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Our latest news

Upcoming events

Now that Christmas is done and dusted, we are looking forward to the new soaring season in the GHC.


Our winter talks programme has continued with Richard Moyse's presentation on the TG3 test flying programme, explaining tasks the GHC had to undertake to meet the BGA requirements for it to gain its airworthiness certificate, which is still ongoing but hopefully will be finally signed off very soon.


Following Richard, we have the following talks that are at the GHC Workshop at 16:00.

18th February - Project Sigma - Howard Torode.

A revolutionary British project to build a World Championship winning glider in the 1970's in which Howard was involved.

 

17th March - The restoration of our S21 Spalinger - Gary Pullen and Glues and wooden gliders -Robin Birch.

Gary will talk about this complex project for the GHC which will hopefully see it flying next year. Robin will be talking about a critical element in the restoration of wooden gliders - glues!

 

Recording Talks. Members have asked if we could record our talks. We have been keen to offer this as many aren't able to to attend but have struggled finding somebody to undertake the filming. We are delighted one of our members Daniel Tyrkiel has kindly agreed to video the talks the first being Richard's.

We are in the process of finalising details and this and future talks will be made available via the members area of our website.  We will email you when Richards talk is available.

A flying week is being planned in May. The dates will be the 18th until the 24th, the week before the Lasham Nationals take place. Watch this space and your email inbox for more details nearer the time.


Hangar talk.

This is a great time to have a bit of a clean-up in the hangars. Although it's difficult to get all the gliders out onto the meadow at this time of year it is still possible to give them a clean and spruce up in situ.

The static display gliders do get very dusty and need to be washed fairly frequently. Please do to come over and wash one or two on a non-flying day, we do have everything you'll need in the hangars to give them a clean and your volunteer work will be greatly appreciated.

There has been a bit of a reshuffle in the two hangars, some gliders that were on the floor are now hanging in the ceiling and vice versa.

Gordon MacDonalds Slingsby T42 Eagle has been removed from the hangar and is currently being re-covered and painted, I am assured it will still be very green and we hope to see it flying in the Spring.

 

Group visits

Our Sunday 2pm visits continue every weekend and particularly when the weather is good they are still popular and busy. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors over this winter despite the poor weather that we have suffered.

We already have two pre-arranged group visits in the diary and I’m certain as we get towards Spring, we will be taking bookings for many more.

We really need more trained up guides to help us with all the visitors that we get. We have a straight forward training package for anyone who would like to help, an in-depth prior knowledge of Vintage gliders and gliding is not necessary at all.

All that is needed is a willingness to observe a couple of tours or so with an experienced guide and a printout of the glider’s histories in hand, (or the website open on your phone) as an aide memoir and you are good to go. It really doesn't take long to build confidence and the tours are very rewarding to undertake.

Please do consider joining our list of GHC guides, the more guides we have the less work for all!

 

What's going on in the workshop

With the 2024 season on the horizon, work has been continuing to get this season's flying gliders ready for our members to come to Lasham to fly them.

In 2024 we are planning to have airworthy and flying the Bocian, The TG3a, The Bergfalke, the Foka 4, the MU13, a Zugvogel and possibly the prototype Prefect.


The MU13 is still in the workshop and has a fully restored canopy now thanks to Ed Smallbone and will be dragged into the modern world with new electrics!


Geoff Clarke continues to make steady progress on the restoration of our first 'glass' glider the Bolkow Phoebus. He recently rigged it in our workshop.

We hope that it might be flying again by the

middle of 2024.


Steve Pullen and his small team continue with the restoration of the EoN Eton Primary glider, the plan is to full flying status. Work on this glider has been rocketing ahead this winter and it is coming on very nicely now.


Pop in and have a look, the workshop is open Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, everyone is welcome but be warned Gary may well find something for you to do!


Pretty typical for recent years, a not too bad Spring followed by a poor Summer, which when we got into September switched to an “Indian Summer”. The GHC is in a healthy state I’m happy to say with a membership at the 320 level.


THE WORKSHOP


We’re expecting that our highly functional and warm workshop will become a popular venue again this coming winter. The norm is during the autumn/winter we get a reasonable to good attendance on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and it’s usually open on the other days as well, Mondays are “iffy” it has to be said. So why not pop in have a look and say hello with a cup of tea/coffee awaiting you?

RESTORATIONS that have been proceeding


The 1943/1944 Swiss Spalinger S21h

No change from our Spring Newsletter update where I reported “The restoration has been completed, she’s now in the GHC hangars, and we’re awaiting permission from the BGA to start test flying her. In terms of our priority she’s behind the TG3”. We’re waiting for the TG3 to complete its test programme before we can kick-off with that for the Spalinger. That’s because the BGA technical committee don’t want to be monitoring the flight testing on two vintage glider types, neither of which have ever flown in the UK before, at the same time.


The 1942 US Schweizer TG3a


I have to confess getting the TG3 through its BGA directed flight testing programme has taken far longer than we anticipated. The first flight took place on 7th April with Gary Pullen. Here is a great video of it taken by Paul Haliday:


Fantastic nose artwork thanks to Ruby Stocks

Subsequently Richard Moyse has been doing the test flying, though the weather has been far from co-operative! More test flights have recently taken place and we’re now in the final stage which needs flights with “2 up”. The key difficulty has been getting suitable weather for flights that align with RM’s availability. There’s now the extra issue of the availability of an acceptable P2. Latest news.The TG3 flew “2 up” on the 10th Oct, RM as P1 and Mick Wells as P2. Fingers crossed just one, or at most two, more flights needed to complete the programme


Bolkow Phoebus 17c, formerly Surrey and Hants “265”

Geoff Clark is heading the restoration effort which is progressing steadily. A lot of components removed for inspection and being passed as OK they’re now being put back. No significant problems found so far. Current expectation is she’ll be ready to fly in the Spring/Summer of 2024.


