Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 14th January 2018

With the forecast predicting wind east of south and the winch already positioned at the east end it would have been a foolish set of Sunday Soarers who looked the gift horse given them by the Wednesday Crew (who had changed ends with the winch) in the mouth. The condition of the field was, however, a serious cause for concern as, with the sky clear and mists rising in the valleys, we attended Pete Howarth's morning brief before deciding cautiously to take one K-13 and the K-8 up to the north-west end. First launch was at 1105. With two trial lessons booked, a F&F and a good number of club members keen to regain/maintain currency, getting through the list was always going to be a challenge, particularly with the going so very soft, but it was nevertheless good to see such a healthy turnout.

Roger Appleboom embarks upon his Record Breaking Flight in K-8 FXB.
With a light wind and some cumulus indicating wave from the south, whilst strato-cu formed drifts that obscured the sun, there was no clear soaring modus operandi, but that did not prevent Roger Appleboom from achieving a record breaking personal best with his longest flight of the year. It has to be said, however, that his modest 9 minutes in the K-8 was beaten by Richard Roberts, who managed a whole 12 mins (also a PB at BRT) and that we hope these records do not remain standing for very long..!

Roger Appleboom embarks upon his Record Breaking Flight in K-8 FXB.
Our visitors were Richard Nally, who flew with Pete Howarth, and Chris Brown, who flew with Martin Cropper. Rich brought his extended family with him (just how do children fail to feel the cold..?), whilst Chris's flights had been bought for him by his father, who had also flown with us when Chris "were just 'ubbuy'"..! Both enjoyed their short flights and vowed to return. Our F&F was Luke Vitai, the submariner husband of one of Ed Borlase's colleagues at the Theatre Royal who, despite a long and perishingly cold wait, thoroughly enjoyed his induction flight with Pete Howarth and will be back with us as soon as his underwater duties permit.

Visitor Rich Nally ready for his flight with Instructor Pete Howarth.
Visitor Chris Brown prepares to fly with Martin Cropper
Luke Vitai is given his first taste of DGS by Pete Howarth.
Stretching the day as long as we dared, it was a little after sunset when the final landing rolled to a halt, and we wheeled the gliders back for a well earned wash down and tucking up in the hangar. Twenty-two launches, no new defects and some cold, but satisfied smiles on faces bore witness to a productive and successful day. But for how long will those personal best times remain in place - just now they look pretty safe for at least one week, that's for sure..!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 10th January 2018

An optimistic weather forecast suggested that there might be the opportunity for some flying today so a ‘who wants to fly?’ email on the Club Google Group was sent out to gauge interest.

With a small but keen number of members looking to fly today, and with the weather and wind set fair, it was then a question of whether the airfield would be too wet, after recent rain, to allow us to launch and land gliders as well as use vehicles and tow out cables

With an easterly wind component forecast the area to the West end of the airfield was carefully looked at and although it was evident that certain areas were unusable it was also clear that a good sized area to the north of the track was usuable, but with a reference point further into the airfield than would normally be the case

Daily inspections on the wet hangar apron
The K13 (DMX) and K8 (FXB) were taken out of the hangar and daily inspections started whilst the winch was taken down to the eastern end of the airfield. With the field being as soft as it was a decision was made to not move the launch point vehicle from the other end of the field, with one of the tow vehicles used as a temporary launch point

West end launch point
With gliders and winch ready by mid morning flying could not commence due to misting canopies so it was back to the Clubhouse for warm drinks and a chat before a return to the launch point confirmed that our patience had been rewarded with the canopies all clear

Colin watches Phil make an accurate landing
Bob beside his K8
And so it was on with the flying list with a dozen or so flights then completed in the K13 and K8 allowing pilots to either regain or maintain flying currency. Best flight of the day was 17minutes by Steve Fletcher in the K8 who managed to find a small thermal.

Looking south from the circuit
Mid afternoon with everyone who wanted to fly having flown, and with signs of the canopies starting to mist albeit under a bright blue sky, the decision was made to take the gliders back to the hangar for a good clean of same from the accumulated mud

Mary Tavy
A good day all round with optimism and patience rewarded suitably

Mike Sloggett

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 7th January 2018

With the wind forecast to be in the NE, an hence a possibility of wave there was some anticipation in the clubhouse early on. Forecast wind speeds aloft (35kts at 2,000 ft) and gusts in excess of 25 kts at ground level tempered that anticipation, however, as we waited for sufficient members to arrive (which included a welcome visit by Wynn Davies, from DSGC).

The 10am “Stewards’ Inspection”
(Phil Hardwick, Rich Roberts, Leith Whittington, Wynn Davies, Martin Cropper (and Ed Borlase (photographer)).
Looking SE the cloud continued in an arc downwind of Blackdown.
A 10am ‘stewards inspection’, however, revealed that the alligator closest to the canoe was not the met, so much as condition on the field, which remains waterlogged. With rising temperatures this would turn from crunchy mud into quagmire, and hence the risk of damage to the ground or the winch becoming bogged down if we attempted to move it from its ‘safe haven’ to the east end of the airfield was assessed as being too great. Which was, indeed, a shame, as Ed Borlase’s photos show some interesting cloud formations which could have been explored had conditions on the ground had allowed us to get into the air, at least early on in the day.

