Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 20th September 2015

Ever the Opto-MIST – Leith Whittington’s Dart 17R waiting for the sun to do its work...
Well, it's twenty days into September but today was the first Sunday that really felt like it. A soft autumnal mist enveloped the airfield and the almost total lack of wind gave that quiet, insulated feeling. But not around the hangar, where a busy scene provided evidence of good use being made of the delay to get all the gliders DI'ed, hoovered, canopies cleaned and ready to go.

Wagon’s Roll!  Thirty minutes later and everyone’s off to the launch point.
Which, as if by silent magic as the first patch of blue appeared in the sky, was what happened. With time to spare before his first Introductory Flight booking, and keen to regain his back-seat currency at Brentor, the Two Rogers, Appleboom and Green, took K-13 HXP to the skies for some experimental filming using Roger A's new headcam (which he uses for motorcycle instructing).

Roger-your-Roger: Roger Green pilots whilst Roger Appleboom experiments with his copper coloured headcam.
Their fun was soon interrupted, however, by a steady stream of visitors and their families, including Connor and Gillian Crawford (see photos), Kelly Tremblett, Ben Atkinson and Independent Financial Advisor friend of Jerry Wellington, Sarah Joiner (see hair – er her photo)..

Sarah Joiner, a Independent Financial Advisor colleague of Jerry Wellington, flew with Roger Appleboom - and, yes, her hair was that colour BEFORE she arrived at the airfield!
 Connor Crawford with IFP Roger Appleboom.
Gillian Crawford also flew with Roger.
 Aloft, conditions could best be described as smooth, with a thin layer of early morning cloud at 1,000ft giving a great sense of vista and perspective. But it wasn't all 'up, round and down' as the K-8 jocks were able to prove, with Jerry managing 11 mins before elevenses, and Peter Howarth 18mins before lunch. Indeed, with a moderate southerly, today was made for the K-8, with its ability to exploit ¼-½-1 up, as 'fresh from the winch' Barry Green demonstrated with alacrity for an award winning flight of 52mins to 2,000ft early in the afternoon.

The list of trainees included Paula 'Itchin' for the K-8' Howarth, Karon 'Gettin' my currency back' Matten, Dave 'I'm on telly tonight' Downton, Kit 'Cable breaker (sim)' Smith, new member Steve Fletcher and Theatre Royal marketing manager Ed Borlase. At which point a special vote of thanks must be made to the winch and retrieve crew who, in less than ideal conditions, valiantly recovered two simulated cable breaks from well over the north boundary (and well out of earshot!) Sometimes these things just have to be done at a certain stage in training.

Paula Howarth above the clouds in the aerial playground.
So by the end of the day we had managed 48 launches (which, had I not indulged in simulated launch failures, would have exceeded 50) and, although the average flying time was only 8½mins, that's 4 mins better for every flight than is expected from a 1,000ft, no thermal launch. But the principal achievement of the day has to be the elevation of Richard Roberts to the winch driving roster as, tired of putting up with his witty remarks, Peter Howarth signed him off as the newest member of the team, thus making at least 6 regular winch drivers on Sundays. So the gauntlet is down for 50+ launches next Sunday...I wonder what the weather holds...

Martin Cropper

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