Imperial College Gliding Club

Skip Links

1950 - 1959

In August 1951 increasing congestion, brought to a head by a Tiger Moth hitting a winch cable, forced us and Surrey GC to move to Lasham. At this point we bought out own Olympia , 'Cream-O', which finished 11th in the Nationals, piloted by Frank Irving and R.A.M Macfie. Members again crewed for Lorne Welch at the Worlds, this time in Madrid . A meteorological expedition was mounted to North Wales in September to explore the phenomenon of standing waves. This led to our first visit to the Long Mynd over Christmas, which set a long-standing precedent by experiencing appalling weather and soaring proved impossible. The next Christmas expedition to Camphill was similarly abandoned.

Unfortunately, our Oly was written off early in 1954 and after some discussion, the insurance money was put towards the purchase of a Skylark II, which arrived in April 1955. It was immediately doped flame orange and became know as 'Phoenix'. That summer the Club mounted its first ever foreign expedition with its own aircraft, when Phoenix was taken to Yugoslavia . Time was also found to enter the Skylark in the Nationals. Paul Minton returned to Yugoslavia the following year and flew the possibly unique 'Jadran' flying-boat glider, but later student expedition found no signs of this mythical beast.

The next few years saw Phoenix regularly flying in the Nationals, despite some petrol shortages. In 1957, Frank Irving and Paul Minton won the team trophy for their performance in their new Skylark 3 '66' and in 1959 messrs Irving and Tonkyn were placed fourth. The Long Mynd was revisited with more success at Christmas 1948 and at Easter 1959 Paul Minton gain his Gold height to become the first member with a complete Gold C. That summer, Daisy was sold to the Air Scouts (who later wrote her off in a collision with a K-8) and replaced by a new Slingsby T.42 Eagle, carrying the competition number '96'. In the autumn training mover back to Redhill, with aerotow launchhing courtesy of the Tiger Club, whilst summer soaring continued at Lasham. This experiment continued until Easter 1961, when the Club returned permanently to Lasham.