News & Diary

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March 2020

While the Covid-19 virus lockdown is in place, there will be no flying.

January - February 2020

Some members went to the Juniors Winter Series, and had a taste of ridge flying in strong winds.

Update: Claudia Hill came 6th in the Women's World Gliding Championship!

Last year we sent a record 19 people solo, or possibly even more as not every instructor remembers to pass on the news - see our Achievements page. Will this year be as good? Or better?!

December 2019 News

We are sending young pilots solo faster than I can keep up with, and hope to get a few more off before the end of the year. One of our members, Claudia Hill, is off to Australia now, to compete in the Women's World Gliding Championship next month! Follow her adventures at the WWGC comp website and Soaring Spot

Oxford Uni are holding their winter training camp this month.

Our AGM is on 7th Decemebr, and Club Trophies will also be handed out.

November 2019 News

Our Bronze Endorsment lectures have started now, and will continue into February, to be followed by the exam. Any pre-Bronze pilot is encouraged to attend, and others are welcome too.

Sept - October 2019 News

We have had some small expeditions to Portmoak and Denbigh. New OUGC students are arriving each weekend, weather permitting.

June - August 2019 News

Lots of comps in this period. And lots of great results for our members taking part in them! Just take a look at our achievements page, to avoid repeating them here. Our own comp had 49 entries and although the weather wasn't the best, everyone had a great time. Rose Johnson was the director - that will teach her not to have a few drinks and then ask why there were no women comp directors...

OUGC won the gliding Varsity match against Cambridge in June.

May 2019 News

Pete Harvey is taking part in the European Championships. They don't update the website with daily news, which is unfortunately stuck on Facebook. When will people learn that Facebook is not a substitue for details on the actual competition website?

Update: Pete Harvey finished 5th overall in the European Championships, in the highly competative 18m Class! Just 84 points behind the winner.

Jon Gatfield is off to Cerdanya for the Final of the Sailplane Grand Prix World Championship.
While Alistair Emson, John Roberts and Claudia Hill are at the UK Club Class Championships.

April 2019 News

A group of current members and some old friends who have moved across the country went to the French Alps. At least ten pilots went there. Some flew from Sisteron, while seven others flew from La Motte du Caire. A great time was had by all, with several pilots flying over 400km several times.

March 2019 News

The Bronce C lectures are over and the first batch took the exam. Two had strong passes in all topics, and two passed the majority of the topics. They are expected to pass on their retakes soon. And then we will have more pilots flying the Astirs.

February 2019 News

Our Bronze C lectures are continuing and we hope that by the end of the set of lectures, our students will pass the exam easily.

January 2019 News

We start the year in style - Alex Lennox went on his first solo on his birthday, 1st January!

November-December 2018 News

Our Bronze C lectures have started a bit earlier this year, with the first one on 17th November. They will have a break over the Xmas period to allow for those going on holidays, and continue in the New Year.

Despite the dodgy weather we have had several good training weekends, but the University training week had some wet weather. The AGM took place on the 8th December, and Pete Harvery was voted in as chairman of the club, with Bob King stepping down from the post.

September-October 2018 News

We had some good flying in September and early October, including 100km and 200km flights.

In October the new Oxford University students started to come out to the airfield, and we have managed to do many flights at the weekends with them, helping to keep our instructors and new BIs and Half Cats busy. Congratulations to Miles Bailey (Half Cat in October) and David McGarth (Half Cat in August). And to Jon Gatfield who, after a 20+ year gap from instructing, is back as a Half Cat.

Oh, and we won the InterClub League final!

July-August 2018 News

Derren Francis is off to the 15m World Championships (7th - 22nd July), while Pete Harvey is going to the Open Class World Championships (28th July - 12th August). Note that these are at different sites

BUT before he went, Pete won the UK 18m championship!

OUGC paid a visit to the French Alps and had a great time, just like the other groups earlier in the year.

Our own Regionals competition takes place from 21st-29th July. Let's hope that the fabulous weather which has enabled many pilots to carry out great cross-country flights continues throughout the comp.

Update: Our Regionals comp was a great success - 46 entrants, seven consecutive days of racing, with the Open class having three races of over 300km (306.3, 353.7 and 381.1km). Not your average Regionals! The Sports class had one 319.6km day too. On most days almost everyone got round.

