Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th August 2017

Any glider pilot knows that high pressure can mean good gliding conditions, which, this year, can be counted on the fingers on one hand. But today was just one of those occasions, the Met Office F215 showing the high centred off East Anglia, plus a light westerly, and clear visibility: a rare event indeed!

Right on Cue: the first cu popping off at about 1030…
To make the most of this was clearly our aim and duty, and hence we set up both K-13s for One Day Course students Colin Ballard and Scott Smith, whilst the single-seat 'pundits' hung back waiting for conditions to 'improve'... (They needn't have bothered, second cable of the day found lift to 1,500ft for a 14 min first flight for one of our visitors.)

One Day Course student Scott Smith with Instructor Pete Howarth.
Marks out of Ten?  Super cool instructor Pete Howarth lands with Scott Smith.
Peter Howarth presents One Day Course student Scott Smith with his Certificate.
Halfway through the ODCs we were interrupted by 'walk-in' visitor Steve Thompson, from Bovey Tracey, who was duly flown by Rich Roberts (thus giving him an opportunity to get a feel for conditions before putting his Discus on line).

Trial Lesson visitor Steve Thompson looks happy to be flying with Rich Roberts...
Colin Ballard and his wife had travelled from Bridport in Dorset for the privilege of flying with us, whilst Scott Smith had the slightly shorter journey from Saltash. After a final, 22 min flight with Martin Cropper, Colin commented most favourably, not at the skill of Martin's tuition, but at the banter* he had enjoyed around the club during the day, saying "You don't get banter when you're retired..." (his day job had been as a Royal Blue coach driver between London and Penzance - "best job I ever had..!")

One Day Course student Colin Ballard with Martin Cropper just prior to launch and...
...five minutes later, they're off!
Martin Cropper presents One Day Course student Colin Ballard with his Certificate
Finally the single-seat 'boys' heaved their mounts up to the launch point: Rich Roberts being the first away, for 5 mins(!) but then, following a re-light, getting away, finally ending some 20kms north of us in a field near Beaworthy. Close on Rich's heels was Adrian Irwin, who took the club K-8 away for a romp around the clouds of exactly 60 mins - clearly evidence of the precision of an ex-RAF Jaguar pilot (or was it just a memory of the amount of fuel they used to trickle into the tanks..?!) Dave Downton then managed his longest flight ever, 50 mins to 2,500ft in his K-6Easyjet whilst Bob Sansom, a rare show on a Sunday, and a pilot who likes to contemplate the sky before flying, took his K-8 up for 41 mins. Jo Nobbs then came down from the winch for a couple of flips in said K-8 to maintain currency.

 K-6Easyjet being brought back home by 'Captain Speaking' Colin Boyd.
View from the cockpit of Rich Roberts’s Discus
at 2,500ft on his way to Beaworthy.
Roadford Lake from the south, seen from Richard’s Discus.
So as we were packing the gliders away without incident we could all reflect on a good day that was had... but wait a minute, didn't something else happen? Could it be?? Could it be that, after almost 2 years loyal attendance, Ed Borlase went solo.?? It certainly could!! Three times, in fact. On this near perfect day, Peter Howarth took Ed aloft for three cable break exercises and tine tuning of his approaches and landings, followed by a 44 min flight in which they managed to pack in 4 spins/spiral dives, leaving Ed with nowhere to go but up – on his own! Anyone who follows Ed on Facebook will know how elated he was (“like a seven year old”) and that he has an awful, awful lot of friends..! A tremendous vote of thanks is due to Peter Howarth, who devoted a great deal of time and effort in getting Ed over the final hurdle, and also of course to everyone on the field who assisted with all the other jobs associated in fetching and carrying a two-seater that just doesn't seem to want to get to the top of the launch! And of course finally thanks are due to Ed for his loyal support to the club, his helpfulness and stamina in not giving up on his goal! Well Done, Ed!

 “What no back seat driver??!”  Ed Borlase about to set off on his first solo.

...just look at him now!
Martin Cropper

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