Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 22nd March 2015

At most gliding clubs the cocky reply to the casual enquirer is the inevitable “You should have been here yesterday!” Today the answer would have been “You shouldn’t have bothered yesterday - for today’s the day..! But before going into the boring detail of the day’s achievements, we need to pause for a moment and take stock of how we got there.

"All Present, Correct and Ready for Daily Inspection!" – the club fleet was ready to go by 0930.
For when globe trotting, Alpine flying LS-8turbo owning Instructor David Jesty greets you with “Nice to see the hangar’s empty”, causing a nice, warm feeling of smugness, you have to remember that it was largely due to the efforts of Leith ‘Early Start’ Whittington and Chris ‘I’m Right Behind You’ Jones, plus the Howarths and others, that he could have said exactly the same had he arrived at 9 o’clock, or even earlier (see photo). With first launch of the day away by 9:45, and the sky already looking ‘bright’, there was a definite spring in people’s step today and, with the wind in the NE, always the opportunity for wave.

One Day Course visitor Mark Samuel with Mike Jardine.
Our One Day Course student was PPL holder from Callington Mark Samuel (see photo), who was flown by Introductory Flight Pilot Mike Jardine for his first ‘flings’ into the firmament before moving onto David for instructional flying. Mark’s place in the front seat was subsequently taken by local resident Michael Hosking (see photo), who arrived for an Introductory Flight accompanied by a considerable following of family members. So two-seater DMX went from Mike’n’Mark to Mike’n’Mike..! Both enjoyed their flights and Mark will return to complete the launches he wasn’t able to fit in today.

Introductory Flight visitor Mike Hosking with Mike Jardine.
But it was in the single-seat market that the greatest gains were made… With a gentle north easterly wind and few clouds forming the sun did its job a treat - thermals began at around 11 and grew in strength throughout, as did the confidence of our early season pilots to find and exploit them. For example it took newly qualified Introductory Flight Pilot Pete Howarth 10 long minutes to get from 600 to 650 ft agl in the K-13 at 1030 in the morning, whereas it took ASW20 owner Roger Green exactly the same amount of time to get to 3,600ft by 2:30 in the afternoon! (- see Roger’s photos). And whilst those two flights probably bracket the greatest/least height gain for greatest/least effort spectrum, the intervening colours were populated by a Cross Country Endorsement qualifying 2 hours plus for Adrian Irwin in the Zugvögel, 1½ hours by Roger Appleboom in his K-6CR, an hour plus by Chris Jones in the club K-8, which Jeff Cragg and Karl Andrews also flew.

The ASW20 over the Tamar Valley
Approaching Roadford Lake
However Accolade of the Day has to be reserved for Pete Harvey who, having endured endless spins, spiral dives and cable breaks, finally went solo today (see photo). Pete, who has powered experience (but is none the worse for that), started flying with us in July and, travelling from Falmouth on a fortnightly basis, has been a regular feature on Sundays, taking a keen interest in Don’s lectures on ground school days and tenacious pursuit of his Progress Card on flying days. Well Done Pete! And watch out, you K-8 jocks, he’s coming through…

Peter Harvey being congratulated by Martin Cropper after going solo today.
Thanks go to Chris Jones for winching (again), to David Jesty for making a most welcome appearance, to Mike Jardine for his ‘bedside manner’, to Leith and the team for getting the kit out whilst dawn was still causing a blush in the sky and not least to Richard Roberts who, apparently at both ends of the airfield simultaneously, drove the launch rate up to 12 launches per hour at one point, thus enabling us to achieve 32 launches before an unexpected sea-breeze crept in from the south-west to put and end to flying for the day.

Martin Cropper

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