Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 22nd January 2020

On Sunday our resident wave predictor Richard Roberts told me there would be a good chance of wave and it would be located south of the airfield towards the east of Tavistock. So was he right? Driving to the airfield there was 8/8th’s cloud obscuring the top of the tors and barely above Brentor Church.

There was signs that the cloud was lifting and some bright patches opening, so we decided to get ready to fly. The K13 and K8 were towed to the west end. The gold discovery was going to be used as launch control to prevent damage to the airfield bringing the launch tower from the east end.

Looking to the east.
First launch was the K13 with Mike Bennett and myself on board. At the top of the launch only reduced sink was found so Mike headed downwind to the north of the airfield. Part way along we found some lift and started turning. After a few turns we headed north and found ourselves in 2-3 knots smooth lift and were soon passing 2000ft. Malcolm had already launched in the K8. We headed down to let somebody else have a go.

Mike climbing at 2 knots
Hugh jumped into the back seat to practice some BI flying. We launched and headed to where Mike had found the lift and were soon climbing at 2-3 knots. The K8 could be seen about 2000ft above us. After a while Hugh became concerned that the cloud seemed to be closing around us so opened the airbrakes and made his way down to land. The K8 soon scuttled back in behind us as Malcolm had made the same decision.

Malcolm’s view at 4000ft
After a break of 45 minutes the clouds started to part and another gap opened over the airfield. I launched with John O’Connell in the K13 and Steve Fletcher launched shortly behind us in the K8. We were soon climbing at 3-4 knots past 3000ft. After 25 minutes we were back on the ground after John’s first wave flight which he was thoroughly pleased about. Steve landed 15 minutes after us having found the wave collapsing and the gaps closing in.

Another break of 40 minutes was made until the clouds cycled again and it was clear enough to try again. Roger Green launched in his Zugvogel, but shortly after the sky was already changing again and he could be seen with airbrakes open and making his way down to land. This time no clearances appeared and with the temperature dropping it was decided to pack the aircraft away.

So yes Richard was right it was a wave day, but not quite in the place that was predicted. Thank you to all who helped today and apologies to those who didn’t manage to fly due to the changing conditions.

Peter Howarth

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