Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 11th September 2016

After a 1000 briefing in which Gordon Dennis had shown a cloud profile from Penzance to Bristol from OGIMET (some sort of Cornish Met Office?) that was completely blue, we were huddled in the launch hut sheltering from the rain! That said, we were lucky to have a launch hut to shelter in since, the first operation of the day, to change ends, had been hampered by over an hour due to a recalcitrant tractor which refused to start (persuasion came in the form of jump leads).

So instead of getting some valuable training flights in before the arrival of a stream of visitors, our trainees had to play a waiting game until much later in the day – which, although part of gliding, is unfortunate and sometimes more than a bit frustrating.

Once the rain cleared and the wind steadied from just east of south, thermic activity began to take place. And with came an increase in windspeed and gusts, making final approaches quite tricky and providing some excellent spectator sport!

After a couple of re-lights, Roger Appleboom (K-6) managed to find cloudbase at 2,000ft agl (see photo), and set off for Okehampton under cumulus that was beginning to street. Once there he very wisely decided not to push on, and began a very long row back to base. 

Cloud streeting...:
The view from Roger Appleboom’s cockpit at 2,000ft as he headed for Okehampton.
Meanwhile, Robin Wilson (also K-6) discovering that the sinky bits were more prevalent than the lifty bits, very wisely decided to make his first field landing just to the west of the airfield - an willing crew was quickly mustered to assist in his embarrassment!

Robin’s field landing: “How did he get it in so near the hedge?”
Robin Wilson and Allan Holland de-rig the K-6 after Robin’s field landing.
Our visitors included One Day Course medical student Georgina Covell, James Inchley, Steve Wickenden (his SEVENTH rebooking..! - Voice of Dartmoor Dave Downton was very happy to strike him from the list..!) and Tim Baxter.

One Day Course visitor was medical student Georgina Covell.

Visitor Steve Wickenden: this was his SEVENTH time of booking –
two flights later he was very happy
Visitor Tim Baxter with IFP Peter Howarth.
Visitor James Inchley being briefed by Martin Cropper.
As has already been said, our trainees, including Ben Caverhill and Callum Doyle, had to wait until the dying embers of the day for their training flights and deserve to be thanked for patiently helping out around the airfield whilst awaiting their turns.

At the other end of the airfield, Paula Howarth received winch training from Rick Wiles, whilst Barry Green and Heather Horswill also provided the end-to-end supply chain of launches and cables.

So, after a late start, and no club single-seaters in the air (the cross wind was out of limits for the K-8), 29 launches in all was no mean achievement – and with some strong lift and well organised thermals along the way – an enjoyable one as well...

Martin Cropper

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