Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 14th July 2019

Martin and Irene getting airborne in K-13 HXP.
“For the first time ever I’ve had 10 up all the way around the circle – incredible!” Those were the words of Peter Howarth who, returning from yet another 30 mins plus flight, declared that he had never know lift like he experienced today. And why? Well, an almost slack easterly airflow delivered a sky of two halves – to the east the panorama was blue, indicating sinking air, whilst overhead at the west end was a broad but ragged carpet of grey cloud, indicating convection, possibly assisted by wave. Thus it was that Peter, flying with trial flight visitors Steve Tedley and Patricia Mawer, and Martin Cropper with Irene Chapman, were able to give all of them soaring flights.

Visitor Irene Chapman is presented with her certificate by Martin Cropper
Peter Howarth discussing the finer points of gliding flight with visitor Patricia Mawer.
Visitor Steve Tedley is presented with his certificate by Peter Howarth.
Returning solo pilot Dave Downton about to be connected by Joe Nobbs.
Privateer Roger Green (ASW-20 FRW) launched at 1150 to explore the local area, returning with photos from as far afield as Plymouth, Roadford and New Bridge over the River Tamar at Gunnislake (see photos), reporting a max height of 3,600ft and easy 3-6 kt thermals all round.

Gunnislake in the upper half of the photo.
Roger Green’s view of HMP Dartmoor during his aerial tour of West Devon.
Other solo flights were made by Ed Borlase (K-6 EWO) and Steve Fletcher, Phil Hardwick and Martin Cropper in the club K-8, with Joe Nobbs completing the ‘stakeholder engagement’ team. Although there was no incursion by sea-breeze, conditions gradually became flatter as the afternoon progressed and, satisfied that all who wanted to had done so, we returned the gliders to the hangar at around 1700.

Ed Borlase about to get airborne in his K-6CR.
Thanks go to winch drivers Steve Fletcher and Phil Hardwick for consistently delivering launches to 1,200ft plus, a considerable achievement on the short, east run given the light wind conditions. And especial thanks go to Peter Howarth who, up with the lark as ever, arrived at the airfield well before anyone else in order to make the Sunday team’s contribution to the grass cutting effort.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 13th July 2019

At the coast this morning the sky was blue and another balmy summer day seemed to be on the way. However, only a couple of miles inland there was a cloud sheet with a very smooth, straight looking edge which seemed to go on forever. Was this a "roll" cloud? Later conjecture suggested that this was probably the edge of a wave induced cap cloud sitting over Dartmoor from a wave system set off by the northern tors. Certainly the brisk wind was from the north.

Straight cloud edge Cap or Roll cloud?
At the airfield the only sign of this dramatic skyscape was the 8/8ths cloud cover and the NNW wind . RASP was not looking very optimistic with maybe a little local soaring if we were lucky. In fact this led to Rick, today's instructor in charge, joking at the morning briefing that the lack of lift wouldn't stop Malcom or myself from soaring. We'll see.

One Day Course candidate Ian Loades
We welcomed  some visitors today. Ian Loades was our One Day Course candidate. Ian flew with me and together we enjoyed the heady mix of teach Ian to fly the aircraft while expolring the local area for any sources of lift. Richard and Christine Dumbleton late morning for Air Experience flights. Richard flew with Rick in DMX with I flew with Christine in HXP.

Visitor Christine
Returning to see us today was Rita Smith who completed her One Day Course last week and continued her flying training today. Welcome to gliding Rita.

Todays uninspiring sky
What of the soaring? With the winch in the top field launches were great. The k13s averaged 1350 and the K8 1500+. Early on there was a little lift available on the north ridge which enabled circuits to be extended. By 1pm there seemed to be a little definition in the cloud with some slightly darker patches. This drew the gliders like moths to a flame and some were rewarded with a little soaring. Longest flight was Malcolm in the K8 who managed 33 minutes followed by me in the K13 with visitor Ian.

