Jan Wróblewski.

Sunday’s weather was virtually the same, but unfortunately no flying was possible due to the fact that the rostered tow plane pilot was unexpectedly called away on family business, and no substitute could be found.  The winch is currently undergoing repairs by local blacksmith Davie Cameron.
  

May 21st:   The annual ‘Mayfest’ event has finished with generally good weather, only two days out of 16 being unflyable.  A total of 227 flights were made, adding up to 341 flying hours, our most persistent member being Pete Smith who clocked up 40 hours.

There were no spectacularly high climbs in the mountain waves this year, conditions instead favouring long cross-country flights in thermal lift.  Cloud bases were over a mile high at times, allowing pilots to visit distant landmarks such as Loch Earn in the Trossachs, Loch Tulla near Bridge of Orchy and Loch Duich near Eilean Donan castle.  One spectacular 300km flight by Nick Norman and Philip Edgar included Loch Earn, Tomintoul and Tummel Bridge in just over 3 hours at an average speed of 98kph (61mph).  The same route would take 7 hours by road.  No doubt former member Philip, who is only an occasional visitor to the club nowadays, found the handling qualities of the big ASH two-seater comparable to his more usual Boeing 777s out of Dubai! 

 

Other notable achievements during the ‘fest’ include a first solo flight by Jordan Thompson of Fort William.  Well done Jordan!  He is pictured here being congratulated by Chief Flying Instructor Mike Morrison (photo by Tony Cresswell).
 

May 12th:  A remarkable sea breeze front cloud was visible from the airfield this afternoon, and soared in the evening by Phil and Henry in the K-21.  Encroaching cool sea air from the Moray Firth is on the left, whilst the unstable and much warmer mountain air is on the right, the edge of which is being lifted up in these ragged lumps.   Can’t actually see the glider in the first picture, but a close-up cropping of a later photo shows the glider appearing very small against this enormous vertical cliff  (photos by Tony Cresswell). 

  

Quote from Phil:   The view back towards the airfield from beyond Newtonmore suggested the sea breeze was getting closer.  We began a long straight glide back towards the airfield, aiming for the nearest of the fluffy sea breeze clouds located near Loch an Eilein.  We reached it at 3,500ft and found gentle lift of 2-3 knots while surfing along between ragged headlands in a huge vertical cliff.  Henry thought it was fantastic, and it’s certainly the best sea breeze effect that I’ve ever soared.  At times we cruised so close to the vertical sheets of cloud that our rainbow-circled shadow was huge.  The best lift area was in a short beat leading between Loch an Eilein and the Einich chasm, although it was still gently advancing towards the airfield.

Soon we were back up over 5,000ft again, dolphining through the tally-ho bits and pushing our way through thin patches of cloud sticking out from the cliff buttresses.  Other similar clouds could be seen to the north, some of them turning into towering cauliflower heads.  The edge of the murky sea air could clearly be seen hugging the ground between folds in the terrain, in contrast to the clear air on our side.  The top of the cliff thousands of feet above us began to topple over our heads, producing strange shelves and balconies, but ultimately they were out of our reach because the lift began to die.  We left the cloud at about 6,200ft and began a long slow descent to land at 8.20pm after a flight of 2hr 11min. 

Henry also took many photos from the cockpit, including this fine view (below) of the evening shadows across Glen Einich, and another showing the eddies at the edge of the cliff:

  

Weekend of 3/4 February (Andy Farr):  On Saturday it was (as forecast) cold, wet and thoroughly miserable.  In attendance: myself, Nick, Dave Weekes, Pete not the Jet, Bill the Drill, Thomas the Tank and a rare appearance by the Phantom. Apologies if I missed out anyone. DXG was put in the hangar for some work, and a jolly time was had by all, what with all the fettling and drinking of tea..

Sunday was a much better day – bright and sunny, if a bit cold. It was clear it would be a sled ride day, but that didn’t put us off, and FYA and ETA were pressed into service nonetheless. First off  the grid was young Thomas the Tank, solo in FYA, followed by Phil and I (twice) in ETA. The Phantom took a check flight with Ray before flying FYA solo. With little or no wind, and cloud base varying between 1100 and 3000ft agl, flight times were all in the region of 20min. With all to play for, Sniffer Smith opted for a flight in FYA to see if he could become pundit of the day with the longest flight. He couldn’t, but that didn’t stop Dave taking Thomas up in FYA after lunch for some spirited flying. Immediately after them, The Phantom and I took the final launch of the day in ETA, wrapping up a very pleasant day.  Eight launches in all, and many remarked they’d never had such a smooth launch at Feshie! Thanks to Nick for tugging us to areas where we could make the best of the conditions.

 

Weekend of 27/28 January (Andy Farr):  The engineer from Scottish Water arrived with his divining rod to find out where our water was coming from, and eventually advised us we would have to have a meter installed. Or rather, unless we could find where the water supply divided (one supply to the toilets & shower, the other to the kitchen) we would require two meters!  After he had gone Nick discovered the hidden stopcock and contacted him to advise of this. The response was that another surveyor would have to come out and verify it, after which a squad would be detailed to dig around it to install the meter.  To be continued, but in the meantime much tea and coffee was consumed..

 

Craig Chatburn was briefed by Nick on the weird science of flying the Robin, and later on some of us went to a very enjoyable Burns Supper in Kincraig Hall, where much whisky and haggis was consumed!!

 

On Sunday the winds had subsided considerably, and the hangar doors were opened to let the tug out to play with Craig at the controls. When he returned, Nick chastised the rest of us for sitting in the clubhouse drinking tea, and a launch of a single seater would be good practice for Craig. Ray was put under pressure to get U9 ready for flying and Daisy was also prepped. Phil and I beat Ray to the launch point and enjoyed a pleasant couple of flights totalling an hour, whilst Ray laid claim to the longest flight of the day at 1hr 14min.  It was pretty cold with a variable cloud base of around 2,000 feet agl. Dave Weekes took a launch in Daisy with me sitting in the back for ballast. It was the last flight of the day and the hangar doors were closed at 1400hrs – just in time for breakfast!  Four flights in all, and two training flight for Craig. Not bad for a day that would otherwise have been written off.  

Club memberships have been deducted from all relevant flying accounts, which means that some of you are now in the red. Those of you who are affected (I suspect you know who you are) could you please arrange to bring your accounts back into credit as soon as possible. That would be much appreciated, and would save us having to send heavies to your door.

 

Weekend of 13/14 January (Nick Norman):   Saturday was very blustery with south wind and nasty looking rotor clouds, so no flying.  The green caravan had sustained some damage - door off its hinges, one Perspex window mostly missing and one skylight missing.  Mike, Iain and myself carried out repairs despite the icy wind, a new sheet of Perspex was cut to fit the two apertures, the door’s hinges were reattached and now all is well.  I think the problem occurred because the door hadn’t been shut properly.  If the door is just slammed, it doesn’t latch. The handle needs to be raised too, and then it is secure.  Probably the door blew open and that allowed the wind in.  The moral is obvious!!

 

Meanwhile Ian carried out some housekeeping and paperwork on the tug.  A neww Airworthiness Directive means we will need to obtain a new noseleg of a different type, with the hassle of having to adapt the fittings to it, by the next 100hr check.  There’s always something! Andy busied himself with hangar admin..  Sunday was even windier so again no flying and just a few people continuing the chores.  I fitted the new radio to PK although there is still the rear repeater to fit and some tidying up to do.   I found a biro buried under the front seat area next to the flying controls..‘Nuff said!!

 

 

SUMMER SEASON 2017:   Press releases for 2017 are kept by the Secretary if anyone wants to read them..