(Derek sadly passed away 3rd January 2013)
Foreword by Tony Hare:
Derek Jones sent me these photographs of his Primary Glider similar to to the one owned by the RAF section of the CCF . I remember being on the rubber rope team when the glider first arrived at the school (in 1953??). The first flight was a demo by a real glider pilot and I seem to remember him doing a complete circle of the playing field. Subsequent to that all anyone managed were a few swift takeoff & lands before the glider started to fall apart and finally got burned in its hut. To this day the ease with which we walked out clutching the rubber rope has been an example of the physics of stored energy to me.
Attached are 3 photos. Two of me preparing for a flight and another of a young man – much of the age we were when we did our slides across the RGS playing fields. That was taken at a village fête (Stoke Mandeville) where we ran a stall with the glider on a tripod (the red brace and rusty stand). It allows participants to operate the controls when facing into wind and roll, yaw and pitch the glider in the airflow over the wings. Simpler than the bungee slides!
I am a member of the gliding club at RAF Halton, near Wendover. We had a block membership of RGS CCF cadets at the gliding club until a few years ago. It was nice to fly them and chat about the school. My old Uplyme boarding housemaster, Neil ‘Fenners’ Cooper, retired while that block membership was running. He had by then become a Grand Old Man of the school and had been Head of CCF (‘Moan’ Patterson’s role).
Back to the Primary glider. I own have about an eighth share of ours as part of a syndicate. As far as I know it is similar, if not identical, to that which used to live in the roof of the rifle range and get dragged out and flown on special days; both were built by Elliot’s of Newbury. We still pull it out on quiet days and winch launch it, as in the photos. We get about 700ft and a 2-3 minutes’ circuit while it rapidly descends, a bit more than our slides and 6ft hops in the early 1960s! Rigging and de-rigging the CCF’s version took most of the afternoon, much restricting the opportunities for flying.
As I remember the bungee team we had had half a dozen or more on each side. Walk, stretch and then run. On the odd bungee launch I have done over the subsequent years we used that number.
Though not showing the Primary Glider, here's a link to a Youtube video of a bungee launch at the Mynd (Shropshire/Welsh border):
And here's a photo of Chris Fewtrell and me on the day of the Queen’s visit to open the new Queen’s Hall that was built to obstruct the rather nice front view of the school.