Dartmoor Gliding Club News-Sunday 3rd December 2017

With a moist north-westerly it was no surprise to find the airfield shrouded in low cloud. Today our CFI Don was attending to help Martin prepare for his Full-Cat rating. First up was for Martin to give a morning briefing to decide if we were going to be able to fly. With most of the met forecasts predicting low cloud and possible rain later in the day it was looking doubtful. But RASP gave a glimmer of hope that the cloud would be high enough for those who wanted the get some cable break practice around mid-day.

While we waited it was time to put the kettle on and settle down for a lecture on the theory of flight given by Martin.

Martin teaches the Theory of Flight
This was added to by Don in his usual manner and kept all interested until it was time to look outside to see if the weather was behaving as per RASP. Although there were some different views as to the cloud base, Martin declared we would get one of the K13’s out and give it a go. So all hands to the pumps and the airfield was readied for some cable break practice. First flight saw the pairing of Don & Martin, with Martin demonstrating to Don the correct procedure for a cable break. They did wait until just before going into cloud at 800ft before pulling off.

Don and Martin preparing to fly
Next flight was the same pairing, with Don playing Bloggs for the same exercise.

While Don and Martin debriefed, I settled into the back seat ready to put Dave Downton and then Ed Borlase through some launch failure practice. After six flights and the rain approaching from the north obscuring Brentor it was a quick retreat to put the gliders away and wipe them down.

We made the most of a short period of clearer weather and it was a relief that all went well (more for one than others):-

Cleaning the drogue 'chute
A big thank you to Richard for winching, Leith for retrieving and Roger for helping at the launch point; all without flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd December 2017

After the beautiful clear skies of Friday, Saturday was definitely a disappointment; There were patches of low clound everywhere. For quite a long period there was some clear air directly over the runway to tease us, but within half a mile the cloudbase was at ground level. At least the decision not to fly was not complicated.

Low cloud surrounded the airfield
 Rick set up and delivered a well attended lecture on "Launch Failures" which generated lots of health discussion.

Rick in lecture mode
This was followed by a strop hunt on the sides of the airfield. Trainee pilot Dave Archer found two strops; the rest of us, none. Must be beginners luck.

The loneliness of the long distance strop hunter. David with his 2 trophies
 After lunch David was treated to a One to One discussion on Navigation and Altimetry.

Colin's K6 made a brief appearance for some fettling of the tail skid.

Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 29th November 2017

 A cold frosty start greeted the Wednesday regulars. After a few texts between Phil and the crew we eventually mustered at the airfield. Unfortunately Allan and I were not able to get there until 1145 by which time Phil and Bob had got everything ready to go.
A fairly brisk northerly crosswind meant we had to be careful but we all managed to get airborne and practice our crosswind skills. Alan managed 11 mins best flight of the day by working the ridge (see picture of K8)

K8 whirling over the ridge against an endless blue sky
It was bitterly cold though as you can see in the picture of Allan all huddled up in the K8. But the views were terrific and the sky a fabulous blue.

Allan huddles in K8 waiting to launch
Once again Colin and Dave were seen slaving away in the workshop, many thanks chaps.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 25th November 2017

The forecast looked hopeful. Although it has been very wet all week today looks like a period of slightly better weather with wintery showers and sunny periods although there is a possibility of thunderstorms later. Forecast wind was 8 knots from the west but at first there was no surface wind at all the windsock just hanging forlornly on it's pole. After a careful pitch inspection it was decided that we could do some limited flying if we took care with the wet runway; ie. retrieve by quad only, Landrovers constrained to the track, no turning gliders on the spot (they tend to dig themselves in ).

The morning briefing
Towing out - not the shower on the left hand ( south) side
We welcomed Sally Cunis who returned to complete her One Day Course. Sally took a further 3 flights today during which she made good progress at handling the controls. We look forward to seeing her soon to continue her flying training.

Sally wrapped up against the cold
Right from the first flight it was obvious that the conditions were not quite as benign as the limp windsock suggested. First launch was to 1350 feet at which height the wind was 20 - 25 knots from the west. Ground level 0 knots, 1300 feet 20 knots - interesting. This led to some wind shear on the final approach as expected so a little extra care was needed with circuit planning today. Eventually the ground wind speed picked up to about 8 knots from the west

A sprinkling of snow on the higher Tors to the east
The other flights today were check flights by experienced club pilots who kept today's instructor, Gordon Dennis, busy in K13-GDDMX.

Our thanks today to all those who helped but especially Heather for driving retrieve all day, and Barry and Rick for the lion's share of the winch driving.

