Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 18th June 2017

After the annoying and feckless unpredictability of youth, many find the more measured, dependable nature that comes with age to be a great relief after those earlier, annoying, traits. Returning to the club on Sunday by towing his glider down the length of the runway just as we were about to call "Up Slack!" on the second cable, Trevor Taylor proved that, even after a prolonged absence, he can dependably be relied upon to be just as annoying as he was when he left us over a year ago! Thankfully, (although it felt like it..!) the delay didn't prove long enough to prevent Roger Appleboom from launching into a cumulus dotted sky, which eventually yielded him a flight time of over 3hrs 15 mins.

Earlier in the day we had welcomed Sophie Castle, with her family, from Exeter as our One Day Course student. Sophie flew 6 launches with IFP Richard Robert and Duty Instructor Peter Howarth, whilst her family explored the delights of Tavistock's Sunday Market. By the end of the day she was piloting DMX herself, using stick and rudder together, to the surprise and delight of the family upon their return..!

One Day Course student Sophie Castle receiving her pre-flight briefing from IFP Rich Roberts
The day started, and remained, as predicted: high pressure centred over Wales delivering a light, warm, south-easterly; no likelihood of wave but some scattered, broken cu in prospect.

Trainee pilots Dave Westcott, Ed Borlase, Phil Selwood and John Knight all found it to be a classic glider pilot's day: difficult to start with ('was that to the right or left?'), a struggle to centre in the thermal ('don't let it push you out!'), to increasingly assured lift above 1,500ft before being vacuumed towards cloudbase between 2,500-3,500ft. For our solo pilots the clear, not over-populated sky proved difficult to resist - particularly the challenge posed by the low hanging 'fruits' that was richly compensated for by the easy flying once you had got into 'the zone'. Flight of the Day went to no, not the aforesaid Roger Appleboom, or Adrian Irwin, who managed 1hr 10 mins in the Zugvögel, but most definitely to Pete Harvey who, launching in his Std Cirrus a little before 1545, and landing at 1758, secured the 2hr soaring flight necessary for his EASA Licence. Well done, Pete!

Visitor Michael Hughes was treated to a 24 min soaring flight with Richard.
Visitor Alfred Lloyd, who flew with IFP Rich Roberts.
Other pilots achieving notable flights included visitors Alfred Lloyd and Michael Hughes (24 mins with Rich Roberts), club member Paula Howarth who flew from the back seat with instructor Dad Peter up front and, reluctantly, it has to be said, Trevor Taylor who, in company with Rich Roberts (but no serviceable ASI), spent almost an hour soaring in the Twin Astir. Apparently they judged the speed by poking their fingers through the DV panel – if you can believe that…

“You’ve got the glider on back to front!” 
Paula Howarth tries out the back seat while Instructor Dad Pete rides up front.
So at the end of the day what did we have? Frustratingly, we were one launch short of 40 but, with an overall flight time of 12 hrs 31 mins, which equated to an average of 19 mins per flight. Thanks go to Dave Downton for getting us off to a good start in the winch, to Adrian Irwin for relieving him, and to Roger Appleboom for taking on the mantle after his 3hr plus flight. Thanks also go to Colin Boyd and his Apprentice as, with a cracked rib found in the port wing of K-13 DMX, they again found themselves working on Monday and Tuesday in order to have it ready to fly on Wednesday. Good job they’re not feckless, unpredictable or annoying (well, not all at the same time…)

Martin Cropper

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