14 August 2012

Weekend Wave

Interclub League - Sunday

It was evidently waving in the early morning southerly breeze, however there was a significant amount of cloud around.

It was decided that scrubbing the task would be the best option and allow pilots to fly under their own free will.

I took a launch with my girlfriend for her first flight, and after a bumpy aerotow we were rewarded with a steady climb to 9,000ft over Ballater.

Robert Tait aimed to fly home to Easterton, but once in the Spey valley saw a good line of energy. He posted an undeclared 350km flight on the ladder!

C'est la vie.

Overall, Highland took the honours with Deeside a close second, followed by SGU and Feshiebridge.

Well done to Easterton, they are producing some adventurous and skilled XC pilots.

Interclub League - Saturday

Good morning,

The weather held out and allowed a good, but tricky, competition day on Saturday.

At Deeside we had:

Novice - Ron Ogston
Intermediate - Charlie Jordan
Pundit - Graham Holloway

The weather was broken thermals, 2-4knots with a cloudbase never higher than 3k feet.

The tasks were 2 hour assigned areas between 100-180km.

It soon became apparent it would be a struggle, and I spent almost 25mins trying to get away from Aboyne. However once into the Dee valley, the slopes were working well to provide constant bubbles of lift and maintaining height was quite easy.  I went middle distance in the 1st sector and met Geddes (my Highland rival) on the return journey. Once back in the Tarland bowl, I questioned whether heading to Rhynie would be a smart move - I had just heard Stuart Naylor in R1 landing out at the Turnpoint.

However, competing means pushing yourself, so I put thoughts of landing back at Aboyne out my head and had a good run into the TP picking up a decent 4 knot thermal over Mossat.

On the return journey, following the contours of the hills proved usefull and eventually scraped enough height to get over Press n Dye (is that how it is spelt?).

A straight glide around the final turnpoint - Lock Kinord - allowed a fast return home.

Unfortunately, Geddes was still going and had similar ideas! He had gone further in the 1st sector, and as the only two finishers, one of us had to lose. He beat me to the win.

A nice, tricky day in the hills that certainly required a bit of patience.

07 August 2012

Interclub League

Aboyne is hosting the Scottish Interclub League this weekend. Please come along to support the team, consisting of the usual pilots.

Fingers crossed the weather plays ball. There will be a BBQ in the evening courtesy of Murdo.


Ron was going to be subjected to a practice launch failure by the dastardly CFI.

When you pull the bung, you at least give yourself a fighting chance!

It soon became apparent the Puch wasnt going to make it back from the awkward height the cable 'broke'....and allowed Ron to notch up a field landing alongside the airfield.

Roy promptly jumped in the tug and saved us derigging the whole lot, just to move it 100m up the road. Ron piloted the Puch out of the field and actually made it back to the airfield at the second attempt!

01 August 2012

Junior Championships

The UK Junior Championships will begin on the 18th August 2012.

The website is: http://nationals.juniorgliding.co.uk if you wish to follow my progress


Club Class Nationals

I have finally arrived back in Aberdeen after 9 hours on the road.

Thank you for all the supportive messages recieved throughout the comp.

It was a fantastic week of flying - 7 competition days is almost unheard of within the UK. The weather has allowed almost 1,500km of racing, 30 airborne hours, 5 finishes and 2 landouts.

Day 6 was the highlight, with a handicapped 90kph around a 335km racing task.

The final Day 7 started with a low scrape almost immediately after making a start, however the air mass was very unstable with strong convection under stormy looking clouds. There was only so much rain dodging to be done, and the Cirrus doesnt fly too nicely with wet wings. After rounding the second TP, it looked like I would be landing as by 800ft I had not found any lift. However, under a particularly black looking cloud I found a 9knot average which ran me a good distance down track before landing in a field, but enough to take the day win.

The field on the other hand was not so fun. Due to all the rain in England, the crop is not yet cut - I do not exaggerate when I say Scotland has more landable fields at present! After a 10km search for something suitable, I selected a green field which turned out to be 'Sugar Beet' - John Mc will know what that is?!

I aimed for a tractor rut and made a smooth landing, however the ensuing groundloop was inevitable. Luckily no damage has been done and the farmer towed me out by tractor, kept happy by some beer tokens. An interesting end to a tricky day and tiring week.

The comp didnt start off in the best way however; we had a midair collision resulting in one of the pilots parachuting out. Whilst both only suffered minor injuries, it was a wake up call to everyone at the competition. Please next time you fly, rehearse what you need to do to jettison your canopy and remember that every glider is different.

I have uploaded some photos of my comp, which can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/80594325@N08/

Cross country / competitive flying is particularly rewarding and I would strongly encourage anyone to pursue it. There are a number of members at Aboyne which can help with lead-and-follow exercises or provide advice on the subject. The Pocklington 2-seater comp is a great introduction to comps and usually attending by the Capstan syndicate.

