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Real Gliding

I first joined the Dorset Gliding Club more than 30 years ago. Without making much progress I soon quit and took up hang gliding instead. In those days hang gliders were rapidly improving and ultimately became capable of being flown cross country (XC), using thermals, for respectable distances. My longest flight was 114 miles. Eventually I moved on to flying paragliders whose performance also started to allow decent XC's. They had the advantage of packing up into a rucksack wherever you might have landed for the return trip back to the take off point.
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Winter Soaring

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE EXPRESSES MY OWN PERSONAL OPINIONS AND MAY OR MAY NOT BE WHAT YOUR INSTRUCTORS WOULD ADVISE!

BEFORE FLYING IN ‘ADVERSE’ CONDITIONS, PLEASE SEEK ADVICE FROM THE DUTY INSTRUCTOR ON THE DAY.

I personally very much enjoy flying from Eyres Field, and think the scenery is second to none!

I hope this article may bring back some pleasant memories to those of you who used to fly at Old Sarum. Winter ‘soaring’ from a flat site.

We all like to soar. It is man against the elements - against gravity - against those hundred and one things that are trying to keep our feet firmly on the ground. If, as I do, you fly from a flat site, you will have experienced the frustration of winter flying. Every now and again when every possible weather criteria is right, i.e. wind strength, wind direction, and enough members turn up on a day when the duty instructor has enough foresight and vision to realise that flying in strong wind conditions can help everybody become better pilots. Pilots who spend the whole of their time only flying in ‘good’ conditions are one day bound to inadvertantly experience very rough conditions. Will they be able to cope?

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A day of firsts

I was at a very early solo stage and yet to complete my bronze ‘C’. I was waiting in line to launch in our newly acquired syndicate Olympia 2B which I had flown only a couple of times before, The weather on the ground was bitterly cold and quite a northerly wind was blowing. Several gliders had already been launched ahead of a very black cloud and when it came to my turn, the CFI, Jim Tudgey, jumped out of the tug and said “I will take you just north of Blandford to drop you in what is very smooth lift, don’t loose sight of the airfield and land before the cloud reaches us”.
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DGC 1966

I joined the DGC early in 1966, soon after the move to Tarrant Rushton airfield. There were a number of new members at that time as the move had created a lot of local interest.

The Club then was run on a semi military basis as two or three of it’s instructors were ex ATC or Army and the Club itself still had a military influence since in it’s time at Gallows Hill, now Eyres Field, it had formed an association with Bovington camp, and, for a time the Club was known as the Dorset and Bovington Garrison Gliding Club.

The Fabric Hangar

When the Club had to leave Tarrant Rushton, we eventually settled into Henstridge, where, because of the limited space, we were restricted to aero-towing only. We also had to rig the gliders every day before flying, and as a result, the T21 fell out of use.

After a while we were invited to take a glider to Old Sarum and share the facilities with the Bustard Flying Club. They were the only people operating there at that time and had about 6 or 7 powered aircraft housed in a huge hangar. It was decided to give it a trial so we took the T21 there together with a winch and operated this as a second site beginning October 1981. One instructor, a handful of enthusiasts, and, 75% of the hangar, just for our one glider and kit, unbelievable.
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