PART 2 - the history of the BLW Skylark continued
The story of the Skylark continues! This story will get us through the dark, short and rainy days of January - especially now that we are back in lockdown. Here Dave Weekes continues his tale of where he has taken the Skylark since he brought it to Feshiebridge in 2011. Read the first part here and keep reading to find out which country this photo was taken in!
BLW attended the 40th VGC international rally which was held at Lasham in 2013. To mark its history at Lasham with PAFA the nose markings were re-created. Unfortunately, racing number 303 had been reallocated and was unavailable (legally).
1063 with PAFA nose markings at Lasham in 2013
The Glider Heritage Centre at Lasham houses Skylark 4 BGA 1066/BLZ which was also part of the UK team in the 1963 World Championships, flown by John Williamson. The launch queue at the Lasham rally, therefore, reunited these two gliders after a long time! BGA 1066 was a former long term resident at Feshiebridge.
BLW and BLZ at Lasham in 2013
The trailer which came with BLW was in very poor condition. A K21 trailer had to be borrowed and fittings extemporised for the Lasham rally. In the beginning of 2014 the old trailer was cut up. As much box section steel as possible was recovered and incorporated into the “rebuilt” trailer.
The old running gear was unroadworthy and a new axle and hitch was purchased. New aluminum cladding was also purchased. The whole “rebuild” was carried out virtually singlehanded and therefore took about six months to complete – work is the curse of the gliding classes.
Wheels finally on
The floor cross members were mainly recycled from the old trailer
End May 2014
Mid July 14
The odd colored aluminum at the rear was recycled from the old trailer. Fortunately, VOSA agreed that it was a rebuild of the old trailer and the inspection which would have been required for a new trailer was not necessary. Just as well, because a week later we were off to Germany.
Setting off for Germany 22nd July 2014
BLW attended the 2014 Rendezvous Rally at Gifhorn in Germany and then went on to the VGC International Rally at Arnborg in Denmark. During the rally Peter Boulton, one of my former Weston on the Green syndicate partners made his first ever field landing – in a truly excellent field.
Just to prove we were there!
Fortunately given the total lack of road testing before setting off for Germany and Denmark the trailer towed very well.
BLW attended the 2015 VGC Rendezvous rally at Venlo in the Netherlands and the main International Rally at Terlet, near Arnhem. Venlo is distinguished by all flights being international as the German border is at the immediate end of the runway.
The Venlo airfield. The German border is the tree line at the far end
BLW went to the VGC Rendezvous and International rallies at Oripӓӓ and Rӓyskӓlӓ in Finland in 2016 – a drive of 3000 km from Scotland via Dover, Denmark and Sweden.
“The Bridge” – The Oresund crossing between Denmark and Sweden
BLW over typical Finnish scenery at Rӓyskӓlӓ
During the Octoberfest in 2016 BLW got to 13 400 feet QFE and produced some great photos of wave.
And the altimeter proof
In July 2017, prior to going to the VGC International Rallies at Rana (Czech Republic) and Dunaujvaros (Hungary) the “303” fin marking was unofficially restored. One of the top-scoring 303 squadron pilots was Czech.
Flying BLW on the hill at Rana, Czech Republic
BLW over the River Danube at Dunaujvaros, Hungary
BLW attended the 2018 VGC Rendezvous Rally at Anklam in Northeast Germany (close to the Peenemunde V1 and V2 research centre) – another 2200 km road trip and the International VGC rally at Stendal, just west of Berlin.
Peenemunde and the Baltic Sea taken from BLW
Stendal is about 60 km west of Berlin, with the Elbe River as a prominent navigation feature
And it was seriously hot at Stendal, about 40 degrees most days
The 2020 VGC Rallies should have been held in Germany but had to be canceled because of a certain pandemic!
We are all excited to see what is in store in 2021 for BLW! If anyone has any stories they would like to share, email Saz at firstname.lastname@example.org