Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 13th October 2018

This is the second day of Storm Callum. Luckily, apart from a few heavy showers the day remained mostly dry. The remarkable thing though was the wind strength. This was no ordinary storm. The wind was a wild, snarling thing with gusts that could take you off your feet. Looking around, the gusts looked like little tornados as the autumn leaves were picked up and spun around in circles a meter or two across. Definitely a no flying day.

Looks innocent from here but holding the camera still was a real challenge
In the hangar, Rick and Scratch worked on the front right had side of the Red Discovery. The vehicle put up quite a fight with various seized bolts keeping our would be mechanics honest, but by the end of the day the job was complete with a new disk, new pads and a fully refurbished caliper with new pistons and seals. Left had side next week?

Rick and Scratch wrestling to Landrover into submission
Meanwhile in the clubhouse treasurer Steve Raine was working with Instructor, Mike Jardine in the simulator learning the patter for the flying exercises Steve will need when he progresses to Basic Instructor. Excellent.

Steve and Mike. A study in concentraation
Outside, Mike and Colin used the their time to convert a huge pile of scrap wood into suitable pieces to feed the woodburner which will be needed in the winter months to come.

Reducing the scrap wood pile. Colin and Mike
Hoping for better weather next week.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 7th October 2018

With yesterday being a non flying day, todays forecast gave light northerly winds backing north westerly as the day progressed. A steady flow of members arrived and we set about getting ready to fly. Again we were able to place the Gus winch in the top field to give higher launches.

Getting Ready to Fly
First to fly with me was David Westcott for a check flight. After a perfectly executed cable break recovery he was cleared to fly the K8.

Result of cable break practice soon sorted by Ed and Phil
The Sunday soarers welcomed back Martin Cropper to the airfield after his recent lay up. Martin had a quick flight with me to maintain currency before the first of a full days trial flights arrived. Our first visitors were family dad Ron Ayre, son David Ayre and brother in law Graham Lawton. They were joined by many family members who all came to watch.

David Ayre and family members.
Ronald Ayre
Graham Lawton
The next visitor was David Pike who had to wait for his flight due to a cable tangle which had delayed Graham’s flights. Again the winch and retrieve crew were put to the test sorting things out and getting us flying again.

David Pike waited patiently for his flight.
Our last visitor was Steve Hart who enjoyed two extended flights due to 1300ft launches.

Steve Hart
Our solo pilots David Westcott, Ed Borlase, Roger Applebloom, Alan Holland and Josef Nobbs all enjoyed flights of various lengths in the K8. The longest flight of the day was Josef who managed 26 minutes. The twin Astir made an appearance and was flown by Phil Hardwick and Martin Broadway. Thanks go to all who helped run the field today.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 6th October 2018

As September gives way to October. the decline into Autumn continues. The weather today gave a very low cloudbase, and a strong, gusty wind from the north ie. straight across the runway. Even without the forecast 90+% chance of rain (which never materialised, interestingly) this was going to be a non flying day.

Looking towards Brentor Church from the NW corner.
The wind was very strong
Arriving at the airfield we were met by a puzzle. Despite the fact that everything was locked up and secure, the water in the kettle was boiled and the generator was warm. Curious. Dartmoor's version of the Marie Celeste perhaps?  Once we found the note on the table the puzzle was solved. Mike Bennett had arrived much earlier than us and needed to return home.

After a cup of tea, it was time to plan out today's work. Rick used the time to catch up with briefings for trainee pilot David Archer. The remaining three of us decamped to the runway to investigate the cables on the ML2 winch. This had suffered a tangle on one of the drums and initially the idea was to add some more cable to replace that which was lost in the tangle. We decided to pull out both cables to check them first. Close inspection revealed that the cables were approaching the end of their useful life so the decision was made to replace both cables with new ones. Rick arrived at this point and between us we fitted the winch with 2 new cable and cut up and disposed of the old cables.

