Bannerdown News - From September 2014

Our Newest Instructor

Over the last few months Bannerdown’s Club Secretary, Mike Swanson, has been working hard towards gaining his BGA Flying Instructor (Sailplanes) rating through the BGA’s new modular course.

Mike chose the modular route, as at the time, he wasn’t a Basic Instructor and felt he was relatively inexperienced compared to some people attending the older style courses.  He felt he would benefit from the longer course.

He attended his A module course in February 2013 at Dunstable.   The A module is a classroom based course that teaches the theory of flight and that of instructing.  Whilst not pass / fail, performance was assessed at the end of the module.

The B module is taught by designated coaches at club level.  This is not merely coaching, but getting signed off as competent to brief, fly and teach the exercises.   This module does place a certain amount of burden onto clubs.   At the same time as Mike was needing a two seat trainer for his instructor training,  the first long spell of good weather saw an influx of new members, and many trial lesson visitors – all of which were competing for the two training aircraft.

Mike Swanson Instructing

That wasn’t the only thing slowing him down though.   Mike needed a Knee replacement, which stopped him flying for over four months!

Mike attended a C module course at the Black Mountains Gliding Club, Talgarth, in early July.   A large part of the C Module is an assessment of the Club’s teaching, as well as introducing a couple of new exercises.  It comprised of both classroom briefings and flying.     With the modular course being new, the syllabus had been reviewed and amended during Mike’s enforced break, so some catch up was required in some areas and he was ahead of the game in other areas.    Mike made the most of his launches totalling three hours flying from his three launches.    The C module is a pass or fail module.  You cannot start the D module without having successfully negotiated the C module.

After completing the remaining B module exercises with Andy Miller, (those that were outstanding due to the syllabus changes), it was time for the D module course that was being held at Cambridge Gliding Centre.   The course was again a mix of briefing, teaching and flying, with four of five days flyable, a flight in a motor glider, an aerotow and fourteen winch launches.  Having to teach launch failures kept the hours down a little.   The assessment at the end of the week recommends, or otherwise, you for an ‘Assessment of Competency’ with an Examiner.  This should be done within two weeks of the completion of the D module at the home airfield.

Mike flew his assessment flights with Andy Miller – and passed it!    Apparently the most nerve wracking part of the entire course.

Congratulations Mike!

Date posted: September 22, 2014 by admin

Members continue to progress

When flying, there is always something new to learn.  This weekend our members have once again been trying new things.

On Saturday Neil Geraghty, after recently completing his BGA Silver badge, was able to convert to R3 – the club’s LS8.

Neil Geraghty in LS8

Richard Hafferty, after going solo for the first time last month, converted to the single seat K18 R32.

Richard Hafferty in K18

Mike Edwards also generously allowed Ben Dews to fly his Ventus 2CT!

Ben Dews in 808

On Sunday, Sam Arnold converted to R61 our K13 ….

Sam Arnold in K13

…only so she could convert to the K18 too!  Pictured here before launching with her instructor Ken Reid.

Sam in K18

Last year Bannerdown was awarded the “Bicester Cup” at the RAFGSA AGM.  The cup is awarded to a RAF GSA club with the most achievements in the year.  Bannerdown has to be in the running for retaining this award.

Well done all!


Date posted: September 14, 2014 by admin

Another First Solo

Congratulations to Alex Bartlam, aged 15, on completing his first solo flight on Sunday.

Alex Bartlams first solo


Alex was sent solo by Bannerdown’s Chief Flying Instructor – Ian Harris.


Date posted: September 8, 2014 by admin

First Solo for Richard Hafferty

Congratulations to Richard Hafferty for successfully completing his first solo flight.

First Solo for Richard Hafferty

Richard is pictured here sitting in the K13, with his instructor Bob Brain.

Date posted: by admin