Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 9th October 2016

Today we discovered that dramatic steps had been taken, and replaced, to enable us to get into the launchpoint. Following condemnation of the previous flight (which had been held together by a wing and a prayer over the last few months) a plea was posted on the Forum which resulted in, yes, you’ve guessed it, ‘The Voice’ of Dartmoor Dave Downton responding with his wood cleaver and drill to effect a midweek replacement of the steps (see photo). Well Done, Dave, and thank you.

Dramatic Steps have been taken, to put in place New Steps;
thanks to Dave Downton and Colin Boyd.
Today was also new winch induction day. Our new blue winch (which you could be forgiven for thinking is the old one simply given a lick of paint) has some significant differences in the brake department which require each winch driver to be trained in before taking over. This lost us some time and launches today which, although inevitable, was ‘sub-optimal’ and is to be regretted.
Could that be wave? The new winch is framed by a crescent or early morning cloud.
But what of the weather? The forecast predicted 060 at 8-13kts and so naturally, we were all expecting to be at x,000’s of feet in wave by midday, and indeed the early cloud looked that way. But from mid-morning it was clear that the real weather had other ideas, being generally northerly 7kts/light and variable on the surface with no change of direction but increasing in speed with height. Which eventually gave rise to… convection, classic cumulus and some superb thermals (better than August or September’s miserly offerings…) These allowed nearly all club trainees, Charlie Taylor, Dave ‘the Potter’ Westcott, Elliot Acton (22 mins with Peter Howarth) and Jeff Cragg to get some soaring, whilst Peter Howarth flew our One Day Course, Jeff Ellis, and visitors Charlotte Moraiz, Freda Welton and Jeff’s wife Liz Ellis.

One Day Course student Jeff Ellis, from Kingsbridge,
with Asst Cat Flying Instructor Peter Howarth.
 Inquisitive visitor Freda Walton (see text).
Jeff’s wife Liz, prior to her flight with Martin Cropper.
Visitor Charlotte Moraiz.
Although Flight of the Day went, by a country mile, to Roger Green in his ASW-20, mention must also be made of Roger Appleboom managing 1hr 50mins in his K-6 (see photo), Paula Howarth achieving 14 mins in the K-8, Barry Green 22 mins in the Zugvögel and Peter Howarth 15 mins on first flight in his newly acquired K-6CR. Roger, meanwhile, who headed for Cornwall, said that “initially, climbs were to 4,000 ft QFE (!) with big areas of sink in between. Very weak wave in late afternoon…” He also found time to take some spectacular photos, one of the Tamar which, if you trace its course from the top of the photo, shows just how steep, narrow and tortuous the valley becomes upstream, and another in which you can gloat over the queue of cars crossing the bridge at Gunnislake. Those who know the area will be able to make out the zig-zag of the A390 as it careers down to the bridge and the steep incline of Newbridge Hill that then climbs up into the village.

Roger Appleboom, in his K-6CR, seen soaring by Roger Green in his ASW-20.
How many cars can you see crawling across the bridge to Gunnislake?
Roger’s intriguing picture of Sunday afternoon traffic crossing the Tamar.
The River Tamar snakes south towards Plymouth and The Sound.
At the end of the day we had logged 38 launches, with 2 genuine cable breaks (both blue links…) Whilst waiting to be launched, one of our visitors (Freda Welton) asked what was the duration of the average flight. Well, today, Freda, our average flight time was a little over 14½ minutes - not bad for mid-October…

Martin Cropper

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