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April-May 2024

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From winch launching vintage gliders to special effects for Bond films, a legendary winch master tells his story in the April/May issue. You can also read about the journey to becoming a World Champion, and the last flight from Bicester. Plus, there is safety advice on what to do in the event of partial engine failure.

Pete Salisbury (Pete the Winch) stopped counting the number of gliders he has launched at 100,000, but that was some years ago, so it is probably up to ¼ million and still growing. His research instinct raised the overall quality and reliability of winch launching, which led to Pete becoming a professional winch driver at the Long Mynd. He is also a valued adviser to Skylaunch. Pete’s favourite gliding events to winch at are the Vintage Glider Club International Rallies, but he can also be found working with the special effects teams for films, including Bond.

Tom Arscott is a World Champion, having taken the Gold medal in the Standard Class at the 2023 Worlds at Narromine, Australia. The result was a long time in the making, with preparations starting more than 12 months previously. Together with his team mate, Paul Fritche, Tom flew competitions in Hahnweide, the UK and France, as well as plenty of training flights from Lasham. The weather during the competition was varied, from 43 degree blue days, to shear wave, fast cumulus days, convergences, showers, storms, smoke and gust fronts. This made for some exciting flying, but also made it difficult to maintain consistency, so Tom was delighted with his first senior world championship win.

On 16 November, K-13 ‘CCZ’ flew for the first time in more than seven years. Sadly, this day also marked the final flight of a glider from Bicester. Unable to find a suitable new location for the club, Windrushers Gliding Club found new homes for all its aircraft until only ‘CCZ’ was left. One of the club’s original members, Terry Mitchell, developed a great skill in making untidy K-8s as good as new. He moved on to working on the club’s K-13 fleet and became astute at undertaking the necessary glue inspections and performing any repairs. Terry restored ‘CCZ’ and, after its final flight from Bicester, it is now with new owners Midland Gliding Club.

What would you do if your engine loses power but doesn’t stop completely? The UK Air Accident Investigation Branch has urged the CAA to rethink how engine failures are taught and emergency procedures are practised, following two recent accidents involving partial engine failure after take-off. Both resulted in serious injury or fatalities. Although they involved single engine piston aircraft, there are lessons to be learned by pilots flying TMGs or self-launching sailplanes, and perhaps by pilots of self-sustainers climbing away from a field. In all cases, it is apparent that a pre-made plan considering all eventualities is vital to a successful outcome following engine problems.

Also in this issue: Announcing the winners of the 2023 BGA Trophies. BGA Chairman George Metcalfe focuses on sustaining a viable gliding community. Sandy Loynd highlights the benefits of the Two-Seater Competition. Andrew Watson and Ed Downham provide an update on Airprox involving gliders. Norman Clowes reflects on a sightseeing flight to the coast. Grimshaw looks at the benefits of your own airfield hidey-hole. Kevin Atkinson looks at situational awareness when gaggle flying. Dave Unwin finds out why Bumblemunk is the finest-handling tug he has flown. Highlights of the BGA Conference. Andrew Jarvis highlights the legacies left by two vintage enthusiasts. Pete Stratten reminds glider pilots that detail can be important. Joey Beard explores the needs of instructors and mental health awareness. Plus, many more of your stunning images in the Gallery pages.


Fly safely and have fun

Susan Newby
Editor, Sailplane & Gliding
Pilot profile: Pete Salisbury

In the spotlight for this issue’s Pilot Profile is Pete Salisbury. For many years ‘Pete the Winch’ was professional winch driver at the Long Mynd. He is a valued adviser to Skylaunch and has been involved in some interesting SFX winching for films

The making of a world champion

Many months of preparation, competing overseas and training in the UK, results in a Standard Class Gold medal for Tom Arscott

Time to leave ‘home’

Interested in a fun, safe and supportive way into competing (or cross-country flying)? Then look no further… Sandy Loynd reports

How electronic conspicuity helps

Andrew Watson and Ed Downham provide this year’s report on Airprox involving gliders

Click here for a list of the gliding-related Airprox between July 2022 and July 2023

Sightseeing trip to the coast

Norman Clowes takes advantage of a particularly good forecast

Advisory 36: Your own airfield hidey-hole

If you are not an early (very early) riser, Ebenezer Grimshaw reveals the obvious solution

Atkinson’s law: Gaggle flying

Kevin Atkinson focuses on situational awareness when gaggle flying

The last flight

It was a sad day as Windrushers said goodbye to its K-13 ‘CCZ’, restored at Bicester over the years and the club’s last remaining aircraft. Andrew Reid reports

Flight of the Bumble Bee

A great many glider pilots have been towed by the Chipmunk known as either ‘Bumble Bee’ or ‘Bumblemunk’, and quite a few pilots have flown it. What makes it such fun to fly? Dave Unwin finds out

How gliding is getting fit for the future

Blue skies welcomed delegates to the 2024 BGA Conference, filled with talks, gadgets and networking.

Click here for full report

A passion for gliding history

Andrew Jarvis highlights the legacies left by two vintage enthusiasts

Partial failures

The BGA Safety Team discusses priorities and options if your engine loses power but doesn’t stop completely

Rules of the air

BGA CEO Pete Stratten reminds all glider pilots that detail can be important


Joey Beard explores the needs of instructors and mental health awareness

Also in this issue:

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

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