Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 22nd May 2016

When the weather forecast predicts isolated, or scattered, showers, glider pilots don't hide under the covers wishing to avoid getting wet, they positively leap out of their beds knowing that this is Met Office code for 'the atmosphere is unstable – and therefore your glider will be propelled to great heights at little or no effort from you so long as it is not raining when you launch...' A thought echoed by a strong team of members today who, despite a short shower mid morning, we able to exploit some strong lift in a gentle north-westerly today.

A pied wagtail atop the club’s tractor surveys an interesting sky.
This wind direction favoured pushing into wind and hence, benefiting from a relatively early start (first lunchtime), Richard Roberts emphatically claimed Flight of the Day with a 110 kms cat's cradle around Launceston, Caradon Hill, Brentor, Roadford Reservoir and return in a little under 4 hrs.

 Adrian Irwin in the K-8 launches into a promising sky.
Trainees ex-ATC instructor Jayne Marsh, partner Dave Jones, and returning member Charlie Taylor were also able to experience some pleasant soaring conditions in the morning. For more seasoned trainees, such as Ed Borlase, Dave Downton (flying with Gordon Dennis) and Pete Harvey, however, flying in the afternoon was a vastly different experience.

 Pete Harvey looking for lift in K-13 DMX.
As has been reported by other clubs in 'another place' (ie. Facebook), today was a day of two halves for, although the sky continued to look inviting, the afternoon was characterised by some fearsome sink which prevented all but the very bold from venturing far enough to find the lift which was being condensed between cascades of sink. As Gordon Dennis put it: “Have you seen clouds looking as distressed as that?” Or as Allan Holland said, after an hour's fight with the controls of the K-8, “One minute the thermals were narrow but shooting you up at 6-8 kts, the next you're in a large pool which delivered no more than ½-1 up; and the approach (ie. wind gradient) was the worst I've ever experienced..!”  With which Ed Borlase and Gordon Dennis, after a 36 minute flight in the 'washing machine' knowingly agreed.

Allan Holland escorts K-8 FXB back to the hangar
after an hour in the ‘washing machine’.
With thanks to Heather Horsewill for driving retrieve for most of the day and winch drivers Roger Appleboom, Allan Holland and Barry Green, after 31 launches we were grateful to the sky, and weather forecast, for delivering some of the most interesting flying of the year so far.

Martin Cropper

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