Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 10th June 2018

With a small crew arriving at the airfield we set about getting things ready. The weather forecast showed the wind from the east again and 10-15 knots. So again there was the anticipation of wave. Gliders DI’d, winch set up and the hurdle fence down, the first launch was at 09:52. A quick launch failure for Dave Downton resulted in a long walk back from down the field. He later flew the K8 for a couple of circuits. Next up was David Westcott, who recently went solo at Aston Down and had a couple of dual flights last week endured a medium launch failure followed by a power failure. So David was ready for his first solo flight at DGS.
David Westcott ready for first solo at DGS.
Our solo pilots Roger Applebloom, Dave Downton, Ed Borlase, Josef Nobbs made various excursions into the air. The conditions always looked better than what was encountered. The longest flight of the day was Roger in his K6 with 24 minutes.

We had several visitors today. Lesley Noble and Martin Garland were on holiday from Cape Town. Their friend Ingrid Noble also came along. All had 2 flights each. Lesley and Ingrid flew with me. Martin flew with Martin. Also visiting the club to experience gliding was Charlene Nunn and David Murphy who flew with Martin

Lesley ready to fly with me. Spot the deliberate mistake.
Ingrid, thumbs up ready to go.
Martin with Martin
Charlene with Martin.
David ready to fly with Martin
One other visitor was David Westcott’s son Rory. As we strapped him in a rather nervous Rory was given gentle encouragement by both his dad and myself. Going up the launch it was obvious how nervous he was, but some gentle encouragement to look out and see what was happening was like switching a light on. The rest of the flight was fully enjoyed and we may be getting a new member in the near future. Time to sell some more pottery dad

Rory ready for his first flight in a glider
Meanwhile David had another couple of solo flights in the K13. With the light conditions and some good flying by David we decided to convert him into the K8 for a couple of flights. The first was 13 minutes, his longest flight of the day. Well done David.

David Westcott getting ready for his first flight in the K8.
Thanks to Phil Hardwick for winching and not flying. Also thanks to Roger, Ed, Joe, Dave and Martin for winching, retrieving and generally running the field.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 9th June 2018

Today I thought I would start with a big thank you to all of our readers without whom all the effort involved in producing this blog would be for nothing. This blog passed what I consider to be a milestone. The 1300 blog posts have achieved over 300,000 page views. Excellent.

What of today's activities. Well the light winds were from the NE at ground level and somewhat more easterly aloft. Regular readers will know that when the wind has east in it there is a possibility of wave at this airfield. There were definitely signs of this today. A cap cloud was pinned down across the higher Tors to the east. There was a line of cloud sitting more or less North - South over the west end of the airfield.

Looking east into an uninspiring sky. Beginnings of the cap cloud in the distance
Looking west at the same time as the above photo. The cloud laying across the wind
There were largish areas of sinking air, but no real signs of wave lift except for some areas of reduced sink. What we did get, however, were wave enhanced thermals. These small diameter columns and bubbles of lift had astonishing rates of climbs. Lots had 8 knot cores which provided a quick ride to the lowish 3000 foot cloudbase for those pilots who could turn steep enough. The effect was fairly local. Venturing North towards Roadford revealed a rapidly reducing cloudbase, perhaps 1800 feet at the A30. To the south the cloud and wave effects diminished beyond Tavistock.

Approaching the leading edge of the clod
Roger Green's view of the lowering cloudbase heading north in his Zugvogel 3B
Our pilots were up to the task of riding the tight bubbles of lift with 10 soaring flights. The best flight was 2 hours and 40 minutes by Ged and Phil the their Twin Astir. That's the second week in a row that the Twin has had the longest flight. Never thought I would write that. Concrete swan? I don't think so.

Pieter enjoying his flying
 Today we were joined by Pieter Auwers for a One Day Course. Pieter enjoyed some good soaring the the K13 with me and spent lots of time learning to flying the aircraft around in the buoyant conditions. We were also joined by Pieter's mother Paddy and Michael Warren-Meek who both enjoyed Air Experience flights with Rick.

