Dartmoor Gliding Club News-Sunday 3rd December 2017

With a moist north-westerly it was no surprise to find the airfield shrouded in low cloud. Today our CFI Don was attending to help Martin prepare for his Full-Cat rating. First up was for Martin to give a morning briefing to decide if we were going to be able to fly. With most of the met forecasts predicting low cloud and possible rain later in the day it was looking doubtful. But RASP gave a glimmer of hope that the cloud would be high enough for those who wanted the get some cable break practice around mid-day.

While we waited it was time to put the kettle on and settle down for a lecture on the theory of flight given by Martin.

Martin teaches the Theory of Flight
This was added to by Don in his usual manner and kept all interested until it was time to look outside to see if the weather was behaving as per RASP. Although there were some different views as to the cloud base, Martin declared we would get one of the K13’s out and give it a go. So all hands to the pumps and the airfield was readied for some cable break practice. First flight saw the pairing of Don & Martin, with Martin demonstrating to Don the correct procedure for a cable break. They did wait until just before going into cloud at 800ft before pulling off.

Don and Martin preparing to fly
Next flight was the same pairing, with Don playing Bloggs for the same exercise.

While Don and Martin debriefed, I settled into the back seat ready to put Dave Downton and then Ed Borlase through some launch failure practice. After six flights and the rain approaching from the north obscuring Brentor it was a quick retreat to put the gliders away and wipe them down.

We made the most of a short period of clearer weather and it was a relief that all went well (more for one than others):-

Cleaning the drogue 'chute
A big thank you to Richard for winching, Leith for retrieving and Roger for helping at the launch point; all without flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd December 2017

After the beautiful clear skies of Friday, Saturday was definitely a disappointment; There were patches of low clound everywhere. For quite a long period there was some clear air directly over the runway to tease us, but within half a mile the cloudbase was at ground level. At least the decision not to fly was not complicated.

Low cloud surrounded the airfield
 Rick set up and delivered a well attended lecture on "Launch Failures" which generated lots of health discussion.

Rick in lecture mode
This was followed by a strop hunt on the sides of the airfield. Trainee pilot Dave Archer found two strops; the rest of us, none. Must be beginners luck.

The loneliness of the long distance strop hunter. David with his 2 trophies
 After lunch David was treated to a One to One discussion on Navigation and Altimetry.

Colin's K6 made a brief appearance for some fettling of the tail skid.

Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 29th November 2017

 A cold frosty start greeted the Wednesday regulars. After a few texts between Phil and the crew we eventually mustered at the airfield. Unfortunately Allan and I were not able to get there until 1145 by which time Phil and Bob had got everything ready to go.
A fairly brisk northerly crosswind meant we had to be careful but we all managed to get airborne and practice our crosswind skills. Alan managed 11 mins best flight of the day by working the ridge (see picture of K8)

K8 whirling over the ridge against an endless blue sky
It was bitterly cold though as you can see in the picture of Allan all huddled up in the K8. But the views were terrific and the sky a fabulous blue.

Allan huddles in K8 waiting to launch
Once again Colin and Dave were seen slaving away in the workshop, many thanks chaps.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 25th November 2017

The forecast looked hopeful. Although it has been very wet all week today looks like a period of slightly better weather with wintery showers and sunny periods although there is a possibility of thunderstorms later. Forecast wind was 8 knots from the west but at first there was no surface wind at all the windsock just hanging forlornly on it's pole. After a careful pitch inspection it was decided that we could do some limited flying if we took care with the wet runway; ie. retrieve by quad only, Landrovers constrained to the track, no turning gliders on the spot (they tend to dig themselves in ).

The morning briefing
Towing out - not the shower on the left hand ( south) side
We welcomed Sally Cunis who returned to complete her One Day Course. Sally took a further 3 flights today during which she made good progress at handling the controls. We look forward to seeing her soon to continue her flying training.

