Dartmoor Gliding News-Denbigh Expedition

12th May-19th May 2017

Dartmoor Gliding Society seems to be spreading it's wings as we have all seen over the last few years. This is a great thing for DGS. and it now includes regular trips to Long Mynd, the Inter Club League at four of our neighbouring clubs, as well as the Aston Down trips when specific training needs are required.

With this in mind I was trawling the adverts on Gliderpilot.net (as is my want on occasions) when I found an advert for a soaring/training week at Denbigh GC (north wales). I made the enquiry and booked a place. I was told numbers were very limited due to the fact it was being run by G Dale.(ex national coach and competition pilot with over 10,000hrs).The places were filling up fast and I mentioned to a few people at Dartmoor I had got a place.

The down side was it was being run at an expedition site (not a training site) this has a requirement of sliver C and self authorising. It doesn't have club gliders to borrow or fly.
Well, over the space of the next week Dartmoor pilots took 36.6% of the 11 total on the course.
the merry band were Me, Roger G(reen), Roger A(ppleboom) and Adrian. Local accommodation booked by Roger G (thanks. It was a great deal)

So Roger G and I elected to leave on the Saturday and tow the 5H30min to site , arriving at 2pm ish. We both took different routes, I went up to nearly Warrington and then turned  left across the top of Wales. Bearing in mind, I was 20min behind Roger G, it was a great surprise to me he didn't arrive till about 30min after me. Here starts a reoccurring theme of the week.
Roger and the scenic Horseshoe pass he came over was idyllic however not the best route with a glider trailer.(brave 1)

We arrived early and it seemed half the course had the same idea. We had arrived early to get the accommodation sorted and get to know the systems and places in the area, but, Chris Gill the operations manager had other ideas...."its good weather and the wind is on the ridge, suggest you rig and get on ridge to get your bearings, I will get the winch out as tug not here yet."

So we did just that. Its a little daunting arriving and being told" it will be ok, just looks bad... when you come off the wire turn 180 degrees and head for the ridge, you should make it and join about 1/3 to 1/2 way up it and then you will be away! if not a few of the fields between here and there are landable .....

The "local" ridge
So we watched how it was done Off went the Arcus T and straight off the launch they pulled out the turbo and powered up to top of ridge height and disappeared... mmm but we don't have a turbo??

The Arcus T
Next was Graham from Lasham in an ASW28.  Off the wire 180 degree turn and joined the ridge at what I thought looked low, but the locals seemed to think it was fine. Then Roger G with the ASW20. The launch off a strange field with a narrow tarmac runway and 900ft launch (what a way to start)

The ASW20 on the narrow runway
Roger looked lower to start than the others and I watched as he did the 180 and was above the launch point above us, never mind I thought he will probably try again........no, the nose went down 60-65 knots on and off he set, it looked majestic. I visually followed the asw20 until it looked like he arrived at 1/3 ridge height into a windward bowl and then started climbing and "S turning" the face. (Brave 2) After five or six passes it was clear the locals were right, but it just looks so wrong from the airfield. (Roger later confirmed it didn't look much better from his angle but there were fields)

So my go.... wouldn't you know , straight off the winch I contacted 1.5knots up, so took the easy option and stuck with it. Thank God.

We both had a few hours flying the local area out south to the nearest lake 15km away and looking north from the coast you can see a windfarm in the sea (very dramatic) and Liverpool (not very dramatic)

The windfarm is visible (just)
Staying Local
Roger A and Adrian arrived, Roger A had a space behind his van where a glider should be when arriving on a soaring course. We then had the bad news that, the night before Roger was checking over the gilder to get things ready and had found some trailer rash on the trailing edge that may have happened on the previous retrieve at the ICL the week before. Roger A had dropped off the K6 to Talgarth on the way, to get it checked out to be safe. Good job as it did require some work but not the way to start a course week.

The 1st day of the course set the tone, lecture at 930am with a task to be set if soarable, (for the clubs idea of soarable please read 80% of launches don't need a relight) The rest of you crack on with the task.
After checking the NOTAMS , Met and task briefing, the flying gets underway about lunchtime.

First day
1-Roger G and I were set - Denbigh to SLEAP to COWEN to Denbigh 127km triangle-
2-Adrian was set his 50km to Sleap and land for a road retrieve.
3-Roger A got the back seat of the arcus for a 200km around north and mid wales (things were looking up)

A good looking sky
All was well on our task with a good pace down the first leg, but we had left near the back of the pack and the forecast showers arrived at the first turn point the same time as we did!!!

This shower was definitely causing some problem 
The trace makes it look better than it felt.
Let our own separate battles with the weather commence, I elected to only go within 3km of the TP and glide out to higher ground to look for a much needed climb, Roger G was brave for the third time in two days and pushed around the TP then ran to the sun ( west of Wrexham ) but by the time he got there he was too low to make use of it and stuck the ASW20 into field with full landing flap. Later when I got to the field for the retrieve ,it was a little hard to work out what direction the approach had been due to how quickly the glider had descended and stopped in the long grass (impressive).

Roger G in the field with his ASW20
My battle after running away from the massive rain shower was to get a climb and work my way towards Cowen. About Llangollen I got a call from Roger G with the instructions by text with where he had landed, so I cut the day short and headed back as I had no idea how long a retrieve in the mountains north wales would take. In the event it was an hour each way and a great retrieve.

Cut to Roger A , after landing in the arcus , and completing the task he then had the call, Adrian was down safe in a field about 35km away. The glider access was around difficult terrain to say the least and through 4 fields.

Fettling required me thinks
We then had three days of poor weather but the lectures made up for it and the knowledge will be put to good use, if we can remember it all.

It was then Thursday already, Adrian got a cross country flight in Rod Witters ASG32Mi, an amazing experience on a day when we local soared Rod and Adrian did a quick 200km...... an amazing glider.

The awesome ASG32
Roger A saw the local sights and ridges, albeit from the ground.The spontaneous nature of evening entertainment on site at Denbigh can be seen from the below photo....

The instruments sounded better than our singing.
Add to this a few meals in with good friends and mix in some pub food with the locals. Great views. What more do you need.

Friday was more of the same but Roger G got the honours in the ASG32Mi with Rod.

They got around their task (but did use the engine twice)
Great Sticker but I can see the benefits
Roger A had got the best he could from the course without a glider and headed home.
Adrian , Roger G and myself checked the weather for Saturday to be sure we weren't going to miss out and started the long journey home on the Saturday morning at 7am.....NOT VIA THE HORSESHOE PASS (Roger)

Totals flown - RR- 6h25m / RG-7h30m/ AI-3h30m/ RA-2h30m not bad for 4 flying days on a weeks course in May (just)

Free the Denbigh Three
Richard Roberts

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