Flying was stopped early to limit the damage to the runway and to allow the instructors to head off early to Tavistock for the Instructors Meeting.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 19th November 2017

For those up early to earn some brownie points, collecting the papers from Yelverton, this was the sunrise that greeted them. Hopefully it was a good sign for the day to come. Unlike weekends previous, we were able to extricate the aircraft from the hangar and get them ready for a busy days flying.

Sunrise over Dartmoor
The day was spent giving check flights for those out of currency. First up was Dave Downton. After a couple of flights including a cable break practice he was declared fit to fly the K8. Next up was Mark Jerman who after regaining his solo wings yesterday had a quick flight with me. With no problems he then squeezed himself and wellies into the K8 for a couple of flights. Third on the list was Martin Cropper to regain his wings after his period away from flying. A perfectly executed simulated cable break declared him fit to resume instructing duties.

Martin about to get his wings back
So fourth on the list, Ed Borlase took to the air with Martin. After a couple of flights he added to his solo total, closing in on that time when he will hopefully be able to convert to the K8.
There was also a busy day for IFP pilots Richard Roberts and Roger Applebloom with four visitors.

First to arrive was Jamie Malac who flew with Richard.

Jamie Malac with Richard
Richard’s second trial flight charge was Anthony Welsh who enjoyed his two flights. Anthony has previously tried ballooning and wanted to try gliding while still young. He is hoping to bring his brother (an ex lightning pilot) up for a more leisurely flight around the sky.

Anthony Welsh
It was then a change of guard with Richard taking over winch duties from Roger who then took over the back seat of HXP. Mike Arbury arrived with his family for his flights with Roger.

Mark Arbury
Last on the list was Tim Stoneman who had one flight with Roger. With Colin Boyd disappearing into cloud at about700’ it was decided to stop flying and return the gliders to the hangar. Tim will have to return at a later date for his second flight, hopefully in better conditions.

Tim Stoneman

After the past month with little flying it was good to fly again and get everybody back current. Let’s hope for some settled weather over the coming weekends.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 18th November 2017

Today started with a stunning, blood red, sunrise. Is this the proverbial "sailor's warning"? Perhaps the recent run of poor flying weather has left me a little jaded.

The forecast was suggesting very light airs to start with progressing to 10 knots westerly by late afternoon. Cloudbase was forecast to lower significantly by 4pm.. Given the forecast, a push was made to ensure that we got started promptly. First launch was made at 10.25am.

The airfield from the NE looking south west
Right from the start it was obvious that, although there was little or no wind at ground level, at 1000 feet, there was significant wind from the west. Curious, but at least this helped ensure satisfactory launch heights. Early flights seemed to find rotor type turbulence at the east end of the airfield with very smooth air at the west end. Was this some kind of wave system? We will never know the answer to that one. Unfortunately,it did not supply any usable lift.

One Day Course candidate Scot
The 2 K13's were fully utilised all day with Rick and Mike conducting club flying in DMX also sharing the aircraft with Steve Raine who flew our Air Experience visitor, Nicky Craydon.  I flew our 2 One Day Courses with Scott Furguson and Simon Purcell in HXP . The  club solo pilots were flying the K8.

One Day Course candidate Simon
Visitor Nicky Craydon with Steve Raine
The most notable flight today was by new member and experienced pilot Mark Jerman who re-soloed with us today after a 12 months absence from flying. Welcome Mark.

Did I mention that i was cold today?
Not if you are equipped with a portable douvet
All through the day, there was a lot of low level cloud mostly over the high ground limiting our view but otherwise not causing us any issues until around 4pm when the cloudbase suddenly lowered and put an end to flying for the day.

Instructors cleaning gliders - a rare event?
Answers on a postcard please
Many thanks to all those who helped. A special mention is due to Heather who came to the airfield today especially to drive the retrieve for us ( as well as cleaning the clubhouse before flying started ). Now that's dedication.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 12 November 2017

The Met Office forecasts seem to have more repeats than digital TV channels. Although bathed in sunshine the airfield was wet and with a keen northwesterly wind in excess of 20 knots it was an easy decision to leave the aircraft in the hangar and declare yet another non-flying day. So the only thing was to settle down in the clubroom for hot teas and coffees.

Three wise men look at windsock to see how strong the wind is.
( Or maybe willing it to calm down? )
Martin occupied part of his time in the simulator to regain some sort of currency after his recent period away from flying. Hopefully we will get his wings back next week.

Martin getting a little practice
We did have a visit today by prospective junior member Marcus Jones and his family. Marcus is hoping to eventually go to university and study aeronautics and follow a career in aviation. The voice Dave Downton gave them a tour of the hangar, aircraft and airfield. Marcus spent some time in the simulator with me for some basic flying lessons. We look forward to his return soon to start learning to fly.