Anyway, the wings wont even be dry before the next comp - I am competing in the Junior Championships in 2 weeks...!

17 July 2012

Finally a weekend worth speaking about

It may not have been epic, but it was certainly flyable.

I flew a trial lesson on Saturday and found relatively good thermals over the southern ridge, as did Fran.

Ali flew the Discus, before doing field landing checks in the Grob with Iain on Sunday.

The AGM took place on Saturday evening which was well attended and gave an opportunity to discuss a number of points. A new committee has been elected.

Sunday proved to be unsoarable early on however Graham Mann finally got the chance to fly his new toy, a self launching ASH25. Its an awesome bit of kit.

11 July 2012

Solving the world's Energy crisis



Since flying is out the question just now, I was going to be kayaking tonight at the Potarch.

Usually there is a nice steady flow of white water between the rocks, Grade 2 stuff.

This is the water level today - no rocks visible, and indeed some trees seem to be submerged.

Think I will give it a miss!

Club Class Championships 2012

I will be heading to Cambridge next week with Std Cirrus "S75" for the Club Class Championships...

If you want to follow the competition, more info will be posted here - http://www.glide.co.uk/comps/2012/ClubClass.aspx

I am ranked 39th out of the 50 pilots....so anything higher than that will be a bonus!

Now to pray I am not spending a week of annual leave (and quite a lot of money) to sit at a wet airfield drinking tea,

2012 Annual General Meeting

Please remember that the 2012 AGM is this weekend, Saturday evening....not quite sure of the time...?!

Epic weather

Well I wish I could tell you about Roys latest 500km flight at 150kph.

Or that the Capstan reached FL245 in wave last weekend.

Or that we enjoyed a fantastic BBQ in the sun on Saturday evening.

But I would be lying... the weather has been truly appalling.

Word on the street is that some new born Brtish babies are evolving webbed fingers and toes.

Surely a chance in the weather is just around the corner...

27 June 2012

British Summer

Frankly, I have had nothing to write about for the past 2 weeks.... this weather is just miserable.

The 18m nationals had 3 days, including one good racing task - 425km @ 115kph.

The comp was comprehensively won by Derren Francis, making him the current 15 and 18m national champion.

For a bit of flying training in the past, take a look at this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2165400/The-magnificent-men-flying-machines-How-trainee-pilots-got-unfortunate-scrapes-took-skies-rooftops-Britain-s-aviation-schools.html

Will Ellis flew an incredible flight from Bicester 500km in a K6. I would like to put money on him being a future world champion...

Frankly the weather for this weekend doesnt look particularly positive either. Time to enjoy my wet weather sport of kayaking.

15 June 2012

Helicam Extreme come to Aboyne

See the result of Helicam Extreme's visit to Aboyne - very nice video of the Capstan and unique footage taken by their drone.

Cheers guys


Interclub League Round 1 - SCRUBBED

The Interclub League due to take place at Feshiebridge this weekend has been cancelled due to the forecast inclement weather.

The Saturday evening BBQ will still be taking place should you wish to travel over for the social scene.

14 June 2012

Flying on Wednesday Evening (14th June)

Following Alex's email inviting members to fly on Wednesday evening, we made use of the daylight by flying until beyond 8.30pm.

Martin, John McGregor, Ali Bridges, Ewan ?, myself and Alex were there, with thanks to Pawel for towing.

The evenings can be a good time to learn as the conditions are often more benign (and wave can set up), so if you do fancy flying speak to Gerry and Pawel kindly. They are not under obligation to fly in the evenings so it will be on a case-by-case basis.

11 June 2012

Round 1 - Feshiebridge (16/17 June)

Round 1 of the Scottish Interclub Leage kicks off this weekend at Feshiebridge.

The team is: Ron Ogston, Roy Garden, Iain Donnelly, Roy Wilson, Graham Holloway and Charlie Jordan.

Please feel free to come and support Deeside, experience a new club in a fantastic area of Scotland.

Nice shot

Recent weather

I am afraid that the continuing dull weather has created limited flying opportunities.

However, we have certainly had more luck than the chaps at Lasham flying the Regionals, 15m and Open Nationals.

They sat in the rain all week, with only one competition day on Saturday 9th June. It was a 350km task which seemed to be a well set, challenging task - arguably the only way to determine a national champion in a single day!

Derren Francis took it after an epic 'team' flight with Dave Watt. These guys regularly fly as a team in their seperate Ventus 2a's - on this task finishing only 2 seconds apart. The combined decision making and extra sky covered can have a major effect.

Alex is at Aboyne all week, standing in for resident instructor Gerry whilst he is on holiday. If you fancy getting some instructing or soaring in, come on down.

01 June 2012

Friday 1st June & Weekend Forecast

Thankfully my forecasting skills are still intact, and Ali Bridges made use of the weather today by logging 1 hour 37 mins in the Discus.

