Well that was an interesting weekend…
Saturday was a big gliding club day, we had arranged for a few graduated exec members to back for a day at the airfield and then we'd all go out for a curry in Leamington. We tied this in with the club by making an official trip aswell and then making the curry an official social. In the last couple of days a few of the graduates pulled out, only two people signed up for the day trip and no one expressed any interest in the social. So I went along saturday morning not feeling particularly hopeful for the day. One of the two members didn't turn up before we left so it turned out to just be the graduates, me and one extra.
By about lunchtime I was severly annoyed, the organisation at the airfield was for some reason particularly lacking. It took until about 5 hours after we arrived before the one new person got any flights and even then it was only two not very great winch flights. We had also booked the quad-biking centre, which runs from the bottom of the airfield but I was flying by the time the booked time came so didn't go and those who did go didn't get to fly because we'd packed up the flying by the time they finished. In the whole day the site managed 25 flights on a reasonble day (it wasn't great weather, but flyable) when we normally get through about 60.
Needless to say this left me a bit annoyed with The Soaring Centre. The thing is when I get annoyed I tend not to shout at people or anything, I just grumble and then inadvertently sort of make things happen. I was grumbling something about looking at other airfields, to see if they do any better and because there was a bloke there we were talking to who normally flies at Stratford upon Avon GC we decided we would take a look down there one day.
Saturday night we went to the social. Due to the people who pulled out Chris (one of the graduates) had brought along some of his mates to fill the quad-biking places and so we invited them to the social as well to make up the numbers as I wasn't expecting any of the members to turn up. As it happened we had 3 UWGC members turn up so we actually had 12 people at the curry place in the end. Us actual gliding people moved onto weatherspoons afterwards and had a few drinks and loads of random conversations. About 1:30 we left the pub and before we all disbanded we decided that since we were all around we could check out Stratford in the morning (sunday).
I woke up about 11:00 this morning and had in my own mind decided that visiting Stratford wouldn't be all that great an idea at midday. The others turned up at noon and everyone seemed to think that just popping down to see what facilities they had wouldn't be such a bad idea. So at about 13:00 we turned up at Stratford GC, explained who we were, that we normally fly at HusBos and just wanted to see how they did things. As it happens they were all very enthusiastic and three of the four of us all got to fly. Because it's a smaller club with only a winch engine and no planes for towing they run a much more efficient operation. I really liked the friendly small-club atmosphere there and their system and general organistion skills put the relative big buisness operation of The Soaring Centre to shame.
It was really interesting to fly at a different airfield and in a totally different type of glider and it was a really nice and interesting day. We could never totally switch the warwick club to use Stratford as they just don't have the avaliable facilities of Hus Bos and probably would struggle to cope with us in the first term when we take about 10 new people each week. It does however seem sensible to somehow have it as an option for small trips when the weather doesn't look so good, since it is practically right next door.
All in all a good weekend and a good bit of flying.