Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 28th Mat 2017

As we took the hurdle fence down, and the windsock was yet to declare its hand, the conversation was not about whether it was going to rain, but when. The BBC forecast for Tavistock had a black cloud at 1200, the Met Office F215 showed a warm front approaching from the S at 2:30pm whilst MeteoGroup gave T&L from 4pm onwards. Some well-informed members may have used this information to support their decision to stay away. Others, less well blessed (with decision making powers, not information) found themselves at the airfield taking the hurdle fence down…

Orographic cloud extending from Sheep’s Tor (right of photo) to Princetown (mast at left) and beyond.
As already stated, the wind took its time to settle into the predicted light SE’ly, by which time we had changed ends and Pete Howarth had already given Richard Brannan, our One Day Course student, his first couple of flights. Fleeces and gilets were then exchanged for T-shirts as the sun heated the atmosphere and Paula Howarth put the K-8 on-line for its first foray, clear blue sky giving way to an interesting variety of clouds that moved in from the SE. Rich Brennan deciding to give up three of his ODC flights to brother Steve, (hence photos showing both) we then used the K-13 for club trainees, including Charlotte Duffy, our latest Junior member.

Today’s One Day Course student was Richard Brennan, from Yorkshire
Richard’s brother Steve (from Crediton) also flew with Pete Howarth.
At which point a certain reluctance was noticed in the vario needle’s indication of ‘down’… Well, it was certainly noted by Roger Appleboom who, winch driving duties completed, elbowed his was to the head of the single-seater queue and, being flung into the air in the K-8, connected with weak wave in the valley to the N of the airfield for a very rewarding 31 mins to a ceiling of “somewhere between 2,500ft and 3,000ft” (as a graduate of Denbigh Gliding, accuracy of analysis is everything with Roger…).

Roger Appleboom about to pilot the K-8 into an ‘interesting’ sky…
He was quickly followed by Rich Roberts with his F&F guest Chris Hooper in the K-13 who also managed to find the wave running N-S over the west end launchpoint for half an hour, to 2,000ft+.

Chris Hooper, who flew F&F with Rich Roberts.
As the afternoon drew on the ‘interesting looking’ clouds had become more layered and uniformly grey, although there remained some dramatic rotor and finger-like orographic shapes beneath the higher sheet. This did not prevent Martin Cropper with his F&F guest, Josh Gruitt, from taking to the skies, however, in the event blundering from 6 down to ½ up in three dismal attempts to impress/connect, none of which were successful..!

Josh Gruitt, who was Martin Cropper’s F&F guest.
As we replaced the hurdle fence and shut the hangar doors there was still, save a few spots, no rain, hail or thunder - and indeed so it remained as afternoon turned into a warm and pleasant evening. For the well informed but weak willed team at Brentor today the weather cards ran in their favour, enabling them to experience thermal (Pete Howarth) wave (the aforesaid Roger and Rich) and disappointment (MC!) All of which served, if nothing else, to prove the old adage: never cancel a day’s flying due to the weather forecast!

Thanks go to Roger Appleboom and Pete Howarth for winching (and training) and to Josef Nobbs for more than capably hosting our visitors (and anyone else who came into view…)

Martin Cropper

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