1999...The Pilcher Memorial event
In 1899 aviation pioneer Percy Pilcher was mortally injured in a flying demonstration in the grounds of Stanford Hall just five miles west of Hus Bos. Percy was very close to real aviation, and the Wright Brothers wrote to him for advice when they first became interested in the possibility of manned flight.
After discussing this around the bar one evening, Ron Davidson organised a fly-in for the Centenary. It was extremely well-attended by many aviators flying all types from powered hang-gliders to glass hot-ships and a moving service was held with Air-Scouts and many others in attendance.
Here's a photograph by Alan Self showing Lou Glover's Viking in the vintage line-up in front of the monument.
The full story was published in VGC News No 98 Winter 1999
1999 was a good year for The Gliding Centre ...
The fifth decade
1993 to 2002
1994 was the last year that the wooden Bocian appeared in my log-book, to be replaced by the glass-fibrePuchacz. Other Puchacz were to appear during this period. Eventually we had four of them. (Or was it five?)
The club also acquired a PZL Junior, a Slingsby Vega Sport and a Discus.
The flapped DG 500 demonstrator also made an appearance in May 1995.
The Slingsby Kite 2 called Percy in front of Percy's monument, at the Pilcher fly-in, Stanford Hall near Hus Bos
1st August 1999
Chairman Barney Toulson takes a back-seat in HB1 to accept a cheque for £47,654 from the Lottery Grant. This went a long way towards paying for the purchase of this brand-new DuoDiscus, with a cost of around £75k.
This decade saw the building of the current clubhouse in two stages. The first stage was built professionally by Alan Kangurs, with the construction supervised by Richard Putt. Keith Nurcombe built the Bar and the panelling around the north and east sides. Just one clubroom doubling as bar and restaurant for the first stage. It was financed by a cunning plan cooked up by Ron Bridges. Members who loaned capital to fund the construction received no annual interest on their loan in the usual boring way. Instead, the interest was paid out in lump sums by an annual draw. Very exciting for those who took part.
Stage two was built partly professionally, and partly with unpaid help from the members. I recall a great day was had lifting all the roofing materials up ladders ready to be used by two members who undertook the build. Another great day was had plasterboarding the interior.
Updated Jan 2017
The club has continued to grow, and now has more than 400 members. The committee is considering closing the membership at 500, simply because we are running out of space. On a busy day, it might be necessary to queue for much more than an hour for a launch, even with four tugs and the four-drum winch built by our clever member Lester Goodman.
The wood Bocians have gone, and the single-seat fleet has become largely glass, with Discus and ASW19 in the mix.
It was around this time that the new club-house (Phase 1) - part of the one that you see today - was built to replace the old collection of war-time pre-fabs first erected here in 1965.