DECEMBER

Very wet and windy and even a covering of wet snow for a time with the windsock being shredded by the gales. Plenty of opportunities for Christmas shopping though! The first flying of the month was on Saturday 18th with a couple of  winch launches in the K-21. Martin and Phil were able to soar the ridge up to 2,000 feet but the wind was 50 knots at that level so it wasn't for the faint hearted. The month finished well with a good turnout of members and lots of flying on Hogmany. The ridge was working well in the morning with the Duo getting the best of it with a transition into wave and climbing to 7,000 ft. In the afternoon the wind came around more to the south where weak wave was contacted at Rothes off aerotow. Darkness fell all too quickly but it was great to get some soaring in on the last day of the year.

NOVEMBER

The month started well with a few members taking to opportunity to go midweek flying when there was wave about. Mike Laity and Graham Donnelly got silver heights on consecutive flights, both taking the Junior to 10,000 feet on the 3rd. The weekend of the 5th / 6th was very busy with lots of winch launches. On Sunday wave was contacted near Ben Rinnes with the motor glider which was quickly put to good use by Robert and Teresa in the Acro. The weekend of the 12th / 13th was a bit of a mixed bag but near the end of the day on Sunday a couple of flights contacted wave over Glenlossie Distillery off winch launches. The weekend of the 19th / 20th gave us wave again although it was pretty weak compared to recent weeks. Martin and new Fulmar member, Peter Grant, had the best of it getting to 6,000 feet at Aberlour in the Duo on Saturday. The last weekend of the month it was too windy to fly.

OCTOBER

Tony Butler - It is with great sadness that we report the death of Tony Butler on the 18th October. Tony came to gliding late in life as something to do in his retirement, going solo in 2001 at the age of 67. Tony's experience in farming was often put to use around the club in an almost constant battle to keep the airfield drainage flowing. He was a 

Tony Butler
RIP Tony

regular flier at the club and worked tirelessly on various club projects right up until he took ill a couple of weeks before his death. Many club members would plead with him to slow down and take it easy but it wasn't in his nature. He is very much missed.

The flying week at the start of October didn't produce the wave that we were all hoping for although it was flyable for most of the week. However, later in the month there were a number of wave flights over several weekends. On Saturday 15th we had gliders up to 15,000 feet. On Sunday 16th the wave wasn't so easy to contact but Martin and Graham got to 10,000 feet in the Duo. The weekend of the 29th / 30th was another excellent weekend. Saturday had wave to 16000 ft for Will in R67 and Stuart taking the motor glider from 5000 ft to 12,000 ft with the engine off. Quite long and rough aerotows were required so not a lot of flights. Thanks to Robert for the aerotows.  Charlotte did an excellent job in the conditions, but the wave was breaking up by then and we only got to 5000 ft. Most of the early flights got to 12,000 ft with a steady 6 kts lift.

Sunday was even better than Saturday. We were launching into wave almost overhead all day and in the end, were winching straight into 4 knots! Charlotte went to silver height.  Robert and Ian Tait took the Acro from 2500 ft to 9500 ft and went down to Ballater and back. Pretty much all the available gliders were pressed into service and went up in the wave. I think the top altitude reached was around 12000 ft. Anne and Robert set off for Lochindorb in the Acro later on but darkness defeated them, Still, they got to 8,500 ft.

 

SEPTEMBER

On the weekend of the 3rd / 4th Bruce Gordon and Mike laity completed field landing checks and the Bronze paper. Charlotte managed to get both bronze legs with an hour on the ridge on Saturday and over half an hour on Sunday in thermal. Saturday 10th there was a southerly wind with at least one glider at 7,000 feet in the wave. Monday 19th we had a successful day with a group from RAF Lossie.

 

AUGUST

The Inter Club League was held at Easterton over the weekend of  the13th / 14th. The SGA from Portmoak and Cairngorm G.C. from Feshie dropped out of the competition so it was a straight contest between Deeside form Aboyne and Highland/Fulmar from Easterton. For once the weather was kind to us and we had contest days on the Saturday and Sunday, the competition was won by Highland/Fulmar gaining the most points on both days. On Friday the 26th Robert brought a large group from Highland Galvanisers who all appear to have had a thoroughly enjoyable time which included a buffet dinner afterwards.

Hanger Opening

29th August 2011 - New Hanger Opening

Near the end of the month Robert had a group from Highland Galvanisers on a Friday evening who by all accounts had a very enjoyable time and not just flying gliders! On Monday 29th we had our MP Angus Robertson and our MSP Richard Lochhead visit the club to perform the official opening of the new hangar. A large selection of the membership turned out for the event and we managed to get both Richard and Angus airborne in gliders at the same time.

 

JULY

There was a joint Highland / Fulmar expedition to Nympsfield during the first week of July and here is Ian Lane's report on that. The expedition went very well and everyone seems to have had a good time and got something out of it. The weather was good for the first few days, with strong thermals and high cloudbases and we all got in some good soaring, including a few cross countries although no badges this time. Andy Anderson blagged a ride in the Nimbus 3DT, with Trevor Stuart, on a declared out and return to Barnard Castle in Yorkshire, a distance of 631Km. They had to turn back near Pontefract, for an achieved distance of 498Km. The flight was described by Andy as, ‘A 7 hour scratch’. On another day, Geddes did a good cross country flight, also in the back of the Nimbus. Graham did his first cross country flights (2) with Ian Lane in the back seat of the Nympsfield Duo. On one non-soarable, but flyable, day we took advantage of the DG505 and went spinning with Geddes – I think his head was also spinning by the end of the day! Mark arrived mid-week and, after a quick check flight, was sent of in the Grob 102. Unfortunately, the last few days weren’t that great and some of our party left early to make the long trek North. Ironically, the best day was the last Sunday, after everyone had left for home, and several 300s and 500s were flown from Nympsfield. On non flying days, some went off exploring the local area and visited such attractions as the Slimbridge Wetlands centre and the SS Great Britain in Bristol. We also did a tour of some of the excellent local pubs!