Malcolm's view of his flight follows

"My flight from Brentor today. At briefing Rick had stated that there would be little if any usable lift, and that mostly late afternoon, but I might find it. I was about to go to the winch but someone had already just gone there so when Mike landed and said he had found some lift he suggested I try to make something out of it so I took up the challenge. A good launch to 1500' and I headed for a darker patch of cloud to the north and after losing a couple of hundred it started to get bubbly and I started climbing slowly and drifting to the south-west, so clearly the N wind had some E in it. Soon got to cloudbase at 1700' and headed for a large dark patch a couple of miles N of the airfield. At cloudbase I again headed North while increasing speed to stay below the cloud and once clear burnt off the speed, climbing to just over 1800' at which point I could see nothing more within reach so turned east towards some darker clouds in the distance. I arrived at these at about 1000' over Blackdown but found nothing of any use so tried the north slope of the airfield but again nothing until at 600' the vario squeaked but a quick turn did not produce a gain of more than a few feet so it was into the circuit and landed after 33 minutes."

Looking SSE over Brentor church to the airfield
Cloudbase in the K8
Our thanks to all the helpers especially the winch drivers. Special mention for Heather who drove the retrieve all day..

A challenging day.


Dartmoor Gliding News- ICL 2019 The Park

13th & 14th  July 2019

The weather forecast was showing a mixed bag, but Sunday was always going to be the better day. As DGS pilots are such a hardy bunch we (Roger Appleboom In Club Libelle ,Andy Davey in std Libelle and myself in Discus w ) all arrived before 930am for the Saturday club briefing.

We then proceeded to rig our gliders and generally fiddle with our gliders. (And put up tents/mansions to sleep in )

The task briefing was carried out by local club pundit at the park Phil. The weather was presented and we were given a window of flying opportunity at about 4-5pm. In the end it was a challenge just to stay airborne never mind go on a task. The Day was scrubbed, but not until we exhausted the last opportunity it might be a good Saturday for local flying.

That night the gliders put to bed , some with swanky new covers(Andy) ,some left out rigged to catch a possible shiver from the night air!(me). We all adjourned to the pub in Mere for tea,where we were joined by Henry from Mendip GC. The usual good food , poor banter and small amount of alcohol followed!


All set again , bad news was the forecast gave possible morning showers , good news,they never materialised so the heating process happened quicker than Saturday giving a soaring window between 1pm and about 5pm

Cloud base was still low. 3000ft at best, and making the flying a little defensive was the added issue that DGS members aren’t used to ..... crop fields EVERYWHERE. For some reason not many were cut, good land-out options were limited to small airfields or large runways if air traffic control was feeling welcoming on the radio.

Andy waiting to take to the sky 
In the event Andy was set a 54km triangle on the novice task.The task setting kept them close to the park and Andy did a sterling job of getting around it on his first attempt ,at a very respectable 60min

By the looks of this Andy likes the ICL weekends
The Pundits were set 101km Park-Salisbury south-Blandford-Park

It was interesting flying with cloud bases varying 1000ft. Funny thing , it always seemed to be 2000ft over the task turn points.I completed in 1h20.

But what of the 3rd musketeer I hear you ask, in the intermediate class ?

Roger - cable on - one for all and all for one
Roger took three winch launches and connected on the third. By this time he decided to enjoy the flying in a beautiful part of the country and ‘wandered’ down the first leg towards Sailbury South a little way ,before assessing the chance of a land out was getting high at this time of day. It therefore turned the flight into one of his legendary ‘I went for a wander’ around Wiltshire.

Congratulations go to Andy on his first cross country, and his first inter club league. It’s fair to say his was a little nervous about what he was letting himself in for. By close of play Sunday he was sighed up to enjoy the next ICL in August! If you are in any doubt and want to come along but have any trepidation, just talk to Andy when you see him next.

We all landed within an hour of each other and helped everyone de-rig . We were all on the road home by 5pm.

