Dartmoor Gliding Club News-Saturday 31st December 2016

The last flying day of 2016 – what would it hold? Well, with a wind forecast of 'Whose Direction Is It Anyway?' and the potential for mist to form from 1100, it was a relief to see that RASP change its predicted temperatures overnight from dew point = ambient all morning to give am encouraging separation between the two from 1030 onwards. In the event, cloudbase was in excess of 2,100ft amsl from early morning (substantially above the 800ft predicted) and so
we were able to get away with an early morning, as opposed to a lunchtime, start.

With Rick Wiles running the field as probationary Duty Instructor, and next to no visitors to fly, today was the ideal opportunity for him to attune his knowledge to the variety of skills held within the club. The light wind (southerly at height) also gave us an ideal opportunity for students to practice their emergency reactions to launch failures, at a variety of heights.

Denise and Junior with Richard Roberts
There were three visitors today, all club related (today being an ideal opportunity for members to get their friends and relations into the air via the F&F scheme). First, Rich Roberts flew with dad Terry, a former member, and then, having been 'signed off' by dad, flew with the parents of Fixed Price to Solo member, Callum Doyle (parents being Denise and Tony, with grandson Junior, as pictured).

Tont Doyle looking thoughtful before his first flight with Richard
The air was significantly drier than a couple of weeks ago and thus, from a 1030 start, we managed to keep going until beyond 1545, when moist air driving in layers of cloud from the south coast (600ft and 800ft agl) caused us, with the 27th launch going to 'Scratch' Hitchens and all-round helper Dave Bourchier, to put discretion before valour.

That is not to say the the day was entirely incident free. As has been commented on before, there are occurrences at gliding sites that some people positively revel in, which they would not be the case if they took place on the driveway at home. Today's was the catastrophic departure of one wheel of the tow-out trailer from its supporting structure, not far from its destination at the launchpoint during a retrieve. Many hands made light work and we seamlessly moved to a two vehicle retrieve of both cables for the rest of the day – however there will be some heavy welding required to get the trailer back onto both wheels before the first weekend's flying of 2017.

It’s got plenty of tread left, it’s just the tracking that’s a bit iffy..!
The second event occurred after dark (hence no photos of the guilty parties), when the pulling in of the last two cables resulted in multiple loops, tautly wound around the drum, brake and cable linkages of the north cable – a veritable snake's wedding that invited all to 'Give Up, Tomorrow's Another Bank Holiday' were it not for the persistence of outgoing winch maestro Rick Wiles who, armed with only a 2lb sledgehammer, refused to give up until the maze of wire had been cleared. It was only then that he wondered about the whereabouts of incoming winch-master Scratch Hitchens, in answer to which the assembled membership were only able to make like the three monkeys (however it is rumoured that a tinny and the clubhouse might have provided vital clues....)

All the best to Everyone for Safe and Enjoyable Flying in 2017!

Martin Cropper

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