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

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 1st September 2018

According to the Met Office today is the first day of Autumn. Other scientific disciplines list the start of Autum as the Equinox on September 22nd. Whatever the season really is, the endless high pressure systems of the long, hot summer seem like a distant memory. The SW is being crossed by a series of frontal systems rolling in from the Atlantic.

The Grey cloud stretched fom Horizon to horizon

Today's frontal system is a tightly curved occluded front. This has given us a light(ish) grey cloud sheet from horizon to horizon. In among  this cloud sheet were the wave and lenticular clouds often associated with frontal systems. These do not seem to offer any soaring possibility but I would need access to a motor gliding to test this idea. The wind is light to moderate from the SE going more southerly as the day progresses. Temperatures are still good around 20C. Easily tee shirt and shorts weather.

In the distance some lenticular clouds were in evidence
 After a quick change of ends to put the winch down at the east end and brnig the control tower to the west end, it was off to the morning briefing. The soaring forecast did not look good but there was a chance of some limited soaring later in the afternoon. So a training / practice day then.

With this in mind the 2 K13's and a K8 were prepared and taken to the launch point. Instructor Mike Jardine was looking after the club flying and I was looking after the visitor flying. Early on there was some signs of reduced sink rates which allowed circuits to extend to 9 or 10 minutes and as the afternoon progressed there were even some thermals to be found. The longest flights were Allan Holland in the K8 at 17 minutes, myself and visitor David Browitt in K13 G-CHXP at 18 minutes and Martin Broadway at 23minutes in the K8.

Our Introductory Flight visitors today were Gary Hine, Nigel Crane, David Browitt, Andrew Cutler and Andy Ball, all of whom seemed to enjoy their flights and trying out the aircraft controls.

Gary Hine looking thoughtful before his flights
Visitor Nigel Crane flew with Rick
Visitor David Browitt
Andrew Cutler flew with Mike.
Notice the clearer sky later in the Day
Visitor Andy Ball ready to go.
Out thanks as always to all the helpers especially Heather and Barry for retrieve and winch services before they departed towards distant airfields where Barry is checking out a prospective new glider. More news on that at a later date.

An enjoyable club day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-A Trial Flight in Pictures

Lizzie Westcott enjoyed an Air Experience flight with instructor Peter Howarth.

These are her photos of the event.

On the launch

The view South from the top of the launch

And the view North
Lizzie and Peter
Looking over the  launch point
Final approach towards the east end of the runway.

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 25th August 2018

Yesterday the weather was poor with rain and drizzle. For tomorrow there is the weather forecast from hell, torrential rain and strong winds. But today everything looks well set for a good soaring day. Warm sunshine, breeze from the NW at about 8 to 10 knots. Interestingly the wind strength is forecast to remain constant up 10,000 feet which usually suggests little or no gusting. Great. The RASP soaring forecast looks good with the afternoon rated as excellent.

Early on the club was busy with people rigging their gliders, getting the club aircraft out and the airfield ready. The good forecast added some additional enthusiasm to proceedings and after the morning briefing by Instructor Rick Wiles it was off to the launchpoint to wait for the promised thermal activity to start. The first few flights were training circuits but by midday it was obvious that there were thermals to be had and the private fleet launched.

Ged and Phil were the first to go in the Twin Astir and were not seen again for 2 hours 42 minutes. Roger Green was next in the Zugvogel 3B for a flight 2:43. This aircraft launched again later for a flight of 1:36 by me. Steve Fletcher soared the Open Cirrus for 1:59.

Roger Green's View of the Plym Estuary from 4000ft.
Looking towards Saltash
Third to launch was Richard Roberts in his beautifully presented Discus WL. Richard was going cross country. His task was from Brentor to Salisbury Catahedral and back, a total distance 348km. In the event Richard turned back a little short of Salisbury as the area looked "a little soft". Even so he still acheived a flight of 284km with a total time on task of 4hrs 15mins. Great effort.

Richard getting the Discus ready
Richard's Task

Out Air Experience visitors today were Alister and Gregor Morley with Tamsin Perret. All Enjoyed some soaring in the bouyant conditions.  

Visitor Tamsin
Alister with me waiting to launch
Visitor Greg
Our thanks once again to all the helpers who made this a successful day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Salisbury and Back

What were you doing last Saturday? Glider pilot Richard Roberts was flying his Discus WL cross country from Brentor near Tavistock aiming to turn the Cathedral in Salisbury 174km away. As Richard was also intending to return to his home airfield this would have been a total flight of  348km.

Richard getting the glider ready
Great visibility on task
In the event he turned a little short of Salisbury as the area looked "a little soft" for a total flight of 284km after 4 hours and 15 minutes on task.

The task

His low point ( in both senses of the word ) was getting stuck for 35minutes over Crediton on the way home before climbing away once more to complete the task. The highlight of the flight for him was the view of Poole Harbour in the distance as the visibility was so good.