What is amazing ,is what you can pack into a weekend off. Mixed with time to relax , time to socialise, talk gliding , eat food and drink. Oh and we had a few x countries, and a few local soaring hours. What’s not to like.

How FAR will it be next time ?

And will you be there?

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 7th July 2019

Just Enough, Just in Time? You betcha. Today’s lean manned team not only managed to deliver soaring flights for all our members, but also aviation to a variety of visitors.

Roger Green and Neil Rogers take to the skies in the K-13.
Instructor Peter Howarth launching for a 45 minute flight in the K-8.
A gentle north-westerly provided benign conditions, but a slate grey pavement of cloud prevented the sun from providing consistent heat to the ground and hence soaring could not be guaranteed. When the sun did break through, however, its heat was rapidly put to effect, enabling Roger Appleboom to bag flight of the day in mid-afternoon with a 1 hr 10 min flight to 3,300ft. But let’s rewind to the morning, when visitor Jacqueline Wilding-White delivered surprise of the day by producing her Log Book, which showed her to be a Silver ‘C’ holder from 1994. A swift climb to 1,500ft was sufficient to allow her to demonstrate that she hadn’t lost her touch, despite the 25-year gap – who says those skills are perishable..?!

Visitor Jacqueline Wilding-White, from Newton Abbott.
BI Roger Green later flew with visiting pair Alan Britton and Martin Yeo, whilst privateer Leith Whittington gave his Dart 17R its final few soaring flights before ARC (it being rumoured that this superb piece of English engineering might soon be available on the market…)

Visitor Alan Britton is shown the controls by BI Roger Green.
Visitors Alan Britton and Martin Yeo from Bude are presented with their certificates by Roger Green.
Highlight of the day had to be when it appeared that the streets of Plymouth had been emptied with the arrival of visitor Grandad Neil Rogers, accompanied by his (two Range Rover Discoveries filling) entire family. To make the event even more memorable, he was treated to a cable break on his second launch, adeptly handled by Roger.

The Rogers family take a keen interest whilst Grandad Neil is briefed for his flight.
The Rogers family, from Plymouth, in full.
To round off the day, we sent Ed Borlase aloft in the K-8 for a 30-minute (minus one) flight, reaching almost 3,000ft.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 10th July 2019

Early arrivals were hard at work removing the fence and moving the winch into the top field. As others arrived the gliders were taken out of the hangar and readied to tow to the east end. With the forecast of light W/WSW winds and RASP giving 3.5 stars for early afternoon we took both K13’s and two K8’s to the launch point.

First flight was a test flight of DMX following completion of the recent ARC. All went well and it was cleared for service
Both K13’s at the launch point.
We welcomed one day course student Chris Down. After a briefing in the clubhouse by Roger Green it was time to get acquainted with HXP.

Chris and Roger ready to fly.
Early flights by Roger/Chris and Martin Cropper in the K8 showed that there was lift available despite the high cloud cover. Chris enjoyed 5 flights, 1:37 and had plenty of hands on the control time.

Our other visitor was 85 year old Basil Hulatt who had been given the trial flights for a birthday present.

Basil getting ready to fly with me.
The grid became rather crowded with the arrival of private aircraft. Steve Fletcher (Open Cirrus), Andy Davey (Zugvogel) and Phil Hardwick (Astir).

Our other trainees John Smith and David Archer flew with Martin and myself improving their skills ready to solo in the near future. Also occupying the front seat was Barry Green. Some power failures and launch failures gave him chance to sharpen his flying ready to go solo soon.

After recently being cleared to fly solo, both Bob Sansom and Robin Wilson were allowed to fly the K8. Both achieved extended flights of 23 and 21 minutes respectively. Bob’s first flight was a cable break which was well flown.

Bob back in the K8 (sorry no photo of Robin)
The airfield and Black Down
Other notable flights were Steve 2:11, Andy 1:33, Malcolm 1:03, Hugh 1:00 and Martin 0:36.

