Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 13th November 2019

The day started smoothly with a small band of members keen to set the field and fly before the forecast rain arrived sometime after midday. Although the forecast predicted south-westerly winds, the windsock indicated a definite easterly component. So we plummeted that the easterly component would stay whilst flying could be done and the winch was towed to the east end.

We were delayed in starting due to the delivery of the new shelter for the winch. The organised help to offload the pallet was not available so I had to go in search of Mr Stacy’s son to bring the forklift. This was soon done and flying could commence.

Pallet offloaded to await the next stage.
First up was John Smith. After a circuit and launch failure, he was allowed to add another solo flight to his total.

John returning to the airfield.
The solo pilots took turns to maintain recency with circuits in the K8. Steve Fletcher, Hugh Gasgoyne, Malcolm Wilton-Jones and Andy Davey managed flights of 4 to six minutes.

K8 returning past the K13.
We were joined by Robin’s friend and family, Mike Boyde. A power pilot who last flew in a glider 53 years ago. Steve Lewis took Mike for a flight ahead of the approaching rain.

Mike and Robin.
Thank you to Phil Hardwick and Hugh for winching and the couple of pilots who helped but were unable to fly due to the arrival of the rain. With the aircraft safely back in the hangar it was time for a warming cup of tea and coffee before traveling home. Only 8 flights, but most flew who wanted to.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 6th November 2019

With the jet stream sitting over the UK, depressions continue to track over the southwest. Although we got the airfield ready, we only managed two flights before the gaps between the clouds closed over. So another day with little or no flying. This has had an effect on some members, who could later be seen contemplating suicide from the top of the bus.

Is this high enough? The bus will eventually become the new launchpoint
Meanwhile in the clubhouse, Scratch and Phil were busy fitting the new wood burner. After packing away we were rewarded with a warm clubhouse.

The new wood burner up and running.
Before we left, outside the hangar was turned into a carwash. Richard was found giving the new vehicles a quick wash. He was helped by Martin and myself with the pressure washer.

The DGS carwash.
Thank you to all who turned up and helped with the various tasks. Lets hope the jet stream changes course and we are rewarded with some more settled weather so we can all fly again

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd November 2019

Today we were visited by a storm with no name. This was no trivial band of rain but overnight there had been a snarling wind with gusts to 80 mph and rain best described as monsoon like. This seemingly endless bad weather is being driven by the Jetstream which remains stubbornly overhead. Maybe it will move soon. Thankfully there was no damage at the airfield and the field drains continue to work well.

The water is draining off the runway well
 There were only 3 members at the club today. Mike Jardine ( duty instructor ), Rick Wiles and myself. Rick was working on the simulator computer in between checking and adjusting the antifreeze in the vehicles and winches.

Rick working on one of the tractors with Mike in attendance
Hoping for better weather.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th October 2019

Following yesterday’s rain and wind it was widely predicted that today would be sunny and dry with a moderate wind from the north-east. Which had the desired effect in encouraging a good turn out of club members, having already put their clocks back to what used to be called Greenwich Mean Time (now UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time).

K-13 DMX in full climb.
The changing of the clocks did not go down well with the grass gremlins, however, which had crept up into the K-13 wheelbox and could clearly be heard moaning about the disturbance to their extra hour’s sleep as we pushed the glider into the sunshine. Giving them a shake or prod with a screwdriver proved to no avail and so Pete Howarth resorted to the pressure washer, with similar lack of effect (except to his trousers..!) Eventually, we had to jack up the K-13 on its keel, drop the wheel out and remove the slumbering gremlins by hand, at which point Farmer Phil remarked that not all the deposit looked like grass..! A thorough washing of hands ensued.

Steve Fletcher takes club K-8 GDK into a brilliantly clear sky.
Despite this delay we were still ready to launch before our first trial lesson arrived, with one K-13 (and K-8 for club members) available, at the west end. Conditions were ideal for trial flights but, frustratingly, the wind refused to veer to the north-east, remaining stubbornly in the north thus preventing club members from investigating any possible wave. Flight times were, therefore, quite short (although Pete Howarth’s was, even more frustratingly, the longest…)

Seventy-year old visitor Sarah Potterton seems to have enjoyed her flight..!
First into the front cockpit was Sarah Potterton who, as a sprightly seventy-year old, appeared with her husband and daughter to tick off gliding on her bucket list. And I think we did quite well, especially with the landings, which were much smoother than her experience in a sixteen-seater balloon, which resembled a rugby scrum more than a landing…

Sarah Potterton is presented with her certificate by Instructors Peter Howarth and Martin Cropper.
Next was Hazel Wood, who flew with Pete Howarth, and was followed by Eddie and Liz Morris, from Torquay. Eddie was a dinghy sailor (well, 46ft yacht actually) who found our vocabulary reassuringly familiar (you can take that however you wish) and Liz who felt very comfortable in the air. Last on the scene (but of whom sadly we have no photos) was avid angler Dave Payne and family, emigres from Cardiff who regularly holiday at Shaldon near Exeter for the fishing. He was thrilled by today’s spectacular visibility (above water).