The ML2 in the NW corner to remove the old cables
Barry keeping and eye on the new cable being layed out ready to fit onto the winch 
Nice new cables
Meanwhile, in the clubhouse, David was working on the simulator. He replaced the controller which had giving poor jittery reponses with a brand new one. Problem solved. The simulator controls are once again silky smooth.
David working of the simulator controls
David testing his handiwork

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 30th September 2018

After two Sundays with no flying, the big question was would we be able to fly today. Again a small band of Sunday soarers gathered and with the forecast giving a moderate northwesterly wind we set about getting the airfield ready for flying. The Gus winch was moved into the top field to maximise the launches. The club K8 and one K13 were readied and towed to th launch point.

Josh Ready to start his Course.
Our ODC Josh Penk arrived and after the usual safety briefing we made our way to the launch point. After his intruductory flight we had a change of front seat for the trial flight candidates Jen and Paul Wren. Both left happy after their flights that were slightly longer than usual due to the 1400’ launches. Next it was time to get Josh back into the front seat to start his hands on experience. At the top of the launch it was obvious that some rain was quickly approaching the airfield. Indeed when we landed the rain could be seen on the canopy. It was time to stand down.

Jen Wren ready for her flight.
Paul Wren looking forward to his flight.
After about one and a half hours the rain had cleared so it was time to head for the skies again. It was soon obvious that more rain was on the way and with the wind freshening it was decide to put the gliders safely away in the hangar and clear the airfield.

A not so friendly sky.
Thanks go to Colin for winching and Andy for retrieving without flying. The only other flights were Leith in the K8 and Ed in the K13 with me for the couple of flights after the break. Hopefully better weather next week.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 29th September 2018

Yesterday's trough with it's clouds is just is distant memory and today high pressure was once more in charge of the weather. The day started with an endless blue sky and, with the decidedly chilly overnight temperature and the promise a warm day, there was every chance of a good soaring day. The wind is forecast to be light from the east and that is what we got initially but that was to change

New club member John waiting for his first flight
The flying programme got off to an early start withCFI Mark Courtnay and I flying together to complete this year's revalidation of my instructors ticket with a couple of practice cable breaks. Mark then got on with the club flying with a short soaring flight with Karon while I turned my attention to the flying with new club member John O'Connell for his very first glider flight. During the 24 minute soaring flight John had the opportunity to start getting to grips with flying the aircraft. Welcome to DGS John.

Simon and Mike ready to go
Also on the airfield today as Simon Minson , Instructor Coach and Regional Examiner, who was here to fly with Mike Jardine to complete Mikes Instructor rating. By the end of the day, after several flights and briefings the job was done. Well done Mike and thank you Simon for your help.

A job well done Mike. And thank you Simon 
Sometimes gliding can be frustrating and today had some of this. A real cable break caused a tangle on the winch which delayed matters. About this time, our nice steady easterly breeze decided to go to the west causing us to change ends. These events delayed the flying programme by 1 1/2 hours. Thank you everyone for your patience.

Visiting pilot Henry Ford had this view during his 1 hour soaring flight in he K8.
It was certainly a bit hazy today. Typical of a high pressure day.
 The day proved to be quite soarable. Conditions low down were the usual challenge but the assemble pilots were up for it with 6 flights an hour or longer. Longest was Richard Roberts 2 hours 55 minutes in his Discus. Interesting was the Twin Astir; it completed 1 hour 44 minutes with Phil and Ged, only to launch again with Malcolm and Ged for another 1 hour and 35 minutes. Great stuff chaps.

This picture also from Henry. Climbing at 6 knots at 3000 feet in the K8

Our visitors today were Joe Lyons, Ed Mitchell, Roy Osbourne, Mike Strickland, who flew with me and Robert Steemson who flew with Mike. All enjoyed their soaring flights with us.

