Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 5th August 2020

With low cloud hanging over the airfield and the forecast for it to remain all day and rain with strengthening winds it was a no brainer to declare it would be a no flying day.
Although the bus had been moved to it’s new home at the east end of the field it was decided that we would bring it back to load the glass panels with suitable padding and securing them to transport them to the east end ready to fit them into the new control tower.

Ready to load glass panels
At east end ready to install glass panels.
A job that sounded relatively easy soon became a trial of adversity. Firstly the forecast wind and rain duly arrived causing handling problems manoeuvring the panels to the top of the bus and into position. Once in position the retaining beading was also awkward to locate and install. Andy, Malcolm and Phil managed to control the panels whilst getting them up into position. John and I then started getting the beading into place with occasional help from the others. About five hours later all panels were finally in place. All that needs to be done is to refit the desk and radio before the new tower can be used.

Fully glazed tower.
While we were working at the east end, the space vacated by the bus next to the clubhouse was filled with the two ML winches to await a decision on their future.

Moving ML2 into position.
After moving the bus, Scratch made use of his time fixing a new tail skid to K8 GDK.

Richard with assistance brought the fuselage of K13 CLT from it’s storage in the old Jantar trailer up to the hangar ready for collection after the sale.

CLT on it’s way to the hangar.
One of the last jobs undertaken today was to fit a couple of lights with motion sensors into Colin’s new workshop so he can locate items without having to start the generator.

One of the new lights in position.
No flying, but a good amount of work achieved around the club. Thanks go to all who were at the club helping with the many tasks.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 2nd August 2020

It’s strange isn’t it: the glider pilot’s irrepressible optimism?  (Some might say foolhardiness.)  Despite MeteoPro, Windy and AccuWeather all telling us that a large expanse of rain was due to arrive at 1000, following a short shower and seeing a blue channel to the west, we confounded the science and decided to get the gliders out.  

 K-13 leads the K-8 in convoy to the launch point.
Talk about false dawn..!  We did at least get two launches away before the really heavy stuff arrived, causing us to ‘stack’ for ninety minutes.  

Rain shower lashing down over Tavy Cleave.
And after the rain, the sun.
The clearance, when it came through, was not particularly buoyant, the sky looking like the inside of a concrete mixer for much of the time, but by mid-afternoon the sun broke through and Steve Fletcher did manage to get away - softly, softly to start with: “On my second flight I took Steve Lewis’s advice and aimed for the dangly bits which weren’t far away when I came off the cable.  I managed a slow inconsistent climb in a bouncy thermal varying between 2 and nothing up.  I stayed with it to 1,500 feet when things stabilised at a constant 2 until I got to Mary Tavy when it started to go at 4 up, eventually taking me to Peter Tavy where I was near to cloud base at 2,550 feet.”  Hugh Gascoyne also managed a soaring flight in his K-6CR.

Steve Fletcher’s view from his Open Cirrus at 2,500ft over Peter Tavy.
All other launches fell into the training category, where much useful work was achieved: Dave Westcott returning to flight after a six-month layoff with circuits and three launch failures, and Karon Matten, Chris Matten and Ray Boundy all making good progress.  

Returning to solo pilot Dave Westcott and Martin Cropper are looking for..?
 K-13 HXP gets aloft with Dave Westcott at the controls.
 The club’s new fleet of four K-13s make a formation landing
courtesy of some photo-wizardry by Ed Borlase
 (note shower clouds in background).
Peter Howarth and Ed Borlase gave the K-8 an airing but, as the afternoon wore on the sky returned to its ragged, concrete mixer appearance with patchy lift giving only extended circuits. By 1800 everyone had flown as so we returned the kit, now thoroughly dried, to the hangar.  

Ed Borlase in the K-8 about to release from the final launch of the day.
So was our optimism justified?  Well it enabled us to make 19 rather than 17 launches, give the gliders a good wipe-down, and was infinitely better than saying “There’s rain in the forecast so we’ll stay in the clubhouse for a threat and error management lecture..!”  Thanks go to Steve Fletcher, High Gascoyne and Ed Borlase for their (in one case trainee) winching.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 1st August 2020

Today the weather would be best described as variable. A cold front came through yesterday with an occluded front expected later today. RASP was forecasting a soarable afternoon.

The winch driver's view of the early sky
If you want the definition of an uninspiring sky,  this is it
The day started with low cloud and showers threatening (which never really materialised) but by 11am the pressure to fly could not be resisted any further and the day started with a series of check flights and practice cable breaks for Gavin Short who was pronounced fit to fly solo ( no surprise there given his experience spanning 20 years or so.)

Flights continued with trainees John Allan and David Archer who both seem to be making good progress. Keep going chaps, you'll get there.

A little definition in the cloud inspired the solo pilots ????
Ged and Phil getting ready.
By 3.30pm the Twin Astir syndicate members Phil Hardwick and Ged Nevisky thought they could see some improvement in the sky and launched to achieve a dizzying 14 minutes. This encouraged some more action from Rick (Astir CS) and Steve (Open Cirrus), Steve had this to say after his flights

" Rick and I launched into a more promising sky only to be back on the ground 5 mins later. A more serious review of conditions by Steve Lewis prior to my second launch made me seek out the dangly bits which got me up to 1500 I then found another thermal close to Mary Tavy which took me to 2000 but then it ran out and I only found sink, returning to the airfield after 22 mins. Longest flight of a very disappointing day."

Other notable flights were Gavin Short (K8) 12 minutes and Rick (Astir) 17 minutes. So much for a soarable afternoon - RASP was wrong today.

The afternoon view towards the east
We made the best of a bad day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Today's forecast was for light variable south westerly winds and the soaring forecast showing that conditions should improve as the day went on.

Two returning members were at the airfield, keen to get back into the air. First into the front seat of the K13 was Peter Mountford.

Peters x 2 ready to go.
 Three flights including a 19 minute soaring flight gave Peter plenty of stick time to start bringing his skills back to where he was when he last flew back in January.

Second to jump into the front seat was Martin Broadway. After an extended circuit of 10 minutes and a couple of well executed cable break practices he was cleared to fly solo.

Martin ready to regain his wings.
The solo pilots including Mike Bennett, Barry Green, Scratch, Steve Lewis and Malcolm Wilton-Jones all took turns to try their hands in the K8. The best times recorded by the K8 pilots was Scratch 50 minutes and Steve 37 minutes.

With conditions improving there was a flurry of activity by the other solo pilots to bring their sleek machines to the launch queue. Richard (Discus), Roger (ASW20) and Phil (Astir).

Roger’s view of the road from Yelverton towards Plymouth.
River Tamar
After visiting a lot of southwest Devon Roger returned after 2 hour 13 minutes and Phil after 1 hour 51 minutes. Longest flight of the day was claimed by Richard with 2 hour 47 minutes.

As we continue to slowly open the club up to more members, let’s hope that the recent restrictions imposed by the government do not stop this progress.

Thank you to all at the cub today for their help in keeping things moving and achieving 22 launches.

Peter Howarth