Force Development: Exercise SOARING EAGLE

Wilbur and OrvilLE Wright, Charles Lindberg and Barbara Cartland are, just to Name but a few, notable glider pilots! However, on this occasion it was more like Andrews, Booth, Hirst and Hunter, as the intrepid aviators from A4 were out in force, participating in Force Development (FD) activities hosted by the RAFGSA, at the RAF Halton Gliding School.

The ‘Good Lord’ – who was referred to on many occasions during the activities – held the bad weather off for 2 of the 3 planned flying days. With well-seasoned glider pilots to total novices, all were given the exciting opportunity to fly the ASK 21 glider and a Grob G109 powered glider over the rolling hills surrounding RAF Halton. We learned the basic principles of flying and got to grips with a language that only glider pilots understand…. CB SIFT CBE, TAKE UP SLACK, ALL OUT, SINK and WULF! The powered glider allowed us to navigate across country over Chequers, the windmill at Lacey Green, HQ Air and recover back to RAF Halton via Aylesbury. Those magnificent men and women in the flying machines were ably assisted by the remaining A4 team members employed on aircraft recovery duties. The team soon gripped the arduous ground handling task to achieve a good launch rate in changeable flying conditions.

Over the 2 flying days the majority of people had managed to achieve 3 aerotow launches from a Chipmunk and at least 30 minutes in the Grob G109. For many of us this was the first time to experience hands on flying. Big thanks go to Chf Tech Wilf Hunton for arranging the FD days and also to Mr Roger Davies, OIC RAFGSA and his team of instructors for what turned out to be a very successful FD experience for all.