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

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