Paddy and Rick
Michael and Rick waiting to go.
Once again we are indebted to our winch drivers, Heather on the retrieve, the helpers at the launch point but most of all to the members and visitors alike who had their patience sorely tested while the K13 had a main wheel puncture repaired.



Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 6th June 2018

I know a song that will get on your nerves, get on your nerves. More about that later.

The weather forecast was for light north easterly winds with easterly wind later in the day. Although there was a north westerly at ground level, which tempted changing ends, launches were of good height showing the upper winds were as forecast. Even the twin astir was achieving 900ft launches. Ged, Robin, Phil and Trevor in various combinations flew the twin astir. The combination of Phil & Trevor did best with 48 minutes. Other private owners achieved notable flights. Andy Davey in his Zugvogel 53 minutes and Barry Green in his K6 34 minutes. The K8 was well used by Steve Fletcher, Martin Broadway 1 hour 2 minutes and Alan Holland 1 hour 3 minutes.

Bob Samson had six flights with me with launch failures and circuits thrown in. Hopefully he will re-solo soon and be back in his K8. Paula Howarth was also visiting the club again and had two flights with me. The second was a complete flight by her, proving that she hasn’t lost her touch being away.

Our visitors today were the stars of Some Mother’s Do ‘ave ‘em in the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. Organised by Ed Borlase, Joe Pasquale and Sarah Earnshaw were keen to experience a flight in a glider. First up was Sarah. After she was strapped in and the checks done, off we went. The screams finally stopped at about 600’ and all were heard from the ground. Thankfully they were screams of delight and not of sheer terror.

Sarah Earnshaw ready to go.
Next was Joe who holds a PPL. So after the launch I allowed him to take control. He mastered the controls quickly and we even managed to climb to above launch height in weak lift. Unfortunately it didn’t last and we were soon back down to circuit height. I re-took control at about 500 feet to complete the circuit and landing.

Joe Ready to fly.
The last visitor was Nick Ryal, the company manager for the show. We had a 14 minute flight including sharing a thermal with other gliders which was a good experience for Nick.

L to R. Paula, Joe, Ed, Sarah, Nick and me.
Sarah and Joe at DGS
Thanks go to Heather for retrieving all day. She was rewarded with a cuddle from Joe.
 Also thanks to all the others not named for winching, retrieving gliders and running the field etc. A good day was had by all. We didn’t get a rendition of the song from Joe, but he did keep us entertained during his visit. After leaving the club Joe has said thanks to his experience at DGS he will be looking into finding his local club and taking up gliding instead of power flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 3rd June 2018

“Would you like wave in the morning and thermalling in the afternoon, sir?” a mythical meteorological Jeeves appeared to ask the pilots on the flight line as we set up to launch a little before 10am. “Ooh, rather – top hole!” they mythologically replied and so off we toddled to the Drones Club in the sky, courtesy of an early morning change of ends deftly carried out by Roger Appleboom and Dave Westcott before the rest of us had arrived.

Dave Westcott’s view of the Tamar valley during his first wave flight to 2,600ft.
New solo pilot Dave was, indeed, first to launch, straight into a weakly rising current of air over Mary Tavy, which was eventually found to stretch 4 miles south to Tavistock golf club, taking Dave to 2,600ft in his first encounter with wave. “It's so smooth,“ he said, “It's like nothing else I've ever experienced”.

Ed Borlase’s view of the club during his 2hr+ Bronze C qualifying flight.
Second to take advantage of the opportunity was Ed Borlase who, launching a little after 1030 in the K-8, remained aloft for 2hrs 13 mins, thus completing one leg of his Bronze (and achieving over 4,000ft agl - he would have gained Silver height if only he'd had a logger with him..! - see photo)

Steve Fletcher in his Open Cirrus joins Ed Borlase in one of the afternoon’s thermals over Mary Tavy.
Steve Fletcher then made it all look easy in his Open Cirrus, flying for 3 hrs 7 mins, whilst Martin Cropper hosted our visitors, who included Steve Knott, a One Day Course student who didn't manage to fly last Sunday due to the low cloud – no such restriction today as his last flight went to 3,500ft for 1 hr 8 mins!

