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

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