Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 2nd July 2017

With a gentle NW’ly wind and a pretty well cloud free early morning sky there was a sense of freshness in the air (after last night’s Dev’n mizzle) as we walked the gliders to the launchpoint. RASP predicted a rising cloudbase and increasing convection during the afternoon – the BBC was not quite so optimistic.

One Day Course student Peter Melhuish flew with Peter Howarth through the the day. "
"Who's in control? You are, Peter..!"
Our One Day Course student was Peter Melhuish, who flew with Duty Instructor Peter Howarth at intervals throughout the day (as Pete said, “...I won’t forget your name..!”), whilst IFP Rich Roberts spread the load by flying with visitor Charlie Russell. The go-getting attitude proved well founded, as demonstrated by Adrian Irwin in the K-8, and Rich Roberts in his super sleek Discus, both of whom launched at lunchtime, Adrian managing 20 mins and Rich remaining aloft for a full 1 hr 2 mins before returning to announce “That was hard work! You’re at 45 degrees for 10 mins after which you’ve gone up maybe 200ft..!” (Peter Howarth and trainee Ed Borlase also snuck in a foray of 15 mins to 1,200ft during this period – you see what Rich meant about climb rate..?)

Visitor Charlie Russell prepares to fly with IFP Rich Roberts...
...and receives his Certificate of Flight from Rich upon their safe return to Earth (Dartmoor).
This was to be no classic British summer’s day, however, as those who held back discovered: the best of the day had passed by 2pm, following which it ‘blued out’ almost 100%. So BBC: 1; RASP: Nil (and good for the manufacturers of sun-protection all day). Thanks go to Leith Whittington and Joe Nobbs for lining the Treasurer’s coffers with their multiple 5 min circuits, and also to Dave Downton and Joe Nobbs for winching.

Ex-Jaguar and Boeing 747 pilot Adrian Irwin releases K-13 DMX into its natural habitat
So far so anti-climactic? Not a bit of it, for Pete Howarth, surveying the benign conditions, decided to share his secret with the rest of us: why not get Dave Downton converted onto the K-8? Well, why not indeed! Except that Dave was at the wrong end of the airfield, incarcerated in the winch, and needed a comprehensive fitting-into and briefing about the K-8 before being sent aloft. Now the wind was NW’ly 7-10kts, so not a problem during the launch the shape of the hill at the east end could provide a lair for ‘clutching hand’ on the approach. In the event we need not have worried! Although Dave’s first launch betrayed a hint of the classic K-8 rapid rotation syndrome, it was succeeded by a circuit that went on aerial rails, and completed with a fully held-off landing that surpassed all his K-13 efforts put together! He then went on to repeat the process twice more. Grinning from ear to rear at the conclusion of the experience he declared that the glider was, “just so light on the controls, it’s a delight to handle..!” Welcome to the K-8 club, Dave, and very well done!
Dave Downton receiving his conversion briefing from a slightly nervous Martin Cropper...
...who shouldn't have worried since Dave performed three flawless landings (off three launches!) in K-8 FXB
We ended the day by re-rigging K-13 HXP ready for its CofA. Colin Boyd, who has hardly had time to draw breath since completing the work on DMX, hopes to have HXP back on-line by next weekend. And so do we, Colin – and thanks for all your time and effort (he had over an hour in his K-6 last Wednesday, so he’s good for another week or so..!)

Martin Cropper

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