Dartmoor Gliding-My return after 23 years-Peter Howarth

After 23 years away from gliding, I was bought a trial flight voucher at Dartmoor Gliding Society to relive some memories. I was booked in to fly on the 3rd September 2014. After arriving at the airfield I was given the usual DGS warm welcome whilst filling out the usual paperwork. I was allocated to fly with basic instructor Steve Lewis. Unfortunately there was a delay before we could fly. During that time the conversation got around to finding out if I had any previous flying experience. After finding out I had over 300 hours in gliders and reached the level of a BGA Assistant Instructor, it was decided that I would fly with the duty instructor Ged Nevisky.

Ready to fly again after 23 years
 After strapping into the glider Ged asked me if I could remember the pre-flight checks. I managed to recall the CBSIFTCB checks that I used to do. Ged added the additional Eventuality brief. Ged then said because of my previous experience I could try the launch and he would take over if necessary. I then asked for the cable to be attached and after being told it was all clear above and behind, I raised one finger and asked for take up slack. Ged quickly pointed out that the launch was controlled by those at the wing and I should put my hand on the release just in case. Another change in the 23 years. Off we went and soon we released at about 1000ft with no intervention by Ged. After a few turns we were down to about 700ft so I headed downwind expecting Ged to take over for the landing, but he again told me to carry on and he would take over if necessary. We came down the approach, rounded out, landed and rolled to a halt with no input from Ged other than a comment that we were slightly closer to the fence than was ideal.

After returning to the launch point I was asked if I would like a second flight, which I obviously replied yes. Another successful flight with no input from Ged resulted in a comment in my logbook by Ged “Flying the whole flight, just needs practice”.

So was it only a trial flight or had I got the bug again. As you all know it was the latter. Over the next few weeks I returned and was given stalls, spins, various upper air exercises and various cable break practices. After only ten flights the CFI allowed me to re-solo. Two solo flights in the K13 I was told to refamiliarize myself with the K8. A quick briefing and I was back in a single seater.

Getting re-aquainted with the K8
Overall from trial flight to flying in a single seater happened a lot quicker than I expected. So for all you solo pilots don’t get downhearted, you will soon hone the skills and be back soaring over the wonderful area we all love.

Peter Howarth

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