Let’s hope for some good weather and fly again next week.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 11th November 2017

Preparing to drive to the airfield I asked my digital assistant to give me a suitable playlist for some music. The first 4 suggestions were.

Purple Rain - Prince
November Rain - Guns N Roses
Rain - The Beatles
Singing in the Rain - Gene Kelly

The eagle eyed reader may well have spotted a link in this somewhat eclectic list  - yes it's raining AGAIN. ( another song title - Supertramp  1982).

The water running passed the clubhouse
The runway was a bleak and lonely place.
Note the higher tors beyond the runway are obscured by the low cloud
There was drizzle, rain and low cloud the whole day. So once again no flying then. The dynamic duo ( Rick and Scratch ) were to be found at work on the ML2 winch investigating an occasional and somewhat mysterious power loss. As it has a big, diesel engine suspicion had fallen onto the fuel system and after a protracted search the culprit was discovered, a small metal strainer type filter, located in a very obscure location under the engine was completely blocked. A few minutes of cleaning sorted it out.

The ML2 winch in for some TLC
It was quiet otherwise which is a bit of a shame really as there were several instructors available to help with Bronze examination preparation for our pilots. So, if you haven't yet done your bronze exam, why not come up on a non flying day to take advantage of the training on offer.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 8th November 2017

A beautiful sunny day met the Wednesday regulars. Phil Hardwick and I decided it was worth rigging and Bob, Robin and Alan decided they would fly the K8. Some very promising clouds formed but they just seemed too far away. We all had 2 flights each and took our turns in the winch.

K8 waiting to go on this beautiful sunny winter's day
The sorcerer and his apprentice had a break from working their magic in the workshop and came and watched us struggle to find lift. The best time for most of us was around 10 mins but as the sun got lower what lift there was disappeared. Well some of us thought it had, until Allan used his anti gravity device and stayed up for 15 mins!

Phil returns to terra firma in his Astir
One notable event was when we were preparing to launch Robin, just as Bob was saying all clear above and behind, Robin shouted 'stop stop stop I can't see' and released the cable. Well he could see but not awfully well as he had his reading glasses on not his distance glasses! So for those of us who are optically challenged and that includes me perhaps gcbsiftcbe might be the way to go.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 4th November 2017

The forecast occasional showers would have been better forecast as rain with occasional gaps. This and the very gusty winds kept the aircraft firmly in the hangar.

Between the showers the conditions looked good ( at least from indoors)
There were plenty of members on the airfield early today to attend the talk on "Collision Avoidance" hosted by today's instructor Gordon Dennis. This lively discussion flowed through the need for keeping a good lookout, the use of FLARM to help altert pilots to the presence of other gliders and the larger scale plans to develop a new system to make all aircraft electronically visible to each other. Heady stuff.

The next shower arriving over the trailer park
After the lunch time social gathering the Committee assembled for a single topic meeting which continued until late afternoon.

The lunch time social
The long range forecasts keep mentioning snow. I, for one, am looking forward to the chance to fly in those conditions.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 1st November 2017

A lovely day to go gliding but the sorcerer and his apprentice had other ideas. The dwindling Wednesday crew duly rolled up their sleeves, put on their wellies and set off to retrieve the BVB fuselage from its accommodation down the road. When we got there we found that there was a wing and another fuselage (well more of a skeleton) which had to be moved and brought back to the club before we could get to BVB at the back of the barn. It will take quite a bit of black magic to get the skeleton airworthy again!

A skeleton of a K7m.
Then back to the barn to get BVB. Once on the trailer we duly towed it back and after a lot of huffing, puffing, and all round heaving we got it into the workshop container. Duly warn out we retired to the club hut for lunch and a well earned cuppa.

Getting BVB onto the trailer required a detail project plan and a health and safety audit
followed by intricate manoeuvering and if you believe that...!
After lunch the sorcerer explained we had put it in the workshop nose first and the right way up. He needed it tail first and upside down. Well we all humped and heaved and twisted and turned and eventually got it back in so that some black magic can be performed on it to enable the club to fly it again. Where would we be without Colin and Dave?

Now getting close to 2pm we decided time to get the k8 out and get some flying in. We managed 6 flights between us with Allan Holland doing the longest flight of 7 minutes.

The end of another Wednesday, 
The k8 being taken back with a beautiful autumnal evening sky behind.
A big thank you to Phil who wasn't feeling great but still did all the winching and used our shiny "new" tractor to roll the area where the farmers tractors had damaged the runway ( the same area repaired last Saturday ).

Well done team!

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding Club News-Sunday 29th October 2017

Light rain and low cloud was forecast to give way to sunny intervals later in the day, giving rise to hope that flying might, if not at first, be possible later on. As the cloud lifted, however, the wind increased from the north, also as predicted, with some vicious gusts that presented a severe risk to the safety of the K-13s and which, together with the waterlogged airfield, drove the decision not to fly today.

And so it was back to the clubhouse to discuss the state of the nation and, more particularly, the upkeep cycle of our fleet and return to flying condition of K-13 (K-7M) G-DBVB, a much loved blue and white two-seater that often featured in You Tube videos of the club. On its long road to recovery following an accident we are about to recommission the fuselage (so there will be a call-out for volunteers to assist moving the same in the near future). This led us to speculate what registration it should be given...if indeed it had been 'written off' as modern myth supposed. Our hopes of a 'personalised' registration were quickly dashed, however, by Dave 'The Voice' Downton who discovered that it was, indeed, still registered as G-DBVB (albeit our-of-date for ARC etc.) But this was not before a trawl through G-INFO had revealed that G-DDGS is not registered.

The sorcerers apprentice (aka "The Voice") searches the G-info database
Now, would anyone like to reserve that registration for their favourite gliding club? We could then switch it to G-DBVB as it was nearing readiness ready for flight...

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 28th October 2017

The day started bright and early with safety briefings for our 2 One Day Course Candidates, Sally Cunis and Paul Ryder. Meanwhile on the airfield Mike Bennett and Steve Fletcher were busy working on the tractor marks across the middle of the airfield left by the farmer until equipment failure ( Mike broke his rake ) sent them back to the clubhouse for tea and medals.

"What no rake". Does Mike look surprised or annoyed?
The weather briefing was well attended but the F215 ( Low level weather chart produced by the met office ) seemed to be very complex with almost anything possible from high cloudbases to occasional hill fog. With the wind being around 8 knots NW it was certainly flyable so it was off to the launchpoint.

One Day Course Candidate Paul Ryder with Steve Raine
Sally looks happy to be flying
First flight was Rick test flying the K8 prior to it's release for general club use. This went without a hitch. Next up was Steve Raine keeping current in DMX while Rick was up in the K8. This was followed by our One Day Course candidates Sally flying in HXP with me and Paul flying in DMX with Rick. These flights punctuated by a few K8 flights by club members.

Today's view from the top of a K8 launch - photo taken by Steve Fletcher
 The flying day progressed well until quite suddenly the cloudbase lowered and put and end to the fun. An early return to the hangar followed.

Allan getting out of the K8 as the cloudbase decends
Some further training continued with the simulator in the clubhouse but both Sally and Paul will need to return another to continue with their One Day Courses.

At least we flew.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 25th October 2017

The Wednesday regulars turned up to help Colin and the sorcerers apprentice rig the K8 and Zugvogel. All went well but the Zugogel elevator linkage was a tad fiddly to say the least!

Colin then finished the CofA and ARC for  both aircraft which are now ready for test flying. A huge thank you to Colin and Dave for all their hard work getting these single seaters ready for flying.

"One Wheel on my wagon" or wing of my K8 in this case
At work assembling the K8
Whilst the weather was great with no wind and a lot of sun with high clouds the airfield was just too wet to fly. In addition the ruts across the middle of the airfield really need sorting as soon as the field dries enough.

As can be seen from these pictures you wouldn't want to cross these tracks with a glider. The field is currently too wet to roll them hopefully in a few days the soil will firm up enough for us to do some remedial work.

Tractor marks left by our farmer? Top soils and roller required
Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 21st October 2017

We are in the grips of storm "Brian" with it's attendant high winds and torrential bouts of rain. The airfield is as wet as I have ever seen it. Needless to say the aircraft stayed firmly in the hangar.

Morning lecture
 All was not lost though. Not one to waste an opportunity, Instructor Rick Wiles presented a lecture to our attending trainees on the Symptoms Of the Approaching Stall. This was also attended by some experienced pilots hoping to refresh their knowledge.

Rick wrestling the Discovery brakes into submission
Later Rick, along with Safety Officer Scratch, were to be found in the hangar finishing the front brake refurbishment of the Gold Discovery which is now fully operational once more. Out on the airfield ( in the rain !!) Steve Raine and Mike Jardine spent time modifying the trailer equipment for their Astir CS - now that's dedication.

Chairman Martin and  Company Secretary Leith still smiling at the end of the meeting
By mid afternoon the committee has assembled for their meeting which stretched on until the early evening by which time it was raining hard once more. The amount of water racing out of the main gate was just unbelievable.
The  gateway river