Now we have collected all the pictures taken on the day, I thought I'd post some of the best ones.
We had bought the Bocian in February, with ideas and plans to be flying by May at the latest. We had put so much time, emotion and effort into getting the old girl flying that we had thought of giving up. We made jokes about bonfires, but as the months rolled on, the jokes took on a slightly more serious edge... Most weeks, at least one of us was ready to throw in the towel.
Somehow, we kept going. The weeks rolled into months, the months threatened to roll into years, and yet we carried on. A gliding club in the Isle of Wight had both its Blaniks grounded and wrote us a letter asking if we would sell CKN to them, and we were tempted. Really tempted. Still, we kept going.
Finally, here we were. The 21st November 2010, and we are ready to go. Ross has always been lined up for P1 on the first flight. Being both a member of the other Bocian syndicate at our airfield and also in charge of its maintenance, who else could have flown the shakedown? Anyway, after all the work and time he has put in on CKN, he deserved it. P2 was always going to be decided on the day, I was just lucky enough to be there are available!
|I don't look nervous at all, do I?|
We towed CKN to the 03 launch point. The wind wasn't too strong, but it was coming from North-Northwest... This gave us about 5-10 knots crosswind. The wind wasn't any sort of issue compared to the cloud cover, as we would later find out. As we strapped ourselves in, there was broken cloud at 1,200ft, a clear gap, then more broken cloud at about 3,000ft. We weren't too worried, the lower layer was full of holes... More than enough for us to see where we were and where we were going.
|Ross doesn't look nervous either...|
|Too late now|
|And we're away|
|There were patchy low clouds that day|
|View of the tug and rope from the back seat|
|The tug peels off, and we're free|
|Time for a quick pose|
Heading back to the airfield from the south, it became apparent that the clouds were closing in quickly. Ahead of us was a wall of cloud with a base at around 1,100ft. We had to get the nose down and get under it if we wanted to see where we were going! I put on 80kts and aimed under the clouds, heading for high key. Ross did manage to get this picture of the airfield.
|Crowland airfield from above, the strip running from the top of the picture to the bottom is 03, the one we are using today|
|Checking the reference point and joining the circuit|
What the day did leave me with was a sense of anticipation. The Bocian is going to be ideal for hour building and soaring, all we need now is the spring to arrive and the weather in 2011 to be better than last year...
|Two weeks later, and the other two syndicate members, Howard and Trevor get to fly|
|The start of a new chapter in CKN's history|
It has been a long road, but we finally arrived. Thanks to Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club having room in the tug hangar, our Bocian won't need to be de-rigged every weekend, she is going to have a permanent home under cover.
Thanks to everyone who helped us get here, directly or indirectly, you know who you are :-)