Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 11th October 2015

Tenacity is a quality you wouldn’t instantly identify as being necessary for a glider pilot, since all it’s about is silently wafting about the sky observing stunning views in company with the occasional passing buzzard or other aviator. But when the pack contains strong sunshine, a steady easterly wind at 10 kts and an upward blip on RASP from 11:30 and the cards you get dealt are a full house (grey cloud on cloud (grey)) you need tenacity (aka bloody minded stubbornness) to stick it out until eventually those cards change suit.

New arrival at Brentor:
Standard Cirrus G-CGEP is Pete Harvey and Chris Owen’s addition to the privateer fleet.
And so it was (again) for the “Dartmoor Rigging Society” (as Richard Roberts put it) as we had 7 gliders rigged and ready to go by 10:00 but no possibility of launching safely until the cloudbase had lifted. Another attribute you wouldn’t instantly associate with glider pilots and their love of silent flight (unless you’ve tuned into one of the gliding VHF frequencies) is their ability to talk – endlessly - about aviation. And so we did. Sending Roger Appleboom off in his K-6 for a snifter only added fuel to the ‘when’s it going to clear’ sweepstake, whilst the arrival of Pete Harvey and Chris Owen’s Standard Cirrus G-CGEP from Lasham (see photo) provided a welcome diversion from staring at the grey stuff. If only the sun could break through, then all would be well (i.e.. let’s just add a large dollop of unfounded optimism to the tenacity cocktail…).

Pete Howarth demonstrates the non-drip method of carrying out monthly maintenance with oil.
Lunch came early, included Oreo cookies (thanks, Paula), and went. Indeed some tummy clocks were beginning to crave afternoon tea before we were finally able to commit aviation (safely).
Leith Whittington's Dart 17R heads the line up.
Roger Appleboom gets air beneath the tyre as he launches...
Between 2:45pm and 5:45pm we managed 17 launches (so almost 6 per hour), all to 1,110ft plus, with our trainees obtaining two flights each and Flight of the Day going to Chris Owen at 10 mins in the Zugvögel, using lift that appeared to be wave based up and down the length of the airfield.
The sky had cleared to a pebbelstoning of cirrus by 4pm
...into an uninteresting sky...
Sadly our One Day Course student, Norman Hartnell, from Dunsford near Exeter, and a queue of trial lesson visitors had to rebook, but then with Dave Downton on hand at least they had an instant service!

Thanks, as ever, go to Barry Green and Heather Horsewill for, in reverse order, providing the cables and launching, and also to the rest of the team (especially new member Nick Bilton and (relatively new member) Steve Fletcher) for sticking it out until conditions improved.

So what’s the deal for next weekend?? Who knows! (But there’s a hint of more easterlies…)

Martin Cropper

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