Visit to Syerston, 29th July 2008

July 2008 visit at Syerston, with plenty of stored Vikings in the background

    It had been a few years since many of us had last had a visit around the ACCGS at Syerston. In the intervening times there have been many changes to the fleet as more and more of the VGSs had become equipped with the Grob G.109B Vigilant motorised glider, trading in their winch-launched Grob G.103A Vikings in exchange. Consequently, additional Grob Vigilants have had to be sourced over recent years, and this is no easy task with a type that is no longer in production.

Vigilants on the flightline at Syerston     The reason for the recent replacements of Vikings by Vigilants is somewhat down to the specific locations of the gliding units themselves. Winch-launched operations do not always sit very well with a normal airfields traffic pattern of take-offs, circuits and landings. So some of those units that share facilities with regular airfield traffic have recently either had to relocate or disband, or alternatively convert to the motorised Vigilant. The RAF is still actively pursuing ways of obtaining further examples of the same version of Grob G.109Bs that they currently have, in order to expand the fleet, whilst maintaining type commonality.

    Our visit was arranged for first thing in the morning to allow our host to continue with his "real" job with the minimum of disruption. We were shown around the hangar and flight line, and were free to photograph whatever we liked. Our host was very happy to answer our questions, and the Society is indebted to him for his organisation, and patience. Our thanks go to him for enabling and hosting our visit.

A run-down on the aircraft noted during the visit:-

WG308 8 Chipmunk T10 Hangared
(WE993) Prefect TX1 Stored
ZE495 VA Viking T1
ZE498 VC Viking T1
ZE499 VD Viking T1
ZE526 VN Viking T1
ZE550 VX Viking T1
ZE551 VY Viking T1
ZE555 WC Viking T1
ZE557 WE Viking T1
ZE584 WP Viking T1
ZE585 WQ Viking T1
ZE608 XH Viking T1
ZE609 XJ Viking T1
ZE610 XK Viking T1
ZE627 XR Viking T1
ZE628 XS Viking T1
ZE631 XV Viking T1
ZE650 YB Viking T1
ZE652 YD Viking T1
ZE657 YJ Viking T1
ZE677 YM Viking T1
ZE680 YQ Viking T1
ZE685 YV Viking T1
ZH146 TT Vigilant T1
ZH184 TW Vigilant T1
ZH269 SB Vigilant T1
ZH890 SE Vigilant T1
ZJ961 SJ Vigilant T1
ZJ963 SL Vigilant T1
ZZ192 SQ Vigilant T1
ZZ193 SR Vigilant T1