IGC History

The current IBM Gliding Club has its origins in the IBM Hursley Gliding Club, started at some time in the late 1960s, and the IBM South Hants Gliding Club, towards the end of 1975. The aims of these club subsections were to provide financial and technical support for members who wished to take up gliding. The Club is based at Lasham airfield, between Alton and Basingstoke, approximately 45 minutes drive from North Harbour. All gliding at Lasham is carried out under the auspices of the Lasham Gliding Society, which is the largest gliding club in the UK. Lasham is a very busy airfield - on a good gliding day in summer it probably has more aircraft movements than Heathrow.

Much of the early days of these club subsections are lost in the mists of time, but John Taylor does remember the following about the early days in Hursley:

"I called the kick-off meeting and we had about 50 people turn up. Looking my log book I see that we ran two air experience evenings for IBM: 16 May 1969 and 18 July 1969. I'd say that was the start of the IBM Hursley Gliding Club. Most notable amongst them was Dennis Powell who had his first glider flight with me on the second evening" (Dennis continues to fly the present IBM gliders, making a 34 year association with the club). "Both sections ran in parallel for a while, and at some point the Hursley one shut down and everyone joined the present one. I also remember Wally Kahn being guest of honour at one of our regular meetings in the clubhouse. Wally and I had been debating whether we could do an air display at on open day and then safely land a glide on the lawn in front of the house. We paced it out and sent him a map. The conclusion was, not quite. Especially since the overshoot scenario was not too inviting, and even worse, the chances of getting site approval were not good! Another noteable event was the series of IBM international gliding meetings. I helped organised one at Lasham and we had dinner at the end of it at a hotel in Alton."

Early in 1981, the IBM Gliding Club bought its first glider (or sailplane) - a British designed and built Sport Vega. The following Spring a second aircraft - a wooden K6 single-seater was added to the fleet. Early in 1985 the Sport Vega was replaced by a brand new Glaser Dirks DG101 high performance sailplane. With its fleet of two aircraft, the IBM club caters for the needs of most pilots, from early solo up to National competition level.

When Havant was sold off by IBM, the administrative club became the IBM Club North Harbour, and the gliding subsection became the IBM Gliding Club.