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2013 Gliding Heritage Centre News..

09 November -  Vintage Verse by Caroline Coates.

Vintage Verse contains amusing and beautifully constructed verse by an author familiar and sympathetic with our gliding heritage. It is beautifully illustrated by the renowned artist (and glider pilot) Piers Bois. The book also contains a poignant reminder of Chris Wills' dreams of a gliding museum in the UK

Price: £5.00 plus postage and packaging and available now via the new GHC on-line shop!

03 November -  Another giant step!

Grateful thanks to Ray Whittaker for building the steps leading from the side door of the hangar.





26 October -  NEW Articles in the collection!

Don't miss our new and growing list of interesting articles starting to appear on the website. Head over to the Collection Page and the link to Articles.
08 October -  The Manuel Hawk.

Having been rigged today for the first time in years, the Manuel Hawk paused briefly at the launch-point for this photo while en-route to take up her new position in the Chris Wills Memorial Hangar.



26 September -  The Manuel Hawk. The latest addition to the GHC Collection has arrived!

An all wood single seat glider designed in the late 1960's by Bill Manuel. It was built at Fairoaks Aerodrome between 1968 and 1969 and first flown by Howard Torode at Cranfield on 25th November 1972.

It will not be possible to restore the glider to flying condition however it remains a significant and unique part of UK gliding history.

04 August - Opening Ceremony. Following a short introduction about the origin and aims of the GHC by Tony Newbery (GHC Chairman) Werner Stroud (General Manager, Lasham Gliding Society) welcomed the GHC to Lasham. The opening formalities were followed by a passionate speech by Justin Wills, citing the tremendous achievement of both his brother Chris and that of the GHC. Justin then revealed the names of all the present donors before  the ribbon on the hangar door was cut by Peter & Samuel Cody, and the new hangar was declared open!
The formal opening of the Chris Wills Memorial Hangar - is scheduled for Sunday 4 August, at 19:30. Brief opening remarks by GHC Chairman Tony Newbery will be followed by a short speech by Chris' brother Justin Wills before the cutting of the ribbon. 
18 July - Three significant historical gliders kindly made available to the GHC on long-term loan by the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge were rigged today:

Scud 1 - a replica built by the late Mike Beach. The original Scud 1 was designed by L.E. Baynes and first flew in 1931. A small number were subsequently built by the Abbott Baynes company in Farnham, but they proved to have rather dangerous flying characteristics which was why  the much improved Scud 2 was built as a replacement. This replica was flown once by Mike Beach who landed white faced and said “Nobody must ever fly this glider again!”

Gull 3 - Slingsby Type 15 and the only one ever built. Under construction when the second world war broke out it was test flown in 1940 and then stored. In 1944 it was sold to the famous motor racing driver Prince Bira of Thailand who often took his West Highland terrier “Titch” flying with him. The aircraft flew briefly at the Oxford Gliding Club in 1973 but suffered damage due to outside storage that winter. Restored by Mike Beach in the 1980s it was sold to the Brooklands museum in 1998.

Willow Wren - believed to be the oldest original British glider. First flown in December 1932 it was built by Bill Manuel and was the second of the “Wren” series of slope soaring gliders that he designed. It was restored  by the late Mike Beach in the 1990s and sold to the Brooklands museum in 1998.


We have a superb collection of gliding books and prints for sale. These will be available to purchase at Lasham during the forthcoming VGC International Rally (3-10 August). The books were left to the BGA by Chris Wills and earlier by Dr. Slater and numerous other glider pilots, all of whom would be delighted to know they are helping the GHC!  See the full list here - there are lots more!
02 July - The MG19A  (Steinadler ERZ) appears to be very much at home in the new GHC Hangar! Thanks to Paul Haliday for this wonderful photo!

29 June - The MG19A (Steinadler ERZ) is wheeled into the Chris Wills Memorial Hangar for the first time. A very special achievement for the GHC as the Steinadler belonged to the late Chris Wills founder and first president of the International Vintage Glider Club. Chris’ life-long ambition was to preserve the history of gliding through the restoration of vintage gliders and to enable these to be both more accessible and widely flown.
27 June - Weihe (448) in position in the Chris Wills Memorial Hangar. Welcome back to Lasham!






27 June - The full size replica of the Colditz Cock has arrived. Kindly donated by Tony Hoskins of South East Aircraft Services This is the glider which Tony and his team produced for the Channel 4 documentary to prove that the famous escape plan was practical. The glider will shortly be suspended from the roof.

23 June - The first of the GHC gliders to take up residence. The Weihe (448) will shortly be suspended from the roof.





22 June - Lots of hard work on the hangar this past week. Here the rails for the hangar doors are being fitted.





09 June - The CHRIS WILLS MEMORIAL HANGAR now has a sign over the door and a newly laid floor! Its looking really good, a credit to all who have worked so hard to get this far.

26 May - The Weihe (448) rigged for weighing before being suspended from the roof of the new GHC hangar.

Progress on the hangar itself continues. We expect the floor to be finished within the next week. 

15 May - Three-hundred tons of hardcore later, and a lot of very hard work and the base is level! We expect to be ready for the concrete next week. Its a BIG space and thoughts are turning to the first of the static exhibits to be suspended from the roof!
 3 May - What a difference a week makes! The wall cladding is now all in place. The next big job is the floor!
2 May - Busy day for the Vintage Group at Lasham. Nice to see the MU-13 and others out to play!




20 April - The block-work is now all in place as is the steelwork to support the wall panels. The next big step is the installation of the wall panels themselves - expected next week.