Thank you to Heather who retrieved all day. Also thanks to winch drivers and all helpers for a good day flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 6th July 2019

We are still under the influence of high pressure. There are fronts crossing the country to the north but they are thankfully far enough away not to spoil our day. There is some evidence of this in the sky with some pre frontal "wave" looking clouds and a threat of high cirrus to damp down the sun's warmth. The RASP forecast gave some soaring possibilities early in the day but abruptly cutting off in the afternoon. ( spreadout?). The wind was light from the NW, strengthening later and veering a little further to the north.

Looking south under an uninspiring sky
Today we were missing a few Saturday stalwarts. Scratch and Rick are in North Hill checking out a possible winch purchase and DMX was off line having the last of it's CofA work done. But the remaining members were keen to get going with the first launch at 10.30. The club aircraft K13 HXP with both of the K8's were joined at the launch point by the Twin Astir, Open Cirrus and Zugvogel 3B from the private fleet.

Karon Marren 
Karon's husband Chris climbing well
Right from the off there was some soaring to be had. The conditions though were best described as difficult. There were very narrow, elusive thermal bubbles that were not at all organised until above about 1800 feet which led to the low cloudbase at 2300 feet. As the afternoon wore on this became more and more difficult.

Looking down at the launch point while soaring over the north ridge.
But the DGS pilots were up to the challenge. Andy Davey in the Zugvogel 3B had the longest flight of the day at 2 hours 21 minutes making great use of the new variometer. Other notable flights were Steve Fletcher in the Open Cirrus 1 hour 53 minutes and Joe Nobbs in the K8 1 hour 23 minutes.

One Day Course candidate Rita Smith ready to fly with me.
Was the K13 left out of this revelry? Not at all. One Day Course candidate Rita Smith and I had a couple of good soaring flights of 55 and 43 minutes during which Rita made a good start at mastering the controls and is very keen to visit us again soon. Our other visitor today was Simon Jeffrey enjoyed a short soaring flight with Mike Jardine to complete his Introductory Flight.

Sim on Jeffrey with Mike Jardine
Late afternoon the wanderers returned and Scratch and Rick both managed to get a flight in.

Our thanks to all the helpers.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 30th June 2019

Ed Borlase’s view westward over Discus V5 gives a feel for the day.
A light north-westerly with some promise in the afternoon was the forecast on RASP; and so it turned out to be.

Stephen Morris receives his certificate from BI Rich Roberts.
Tracey Leaper enjoying as joke with Instructor Peter Howarth.
The two Petes: Visitor Pete Barnes is ready to fly with Instructor Peter Howarth.
Our visitors were Steve Morris, who flew with recently qualified BI Rich Roberts, Tracey Leaper who flew with Peter Howarth, Graham Simmons and Roger Croot who flew with Martin Cropper, and finally the two Petes: Pete Barnes and Pete Howarth, who flew for almost 15 mins to claim two-seat flight of the day. That honour for single seat flying went to Rich Roberts, in his Discus, who claimed 35 mins. Single seat flight of the day went to Ed Borlase who, at 36 mins, sneaked in a minute more than Rich Roberts in his Discus.

Graham Simmons receiving his pre-flight brief from Martin Cropper.
Robin Wilson (fwd) and Phil Hardwick (aft) almost ready for the off in the Twin Astir.
 Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Richard's 492km

Wednesday 4th July 2019

New out and return (almost) distance record set from Dartmoor Gliding Society.

Nothing worse than declaring a x-country and doing a five minute circuit around the airfield so..... I have got into the habit of trying to keep a low profile about what I am doing . In the morning weather/safety brief each day I say I’m going x-country and leave it at that .

I had planned the task at home a few days prior.

Tasks were-

A- Bicester 512km
B-301km to Chicklade in Wiltshire

The day looked to be good on arrival at the club. With small bits of cumulus forming about 10am,my only worry was ,would it go blue late in the day making it hard to get back to Dartmoor.
The issue with a big task out and return is that you have to have good soarable weather over a massive area. (Remembering we live in the U.K. this only happens a few times a year, let alone the south west with water on three sides.

