If that title appears cryptic to you, I guess you're not a glider pilot!
Designed and built in Poland (first models in the 50's, last ones in the early 70's)' the SZD-9 Bocian is a wood and canvas two seat glider. Sadly, although these gliders were extremely popular for training and
club flying, new regulations and European controls have made them more and more difficult to keep flying. In the UK, according to the official registration list, there are only four Bocian 1E gliders left in this country.
One of them is mine :-) Well, a third of it is mine, anyway.
My partners and I bought it in February, thinking that a couple of months work and a few hundred quid, we would be flying by Easter.
I've learned a lot along the way. Things like 'Whatever you think something is going to cost, multiply by four as soon as you mention Aviation and, by the way, that goes for days/weeks/months as well...
But, after ten months and around (surprise) four times our original budget, we got there. Last Sunday our Bocian, one of only four left like it, left the ground and soared again.
Well, soared... ish. Soaring implies floating, rising with the thermals... Trust me when I say that, on the third week in November over Crowland, soaring isn't really an option. More falling really. Falling with grace and style, but still falling. At least we didn't have to test our parachutes and, in my mind, that makes the day a success :-)
Thanks go to so many people for helping us get her up there again, Ross and Vernon for all their hard work and organisation, Richard Kilham at East of England Sailplanes for all the official stuff and Neil Peacock from the CAA for being a thoroughly nice bloke and going above and beyond to get us the paperwork we needed to fly.
I hope there will be many more posts following the exploits of Charlie Kilo November and her owners, you may have to wait until the spring though!
Just one point to ponder... How is it that if you own a BMW (I don't anymore) you will pay BMW mechanics FOUR TIMES AS MUCH PER HOUR as you would pay an aircraft technician? How does that make sense? Answers welcome in the comments section if any BMW mechanics are reading!