Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 18th May 2019

After the weeks of blue skies today was a bit of a surprise. There was a high cirrus cover with some cumulus clouds in a lower layer. There was some brightness through the cirrus so, with a bit of luck, some thermal activity was still possible. The wind was very light from just west of north. The forecast  was for showers in the afternoon but while these were evident to the south, they did not affect the airfield.

The upper cirrus cloud greatly reduce thermal formation
One big advantage today was the fact that the top field was in use, which allowed us to extend the winch by 400 metres. This meant that, even with no effective headwind component, the K13 could still launch to 1350 feet and the K8 nearer to 1600 feet. This would prove extremely useful in allowing the aircraft to find the ellusive thermals.

The lower cumulus layer provided the thermal activity
With careful searching it was definitely possible to soar. Not the strong cores of the last few weeks but usable for local soaring. The longest flight of the day was by Malcom Wilton-Jones was flew the K8 for a little over an hour before airbraking down to let someone else have a go. The K13 made several shortish soaring flights.

Steven Hassall
Today we welcomed Steven Hassall who attended for a One Day Course. He enjoyed flying with both myself and Rick a was able to make some tidy turns by the end of the day. We hope this is the just start of his glider flying journey. Also visiting today was Alexander Hughes who enjoyed a couple of Trial Flights with Rick.

Steve Raine breifing Alexander before his first flight
Alexander and Rick waiting to launch
Rick was also kept busy with club instruction today with several flights with David Archer followed by A series of practice cable breaks with Steve Raine who was keen to practice this,

A "Busman's Holiday".
Retired farmer Phil could not resist cutting the grass
A good club day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 12th May 2019

The airfield at 0900 – just needs a few gliders to perfect the scene.
Quite a large number of people were dissatisfied with today's flying. And, in the West Country terms, they were probably quite rightly so, being as they were “Them Who Wuzzunt 'Ere..!” From o'crack sparrow to hooty owl time they missed thermals aplenty, and that despite the wind veering from east to south-east, there was no sign of influx from sea breeze to flatten the buoyant air.

Tavistock from 3,000ft:
Almost all the 13,000 inhabitants have no idea what’s going on above...
With our steeplechasers absent at the ICL, it fell to us 'local yokels' to show what could be made of the day, and do well did they prove, with Roger Appleboom departing in CBY before midday for a distinctly career average 3 hrs 46 mins, Club Inspector Colin Boyd taking FUB for a 52 minute survey of his happy hunting ground (ie. Gunnislake), Jo Nobbs absent mindedly using the club's K-8 for >2hrs before he realising that he didn't have a wristwatch, Farmer Phil Hardwick venturing north of the A30 for 2 hrs 11mins, and Ed Borlase (who is responsible for most of this report's photos) having a double bite of the cherry red cherub (EWO): 1 hr 19 mins on the morning and a further 1 hr 10 mins in the afternoon!

Roadford Lake from 3,000ft.  The clouds and their shadows say it all..!
The club K-13 G-DDMX captured by Ed Borlase’s head-cam.
Our visitors included a very welcome return of Tony Hogg, on reciprocal from Seahawk GC at Culdrose, One Day Course student Andrew Hollis, from Dartmouth, Tracey Atkin, from Milton Abbott, and Jamie Lang, who all flew with Instructor Peter Howarth. Pete was also very pleased to be able to send returning member, Hugh Gascoyne, solo in the K-8 for three launches before the end of the day.

Our One Day Course student was Andrew Hollis, from Dartmouth.
Tracey Atkin, from Milton Abbott, enjoys a joke with Pete Howarth.
Visitor Jamie Lang being briefed by Instructor Pete Howarth.
The photos say it all, really: it was a delightful day, the most disappointing aspect being the profligate use of airbrake required to reconnect with mother earth. But “Them Who Wuzzunt 'Ere' wouldn't know that, “Wud 
A huge smile from Hugh Gascoyne as he prepares to re-solo in the club K-8.
Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 15th May 2019

Interestimg, testing, challenging and thought provoking were some of the comments made by the Wednesday soarers during the day. Although the day dawned with a clear blue sky, there was a 15 knot easterly wind generally straight down the strip. So the K8 was left in the hangar and a K13 towed to the launch point.

K13 waiting for a busy day
K13 waiting for a busyHugh Gasgoyne was first to see what the conditions were like. Both launch and landing were a little lively, but Hugh coped well. John O’Connell was next into the front seat. The conditions were initially a bit too much for him on the approach, but by the end of the day and five flights he completed a full flight without me taking over. Well done John.

The other soarers in the front seat were Bob Sansom, Steve Fletcher and Malcolm Wilton-Jones. With an inversion at about 1600ft there was little thermal activity. The longest flight was by Malcolm who kept us aloft for 23 minutes.

Bob waiting to fly
We welcomed back to the airfield Martin Broadway and The Voice Dave Downton. Both enjoyed getting back into the air and we look forward to seeing them both regularly at the airfield.