Some interesting cumulus at the east end, looking NE.
Cap cloud over the western fringes of Dartmoor.
After beating a tactical retreat to the clubhouse, we worked on aspects of the Bronze C for Ed’s benefit, before the howl of the wind through the trees confirmed the increase in gusts and overall windspeed and hence our eventual departure.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 20th December 2017

Wednesday dawned bright and blue in some places but not on Dartmoor where you needed an IMC rating to drive your car to the airfield in thick mist.

Airfield in the mist
The Wednesday regulars were undaunted. The sorcerer and his apprentice (Colin and Dave) duly arrived at DGS and got the fire going and a brew up. After discussing various complex subjects we looked again at the weather and decided that the cloud base was definitely lifting and the sun was peaking through the clouds.

Colin and Dave departed for Okehampton to buy widgets and thingymebobs for fixing things while the rest of us finished our lunch and then decided to set up the airfield and get the K8 out in the hope that the weather would improve enough for us to fly. After getting the cables out , DIing them and the winch then taking the fence down our spirits were lifted when the cloud based looked about 600feet above the airfield. Things were definitely looking up, time to get the k8 out.

After completing the daily inspection and pumping up the tyre, we looked up at the sky to see how much things might have improved. Unfortunately the sky looked darker and then some light rain drops dashed our failing hopes so we put the k8 back in the hangar and packed up the field. The weather closed in and we all went home! We tried!

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 6th January 2018

New Year - new challenges? No, same old ones. The previous week has been very, very wet culminating in monsoon like conditions on Thursday as the latest named storm passed by. The airfield is as wet as it can be. So, in one way, the decision not to fly was easy, but with the wind in the east, and signs of wave in the sky the decision was made through gritted teeth.

The cap cloud sitting over the moor tells of the wave system in place
Some wave cloud near the airfield seen from some distance away
The small, but beautifully formed, group today did what they do in these circumstances, they got on with things. Mike spent his day doing a mock Bronze "C" exam and studying for the exam next week. This provided a few challenges for the more experienced members as well.

Our mechanical team in the shape of Rick and Scratch decided that today was the day to service the brakes on the GusLaunch winch. As these were originally from the rear axle of a very large lorry, it is heavy work and seemed to involve a lot of dressing up. Later in the day their skills were called upon to swap out the main circuit breaker on the generator which had finally died ( of old age, probably )

Rick ready to service the winch!!
Team work
Hoping to fly soon.

Steve


Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 16th December 2017

Winds light NW and a blue sky made starting this flying day a pleasure. A little doubt for later was the possible arrival of a frontal system with a lot of cloud.

The small, but perfectly formed crew swung into action a soon we had all the people and aircraft in the correct places ready to go.

One Day Course student Harrison
Jamie Bird waiting for his Introductory Flight with Mike Jardine
Along with One Day Course candidate Harrison Redwood ( a future Royal Navy Officer apparently ). we welcomed visitors Jamie Bird and, Tylo and Jon Coupland for Air Experience flights. Flying was circuits for the most part. Longest flight of the day was by Allan in the K8 who maintained his flight for 11 minutes by ridge soaring the far side of Gibbet Hill. From the airfield this looked an awfully long way away and several members were contemplating getting the trailer ready.

Jon Copland flew with Rick
Tylo Copland Flew with me.
The flying programme was progressing well until the front arrived. The sky went from clear to 8/8ths cloud within 20 minutes; 10 minutes later it started to rain. Ever optimistic we waited for the rain to clear but by 3pm there was no sign of any clearance and, after checking the weather radar ( the wonders of the internet ), the day was scrubbed. The long walk back to the hangar with the aircraft in the rain was decidedly not fun but soon enough we were able to dry off in the clubhouse in front of the roaring log burner.

Instructor's name badge
Today saw the Instructors sporting their new name badges. This is part of the plan to make the Instructors more visible to our visitors and new trainees.

Steve

 

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th December 2017

Today started with a beautiful sunrise as the sun appeared through the gaps in the dark looking clouds. There were weather warnings of high winds for most of the country but after a couple of hours work I headed to the airfield anyway. Looking towards Brentor as I left Plymouth did nothing to raise my hopes, there was a dark, glowering cloudsheet across the whole area. But by the time I arrived the lowest of the cloud had moved away. Good news. There was absolutely no wind. Unusual.

As the airfield was very wet, it was decided to operate with 1 K13 (G-DDMX) and the K8, using the quad bikes for towing duties and the landrovers confined to the centre track.

Light to no wind gave very calm flying conditions
What a nice flying day. Although there was no lift to sustain flights very much the air was glassy smooth making a circuit a very pleasant experience. Longest flight of the day was only 9 minutes by Allan Holland in the K8 who used a 1450 ft launch and a gentle minimum sink flight.

We welcomed 3 visitors today, Chris Duggan, Glyn Webstor and Michael Hills, who all enjoyed Air Experience flights.

Chris Duggan flew with me
Gly Webstor waiting for me and his first glider flight
Michael Hills flew with Steve Raine
  At the end of the day, after washing the gliders, it was discovered that the generator would not run properly. This gave Rick and Scratch an opportunity to get a bit oily and apply their usual diesel cologne while cleaning the filters and fuel pump to bring this venerable old machine back to life. Thanks chaps.

A pleasant day at the airfield.

Steve

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.
Steve 










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