Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 23rd October 2016

With a 40kt easterly wind forecast by the Met Office and WeatherPro showing gusts of over 27 kts by 1100 it was very quickly decided that today would be a ‘no fly’ day. Perhaps too quick for some, since, by mid-morning the wind remained light and variable – and there was a definite temptation to ignore the forecast and get the toys out.

The roll cloud was clearly in evidence over the moor today – but would there be wave?
However by then we had already disappeared down a very deep rabbit hole entitled: ‘How Many Glider Pilots does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?’ The mission was simple: fit a new amber flashing light to the new blue winch. The answer: not so simple, as the light – which shone and whizzed when connected to a battery, stubbornly refused to light or spin when connected to the winch electrics. How can that be? Well, those who understand wiggly amps will say of course it was a project doomed to failure since the light was 12V and the winch 24V – the bulb would simply burnout (actually it was us who suffered the burn out) but not so, the winch has a voltmeter which reads 12V so clearly it had a 12V supply we could tap into… Result? Nothing!

How many glider pilots does it take to change a light bulb?
 Looks like 6 – but could they get it to work?
On a lighter (ho, ho) note, mention must be made of the very positive contribution that has been made by the Acton family this week. Taking advantage of the rain we experienced early in the week Chris, and son Henry, have been using the small tractor and rotorvator type device to spike the entire airfield, which should have a very beneficial effect on drainage as winter approaches. They’ve also taken the front (punctured) tyre of the big tractor off for repair so we have even more reason to say: Thanks, guys.

As the morning wore on it was clear that the airfield was in the middle of the rotor, as the wind could be felt from all quarters of the compass, and the swirling cloud above revealed. Probably not worth the risk, then…

Fancy a flight in the washing machine?
Evidence that the airfield was in the middle of rotor.
But back to the amber flasher: with lunch approaching and the thing refusing to obey the laws of electrical science (including the efforts of aging rock lightshow star Colin Boyd), an alternative approach was clearly needed. Rooting around in what is euphemistically known as the garden store, Colin found two or three old amber flashers he thought might be made to work. Indeed, when fitted with a 24V bulb, one worked a treat! So maybe if we’d fitted a 24V lamp from the start..?

Roger wires the light into the 12V supply of the winch.
“Works a good’un!”
Roger checks out the amber flasher before taking it up to the airfield.
Next Sunday’s weather is also forecast to be easterly – but not nearly so strong and so, although the wind speed/height profile isn’t available yet, it should be much more clement. Don’t forget to turn your clocks back!!

Martin Cropper

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