Latest news from the club

Duty Pilot report for 7th August    by  Lee Mitchell

I arrived at the club to find Bill Anderson cleaning his canopy.   After doing a double take, I said hello.  Tony Creswell had hatched a cunning plan.  As it was the last day of the flying week, he knew that most participants would have left or would be leaving this evening.  Therefore, doing a 50k today would mean a cheaper bar bill than doing it during the flying week.  A couple of two-seater flights came and went before Tony sneakily crept into his glider with a map discreetly tucked under his arm.  He needn't have done this as by this stage we all knew what his intentions were.

Howard arrived with some family members; it is good to see that Howard is making good progress with his recovery.  His grandson was keen to fly, and he enjoyed it so much that he had three flights in total.  Howard made sure he had adequate money in his flying account to cover this, as his knees haven't recovered enough to be on the receiving end of Andy's baseball bat just yet.

Bill Anderson's flying plans had come unstuck after he dropped something in the fuselage when he was fitting the batteries.  This led to him stripping back the Cirrus bit by bit.  Luckily, Pete Thomson intervened just before Bill got on the phone to Schempp-Hirth.  The newly rebuilt Cirrus, with gleaming canopy, was rolled on to the runway.  The clean canopy made such a difference that you could now see out of it, which meant that Bill could now fly, not just relying on instinct, FLARM and a Labrador.  He set off for 1hr 20min, closely followed by Pete in JET.   Meanwhile, Nick and James had returned in the ASH after an impressive flight to 18,000ft around Loch Tay.   Also, by this time, we had found out through Spot the Gliders that Tony had made it to Easterton, which made as all very happy.

Tony had decided on an aerotow retrieve from Easterton.  Bill Anderson came in to land before Tony's arrival.  Unfortunately there was no Labrador to tap him on the shoulder and point at the undercarriage lever during his circuit, so he landed wheels-up.  The wheel was lowered and the glider was moved just before Tony came in to land.  As has become traditional for such occasions, a cardboard cut-out of Paul Myers was pulled out of the back of the Suzuki to congratulate Tony.  In fact, later on, Tony bought it a drink.  It seems that Tony's plan had worked.  Paul's carboard cut-out was easier on the bar bills than Paul himself , but not by as much as you'd think.

Many thanks to Dave Weekes for taking on the instructing and also to Nick and ALF for winching.  I think that Tony's 50k today meant a great end to a great week and I'd like to thank Paul for organising the flying week and all that have helped out during it.

August Club Week    by Paul Myers

There have been numerous DP reports but to summarise; we fliew every day, did 58 winch launches, checking out 3 members on the winch, gave a very favourable impression of Feshie to a young visitor from Aboyne and a guy staying at the services cottages, fertilised the runway, finished a Bronze flying test for James completing his Bronze, having a couple of good wave flights, starting the path to re-solo for a new member Oscar Mercer and we had a lot of fun.  A very pleasant ‘welcome back’ flight with Ray Hill, and a flight as reward for the guy who looks after our horse and makes weeks at Feshie possible.  All from the winch.

Many thanks to the winch drivers and instructors who made the week feasible and to everyone who turned up, worked hard and made the week successful and a pleasure to be a part of.  A special thank you to Nick whose award-winning contribution and knowledge always make the week go smoothly, amongst other things he worked on repairing the Susuki, getting the winch performance up, helping to fix a certain Cirrus (JOE) tail dolly which had been parked on (not by me) and flying people in the ASH, but most of all for forgetting to switch his Oxygen on and not getting as high as me in the wave!  And  to Andy who organised the beer!

The next Club week starts Monday 5th September, now you know what you will be missing if you don’t turn up!

Weekend 16/17 July    by Dave Weekes

Saturday saw John Whyte and assistants disembowelling the Suzuki while others tried to get the winch through its monthly cable cutting checks, which it did eventually. The blade needs proper regrinding to work efficiently though. 

Oscar, a long lost solo pilot and potential new member turned up, slightly disappointingly in a 6.8 metre motorhome, the previously quoted 16.8 metre juggernaut having been a misprint.  He showed distinct promise both as a retrieve driver and a social member. Bob Forrest was instructing and I ended up doing a lot of the winch driving instead of CofA work on the Skylark. The wind was only light SW and a couple of attempts to soar the Point failed.  A fair afternoon's flying followed by the usual excursion to the Suie bar.


