The first Wednesday of October may have been the last decent thermic day of the season with thermals even drifting out over the English Channel. One of our pilots, Charles, soared along the South Down National Park and even soared for a mile or two out to sea and, from around 5,000ft, took some great pictures of the South Coast of Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea including the Rampion Wind Farm.
Today, our most experienced Tuggie, Angus, popped in and asked to do a tow or two whilst the other two Tuggies had a break. Little did we know until afterwards that it was his 10,000th tow! One of the photos below show Angus (middle) with Gez (instructor) and Toby (student) who Angus towed for his 10,000th in one of the club’s K21s. Angus’s dog, Scapa, was also very pleased.
We all give our huge congratulations to Paul Fritche for being selected for the British Gliding team to represent GB in the FAI European Gliding Championships July 7-20th this year in Slovakia. News to many newer members but this isn’t the first time Paul has been selected. In 1998, Paul was selected for the club class Europeans, and for the same class in the World Championships in 2002. Pauls performance during the Worlds was impressive – his personal highlight was flying with the reigning world champion, Pete Masson and finishing 1st on one day and then 2nd on a day when Pete Masson was 1st – so both Paul and we are all rather proud! So, well done Paul! …… and lets hope for third time lucky! Whatever the result, we’re still proud that a Southdown member has been selected.
Saturday 22nd June sees the club open literally ALL day for its annual Dawn-to-Dusk flying. If you’re a member, see the members home page for details of how you can help. Visitors will be most welcome!
It was with great pleasure that Dave Clews (right), on behalf of Southdown Gliding Club, gratefully accepted a cheque for £300 from Andy Tate (left) of AirACES specifically to help our cadet members with their flying training. Our committee will soon be deciding specifically how to use this donation. In 2018, AirACES made a similar donation which was used to finance over 50 free winch launches for our cadet members. This was enormously beneficial to our cadets in their training of low-level handling, circuits and landings of gliders.
We have a great relationship with AirACES and they regularly visit in the summer for an organised day of gliding followed by a BBQ. They will be doing so again in August this year.
AirACES (www.airaces.org.uk) are probably the largest aviation talk society in the south of England and meet every month at Chichester. At each talk a raffle is held where the annual proceeds are split between two organisations – one of which must be for the benefit of youngsters interested in an aviation. Southdown GC are currently honoured to be that organisation.
This past week, we took delivery of our refurbished winch from Skylaunch. After 16 test winch launches to fine-tune the ‘beast’, we declared it a big success. This coming week, it will be repainted in the Skylaunch colours of yellow and blue and after that expect to see it in regular use giving thrilling launches into the thermals above us!
JUNIOR MEMBERS – Your dedicated Saturday Evening flying starts 5pm May 11th. Sunset flying, BBQs etc
You could tell today was busy! Our hangar was virtually empty with most gliders out soaring the South Downs from Eastbourne (in the east) to Petersfield and beyond (to the west). Strong thermals (up to 10kts, or around 1,000ft per min) and a breezy northerly wind meant our glider pilots had a full workout.
John Bell, or should we say retired Wing Commander John Bell DFC, is shown seated in the K21 below. He’s a veteran from WW2 and served in the famous 617 squadron of Dambuster fame. He flew as a bomb-aimer in Lancaster bombers and, according to a 617 Sqn website blog, was in involved in raids on V2 rocket bases and the German battleshipView Post Tirpitz using the massive ‘Tallboy’ bomb. In total, he served 34 years in the RAF and it was huge pleasure and honour for us to fly him.
He is 94 and last flew in a glider when he was 24, 70 years ago.
(With John is Dave Clews and David Batcock (Chairman, AirACES) on the right)