WINTER SEASON 2017-2018

 

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!

 

Weekend of 6/7 January (photo by Thomas Eccles, flying the Astir):

 

Weekend of 23/24 December (Andy Farr):  On Saturday morning I was first to arrive.  The day started fairly bright and blowing a right hooly!  After a while and a few cups of coffee, nobody else had arrived so I went to check the airfield. It became very obvious, very quickly, that there had been some very recent activity on the field. The evidence was abundant – SHEEP!  About 100 woolly friends had arrived to give the strip a Christmas haircut. A check of the blister hangar revealed the back door had been left open. An intruder, or just forgotten about by a club member? Anyway, blister hangar, caravans and trailers all checked out OK.

 

Back to the clubhouse to be greeted by ~ nobody.  A check of the mail reveals the TV licensing people are on to us. They have scheduled a visit (so they say) but I think we’ll be OK on three counts:–   1) we don’t have a TV 2) I don’t think these guys work at weekends, and 3) They probably couldn’t find us anyway!

On a trial basis we now have a heat detector in the kitchen, a carbon monoxide detector upstairs (balcony) and a smoke detector at the top of the stairs. The plan is to hard wire them if they don’t pose a nuisance with false alarms.  If anyone has any comments about the installation, use or maintenance, please make it known to any committee member for appraisal. Thanks.

Nobody arrived later, giving me plenty of time to argue with myself – and win (on occasions) The night was filled with the sound of really heavy rainfall. I kept thinking about the song ‘Listen to the Pouring Rain’ by Jose Feliciano. Couldn’t get it out of my head.

On Sunday morning the woolly warriors were still busily chomping on the field and the only good thing about the rain was my car got washed. I thought I’d go the whole hog and hoover it too. Not much likelihood of anyone turning up today, so I’ll make do with nobody again. As this will possibly be the last weekend report of the year, I will take the opportunity to remind everyone that their club membership will be debited to their flying account on 1st January 2018. Will everyone please ensure they have sufficient funds to cover ASAP. Also, those with gliders in hangar storage are respectfully reminded that hangarage is also due on the 1st January 2018 for the forthcoming year.  All that now remains is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and all the best for a safe flying year in 2018.

Sunday 3 December (Andy Farr):  The Phantom, Mike, DB and ALF were joined by Pete Thomson and Pete Smith. The two Petes got to work sorting out the winch while the rest of us wondered where they’d gone. Realisation eventually set in and more tea was drunk. Thomas arrived to join the fun, and the winch was set up at the north end of the field, maybe because the upper winds were completely different to the ground wind. The first launch with Mike and myself was pretty interesting, due mainly to the tailwind component. It only served to confirm the winch was at the wrong end!

 

Meanwhile two visitors in a Raleigh were making ready to depart for Leuchars.  Maybe Leuchars’ tea urn was switched on?  [actually I had provided tea and chat in the clubhouse - Editor].  Pete Thomson decided to get the Shark out, and Mike and I took launch number two, this time reaching about 1,000ft. A fairly good launch despite the slow start. We failed to find any lift on the front hill, however, and promptly landed.  Pete launched, and like us, failed to contact any lift on the hill. He did manage to stay up, however, having lit the blue touchpaper of the JET, staying aloft for almost two and a half hours, and even contacting wave to over 7,000ft.  A very nice birthday present!  Meanwhile, Mike and I launch for the final time. Mike pulled the bung at 500ft or so and we landed to allow the Phantom some air time with Ray.

 

Just as they got strapped in, however, word came that the winch was U/S.  It seems the simulated cable break had caused the cable to loop at the winch and snag. Not only did the guillotine engage, but the bar supporting the pay out gear was twisted (and thus weakened) and welds were broken. Substantially damaged, then! At least we still have the old winch. The Phantom blamed his wife for being a witch and stopping him from flying, while we all blamed the Phantom for being a jinx for attending in the first place.  Mike reckoned I should have told him not to pull the bung in the first place and we all retired happily to drink tea and await Pete the JET returning so we could pack the hangar.  It just shows what fun can be had – but only if you turn up. Thanks to Pete Smith for the launches, and happy birthday to Pete Thomson!

 

Weekend of 25/26 November (Ian Carruthers):  Slippy slidey bikey bikey boozy woozy and we did a bit of work!

