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

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