The rain was falling till mid day and wind was NNW 10 knots There was a rumour, this would clear up lunch time, and some aviation would take place.
There are always things to be done so everyone set off to carry out chores until lunchtime.
Don set about second coat painting the workshop,
Our winch master was keen to reassemble the ML winch after essential maintenance and give it a good workout.
He was ably assisted by RIck Wiles, I'm pleased to report after 39 launches the winch performed faultlessly ably driven all day by the man himself Allan Ballard. ( winch master ) with Martin running cables.
Matthew Wiles and myself were on a mission to repair the windsock pole at the east end of the airfield we were able to get this up and running until a new pole can be found (scaffolders watch out)
The leaves were swept from the hangar and DMX DI’d. The tail wheel had locked up solid and on inspection the tyre had removed its self from the rim still inflated. This was swiftly removed rectified and replaced, to bring DMX on line
Don was on top form, for all the solo and bronze pilots he managed to deliver two clear and precise lectures on what must be one of the most difficult subjects to grasp – tephigrams. Thank you Don I am sure every one will benefit from these irrespective of age or ability.
David Jesty DI’d BVB and assisted Don, flying with Martha.
Matthew and Rick had rigged the SF 27 and after Don had given Rick a type conversion briefing, he and Matthew shared the SF for the rest of the afternoon with some reasonable soaring flights. RIck had obtained a 30 minute soaring flight on his second flight on type. Well done to him. I am not sure but not to be out done Matthew may have beaten that on the last flight of the day.
We welcomed a visitor from Nympsfield, Tim who paid us a visit whilst in the area.
Martha and Martin Cropper spent the best part of the day working on another project, which will come to light soon.
I have the pleasure to report another solo, Mike Harris, already an established solo pilot regained his wings after a short break. Congratulations Mike and look forward to seeing you around the launch point
Matthew worked hard retrieving gliders and launching them while I manned the launch point and log keeping.
And then it was time to pack away the kit as the beers were chilling, to be greeted by a chorus of happy birthday in the club house. (yes it was my birthday.)
At 7pm Martha was still hard at work on the computer assisted by Martin Cropper.
All in all a very productive but tiring day
Some excellent teamwork made light of what could have a been tedious jobs. In fact so much satisfaction was being gained that when conditions did become flyable, after lunch, we all elected to carry on with what we were doing.
End of day beers were very well earned and all the more enjoyable for that.
The flying start was delayed due to the weather, so on with the lectures for those who needed them. This included Darren Wills who took and passed his Bronze “C” exam. Well done Darren.
There was a brief improvement in the weather so, glider out, and everyone got a chance to practise coping with aborted launches to a 600 foot cloudbase while dealing with the moderate cross wind. Educational.
The weather closed in so, glider back to the hangar and what turned into a lively discussion on polar curves and speed to fly.
The technical team and helpers used to availability of the gliders in the hangar to push forward with the upgrading of BVB – the repaired wingtips and various patches were painted, the painted registration letters removed and replaced with very smart computer cut lettering and DGS branding applied. Thanks once again.
The day finished with a committee meeting planning the purchase of new aircraft which was followed by a barbeque.
Having to endure ‘war stories’ by veterans of last week’s Talgarth expedition was a small price to pay for the enthusiasm they displayed in helping to get - and keep - the club flying today.
Yet again we had to cope with a brisk crosswind, and the competence and staying power which DGS solo pilots and trainees are demonstrating week in and week out in tackling and coping with such conditions is pretty impressive. A light breeze, straight down the runway, will come as a bit of a shock to us all, if and when that ever happens again!
With such weather, the day turned out to be one big confidence building and learning experience, with not much in the way of soaring. However, a couple of trial lessons were achieved, bringing the club much-needed income and potential new members.
The stub runway was put to good use, with some quite novel approaches. Apart from sharpening our skills, this enabled us to encounter some rare orchids, explained by our resident naturalist, Bob Jones. (If you’re driving or walking on that part of the field, please try to avoid harming these little light blue flowers, which are clearly visible.)
The day ended with a small group of us having a constructive informal discussion in the clubhouse about various options for the short-term development of our fleet, to enable us to maintain that delicate balance of pre-solo, post-solo and trial lesson requirements - as well as fun and good humour - which are all so vital for the on going success of any gliding club.
There was quite strong thermal activity but the wind strength made it challenging to exploit the energy. What better time for more seasoned pilots to learn a few soaring tricks from the master and for the ab initios to experience flying at the more extreme end of the flying range. Everybody had their fill of flying.
It was nice to get back to the clubhouse and out of the wind for a relaxing beer at the end of the day.
This did not deter a hardy group of trainees and pilots. The early lectures were devoted to weather and winch launching. The usual suspects were working on the aircraft – many thanks to them for their efforts.
The weather improved a little by lunchtime, so glider out and off to the launch point. The 15+ knot southerly crosswind provided plenty of challenges and learning opportunities.
|K 13 G-DDMX on approach to the stub rumway|
Surprising what can be achieved on an unpromising day
On Thursday morning the optimism continued, gliders were prepared and watered by nine and everyone well breakfasted and entertained by Andrew's love of camping.