Visitor Hazel Wood is present with her certificate by Peter Howarth.
Visitor Eddie Morris shares a joke with Martin Cropper.
Visitors Eddie and Liz Morris are presented with their certificates by 
Club members John O’Connell, Steve Fletcher, Phil Hardwick, Ed Borlase, Dave Westcott and, returning after 23 years or so, ex-Chairman Ray Boundy enjoyed their training/currency flights before (the first occasion this year) misting of the canopy called a close to proceedings at about a quarter to five.

Thanks go to the winching team of Phil Hardwick and Steve Fletcher, to those who improved the drainage on the airfield two years ago, and to everyone who recovered the gliders down the track, thus preserving the surface of the west end landing area.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 26th October 2019

With the yellow warning for rain and flooding in place until this afternoon, this was always going to be a non flying day. It rained steadily throughout the day discouraging any outdoor work. The good news is that the main drain fitted a couple of years ago is doing it's work and the cross track which used to get washed out every year is still looking like new. A definite step forward.
What's in here then?
Opening the Skylark trailer 
Was the airfield deserted? No, member Shaun Parrimore was here with a delegation from Rattlesden Gliding Club ( Suffolk ). They came to inspect Shaun's Skylark 3 which they promptly bought. I hope you enjoy flying this venerable, British aircraft.

Skylark 3 fuselage
Inspecting the wing centre section
In the clubhouse, David Archer was with instructor Mike Jardine discussing winch launching and other flying subjects. Good use of the time David. 

Mike Bennet put in an appearance to deliver the refurbished ground radios and to check out the contractors work on the leveled pad for the new MT store / workshop.

Hoping for better weather


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 23rd October 2019

The early arrivals were busy coaxing the vehicles into life. This included the rare occurance of having to jump start the green tractor. With light variable winds it was decided to place the winch at the west end. The first two flights were Richard solo in the K13 and myself in the K8. This was to test the settings on the winch after some recent adjustments. After the successful test flights it was time to get on with the days flying.

K13 ready for the first flight.
First up was Dave Downton. After a circuit, simulated power failure and a low cable break he was allowed to re-solo in the K13. Well done Dave, we look forward to seeing the K6ezyjet on line soon.

Dave happy to be back solo.
The wind was now settling down with an easterly component, so it was decided to swap ends to continue flying for the rest of the day.
Our first visitor Peter Summers arrived. After the usual paperwork and safety brief by Richard, they were soon off into the air for Peter’s first flight.

Peter Summers and Richard ready to go.
Peter enjoyed his flights, which included a launch failure well handled by Richard.
Our second visitor was David Merrick who was fulfilling his Christmas present bought by his children. David left having enjoyed his flights and praised the friendly welcoming atmosphere he received at Dartmoor Gliding.

David and BI Richard ready to fly.
The launch queue was joined by Roger Green & Stephen Lewis with their Zugvogel. Our other solo pilots enjoyed flights of varying times. Flight of the day was Steve Fletcher in the K8 with 24 minutes. He said he only landed because he was counting the soaring fees and to let somebody else have a go.

The last trainee today was John Smith who had patiently waited all day whilst others around him flew. After a real low level break, circuit and medium height practice break which were all well handled, he was allowed to re-solo. This was his first solo at DGS. Well done John you got there in the end.

John ready for his re-solo and first at DGS.
Earlier in the day, our resident mad scientist was found trying to get what he thought was a drone to fly in the clubhouse:-

Barry can’t quite get this drone to fly
Thank you to Heather for retrieving and winch drivers for producing a smooth service of cables and launches. Also for everybody who kept things moving at the launch point.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 19th October 2019

After a week of heavy rain (again!) a calm, dry Saturday came as a welcome  break. After a pitch inspection it was decided that we could fly if we were careful with the vehicles and maximise the quad bike use for towing the gliders around. There were only 2 gliders out. K13 G-DDMX and K8 G-CDK this will also help to limit any damage to the grass.
K13 ready to launch
A couple of adjustments were needed to the Supercat winch after the service to the fluid flywheel but we were soon progressing down the flying list. This was always going to be a day of circuit flying with little to no chance of soaring but days like this allow pilots to maintain their currency and the trainee pilots get lots practice in the circuit .