Sunday's wind was again uninspiring and the sky generally overcast.  Mike was instructing in the morning, JW still working on the Suzi which is now operating temporarily without the intercooler, and I was winching. 

Tom Bombfort, another long lapsed solo pilot showed up and was being introduced to the black arts of winch launching and landings at Feshie.  Mike had to leave early so muggins here ended up instructing on multiple launches with messrs Anderson, Bombfort and Smyth.  James had by then taken over the winch.


Pete the Jet launched but was heard burning quatities of kerosene to get up onto the ridge. I believe he got quite high in the end and flew for several hours.  Otherwise  there was very little thermal activity and nothing off the point so it was pretty much all circuits in PK, the longest being 7 minutes. 

However it was a pretty successful weekend really!

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1st July 2022:  The BGA provides a rolling news service on its web site and backs that up with e-news, sent by email to subscribers at least twice per month.  The service is of course free and only requires the subscriber to provide an email address. It takes seconds.  To sign up for BGA e-news, go to the BGA news page and then click on the red 'Sign up to our newsletter' box.

Saturday Report    by John Anderson

9th July 2022:   What a beautiful day for aviating!


With the help of Scott Neilson from Portmoak, Alan Mossman and myself extracted PK from the hangar.  Next on the agenda was to waken Jordan from his slumber in the flying tent as we required a winch driver.  With a few groans he soon emerged and immediately dived into the thick of things and made ready the winch.  Alan DI’d PK while I chatted to a visitor from USA.  His own club only has aerotow and he was extremely keen for a winch launch.

With all the gear ready the first aviator, Howard and Alan were thrown into the air at 10:37 and were swiftly back after a 4 min sleigh ride, with his next two throws having the same effect.  Next in the firing line was Tim Hardin from the USA who became joint equal with Howard at 4 min but came back ecstatic and supporting a huge cheesy grin.

Ian Carruthers nipped in and self launched then Scott Nelson broke the broke the 4min spell taking it to 9mins. During all of this two more visitors appeared and were flown, increasing the air time to 18 mins.  Next up was Pete the Jet who notched up 3hrs 27mins - overall winner for the day.

Tony encountered a launch failure, as the winch driver was instructed to deliver less power, but became airborne on the second attempt.  Stewart with his first winch launch in the DG-200 headed for the hill but was back as another contender for the 4 min prize, but on his second attempt managed to stay aloft.


While waiting on my launch a glider from Aboyne called downwind and was later recovered by the Aboyne tug.  My launch went well to 800ft and with the help of Alan we headed for the hill in a thermal.  Here we scratched for a while, eventually gained height to 3500ft and had a nice flight of 1hr 16 mins.


A great time was had by all, and my appreciation and many thanks for all for helping, especially Alan and Jordan as this great day would not have materialised without them.

Gaby wins the CFI's annual award 

11th June 2022:  As a special tail-end item at the AGM held in the clubhouse, CFI Mike Morrison (right) presented his annual award for the most-improved pilot to a somewhat surprised Gaby Telerman.

Photo by Tony Cresswell

Weekend Report for 4/5 June  

by Phil Hawkins

For those of our members who weren't at the Club this weekend (in other words most of you) you missed a treat.  The Jubilee weather was wonderful.



It was a slow start due to the drogue chute having become stuck in the winch rollers.  Craig,  Dave and John Whyte were trying to fix the roller assembly when I arrived.  Eventually after a suitable lash-up, sorry, effective repair, a few very short circuits were flown in the Puchacz.  PK is currently offline for its annual inspection.

Initially I wasn’t keen to fly in the slack conditions but eventually it was decided to change ends with the winch.  Our chairman towed the Shark down to the far end, launched and began scratching in a low-level thermal but the jet engine failed to start.  He landed again after a short soaring flight to trouble-shoot the problem.  Also, The ASH unfortunately sustained tail end damage during ground handling when the tail dolly assembly came apart.

Craig persuaded me to take a launch and kindly towed me down to the south end.  I flew with John Smyth for 2hr 3min off an 800ft launch.  The first thermal was one of the most remarkable I've ever had at Feshie.  We were more or less launched straight into it, and it went steadily up to 7,000ft cloudbase vertically over the winch.  I’d love to see a 3D plot of that.  We rambled around the extended local soaring area, enjoying the cool air at altitude and even making short forays into the very shallow clouds.  Best height 7,700ft and it was noticeable that various different cloudbase levels could be seen in different blocks of air.


