Visit to Syerston, 29th July 2008
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.
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:-