Sally wrapped up against the cold
Right from the first flight it was obvious that the conditions were not quite as benign as the limp windsock suggested. First launch was to 1350 feet at which height the wind was 20 - 25 knots from the west. Ground level 0 knots, 1300 feet 20 knots - interesting. This led to some wind shear on the final approach as expected so a little extra care was needed with circuit planning today. Eventually the ground wind speed picked up to about 8 knots from the west

A sprinkling of snow on the higher Tors to the east
The other flights today were check flights by experienced club pilots who kept today's instructor, Gordon Dennis, busy in K13-GDDMX.

Our thanks today to all those who helped but especially Heather for driving retrieve all day, and Barry and Rick for the lion's share of the winch driving.

Flying was stopped early to limit the damage to the runway and to allow the instructors to head off early to Tavistock for the Instructors Meeting.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 19th November 2017

For those up early to earn some brownie points, collecting the papers from Yelverton, this was the sunrise that greeted them. Hopefully it was a good sign for the day to come. Unlike weekends previous, we were able to extricate the aircraft from the hangar and get them ready for a busy days flying.

Sunrise over Dartmoor
The day was spent giving check flights for those out of currency. First up was Dave Downton. After a couple of flights including a cable break practice he was declared fit to fly the K8. Next up was Mark Jerman who after regaining his solo wings yesterday had a quick flight with me. With no problems he then squeezed himself and wellies into the K8 for a couple of flights. Third on the list was Martin Cropper to regain his wings after his period away from flying. A perfectly executed simulated cable break declared him fit to resume instructing duties.

Martin about to get his wings back
So fourth on the list, Ed Borlase took to the air with Martin. After a couple of flights he added to his solo total, closing in on that time when he will hopefully be able to convert to the K8.
There was also a busy day for IFP pilots Richard Roberts and Roger Applebloom with four visitors.

First to arrive was Jamie Malac who flew with Richard.

Jamie Malac with Richard
Richard’s second trial flight charge was Anthony Welsh who enjoyed his two flights. Anthony has previously tried ballooning and wanted to try gliding while still young. He is hoping to bring his brother (an ex lightning pilot) up for a more leisurely flight around the sky.

Anthony Welsh
It was then a change of guard with Richard taking over winch duties from Roger who then took over the back seat of HXP. Mike Arbury arrived with his family for his flights with Roger.

Mark Arbury
Last on the list was Tim Stoneman who had one flight with Roger. With Colin Boyd disappearing into cloud at about700’ it was decided to stop flying and return the gliders to the hangar. Tim will have to return at a later date for his second flight, hopefully in better conditions.

Tim Stoneman

After the past month with little flying it was good to fly again and get everybody back current. Let’s hope for some settled weather over the coming weekends.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 18th November 2017

Today started with a stunning, blood red, sunrise. Is this the proverbial "sailor's warning"? Perhaps the recent run of poor flying weather has left me a little jaded.

The forecast was suggesting very light airs to start with progressing to 10 knots westerly by late afternoon. Cloudbase was forecast to lower significantly by 4pm.. Given the forecast, a push was made to ensure that we got started promptly. First launch was made at 10.25am.

The airfield from the NE looking south west
Right from the start it was obvious that, although there was little or no wind at ground level, at 1000 feet, there was significant wind from the west. Curious, but at least this helped ensure satisfactory launch heights. Early flights seemed to find rotor type turbulence at the east end of the airfield with very smooth air at the west end. Was this some kind of wave system? We will never know the answer to that one. Unfortunately,it did not supply any usable lift.

One Day Course candidate Scot
The 2 K13's were fully utilised all day with Rick and Mike conducting club flying in DMX also sharing the aircraft with Steve Raine who flew our Air Experience visitor, Nicky Craydon.  I flew our 2 One Day Courses with Scott Furguson and Simon Purcell in HXP . The  club solo pilots were flying the K8.

One Day Course candidate Simon
Visitor Nicky Craydon with Steve Raine
The most notable flight today was by new member and experienced pilot Mark Jerman who re-soloed with us today after a 12 months absence from flying. Welcome Mark.

Did I mention that i was cold today?
Not if you are equipped with a portable douvet
All through the day, there was a lot of low level cloud mostly over the high ground limiting our view but otherwise not causing us any issues until around 4pm when the cloudbase suddenly lowered and put an end to flying for the day.