Visitor Joe Lyons enjoying the view
Visitor Ed Mitchell
Visitor Roy Osborne
Visitor Mike Strickland
Visitor Robert Steemson flew with Mike

A big thank you to all those who helped ( you know who you are).

The airfield is quiet once more
A great day with some frustrations ( that's gliding )

The fleet back safely in the hangar


Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 22nd September 2018

After the heavy winds of the first named storm of the season this week todays winds was relatively light. That was the end of the good news, unfortunately, low cloud and continuous rain put paid to any chance of flying today. A few hardy souls were to be found at the airfield.

The view from the east end.
The busiest, by far, was Scratch who was working his way through a list of mechanical defects on the vehicles. First up was the red Discovery which has had some serious issues with the front brakes. Scratch managed to accertain that he had all the correct spares for the job but unfortunately the calliper retaining bolts were so rusted in place that a major strip down of the whole suspension assembly will be required to allow for these to be drilled out. His next job was to replace the auxiliary drive belt and tensioner on the Vitara. This was duly completed completed and surprise surprise the previous battery and power steering faults have disappeared. Excellent.

Scratch working on the Aux belt with Ged looking on
Remanufacturing the Vitara's driver's door lock.  
The simulator now sports 5 screens arranged to give a 180 degree view of the action. This will not only make teaching circuits and winch launching possible but also enhance the general realism of the experience.

By mid afternoon, as we left the airfield, it was still raining.

Hopefully the weather will improve for next week.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 16th September 2018

Driving to the airfield it looked like the weather was as per the forecast, which would probably be a day of circuits and bumps rather than any soaring flights. When I arrived at the airfield the chairman was already there opening the hangar and getting the quads out. We optimistically loaded the disco up and put a windsock up and checked the airfield setup for the day.

Returning to the clubhouse we put the kettle on awaiting for others to arrive. Whilst drinking our tea and coffee the Dartmoor mist descended on the airfield. So the chairman and I set about looking what jobs we could undertake. We decided to attack the fence trailer.

Before. Definitely in need of some TLC
After in it’s shiny new livery
After another hot drink we decided to carry on clearing the area behind the trailers. Now the Perranporth winch has been removed, we decided to move the Jantar trailer down to the east end trailer area. As it was a none flying day we then packed away ready to depart the airfield. Although no flying, there is always tasks to undertake at a gliding club. Hopefully better weather next week.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 15th September 2018

The forecast was for a SW wind backing to SSW and eventually to South with the speed picking up towards the end of the afternoon. The RASP predicted low cloud until around 9.30 with good soaring conditions from about 1330 to 1630.

Arriving at the airfield at 8.15 it was clear that the weather wasn’t following the script, thick fog enveloped the airfield and the wind was definitely from the SE. Hoping that the wind would follow the forecast and the cloud would lift the Saturday regulars set up the field and got the Clubs K8 and a K13 ready to launch. By 10.30 the fog was still stubbornly sitting on the airfield.

The sun eventually broke through and gliding began around 11.00. Rick was the duty instructor but he had to leave at 2.45 so anyone wanting to fly after that had to be a current self certifying qualified pilot with their own glider, but was it worth us rigging? The cloud cover was varying between 6 and 7 octars with a large bank of cloud hanging over the airfield. After a few indecisive minutes and debates Barry Green decided he would rig and fly his new SF27,  Roger Green and Andy Davey decided to rig their Zug and I rigged my Open Cirrus, believing it was better to have rigged and not get away then not to have rigged when others were getting away.

The wind didn’t follow the forecast and at best was from the South.

Visitor Catherine Downing
Rick flew our 3 trial flyers who all were on two trial flight vouchers. Around mid day Rick managed to get up to 1800 feet and did the longest flight of the day of 24 minutes. Roger and Allan Holland decided to fly at this time and both worked hard to get 21 and 19 minutes respectively. But the thermals never really got going and most of us had short flights hunting weak thermals and working hard to stay up.