One Day Course student Steve Knott about to be launched into the heavens.
Other visitors were Air Cadet Edward Salisbury, Saltash resident Gloria O'Brien and Ed Borlase's F&F Izabela Zduniuk (he chooses them just to baffle to log-keeper..!)

 Iza Zduniuck, a F&F of Ed Borlase, is ready for flight with her Go-Pro.
Richard Roberts showed off the manoeuvrability of his Discus by hauling it around the sky between Okehampton, Plymouth and Kit Hill at a great rate of knots, whilst Joe Nobbs took pity on the Zugvogel hangar queen, giving it a 1 hr 27 mins work-out, while Phil Hardwick took his Astir for an afternoon's thermalling for 1 hr 27 mins.

So what of the stats? Well, the launch rate really was appalling, being no more that 3 per hour for the first 6 hours and then 'surging' to 5 in the last hour. The average flight time, however, was something to bring a smile to the face of the winch launch pilot: 42 mins per launch!

At which point thanks in abundance should be passed to our happy band of winch-drivers: Roger Appleboom, Phil Hardwick and Joe Nobbs, all of whom kept the gliders going up the wire at 55kts, and to the retrieve team for bringing the cables back – all of whom flew. It's not often that we get an easterly that doesn't exceed 15 kts which provides smooth, nursery wave in the morning, and then steady 6-8 kt thermals in the afternoon.

A day to reflect on with gratitude..!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd June 2018

A somewhat cloudy day. RASP was suggesting a good day for local soaring. The wind was a little troublesome being directly across the runway from the south but it was reasonably light at about 8 knots.

The sky was looking good with cloud streets running up from the south but this proved to be a false hope. Try as we might there was just no significant thermal activity to be found. Strange. This a least made it easy for us to ensure that all the gliders were clear of the Red Arrows as they passed a little to the west. It was a bit if a treat to be able to talk to them on the radio.

Mike Jardine was satisfied with his soaring flight in the Astir CS
Phil Hardwick towing the Twin Astir back after his soaring flight
At around 4pm the sky suddenly switched on. Mike Jardine was the first to take advantage with an 18 minute flight in his Astir, followed by Allan Holland (K8) at 55 minutes , Andy Davey ( Zugvogel 3B ) at 59 minutes, Mike Jardine (K13 this time) at 41 minutes. Longest flight of the day was by Ged Nevisky and Phil Hardwick flying the Twin Astir at 1 hour 10 minutes. I've wait a while to be able to asign best flight to the Twin Astir. Well Done chaps.

Visitor Arthur Shiers with Mike Jardine
We had 2 visitors today. Arthur Shiers and Simon Ovens both of whom enjoyed their flying with Mike Jardine.

Simon Ovens waiting to go soaring with Mike Jardine.
Many thanks to all those who helped make today a success


Dartmoor Gliding News-Monday 28th May 2018

Two Bank holidays this month and both lovely sunny FLYING days! Unheard of normally but I didn’t hear anyone complaining…

Rick and Peter were todays instructors.

It was a busy hot day where early on in the day the very promising looking skies simply did not deliver, and then things changed and there were some very happy people having longer flights, Steve Fletcher in his Cirrus showing off with a 2-hours plus flight towards the end of the day.

Steve Fletcher's view during his 2 hour 46 minute flight
At one point we had all the gliders on the ground ready to fly- and then there were none. The few of us left on the ground scanned the skies to spot them all!

We had a birthday boy, Mike Bennett, who gracefully accepted a rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” sung by club members alongside gifts of sweets and crisps before flying started. Mike was later stunned into silence by his birthday gift from his wife, a voucher for a Spitfire flight at Biggin Hill!

