Memories of the Coventry Gliding Club
aka the Gliding Centre, Hus Bos
the fourth decade
1983 - 1992
Please send your memories and/or photographs to me and we'll build a memory bank out of which we can write a history of this great family.
Christmas Day 1991. A great turn-out for Claire Nurcombe's first solo on her sixteenth birthday.
Gary Wills checked her out and sent her off, and everyone else scored the event with competition tag plates.
Another notable event in 1991...
1991 was notable for the collapse of the Soviet Union while the International Womens World Championships were in progress at Hus Bos. There was a biggish team from Russia, and at the end of the competition all of their gliders, trailers, instruments and anything else they could turn into hard cash were sold. It was quite extraordinary.
That's all I know about it. Other input welcomed.
One of the days that week I flew a 104km triangle in my 1930s open cockpit Slingsby Tutor DQD, Melton Mowbray - Pitsford - Hus Bos. My logbook tells me that I had a storming climb over Pitsford reservoir leaving at 4000 feet and flying back to Hus Bos at 65 knots Vne in just 13 minutes for that last leg. The total time was just 2hrs 15mins.
I never came near that in a Skylark 4, the hot-ship of the 1960s. We had all learned a lot about the air in twenty years.
Les Johnson CFI 1982-1984
The Bocians first appeared in the 1970s to replace the Slingsby T49 Capstans. By the 1980s the fleet also still had a Slingsby Swallow, joined later by a Ka6E (with all-flying tail). Sadly, this very nice glider was just too cramped for some members. If you could fit in to it, it was very nice to fly, but it was not robust enough for club use, and didn't stay with us for long. I last flew it in 1988.
The first glass single seater arrived in 1983: An ASW 19b that was very swiftly destroyed in spectacular fashion (with only minor injury to the pilot) and then beautifully rebuilt by a professional (Ralph Jones) who had really grasped the technique of working with glass composites.
The end of 1983 saw the arrival of an Astir, while the first ASK 13 (probably the one privately owned by Bill Grose) arrived towards the end of 1985.
By the mid 1980s the fleet had five Bocians, a Ka8, and the first Puchacz. The Motor Falke (or is that Super Falke?) was the long-span version with folding wings, one central wheel, and a feathering prop.
There were many winters of the 1980s that saw a lot of snow and very low temperatures. I recall working outside in -20 degrees on more than one occasion, and heavy winter snow was common until about 1985 when the lanes around Rugby were blocked for weeks with fine dry snow four feet deep blown off the fields that were almost bare. Yet in the next decade we only had one day we were able to take the sledge to the hill at Draycote water.
The Biblical 6 fat cows.......)
Photo Sid Gilmore
Photo Sid Gilmore
14th June 1989 Norman James flew his open cockpit Slingsby Tutor from Hus Bos to the Isle of Wight. He and Lou Frank had flown their syndicate T21 ("That T21") there before, so Norman took that as a challenge. The flight is recorded in detail in S&G magazine.
Annual Dinner in the old pre-fab clubhouse (phase 3) ca1985
Tony Curley Max Scott Jim Jesty Andy Spalding Don Griffiths Roy Merry Alan Foxon
Yours Truly (in front of wife Diana) Val Gilmore Adam Gilmore Derek Abbey
Lots of familiar faces needing names, please.
The fast, sleek, modern sailplanes of the 1980s are all made of glass and carbon fibre. Carbon is much stiffer then glass fibre, so the long wings are much stiffer than those of the 1970s. One of those early gliders wasn't known as the ”Gumiflugel” (Rubber wings) for nothing, as the wings could bend alarmingly in rough air.
At the beginning of this decade the fleet was largely wood, with five Bocians as the mainstay for the training. Later in these years the first of the new glass-fibre two-seaters, the Puchacz from Poland joined the club fleet, and will be joined by a few more during the next ten years, replacing those Bocians.
The Coventry Gliding Club has tried a few changes of name in its time at Husbands Bosworth. The Soaring Centre was not a great idea, and eventually morphed into The Gliding Centre once another small commercial operation of that name had folded.