Glider Tasks from Ridgewell Airfield

First some quick links useful for flight planning :-
BBC Weather Clare Suffolk
Weather Observations - Stansted Airport and other airfields nearby
RASP Soaring prediction at a specific place
RASP Soaring prediction - Menu
NOTAM - Easy Map view
BGA Ladder - view tasks flown

This page suggests some possible routes for flying a glider
across country from Ridgewell Airfield.
Ridgewell Airfield is the home of Essex Gliding Club,
and is located between Clare, Haverhill and Sible Hedingham,
on the Essex Suffolk border.

Click on a link below to see details of each route.

To fly across country, a pilot must be suitably trained in soaring, navigation and field landings techniques.

Successful and safe flying across country depends on:-

1) The weather
2) The skill of the pilot
3) The task selected
4) The performance of the glider

It is vital to get plenty of experience of soaring locally before trying a first flight across country.
First flights away should be made in good soaring conditions with a high cloud base, when there are plenty of fields available.
Mid summer most of the fields near Ridgewell have tall crops, making this a bad time for a first flight across country.
This time can be tricky even for an experienced pilot.
I tend to use a cautious technique.
I try to stay high 4000 ft + and in gliding range of other gliding clubs such as Rattlesden.
The gliding range very much depends on the weather conditions, wind, possibility of showers, cloud and sink streets.
Also crucially, the performance of the glider.
I usually point one GPS to 'GOTO' the nearest gliding club.
If soaring conditions fade, and height is being lost, there is an option to divert towards a nearby gliding club,
and try to soar nearby until conditions improve.

I use the compass or alternative GPS and visual navigation to make progress on the task.
Don't assume a compass reads correctly.
It can be checked against ground features near home airfield before setting off.

Beware of aero-tow retrieves if you are tired and flying a glider with a belly hook.
Aero-tow retrieves are often flown fast and flat and need a lot of concentration, especially if towing through turbulence around thermals.
It may be safer to enjoy a cup of tea in the club house and await a road retrieve.

For tasks heading west or North west past Cambridge (Marshall's) Airport, there are ILS approaches marked on the latest 1/2 million maps. If going near these approaches, Cambridge would like to be called. Their frequency is 123.600 MHz as on the 2017 1/2 million map.

For tasks heading East past Sudbury and Rattlesden beware of Wattisham airfield. If you are heading that way and losing height, best tune their frequency and give them a call with your position before entering the ATZ. See latest 1/2 million maps.

The NMT GRT, Newmarket Gt Ashfield triangle has been removed, because NMT TP was too close to the Cambridge ILS. A much better alternative task is a triangle via DIS and STD as below. This keep well clear of any airspace

50km Silver Distance

Silver to Tibenham Gliding Club Ideal for South Westerly also South & West winds.

Silver Distance to Upwood Gliding Club Ideal for South Easterly winds.

100km and 200 km Tasks

100 km triangle - Diss, Stradishall This 100 km diploma triangle keeps clear of Cambridge ILS and MATZ. Good for SW and NE winds. 109 km

300km Gold Distance and Diamond Goal flights

Mendlesham Mast, Husbands Bosworth 300km Triangle for Westerly WNW, WSW and light winds.

BLI Blidworth 300km Out and Return for North Westerly winds.

500km Diamond distance flights

Bungay, Broadway, Bury St Edmunds Flat triangle, Ideal for Westerly and WSW winds - all the B's: Bun, Bro, BSE.

Husbands Bosworth, Rattlesden, Skeffington Double out and return for WNW and NW winds: Hus Rat Ske.

Aerial Photographs of Turn Points and Airfields.

Typically, the photos are taken by flying a glider across country between 2,500 and 4,500 feet on one of the tasks detailed on this site.

No apology for the glider wing in the photos.
It's tricky aiming the camera through the clear vision panel!

Description Click below for a small photo or Higher resolution photo where available
Rattlesden GC in distance looking south small_rat  
Eye Airfield near Diss small Eye  
Tibenham GC looking west small_tib medium_tib
Great Ashfield Airfield small_grf medium_grf.htm
Ridgewell Airfield - is the light green field in the middle of the photo. It can be tricky to find from the air especially on final glide!. Ridgewell looking East  
Wratting Common disused AF north of Haverhill small_wratting  
Gransden Lodge GC small_grl  

The routes are selected for the following features.


The affect of the wind on your choice of task.

The choice of task can make all the difference between a successful flight and a frustrating field landing. The wind direction should be used to your advantage. In windy weather cross wind tasks are difficult because the glider flies through the sink between cloud streets. On closed-circuit tasks, it is better if the glider uses the cloud streets by flying directly into wind for half the task distance. This is best done in the middle of the afternoon when the thermals are stongest. The weaker thermals in the morning and late afternoon/evening are best used to make progress downwind. So a closed-circuit task should have a downwind leg first, followed by a longer into wind leg, followed by a downwind leg back to Ridgewell. Eg For a westerly wind 300k, start by going down wind East to Mendlesham mast in the morning with the low cloud base and weaker morning thermals, As the conditions improve, head West into wind along the cloud streets to Husbands Bosworth. At the end of the day, you again head East, down wind to fly back East to Ridgewell. You can't always follow this rule. If there is a North Easterly wind blowing you towards Stansted, then you have to accept going into wind to start the task. This gets you safely away from the controlled airspace.


All information is provided for indicative purposes only. All navigation information should be checked by pilots before starting out. No liability is accepted for any errors or omissions. Nothing in these pages is intended to absolve pilots from taking responsibility for their own safety. Good airmanship should prevail at all times.


The Home page for Essex Gliding Club (Ridgewell) : This has up to date info on Essex Gliding Club and lots of links.

British Gliding Association: useful for turnpoint information and all sorts of other gliding info.

Direct Link to BGA Gliding Waypoint TP as at 13 Jan 2015: Full turnpoint information.

Click here to go to the TOP of this page

These pages have been brought up to date by manual edit, on 30 April 18 and January 2015.
The original version many years ago was produced on Front Page Express
with the intention of making them load fast even on a poor link.
The waypoints have been checked against the last available update on the BGA waypoint site:
17th March 2014. Please cross-check the information before using it.

Ralph H., January 2015, for Essex Gliding Club