 

Sunday 19 November (Andy Farr):  Little or no wind, a classic sledge ride day.  In attendance were Ian Carruthers, Nick, Dave Weekes, Dave Brown, Thomas, Jordan, Iain Marshall, Bill Anderson, Moritz and Pete "sniffer' Smith. First up was Thomas in FYA with Dave Weekes. He followed that up with a conversion to the Astir. Well done that lad!

 

Jordan flew three times with Dave, again in the Puch, to practise circuits and landings, and I flew it solo for currency.  There were three trial flights to be flown, so I did them. So that's me back in the saddle again. Meanwhile, the Astir got used well: twice by Moritz, twice by Thomas and once by Iain. Most flight were 20 minutes or less, but Thomas managed over 40 minutes on one of his flights, much to the consternation of the rest of us. Sniffer managed a 20 minute flight in DXG and Bill Anderson similar in his Cirrus. A problem at this time of year, of course, is the short time available for flying, but along with that is the higher chance of the canopy misting up. Anyway, a fairly busy day, particularly for this time of year, and a lot of fun had by all.

 

Weekend of  11/12 November (Andy Farr):  On Saturday morning Thomas was first off at 1041, staying aloft for 41 minutes, mostly on the front hill.  Stewart flew the Astir and found wave up to 5000 feet.  Ray took Jamie Myers in PK and also contacted wave but even Ray’s secret weapon (his mints) were alas no good for keeping them warm.  After lunch and a little flurry of rain/sleet I launched with Ray in PK. Towed by Nick we hugged the cloud all the way to Coire Garbhlach and beyond, but couldn't find any lift on the way back!  On the ground again after a mere 36 minutes.  Jan had decided against flying the Astir (because it had ice on the wings - editor) and it had been returned to the hangar.  Young Thomas decided he wanted one last go, and this time he managed 43 minutes. So a good day – 5 flights totalling 3 hrs 56 mins and hangar doors closed about 4pm – dark o’ clock!

 

On Sunday it was again bright and sunny, with a north-westerly wind which got stronger as the day progressed.  In the morning DB and I went to Kincraig for the memorial service. When we got back Bill Anderson was just launching in Cirrus GCD and Iain Marshall was making ready to follow in the Astir.  Both contacted wave, and both got to around ten thousand feet, with Bill flying for 2hrs 14 mins and Iain for 1hr 49 mins. Special congratulations to Iain who claimed his Silver height today. Yay!!!

Jan Ketelaar flew in Puchacz FYA (been a while since flying FYA, eh Jan?) while John Anderson and I reached FL100 in wave before snow showers stopped play.  A nice day with 5 flights in all totalling 5hrs 26mins, and hangar doors closed by 3pm.  Dave Brown and I tried to get the new Puchacz trailer into the blister hangar, but it is a bit of a beast, and the tail recess will have to be removed before we can do that.  Missy Bitchy is still attached to the trailer ‘down the hole’ until next weekendThanks to Nick for tugging both days, and pushing us into flying.

PS by Bill Anderson:  "The latter part of the climb saw the big hand of the altimeter sweeping round like a second hand on a clock, but the descent was made tricky by the low sun and cloud cover over the airfield.   After flying around in rough air and snow flurries I managed an arrival on 03, an exciting end to a challenging flight.

Saturday 4th November (David Weekes):  The blessed Ian had the tug up and running early. Those present and eager to fly were Thomas (the Famous Eccles), Gabby, Stuart Hills, Ollie (a visitor from Shenington), his friend Helen and myself. Fractionally later arrivals were Bill Longstaff, Ray Hill and Jet Pete.  Bill flew Gabby and after giving Stuart a check ride I took Ollie, who expressed shock/horror at being towed so close to the hill. I guess they don’t do that at Shenington!  He did appreciate the scenery and the site in general despite having to dodge a lot of incoming low clouds.  The middle hill was working all day but the back hill was marginal.

Ray flew Helen, who apparently enjoyed it despite feeling queasy for much of the flight (conditions were actually quite smooth).  I gave Thomas a check ride and after a brief pause for clouds to pass through he went off solo in PK for nearly an hour. Stuart went in the Astir also for an hour or so.  Conditions picked up in the afternoon although the back hill had acquired a bit of snow during the morning. Pete stayed up for over two hours in JET but didn’t contact anything spectacular.   Ray and Bill did a couple of voucher flights but we had to turn down one casual arrival as it was getting dark by 4pm.  Not a bad day all things considered.

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