Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 5th February 2017

Low cloud prevented an early start.
Although scattered broken stratus prevented an early start, an improving forecast gave us hope that flying might be possible. And so, as glider pilots do, having set up and inspected the kit, we set about looking for something to drive/build/pull-down/remove. Fortunately with Inspector's Apprentice Dave Downton on hand we didn’t need to look far as he passed on Colin Boyd's direction to move the reserve K13 fuselage CLT out of the hangar and swap the K13 wings being worked on between workshop and hangar. With many hands available to make light work the team effortlessly slid the fuselage into a spare trailer (only to discover that it wouldn’t fit, and so had to be taken out, turned through 180 degrees and put in tail first…)

“To me,” “To you!” The team load CLT effortlessly into the trailer...
Actually it wasn't until early lunchtime (or Rich Roberts’s breakfast No3) that the low cloud-base began to lift and some patches of blue began to appear, by which time a fresh northerly wind had sprung up – not out of limits, but enough to provide a test of the team’s abilities. And to add to our problems (of course…) the ground was very soft, and so the challenge was how to get through the Flying List with the least number of ‘transactions’ across the launch/landing area. At which point up steps Roger Appleboom with the bright idea (aren’t they all…) of ‘doubling up’ ie. manning the K-13 with two pilots (where permissible) who could swap roles of PIC over two launches.

Steve Fletcher and Rich Roberts fly for the first time together.
Thus Roger flew with Dave Downton in the back seat (a first for him) and Richard Roberts flew with Steve Fletcher (winner of today’s Mad Millinery competition – see photo) whilst Dave Westcott (runner-up in Mad Millinery) and Pete Harvey flew with Instructor Martin Cropper. And so, in eight launches we managed to complete the list making only minimal marks on the grass. And all agreed that, whilst the air was smooth at height, that snappy little crosswind provided just enough challenge to make their approaches ‘memorable’…

Roger Appleboom pilots HXP whilst Dave Downton samples the back seat.
Thanks go to Rich Roberts and Dave Downton for winching, and to Chris Owen who, post knee-op, drove retrieve without flying. Talking of which, we say farewell shortly to Colin Boyd as he departs, temporarily, into the gentle hands of the NHS Peninsula Health Care at Derriford for a replacement hip. All the best, Colin, and haste ye back (ie. don’t get too used to it..!)

Today we're looking through the Round Window -
Can you see Apprentice David at work on the K-13's wings?
Martin Cropper

No comments: