Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 4th August 2019

It was a day of two halves, really. In the morning the sky was low and gray; in the afternoon, however, we managed to ‘steal’ some soaring flights once cloud base had lifted sufficiently. Meteorologically, there was a depression NW of Ireland from which an occlusion trailed across the UK. East of the occlusion all was clear, but by 0900 we in the West Country were definitely within it, hence the low and gray. Which was not good news for Charles Fowler, our Junior One Day Course student, or his father, who had driven from Bournemouth to be with us. Unfortunately, the weather does not respond well to being ‘prodded’ and at 1100, there being no change in evidence, they decided to depart for London, hoping to return at a later, less inclement, date.

 Westward Ho!
Dave Westcott and Ed Borlase migrate their K-6CR up market to the west end trailer park.
That’s not to say that we all sat around long-facedly putting the world to rights in the clubhouse. First, we changed ends so that the airfield would be ready for Wednesday, when the wind is expected to be westerly (following yesterday’s highly successful south-easterly airflow). Then there was some social mobility as Dave Downton (K-6E), Ed Borlase and Dave Westcott (K-6CR) decided that the east end (trailer park) was no longer good enough for their gliders, and hence relocated them to the ‘Schleicher Village’ at the west end (where obviously the market is on the ‘up’). In confirmation of this, excitement reached fever pitch as Colin Boyd sealed the sale his K-6CR to Hugh Gascoyne – which although tight lipped about the price, brought a broad smile on both faces..!

Dave Downton dons up ready for flight.
At about 1215 the cloudbase began to lift. Quite rapidly. With general consensus, we took one of the K-13s and a K-8 to the launchpoint (good job we had prepared it earlier..!) Getting our first launch away just prior to 2pm, Dave Downton was able to practice more cross-wind approaches, as the wind obstinately remained due south (despite the predicted SW’ly). This, plus the inevitable early departure of the Tost rings from the CG hook, took him pretty close to his objective of re-soloing.
2pm: first launch of the day gets away.
“Easing – back...” Dave Downton rounding out.
The K-13 got a lot of pushback (in the traditional, not argumentative, way) today.
Roger Appleboom was first to accept the challenge presented by some pretty good looking cumulus, at first finding that the associated lift was not quite so – associated. A leap into the atmosphere by Martin Cropper for 24 mins inspired him, however, and on his second flight he found strong lift to 2,000ft for a duration a shade over the half hour limit ie. 38 mins (could we give the club K-8s remotely operated airbrakes, please..?) We then extended the invitation to our long-suffering winch driver, Peter Howarth, who gladly climbed away, with wings level, from 1,000-2,000ft in a N-S direction just over the airfield, later reporting it to feel ‘like wave’. How can that be? With no obstruction south of the airfield to cause wave to form? Peter had the good grace to return within the half-hour, thus leaving Roger with the prize of ‘Flight of the Day’.

Roger Appleboom departs in the club K-8...
...mixes it with some good looking cu...
...and returns with a perfectly held off landing.
Thanks go to the team on the ground who chose not to fly: Roger Green, Dave Westcott and Ed Borlase, and to Pete Howarth who, wrestling with the cross wind, could be heard gunning the Guslaunch to full throttle for as long as he dared after each cable release. Eight launches were all we managed but, as Pete said back in the clubhouse “If you get a soaring flight when you least expected it, that makes it all the more worthwhile..!”

Martin Cropper

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