Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 21st May 2017

Most gliding clubs adapt and print their pre-solo training cards to meet their own needs. They all containing a list of exercises that must be completed before the trainee can be considered ready for solo flight, and most call them to have flown a ‘Crosswind Circuit’. I don’t know on which club’s cards our training cards were based, but it strikes me that a lot of time, ink, dating and signatures could have been saved if we’d had them printed with a ‘√’ in the ‘Crosswind Circuit’ box, as crosswinds seem to be the norm at Brentor. Today was a case in point, with the wind blowing up from the south across our W-E runway all day (well, until early evening when it mysteriously backed to the east…). Blowing at strengths between 12-18kts., the wind provided an interesting challenge, particularly on the downwind leg and final approach, that fully met the ‘Crosswind Circuit’ criteria.

We were very pleased to welcome the White family as our visitors this morning: the Whites (Paul, Beth and Dad Ken) from Saltash, flew with Roger Appleboom in K-13 HXP (see photos). In the afternoon we were joined by Matthew Ash (however sadly no photo to record the event).

Visitor Paul White, from Saltash, who flew with Roger Appleboom in K-13 HXP.
 Paul’s sister Beth, from Plympton, also flew with Roger.
 Paul’s father, Ken, completed the White trio.
The air was surprisingly buoyant from early on, allowing trainee David Westcott to get to 2,300ft and experience two demonstration spins, in less than 17 mins – now that’s good value! And, as the afternoon progressed, well defined streets of cumulus established themselves in a SE-NW orientation, one starting from well beyond Dartmoor, possibly Kingsbridge or Start Point. Step up Allan Holland who, alone among our solo pilot cadre, was up to handling the K-8 in the crosswind, and managed a cool 1 hr 17 mins (or more according to Allan’s watch) using the streets upwind of the site.

Allan Holland about to set off on a 1hr+ saunter in the K-8.
Other trainees included Tony Dean (check flights ticked ‘C’…), Chris Owen (on top form since deciding to leave the ‘Sunday Times at home..!), Joe Nobbs (20 mins two-seat soaring, well done Joe), Phil Selwood (welcome to the world of launch failures) and ex-Bush pilot John Knight, who happily continues his transition from power to wood, today with two soaring flights, one of 21 mins.

Tony Dean checks K-13 DMX under a promising sky
As the afternoon drew on the wind, as mentioned above, developed a more easterly tinge and, as the cloud streets began to decay, the lift remained strong at certain geographical points (as John Knight will tell you) as in the K-13 the audio varios screeched to be set free from their instrument panels as we turned onto base leg… Could that have been wave? A couple of decent single-seaters could have helped pursue some interesting investigations.

New trainee John Knight soaring (for 21 mins) in K-13 DMX.
Thanks most sincerely go to Dave Downton for winching, skilfully, almost all day, and to Allan Holland for relieving him, to the retrieve crew and to those on the quad bikes who arrived within seconds of each landing to tow the gliders back to the launchpoint.

A testing, tantalising, and rewarding day.

Martin Cropper

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