Yes! A single-seater at last on my hundred-and-first launch. I didn’t get many flights in one of these but it really made me feel like I was a pilot at last. I loved every moment in it. Total air time about an hour from 16 launches – the longest of these was 10 minutes off a winch launch.
After my second gliding holiday I was properly hooked. It took a while to locate my local gliding club in those pre-internet days, but one day I got on my moped and rocked up at a huge ex-military airfield. When the security guard saw my nice new membership card he simply pointed me at a pair of giant hangars and said I’d find the gliders round the back. I got one winch launch with an instructor and three minutes of flight time at my new club. The following weekend I got another launch which took my Blanik time up to a total of 7 minutes.
Things did improve as the spring weather arrived and the days got longer. Instructor remarks in my logbook tell me that my lookout wasn’t good enough, that my circuit planning was weak, and my flying generally needed polish.
I booked another week’s gliding holiday during the summer; this time at the Long Mynd. It did some good and on my return it only took me three months of weekend flying (10 launches) to repeat my Mynd first solo in the Blanik at Samlesbury.
My main recollection of the all-metal Blanik was its characteristic groan when flying slowly in thermals, especially if the flaps were deployed.
Once again I’ve failed to find one of my own photos – here’s one from Pickled Wings who have a nice article on the history of the type.
I enjoyed my first gliding holiday so much that I went back the following autumn. The main glider used for the course was a K13. This rapidly became my favourite 2-seat glider, though it seemed to take me a long time a long time to get my first solo. Actually it was only about 30 launches (and nearly a year) later.
I really must go into the attic and search my own photo collection… here’s a nice one from Wikipedia:
First time I flew one of these was on the same gliding course as the Ka 7. One of the instructors was an interesting Polish chap, Henry Dokter, who I was told had flown in WW2. He had a reputation at the time, but being pre-internet there’s almost nothing about him on the web (I did find this from the Yorkshire Gliding Club)
My last logged flight in a T21 was 10 years later, leaving me with nearly 3 hours air time over 30-odd launches. A lot of pilots professed to like them, but I never got to feel at home in one. The last time I flew one was a dual check flight before being allowed to take up a single-seater. Unusually for my flying at that time, the instructor’s comment in my logbook was “Good flying”.
I’ve been inspired by recent posts by an old aquaintance to put up a series of posts about types of things I’ve flown over the years. I’ll try for chronological order of first flight (but I don’t guarantee it) and if I have a photo of my own I’ll post it. If I haven’t, I’ll point a link at the internet.
September 1970: Ka 7
This was my first ever flight with a feel of the controls*. It was also the first flight of my first gliding holiday with the Yorkshire Gliding Club at Sutton Bank. To be honest I don’t remember much of it beyond the winch launch. The acceleration impressed me and a few seconds into the climb I was addicted.
According to my log book there were also a couple of aerotow flights that week, but I don’t remember them at all.
Overall 2½ hours over 23 launches by my last flight in one in 1978.