Pawel and Gerry are at the airfield midweek to cater for flying requirements, just give a courtesy call on 013398 85339.

As per Frans email, the weekend should be ok with Saturday offering the best conditions. It could be a bit trickier on Sunday.

Its going to be thermals once again - where has the wave gone?

31 May 2012

UK Junior Gliding TV

As per the last video I posted, us Junior pilots have continued to film our flying and Matt Davis has put together another good video.

We hope to gather footage from clubs and competitions, so if you have anything you would like to see included, please get in touch.

Through UK Junior Gliding TV, the aim is to showcase gliding at its very best.

30 May 2012

An easier way to ascend Ben Nevis

Alex and Bob flew to Ben Nevis on Saturday in blue thermals.

I like climbing mountains, but this just beats it hands down.

Gliding with an Eagle in Scotland

Alex Maitland and Bob Bromwich captured this photo from the DG505 on Saturday - a true master of soaring...

The bird, not Alex.

28 May 2012

Sunday - are we in Australia or Aboyne?

Another scorcher, and again the blipmaps were not confident of a good day. However, by 11am there were small cumulus forming over the hills and by midday it was really looking quite good.

I launched at half 12 and rapidly made my way north towards Dufftown where the conditions just got better and better. I wanted to reach Easterton but the conditions deteriorated near the coast so I elected to run over to Granton-on-Spey instead, among other places on a truly vast tour of the North East/Cairngorms/Grampians.

As the photo shows.....46.8km to run to Aboyne, climbing through 6000ft at 8.5knots average.

It doesnt get much better for thermals at Aboyne

Saturday - Costa del Scotland

The past week has simply been stunning, with clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-high 20's.

There was mild panic on Friday - RASP was broken. What did glider pilots do before this invention?

In any case, it wasnt inspiring and that general consensus was a 'hot, blue, stable' day. Releasing in Glen Tanner with a 8knot average thermal showed otherwise, and it turned out to be a very nice day in the mountains.

Heights of 6700ft were reach in thermals averaging anywhere between 4-7knots. I found the lift quite localised under a line of energy and some constant cumulus over the mountains. I didnt fancy exploring much further than that with the blue conditions / returning headwind.

20 May 2012


What an epic day - whilst not a great day for going distances, the thermals were strong and the sunshine was warm.

I had a camera strapped to my glider and made this very amateur video...


17 May 2012

Bicester Air Leage Day

Some of us Juniors collated some good footage at Bicester (near Oxford) last weekend, and edited together by Matt Davis.

This is the result of a fun weekend.

On-site Instructor and Tug Pilot

Gerry and Pawel are now fully operational at the airfield offering mid week flying.

No excuses to not make use of the mid-week wave!

Epic Flight

A big congratulations my friend Will Ellis who has flown an OLC flight of 690km in his K6 during a trip to France.

This is a very old, basic, low performance glider which makes the achievement all the more impressive.


10 May 2012

WW2 plane found preserved in the desert

Interesting find in the desert, almost 70 years after it was shot down


09 May 2012

Visiting Richard

For those who wish to visit Richard, his is in Ward 45 at ARI.

Visiting times 14.30-17.00 and 18.30-20.00.

He is have an operation today (Wednesday) so no visits today please.

He passes his thanks to all who assisted.

01 May 2012


It has finally completed its 3000hr inspection and will be back at Aboyne this weekend....I have spent too much time instructing in the Puch whilst its been away, so I'm very much looking forward to flying this again....

...which leads me nicely onto the Club Class Championships! I am still looking for a crew - if anyone can help I would be very grateful. I know crewing can be a big ask, but it should be a fun week, with the opportunity of getting involved with the faster/competitive side of the sport.

UK Mountain Soaring Championships 2012

This competition will run from 2nd - 8th September 2012.

This is a unique competition, non-rated but governed by the Regionals rules and scoring. The tasks are set to allow all levels of pilots and gliders to compete over the stunning Scottish scenery in some truly awesome wave and thermal conditions.

I have competed a number of times and I recommend that any pilot with a Silver badge and desire to explore life beyond the Tarland bowl enters the comp. It is a great way to learn, in the company of some of the UK's top pilots. Use 2012 as a year to push yourself to achieve new things in gliding, and make this a defining target.

Apart from anything, its just a good laugh.

30 April 2012


Both days were ok, but Sunday in particular was verging on epic - certainly tricky, but there were good consistant climbs (one of them was 7knots on the averager). I wished my glider wasnt away for its annual, as I reckoned a quick blast to Braemar - Rhynie was on the cards.

Good to see so many people out - the car park was effectively full, and a number of training flights were conducted - over 20 launches when I left.

22 April 2012


Although I was not at the airfield this weekend, the weather didnt look much cop - was any flying done?

