The Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association (RAFGSA) provides recreational glider flying to the RAF from eight locations across the country. GliderFX concluded its 2012 winter tour with courses at two of these in April, Keevil in Wiltshire and Cosford in Shropshire.
The Bannerdown club was formed in 1960 where they flew from Colerne and Hullavington, before moving to Keevil in 1992. The WW2 airfield is still in good shape with a resurfaced main runway, just over a nautical mile in length (1852m)
An active front threatened to spoil the first day of flying, but it passed quickly to allow nine Fox flights, introducing John Butler, Adam Berrisford, Jon Lomas, Neil Geraghty, Ted Richards, Bob Brian, Gareth Baker and Tom Dews to an inverted aerotow behind the club’s Rotax Faulke. With the long runway at Keevil, the 100HP motor-glider coped brilliantly despite the crosswind and short rope.
The following day was one of the best soaring days of spring, with strong thermals upto 6,000ft enabling Johnat Williams, Sam Roddie, Felicity Talbot, Paul Randall, Conor Hickey, Ian Harris and Ken Reid to sample some spring thermals although inverted soaring was not particularly successful.
Tom Dews tried his new GoPro camera on the Fox, and brother Ben and Dad Tim Dews also mastered rolling Fox and their company Grob 103A Twin2 Acro.
As usual there are many people who work behind the scenes to make a course successful, and particular thanks have to go the CFI Ian Harris, Chief Tug Pilot Andy Miller and the Dews family (Airborne Composites) at Keevil.
The following weekend was at RAF Cosford. The Wrekin gliding club has many more challenges as they share the small airfield with a University Air squadron, air experience flight and Motor gliders, so its busy.
The weather gods showed their sense of irony and marked the start of the English hosepipe ban with a month’s worth of rain in a weekend. Thunderstorms made for some stunning backdrops to the Shropshire countryside, but fortunately the air between the towering cu and showers was silky smooth.
Team Members Ian Gallacher and Paul Holdnal continued their training whilst David Wadsworth, Steve Turner and Alun Williams all experienced the magic of the Fox for the first time.
Several pilots trained for their aerobatic badge, and Terry Walsh flew a very tidy sequence to gain his standard badge in the ASK21.
Thanks must go to both CFI Ian Gallacher and club CO Dennis Maddox for supporting aerobatics at Cosford.