Aerobatic weekend - 5 - 6 November 2011

Max Bond and Liam Vile - Two of our Junior members relate their experiences from the aerobatic weekend with Aerobatic Instructor Guy Westgate and GliderFX - Fox.

Guy and Fox, aerobatic training course

With the forecast blue and a chilly north easterly wind, we had arranged to meet Guy at the Club for 8.00am. However when we arrived we were met by thick fog and the bitterly cold winds. Though with the fog burning off, the Fox was rigged by 8.30, and a briefing started, where plans were made and we discussed the day ahead.When the weather actually became as forecast, the tug was pulled out and the Fox was towed up to the launch point.

My turn came and the roll on tow is quite an experience! Some other club members took up the opportunity to experience the Fox’s aerobatic capability, followed by some well needed lunch for Guy, then further aerobatic training flights were enjoyed throughout the afternoon.
With the bonfire and BBQ planned for the evening, Guy had brought along the Pyrotechnic Rig for wing tips to give a fantastic display flight just after sunset. I was lucky enough to join him!
Guy and Max light up the sky
A great evening went ahead, with lots of fireworks providing Guy with some inspiration for future pyrotechnic displays!
Guy turns on the pyrotechnics and Max says, “Oh wow!”
Guy “What do you reckon then?”
Max: “That’s incredible, absolutely fantastic!”
What a day! The Fox is an amazing a bit of kit! It's not hard to appreciate the difference in doing aerobatics in something that was designed purely for that purpose!
- Max

A few months ago Will and l were at Yeovilton air show watching display after display of aircraft flying by and every time the crowd would cheer but nothing really caught my eye and made me go “Wow!”. Then the GliderFX team came on. Will and I went mad as the glider started rolling on tow but everyone around us was wondering what all the fuss was about. It didn't matter as it was just out of this world! I never thought I would ever see the likes of it again, I never thought that I would soon be experiencing it first hand.

Early Sunday morning my alarm sounded which was soon followed by the snooze button.... And then the "oh damn I've overslept" feeling. 5 minutes later I was on the road. The cold northeasterly hit me hard on my little 50 and I was doubting if this was really worth the pain. The briefing was at 9 and Guy gave us a lecture on flight envelopes and reviewing how to do certain figures. At the end Guy asked if anyone wanted to do anything in particular. I shouted out "Inverted spin!!" and was delighted when he said it wasn't a problem. From thereon the smile only got bigger.

The Fox was dragged out the hangar with John first to have a go with a down wind launch to the east end of the field. Once the Fox landed we all rushed to help push the glider back to the launch point with John smiling for once! Then in order everyone went flying with some low figures and even more smiley faces.
Then it was my go. I don't easily get nervous, well I like to think I don't, but I was. The cable went tense and we started rolling I began to wonder what all the fuss was about. He began to explain to me that this was the normal tow position, it was like any other tow, but then we went upside down! “This is the inverted tow position” he laughed. “Its crazy isn't it!”. I didn't have time to relax, I was too busy swearing at the straps not to let go. To my relief we rolled back up. It was good to see the tow plane the right way up.

4500 feet and the fun began. We did a few loops and rolls. Then he asked if I wanted to do a flick roll. For some reason I said yes. Next thing I know he was giving me instructions on how to do it then the world was spinning around me and my smile became even bigger after another flick some inverted spins took place. Awesome was the only way to describe it. At about 1500 feet Guy took control and did a mixture of figures. We then landed after the best 20 minutes I've had for a long time.

A few more second flights were had, and eventually late as usual Will pulled up to the launch point. Only just squeezing in a flight whilst the sun was setting as Guy and Matt braved the misting.

A big thanks to Guy for coming up and a bigger thanks to Rowan for organising it and everyone else who helped make it happen. It must have been worth it, I was still buzzing in college the next day! I urge anyone who can to give it a chance.

As a final note Will would like to add, "Inverted aerotowing - EPIC! that is all."

- Liam