Latest news from the club

Saturday 23 April 
report by Phil Hawkins

My duty day at the launch point, however unfortunately I had forgotten to book nice weather.  Complete overcast with a northerly breeze and the cloud halfway down the hill when I arrived.  However it was good to see Pete Smith rigging the Vega probably for the first time in at least a year, and the DG-200 and Jet were also rigged.  PS was the first to tow his glider down to the south end, but for a while he and I had the place to ourselves while he contemplated, I munched my lunch and everyone else went to put the kettle on.

Eventually the clouds gradually broke, Paul and Ray persuaded Pete to take a launch, and he disappeared off to firkle around the north bowl for the next 2hrs.    Suitably shamed, Stewart and our esteemed chairman towed their gliders down to the south end and launched into a sky studded with ragged cumulus.  Ray and Howard took the fourth and last launch of the day in PK.  Total flight time about 4.5 hours, including nearly 2hrs each by the two Petes, and I'll leave you wondering which of them beat the other by two minutes.   PT did say that he had soared the Einich cliffs in the north-east winds.  Impressive.

Thanks to all those who helped including Paul for tugging, Ray for instructing, the log keeper (me), the wingtip holder (me), the hooker-onner (me), the lookout and radio operator (me), the guy who fixed the loose screw in the tug engine cowling (me), and finally the guy who helped to extract PK from a tricky position in the hangar without scraping anything else (also me).  It's fairly difficult to delegate when there is no-one else around!

Easter Sunday report 
by Bill Anderson

As duty pilot I arrived to find Andy already busy cleaning out drawers in the kitchen and Dave Weekes in the hangar working on the K6 fuselage.  There were few other members about.  John went to fettle the winch, and after the passage of time, the taking of tea and exchange of pleasantries Phil appeared with guest Carole and readied ETA for flight. Landies where deployed, the first launch of the day, relatively straight forward, although the parachute did not deploy causing the cable to plummet to earth and entangle itself in a tree near the river.  In all Phil and his guest had three flights in ETA the first two of 5 and 10 mins respectively the third a creditable 1hr 23min in thermal and occasional hints of wave.


We managed a further two launches in ETA crewed by Ray Hill and Andy. By this time despite a brief lull the wind was becoming unpredictable with gusts crossing the field from the SE.  I was about to launch with Dave and looking at the wind sock we decided, by mutual agreement, to pack the hangar in anticipation of the tug returning from Portmoak sometime in the week.   All gliders safely stored away, landies parked and radios returned to their cradles, as I  left Andy was  transferring the days flight details from the log sheet to the club file on computer.

A day in the life at Feshie.

Saturday 16th April                                          Report by Lee Mitchell

When I arrived at the club the first thing I noticed was a tent stuck on top of a Landrover Discovery.  My initial thought was that Bill Anderson was on a glamping expedition to Feshie, and as usual his tent had blown away, ending up on top Jordan's car.  It actually turned out to be Jordan's new purchase, a Tentbox Lite, which is actually designed to sit on top of a vehicle. PK was DI'd and the only NOTAM of immediate relevance was to beware of tents up to an altitude of 300ft.  Jordan emerged from his penthouse whilst Tony C watched in awe and took notes as Jordan negotiated the ladders without falling down them.

The winch was warmed up and Dave Weekes was the first to launch in the Skylark.  Jordan took PK solo but the shock rope broke at around 500ft.  He performed a well executed 360, keeping a safe distance from his tent.  Either Phil Hawkins must have sensed that there was a broken rope in the area, or he received a call on his Batphone, because he arrived just as the broken rope was retrieved to the launch point.  The rope was expertly fixed by Phil and flying resumed.  Paul Myers took PK for a couple of solo flights before flying with Bob.  The conditions became turbulent for a while so flying was stopped and Dave got the K6 in the hangar for its ARC.  Flying then resumed and Paul flew with Phil and they achieved the longest flight of the day at around 30 minutes and up to 4000ft in wave.  There were 11 flights in total.            Photo by Fiona Hawkins

Sunday 10th April 
report by Caroline Comfort

What a warm welcome back, thanks to you all.  A much warmer day than the past week with light wind on the ground, a south westerly above and hard work scratching at 2000ft.  Strong thermals higher up, which later in the day I have to say I was very glad of!  The Supercub G-IV had to leave for Perth in the afternoon (confirmation from Paul Myers it is now safely hangered there) and with many willing hands, toys came out early and Puchacz FYA back online thanks to Alan.  All the gliders came out to play, leaving only the Robin forlorn in the corner of the hangar. 

