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! 

On one calm evening we witnessed a very unusual type of cloud formation produced by a sea breeze effect.  Cool sea air from the Moray Firth had been edging slowly southwards during the afternoon, displacing warmer air over the Highlands on a broad front.  By early evening this front had reached Loch an Eilein just north of the airfield, giving rise to peculiar fluffy clouds resembling giant vertical cliffs in the sky.  Phil Hawkins and Henry Stott were flying at the time in Phil’s two-seater and were able to sample gentle lift along the face of this spectacular cloud, at heights up to 6000 feet.  They landed at 8.20pm after a truly memorable experience.

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).
 

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 3000 feet agl, flight times were all in the region of 20 minutes. 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’s flying.  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 new 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:  Weekly press releases for summer 2017 are kept by the Secretary if anyone wants to read them.