Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 14th April 2018

Finally there was some promise in a Saturday weather forecast. Driving to the airfield through the early morning fog led me passed several magnificent magnolia trees in full bloom which definitely raised spirits by reinforcing the idea that spring is finally winning it's battle against the winter weather.

Although there was blue sky above the airfield it was obvious that visibility was going to be relatively poor at perhaps 5 miles but with the fresh south easterly breeze sometimes swinging to the east it was game on.

K13's waiting to go.
The very keen group of assembled members quickly had the gliders and equipment ready to go. The early morning cloud revealed some wave bars in the area but by first launch these had all disappeared. The air was quite buoyant from the first launches but finding that elusive thermal was the order of the day. Several flights were extended beyond normal circuits and then suddenly things got going with 3 flights approaching the half hour mark. Later in the day, the wave made a re-appearance although it was never really very strong with definite bars giving 0 to 1/2 knots. Careful flying would allow extended soaring at launch height. Interesting.

One Day Course Candidate, Brian Cunningham, waiting for another flight
We welcomed Brian Cunningham today who joined us for a One Day Course. Brian was able to enjoy all the best soaring that the day had to offer and was making good progress flying the K13 by the end of the day. We also had visits from Martin Strawbridge and Chris Pope both of  who joined us for Air Experience flights.

Visitor Martin Strawbridge
Visitor Chris Pope and family
Instructor Rick Wiles was kept busy today with club members today all of whom were keen to re-establish their flying status after the winter lay offs. This seemed to involve quite a few practice launch failures which were handled efficiently by pilots and ground crew alike. Experienced pilot Joe Nobbs re-soloed after a lay off.

The gliders needed ( and  got ) a good wash at the end of the day
So what a day. Lots of flying with 36 flights in total. Thanks to all who helped, not just Heather for retrieve driving all day but also the winch drivers who provided a first class service all day and all those who helped moving the gliders around the somewhat muddy launchpoint and a special mention for Steve Raine who worked all day as log keeper.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 8th April 2018

Twenty launches, five flights to 2,500ft plus, seven simulated launch failures and a longest flight of 2hrs 27 mins made for a good day at Brentor today. 

Preparations began the evening before, at the AGM, when interest was expressed in the fair weather forecast, but concerns remained over the state of the field as the result of rain which did not clear until well into the afternoon.  An early morning inspection revealed that the launch/landing areas were ‘tenable’, but great care would be needed to avoid causing damage to other areas (which could be be described as a ‘curate’s mill pond’ – good in parts – if you’re a duck..!)  And so it proved that, on occasion, a great deal of teamwork was required to get the gliders from their resting places back to the track but, once there the passage back to the launchpoint was quick and uneventful. 

 K-8B illustrates the N-S divide in the sky that remained almost all day
A host of birds were making the best of the day, with buzzards in abundance exploiting the light northerly ridge lift, whilst skylarks aplenty and possibly the odd swallow made use of the lower air for feeding.

Buzzard approaching (many made the most of the day...)
Roger Appleboom showed the way in the soaring stakes, taking the K-8 to 2,500ft beneath a grey lump of cloud that set itself up just to the NE of the field, from where we (including Andy Davey and Steve Fletcher) obtained reliable lift all day. 

Leith Whittington (Dart 17R G-DRRT) returns after a 2.5hr flight.
As lunchtime approached Leith Whittington took the hint, got himself to 3kft and set off on a shuttlecock task between Tavistock and Callington that easily totalled more than Silver Distance in 2hrs 27 mins.  Steve Fletcher, Dave Downton and Ed Borlase enjoyed practising the delights of ‘abbreviated’ launches, whilst Dave Westcott went searching for lift.  Unfortunately for him, it was Ed Borlase who ‘pinched’ Dave’s sky, being fortunate in finding three thermals (starting over the point-to point racecourse) that took him to 3,000ft, from which there was only one way down: spinning..!

Ed Borlase approaching 1,000ft over Blackdown (he topped out at 2,950ft).
 A group of four horses rounding the final turn at the point-to-point races.
At the end of the day some very weary bodies (and quad bikes) towed the gliders back for a very thorough washing down, before a quick brew and off to reflect upon a day where we seemed to be just on the edge of the good weather. 

Well worth it.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 25th March 2018

We’re flying!  After a delay caused by ‘an Obstruction on the Runway’ (see photo), by lunchtime we were up and running, with check flights and simulated launch failures (cable breaks) aplenty as the instructing team strove to check out as many members as possible (in which they were fortuitously assisted by the addition of an hour’s daylight...) 

Delayed Due to an Obstruction on the Runway
And it wasn’t all ‘up, round and down’  as the light NW’ly and heat from that rare golden orb in the sky started to set off thermals in the valley to the north of the site, which were instantly spotted and taken advantage of by Andy Davey, Roger Appleboom and Peter Howarth in the K-8 (Roger reaching 1,800ft whilst Peter managed 2,200ft in their half-hour flights), whilst Mark Jerman shot to 1,600ft on his check flight before being told to get back on the ground and join the queue for the K-8! 

A packed grid under a promising sky...
Trainees Ed Borlase and Dave Westcott enjoyed the opportunity to get back in the groove under increasingly cloud-free conditions, whilst Leith Whittington did his best to line the Treasurer’s pockets with as many launches as possible in his Dart 17R (one of which included 2 minutes in wave...) and Rich Roberts fly his ever so sleek Discus for the first time from Brentor this year.  As the afternoon drew on (and Allan Holland was being checked out by Peter Howarth) we decided that low angle of the sun was becoming an increasing threat and hence it was time to pack the kit away safety – at 7pm! 

A successful day saw 25 launches achieved on the 25th day of the month.  Thanks go in bucket-loads to our winch drivers, Dave Downton and Roger Appleboom, who between them coped with nine simulated/real cable breaks, which with a nearly-90 degree crosswind resulted in the cable going over the boundary on a number of occasions, that can (it is suspected form the launchpoint end) cause a certain amount of, er, frustration... and opportunity to build  teamwork with the retrieve driver, of course..! Well Done Guys!

Martin Cropper