Update: Derren finished 11th in the 15m Worlds
Pete finished 5th in the Open Class Worlds

Also, two members successfully completed a declared 749.9km task - it helps to know how to use the task setting software if you want a 750km badge guys ... Names withheld to avoid embarrassing them ;).

June 2018 News

Our keenest pilots are still managing some cross country flights, and six members the OUGC group took on Cambridge at the other place for the annual varsity match. Unfortunately Cambridge scored more points...

James Best and Martin Clark both did a 750km task for the rare 750km diploma, while Miles Bailey did a 500km task for Diamond distance.

May 2018 News

A group of pilots visited the French Alps in April and have now returned. But a few more are going out in May and then July. The first group had an fantastic time, flying from Sisteron and La Motte, and ranging as far afield as Grenoble, Albertville and to within 22km of Mount Blanc.

March - April 2018 News

We have add a few first solos this year, hoping for more in the next month or so. There have been a small number of cross-country flights so far this year, but this dreadful weather continues to make it tricky for all but the best pilots. So far no long flights have been made. In April a few groups of pilots are off to fly in the french Alps - some at Sisteron and some at La Motte. They too are waiting for the weather to improve so they can do some spectacular flying out there.

The move to the other hangar is in full swing now. The aircraft moved over last year, then we made a workshop. now the offices and accomodation are moving over as well. This should be complete by the end of April. And we have a new lease for the airfield.

January - February 2018 News

Despite the windy and cold weather, we have flown in January and February. And the first solo pilot of the new year is Tor Walberg, in early February.
Our popular Bronze C Lectures are running from mid-January through to mid-April, when the exam will take place.
We are happy for pilots from nearby clubs to attend as well.

December 2017 News

We had our AGM in 2nd December.
The University students are holding their winter training week from the 4th onwards - they seem a keen lot this year.

November 2017 News

Bicester members Derren Francis and Pete Harvey have once again been chosen to represent Britain in the World Championships, in 2018!

October 2017 News

The new batch of university members should be appearing during October and November.
We have a GASCo safety evening - watch our newsletter for more info.

September 2017 News

The soaring season is not over yet! We have had a first 300km towards Gold and Diamond badges, plus another first solo on one of our courses. And a small group went back to the Alps, and climbed to 19500'

Meanwhile, the Oxford University students are attending an aerobatics course this month. Four of them passed to gain higher qualifications - see the Members > Achievements page

August 2017 News

The comp is now on. We have had a few days so far but it's wet for the next couple of days. Hopefully we will have some happy pilots and prize-winners.

Update: And when the comp was over, Dave Watt took first place, Derren Francis took second and Martin Durham took third place in the Open Class - a clean sweep for the local pilots. Visitor Mike Fox took first place in the Club Class. There were several first 300km flights, although not all managed to get both Gold and Diamond claims.

Pete Harvey took the Silver Medal in the European Championships, in the Open Class!

We had a mini Air League day this month, with about 15 young persons turning up to experience flying.

July 2017 News

Membership renewals are now due, as our membership year starts on 1st July.

A group of our University students are off to the Alps with a couple of our instructors.

It's the competition season now and we have another success as Mick and Tim Webb who took second place in the Shenington Regionals.
Speaking of comps, our own regionals starts in August and there are still a few places vacant - Regionals page

June 2017 News

With summer upon us, we hope to see lots of good cross-country flights. Especially during the Soaring and Cross Country Coaching Course to be run by Kevin Atkinson at the end of this month.
We also have the Bicester Heritage Flywheel event in June, where club members are granted free access.

Another set of students passed their Bronze Badge exams in June. That's now 9 Bronze Paper passes at the club this year. Well done to Dave Perkins and his team of a job really well done. Everyone's efforts are really appreciated by us all.

We have had a group of Cub Scouts visit us to learn about how gliders fly and they all seemed to enjoy their visit. Perhaps in 3 - 5 years time they will join as cadet members.

Speaking of young people visiting us, we have hosted the annual Oxford v Cambridge varsity gliding match. Although the scores are not finalised, it seems that Cambridge gained an advantage on the first day which the home team couldn't quite overcome on the other days. There's always next year of course.

