Engineered Systems Ltd

Programme and Project Management by Ed Johnston

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Landline +44(0)1727 8561112
Ed.Johnston@EngSyst.co.uk

Racing Sailplanes

 

Since I was 17, I have spent a good proportion of my spare time flying gliders. I have around 3000 hours flying time, enough cross country kilometres to take me round the world 4 times, competition wins at Regional and National level and have represented the UK at European and World Championships.

Since my family came along, I have had a little less time to fly than I used to, and competition results have suffered along with my average annual hours. None the less, I still fly when I can and have also become more involved in running competitions, setting tasks at the 2004 Standards and 2006 15m Nationals.

Taken by Dave Starer at the Dunstable Nationals in the late 90s, I was finishing having set the task, investigated conditions then flown round at a decent speed! The glider is an LS6a 721, works No. 6

Kestrel 19 CQE

My early days of flying were in a Kestrel 19, CQE, in which I won a number of competitions, and completed all 3 diamonds. One of my most memorable flights in the machine was shortly before I sold it and bought 721, when on September 3rd, I completed 500km from Aston Down at 104kph, one of my early and high ambitions.721 at Lasham by Neal Lawson. Me finishing the only day I won at the 15m Nationals 2000, achieving a classic 'start last finish first' for a comprehensive win that set up the contest win

LS6a 721

I went on with my much loved LS6a (pictured here), once owned by Martin Wells in who's capable hands it flew in 2 world championships. I flew the best part of 1000Hrs in this glider, achieving several wins in regional competitions in the Western Regionals and Enstone.

ASW 28 W7

I won the UK Standard Class in 1999 in an LS8 borrowed from Ted Coles and partners. That earned me a place in the National Team for the Europeans at Lusse. I borrowed the new factory demonstrator ASW 28 to compete at Lusse, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of this fantastic site and a solid 4 weeks of concentrated flying. We were pretty unlucky, having produced some good performances that didn't score well, and 3 times just missing out on a really good day. None the less an over all 11th and top of the three Brits was a good result.W7 Finishing at Nympsfield by Neil Lawson. A pretty picture but an unspectacular performance at this competition, inclding the loss of a wheel from my trailer on the first day!

Having been very impressed with the 28, I decided to focus on the Standard Class and ordered one. However, on returning from Lusse, I went on to win the 2000 UK 15m Nationals in 721 in this lovely, sweet flying machine, and took in to South Africa in the 2001 World Championships where I came 10th, winning the final day in and out of some spectacular thunder storms.

Eventually I parted company with 721 and continued flying in W7, my shiny new ASW 28. I came second in the 2002 Standard Class and completed a 750km flight in the machine in the same year. With the arrival of Natasha in October and twins Megan and Isabelle in April 2004, my flying time was starting to get significantly restricted, and although I had some success on occasional days, I have not yet got back to fully winning ways. Sadly, and after winning the first two days of the competition, I also managed to severely damage W7 in a final glide accident in 2006 Standard Nationals spelling the end of this lovely glider's flying, though it is now flying again thanks to a compatible accident and Zulu Glasstek.

ASG 29e G9

G9 crossing the line to win the Open Class Nationals in 2007 at Lasham

In May 2007 I took delivery of an ASG 29e, works No. 13, and after three extended local soaring flights, went to fly the 18m Nationals in which I came 2nd by a hand full of points. The ASG was all I wanted and expected it to be, with sweet handling and fantastic performance, carrying water remarkably well and being very easy and predictable in the climb. Having had this success, and for once having a more quite time at work, I decided to enter the Open Class Nationals later that year which I won! It may be argued that the National Team was away winning the European Championship at the time, but none the less beating several 26m wing span gliders in my baby glider over 8 days of hard racing is a feat that I am very proud of.

Although not every season since then has been quite so spectacular as the first year, my performance in the Open class earned me a place flying a Nimbus 4 at the Nitra Europeans in 2009 where I came 5th, and in 2011, I came 5th again in the Pociunai European Championships, this time in the ASG 29 rather than a borrowed glider. I have also twice flown 750Km in the ASG, once in April and the engine has failed to get me home only once!