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By early afternoon we had finished the work, checked the instruments, measured the deflections and were ready to fly.

Bluebell was our mainstay for instructing for many years, after she was supplied new in 1950 to Cambridge University Gliding Club (now Cambridge Gliding Club).  (New price £587.0s.0d). She has racked up nearly 80000 (yes eighty thousand!) launches and something like 10500 flying hours.

Since then, she has had various periods of little or no flying.   However, after a year of two of not being used at all Bluebell was resurrected and a syndicate arrangement set up to fund her annual C of A and the insurance costs.  Most importantly the syndicate arranged for the hoist in the hangar so that the glider could stay rigged without taking up precious floor space more appropriate for use by the gliders that fly regularly.

The annual overhauls have usually been carried out by a group of club members and the inspections, some work and the inevitable paperwork has been undertaken by Richard Walker (sadly no longer with us) and Rebecca Bryan in recent years.

On June 8th a trusty group assembled at Gransden to carry out the 2023 C of A annual this year under the watchful eyes of David Mason our Assistant Chief Technical Officer.  Interestingly two of the team carrying out the work, Tony Pledger and Tony Harbottle, trained on Bluebell and did their first solo flights in her – some years ago at Duxford!

The work went well and quickly as the weather was perfect for it and many hands make light work.  

  

Bluebell being towed out, ready to fly.
David Williams and Andrew Hulme agreed to undertake the first couple of official test flights
All was in order and Bluebell has been released for general flying

How can I fly Bluebell?

  • Bluebell is part of the Club fleet and, other than the skills required to fly a 73 year old glider, can be flown by all members and guests.
  • A number of instructors can coach club pilots and clear them to fly Bluebell as pilot in command.  They are Robert Bryce-Smith, Richard Maskell, Steve Gibson, Andrew Watson, Ian Noble, David Williams, and Peter Belcher.
  • A £55 contribution to the Bluebell fund (ask Joanne to transfer from your flying account) gets you unlimited flying – just pay for the launch!  Otherwise, members not being part of the Bluebell scheme are charged at Club two-seater flying rates.  £55 is a bargain and helps the scheme to cover the upfront cost of insurance etc.
  • We’ll try to organise some Bluebell days or evenings – why not organise a flying evening for your friends (normal club arrangements apply) – but get Bluebell out as well if the weather is suitable and instructors are available?