K13 on the wire.
The shower clouds were never very far away but it was dry while we were flying 

Even though the soaring possibilities were very low, the usual competitive spirit remained and instead of the competitions for the number of hours or vast numbers of  kilometers flown of the summer, success was measured by the extra minute added to the circuit. Longest fight of the day was a dizzying 8 minute marathon flown by the K13. Modesty prevents me from naming the pilot.

Steve Brady ready for his first flight
We welcomed two visitors today Steve Brady and Andy Ames both with a 2 flight Air Experience Vouchers. They seemed to enjoy their introduction to gliding and left with smiles.

Andy being briefed by Rick. 
Our thanks, once again, to all the volunteers without whom  gliding just could not happen. Special thanks today goes to Scratch ( Dene Hitchen) for the technical asssistance with the winch.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 16th October 2019

A very rare occurrence today at Dgs.

Due to sickness (get better soon Peter) we had to cancel the trial lessons and were unable to use club aircraft due to no instructors being available to run the airfield.

However a slightly confused message for today’s blog- brainteaser question.... if the hanger doors were only ever opened by this much.... and the winch wasn’t moved .....how did we fly?

Lights are off and nobody’s home-or are they?
Well... with a Wednesday team of old and new members we got the airfield ready as the Gus winch was already in place,and agreed on just one vehicle and two quads to minimise risk of damage to the wet ground. 

The hanger doors remained as above, but we were joined by licensed pilots.

Rigging the open cirrus , k6cr and astir was done stages, between the light spots of rain. 

Hugh's k6, Phils Astir and Steve’s Open Cirrus.
All under a grey October sky
Hugh was the one to make the most of the opportunity presented with an epic 13min in the k6 for flight of the day. 

Hugh taking off 
Returning member Jon Pullen was unable to get into the air today ,but that didn’t stop him getting involved. He spent time getting some training on the log keeping and launch control.

Today’s Prototype jaguar model that can literally do flying laps!
....but before you place an order .....parking in town may be an issue!!
So ,Thanks to everyone for playing your part enabling pilots to get the maximum out of a modest October day.

Next time.....

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 12th October 2019

The westerly, oceanic airflow is firing fronts across the SW almost daily. Gone are the balmy, thermic days to be replaced by low cloudbases, gusty winds, and lots of rain. Today was not much better, but at least it was not raining, although the forecast suggested showers mid to late afternoon. The breeze was light southerly. The cloudbase was an issue initially but it did rise enough to allow some flying.

Initially we had to wait for the cloudbase to rise
Rather than spend the day on housekeeping tasks around the site, it was decided that, as Rick and I needed to fly together and were planning practice launch failures, the other pilots would treat themselves to the same.

Ready to launch please.
So this is exactly what we did and the day passed quickly with an array of practice launch failure keeping everyone current for the real thing. Our thanks to Instructors Mike and Rick for facilitating this and the winch drivers for instigating some very realistic power failures for us.

The two Mikes getting ready.
Meanwhile in the hangar, Scratch finished his work on the "new" Supercat winch which is now ready for service once more.

The clearer area to the NW stayed there most of the day

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 6th October 2019

Brisk; fresh; bracing; all those terms could have been applied to today’s ‘breeze’, but it was never boisterous. At the start of the day, Exeter Airport’s METAR included a red wind warning for gusts up to 26 kts: but we didn’t see anything like that at Brentor. It was the basis for our planning, however, taking just one K-13 to the launch point (the K-8 staying snug inside the hangar) and we were ready to call a halt whenever conditions went out of limits. The top field being put out of bounds didn’t help matters, either, but the wind being (almost) on the nose did – such a rare commodity that we delighted in making use of to deliver launches to 1,200ft plus throughout the day. Which was fortunate as, in addition to club members wishing to maintain currency, there was a full programme of visitors to be flown. So we started the day by flinging Dave Downton into the air to test conditions – both he and his instructor seemed to survive the experience, so we were we were ready to receive, rather than repel, boarders…

Guinea pig of the day Dave Downton returns from the first launch.
K-13 DMX seeking that pot of gold...
First up the ‘gangplank’ to the front seat of K-13 DMX was Peter Drew, who flew with Duty BI Rich Roberts. Next over the cockpit edge was Mike Paiano, whose wife Katie had bought him a flight in celebration of their first wedding anniversary ie. ‘paper’, which she thought equated to ‘gliders’..!

