PROGRESS IN THE GLIDING MOVEMENT

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PROGRESS IN T1-I GLIDING MOVEMENT

IF the gliding movement has not gone ahead quite as rapidly nor reached as high a state of popularity as was at first anticipated by those enthusiasts who worked to establish the pastime some two years ago, there are at any rate a few clubs which have made good progress— generally in the face of considerable difficulties.

The London Gliding Club, which operates at Tottenhoe, near Dunstable, Bedfordshire, is a notable example of what can be done by sound organisation and sustained endeavour, and there is no doubt that it has now reached a stage when it can be regarded as the premier gliding club in the country.

Originally the L.G.C. had two machines —a German Zrigling and a Dagnall-built primary type. At first, members operated at Down Farm, near Albury, and although the site was not suitable for anything but short flights, a good deal of initial training work was put in at week-ends. The gliders were housed in a barn, which, being of extremely limited dimensions, necessitated the complete dismantling of the machines. Subsequently the club removed to Ivinghoe Beacon, some few miles distant, and the gliders were housed in a marquee. Shortly after their establishment at the Beacon, the club acquired its third machine—a Pnifling ; with this, and also

with the primary gliders, a number of successful soaring flights were made by sundry pilots, and members were further encouraged by a visit by Herr Kronfeld and Herr Magersuppe, who readily gave advice on many matters regarding such points as launching methods, the training of ab initios, suitability of sites, the requirements for soaring, and so forth. They also gave demonstrations of sailplaning on several occasions. Some time later, owing to their failing to reach an agreement with the National Trust in regard to the continued use of the Beacon, the London Club again had to seek another site, and ultimately they secured the very fine ground where they are at present installed. Meanwhile the membership has steadily increased, a very respectable number of pupils have secured “

A,”” B ” and” C ” licenses, and soaring is regularly carried on practically every week-end. Some members of the club have their own gliders at Tottenhoe, and these, with the club’s fleet, are housed in the two hangars which have been erected. Attached to these is a workshop, where a ground engineer carries out maintenance

and repair work. The L.G.C. can also boast of a quite commodious club house, which was built by the members themselves, and at week ends the fact that teas and refreshments are available adds considerably to the pleasure of one’s visit. In other respects the club is run on thoroughly sound lines. For instance, by the use of mechanical means—in the shape of ” hack ” cars—the laborious method of manhandling the machines to

and from the hangars to the points of take-off is practically eliminated, while a winch and endless rope conveys them to the summit of the hill with great effectiveness and ease.

One of the most pleasing characteristics of the London Gliding Club is the complete absence of exclusiveness and formality, so that the uninvited visitor is always assured of a hearty and friendly welcome.