May 2017 News

The Great Alps Adventure continues, and we expect the last gliders and members back by the end of the month. One or two pilots were hit by a bug and had to think carefully about whether they should fly or not. Others have been luckier and logged several 400km flights, and 19500' as their max altitude. Some seem to be averaging 5 hours+ ever time they fly!

April 2017 News

The Tiger 9 aerobatic team will bring their nine Tiger Moths on the afternoon of the 6th May to practice after 6 pm ( possibly earlier if it fits in), and to practice again in the morning of the 7th May.

A series of small groups of members are off to the Alps in relays, some going to La Motte, others to Sisteron, over a six week period from mid-April. April seems to have members going to all sorts of places on little expeditions!

A group of OUGC students are paying Sutton Bank a visit at the beginning of the month, along with an instructor. They are discovering they have to think a bit further ahead when it comes to circuit planning.

A second group from OUGC are off to Portmoak for the annual University get together, taking several instructors along with them. This group depart as the first group return home to Bicester.

March 2017 News

Ed Downham gave an excellent talk of how to fly further fast, with an analysis of weather and task setting. Much appreciated by club members.

Due to it's popularity last year, we are running another Aim Higher course, on March 25th and 26th. THis is a ground school and you have to book in advance. Contact the office for more details.

A group of members are going to fly in the French Alps, from La Motte. If you are interested in joining them, contact Terry Mitchell on tangomikej15 @ But you will probably have to arrange your own aircraft and any training with a French instructor.

February 2017 News

After 8 years as CFI, Dave Watt has decided it's time for a rest. Julian Bane will be taking over in March as CFI.

January 2017 News

Bicester member Derren Francis is taking part in World Gliding Championship (8th to 22nd January 2017)
Update: Derren came 6th overall in the 15m Class.

The Winter edition of the club magazine is now available online.

November/December 2016 News

We have done some maintainence on our new home/hangar and some hard working members have made a functional glider / vehicle maintainence bay. We are learning how to pack the new space efficiently as well. Our new universty members are turning up regularly, and some of last year's intake have soloed.
Our AGM is on December 3rd.
Notification of the 12th AGM, taking place on 3rd December 2016, is available here

October 2016 News

In October we moved from the hangar we have occupied for many, many decades (since 1956 I think) to the one next door, and our first flying day from this new home was on Saturday 22nd. We will have to get used to the narrower exit/entrance road to the hangar. Our offices and club rooms are still in our old home for the present, and several volunteer members are already building a workshop for our aircraft maintenance.

August/September 2016 News

We had our Regionals Gliding Competition in August, and it was a great success with the Club Class having 6 racing days and the Open Class having seven. This makes it possibly the most successful competition this year as several were so plagued by bad weather that they had only one or two days.

Then just as we thought the horrible weather would end the gliding season earlier than usual, we had lots of good days flying in September!

July 2016 News

Several big events are coming this month. The Sailplane Grand Prix, UK round, runs from 9th to 17th, the top pilots automatically qualifying for the World Final. This is an exciting format of racing to watch - all start together first one back is the winner- and the event web site will include live tracking of every race - see menu of our website for the direct link to the action. And the Air League annual day is also on the 9th.

The Inter University Competition will again this year be held at Bicester from 24th Jul, yand run until the following Saturday (30th). It will be run by OUGC but it's not like most competitions: There is no grid, no mass launch and no shutting down of the club operation. Various tasks and challenges are organised and the vast majority of the launches will be winch with the competitors launching in the same queue as other club operations.

The Grand Prix was plagued by the dreadful unseasonal weather that has hit many competitions, but the competitors didn't let it upset them, despite some tricky decisions having to be made. In the end the last day unexpectedly produce great weather for a short time and they had a great final race, the winner achieving 154.3kph ! After they all got back, a local pilot not competing tried to go round a second lap and reported the weather was very different to his first attempt, so landed back.

Winner was German visitor Jan Omsels, Second was Andy Davis and Third was Derren Francis, who had been leading up to the last day. The first two go through the World Final, with third going onto the reserve list.

June 2016 News

So far the weather hasn't really cooperated much, but one or two brave / foolish members have managed to squeeze in some cross country flying.