With the glider stocked with all the equipment, food,drink and task A programmed into the Oudie and flight computer I launched at 1215.

Low down conditions were broken and hard work but above 2800 feet QNH was much easier. I took one climb to 3800ft and went through the start line. Conditions were good until about Taunton when the climbs were a little slower.

Push on I thought, if the forecast were to be believed it will get better the further into the country you get.

Cloud-base was definitely 1000ft higher.
I found better thermals slightly south of track (4-6knot average) and that took me over Glastonbury

The aftermath of Glastonbury festival 2019
I continued into the 10 knot headwind and stayed relatively high so to avoid any low points this far out. I then routed over the north side of Swindon as it looked like it had much more sun on the ground.

The metropolis that is Swindon
Listening to the aircraft radio while on a x-country can be a double edge sword. You get information about weather condition around the country if you want it or not! At this point a few pilots were talking about areas blueing out and a few saying they only had 80km or 120km to run to finish the tasks they were on.
NOT what I wanted to hear at 330pm still on the way to my turn point 257km from home

Good old dad was the plan C for the day ( Landing out and having to de-rig the glider and trailer back home)

Due to my previous planning I had a rough idea using the rasp software I would need to round the Bicester turn point at 330-4pm to have a chance of getting back. I managed to turn at about 415pm

It’s then I felt how far away I was from my home club. But......positive mind set required at this point, I now had a 10 knot tailwind helping me.

Bicester airfield from the south west looking north east
The route back was much the same but the gaps between the clouds seemed to be getting bigger. I started to think about the amount of energy left in the day and what speed I had to fly. It’s funny how lack of day makes you want to fly faster but the security you get from being high makes you want to fly at max glide. This results in procrastination at every opportunity, you know what you should do but it’s hard to put speed on and throw the height away you just gained.

The sky with flatter clouds - still a long way to go
So back into Somerset I took a detour just at the end of the Mendip gliding club ridge. Looking ahead at the sky and the Somerset levels I did consider landing, using the club as an option I pushed west and contacted a good climb. By my calculations it gave me a good chance of making Devon and Somerset gliding club so I pushed on.

Same when I got there at 6.15pm , using them as an option I pushed west, found a climb and worked out how far I could get. The sky really was looking very soft by now and I thought this could be the last glide straight into a field. Still the road retrieve for my dad would be shorter at least

I got a weak climb around Tiverton and flew to just northeast of Okehampton. This really was the last throws of the day as it was now after 7pm!!! Half a knot climb here 1 knot there. I got to a height that gave me final glide but no margin for error and no circuit height. I knew with a north easterly there was likely to be sink in the way back and the land out options are not that great if your are low and rushing the decision. So with a field selected I had one last search for a climb that just prolonged the agony.

Wheel down , checks sorted in I go. Landed and safe rang for a retrieve. Iw alked to the nearest house ( google maps makes this so much easier than when I first started flying) found the owner first time and the husband and wife were very welcoming and said they had another glider land a few fields away several years ago from Brentor!!! . I pointed out the must mean they have very nice fields for us to all land in them.

Friendly farmer just north of Okehampton, great field, decaying sky
Below are the highlights from the bga ladder information

492km flown (my furthest flight - yes it did feel like a long way)

7h on task 7h25 in the air (my longest flight)

Oh and a new club record!!

My biggest points on the bga ladder (check out https://www.bgaladder.net and join in. )

Yes it did feel a very long way

Thanks to all the helpers but especially Pete Howarth for taking on my instructor duty for the day to release me for what we saw as an epic day ,and my Dad for the support, tracking me on spot the glider, sandwiches and tea on landing and retrieve driving to get me.

Home by 11.00pm

Just EPIC.......

Note to self -Next time take off 30 min earlier, fly faster, land back at Dartmoor. But what’s 8km between friends?

Richard Roberts