By ten the forecast was clearly wrong, with the sky clouded over but, right on time, a new tug arrived. There was hope yet. Aero-tow practice commenced with some soaring opportunities in the difficult conditions. Half of the cross-country contingent resorted to local soaring, the other half (myself) decided to wait. By one o'clock impatience kicked in and I launched anyway, dumping water after 20 minutes while struggling to stay airborne.
Conditions improved dramatically around Shobdon but the task then turned back to Wales and the poorer conditions, prolonged sink near the Brecon turn point adding even more fun.
By mid-afternoon the thermals were well established locally and everyone flew long flights benefiting hugely from Don and Bo's tuition. Big grins all round at the end of the day. Phil's perfect aero-tow launch video was watched many times and Andrew's officially-stamped logbook comment "Aero-tow and soaring EXCELLENT" displayed many times. (Do ask to see it- he'll be delighted to show you)
|Cloudbase below the ridge tops.|
|Is there a collective noun for a motley group of wet glider pilots ?|
A squelch of glider pilots perhaps??
Martin arrived in the evening with 14 pieces of salmon which Marta & Don transformed into tandoori salmon with salad on nan bread, together with beer & 6 bottles of wine, a fine feast was enjoyed by all.
A little work was undertaken with Jeff Craggs masterminding the refitting of the simulator blackout curtains and Bob Sansom repairing the tail ramp on his K8 trailer.
And then the somewhat sleepy day was brightened up by the visit of 2 ex members of the original gliding club to have used our site. We heard stories of how 40 years ago 2 embryo gliding clubs ( one with members from the Royal Naval Engineering College Manadon and the other a civilian club by the name of Albatross) hacked gaps into the gorse covered moorland which now forms part of our runway. They flew T21 and T31 aircraft using a barrage balloon winch and an old bus as clubhouse / launch hut and spoke fondly of the fun they had exploring the wave and thermals. Apparently these clubs flourished for a few years but lack of members saw their demise. DGS moved into the site 28 years ago. Our visitors were amazed to find a flourishing club on the old site and were particularly impressed by our wide clear runway; apparently they operated from, and landed in, gaps in the gorse???
We rigged the Cirrus and the Twin Astir after which we were joined by Mike Keller for tea in the now DGS2 club house
Dave and his LS8 arrived.
The morning brought Don, Mike Aston and a few BMGC members who joined us for the briefing by Bo Nielson at 10.00am
|Twin Astir on the Black Mountains Gliding Club airfield - Talgarth|
DGS pilots clocked almost 12 hours for their 7 launches.
Looking up at sheep is a new experience in a glider that is still flying and climbing up past walkers on the ridge in 4 knots up makes you really appreciate how fast you climb.
|Well above the ridge tops|
Today was a good day at Talgarth very friendly and welcoming and they even got us a tug to use.
Lots of flying today with Simon Tree completing some more solo flights after his first solo yesterday. Best flights of the day belong to the K6e syndicate Martin and Alan who managed 3 hours between them., in fact, Alan had declared his silver cross country leg to North Hill but the day wasn't quite that good.
Colin Boyde with Don in the back of the K13 went out towards Okehampton and ended up low over the hills and ridges at Sourton and, after a nail biting glide towards the airfield, they were saved from a field landing by some reduced sink and ridge lift over Blackdown. Good effort chaps.
There was a group, lead by John Bolt and Martin Smith, continuing with the airworthiness project. In particular, BVB is receiving a lot of fettling. Many thanks to all those involved.
A second group were de-rigging aircraft, installing them onto trailers, testing trailer brakes and lights in preparation for the trip to the Black Mountains Gliding Club at Talgarth where a group of DGS pilots are headed on an expedition all next week. We should get daily information from this group as the week develops. Watch this space.
The final, somewhat depleted group were the people actually flying. Don did a sterling job keeping everything going. The day became soarable later on with most pilots managing some soaring including one of our Culdrose neighbours flying his Mini Nimbus G-EEER. Simon tree complete his 1st solo flight - very well done
There was obviously one event that I missed but Bob Pirie ( of Wednesday fame ) sent this note
“Colin Boyd lost an argument with a bolt (not John Bolt!) in the roof of his trailer, which turned his flowing silver locks bright red - and necessitated the application of EASA-approved glue to his scalp in the casualty dept.of his local hospital. (Spoke to him last night and he's OK now.)”
Thanks everyone for the good humour on this busy day.
With so much going on at Brentor - even when we’re faced with poor weather and inevitable technical problems - finding something positive and interesting to report via the DGS Blog is seldom a problem.
However, I thought Wednesday was going to be an exception when I arrived to find that following a technical inspection a few days earlier, ‘BVB’ - one of the two pillars of our training fleet - had been pulled offline for essential maintenance.
This definitely set some challenges for today, but in true DGS style everyone rallied to ensure that the maximum use was made of our other 2 seater DMX.