 Visitor Jackie Holland
Visitor Joelle Penderton
The Southerly wind freshened giving a 10 to 15 knot cross wind so everyone got in some good cross wind landing practice.

After Rick left only Andy Davey and myself flew but we were never going to get away with both of us struggling to stay above 700 feet in very weak lift.

The decision was taken at around 15.30 to pack up.

As we finished de rigging the last of the 3 gliders around 16.30 the sun broke through strongly, the clouds went fluffy and Allen Holland said "I told you we should have waited"!

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th September 2018

The hardcore of Saturday pilots were at the starting blocks early as per the duty instructors request.

The morning Forecast was ok so we got the team together and had the morning brief in the club house. By the time we came out ready and eager to launch the mist had descend and the wet stuff fell.

Aircraft ready, airfield ready , pilots briefed and ready, weather oh ....... Didn’t see that coming

The best laid plans of mice and men/women and all that. More tea I think. But an hour later we were getting the gliders into the air.

A Grey overcast Day
One day course was Paul Snell , a retired Chaplin and now adventurous traveler.
Paul flew initially with Rick and later with Steve and as the weather improved so did Paul’s upper aircraft handling, hope to see you back again soon.

One Day Course CAndidate Paul Snell with Rick
The other visitors Gordon Smith ,Graham Hancock and Brian Johnson all had one or more flights , some lucky enough for an extended circuit in reduced sink.

Visitor Brian Johnson
Gordon Smith enjoying his flight

Visitor Graham Hancock
As the day went on the cross wind freshened and the k8 was stowed to one side as it was deemed a
little too much crosswind.

Pilot's eye view of the North side of the airfoeld
The heavier k13s continued to fly club members and good progress was made by all.

Steve Lewis continued the BI flying and achieved longest flight of the day in the process.

Thanks to those who helped run the field all day and didn’t fly. You know who you are.

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 2nd September 2018

The forecast was for a light SE breeze for the morning, so with the field already set up to launch from the west end of the field, the aircraft and winch were prepared to start flying. First launch was achieved at 09:47. Dave Westcott flew first with me for check flights after a few weeks away. After a couple of cable breaks and a power failure was declared clear to fly the K8. Similarly Ed Borlase also asked for a quick check flight as a confidence booster before he flew the K8.

Our One Day Course today was Craig Downton, nephew of The Voice Dave Downton. After his six flights he was starting to use all three controls. He left very happy and appreciated there was more to this flying than he thought. Overall he enjoyed the launches more than the rest of the flying.

Craig Downton ready for his course
The visitors today were Chris Beasley, Edward Gales and Lee Edwards. All enjoyed their experience flights, albeit short with no soaring today. They all left with smiles on their faces.

Chris Beasley
Edward Gales
Lee Edwards
After a longer ground run in the K13 and an aborted take-off by Colin in the K6 we were forced to change ends. We towed the aircraft to the east end and set up the gus winch to continue flying.

We welcomed back Roger Applebloom today after being laid up after his recent op. He undertook light duties manning the control tower and occasional retrieve, driving the quad. He also managed a quick flight in the back seat of the K13.

A visiting solo pilot from Culdrose was Lizzie Westcott (no relation to Dave) enjoyed a couple of flights with me to get used to our airfield and winch launching. She looks forward to returning again to eventually re-solo on the winch and occasionally fly at Brentor.

Lizzie Westcott ready to fly at brentor for the first time.
Carrying on the earlier eventuality training, Martin Cropper was given a couple of cable break practices which were well executed and talked through. We wish him well for his op and speedy recovery.

Solo Pilots Ed Borlase, David Westcott and Josef Nobbs all enjoyed flights in the K8. The longest was 10 minutes by ED in reduced sink over the winch until he had to move when the wings were levelled on the K13. Good observation ED. Leith also had his usual 5 minute circuits in his Dart.

Thanks go to Dave Downton and Phil Hardwick who between them chose to winch and retrieve all day without flying.

Peter Howarth