Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th November 2016

With high pressure settled over the UK and an east/north-easterly wind in place from Wednesday, the forecasts all week held out the prospect of wave for Sunday – and so it was with a spring in our step that we leapt up to the airfield where, initially, the sky was clear as a bell. That was to change all too soon, however, as the Met Office forecast revealed that a 'weather feature' (ie. cold front) would sink slowly across the SW, pushing a bank of cloud ahead of it.

 No, this is NOT the sky we saw on Sunday –
this is the sky we SHOULD have seen on Sunday...
Fortunately, the base of the cloud didn't descend to the 800ft amsl predicted, but remained high enough for us to continue launching (ie. 1,900ft amsl). With no visitors to host today, it was a bit like a musician practising their scales: here's how you launch into cloud, here's how you trim with no horizon, here's how you fly a crosswind circuit, here's how you anticipate foreshortened diagonal and base legs, and here's how you realise that you MUST keep the speed on all the way down the final approach – oh and complete a fully held off landing as the crosswind performs a dating service between your glider and the downwind boundary...

What we DID get on Sunday; grey, grey, grey.
With CFI Don Puttock on hand to provide some (unexpected) advanced instruction for IFP candidate Rich Roberts, and Adrian Irwin, Karl Andrews and Roger ('There's a Wave Bar Out There Somewhere...) Appleboom available to keep the solo gliders cycling through, we started apace until...most unexpectedly (ie. as Adrian rotated the Zugvögel into the climb) the winch began sucking on air instead of diesel! Fortunately Adrian, who is not one of those pole-benders you see occasionally, was able to guide the Zugvögel back to earth without drama. The subsequent post-mortem revealed an incompatibility between metals used in the fuel supply line – a fault which we are deeply grateful to Dave Bourchier and Barry Green for identifying and, eventually, rectifying sufficiently to allow us to continue.

The reason why we didn’t get soaring weather on Sunday.
And so Dave Downton, Ed Borlase and Dave Westcott were able to resume practising their aforementioned 'musician's scales' whilst, just before dusk the cloudbase did, finally, lift.
With thanks as ever to Barry Green for winching, to Heather Horswill for providing the retrieve service, mention should also be made of Ed Borlase's friend Adam who, as a drone hobbyist, obtained some very interesting videos of gliders launching that we hope he will be able to expand upon in future...

Martin Cropper

No comments: