Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 13th November 2016

After yesterday’s gloomy low cloud, today dawned with very welcome bright, clear, sunshine; and a dew that proved more than equal to most “waterproof” hiking boots! (rubber overshoes being the only sure way of staying dry – thanks to Phil Sherwood for proving that point.)

The surface wind forecast was N’ly at 10 kts – which was pretty much what we got – although upper wind strengths were certainly well in excess of that; and the RASP forecast showed the minuscule rise from zero at around 1230, returning to zero thereafter. That was not quite (for one of us, at least) what we experienced…

One Day Course student Pete Holt flew with Roger Appleboom.
Getting airborne by 1030, our One Day Course Student was Peter Holt, a commercial pilot wanting a taste of gliding flight and who swiftly got the measure of Roger Appleboom’s teaching technique (deciding that it was probably better to laugh at his jokes rather than outdo them!) At the end of the day he was still smiling, particularly with the cool aplomb with which Roger handled a mid-afternoon low launch failure.

Peter maintaining a good lookout.
Other guests were friends from our neighbouring village of Mary Tavy: Laure Bury and Paul Westaway, who were treated to spectacular views of their village in today’s sunshine.

Visitor Laure Bury, from the nearby village of Mary Tavy.
Visitor Paul Westaway, also from Mary Tavy.
For trainees Dave Downton, Chris Owen, Ed Borlase, Phil Sherwood and Ben Caverhill there was just a hint of Groundhog Day as the crosswind was, once again, 90 degrees from the N, however the reduced windspeed and gusts made final turns and approaches much easier to judge.

At around 1130 the sky went from clear to ‘smokin’, with little grey tufts of cu appearing with great speed at no less than 1,200ft agl. These rapidly transformed themselves into about three lines of energy spread down the length of the airfield which raised the hopes of solo pilots Adrian Irwin, Pete Harvey, Rich Roberts and Roger and Barry Green however just as quickly a parasol of cirrus formed to cut off those hopes in their prime..!

But just a minute… where’s the K-8? Well it’s not on the ground so must be… Looking directly overhead the launchpoint there the little fellah could be seen under the leaden top cover, pointing directly North at about 1,500ft! Upon reaching the northern boundary of the airfield it reversed course south (remember those lines of energy?). Returning member Alan Carter had, behind our backs, managed to thermal up into a line of energy at the Eastern end of the airfield, there to make a number of N-S beats thus earning himself the award of Flight of the Day with an emphatic 24 mins (he says he came down to make the glider available for anyone else – but we know it was because his soaring fees piggy bank was running low..!)

With two K-13s, both club single-seaters (Zugvögel and K-8) and Rich Roberts’s Discus on-line, our hourly launch rate was never less than 6, with two hours seeing 8 launches, and our overall total was 41. Thanks, as ever, go to Barry Green, Dave Downton and Allan Holland for winching, and to Heather Horswill for driving the retrieve (and also, it must be said, to former Club Secretary Sandra Buttery for keeping her company in the cab..!) And also to Tony Dean in the launchpoint: those who think that the launch total could have been bettered are probably right – but then we did observe the 2 minutes silence at 11 o’clock: We Will Remember Them.

Martin Cropper

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