Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 30th October 2016

About fifteen years ago there was no such thing as RASP, you had to use the BBC weather forecast plus a sounding to work out how what conditions were going to be like (remember UDCSS..?). And then along RASP and everybody wanted it; blindly adhered to its predictions.

Even as the hurdle fence was being taken down
there were indications of wave present.
At Dartmoor we are very lucky in that the site at Brentor is a RASP BGA turn point prediction point. Today the prediction was as follows: wind direction 090 (tick) strength 11kts (tick) temperature 17C (tick) overall 'Stars' forecast x-x-x (ie. nil) (wrong!) Today we experienced wave all day, with climbs of up to 10 up (and 8 down..!) all over the locality - it was just a matter of finding it, of which more later.

The turnout today was excellent – which was just as well with the hurdle fence to get down, and a mysteriously flat K-8 tyre to be dealt with (thanks to Pete Harvey). We got going a little after 10 when it was already evident that a weak secondary N-S wave bar was established partway down the airfield – if only we could reach the primary which must be somewhere east of Mary Tavy.

Today's One Day Course visitor was Jerry Griffiths who, despite being an active mountain biker, suffered from mal de l'air, which was most unfortunate but he hopes to return, suitably equipped with Stugeron and grey wrist bands..! Other visitors included Spencer Ham and son Ryan, Maureen Summerhayes and, all the way from Canada, Roger Spall, who greatly enjoyed participating in the banter at the launchpoint before a couple of early evening flights with Rick Wiles. Check flights were flown with Matt Wiles and Alan Carter, whilst trainees Jan Baev, Phillip Sellwood and Peter Harvey were given their first taste of wave.

Brentor’s fame is spreading:
Visitor Roger Spall travelled all the way from Canada to fly with us!
Maureen Summerhayes flew with Asst Cat Instructor Rick Wiles.
Visitor Spencer Ham flew with Asst Cat Instructor Peter Howarth.
Spencer’s son Ryan also flew with Peter.
Reaching the wave did prove a little troublesome for some (note the '8 down' above) but, launching between 2pm and 3pm, Richard Roberts (Discus B) and Roger Green (ASW 20) managed to get away for some spectacular flying (Rich to 5,500ft QFE) in what they found to be silky smooth conditions above 2,300ft (it was very different below 1,000ft..!) Strangely, the best lift was to be found not just upwind of the clouds (which were cumulus rolls rather than altostratus lenticularis), as you might expect, but further out in the blue gaps between each wave street. Richard made use of two or three clearly marked 'avenues' to make progress north to Okehampton, and then turn south for a 25 mile (35kms) run down to the now defunct airport at Plymouth, before recovering to base (flight time 1hr 55mins).

Richard's View of the wave bars from 5000 feet
Scratch Hitchens took the opportunity to brush up his back seat skills by giving Heather Horswill a flight in the K-13 by way of thanks for her many hours of retrieve driving, whilst Paula Howarth converted onto the K-6 kindly purchased for her use by father Peter: thanks, Dad!

Paula Howarth prepares for her first flight on type in the K-6CR.
Overall we manage 34 launches which, for the number of members present, may sound a little low but was actually a reflection of the clocks having gone back which robbed us of at least an hour's flying (the last flight landing at 4:56pm, exactly coincident with sunset).

Glider coming home:
K-13 DMX about to overfly the oak tree on last flight of the day.
It was one of those days when, once you got to the plateau of the Cu at around 2,300ft, and had a breathtaking view out to 20 miles plus all round, you entered a strangely smooth and eerie world which made you feel uniquely privileged.

So thanks must, most sincerely, go to all those who helped get us there, not least Colin Boyd for ensuring that we have the steeds to get us there. Colin is looking for assistance in the workshop – if you think you have the necessary workshop skills (and time – not only to listen to his jokes!) then please get in touch.

Martin Cropper

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