Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 11th July 2020

The weather forecast was favourable, light northerly breeze and good amounts of sunshine. RASP looked really good forecasting a long day with early start a late finish and cloud bases around 4000ft.

Robbing a bank or trying out the K13 - you decide
Today saw the return of 2 seater flying. An early start was made with Rick and Mike familiarising themselves with the delights of K13 G-CHXP aand flying with face coverings after which training started with Mike Bennett pushing towards re soloing. While this was going on K13 G-DDMX was rigged after it's timely completed C of A / ARC after which it going the training effort at the launchpoint. As well as Mike, Dave Archer, Jon Alllan made good use of the instructors and K13's to further their journey towards becoming glider pilots while Ged Nevisky and Scratch also made use of the K13's to get airborn.

Dave Archer with Mike in K13 G-DDMX
Ged  in a beautiful looking sky
So what of the soaring day. The single seater grid today consisted of me with the Zugvogel 3B, Roger Green with his ASW20, Rick and Phil with their Astir,  Steve Fletcher with the Open Cirrus and one of the club K8's.

Looking down the runway to Mary Tavy .
Roger had declared an out and return task to Chicklade a distance of 302km and was looking for an early start. I took the first solo flight into what looked like a perfectly soarable sky. 5 minutes later I was back on the ground left wondering why I couldn't stay up? 15 minutes later off went Roger in the ASW20 only to land back after 5 minutes looking as confused as I felt. The sky was still looking great so at 1pm I took another launch which led to a 30 minute grind in a weak thermal. Once again Roger followed and this time he got away and disappeared. By 2pm the sky was booming, Phil took his Astir to the 4000 ft cloudbase for a flight of 1 hour 53minutes.

After a cable break, I launched again. The difference was astonishing.  Low down things were a bit of a struggle but improved with height, and, from 2000 ft to the cloudbase at 4200 above the airfield took very little time in what was now an 8 knot thermal. I wandered off to the north to visit the reservoirs at Roadford and Meldon and then on to Okehampton to see if I could find the house I lived in 44 years ago. There was evidence of sea air from the north and south coasts with large areas of blue and weak thermals beyond.

Passing Roadford Lake
Meldon Reservoir looks long and narrow from the air
K13 in a 10 knots thermal - whatever next
Looking back towards the airfield the clouds were very interesting indeed. There was a convergence which I could not resist and spent a very enjoyable time wheeling in and out of the curtains of cloud stretching many thousands of feel below me in very strong and reliable lift. Great fun.

Approaching the convergence from the north - game on
Plymouth viewed through a gap in the convergence 
And what of Roger in the ASW20. Well he turned Chicklade in good time. We were concerned that the sea air would prevent him getting back but after a little sole searching while orbiting North Hill he decided to give it a go and returned to us by using the same convergence that I had played in which was now on the far side of Dartmoor to give him a good glide home straight across the moors.
He was airborne for 4 hours 44 minutes and had flown a total of 302km. Excellent.

The ASW20 at the end of his flight
Roger looks pleased with himself - and so he should be
`So with the return of 2 seater flying, Roger's 302km cross country, a convergence to play in and several pilots making good soaring flights this was a GREAT DAY.


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