I lost count of how many were present as it was busy. Rory was up first celebrating his one hundredth glider flight, followed by Steve Struthers, Stewart Hills, Alan Mossman with Gabby, Mike Morrison, Phil with Andy Farr and Pete Smith all before just after noon and from the caravan we could see a pair of eagles thermalling closely between them over the valley towards Loch Insh.


The DP was easily persuaded to hand over the yellow jacket to Alison, many thanks and with Ray Hill took to the skies, this glorious place we call Feshie.  While the DP relished in the scratching, Bill Anderson, Paul Maddox, Tony Cresswell and John Smyth enjoyed the thermals and Andy Farr introduced Agnieszka from Inverness to the joys of gliding. 


The DP must have shouted loudest when Nick offered a back seat and relinquished the yellow jacket for a second time. After an effortless 50km following the Spey north to Aberlour, we turned to a very different sky and loads of sink, would holding my breath make us lighter?  One sunny spot marked the thermal that got us home ... plus a GPS!   Skill!

Four second flights before the tug had to leave, giving 19 flights in all. Thank you to Nick and Ian for tugging, 18 hrs 26 mins flying time and many willing hands to fill and close the hangar doors, the DP was home happy by 6pm.

Weekend of 19/20 March 
report by Nick Norman...

Saturday was tug arrival day. I was up early to give a weather report to the incoming Supercub and Europa-taxi. Flat calm, despite upper winds of 190/30. By 9am when they arrived the surface wind was starting to pick up slightly. PK and JWR were out awaiting an instructor, who arrived shortly after. I had a quick circuit or two in this 1950’s Morris Minor (turbo) of the skies.  A notable benefit of this tug is that all except Mr. Houdini will find it very difficult to get in and out, which means that once some poor fool can be enticed into it, they will be ours for the day!


Launches for PK, JWR, GCD and JET were provided, and it was quite wavy.  After PK landed it was getting a little gusty but another launch ensued piloted by that well known deceased game show presenter Michael Miles. On return I did an immaculate 3 point landing in the Supercub which lasted for 1 second before a huge gust found me at 5 feet again. And then the gust stopped. Hmmmm, time to put the Cub to bed.  Bill Anderson came back in the Cirrus and I was a little surprised to see him carrying out a full and free control check on short finals, but I guess it takes all sorts.  [Added later by Bill:  "to paraphrase Morecambe and Wise I used all the right control movements but not necessarily in the right order."] 

Then came PK. It seems that someone had failed to update the moving maps in PK because, following a navigational error, they completely missed the airfield and landed in the lower fields.  Still, no harm done and the de-rigging/retrieve/re-rigging exercise means several members have been able to save money by cancelling their gym subscriptions.


This left Pete Jet at 6000ft wondering if the strange navigational anomaly might affect him at 100ft too, and a diversion to Easterton was pondered, but with 25kt 90deg crosswind there, in the end it was decided to make a perfectly normal and well-navigated landing on the airfield. How boring!  Toys put away, at which point it became flat calm, warm and sunny. Well except for the occasional earthquake which rattled everything in the clubhouse.


On Sunday we could see why the earthquakes kept happening, rotor scud cloud pouring off the hill with wind at 160/40. Which is bad.


Jobs carried out in the hangar and notable was John Smyth’s cleaning up and shiny-painting of JWR’s trailer. I did want to tell him that go-faster stripes would better be applied to the glider, not the trailer, but I didn’t have the heart.