Imperial College Gliding Club

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1960 - 1969

In the summer of 1962, Phoenix was replaced by a new Skylark 4, with the competition number '296', which students used to compete in the first inter-university match against Cambridge . The Club mounted its second expedition abroad the following summer, taking '296' to Aosta in the Italian Alps. This was highly successful, leading to a return visit at Easter 1964. That summer, thanks to Fred Slingsby's generous loan of the Dart 15 prototype, students were able to take part in the German 'Idaflieg' and join students from the German Akafliegs (university glider design groups) flying each others' glider prototypes.

The 1965 World Championships were held at South Cerney and out Skylark 4 was lent to the Finnish team, who duly ran it into a 'stone hedge' during the contest. The summer expedition was to Zell-am-See , Austria , where one of the locals managed to spin into the lake whilst trying to emulate Bill Kronfeld's aerobatics (incredibly neither he nor his glider suffered irremediable damage). The 1967 summer expedition to Angers , France was thankfully less eventful. A long period of Cambridge domination of the Brunt trophy was ended in the winter of 1968, after a successful trip to Portmoak. A ground-breaking expedition to Huesca , Spain in the summer of 1969 was emasculated when the Spanish Air Ministry refused permission to fly. Undeterred, four students made a non-flying visit to the area. In December of the year Frank Irving was elected President of the Club, a post he has been unable to decline ever since!

By this time, our Skylark 4 "hot-ship" was considered to be docile (or expendable) enough to be flown as a first single-seater. Portmoak was revisited at Christmas 1969, when the Eagle was broken but the Brunt trophy retained. Purchase of a K-13 to replace the Eagle (by now costing a fortune in maintenance) and a K-8 to free the Skylark for cross-country flying was proposed.