One Day Course Candidate Stephen Hill receives his certificate from instructor Peter
Back to glider flying and we had two visitors Tim and PPL pilot Stephen. Tim enjoyed his Trial Flight and he stayed with his family to watch the flying and chat about his past gliding exploits as an Air Cadet where he was a solo pilot. See you again soon Tim.

Ex Air cadet Tim.
Stephen flew with Rick and latterly Peter for his One Day Course, Stephen who is usually a power pilot enjoyed his gliding day.

Thanks to Heather for services above and beyond retrieve driving (all day on a very hot day) and Barry for manning the winch for most of the day (supported by Mike when Barry went for his flight).

Karon Matten

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th May 2018

Although driving to the airfield in rain, the forecast was optimistic for a clearance and flyable weather later in the day. After the initial cups of tea and coffee the clouds were still hanging low over the airfield so we set about some of the maintenance tasks around the airfield. Andy Davey fired up the tractor and set about cutting the grass. This was until a minor repair was required to the mower. Phil Hardwick and Andy set about finding the necessary nuts and bolts to affect the repair. They were ably assisted at various time by Roger, Leith and Martin.

Phil and Andy sorting the mower.
Meanwhile Richard Roberts and I set about various repairs to the hurdle fence. With several tie-wraps, pieces of wire and penetrating oil, wire fencing was re-attached to the frames and barbed wire was tensioned. The next stage was to swap several of the panels around. Any that were in poorer state of repair were placed at the southern end. At the north end the top of two panels were painted green. It has been agreed with our landlord that these are the only two to be removed should he need to move livestock around, Richard is continuing to talk to him with regard to the access and use of the top field.

Green Fence Panels
Colin arrived to look into the instrument problems on HXP. After a little fettling it required a flight test on bank holiday Monday. He also supervised the swapping of wheels of the K13’s and replacing of the bearings on DMX’s wheel. Joe Nobbs set about repairing a puncture to an inner tube and fitting to a spare wheel assembly. There is a nearly complete spare wheel for the K13’s.

With a few of the small crew disappearing to spend time with families, and the weather not really clearing it was time to pack up and head home.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 26th June 2018

Today's forecast for winds at 12 knots from the NE teased of possible wave conditions. The wind was actually a little further to the north than that. The final approach was indeed somewhat "character forming". This, unfortunately, led to the cancellation of our visitor flying for the day but conditions were just out of limits.
The Astir CS with pilot Mike Jardine ready to try again
 The club members explored all the reachable area looking for the elusive wave to no avail. There were a couple of extended circuits from the Astir and K13 but there was no wave. With the somewhat overcast sky and the wave influence there were no thermals to be found either. Somedays are just like that.

The visibility was poor
Better luck next time.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 23rd May 2018

A reasonable weather forecast, an optimistic RASP forecast and a long day ahead meant Robin and I were in good spirits as we approached the airfield. On arriving at the airfield we were greeted by Steve Raine who was unable to get the padlock open on the hangar. After about 30 mins of fiddling and using his previous employment experience he eventually managed to tease the wheels enough to get the padlock apart. If you find yourself in the same frustrating position the knack is to wiggle the combination wheels slightly as you push the padlock together (apparently).

Approaching Roadford reservoir from my Cirrus at about 5000 feet
Some of you may know that the road sign and along with it our yellow sign on the Brentor Road have been flattened by something very big. Knowing we had a number of visitors today, and in particular I had told Western power to look for the sign when trying to find us, Robin and I lashed up what was left of our sign using cable ties and electric fence posts. First flight of the day was a check flight with Mike Sloggett and Steve Raine. Steve found a thermal straight off the cable and up they went to 3000 ft (see photo). 25 mins later they came back as Mike had a long list of others he needed to fly with.

Meeting of the 2 seaters. The Twin Astir towing in front of the K13
Barry Greene took off in his and Mike Bennet's lovely K6 and after working hard soared off into the blue. Our first guest of the day was my friend Pete Bernardes who flew with Mike Slogget, Pete thoroughly enjoyed his two flights but unfortunately the thermals became elusive and all the flights in the K13 were short for the rest of the day.

A view down the runway towards the west
 Trevor, Phil and Robin flew their twin Astir quite a few times around the airfield bringing a smile to the treasurer and the clubs bank balance. Barry appeared back on the airfield after a lovely 2 hr flight visiting Roadford Reservoir, Gunnislake and Tavistock and managing to get to 5,800 feet. The thermals were getting hard to find by now with most people back on the ground within 5 mins. After Allen Holland showed everyone that the thermals were still there by working away just to the North side of the airfield and staying a loft for 1 hour, I decided to fly my Cirrus. I worked away in the area to the North of the airfield and after 10 mins had managed to gain just 300 feet! But then things got easier and following Barry’s advice that the Thermals were stronger the further North you went I eventually managed to get up to 6000 feet and fly up to Roadford Reservoir (see picture) and then back down to Grenofen to take a picture of my house before flying back to the airfield.

Brentor Church
Mike Sloggett, Mark Courtney and Mike Jardine all flew various members and visitors

Visitor Mike Barnades with Instructor Mike Sloggett
The thermals remained small and weak low down but strengthened above 1500feet and became strong over 3000feet, but some of the sink was awesome at 10 down in places! Philip Harris and John Gaul both completed their one day courses and James Hood an instructor from North Hill came up and flew with Mike Sloggett.
3000 feet and over 2 knots up. Great stuff

Barry had the longest flight of the day with 2 hours and Robin gets a mention in dispatches for managing to keep the twin Astir airborne for 16 minutes in the weak thermals. Flying went well on into the evening with the last flight taking place after 7.30 pm, a total of 29 flights. A long day with lots of smiling faces but mixed soaring fortunes.

A huge thank you to Mike Slogget for all his support and to the North Hill chaps for supporting us even though the onsite catering was lacking in meat pies CFI Mark valiantly stayed on to the end. As always a big thanks to all the Winch drivers and most of all to Heather for driving the retrieve all day, where would we be without you Heather?

A parachute to protect from a fall from the Quad? Heath and safety gone mad?

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 20th May 2018

On Sunday 22 April we hosted Ed Clarke and Mark Kennedy for their One Day Courses. The weather on that day was, most by now will fail to remember, grey, blustery, with a weak sun but showers blowing up from the South-west to frustrate our sport. And so, as the third shower crossed the airfield at about 3:30pm that day we gave up, ironically to notice the clearance pass through as we left the car park at about 4:15. So Ed and Mark were advised to consult with 'The Voice of Dartmoor', Dave Downton, to re-book. And both opted for today: what a contrast! A clear sky, bright sun and a southerly zephyr greeted them today, just what was needed to enable us to complete the remaining four flights of their One Day Courses, including a soaring flight for Mark (37 mins to 2,500ft) and Ed handling all three controls together with a degree of confidence by the end of the day.

Ed Clarke celebrates completion of his One Day Course with Instructor Martin Cropper
Mark Kennedy also clearly enjoyed his One Day Course, which included a soaring flight to 2,500ft.
 And for the club pundits the day lived up to its 3.5 forecast on RASP, with Leith Whittington managing 50 mins to a little short of 3,400ft agl in his Dart 17R, whilst Allan Holland kept the K-8 aloft for 33 mins 'in the blue'.

Ed Borlase took this spectacular photo of the K-13 and Zugvogel thermalling in the blue
 With the ground drying out it is easy to forget the days of only a month or so ago, when two consecutive days without rain was unthinkable (as was flying), and we all moped around the clubhouse thinking of things to avoid doing; and so it is perhaps timely to thank Mike Bennett, Steve Fletcher and Dave Downton for their efforts in setting up the new drainage system, which has already proved very effective and, with the additional measures projected, should be even more so. Thanks also go to Robin Wilson, Phil Hardwick, Roger Appleboom and Allan Holland for winching. A good day in predominantly blue conditions was had by all.

Martin Cropper