The voice returns the front seat
Thank you to everybody who turned up to fly and run the airfield, especially Phil Hardwick and Richard Roberts who winched and chose not to fly. A total of 20 flights that pushed some pilots outside their comfort zones, but all gained valuable experience from the day.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 11th May 2019

A generally favorable weather forecast brought a good turnout to the club today. The temperature was in the mid teens but it was definitely chilly in the strong 15 knot NNW. Although strong, the wind was surpprisingly not very gusty at ground level.

Early on the clouds looked weak
The north Coast from 3500 feet
There was a lot of thermal activity. This made the airborne conditions somewhat turbulent particularly low down where steeply banked turns were the order of the day. These were rewarded with speedy 6 knot elevators to the 3500 feet cloudbase. Above 2000 feet the thermals were generally better organised with wider cores.

Looking down on the airfield from 3500 feet.
Note the K8 on the wire
As the afternoon wore on it was obvious that the sea breeze from the north was causing a convergence. The eventually ended up lying over the airfield. Pilot Roger Green made the best of the convergence while flying his vintage Zugvogel 3B for the longest flight of the day at 2 hours 55 minutes. Roger's video of the convergence is available here.

Roger's Covergence video  

The Okehampton Army camp complete with Ten Tor tents
Roger's view of Roadford Lake
We had several visitors today. Finn Wooldridge was today's One Day Course candidate. Finn enjoyed some of the good soaring which gave him plenty of time to practice handling the controls and flying the aircraft. Finn enjoyed his time with us. I hope he will return to sport gliding soon.

Finn waiting to launch. The cloud cover was building at this point
Finn keeping a good lookout
Carol Jagels got a bit of surprise today. She ended up at the airfield where she was presented with a trial flight as a birthday present. After some initial nervousness, she went soaring with Rick. When Carol left the airfield, she was still smiling. Great.

Carol and Rick
We also had a couple of visiting pilots today. Tony Hogg, an ex Navy helicopter pilot, usually flies at Culdrose. He spent the day with us and had a three flights with today's instructor Mike Jardine. The first of many visits we hope. Graham Banning usually flies at the Essex and Suffolk club from the flatlands of Wormington Airfield near Colchester. He went soaring with Rick in DMX. I am sure the local scenery added some interest for Graham.

Looking south towards Plymouth and the Tamar Estuary from 3500 feet
So a busy day with a total of 34 launches and lots of soaring.

Our special thanks today to the winch drivers who provided consistent service while coping with the very challenging crosswind.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Monday 6th May 2019

Bank Holiday Monday dawned with clear blue skies and a fairly good looking RASP. The field was prepared with the Gus launch as far west as it could go giving an extra 1300feet of cable. So even with the light wind forecast good launch heights should be possible.

Rigging in action. The foreground shows the Zugvogel 3B.
Behind is the very rare Schleicher K10 
The clubs K13 and K8 were prepared for flight while several private gliders were rigged. Amongst all this activity the twin astir was towed down to the hanger for its Annual Inspection.

With rather flat looking cumulus forming the first launch of the day was Rick Wiles the duty instructor. Rick was soon climbing away before air braking back down to report very strong thermal activity.

Early in the day the flat looking CU marked some very usable thermals
Steve Lewis was next in the K13 with Tommy Daves ( Steve's granddaughter's other half) , Tommy enjoyed a good thermaling flight of 39 minutes.

Tommy and Steve soaring in the K13
Wafting along at 4100 feet
Mike Bennett was next to launch in the club K8 and was hoping to get a one hour flight which he judged to perfection landing after exactly 60 minutes nice one Mike.

Mike soaring in the K8 as viewed from the K13
Dene Hitchen (scratch) needed a 2 hour flight after launching in his Astir he was soon climbing away to the cloud base at about 4200ft and managed the longest flight of the day at 2 hours and 18 minutes.

A Buzzard soaring over the launchpoint
The Twin Astir then made an appearance after the successful completion of its inspection unfortunately condition had detreated and despite the best efforts of Phil Hardwick, Malcolm Roberts, Ged Nevisky and Martin Broadway they could not get away.

Twin Astir missed to best of the weather
During all this activity Rick also managed to fit in some training for club members including a few practice cable brakes.

Karon preparing tp fly with Rick

Thanks to everyone who turned up today and especially to the winch drivers you know who you are and Karon for manning the launch point for the majority of the day.

Overall a fantastic days flying

Andrew Davey

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 5th May 2019

“Not Happy,” Pete Howarth fumed; “Not happy at all,” he reiterated, “There I am down the other end of the airfield and first the K-13 launches straight into a thermal, and the following six launches, all on different gliders, then all get away as well..!” Which indeed was true: in our first seven launches the shortest flight was 42 mins (K-13 training flight), and the longest 4hrs 3 mins (Roger Appleboom's perambulation of Devon in his K-6) and all points in between.

