Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 5tth January 2020

A Happy New Year!  Yes, today witnessed the club's first launches of 2020 and, although the total was quite modest, everyone who wanted to fly did so.  That said, if you had looked at the forecast you might have decided not to bother – but fortunately for those of us who boldly go, the wind was neither as strong or gusty as predicted, and the cloudbase was not as low as expected.  So with a quorum of 'larks' gathered at the clubhouse, we decided to get the kit out and running.  Whereupon it didn't.  Suffice to say that, as a third option, we ended up using the Guslaunch and, having jump-started at least three vehicles, the charging leads were in need of their own 'chill-out' space'...

The sky was leaden and the air smooth (ie. undisturbed by lift) but that did not bother today's visitor, Sam Lay.  Sam, who hails from Wiltshire but today travelled only from Bodmin, had spoken with Dave 'The Voice' Downton many times before today's weather provided a suitable opportunity.  Flying with Duty Instructor Pate Howarth, Sam certainly took a great interest in our sport a departed with a broad smile. 

Sam Lay waiting to fly with Peter in DMX
Adding to the Flying List were two very welcome returning members, Paula Howarth and Gavin Short.  Paula, who soloed at the club two years ago, has been studying for a PhD in Human Resources whilst working for the world famous Burts crisps company.  She felt that, having achieved a pass with Distinction, now was the time to get back to her flying space, a move which Dad Pete was more than happy to help with.  Gavin, a former naval submarine officer, solo'ed with the club in the early noughties before moving his family to Brussels, along with his Std Cirrus G-SCNN.  Now, many cross-country kilometres over Europe later, he has retired back to Harrowbarrow and is looking forward to putting some West Country miles under the keel of his much loved sailplane: ever seen a Std Cirrus with winglets?  You can now.

Flight of the Day was won by Roger Appleboom who, in the best traditions of DGS, got as much height as possible in the K-8 on launch and then, promptly, did nothing...allowing air being lifted from the south-west to keep him aloft for as long as possible before breaking into the circuit.  Also maintaining currency was Dave Downton who, after an 'entertaining' couple of hours driving the Guslaunch (oh how we love our old machinery..!) had a couple of flights in the K-13 with Martin Cropper, the second culminated in a hangar landing, where the wheel stopped exactly abeam the cross-track..!

So while it was a frustrating start (well, an exercise in resourcefulness witnessed at many gliding clubs), leading to an abbreviated flying programme it was, nevertheless, a worthwhile day in achieving the club's first launches of 2020, and for those involved to return to/maintain currency.

Martin Cropper

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