Instructors cleaning gliders - a rare event?
Answers on a postcard please
Many thanks to all those who helped. A special mention is due to Heather who came to the airfield today especially to drive the retrieve for us ( as well as cleaning the clubhouse before flying started ). Now that's dedication.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 12 November 2017

The Met Office forecasts seem to have more repeats than digital TV channels. Although bathed in sunshine the airfield was wet and with a keen northwesterly wind in excess of 20 knots it was an easy decision to leave the aircraft in the hangar and declare yet another non-flying day. So the only thing was to settle down in the clubroom for hot teas and coffees.

Three wise men look at windsock to see how strong the wind is.
( Or maybe willing it to calm down? )
Martin occupied part of his time in the simulator to regain some sort of currency after his recent period away from flying. Hopefully we will get his wings back next week.

Martin getting a little practice
We did have a visit today by prospective junior member Marcus Jones and his family. Marcus is hoping to eventually go to university and study aeronautics and follow a career in aviation. The voice Dave Downton gave them a tour of the hangar, aircraft and airfield. Marcus spent some time in the simulator with me for some basic flying lessons. We look forward to his return soon to start learning to fly.

Let’s hope for some good weather and fly again next week.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 11th November 2017

Preparing to drive to the airfield I asked my digital assistant to give me a suitable playlist for some music. The first 4 suggestions were.

Purple Rain - Prince
November Rain - Guns N Roses
Rain - The Beatles
Singing in the Rain - Gene Kelly

The eagle eyed reader may well have spotted a link in this somewhat eclectic list  - yes it's raining AGAIN. ( another song title - Supertramp  1982).

The water running passed the clubhouse
The runway was a bleak and lonely place.
Note the higher tors beyond the runway are obscured by the low cloud
There was drizzle, rain and low cloud the whole day. So once again no flying then. The dynamic duo ( Rick and Scratch ) were to be found at work on the ML2 winch investigating an occasional and somewhat mysterious power loss. As it has a big, diesel engine suspicion had fallen onto the fuel system and after a protracted search the culprit was discovered, a small metal strainer type filter, located in a very obscure location under the engine was completely blocked. A few minutes of cleaning sorted it out.

The ML2 winch in for some TLC
It was quiet otherwise which is a bit of a shame really as there were several instructors available to help with Bronze examination preparation for our pilots. So, if you haven't yet done your bronze exam, why not come up on a non flying day to take advantage of the training on offer.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 8th November 2017

A beautiful sunny day met the Wednesday regulars. Phil Hardwick and I decided it was worth rigging and Bob, Robin and Alan decided they would fly the K8. Some very promising clouds formed but they just seemed too far away. We all had 2 flights each and took our turns in the winch.

K8 waiting to go on this beautiful sunny winter's day
The sorcerer and his apprentice had a break from working their magic in the workshop and came and watched us struggle to find lift. The best time for most of us was around 10 mins but as the sun got lower what lift there was disappeared. Well some of us thought it had, until Allan used his anti gravity device and stayed up for 15 mins!

Phil returns to terra firma in his Astir
One notable event was when we were preparing to launch Robin, just as Bob was saying all clear above and behind, Robin shouted 'stop stop stop I can't see' and released the cable. Well he could see but not awfully well as he had his reading glasses on not his distance glasses! So for those of us who are optically challenged and that includes me perhaps gcbsiftcbe might be the way to go.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 4th November 2017

The forecast occasional showers would have been better forecast as rain with occasional gaps. This and the very gusty winds kept the aircraft firmly in the hangar.

Between the showers the conditions looked good ( at least from indoors)
There were plenty of members on the airfield early today to attend the talk on "Collision Avoidance" hosted by today's instructor Gordon Dennis. This lively discussion flowed through the need for keeping a good lookout, the use of FLARM to help altert pilots to the presence of other gliders and the larger scale plans to develop a new system to make all aircraft electronically visible to each other. Heady stuff.

The next shower arriving over the trailer park
After the lunch time social gathering the Committee assembled for a single topic meeting which continued until late afternoon.

The lunch time social
The long range forecasts keep mentioning snow. I, for one, am looking forward to the chance to fly in those conditions.