Early morning grid under a promising sky.
The soaring started early: exactly as predicted on RASP, in fact, and our local soaring flights included a Silver Height for Dave Westcott, 1 hr limited flight to 6,000ft by Malcolm Wilton-Jones, 36 mins by Ed Borlase in K-6 G-CEWO (his longest yet on type), 58 mins by Allan Holland in the K-8 (“Never before have I known such lift so strong...I had 10 up all the way around..!”) and re-qualification to solo flying for Jo Knobbs.

Roger Green’s view from his ASW-20 of Meldon Reservoir, which is just south of...
Roger Green’s encounter with Castle Drogo
(in foreground, clad in poly sheeting)
and the Teign valley, looking south-east.
The accolades, however, need to go to our cross country crew: Steve Fletcher (to 6,000ft+ - see his Facebook post), Roger Green and Richard Roberts (again) who, using the light north-westerly and dynamic (but not over developed) conditions, generally ventured north to Okehampton, west to Holsworthy – where they played with the sea breeze front - and then either south to Plymouth or back home, each of them completing flights of 100km plus (see Richard Robert's account on the 'How I did it' page of the DGS Website).

Steve Fletcher in his Open Cirrus approaching Plymouth from the north
(note Saltash and Tamar bridges on extreme right).

So, out of 23 launches in total, 50% were in excess of 30 mins duration, 4 of those being greater than 2hrs 30 mins. Many pilots exceeded 5,000-6,000ft (but only one for the first time - well done Dave Westcott (last seen searching for a willing OO!))

 Rich Roberts’s Discus, in which he flew 345km yesterday,
followed by 106km today.
Our thanks, however, must go most sincerely to unseen heroes – namely Rick Wiles and Scratch Hitchens who boldly set forth on Star Wars Day to set up the airfield up for a westerly airflow before most of us were even up..! Yes, having attended Saturday night's Stars Wars BBQ, the pair were up with the lark moving (and in Scratch's case welding) machinery to ensure that the Sunday Soarers would enjoy the Force - which we certainly did..! Thanks, fellahs.

...Okehampton, as seen by Richard Roberts.

Rich also captured this view of Ed Borlase in his K-6 negotiating Pitland’s Corner,
the junction between Chillaton and Lydford.
But what of Mr Miffy, marooned on winch island, while sending all and sundry into the sky? Well, on return to the launchpoint Pete Howarth not only climbed straight into a 1 hr flight in the club K-8, but later in the afternoon bagged 50 mins (to 3,000ft+) in the cherry-red cherub K-6 G-CEWO..! So not such a glum chum now then, eh Peter..!

Pete Howarth about to embark upon a 50-minute flight in K-6 G-CEWO.
Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 4th May 2019

The start of the club flying weekend.

The RASP forecast looked favorable. The weather was ok for the most part but the wind strength may be a problem with 20+ knots from the north ( just east of north actually) and gusty with it. There was definitely a chill in the air with most members sporting several layers but the sky looked enticing with streets stretching to the NE as far as we could see. Game on.

Looking down at the airfield. from the south west
There were several private owners getting ready. Richard with his Discus, Roger with his ASW20, and Stephen with his Open Cirrus. The club fielded the 2 K13's. The K8's were left in the hangar; this was not a day for them. The airfield was layed out with the launchpoint at the east end.

Looking down to Plymouth
The first K13 launch confirmed what we thought. The launch was rough. There was strong thermal activity. The final  approach was euphemistically described as "sporting". The second launch confirmed all this.

The K13 climbing well  ^knots on the vario.
Next up was Richard Roberts in his Discus. His intention was a long cross country flight ( 600 km was whispered). His launch was uneventful and after a little local soaring, he disappeared to return 5 1/2 hours later after a magnificent flight of around 360 km. Astonishing given that the wind at flying heights was around 25 knots. Richards story of this flight is available here. Awesome!


Richard getting into his parachute. ( I promised not to comment of the sheepskin)
Discus V5 waiting to go.
Roger Green launched his ASW20 a little later. After a circuit and a relight Roger disappeared for 2 hrs 44 minutes during which he reached 6000 feet above airfield height QFE ( 6820 feet above sea level QNH ). He flew to Eaglescott and back and the went down to Plymouth and back. Good flying.

Strong cloud shadows 
Gliding to the TP at nearly 6k and having the TP made !
Roger photographed this golf course north of Okehaampton.
But which one is it? 
The wind gradually settled a little as the afternoon wore on, never easy but certainly less gusty. The K13 made several soaring flights. The other notable flight was 1 hr 23 minutes by Steve in the Open Cirrus.

As the day wound down there was a flurry of activity at the clubhouse as the members a guests settles down for a BBQ to get the Members flying weekend of to a good start.

Many thanks to all the helpers, especially the winch drivers who had to put up with the very strong crosswind and had to retrieve the cable from the south field more than once.