Charlotte - Solo
30th July 2011 - Solo at 16

 

 A lot of members turned out on the 5th of July with a view to sending Charlotte solo on her 16th birthday but the weather decided not to play with a strong southerly crosswind and intermittent rain. Pretty quiet at the airfield for most of the month with lots of members away on holiday. Still not the summer weather we would like. Saturday 30th July was pretty warm and sunny but a sea breeze meant the best lift was well inland and there were some long aerotows to reach it. It was also on this day, after a 3 week wait that Charlotte was finally able to go solo.

 

JUNE

Still not the weather we'd expect at this time of year but a little bit better than last month. Not much by way of big soaring days but quite a few days where it was good for training and circuit bashing. We had a visit from the aeromodellers who occupy our old site at Dallachy on the evening of the 23rd. Most of them had glider flights and some and even had two. They were treated to an impromptu display by Richard Pargeter in his Pitts Special that's based at Easterton for the time being - www.pittsdisplay.co.uk

MAY

On the last day of last month we had Mark Norton doing 5 hours in the Junior with the logger switched off. On the day after he went up and and did it all again in the K-8 but with the logger switched on this time. Normally May is one of the better months for weather but not this year, we had very few days we could get the gliders out of the hangar due to wind and rain.

APRIL

One of the best months flying we've had for quite a while. The Spring Flying Week from the 4th to 8th gave us some excellent wave with very fast climbs to 12,000 ft on the Wednesday and some rather more sedate climbs on the Thursday. We had 2 Bank Holiday weekends with soaring every day and a number of days with cloud bases in excess of 5,000 feet. On Saturday 30th Mark Norton earned himself a bucket load of monkey points by doing 5 hours in the Junior with the logger switched off in a vain attempt to gain his silver duration badge. The story didn't end there but you have to wait for the May news for the ending.

 

Hanger

Moray College

The LS7 on display at Moray College

 

MARCH

Construction has started on the replacement hangar as many of you will have observed on the west facing webcam. Progress has been very quick, helped along by reasonable weather. It is hoped to have it complete by the end of April but as with all these projects it's sometimes the

paperwork that takes the longest.

 

On Saturday 5th March, Robert and his band of helpers took the LS7 (753) to Moray College in Elgin where it was rigged in the sports hall and displayed as part of the Moray College Science Festival. Many thanks to all those who gave up a days' gliding to help out.

The AGM followed by a meal and presentation of trophies was held in the clubhouse on Sunday 20th. Martin Knight was re-elected to the board of directors with Mike Laity joining as a new board member. The meal was organised by club member Glenda George and prepared by Edna Hendry. Everyone had nothing but complements for the high standard of cuisine and we certainly hope that Edna will come back and cook for us again.

There was flying most weekends during the month with quite a lot days when the ridge was working. The weekend that stood out as being exceptional was the 19th / 20th. On the Saturday Geddes flew to Aboyne and back in his LS8, Andy Anderson was at 10,000 feet in R67 along with David Chalmers in his dad's LS8 after he had finished with it and Martin Knight had a flight of over 6 hours in 770. On Sunday Robert took the Acro to Aboyne and back in wave. The ridge was working well for most of the day going into wave which extended over Ben Aigen but generally climbs were not as high as the day before. All those flights were from winch launches as the tug was over at Aboyne for most of the month for its annual maintenance and inspection although it was back in service on the 27th.

FEBRUARY

 K.21

 5th February - As the light is beginning to fade the K.21 is about to make a welcome return to the skies above Easterton

The very best news this month and that is the K-21 has returned from the repairers and after the completion of the ARC has flown again at Easterton just over a year after the hangar collapsed on it under the weight of snow we had last winter. Click on the photo for a bigger picture and a few more. Many thanks to Stuart Naylor and Mike Laity who did the majority of the work required to get HYJ through its ARC and who quite rightly took it for its first flight in over a year. A bit of a mixed bag with the weather this month, a very good weekend of ridge and weak wave at the beginning of the month when the K-21 came back online, rather wet and windy weather in the middle of the month, and an excellent weekend at the end of the month with lots of long flights and good thermals to over 3,000 ft on Saturday 26th.

 

 

JANUARY

Jan
8th January - Click for more images

The month started off with the field under a covering snow again, but unlike last year, we were able to fly. Click on the photo for a few more taken in the snow. We flew 3 weekends out of 4 and even had a couple of flyable weekdays just after New Year.  A good ridge day at the start of the month and a cracking local wave day at the end (several 2 hour flights, including Bruce getting a comfortable Silver height off the winch) perhaps herald a better year to come. The K 21 is now finally back on site, thanks to Robert’s heroic retrieve from Bob McLean, and expected to fly again in a couple of weeks, after completion of the Annual and ARC. Good numbers of members coming out, including some new trainees, which is very encouraging

Highland Gliding Club
Easterton Airfield
Birnie
Elgin
Scotland
United Kingdom
Tel - +44 (0) 1343 860272

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