11 April - Excellent  progress on the hangar over the past few days. The roof is now on!


31 March 2013 - Easter Sunday was a day of rest for the hard working GHC team, so the MU13 came out to play!

28 March 2013 - The steel work started to go up in earnest earlier this week and is showing good progress


17 March 2013 - More hard work on the site, this time having to deal with large quantities of water that continues to replace the rubble removed and fill the holes dug for the footings!

The hardcore is now on site and levelling is well underway.


 10 March 2013 - Men and machines at work on the GHC site at Lasham today, despite the bitterly cold weather!

Even the trusty dumper truck had to be persuaded by a jump-start but once running was hard at work shifting rubble. The team now awaits the delivery of several hundred tons of hardcore later in the week to level the site.

28 February 2013 - The lease has finally been signed!

Its taken a good deal longer than expected, but work on the first phase of the building project is now underway, still targeting the start of the
41st International Vintage Glider Rally in August!

All out!

09 January 2013 - Geoff Moore has kindly donated a MU13 to the collection! This latest addition to our growing collection has only just arrived at Lasham and as yet we have no photos to share, these will follow just as soon as we have some dry weather!
16 December 2012 - The Gliding Heritage Centre is now open for membership! The annual membership fee is currently £24.00 per annum and as a member you will have the opportunity to become more deeply involved in the activities of the organisation, to serve its aims and objectives and indeed to help shape the future of the Gliding Heritage Centre. Follow the link to the MEMBERSHIP Page for more information and to download the Membership Application Form.

15 December 2012 - The Scud III (G-ALJR) arrived at  Lasham today! This unique glider was built by Abbott-Baynes of Farnham in 1936, originally as a self launching glider. It has been lovingly maintained and most kindly donated to the Gliding Heritage Centre by Laurie Woodage of The London Gliding Centre (Dunstable). The inside door of the trailer contains a fascinating record of the history of the aircraft, including an early photograph showing the retractable pylon mounted engine.

Not to be missed!

The Vintage Glider Club - is developing a good relationship with the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, and have been able to borrow two of their gliders (the Scud 1 and the Slingsby T15 Gull 3) for some VGC Events. Lasham VGC and GHC members were asked to help at Brooklands Aviation Day on 29 September 2012.  This involved rigging the the Scud 1, Willow Wren and the Gull 3, and being on hand to answer questions from the public. Glyn Bradney, Gary Pullen and Paul Haliday attended to represent Lasham and the GHC. Hopefully this new relationship will lead to greater things in the future when we might be able to fly the Gull 3 at VGC events or have it on loan at the Heritage Centre. The photo on the right shows the Gull 3 - courtesy of Paul Haliday.
14 September 2012 - THE GLIDING HERITAGE CENTRE has been awarded charitable status and has been entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1148972. Please be sure to download and return the Gift Aid Declaration when making a donation - this will enable us to reclaim the tax paid and thereby increase the value of your donation!
1 August 2012 - Tony Hoskins of South East Aircraft Services has kindly agreed to donate a full size replica of the Colditz Cock to The Gliding Heritage Centre. This is the glider which Tony and his team produced for the TV documentary soon to be shown on Channel 4. It flew from Colditz Castle to prove that the famous escape plan was practical. The Colditz Cock will be a wonderful addition to the static display in our new hangar!

Commenting on the donation, Tony Hoskins said, "South East Aircraft Services is proud to support the Gliding Heritage Centre and is pleased that our Colditz project will be able to be enjoyed by the many visitors to this much needed facility. The building of the original glider by the Colditz inmates during WW2 was an unprecedented achievement, and we felt it very important to create an accurate reproduction for testing the concept of their intended escape. The flight of the TV replica has closed a chapter of aviation history and answered the question of “would it have worked?”. We hope that by being on permanent public display, the memories of not just the efforts of these POW’s, but all POWs will be remembered by future generations."

Thursday 26 July - saw soaring temperatures in southern England. Gary Pullen and Colin Simpson found relief from the 30 degrees plus temperatures by spending an hour soaring in the T21 (993). During the flight they were joined by Ali Tanner flying the Oly 2b (127) over Lasham Airfield. The picture on the right is courtesy of Colin.
As a matter of additional interest, the proposed site for the GHC Hangar and Museum is just obscured by the T21 wingtip!


Sunday 15 July 2012 - The Vintage Glider Club were out in force on Sunday.

Garry Pullen flew the Grasshopper (JBA) off aero-tow and winch and is seen here (left) navigating his way back to the airfield for a text-book landing!


Monday 26 June 2012 - The partly restored canopy is carefully fitted to the fuselage of Weihe (BGA 448).

The glider, once part of the Surrey Club fleet, before being sold to the 21 Syndicate in 1962, was badly damaged in a storm at the 7th International Glider Rally at Thun (Switzerland) in 1980 and never repaired - until now!

Built in 1943, it was the only German built Weihe in the UK at the time.


Sunday 24 June 2012 - Members of the Lasham Vintage Gliding Club took part in a game of Victorian Cricket on the Butts Green in Alton. The Mg19a Steinadler was rigged on site - to raise awareness of the Gliding Heritage Centre in the local community (and to add an little class to the to the occasion).

We've not yet heard the final score, but suffice to say we didn't win!

Tuesday 22 May 2012 - The Weihe (BGA 448) is in the process of being restored to display condition in preparation for taking her place in the new hangar.

Extensive repairs to both wings have been completed and now await painting - when weather permits! The tail-plane has been largely re-built and the canopy is being painstakingly restored. The glider is to be finished in her original German markings..

Friday 11 May 2012 - Barry Cole presents Wally Kahn with a cheque for £1000 kindly donated by members of Scale Soaring UK, an enthusiastic group of aero-modellers dedicated to building and flying large scale model gliders, including vintage models.

 "SSUK members recognise the value of The Gliding Heritage Centre as a source of much needed historic reference material and look forward to visiting the facility when open" said Barry Cole.

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