Apparently after we launched there was an exciting launch failure when the wind changed again and Stewart was drifted sideways towards the hedge on takeoff.  He prudently pulled the bung and launching was then abandoned.


It should be noted that Dave Weekes and Andy Parrish also flew the Puchacz to around 7,500ft and Alison put in a lot of hard work instructing with simulated launch failures etc. 


... was scheduled to be my duty day at the launch point.  With a slight northerly breeze we set up operation at the south end and Paul Myers was doing short check flights in the Puchacz with Pete Smith.  John Whyte and Dave Weekes were driving the winch with James Cochrane under instruction, and just a skeleton crew of other other members kept the launch point going.   Ian Carruthers was in the hangar working on PK annual inspection.


I had a special delivery of warm bacon roll from the boathouse restaurant when Fiona had finished her Sunday morning swim session, then she took the car away promising to return with lunch later.  There were interesting clouds forming by this time, and Stewart was flying the Puchacz solo.  He found weak lift to climb away, but the cable had broken near the top of his launch, and even from the other end of the runway we could hear banging and clattering noises coming from the winch.  Shortly afterwards Dave announced on the radio that the winch was unserviceable and they could not do any further launches.

We therefore towed DaisyETA back to the hangar end, where we left it parked on the grass because Nick was using the hangar space to work on yesterday’s damage to the ASH.  He came out to join the small group of interested spectators looking at the winch, and it seemed the counter-weight to the front roller system had broken off during Stewart’s launch.  Old welding had fatigued and given way.  Eventually as a temporary fix to save the day, it was decided to lash the counter-weight to the matching arm on the other side of the winch.


About 2pm my picnic lunch arrived and we sat for a while outside DaisyETA’s trailer to enjoy that.  I had expected Stewart to stay up in the Puchacz for the rest of the day, but he landed at the hangar end after only about 20 minutes.  Very soon, however, the Puch was being towed back to the south end to resume operations.  So I hastily finished up my lunch and we moved the car and the log board to the south end once more.

I had already phoned my guests Anne & Bernie McGee to suggest coming out around 2.30pm for Anne’s flight, which they did, the only problem being the K21 was now parked at the wrong end of the runway.  Craig and John Smyth volunteered to tow it to the south end again while I continued with my launch point duties.

Anne and I launched sometime after 3pm, achieving 900ft in the continuing northerly breeze, and luckily I found weak lift to start a climb almost immediately over the Bear’s Paw.  There were lots of squeaks, giggles and the occasional ‘Wow’ coming from the back seat as Anne enjoyed the view opening up.  The distant visibility was typically hazy in this high pressure weather, but the clouds were looking good and we achieved a maximum of 6,200ft.  Surprisingly there were no walkers visible on the ridge path today.  Flight time 1hr 3min.  

Bernie was then strapped in for what was to be the final launch of the day just after 5pm.  Once again 900ft on the launch and I found very weak lift over the river bed just adjacent to the 03 end of the runway.  We plodded around in circles for what seemed like ages, and I didn’t have any attention left to answer Bernie’s questions about what he could see, as I was concentrating so hard on the brief surges of lift.  Very slowly the altimeter needle crept upwards and I began to relax, working across the strath towards Alvie.  We reached a high point of 5,600ft somewhere over the Monadhliaths, did a bit of sightseeing and landed after 1hr 23min in the opposite direction to takeoff since the wind by this time had switched to southerly.

It was a tremendously satisfying thing to have given both Anne and Bernie good flights on the same day, as I could imagine them swapping notes excitedly all evening.  Also it was a particularly good feeling to have soared successfully from three successive launches below 1,000ft.  The winch skeptics can bury their heads in the sand if they want, but I’ve had 4½ hours flying this weekend from three very cheap launches, my co-pilots are all very happy and I’m happy too.   

Many thanks are due to John Whyte, Dave and James for winch driving, to the ad-hoc team who fixed the winch, and to those who filled in for my launch point duties while I was flying, including John Smyth, Ray Iddon and Stewart.