Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 3rd June 2018

“Would you like wave in the morning and thermalling in the afternoon, sir?” a mythical meteorological Jeeves appeared to ask the pilots on the flight line as we set up to launch a little before 10am. “Ooh, rather – top hole!” they mythologically replied and so off we toddled to the Drones Club in the sky, courtesy of an early morning change of ends deftly carried out by Roger Appleboom and Dave Westcott before the rest of us had arrived.

Dave Westcott’s view of the Tamar valley during his first wave flight to 2,600ft.
New solo pilot Dave was, indeed, first to launch, straight into a weakly rising current of air over Mary Tavy, which was eventually found to stretch 4 miles south to Tavistock golf club, taking Dave to 2,600ft in his first encounter with wave. “It's so smooth,“ he said, “It's like nothing else I've ever experienced”.

Ed Borlase’s view of the club during his 2hr+ Bronze C qualifying flight.
Second to take advantage of the opportunity was Ed Borlase who, launching a little after 1030 in the K-8, remained aloft for 2hrs 13 mins, thus completing one leg of his Bronze (and achieving over 4,000ft agl - he would have gained Silver height if only he'd had a logger with him..! - see photo)

Steve Fletcher in his Open Cirrus joins Ed Borlase in one of the afternoon’s thermals over Mary Tavy.
Steve Fletcher then made it all look easy in his Open Cirrus, flying for 3 hrs 7 mins, whilst Martin Cropper hosted our visitors, who included Steve Knott, a One Day Course student who didn't manage to fly last Sunday due to the low cloud – no such restriction today as his last flight went to 3,500ft for 1 hr 8 mins!

One Day Course student Steve Knott about to be launched into the heavens.
Other visitors were Air Cadet Edward Salisbury, Saltash resident Gloria O'Brien and Ed Borlase's F&F Izabela Zduniuk (he chooses them just to baffle to log-keeper..!)

 Iza Zduniuck, a F&F of Ed Borlase, is ready for flight with her Go-Pro.
Richard Roberts showed off the manoeuvrability of his Discus by hauling it around the sky between Okehampton, Plymouth and Kit Hill at a great rate of knots, whilst Joe Nobbs took pity on the Zugvogel hangar queen, giving it a 1 hr 27 mins work-out, while Phil Hardwick took his Astir for an afternoon's thermalling for 1 hr 27 mins.

So what of the stats? Well, the launch rate really was appalling, being no more that 3 per hour for the first 6 hours and then 'surging' to 5 in the last hour. The average flight time, however, was something to bring a smile to the face of the winch launch pilot: 42 mins per launch!

At which point thanks in abundance should be passed to our happy band of winch-drivers: Roger Appleboom, Phil Hardwick and Joe Nobbs, all of whom kept the gliders going up the wire at 55kts, and to the retrieve team for bringing the cables back – all of whom flew. It's not often that we get an easterly that doesn't exceed 15 kts which provides smooth, nursery wave in the morning, and then steady 6-8 kt thermals in the afternoon.

A day to reflect on with gratitude..!

Martin Cropper

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