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WMSA news. Scroll down to see all published articles.

WMSA Members should look for an email from our Communication Officer regarding this meeting. The email provides a voting form for the election of committee members.

The text below is a summary of the agenda for the meeting.

The Annual General Meeting of the West Mendip Soaring Association will be held at 8.00 p.m. on Thursday 12th November 2015 at the Memorial Hall, Congresbury.

A G M Agenda:

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Minutes from 2014 AGM
  3. Committee Reports Chairman Treasurer Competitions
  4. Presentation of Club Trophies
  5. Election of Officers [see Note 1 below]
  6. Appointment of External Auditor
  7. Annual Subscription and Insurance
  8. Discussion and Voting on Resolutions [see Note 2 below]
  9. A O B.


  1. Election of Officers: As stated in Rule 16, the name(s) of any Candidate(s) with the names of his or her Proposer and Seconder must be sent in writing to reach the Secretary before 10th November. Nomination forms are attached.
  2. Resolutions: As stated in Rule 20, resolutions must be submitted in writing to reach the as soon as possible. Copies of any resolutions received will be emailed to all members during the first week of November.
  3. Postal and Proxy Votes: As allowed in Rule 23, if Members are unable to attend, the Committee will accept either Postal or Proxy votes or via email tothe WMSA Secretary. Postal/Proxy voting slips are attached to the email and, if one is used, it must be signed and returned before the AGM to the WMSA Secretary
  4. The current Committee members of Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and Fifth Committee member have indicated that they are willing to stand for re-election.
  5. The post of Competition Committee Chairman is currently vacant.

Some of members may be aware that on the 19th July 2015 Alan Perry lost his PIK 20 during a club cross-country competition. Because of Alan position relative to the model, he did not actually see where it struck the ground. It was thought that it could either in the fields on the north side of The Peak or on the hillside bordering those fields. Despite many hours searching by Alan and others the model was not found. This led to the conclusion that the model was either on the hillside – probably stuck in a tree, or in one of three maize fields on that north side. If the former conclusion was correct, it was thought that as winter approached and vegetation died back the model would be revealed.  With regard to the latter conclusion, because of the potential damage to the maize crop, these fields were not searched. However the farmer was informed that the model was possibly in one of his fields.

On the 14th October 2015 the model was found. On that day, the farmer was harvesting the maize crop and saw the model. He moved it to one side and called Alan on the phone. At the same time Bob Flook and Pat Teakle, who were flying off the North Slope, witnessed the ‘find’ and also called Alan.

Alan arrived on site and collected the PIK 20. He has said the model was ‘completely trashed’. Unfortunately, the tractor had run into it! A heavy landing and lying in the open for eighty seven days may have also taken its toll.

Alan took the model home and after lunch decided to remove the radio gear and salvage any other parts. One of these parts was a large elevator control horn. As access was gained there was a surprise – Jammed right at the top of the fin, two field mice had made their home. One ran off, but the other just sat on the ground cleaning itself.

There are two photographs of the event on 'Pictures taken in 2015' page – one shows the crash site and the other Alan recovering the model.

On Sunday, 13th September 2015 the WMSA Open Autumn Cross Country event was held on Crook Peak. Twelve competitors took part. Generally, wind was from East-South-East direction and varied over the day from a light breeze to around 15mph (6.7 m/s). Apart from a little light rain at about 10:30 for a few minutes, it was warm with mostly fine weather cloud cover.

A ten turn-point course was set with the first turn on ‘The Rocks’. The next turn was situated further along towards the ‘Razor and turn three about 150 metres to the West of turn two. Turn four was on the path to the ‘Cross-Roads’ and turn five was on the ‘Cross-Roads’. Turn six was on the ‘Tump and turn seven on the ‘wall’, immediately behind the ‘Tump’. Turn eight was on the ‘Cross-Roads’, turn nine on the North pit area and turn ten on the path that runs along from the West pit area to the path that links the ‘Cross-Roads’ to the ‘Peak’

Competitors were drawn into one of two groups with each group flying two rounds of forty minutes.  At the turn points they had to fly the glider so that did a 360 degree turn around the flag.  Those with the best scores from their two rounds went forward to the final round.  In this final round the gliders had to be turned 360 degrees behind the flag and then exit on the reciprocal direction of their approach to the flag.

From qualify rounds seven people went forward to the fly-off. These were Chris Bowles (Dartmoor), Andy Fowles (WMSA), Dave Malin (Dartmoor), Bob Flood (WMSA), Pat Teakle (WMSA), Peter Naylor (Dartmoor) and John Harvey (Dartmoor).  The result from this final round was that Chris Bowles won with fourteen turns (1,000 points), Andrew Fowles was second with twelve turns (857 points) and Pat Teakle was third on eleven turns (786 points).

