Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 2nd April 2017

A fine spring day. How quickly the weather can change! From yesterday’s prolonged showers, this morning’s bright sunshine was a transformation - the only link between the two being the spongy state of the airfield, a factor which demanded our close attention as we carefully manoeuvred the gliders and vehicles about to avoid damage to the soil. With a gentle breeze from east of north (ie. not the NW’ly that had been predicted), and with Peter Howarth and Rick Wiles undergoing their Asst Cat completion briefings with DCFI Gordon Dennis in the clubhouse, we were atypically slow in setting up the launchpoint, waiting for the wind to settle and ground to dry whilst Rich Jones cut out some frayed strands and respliced the north cable shock rope (see photo) – but that’s variety: the splice of life!

Variety..the Splice of Life!
Richard Jones splicing one of the shot ropes
whilst we wait for the wind to settle west of north.
By 1100 we were on our way upwards, with the first of 38 launches that were to send 17 members and one visitor into the sky, three of whom would fly for more than an hour, one venturing as far as Taunton and back. The air was clear and fresh as we welcomed our first Sunday visitor of the year: Robert Stone from Exeter, who arrived with a strong supporting cast (ie. children). Robert went on a soaring flight with IFP Roger Appleboom for 17 mins, whilst the other K-13 was used to launch the club list (Daves Downton and Westcott, Ed Borlase and Richard Jones, Chris Owen, Alan Carter and Phil Hardwick) for shorter (some very much shorter!) training flights.

Today’s visitor was Robert Stone, who came from Exeter – with nieces!
Adrian Irwin showed the way with 1hr 12mins in the K-8 before lunch, followed by Roger Green in his super sleek ASW-20 and Rich Roberts in his Discus 2, which took him to Taunton and back (he played the discretion over valour card on encountering a blue hole over the Somerset Levels, wishing to avoid a possible long retrieve…) Dave Downton soloed for the first time this year, and Paula Howarth took the K-8 for an airing.

Dave Downton departs on his first solo of the year...
As the afternoon progressed we were able to witness the sea breeze draw in from both north and south coasts, creating a convergence cloud that delivered some lift over the airfield (see Paula Howarth’s photo) whilst the windsock swung through 180 degrees.

Paula Howarth’s late afternoon view of Tavistock from 1,600ft.
Note the convergence cloud overhead.
Also in mid-afternoon Peter Howarth and Rick Wiles were able to emerge from the clubhouse and announce – they had passed! And so we have two new fully qualified and able to run the filed Asst Cat Instructors! Congratulations to both on completing a journey that has taken well over a year to complete, many visits to other sites and a great deal of support from their families.

A sky to die for!
View from the cockpit of Roger Appleboom’s K-6CR
as he heads NE over Meldon Reservoir.
With the sun resisting its descent until gone 8pm these days, there was time to fit in check flights for Alan Carter and Phil Hardwick before returning the gliders to the hangar. But the excitement did not stop there, as the Sunday crew were then treated to the delights of Gordon’s ridge soaring workshop (see yesterday’s blog) in preparation for the club’s exped to ye Longe Mynde.

Thanks go to Phil Hardwick, Dave Downton and Rich Roberts for winching, to Heather Horswill for cleaning the clubhouse whilst we were out playing with our toys, and to Trevor Taylor (for keeping his visit mercifully brief!).

A proper Brentor Sunday.

Martin Cropper

No comments: