Saturday 28th September

A superb day at Milfield with a brilliant combination of sunshine, wave, happy visitors and a first solo for Trevor Parish. Trevor is a power pilot who has recently joined the club and has used his previous flying experience to good effect to progress quickly to solo in a glider.
Trevor making his first solo landing in a glider

Instructor Richard Abercrombie watching Trevor land

A happy Trevor being congratulated by Richard

Another of our solo pilots, Adam Wilson, had another good wave flight.  Adam achieved a two hour flight in wave the previous week to take a large step towards gaining his Bronze Cross-Country Endorsement.

Adam with the Alliance 

The sunshine and ideal conditions meant we had a full complement of visitors for Air Experience flights. Several were celebrating birthdays and one group enjoyed a very nice picnic lunch whilst their family members were in the air.

Happy Birthday!

The wave lasted all day with everyone having a good flight, including two professional flight crew from Poland, now based in Glasgow and Toronto, who came along in the afternoon and asked if they could fly. Katarzyna has recently gone solo in Canada and enjoyed the last flight of the day in wave with Richard. Karol had never flown in a glider and thoroughly enjoyed the flight with Ian Surley. It must have been quite a change for Karol to be shown how to fasten his seat belt!

All in all a wonderful day all round at the club. The views of Northumberland in the autumn are breathtaking and the conditions allowed everyone to enjoy their flights, whatever their goal.

Milfield from 4000ft in wave

Sunday 22nd September

Well - what a start to our first wave week ! Two Gold heights were claimed today (subject to confirmation) by our visitors from Peterborough and Spalding GC with Murray Spittal climbing to 13,995ft in his Discus 'B' and Ross Morriss beating him by a few feet to get to 14,086ft in his Astir CS.  Murray is on his second visit to Milfield and Ross is on his fourth. Congratulations to both pilots.

Ross Morriss with his Astir CS G-CKBD

Murray Spittal with his Discus 'B'  G-CFES

There were several other flights over 10,000' and quite a few between 7 - 10,000'. We started with bad news that our big Pawnee was u/s with a suspect crack in an undercarriage bracket. With the Cub still off line, but due back on Monday, we were left with only the little Pawnee. It coped very well and even managed to launch the DG1000!

We had a late start because the wind was too gusty at first but, by the time we re-briefed at 12noon, the wind had dropped sufficiently for launching to start. Off we went into wave ! There was a brief spell mid afternoon when the wave shifted and gave short flights for some but then it re-established and, as we closed the hangar doors, tired but happy, it was still evident in the sky. Congratulations to Kate Ashley who had her first solo wave flight and returned delighted !

A delighted Kate Ashley following her first solo wave flight. Congratulations !

The last few pilots waiting to launch into the wave.

Saturday 14th September

Despite a rather slow start, today gave another great day's flying. Following the briefing the sky went from blue to overdeveloped in a very short time, but then settled down and improved as the day went on. With 32 launches, George, Ken and Bill were kept busy in the tugs and with several Air Experience flights, as well as training flights, the instructors were also hard at work. Ground crews did sterling service too. Mike Smith's Skylark was rigged, the Alliance, after suffering what appeared to be a rather hard landing during a training flight, was de-rigged and inspected. Thankfully there had been no damage so it was re-rigged and flown again ! Meanwhile Malcolm Parkes's PIK was rigged after being in the workshop. 

Pawnee G-ATFR - Waiting to move on to the line watching G-CTUG taking off with the two seater

Pawnee G-ATFR - The view ahead -  lining up for a tow

Pawnee G-ATFR - The view behind - Mike Smith's Skylark ready to have the rope attached

The good conditions allowed Geoff Forster to go to Duns and back twice so he thought he would complete a 100km task by going to Rothbury. Just short of Rothbury he turned around to see the cloud street which had taken him South had vanished ! Setting off back home he realised he wasn't going to make it and so landed out just near Ewart. Whilst the glider could be clearly seen from the back road it took a major cross-country expedition to reach it. Another hardy ground crew of 5 plus Geoff had the glider de-rigged and in its trailer in much less time than it took to get back out of the field ! Who said the single seater hangar would save us rigging ?

Take a deep breath lads, those are BIG wings !

Sunday 8th September

We all know that, at this time of year, visiting birds head South. At Milfield today a rather special, and very large, bird took to the air to head off. Returning from an expedition to Scotland, Mike Bird and Ed Downham had driven down from Aboyne with their glider an EB28, call sign 13. Derived from an ASH25 it's a self launcher of 28m span ! Their intention was to set off, on what promised to be a good day, and head for the London Gliding Club at Dunstable ! Judging by conditions over the day we supect they made it - or at least got a long way South.

Steve Marriott wonders what the wife would think if he bought one !

Droopy wings but, once airborne (quickly) very impressive !
Perhaps gives a better impression of how big and droopy those wings are.
So, excitement but, as we watched them climb away towards the first cumulus to the South, the realisation that the conditions looked good sank in. As we only had one tug pilot available the launch rate was frustratingly slow but, with cloudbase between 4 & 5000', there were many good soaring flights. Ken Sangster managed over 4 hours while Bill Stephen went to Jedburgh, returned then went to Kelso and back. Meanwhile John Brown, in the club's Astir, got a lovely view of the BBMF Lancaster as it cruised passed the site. Your correspondent added to his castle portfolio when he realised that the Etal turnpoint on the local triangle also boasted a castle. He and Steve Marriott, following multiple 'Olympic' triangles at Buckminster, carried on at home by going around the local triangle twice and 3 times respectively. All in all a great day !

Etal turnpoint centre (T junction) and castle, upper right