EoN (Elliotts of Newbury) Eton

This Primary glider was donated to us by the Royal Air Force museum. It was picked up from their reserve Stafford depot on the 25 Jan 2017 and brought back to the GHC. It went to the Maidstone grammar school CCF and first flew in 1951, last flown 1962. One of our members, Norman Jones, flew this very glider at Maidstone grammar school!

We’ve taken the decision that she needs restoration and the ultimate aim is to get her flying again, though that’s quite a task even if we find no major problems.

he Eon Eton in the GHC workshop

It was moved into the workshop in May, and work has started. The key tasks are a complete recover and a thorough check for any structural deficiencies. I suspect she’ll be a key focus over the Winter and if all goes well we hope to have her flying in the Spring 2024. Steve Pullen is leading the project.


NEW GLIDERS


Bill Bullimore has recently donated the prototype Skylark 4 BKA. The GHC is doing pretty well for prototype Slingsby types, we have the T30 Prefect, T51 Dart, and now the T50 Skylark 4. We understand BKA, whilst not having a CofA, is in pretty good condition. Currently in its trailer and the likelihood is we’ll get her into the workshop Autumn/Winter 2024 with a view to get her flying Spring 2025.


FLYING


Our Flying Week

We held this from Saturday 20th May to Friday 26th. A definite success I think we can say. The wind direction, and for some of the days its strength, was not that friendly but we flew and soared on six of the seven days, not the Monday. All six of the airworthy GHC gliders flew over the week, the most popular being “Gertie” the Slingsby Sky. Overall we had 30 of our members flying in GHC gliders during the week.

We had a couple of visiting gliders, the lovely Dart 17r from the Dorset GC and the very historic Harbinger 2-seater owned by Jed and Suzy Edyvean.

Harbinger courtesy of Jed Ed(yvean)

EXTERNAL EVENTS


The “highlight” (or “lowlight” depending on your point of view!) was the 50th Vintage Glider Club rally at Aston Down from Saturday Jul 29 to Sunday 6 Aug. This was the big event for the year for vintage gliding internationally and was preceded by the Rendezvous meeting at nearby Nympsfield, 22 – 28 July. The GHC took 3 gliders to Aston Down, the Sir John Allison Prefect, the Steinadler, and “Gertie” the Sky. They all flew but it has to be said “Lady Weather” spent most of the week in a bad mood! However, Aston Down is a really lovely site, and even if flying was comparatively limited, it was good to be there with so many vintage enthusiasts from the UK and across Europe.


VISITS


Slowing down now as we move well into Autumn. The engineering student visits were a considerable success, 490 of them over 3 visits on consecutive 2 days, the last being 21st and 22nd August.


THE 11th AGM


This went ahead on Sunday the 3rd of September in the GHC workshop. It went smoothly, no controversy, 36 members attended plus 1 non-member. During his address chairman, Tony Newbery, raised a key point. Namely the GHC needs more help from its members – see this topic under LOOKING AHEAD.


NEW WEBSITE


This was released in the Spring of 2023 to replace the website we’d used from the start in 2013. It’s seeing a lot of access and good reviews, being much better than the old site in handling access from mobile phones, which has grown appreciably in recent years. However, it’s a good way to go to get it to where we want it to be. The glider COLLECTION summary is now much better than it used to be and is being regularly updated. The next step is getting the historical documents and videos available for viewing again. After that we have to think about reinstating the secure (passworded) membership section. Our current webmaster is Paul Jackman and he deserves much credit in getting us to where we are.


LOOKING AHEAD


Flyable GHC gliders in 2024

Not fully decided at the moment but it’s looking like the Bocian, Bergfalke, Zugvogel 3b, Olympia 2, and the prototype Prefect. To this we’re hoping to add the TG3, Phoebus, and fingers crossed the Spalinger, though the Spalinger is likely to be on a restricted Permit to fly rather than a full CofA.


Flying Week 2024

We can’t confirm at the moment but it very much looks like Sat 18 May to Fri 24 May or Sat 25 May to Fri 31 May. The determining factor is when the Nationals comps start at Lasham.


The 2nd hangar extension

Our next major project is the 24m X 24m extension to the 2nd hangar which is currently on hold and has been for some time. That’s primarily because despite having an extremely healthy bank balance we don’t feel we have enough money yet due to the current very high prices of steel and concrete. We reviewed the situation at the 24 Sept CoM meeting and there’s no change. Unlikely now the project will kick off before the Spring of 2024. We’ve managed to persuade the LGS to let us have a container on the GHC site for storage. Thanks to the late Colin Street we have a truly substantial stock of Slingsby spares.


Getting more help

An e-mail to the membership sent on the 12th October stressed that the Gliding Heritage Centre, which has evolved to be a very substantial organisation, needs more help to continue to run effectively – especially looking into the future! Primarily focussed on those who attend Lasham on a regular basis, if you’re one of those we’d ask you to please read the e-mail if you haven’t already!


That’s it folks. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading all of our latest news. Time to batten down the hatches for the winter! Hopefully see you in the workshop.


12 October 2023, Glyn Bradney, GHC Secretary.

The first flight of our latest restoration 

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