Gliding gossip and news

The London Gliding Club— “C of A’s” for sailplanes – an important lecture

The glider movement in this country is now definitely taking shape and by the time next month’s issue of MOTOR SPORT appears it is probable that the first inaugural gliding meeting will have been held by the newly-formed organisation— the London Gliding Club.

The club will commence its operations with a Kegel ” Zogling ” machine, which is the standard elementary training glider used by the schools in Germany. It is of very robust construction and is of the simplest possible design, having been developed by the makers so that it is capable of standing up to the arduous work of preliminary training and at the same time, repairs can be carried out with the minimum amount of stripping-down. The wing span is 33 feet and the overall length about 17 feet. The gliding angle is 17°.

Several committee meetings of the L.G.C. have already been held and recently the Chairman of the club, Mr. J. R. Ashwell-Cooke and his colleagues made an extensive tour of the environs of London in search of a likely site for the club’s venue of activities.

At the time of writing, no definite decision has been made but it is probable that the hills in the neighbourhood of Guildford or Westerham will be chosen. The selection of a site suitable for the sport is not an altogether easy task, for while the formation of a stretch of country may appear ideal, the prevailing wind may not be in the right direction and ease of access and possibilities of accommodation for the machines are other features which have to be taken into consideration.

The club is pursuing its reconnaissance, however, and the committee is confident of finding a place which will meet with all their requirements.

At first only one ” Zogling ” will be in use but it is hoped that two others will be in commission in the near future.

The London Gliding Club’s committee comprises the following :—Mr. J. R. Ashwell-Cooke (Chairman) and Messrs. Douglas Culver, E. K. Blyth and Grenville G. O. Manton, with Mr. S. O. Bradshaw as Hon. Secretary. The rules of the club have now been drawn up and copies of these together with membership forms and so forth may be obtained from the Secretary, whose address is 1, Deansbrooke Lane, Edgware, Middlesex. The subscription fee for the year ending 31st January, 1931, is £1 1s. and the entrance fee one half-guinea.

The L.G.C. is affiliated to the British Gliding Association which, under the Secretaryship of Mr. Howard Flanders, will assume the position of governing body of the movement in the same way that the Auto Cycle Union does in the motor cycle world.

It was recently announced that Sir Sefton Brancker the Director of Civil Aviation, has consented to be the President of the Association and as a result a Provisional Council has been formed. A scheme has been formulated to affiliate clubs and set up branches throughout the country. Readers of MOTOR SPORT who are interested in the Association should communicate with Mr. Flanders at the Royal Aeronautical Society, 7, Albemarle Street, W.1.

A development in connection with gliding, which was not altogether unexpected, is that the authorities have under consideration certain rules and regulations regarding the sport. (Continued overleaf) These will cover matters of airworthiness of motorless craft and their operation, and while this move may be not welcomed by a good number of enthusiasts we are assured that the action contemplated is solely in the interests of those who will participate in the pastime. In discussing the matter with someone who is in close touch with the authorities we gathered that their view was that unless some control is placed on the construction of gliders and sailplanes there will be a likelihood of numbers of amateur constructors building their own craft from unsuitable materials. Structural failures and fatal accidents would follow and gliding in England, at the outset, would fall into ill-favour.

In Germany glider pilots are issued with certificates and there are three categories, ” A “, ” B ” and ” C.” To obtain the first a pilot has to make a flight in a dead straight line, terminating with a successful landing, of course, and the duration of the flight must be not less than 30 seconds.

To qualify for certificate ” B “it is necessary to carry out a flight of not less than 60 seconds and two right-angle turns have to be executed, one to the left and one to the right. Pilots qualify for both the ” A ” and ” B ” certificates on the ” Zogling ” machine. The rules in connection with certificate ” C ” entail a flight of not less than 5 minutes and the point of landing must not be lower than the starting point. ” C ” certificates are obtained on the ” Prufling ‘ glider which is used for advanced training. It is a parasol monoplane machine of orthodox fuselage design with the pilot’s cock-pit just below the leading edge of the wing. The latter is semi-cantilever and strut-braced.

After becoming proficient on the ” Prufling,” pupils advance to the final stage and are sent solo on sailplanes proper. These machines have a span of as much as 50 feet and with them it is possible to remain ” upstairs ” for hours at a stretch. They have a high degree of manoeuvribility and a very low ” sinking ” speed.

Up to date, between two and three thousand gliding certificates have been issued to pilots in Germany.

A lecture, which has been arranged by the Royal Aeronautical Society will take place at a most opportune moment, just as, it is to be hoped, the movement has been got under way in this country. This lecture, which is fixed for the 19th of this month, will be on gliding, the speaker being Dr. Georgii, who is recognised as one of the leading authorities on motorless flight in all its aspects.

We hope to give points of the lecture in our next issue and it is anticipated that much of Dr. Georgii’s address will be of exceptional interest.

Gliding is now being taken up with enthusiasm in Belgium and clubs are in process of formation in different parts of that country. Recently one of these clubs enlisted the aid of one of the Kegel Company’s pilots, Herr Hirth, to help them in choosing suitable gliding territories and he also gave demonstration flights on various types of machines. It is understood that there is a possibility of Herr Hirth paying a visit to this country for a similar purpose in the near future.