Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 18th December 2019

Wednesday the 18th was the big day when the first of our containers was scheduled to arrive. Everything was organised and the lorry would have a crane to hoist it into position. The Saturday crew had put blocks in place ready for the Containers to stand on, these were set precisely at the correct positions and levels, using Laser leveling and black arts beyond me, everything was planned to the finest detail! I did ask whether the lorry would fit through the gates and was assured that it wouldn’t be a problem so what could possibly go wrong?

The club was informed that it would get here around midday. The Wednesday fliers had originally hoped to arrive early and get the field set up and gliders up onto the field ready to fly before the container arrived, but that was before the rain continued over the days and nights leading up to Wednesday. As Wednesday neared, the weather forecast deteriorated and in the end correctly forecast low cloud and silly winds! So no hurry in getting to the airfield then as there wouldn’t be any flying and the container wasn’t due to arrive until midday. Unfortunately no one told the driver he wasn’t expected until midday and he duly turned up at 8.30. Luckily a small group of early birds had already arrived and opened up the gates, lit the fire and Mike made tea.

The Lorry and the Entrance  ( sounds like a pub name)
But the lorry was now stuck in the entrance to the club, being 60 feet long and articulated it couldn’t make the turn so club members duly demolished gate posts and fencing and removed the DGS sign on the road so that the Lorry could get in. See picture. The cab end of the Lorry with the crane weighed 23 tons, the trailer was 7 tons and the the container 4 tons making an all up weight of 34 tons!

Once through the gate the driver deftly reversed into the area where we wanted the container placed. Mike made some more tea. Watching the driver put out the hydraulic stabilisers and jacks was very interesting. Eventually the container was lifted into place by the Lorry's crane (rated to 82 tons).

Impressive crane
With a club member on each corner the container was put into place but with winds of 20 mph gusting 40 it took quite a bit of effort to get the container onto its marks. Once in place Mike made some more tea (see picture).

The outriggers balancing the load
From the moment the lorry got stuck in the entrance way to the point he drove out was around 2 hours, pretty good going really. Once he left we settled down in the club hut whilst Heather cleaned the club hut and put up the Christmas Decorations. Mike made some more tea.

DAY two


Everyone arrived early for the second container. No problems at the entrance as it was now 6 feet wider! With less wind the container was more easily placed onto the correct marks. We measured the distances between the containers, front, back, tops and bottoms with Phil and Scratch giving the thumbs up that all was well. This time it had taken just 1 hour from start to finish, as there was no Mike we drank less Tea.

Making it look easy in the gentle breezes
Left a bit. Checking the final position
You will note that the Trailers are marked CMA CGM, its been suggested that this stands for Club Maintenance Area and Colin’s Glider Maintenance which sums up what the containers will be used for.

Containers in position ready for the roof
A huge thank you to all the club members who turned up to help on Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday when no flying was ever going to happen but important work was done instead, Thank you

Steve Fletcher

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