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From representing your country to Silver height on first solo flight, you can read about these achievements in the Feb/March issue. You can also learn how a pilot is overcoming the challenge of learning to glide without a right hand. Plus, discover the dangers of a low unplanned turn.

The year 2023 was the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese calendar, but it may also have been the Year of the Roberts. Fran and John Roberts both represented the UK in the Worlds during the year – Fran at the Women’s Worlds in Spain and John competing in the Club Class Worlds in Australia. Between these two competitions, their second son was born. While all of this was going on, they undertook a new project at home building an extension which dwarfs the house and all while both working full-time. Fran’s mother, Paula Aitken, says she feels exhausted just writing about their achievements, but privileged to watch these two determined young people have perhaps their best year to date.

Deeside’s Alex Blyth was hooked on gliding, aged 13, after his introductory flight. He was inspired by his uncle, who 25 years earlier had started the road to an aviation career gliding at Deeside. Initial training went well, then winter didn’t allow enough flights to keep Alex in practice. In 2023, training progressed again and Alex was sent solo in August. During the flight Alex found wave and, before he knew it, was up at 6,000ft, which was enough for his Silver height gain. He also achieved an hour soaring flight to count towards his Cross Country Endorsement. Not bad for a first solo at 14!

Gliding is a sport for all, as Mark James discovered when he arrived at Yorkshire Gliding Club. His wife had bought him a gliding experience but had not informed the club that Mark had no right hand. The club rose to the challenge and Mark enjoyed his first flight, initially taking control with his left hand. Perceiving Mark’s interest in learning to fly, back on the ground his instructor talked through what was involved in gliding and dropped the bombshell that you must fly right-handed. Mark reflected that it might be possible as little else had defeated him before. Practice in the simulator has helped and Mark is now slowly but surely getting to grips with smooth and accurate right-handed flying of the glider. He attributes this to the patient support of the excellent local and visiting instructors.

Historically, inadvertent stall and spin have been the most common cause of fatalities in UK gliding – even without including those that safe winch launching techniques should have eliminated. Many of these occurred from unneeded or inadvisable low-level turns. The BGA Safety Team looks at the dangers and offers valuable advice on how we could make stall or spin from an unplanned low turn a thing of the past.

Also in this issue: BGA Chairman Andy Perkins highlights a sport full of opportunities. Marian Stanley is in the spotlight for our pilot profile. Matthew Scutter describes his experiences gliding in Japan. David Dodds uncovers the truth of how gliders fly. Liz Sparrow and Simona Latimer report on an instructors’ course for women. Grimshaw describes the horrors of radio. Kevin Atkinson looks at developing situational awareness before launching. Alison Randle reports on the Club Development Conference. Richard Carter has a heaven-sent landout. Andrew Jarvis discovers that almost any glider can be rescued with enough determination. Pete Stratten raises awareness of pilot accountability. Joey Beard looks at managing stress levels during competitions. Plus, many more of your stunning images in the Gallery pages. 

Fly safely and have fun

Susan Newby
Editor, Sailplane & Gliding
Pilot profile: Marian Stanley

In the spotlight for this issue’s Pilot Profile is Yorkshire GC’s Marian Stanley. Now chairman of the club, when not gliding Marian can be found helping young people gain an interest in aviation. She can also be seen running around Yorkshire

Trip to Japan ‘completes’ continents

Many Japanese pilots visit Australia to achieve flying goals, but rarely do Australian pilots visit Japan. Matthew Scutter reports on his trip

A sport for all

Flying a glider with no right hand might prove tricky, but Yorkshire GC welcomed the challenge and recruited new member Mark James in the process

The truth about how gliders fly

David Dodds wonders what to do when an enthusiastic young student is about to ask an awkward question about the nuances of aerodynamic theory

Birds of a feather glide together

Trial at Saltby investigates if there’s an advantage in running an instructors’ course specifically for women. Liz Sparrow and Simona Latimer report

Advisory 35: The horrors of radio

Ebenezer Grimshaw wonders if we should add radio aversion to landout aversion

Atkinson’s law: Looking ahead

Kevin Atkinson looks at developing situational awareness before launch

Delegates are looking to the future

The 2023 Club Development Conference focuses on engaging with club members and building links. Alison Randle reports

The year of the Roberts

There can’t be many (if any) husband and wife teams who have both represented their country in the same year, whilst expecting their second child between the two events. Paula Aitken reports

The perfect field for socialising

Richard Carter reflects on a landout during the Hus Bos Challenge cup in S&G’s Landouts from Heaven or Hell series

Solo’s silver lining

There are not many solo flights that also qualify for Silver height, with an hour soaring flight in wave towards Cross Country Endorsement – especially when the pilot is aged only 14. Alex Blyth tells his story

Determination saves the day for Edelweiss

A 1960’s hot ship, the rare V-tailed Standard Class Siren C-30 Edelweiss is just one example that proves almost any glider can be rescued with enough determination. Andrew Jarvis investigates

Sailplane air operations rules

BGA CEO Pete Stratten raises awareness of pilot accountability

Inadvisable turn

The BGA Safety Team discuss the dangers of making a low unplanned turn

Also in this issue:

BGA news; opinion; Gliding Gallery; Club Gallery; Club Focus – Essex; development news; news; BGA badges; obituaries; incident and accident summaries

Index to S&G Volume 74

click here to access the index

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