Myself and member Ali Bridges decided to take a different route to 3800ft by climbing Lochnagar......

17 April 2012

Club Class - Request for crew

I am flying the Club Class Nationals at Gransden Lodge from 21-29 July...

I did also have a crew, but they have pulled out.

If anyone fancies a week in Cambridgeshire, experiencing competition environment and seeing a nice area (and multiple fields) please let me know...there would be beer and food on offer for the willing candidate.

For those slightly newer to gliding, crews are required at gliding competitions to retrieve pilots from fields - it often means adventures across rural England with the trailer strapped on the back. Also, crews need to be available on the airfield for ground handling the glider and helping rig/get ready for the flight.

If anyone would be willing to help out, I would be very appreciative.

Please email charlie.jordan@bibbyoffshore.com

16 April 2012

Maiden flight of A31

The Weekend

As predicted, the ridge was working well combined with some strong thermals in a very unstable airmass.
England had the best of it with numerous 750km flights flown, and a Junior friend completing his first 500km in a Cirrus.
I have a little video camera which I have been playing with (see the screenshot). Shall post some videos once I figure it all out...

12 April 2012

Fran's Weekend Report

The Open Weekend was a great success - thanks to Alex for the inspiration, it will definitely be repeated. 18 people flew over the weekend, with one new member and a few coming back for more. Helen Mann was an inescapable first point of contact for the visitors on Saturday; Charlie invented the need for a collective noun for beat ups. Tuggies were brilliant, Graham Mann as Duty Pilot included in his duties making a sign for the road. Sunday was quieter, but Susie Mc went around the car park by the road and persuaded unsuspecting watchers. Ereyone seemed to muck in to make it a good time. Richard and Davie were on sheep removal duty....Davie fell over chasing them (his explanation for muddy knees) "They werent even pretty!"

Sooty said he couldnt make it as he would be 'sipping beers in a nice bar overlooking the fortress in Corfu' and Hazel is working away in Norway 'strolling by the sea in the evening'.

Saturday evening found 16 of us being fed in the clubhouse... Janet Mc provided a choice of starter [oat cakes and mackerel pate or soup] and wonderful puds [cheesecake and strawberry pavlova] and in between we had pasta with tomato/basil/chilli sauce with chicken and bacon provided by Gill. Amazing. The BBQ was inundated with hungry folk both days, thanks to Murdo, who declared himself open to 'favours' for sausages.

The prophesy I made last week of beers being drunk came true....(not hard!) and whisky/gin etc etc. The McGregor ladies redefining "Life and Soul of the Party". Susie thought she had a bad hair day on Sunday morning, but it was only melted bits of the duvet where she kept putting the hair straighteners down.

Kevin had a couple of training flights, and Graham helped Ron with his forthcoming Ass Cat rating. Graham also flew with Charlie M who is a power pilot taking up gliding.

The Juniors C of A is done, despite Roy W and Dave S "Dropping balls"?? probably due to smaking their heads together hard when going to peer into the tail. A resounding 'twock' was heard.

Mike has finished GCA with polishing help from John and Kevin. Welcome to new members Aaron and Sue.

Andy and Alex flew in from Easterton with their Chipmunk for its annual.

11 April 2012

Using the Aboyne ridge

Flying the ridge this weekend

I know we are a few days away, but there is forecast to be quite a strong Northerly. The sky might also be leaking water.

However, if that wind direction/strength stays, the ridge to the South of the Dee Valley (running towards Ballater) could be working nicely.

It takes a bit of bravery but it can provide some fun flying - and a change from the norm. There are a couple of good fields at the base of the ridge should anyone get stuck.

I will be there on Saturday if anyone wants to ask about the fields at the base of the ridge... I have been in them a couple of times. No field is safe from me.

On that note - I would recommend that EVERY solo pilot does a landout at some point this year. It is really important to keep your skills up in this potentially high risk activity - you never know when you need to do it for anger.

I average 5 per year...... and none of them are planned.

10 April 2012

Nice video

This chap films every flight he does, compiled into 6mins of some 'good bits'...


09 April 2012

Weekend Photos

Alistair Stark took a few photos from the weekend, which can be found here:


Tuggy & Instructor

Word on the street has it that from 1st May there will be a resident instructor and tug pilot, enabling flying during the week.

Make use of your annual leave, school holidays or retirement to avoid the weekend rush!

Call 013398 85339 prior to arriving to check the weather.

Day 2 - Open Weekend

Despite the weather being a little better than Saturday, not as many people turned up - presumably too busy eating chocolate eggs. There was a couple of training flights and in the afternoon a few people came along to make use of the reduced trial lesson fee.

Overall, the weekend has been a success, with a considerable amount more flying than there otherwise would have been. At least one new member, 'utilisation' of the bar and just a bit of fun... lets keep fingers crossed for next weekend.