Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 6th August 2017

Stay flexible and expect the unexpected! A good maxim for anyone involved in gliding and proved its worth today, as the weather steadfastly refused to conform with the expected westerly, dry with long sunny periods, instead preferring a steady southerly and lead grey 100% cloud cover throughout. Our expectations for a relatively quiet, trainee focussed day were also wide of the mark, as Dave ‘the Voice’ was inundated with callers seeking air experience opportunities, whilst others simply turned up without being invited! So we had to switch from meeting ‘club’ to ‘visitor’ expectations, a change which was made admirably by all today – patience being a virtue that was deeply mined – and everyone flew who wanted to, eventually…

One Day Course student Craig Knight
The day started with Roger Appleboom taking our One Day Course student, Craig Knight, for his first perambulation about the sky, closely followed by Louise Stone, fresh from milking 24 cows in the South Hams (so this really was the latter part of her day). After a couple of familiarisation flights Craig ‘gave way’ to Peter Stevenson, Ashley Goodbeer and Loretta Elizabeth Capel. (the last two from Exeter)in K-13 HXP, whilst the front seat of the other was taken by our second Louise, Louise Hill. Louise, who had come all the way from Richmond, London (well a B&B at Whitsand Bay, actually…) with her boyfriend Alex, was visiting the West Country when a planned trip to her mother’s had to be called off (due to her feeling ‘unwell’) and so, on arrival in Cornwall, was not expecting to be proposed to by Alex! (Surprise, surprise..!) Their visit to us today was all part of Alex’s pre-planned engagement celebrations (and for him relief as Louise said yes, sporting a very sparkly ring on her left hand) – is that a first for Dartmoor Gliding..?

Visitor Louise Stone chats with Martin Cropper.
Visitor Peter Stephenson with Roger Appleboom.
Visitor Ashley Goodbeer from Exeter.
Loretta Elizabeth Capel looks pleased after her flight with Roger Appleboom
Trainee-wise we also had a few surprises. Not least being the ‘new’ ML2 winch for its delivery (or not) of power, as Dave Westcott discovered at about 150ft into his first launch! Thankfully Dave handled the recovery with composure, and no need for instructor intervention. On the long walk back he gratefully recalled the watchwords: ‘Always Expect a Launch Failure’ and will proudly record the event as a ‘first’ in his logbook. Junior Pilot Jack Simmonds was also in the training hot seat, making progress co-ordinating his turns in (very slightly) rising air. Thankfully, there was none of that left by the time it was Ed Borlase’s turn to fly, enabling him to complete three well-judged circuits ending with a hangar landing that came to rest just at the top of the cross-track.

 Louise Hill receiving her pre-flight brief from Martin Cropper.
Louise Hill landing after her first flight.
Visitor Alex Lennon-Smith with Martin Cropper.
Thanks go, in particular today, to Colin Boyd for realising that we were slightly short-handed with winch drivers, to Dave Downton for winching and Leith Whittington for helping at the launchpoint all day without flying, and to Joe Nobbs for winching and then saving us the trouble of having to tow the K-8 by flying it from one end of the airfield to the other (and lining the Treasurer’s coffers paying for the privilege..!)

Martin Cropper

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