After the rain


Yes indeed after the rain, there must be something after the rain – however meanwhile while we wait for that what a poor Channel glider pilot who hasn’t had a flight since November really needs  is an unfeasibly large expanse of well drained airfield for when the sun finally peeks it’s little head out. Preferable something exceedingly well constructed with a runway say a couple of miles long bang in the middle of the country so we might even get a lesser spotted February thermal.

Hold on a minute what’s this.

Hold on a minute what’s this.

As luck would have it the chaps at Welland had wintered their Grob Acro at Four Counties Gliding Club which is based at RAF Wittering with it’s final day there this Sunday. The forecast looked good – woot woot! and word on the street was that they had almost forgotten the great  lost key debacle of last June. Well I don’t mention it & they don’t mention it, everyone just looks at their shoes – so that’s good as forgotten in my book.

On first inspection I wasn’t quite sure if the facilities at RAF Wittering was all it’s cracked up to be. The glider hanger was a bit pokey as far as I was concerned.

Barely room to land ahead in this one

Barely room to land ahead in this one

Anyhow that aside the day started bright & clear, using a grass strip that looked as if there had barely been any precipitation at all (note to Channel Gliding chairman – please install underground drainage channels forthwith).

Look it is possible in England

Look it is possible in England

With a substantial cable run, a good 15 knot headwind plus a powerful winch Mark Rushton & I took the first launch in the Acro that went on way past 2000’ even though I stopped pulling back after a while as I kept on thinking it was time to pull the release. Not much thermal activity early on, but come my second flight, glorious sunshine & there we are circling away – so I remember now, that’s what this gliding lark is all about.

It all turns in to a busy old day with maybe 10 gliders rigged & 50 launches or so. With periods where there’s enough lift so none are on the ground – so plenty happening even with frightening amounts of water laying in the surrounding farmland.

No photoshop this really is February

No photoshop this really is February

A great day and big thanks to Welland & Four Counties Gliding Clubs for allowing a Channel member to partake in the land without wellingtons.

End of the day - time to stop dreaming & get back to your waterproofs.

End of the day – time to stop dreaming & get back to your waterproofs.

Steve Chapman


5 Responses to “After the rain”

  1. simon Says:

    Wow…..hob nobbing again….you rich glass guys have got it made!!How will you cope when you have to fly off a postage stamp again!!!

  2. Mark Rushton Says:

    Rich guys, I hear you say ? Four Counties charge £4.50 for a winch launch (to 2000 ft) and no reciprocal membership charge. Mind you, 4 Counties are in the process of being evicted by the MOD – the University Air Squadron from Wyton is moving in to Wittering this summer – and at the moment the future looks bleak indeed for them. Shame, they deserve better !

  3. simon Says:

    we have an opening for bright youg men with free fancy gliders!!!

  4. Paul Says:

    You’re going to tell us next that the first picture of Wittering was taken from the top of the launch. I’d pay up to £6, maybe even £6.50, for a launch like that!

  5. simon Says:

    I thought I gave you those sort of launches anyway!!?
    i’m on strike……not that it makes a bit of difference with this blasted weather!

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