Congratulation goes to the podium finishers and to everybody that took part. Also, many thanks go to Andrew Fowles for organising the event and Clive Cheesley for being Andrew's ‘gofer’.

Results are shown on this link there are also some pictures of the event here.

      Updated: 20 November 2015

As some of you may be aware WMSA member Jeremy Mitcheson, who is a very active flyer up ‘The Peak’, had been having conversations with the BBC about a project involving kestrels and our flying over the Mendip hills. From these conversations the idea was born to compare kestrels and our silent flying type of flying.  After some false starts due to weather conditions the day finally arrived for shooting, which was to be on 18th September 2015.

On that day, a few WMSA members (Peter Evans, Pat Teakle and Andrew Davey) met up with Jeremy in the car park and proceed on up to the top of the 'Razor'. A BBC crew were already there preparing for the filming of some kestrel scenes. The crew consisted of Patrick Aryee - presenter, Jo Avery - director, Mat Thomson and Mike Hutchinson - camera operators, Danny Carey - sound recordist, researcher - Billy Clarke, two kestrel handlers from North Somerset Bird of Prey Centre and a kestrel called Paris.  This part of the shooting involved Patrick Aryee introducing the kestrel and the link to our flying of gliders.

The next scenes to be shot involved flying gliders off the West slope. Much of these activities involved repeating the same things several times. For example, there would be a scene giving a distant shot of somebody flying a model and then that same person would have a close-up taken of transmitter knob twiddling. It also involved make innumerable passes with a glider in particular areas.

Unfortunately, during filming on the West slope, Jeremy was taken ill. After consulting with the emergency services, it was decided to evacuate him off the hill. This involved the Ambulance Service, Cheddar Fire Services and the Air Ambulance helicopter. Using a Land Rover, the Cheddar Fire people ferried a paramedic they had picked up on the road below to our position. This was quickly followed by the Air Ambulance helicopter, which landed on the ‘Cross Roads’. Diagnosis of Jeremy’s condition was carried and he was swiftly despatched to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). He is currently undergoing tests for his condition.

Update:  Great News! Jeremy was discharged from the BRI on 24th September 2015 and is now home.

Despite this setback it was decided to continue filming. Peter Evans stood in for Jeremy, informing Patrick Aryee about our club, what we do and how we use kestrels and other birds to understand where lift is. During filming on the west side there was plenty of kestrel and buzzard activity, which was filmed by the crew from the BBC.

Filming finally finished at about 17:30. This film article is due to be shown sometime in October so lookout for any information providing date and time of the product of our days’ work.

The title of the film to be shown on the One Show is 'Kestrels On The Edge', with a summary description of: 'A Somerset gliding club takes advantage of Crook Peak's strong air currents when flying their gliders. But the club's members share the airspace with a predator with unrivaled hovering skills. Patrick Aryee heads deep into the Mendips to learn more about a remarkable bird - the Kestrel.'

Update: This film was shown on BBC One Show, Thursday, 19th November and can now be viewed here.

 Photographs were taken during the day that can be viewed here.

On Sunday, June 14th we plan to hold a flat field event. Unfortunately we will no longer be able to use our usual field at Charterhouse. However, we have made alternative arrangements to use a field at Warren Farm which is quite close by. This field is the same as used by the Ghost Squadron and is probably as large as the Charterhouse field, plus it has a good mown runway.

Please note that the original event planned for this date was the club Summer Cross Country. This has now been rescheduled to the 28th June.

Weather permitting we will start the day at around 10.00 and should be able to fly for as long as we want. Cost should will be £3 per pilot to use the field. Any type of RC flying is allowed, electric, IC, bungee, etc.  As usual bring your own food and drink with you.

Directions to Warren Farm are as follows:

  • From the A38 Churchill traffic light junction take the A368 to Blagdon.
  • After approximately 1.5 miles turn right onto the B3134.
  • After 5 miles turn right at the crossroads onto the B3371
  • Just after passing the rifle range on your left turn right at the crossroads to Charterhouse (a small road !) follow the road up the hill for approximately ½ mile and turn left into Warren Farm.
  • Drive along the access road into the farm yard and turn left through a gate (or the cattle grid) into the field.
  • Go directly across the first field aiming for the far gate to enter the flying area. Don’t forget to close the gates behind you as you pass and be careful of the sheep that will be wandering around.
  • Road signs are good along all of the route and clearly visible and marked with the road number

As an alternative It is possible for people travelling from the south to access the site from Cheddar by driving up through the gorge and then turning left onto the B3371.
Cheddar Flying site: 51deg.17’ 08.76”N, 2 deg 43’ 12.08”W

Or in Google speak: 51.285767 -2.720022