May 2016 News

We have the Aim higher course running during the first week of May, a group of members are in Sisteron to fly among the mountains of France and are posting exciting images on Facebook. And to cap it all, Sebastian Kawa, simply The Best, ever, will be visiting for a few days in the third week of May.
Update: The talk by Sebastian Kawa was packed to capacity and was very entertaining indeed. It's a pit the weather didn't co-operate for the flying side of things, but it did proove to be very entertaining watching the CFI and Sebastian on Spot the Glider, once they were too low to spot from the laucnh point. But they got back, of course. The second talk was on cross-country techniques and members are hoping to put what they learned to good use in June.

April 2016 News

A group of our Oxford students went to Camphill with some of our instructors to experience a more challenging ridge site, and most participants enjoyed themselves. Another group of memebrs is of to France to play with the mountains, and will probably post stories about their adventures on our facebook pilot's forum group page.

February and March 2016 News

The Quiz night in early February proved to be a great success again, and a very popular social event. The winning team was Alan Twigg, Eileen Lawson, David Green, Marie Ufferte and Red Staley. The latest edition of the Club's magazine is out now. Plans are afoot for the University expedition to Portmoak - talk to OJ Garrity if you are interested. Meanwhile, some members are organising a visit to the French Alps.
We are pleased to welcome Hugo, our new French tugpilot. Hugo will mainly be towing midweek.
Freddie Turner has been selected for the Junior Development Squad traing program.

January 2016 News

We started the New Year in spectacular fashion with a first solo in 1st January!!!
We will be having our annual quiz night in January. With a new quiz master and mistress this time, who knows how hard it will be, given that they have previously been on the winning team. So get swatting if you wish to win.

December 2015 News

Pete Harvey and Derren Francis have accepted their places to represent Britain in the World Gliding Championships, in January 2017 !
We had our Xmas dinner in Decemebr and, as usual, it was great fun, everyone had a fantastic time. Thanks To Marie and the other ladies for all their hard work in feeding everyone..
Sadly we say goodbye to our office staff, Laura Morris, who has moved on to another job.

November 2015 News

Christmas dinner tickets are available from Marie - spaces are limited so don't delay if you wish to go.

Bonfire night will be 7th November, with food before the grand event.

October 2015 News

Several Bicester pilots were voted in to the British Team for the next World Championships. Pete Harvey had several classes to choose from, while Dave Watt and Derren Francis where the top selection for the 15m classes. Let's hope they accept their invitations to represent the country.

The new Oxford University intake has arrived and seem very enthusiastic. We also have some students from Cranfield after a year or so without any joining from that university.

The newly acquired Twin III is impressing everyone who flies it, and it will be used for cross country training next year.

The club's magazine, Up and Away, has the Autumn 2015 edition available in hard copy around the club house, as well as being online.

August 2015 News

Big event this month - the Bicester Regionals! Approximately 60 competitors, plus others flying the same tasks for fun. The Sport Class flew on six days, the Open Class on seven days - more than the average comp where four or five days is considered a good result. Dave Watt won the Open Class, with ex-members from GSA days Mick and Tim Webb second, Martin Durham was fourth, team Owain Walters and Dan Pitman were sixth, with other members taking part as well. In the Sport Class Terry Mitchell came third, with Andy Elliott fourth and child pilot Freddie Turner fifth. There were a couple of other members competing as well. Biggest task was 401.4km, and an assigned area task where Dave managed 442.7km!
Update: Pete Harvey wins 18m National Championship.

July 2015 News

The big event this month will be the Club Class Nationals - see the menu under Flying Program > Competitons.
Update: The Club Class Nationals was a geat competition, although when rain stopped play on the first Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we were a bit worried. But we flew on the remaining five days giving a six day comp, The average is 4.5 days, so things went well. Looking forward to the Regionals comp at the beginning on august.
Meanwhile Bicester Member Pete Harvey is competing in the European championships. More on that when it is over. Update Pete came 8th.
The Oxford vs Cambridge gliding comp resulted in our home team thrashing the Cambridge team.

June 2015 News

Our landlords, Bicester Heritage, ran their biggest event yet - FlyWheel - a celeibration of historic aircraft and cars. Many aircraft flew on, did dispalys and were available for closer inspection, the same with the cars too (apart from the flying bit...). Several vingate gliders were on dispaly as well. Club members got free access to the event, while those who wished to fly went with the winch to another club.

