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End of Wendywindblows?


ArcusFlyer
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Not sure how many of you use this. I've found it very good especially for hill flying, has saved me a lot of wasted journeys / petrol. I've been a subscriber for a few years. Very honourable 'bow out' by Rod Buck IMHO with 2 years notice!. Anyone interested in taking it over? He not only offers to donate kit to local flying clubs but also free technical help by phone / email. What a guy.

Read below or go to wendywindblows.com:

*****

"Wendy Windblows - The Future

Looking back, I can’t quite believe that I created the first Wendy weather station at Bradwell, in the Peak district in 1987! That’s fully 22 years ago….

Born out of the frustration of driving two hours to the flying sites on the basis of the BBC forecast, only to find that the winds on-site bore NO resemblance to Michael Fish's prognostications, Wendy was an immediate success, as it told you exactly what was happening on the hill.

Demand for more of them was such that eventually, it became necessary to turn what had become an extremely time-consuming hobby into a business. This was so that I was able to devote enough time and money to it to keeping the service going.

The workload has been pretty intense over the years. I guess most people imagine you can just erect these things and then they sit there and run quite happily by themselves.

Ah, if only! A few of the maintenance problems I've had to cope with are:

100-mph gales wrecking the wind cups.

Lightning strikes frying the electronics completely.

Irate local peasants vandalising the thing because they feared it was a spy-station for a new wind farm (which they didn't want, can’t say I blame them).

Mindless vandalism from local Neanderthal youths, including shooting the fertiliser out of the wind cups with an airgun.

People pinching the solar panels because they were valuable!

Retirement Date – 1st Jan 2012

Well after 22 years it's time, I feel, to call it a day sometime soon. By the time you read this, I'll be 61, and accumulated injuries over the years, both from sub-optimal hang-glider landings, (and one famous occasion when I fell 30 feet off a house roof and made a sizeable crater in the garden) have finally caught up with me.

It's easier to count the body parts that don't hurt that the parts that do! Maintenance trips to service Wendy stations can often involve a 500+ mile drive, and an 18-hour day, and I'm getting a bit old for that nonsense.

The Lovely Lynn

Having remarried 18 months ago to the lovely Lynn, whom many of you will have spoken to on the phone about Wendy, you’ll appreciate that she’s keen that I conserve my energies for more important matters….!

I can't see anyone else wanting to take over the responsibility for Wendy, as you need a particular and very peculiar combination of skills. Computer programmer, electronics expert, and an aerial rigger’s climbing ability, as you have to go up tall structures to maintain the things. Plus the ability to drive 500 miles in a day, as well!

Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page for pictures of what I do to keep it all going!

However, if anyone wants to contact me with a view to taking the service over, I'm only too willing to discuss. Contact Details

Also, a big factor in the equation is the decline in pilot numbers, and therefore the number of subscribers and hence the income to maintain the service. Numbers have dropped to well under half of those that we had about 4-5 years ago, to the point where I have to do other things to earn a living - Wendy is consigned to my spare time as it doesn't generate anywhere near enough for me to give my full time to it.

Most of you will be aware that the decline in pilot numbers, and the increasing age profile of pilots (we’re all getting old!) has hit both the BHPA income and the number of schools and dealers operating successfully in the UK, and Wendy is no exception to this general trend.

I Don't Intend To Close The Service Immediately!

Many subscribers pay a year in advance, and some of you pay two years in advance. I don’t want anyone to lose out, so, in the absence of a buyer to take over the Wendy service, I'm giving notice that I intend to retire in two years time, that is, in January 2012.

No One Will Pay Beyond 1st Jan 2012

We will be amending your renewal payments to cut them down to fit that date. In other words, if your renewal payment would take you past January 2012, it'll be reduced proportionately.

We currently charge £60 per two-year subscription, so, for example if your two-year renewal comes up in June 2010, there'll only be 18 months left to run before the service closes. Therefore, you'd be charged three quarters of the amount, i.e. £45, which will take you up to the closure date. This is the fairest way I can think of to keep the service going until I retire so that no one loses out.

What Will Happen To The Stations After I Retire?

Again, in the absence of a buyer to take over the service, I propose to contact the clubs in the area of each station, and offer to donate the equipment to them. All they would have to do is pay the phone line rental for as long as the station continues to function. I do have a considerable stock of spare parts, and will donate these to help maintain the stations in working order. But I won't be able to maintain them personally, of course.

I will be able to give technical help by phone or email, and there are a complete set of technical manuals to help local club volunteers maintain them.

Thanks For Your Support Over The Years…

Many subscribers have been with Wendy since the beginning, and loads of you for more than ten years or more. That must indicate how you value what I created, and I’d like to thank you for that support.

I'd like to say it's been a blast over the years. I've met and dealt with some really lovely people in the freeflying world, plus, of course, the statutory quotient of idiots (you know who you are!)

If you have any queries, please contact me here .

Best wishes, and great flying to you all. As I’ll have more time, I hope to be out on the hill a lot more than in recent years. See you there!

Rod Buck"

*****

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Morgy,

Buy it then ;-)

As much as I hate to say it... It is very much a Paragliding thing. It's never hit the PPG world (most likely due to locations of stations)

I can imagine that it could make some money if you appointed some 'local' shareholder / fixers for the kit.

SW :D

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lol i did think about it...... but i have not got the time to put into it as i am always flying or kite surfing or tracking the toy and soon will be having an extenstion on the back of house.

It is a shame as i dont think anyone will take it on but i hope they do....

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