Rich Roberts briefs visitor Peter Drew prior to their first flight.
Rich and Peter on approach against an interesting sky.
Visitor Mike Paiano being briefed by Martin Cropper.
Freddy Walker and his dad were next to fly, with Peter Howarth. As is the way with these things Peter spotted the potential for soaring and duly delivered, which was all to the good as Freddy, from Newton Abbott, has recently joined the Air Cadets and, as our photo shows, is clearly looking forward to becoming a pilot (hopefully with us).
Are you ready Freddy? Junior visitor Freddy Walker can clearly see his future in the sky...
Our last visitor was Dave Palmer, a microbiologist from Whitchurch, who had previously visited to give us a ‘once over’ and, liking what he was, booked in for today with this friends and family (see photo). Delighting in being able to identify local landmarks from the air, on return to earth he said to his friends, “You never think of things in three dimensions; how they manage to cope is just amazing…!” Which, occasionally, perhaps we take for granted…

Visitor David Palmer, from Whitchurch, being briefed by Martin Cropper.
Solo pilots Martin Broadway, Roger Appleboom, Ed Borlase and (the aforementioned) Dave Downton also managed to maintain currency with the instructing team.

Our thanks today go especially to winch drivers Peter Howarth and Allan Holland, who consistently delivered smooth and powerful launches to 1,200ft. And also to whoever found the time to take the hurdle fence down north of the winch before flying, thus giving us ample option for landing ahead if it was necessary

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 2nd October 2019

A small group of members started gathering, and the first task was to extract the supacat winch from the hangar. The red tractor refused to start even when jumped from one of the discos. So we left the disco connected to try and charge the battery to try again later. After some teas and coffees we had another go. Still refusing to start we took the battery out of the green tractor and managed to start the red tractor. With no cattle in the top field we placed the winch at the far end only to find the cables were still too short to reach the launch point. To save time we decided to move the aircraft forward of the launch hut and start flying.

Our ODC was John Allan. After a briefing from BI Richard they were soon off into the air at a rather later start time of 12:10. John enjoyed his day getting involved and with some valuable air experience. Hopefully we might see him back again.

An ODC student from a couple of weeks back did return today. Peter Mountford flew with me and was soon getting to grips with coordinated turns and trimming the glider. During a 26 minute soaring flight, he successfully climbed to 2100’ with some very smooth turns.

Our other student John Smith experienced some log walks back down the field after some valuable cable break practice. With a bit more polish and accuracy he will soon be back solo.

The afternoon predicted soaring conditions produced a hive of activity from the solo pilots. All had varying degrees of success. Bob Sansom (K8) 15 minutes, Malcolm (K8) 1:01, Hugh (K6) 1:09 and Barry (K8) 47 minutes. The longest flight of the day was Steve (Open Cirrus) 2:05.

Steve’s view returning towards Tavistock.
Steve’s view of the sun reflecting on the sea near Plymouth,
Malcolm’s view of Roadford
Malcolm’s view of the airfield in cloud shadow.
Thank you to Heather for retrieving and winch drivers for producing a smooth service of cables and launches. Also for everybody who kept things moving at the launch point.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 28th September 2019

The forecast today was not very encouraging. Strengthening crosswind from the SW. Showers giving way to longer periods of rain by mid afternoon.

HXP waiting to go
First task of the day, however, was to de-rig one of the K8 for some maintenance as requested by Colin. Then K13 G-CHXP was prepared for the day's flying. It was already too breezy to field a K8 and there was definitely nothing to prompt the private owners to rig their own gliders.

The showers obligingly went around us until mid afternoon
While this was going on Scratch was fettling the "new" Supercat winch replacing the oil in the fluid flywheel. There were cattle in the top field so the winch was positioned on the west end boundary. This was always going to be tricky for the winch drivers with the cross wind and the winch's proximity to the downwind fence.

Heather returning to the airfield after recovering the cable which fell over the downwind fence
The flying turned out to be circuits but everyone who wanted to fly did so to keep their currency levels up. By 14.30 it was obvious that the forecast rain was approaching so the glider was returned to the hangar. Once back at the clubhouse Rick and Scratch used their time to make a short video showing how to align all the simulators monitors.

Scratch and Rick in video mode.
By the time we left the airfield the rain was heavy and constant.