Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 5th March 2017

In the 72 hours preceding today there was general consensus between forecasts that low pressure centred over N Wales and an associated occlusion passing across the SW peninsula would make flying impossible. In the event, the widely predicted low cloud, gusty wind and sharp showers didn't fail to 'disappoint'.

Take some cloud, add generous measures of hail and 40 kt winds,
and you have the perfect recipe for not flying...
But just how windy was it? Arriving at the launchpoint we found that the weather station was steadfastly recording 19.8kts. This, as the wind whipped around the hut flinging handfuls of hailstones through the open door, defied common sense. So something was amiss. The monitor, which was correctly displaying the time, clearly was not at fault, so Roger Appleboom and Ed Borlase went aloft (well not into the sky, just the logkeeper's position) to investigate further. Whereupon they discovered that the transmitter, having continually transmitted information since the weather station was installed a year ago, had a set of dead batteries.

Hail and farewell: another vicious shower passes through...
A trio of AAs was required. Now most gliding clubs have spare 12V glider batteries and suchlike ready and waiting to go, but as for the humble AA... Well, we found one with a charge amongst a bunch of duds in the Tech Office, but that left two Situations Vacant. Fortunately, the ever resourceful Ed Borlase then appeared with two 'birds in hand' (their bush closely resembling the remote from the music centre!) and so we were back off up to the launch point. 

Ed Borlase and Roger Appleboom diagnose the fault with the weather station...
Once electrical connection had been established the weather station positively leapt into life, the screen glowing green as each new input was received... Eventually, once we had witnessed the screen record a windspeed of 41.9kts and thus were able to conclude that the instrumentation was in fact doing what we already knew to be the case, our return to the clubhouse was fully justified..!

...which then recorded 41.6 kts!
After tea and 'Breakfast Two' (yes, Richard Roberts had arrived*), we gave the overhead projector and drop down screen an unofficial opening, with some instructive videos on aerotows and spinning courtesy of You Tube, following which those intending to go soaring at Denbigh (aka Lleweni Parc) later this year studied You Tube postings from this interesting location.

Thanks go to Roger Appleboom, Ed Borlase, Adrian Irwin and Rich Roberts for turning up and, with the application of initiative and good humour, eventually got the weather station to produce data that bore some relation to reality. A pity if your penchant is 'Classic FM' or 'Radio Devon', but if you bring some AAs with you the next time you appear you'll be able to get the music centre working...

Martin Cropper

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