Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 3rd November 2018

With a frontal system on the way the weather started off badly and just got worse. Early on saw low cloud and near gale force, southerly winds. As the day progressed the cloud lowered even further and turned to drizzle which became heavy rain by the end of the day. So another non flying day.

Cleaning the mower
 Several tasks were undertaken. The tractors were brought down to the hangar apron for some TLC and the mower was pressure washed in preparation for the winter. Mike spent his day tidy up all the gorse, brambles and long grass on the western side of the trailer park as part of the drive to tidy up. The simulator had parts of the trim mechanism replaced.

Mike with chainsaw
Later David Archer and I spent some time working through Approach Control. We will be offering lectures as required throughout the winter.

Later in the day the committee met for their meeting during which it was decided to purchase Bob's K8 which has been on loan to us for some time. The members will now have a choice of 2 K8's to fly.

Hoping for better weather


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 31st October 2018

Due to work commitments I arrived at the airfield after lunch where the team had everything prepared ready for the flying to commence.

The RASP was not looking good for the day but we got on with the flying programme. First up, two flights with Robin to work towards getting him current again. Next up was John Smith. John and I sat in the K13 waiting for a break in the clouds that had moved in from the South East.

The break never came and with a cloud base at around 500 -600 feet I called it a day and we moved to the warmth of the club house where new member John O’Connell tried his hand on the simulator under the watchful eye of Colin Boyd.

John trying out the simulator while Colin looks on from the back seat.
Thanks to all for the preparation.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 27th October 2108

What a difference a week makes. Last week we were flying in tee shirts and shorts. Today, even though initially we had a clear sky, the temperature was a decidedly chilly 7C. After allowing for the wind chill from the 15 knot northerly this was close to freezing and the assembled members were wrapped up in every layer they had brought with them. Personally I was wishing I had brought my Arctic cold weather suit; a lesson learned.

Sunny over the runway. Showers to the west. Wind across the runway
The northerly wind was strong and gusty straight across the runway, definitely out of limits for flying visitors which were reluctantly canceled for the day. The club was going to fly though so both K13's were readied and taken to the east end launchpoint. Instructors Rick and Mike proceeded to fly with all the memmbers who wished to fly including new member John O'Connell who is keen to experience glider flying in all it's facets..

HXP waiting in the sun. Shower clouds showing to the right (south)
Very quickly the were showers all over the local area but luckily these seemed to go around the airfield. Rick seemed to be well tuned in to the conditions. Twice he managed to find a thermal to whisk him rapidly to the 2000 ft cloudbase before being blown too far downwind. The first of these was a 19 minute effort with John Smith followed by 17 minutes with  David Archer. There was also some lift to be had from the north ridge but only relatively low down. The gusty conditions sensibly prevented too much exporation of this. MOst landings were on the stub runway.

John O'Connell with Mike in DMX
Take up the Slack
Lift off
Around 3pm we had had enough of the cold and, as all those who wanted to fly had done so, decided to return the gliders to the hangar.

We made the best of a difficult day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 24th October 2018

A small but beautifully formed Wednesday crew turned up to be met by thick fog and NNW fresh breeze across the runway. After the usual deliberations and a cup of tea we set the field up and waited. I decided to rig my Cirrus and as the fog dispersed and the wind moderated to about 10 to 15 knots I decided to launch. Given a rasp forecast of no thermic activity and not a cumulus cloud to be seen no one else felt the desire to rig.
The view from the North ridge
So off I went and found just a bit of lift off the slope to the North side of the airfield which I managed to use to keep myself aloft for a bit longer than if I had found nothing, best of the 4 flights was only 11 minutes though. Whilst I was enjoying myself Heather cleared up and hoovered the club hut and then painted around the new , 'shop' board. A huge thank you to Barry for winching and to Phil and John Smith for launching me and to heather for driving the retrieve, what lovely people we have at the club, thanks folks

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding news-Sunday 22nd October 2018

Driving to the airfield, the weather was bright with some early morning mist patches which would soon burn off. After a cup of tea and coffee, the early arrivees set about getting the airfield ready. The first job was to sort a winch out. With only one cable available on the Gus it was decided to use ML2. A quick phone call to Rick to confirm it was on line, revealed that the brakes needed adjusting before it could be used. Andy Davey undertook the task and the cables were soon towed out ready for flying.

With both K8’s off line, the two K13’s were DI’d and towed to the launch point. Unfortunately by this time the fog had decended and we had to stand down and hopefully wait for the fog to lift.

The fog descends for the first time.
After about an hour and a half the fog had lifted and we decided to go flying. First up was visitor Joanne Greaves who came with her family and friends. She was a bit of an adrenaline junkie who has previously done a tandem parachute jump. Despite this she did let out a bit of a scream in the first part of the launch. After three short flights she left with a big smile on her face.

Joanne Greaves and Family
Next to fly was returning new member John O’Connell who was getting to grips with the primary effects of controls and starting to use all three controls. Also flying with me to maintain currency were Martin Cropper and Colin Boyd. The other solo pilots Roger Applebloom, Ed Borlase and Andy Davey made use of the K13 with no K8 to fly. Leith added to the circuit count in his Dart.

We also had a visit from prospective junior member Marcus with his father and grandfather. Marcus spent most of the day helping around the field under the guidance of Colin Boyde. Although he was offered the chance to fly, it was decided to return at a later date after buying a voucher.

Marcus and family talking to Leith.
The view from K13 late in the day.
Thanks go to everybody who looked after our visitor and ran the field especially Alan Holland who winched without flying due to a dose of the flu. Only 18 flights with the late start not bad.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 20th October 2018

With high pressure very much in charge, today's sky was cloudless from start to finish. What little breeze there was came from the south. The early morning dew was amazing, the grass couldn't have been wetter if it had been hosed down.

The early morning runway com plete with very wet grass
The launch point was set up at the east end. the winch was set up at the west end just inside the fence line. The cattle in the top field prevented the use of the field to extend the cable length. Initially we removed half of the fence to provide more cable break options but the cattle were so intent on getting onto the runway ( our grass must look a lot better than that in the other field ) that we had to replace the fence.

Heather keeps them at bay while we put the fence back up
Today's conditions lured out several private gliders with the Open Cirrus, Twin Astir and Barry's SF27 all making an appearance. The day did not live up to the promise of thermals in the blue. Best flight of the day was a 15 minute effort by me in K13 G-CHXP with a small thermal located overhead Brentor Church enabling a height gain of a whole 150 feet. A least everyone tried.

One Day Course Candidate Neville prior to his first flight
Today we hosted 2 One Day Courses with friends Neville Devonport and Stephen Robinson.

Visitor Stephen Robinson

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