Our second glider is a grp (glass-reinforced plastic) DG101, competition number 177. Although no longer at the forefront of gliders in terms of outright performance, a DG101 won the World Club Class Championship as recently as 2001! It is an excellent aircraft to convert to from flying wooden gliders. Over the years, 177 has carried a number of IGC pilots to competition success and international award flights of over 300Km. 177's longest flight to date is 440km.
Glider 177 is a delightful aircraft to fly and has no vices. There is a retractable wheel with audio alarm, a wheel brake operated by the airbrake lever, and an excellent instrument panel. The Cambridge electric vario provides audio climb indication, with 'speed-to-fly' and average rate of climb displayed continuously, in addition to the instantaneous climb reading.
A GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver and EW Flight Recorder are installed. The GPS is the up-to-date Garmin model II Plus, mounted horizontally on top of the instrument console for 'head-up' safety. This is connected to the latest EW Model D Flight Recorder, a digital electronic barograph which records flight track and altitude. Flight data can be downloaded after landing, and flight traces displayed and analysed using FlightMap, a proprietary program designed and marketed by IGC member David Eade.
Flying with GPS is now compulsory in competitions. It is also a considerable safety aid when flying in wave at high altitude. The weather can deteriorate, causing cloud gaps to close quickly. If this happens, GPS enables the pilot to descend in a safe area. However, there is a drawback with some GPS receivers if they are not mounted sensibly, leading to too much 'head down' and poor lookout by the pilot. The BGA recommends a 'head-up' configuration, which is why we have chosen the Garmin GPS II plus.
The excellent Dittel 720-channel radio allows the pilot to contact airfield and airspace controllers, and to keep in touch with other gliders. 177 is kept in its trailer but can be rigged in about fifteen minutes, requiring just one helper to support the wing tips. It can be towed out to the launch point single-handed, as a complete set of towing-out aids is available. In good weather, water ballast may be carried, to improve high speed cruising between thermals.
Renovating 'Delta Golf Kilo' to Betty Blue
In her 30th Birthday year, the IBM Gliding Club's wooden glider 'DGK' flew in her smart new livery. Renamed Betty Blue, the K6-CR made her maiden flight at Lasham airfield in the spring of 1997. This followed a major refurbishment project (which some thought might never be finished) watched with interest by many of the 600 members of Lasham Gliding Society.
In October 1993 a decision was taken to 'freshen up' what was becoming an increasingly shabby, aged glider. With an expectation that the work would be completed by the following spring no-one considered it such a major step. A further decision was made, however, to totally renovate the glider. The result (18 months later) was a superb example of a classic glider, worth possibly twice the asking price in 1993.
The 'FiFi' project team (Fix it, Fly it!) comprised a stalwart band of members; Malcom Laing (then IGC secretary), Beth Hutchison and husband John Hartley, John Dunman, Ian Wheway (then IGC treasurer) and club chairman Nichol Riggott. The team were guided by an experienced glider engineer from Lasham, Gordon McDonald. In addition, a number of other members, and even non-members, gave considerable and much-appreciated help; notably Mike Evans, Nigel Spooner and son, Frank Effenberg, David Henry and Mike Rumsey. Betty even got a new set of wing covers, hand made for her by the mum of former IGC member Alan Jacobs.
FiFi work was carried out during evenings and weekends, and total effort was estimated at around 600 hours. This saved the club about £12,000. The final, highly skilled, finishing was done by the local professionals, Southdown Aero Services, the firm who recently built a replica of the Colditz glider.