Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 17th April 2016

Today was the first Sunday this year when the RASP forecast described a convex curve, peaking at 4-5 in the mid afternoon, so what, as they say, could possibly go wrong?

Well, in the best traditions of Threat and Error Management of course we inspected the cables prior to use, to be rewarded with a cable break on the first launch. Taking place at 800ft and with a mild northerly crosswind, the cable drifted well over the boundary, the drogue parachute creating an avenue through the trees...(see photo). From which returning member Ray Staines was treated to 14 min soaring flight which was obviously going to set the trend for the day... Or perhaps not. Sadly, the buoyant air over achieved and, after Karl Andrews had also achieved a quarter of an hour in the K-8 at 1100, the cloud cut off the sun.

First flight of the day drogue parachute found a leafy glade to land in.
 This was to no detriment for visitors Nick and Rob Tippett who, phoning in from Plymouth, were delighted to be told (by Dave Downton - the 'Voice of Dartmoor Gliding') that we had slots available to fly today (see photos). Indeed, by the time Rob was ready for his second flight with IFP Pete Howarth, conditions had recycled and soaring became possible again.

Visitor Nick Tippett flew with Peter Howarth.
Second visitor Rob Tippett also flew with Peter Howarth.
With the sun beating down on Blackdown the thermals began to fill the valley, delivering soaring flights for Ed Borlase, Pete Harvey, Peter Howarth, Chris Owen and Jerry Wellington, in which some found cloud base at 3,000ft agl within 10 minutes from launch. Conditions were also kind enough to allow Paula Howarth to consolidate her type conversion to the K-8: well done, Paula.
Today was also an opportunity to welcome new members Jayne Marsh and partner Dave Jones as Full Flying members of the club. Jayne (a former Air Cadet instructor who last flew in earnest at Upavon - so lots of change there, then) and Dave had already received Introductory Flights with us, but still decided to join! Welcome both.

"We must have got something right!"
K-13 DMX marks the thermal for
two buzzards to follow,
under a promising sky.
And so, as the hangar doors slid to a close just before 7pm (37 launches after the first at 1010 this morning), we retired to the clubhouse to reflect upon a day which, although 'could have done better' might have been it's summary; 'not half bad' was probably a more accurate assessment.

Thanks go to Heather Horswill for retrieve driving, to those who winched (both seasoned and trainees) and to those who hosted a variety of visitors (including professional photographer Richard Hayward)

Martin Cropper

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