Dartmoor Gliding News-Thursday 22nd October 2020

 With a forecast of wet and windy for most of the week a handful of the Wednesday group decided to attempt some flying during a brief lull on Thursday. The day dawned with wet fog and low cloud but the promise of a brief clearance saw 4 of us at the airfield before 10. First task was to get Hugh's Ka-6 out of the container and get it rigged and then we got the Ka-8 out of the Hangar and put the SF-27 in its place, the Ka-8 being the only club glider permitted to fly without an instructor present. By this time the church on top of Brentor became visible confirming the cloudbase was rising so we took the gliders to the east end and had a lunch break while waiting for the cloud to get high enough to launch. Dave turned up but without an instructor he could not fly so he kindly stepped in to run the launch control, enabling us to use both gliders.

Steve getting ready.

Steve was first in the Ka-8 and waited until the first clearance arrived then launched into the blue hole and on his return reported some scraps of low cloud at 5-600' over the airfield, low cloud to the north but clearer to the south. Hugh was next in his Ka-6 and likewise waited for a blue hole to launch into and reported that the base of the main cumulus was about 800'. 

Playing around the clouds

Next I went In the Ka-8 as a large Cu approached the airfield but offsetting for the wind found me launching up the side of it from about 900'. Initially I found lots of patches of almost no sink which I circled in losing height slowly and then once below moved under the cloud and then pushed upwind and then found some real lift at about 800' and started climbing. At this moment I saw the Ka-6 launching and he released above my height and came towards me slowly descending while I was climbing up the side of the cloud. He came back in below me and when I straightened up and flew into wind again he followed me (told me afterwards) for a while before giving up. I had flown about a mile upwind towards the next cloud but was losing height so also decided to return having stayed aloft for 24 minutes. Phil came down from the winch and flew the Ka-8 next and then the other two flew again to take the gliders back to the Hangar. As we were derigging the Ka-6 the rain stared again.

K8 on approach

Malcolm Wilton-Jones

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