Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 14th May 2017

With a willing and eager crew getting the gliders out at 8am, we could have been flying until well past 6pm, if the weather had behaved as forecast (wind SW’ly 20 kts). In the event, however, you had to be either myopic or very broad-minded to accept that the windsock was showing ‘south-westerly’ (when in fact the wind was coming up from the coast ie. southerly). That it freshened as the sun got to work on the ground only exacerbated things, gusting over 20 kts and eventually causing us to ‘stack’ by mid-afternoon, which obviously was ‘sub-optimal’ for those who had yet to fly.

How dark?? That dark! We watch as a shower skirts the airfield.
Oh, for a N-S runway!  Interesting sky as the K-8 is shepherded home...
That is not to say that nothing was achieved; some significant events occurred over the course of the 10 launches we made. Chief among these was the consolidation of her initial experience at the club for Charlotte Duffy, Paula Howarth’s niece, who was by no means perturbed and aims to return as soon as she is able. We also managed to get Chris Owen back in to the K-8 (following a requisite number of launch failures in the K-13) and, once the very dark shower pictured here had left the vicinity of the airfield, even squeezed in a couple of soaring flights before the crosswind became too fierce. These included Allan Holland (of course) who endured 61 minutes in ‘moderately’ turbulent conditions reporting back that thermal cores were very small, that he had to spend a lot of time (speed and height) pushing upwind in the K-8 and that his best climb, from 1,200ft to 2,000ft, was made wings level in the blue upwind of the clouds. Well done, Allan! Our other soarer was Ed Borlase who, as a pre-solo pilot, did extremely well to keep the K-13 under control (in ‘the washer’) between 900-1,200ft.

Allan Holland in the K-8 seen from the K-13.
Ed Borlase soaring (in ‘the washer’) at 1,000ft in the K-13.
Thanks most definitely go to Phil Hardwick, who winched without flying, to Paula Howarth for flying the K-8 (and pointing out that things were getting ‘challenging’ on the approach) and Leith Whittington for permitting us the opportunity to rig and de-rig his Dart 217R (without him flying it..!)

If only we had a N-S runway…

Martin Cropper

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