May 2015 News

A group of members have gone off on holiday together, to Sisteron. They've taken their gliders with them, and post pretty pictures on Facebook. Meanwhile it's raining where I am.

March/April 2015 News

Our Bronze C lectures are still running in March, but some candidates are taking their Bronze exam and passing already.
The University trip to Portmoak is taking place over Easter.
Callum Lavendar, who went solo at the age of 14 years and two days in December 2012, entered the Dan Smith Aerobatic competition, and won the Sport class prize easily. The Dan Smith competition lets pilots of different levels compete on the same day with the same maneuvers, and Callum's score was a very impressive, tiny, 1.2% less than Paul Conran's, the reigning British Unlimited Class champion's score, so this was an outstanding result. Especially as Paul Conran has flown in the World Championships!

February 2015 News

We have Mike Newman as a guest speaker on Human Factors in gliding, on 7th February.
And on Saturday 21st we play games night in the bar.

January 2015 News

Happy New Year!

At this time of year we schedule our Bronze C Talks. These are intended to get you through the Bronze C written test, so early solos and those hoping to complete their Bronze this year are strongly advised to come to them. See the regular weekly Newsletter for more details. If you do not get the newsletter contact . If you get two copies of the news contact john to have this corrected, stating the email address you wish us to us.

Quiz night will be Saturday 24th January.

Other December 2014 News

The Christmas Dinner is on Saturday 6th December. Generally recognised as the No. One social event of the entire year in the entire UK, those lucky enough to have got a ticket or two are in for a great meal.

Important News

OUGC is going to have a winter training camp at Bicester Airfield from 7th to 10th December. It aims to offer a small group of enthusiastic members (most of them joined this academic year) intensive flying experience after a term of hard academic work. We would very much appreaciate some help from club members, in particular on 9th and 10th. If you're busy during the day, please come and join us for a drink in the evenings. Our members would love to have a chat with you all and hear some fascinating flying stories. It'll be great fun!

Please get in touch if you need more information (
Many thanks.

November '14 News

Bonfire party night will be 8th November, a smaller affair than our usual mega-bonfire due to the trailers' new location. Members are invited to bring some fireworks so it goes with a bang.

After The AGM - 22nd November

The two directors standing for re-election were both re-elected (Maria Mitchell and Alan Garrity).

Trophies were awarded as follows:

Chairman's Trophy to Terry Mitchell
Most Meritorius Flight to Pete Harvey
Member of the Year to Tony Cleworth
CFI's Trophy ot Andy Preston
Alfar Memorial Trophy to Eileen Lawson
LX Cup to Owain Walters
Most Progress to Martin Clark
Most Meritorious Cadet to Charlie Taylor
Wooden Spoon to Andy Elliott
Herman Pig Award to John Delafield

October '14 News

We await with bated breath the new intake of University students.

Meanwhile members are running back and forth to Aboyne to play in the wave. So far two cars have broken down, unfortunately.

August - September '14 News

The comps are here. Okay it rained a wee bit but we did race on five days. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

News from the 15m Nationals - Bicester pilots dominated the results! Derron Francis Won, Dave Watt came third, and Owain Walters was fourth!

We hosted the Interlub League Final.

July '14 News

It's comps season now, and several Bicester pilots are taking part in comps. Including Pete Harvey at the World Championships. And of course our own Regionals is due next month. Meanwhile we are now operating under our new lease.

May - June '14 News

We have the annual visit from the Air League for their Youth in Aviation event on 7th June. Meanwhile Pete Harvey took second place in the UK Open Class Championship.

Membership documents package for 2014

April '14 News

We have the expedition to Portmoak at the end of April, and a small group going to Sisteron starting mid April, with a swap group going out halfway through.

March '14 News

Bronze C talks still occuring.
Let's Play Casino - a great fun social night was had by all.

We go seven days a week in mid-March

February '14 News

Dinner Dance, 8th of Feb.
Get into your party frock, and let's all rock!
More Bronze C Talks

January '14 News

Happy New Year! And a first solo on the 12th January to get things rolling.
Followed by Brain of Bicester Quiz Night. Won by the Prop Benders team. Morally of course, the team I was in should have won, as we scored more points per person than the other teams, which were all twice as big as ours.