One-day course student Bob Andrews of Hexworthy, Devon) was straining at the leash, as well as several other members requiring pre-solo training or post-solo Ged and I - supported by CFI Don - embarked on a full schedule of training flights using our other two-seater, ‘DMX’, and by late afternoon not only had all of the day’s training objectives been achieved, but several people had been soaring as well.
The Zugvogel - such a splendid soaring glider, but so often the Cinderella of our single-seater fleet due to its position at the back of the hangar - once again came to the fore and was enjoyed by several of our solo pilots. One of them even surprised himself (fortunately while thermalling at height) by discovering that the Zug can actually spin. But remembering what he had been taught, he recovered promptly - and returned to base somewhat wiser.
In total - and after a latish start - we achieved a respectable 35 high and hassle-free launches, so a big ‘thank you’ to the dedicated team who made them all happen.
Around the launch point and back in the clubhouse, the main topics for discussion were the forthcoming Talgarth expedition and the club’s glider fleet development programme. Although as duty instructor, my focus was on activities of a more immediate nature, I get the feeling that the acquisition of a third two-seater is high on the agenda, with the possibility of bringing another Ka6CR on-line also on the cards.
Looking ahead to next Wednesday, due to the Talgarth expedition we’ll be a bit short of instructors. But come along and we’ll do our best to get you flown. In particular, I urge all those solo pilots who are (a) not current, or (b) working through the Bronze C flying syllabus (or both!) to come along and get back into the swing of things.
The wind was very , very strong from the south and, despite the desire to fly, common sense prevailed and this became a non flying day.
There were lectures for those who needed them and the assembled members used the time to strip the covers off an old glider trailer in preparation for it’s final journey to the scrap yard. As always the simulator was available for fun and practice
The day started with a very low cloudbase and very strong south easterly winds. This delayed the flying start
But, ever resourceful, the assembled members used the down time to complete the cleaning, polishing and oiling service on both of the 2 seat gliders ahead of the scheduled dates. Don was to be found in lecture mode for the trainee pilots.
By lunchtime conditions had improved so there was an almost indecent haste to get flying..
Today there were a lot of new faces. We welcomed Mike Harris, a lapsed Silver C pilot, Warwick Parramore ( yes, Sean’s son ) who is just starting out on his flying career and Mike Gadd a returning lapsed member.
Welcome everyone and nice to see you enjoying the conditions.
Turnout was disappointing, which may have been linked to a lack of faith among members that there would actually be gliders to fly, combined with an adverse reaction to the rallying call to come and spend a couple of hours helping fettle the Zugvogel. As it turned out, there were gliders aplenty, and by the time it got really soarable, the Zug was on-line, gleaming and ready for action. At one point we had about half a dozen gliders soaring simultaneously, but even then BVB was just sitting there waiting for someone to fly it. Might that pilot have been you?
|Under utilised K7M BVB|
|Bob obviously trying to remember how to fly the ASW20F while syndicate partner Martin looks on.|
|Don and student pilot Keith hard at work.|
As our illustrious CFI pondered the heavens, Will Wilson and myself hauled DMX to the launch point, Nigel Williamson set up the winch and we all wondered what trials awaited us. As all of us are pre-bronze, dual flights were order of the day as conditions were going to be testing to say the least. They weren't going to disappoint!
|A wave bar over the runway to tempt any glider pilot.|
On my flight, a lesson in loosing height rapidly involving a spin followed by an 80 knot dive with full airbrake brought us down to a suitable height to start our approach. Starting at a thousand feet and with 65 knots ASI to get down through the wind gradient, it left me wondering, 'Who needs Alton Towers?'
Once again Trevor Taylor showed us whipper-snappers how to do it by flying the Jantar for an hour and a half and reaching 6000 feet [he could have stayed up for longer and gone higher he tells us] while his young grandson amused himself by flying the simulator, another budding young pilot in the making.
Many thanks to Don keeping the airfield open while North Hill, Culdrose and Aston didn't fly at all. We certainly were 'The Few' today.
And so it proved. The wind, straight up and down the runway from the East, should have produced wave, but didn’t; however those who flew had ‘character building’ launches into an instant 75-80kts indicated, leading to intriguingly smooth air off the wire, with some (was it ridge or was it wave..?) lift around the easterly facing slope of the site, followed by challenging descents at not less 65kts through the turbulence to land in a surprisingly smooth lee close to the ground.
|Matt Mackay and Don ready to go|
|Less than 2 minutes later approaching 1970 feet still on the wire|
Seeing the branches bend and leaves shake on the journey home I think we can safely say we’re current in flying in high wind conditions!
The site was otherwise busy though with Ged working on the ML winch brakes, Martin Broadway cleaning up the workshop and Martin Smith and John Bolt working on the club fleet.
Later, a committee meeting was held to discuss the club fleet and to explore ways of ensuring a high level of aircraft availability whilst continuing with the current maintenance effort.
The wind was in the east with wave influences apparent throughout the day. The morning was very murky which eventually brightened up to allow some flying which teased the pilots with promises of wave which proved to be particularly illusive.
The tea fund has now contributed a stylish metal and glass patio set to match the new BBQ for the clubhouse patio area..