Imperial College Gliding Club

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1970 - 1979

Our new K-8 '496' (now flying with Surrey & Hants) arrived in February 1970. That summer, George Burton became the first ex-student to compete in a World Championships, using the new Slingsby Kestrel 19 at Minden , Nevada . By the end of 1970, discussion resumed on selling the Eagle, to be replaced by a share in a K-7. In May 1971 the Eagle was at last sold and the proceeds put towards a half share in a Lasham-operated K-7. Aosta was revisited in the summer of 1971 and Portmoak that winter. By February 1972, Club activity had increased to the extent that the purchase of a third single-seater was considered. Thanks to a generous offer by the President's syndicate, we acquired their Dart 17R '466' in August 1973, when it was promptly renumbered '96'.

An expedition to Aboyne in September 1973 yielded five Gold heights - the lack of oxygen being the only limit! The achievements of the students were highlighted by Pete Verkrodst's award for attaining two Silver C legs from scratch in only 8 months. Th fuel crisis halted flying for a period and caused much discussion of finances, but proved only a temporary blow. The summer of 1975 saw another milestone when Tony Crease became the first member to complete a 500 km flight in a Club aircraft - a feat which has not been repeated to date! The increased performance available from fibreglass gliders decided the committee to replace the Dart with a new machine and an Astir CS was ordered in January 1976. This arrived in November and a 'dedicated team of craftsmen' designed and built a trailer for it in the Aeronautics workshops. Unfortunately, after only two month use the Astir, together with the K-8 was badly damaged in the infamous 'trailing vortex' accident when a K-13 hit the launch queue (amazingly no-one was seriously injured). Despite the decimation of our fleet, three student members managed to make 300 km flights that summer. 1978 also had its share of disasters when the Astir was rolled in its trailer during a retrieve and our long-serving Skylark was written off after a cloud-flying accident in June. However, Alison Jordan made Club history by gaining the British women's height gain and absolute altitude records in the Astir at Aboyne.

The Skylark insurance money was quickly used to purchase our Club Libelle, '716' in October 1978.