Poole Harbour in the distance

A great flight


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 22nd August 2018

A grey day with low cloud greeted the Wednesday flyers. I arrived at the club to find Heather rubbing down the paint work on the window to the right of the club hut door. I managed to find some wood filler in the hangar and set about filling some rather large holes in the frame. Heather did a great job painting the window whilst I optimistically decided to go and rig my glider because I thought I saw some blue appear over the airfield.

With the field set up with the Gus launch at the far western end of the field we took the K13 and club K8 down to the launch point. Rick arrived full of optimism and enthusiasm and as Rick and I arrived at the Launchpoint the cloud base dropped and the Dartmoor drizzle descended. The Wednesday crew found that the clubs newly renovated K8 came in handy  straight away….. as a shelter!

Surveying the cloudbase from the shelter of the K8 wing
The cloudbase remained reasonably low with no possibility of soaring so the day was used to practice launch failures and with a slight southerly wind this meant we quite often ended up retrieving the launch cables from over the fence. Heather drove the retrieve all day and did a sterling effort clambering over the fence and retrieving the cable. Where would we be without her? A huge thank you to Heather.

Barry drove the winch for most of the day until I briefly took over to give him a rest towards the end. Thanks Barry.

Everyone that wanted to fly did, albeit briefly to practice their eventuality flying.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 18th August 2018

The initial synopsis was not looking good. Breezy with rain and low cloud. Undeterred on arrival at the airfield conditions were somewhat better than forecast. The wind was in fact SW at about 8 knots but not at all gusty. The cloudbase was low initially but this just gave the opportunity to get some maintenance tasks done.

Rick set about rigging the green Landrover with a tow out bar because the preferred tow out trailer had suffered some stress/fatigue fractures near the wheel axle which Allan Holland then set about repairing. Last seen there was a lot of grinding and welding going on. Thanks chaps.

Rigging GDK
Making use of the time, another group of us set about rigging the club's K8 G-CGDK which has finally completed it's extended maintenance program and is ready to rejoin the fleet. Rick later test flew this glider and released it for club use.

K8 G-CGDK rising into the air for it's test flight
We were very pleased to welcome Shona Fenion, a visiting glider pilot from Surrey Hills Gliding Club, who was in the area and couldn't resist popping in the spend a day with us. Shona's enthusiasm for flying was obvious and her help around the launchpoint was very much appreciated. Although Shona only managed three circuits we do hope that she will visit again soon.

Shona with instructor Mike
Our other visitors today were Nigel Storrs, Mike Fallowfield, Jack Grabham, Nick Dagarne and Susan Opie who were all attending to experience gliding for the first time.

Nigel Storrs
Mike Fallowfield
Jack Grabham
Nick Dagarne
Susan Opie
The flying itself was very pleasant with the smooth airflow from the SW. Although there were no thermals to be found, there were large areas of reduced sink which allowed circuits to extend up to 8 minutes in the K13's. Visibility was never very good with areas with lower cloud bases and drizzle around the county.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 15th August 2018

The RASP was showing low level cloud at the start of the day lifting to 1800 feet by the early afternoon.

Today was going to be busy but with Instructors Mike Sloggett and Mike Jardine on site we were up to the task. We had a one day course and 5 trial flights to fly but the low cloud was determined to stay making the day shorter than we would like.

First off was Terry Matthews who had 3 of his one day course flights , it was decided to continue the training on another day with improved conditions and we look forward to the return of Terry to complete his training.

A birthday flight was taken by Norman Jelley with Mike Sloggett.

Norman and Mike
Friends Zillah Martin and Aryanna Japhayel both had flights with improving views over the moors as the cloud base lifted to 1100 feet.

The final trial flights were for sisters Jamie Carney and Josephine Carney who were holidaying in Brentor with family.

Then it was down to training with club members and some solo flights in the club K8.

Whilst it was a day of practicing circuits a good day was had by all with a great team effort.

Thanks to all involved.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 11th August 2018

Early low cloud with it's attendant drizzle made this a non flying day right from the start. This didn't deter the members much and there were several groups who set about tasks around the airfield.

Early morning mist and drizzle
The Launch Hut was brought down to the hangar to allow a good deep clean and tidy up. Rick started work on the brakes on the Red Landrover. Meanwhile the Red Tractor was droning up and down the runway with mowers attached - the end of the dry spell has encouraged the grass to grow once more.

Launch Hut receiving some TLC. A new paint job is being planned for the Autumn
The headless mechanic. AKA Rick
In the club house, apart from an impromptu talk on circuit planning and approach control, the major effort was to continue with the upgrade of the Simulator which has now had a new computer motherboard fitted, facilitating the installation of a new graphics card allowing 2 more monitors to be fitted. The new monitors show the wingtip views left and right. This will facilitate circuit training and winch launch training and generally increase the immersive nature of the updated Condor 2 software. Topping off this series of upgrades was the fitting of a newer, replacement main screen which has much improved resolution.

The simulator with 3 working screens
The cloud did lift a little in the afternoon but never enough to even consider flying.

The afternoon view. The cloud is only just above the church
Better weather next time?