Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th September 2020

With the UK under a high-pressure system, Rich Roberts’s Skysight insight was for “local lift in a smallish area, 2-3 kts between 1130-1330, wind gusting 14kts and cloudbase 2,400ft”.  So once again the Saturday Surfers were handed the silver spoon, with soaring in wave straight off the wire to 4,500ft above Tavistock 3 miles away.  Nonetheless, today was a flyable day which we put to good use – with wingtip holders briefed to watch the crosswind like hawks (in the event it didn’t prove too strong) and, indeed, as the cu developed it tempted some privateers to rig, thus providing competition.

Ed Borlase’s view of finals to the stub runway looking north.
First up was Ed Borlase who, continuing his Cross-Country Endorsement preparations, was today able to sample the delights of the stub runway from south-north.  Three very successful launches, intermingled with some soaring, and landings later (see Screenshot) he pronounced the exercise to have been the highest work-rate but most rewarding flying he has accomplished to date.  

Ray Boundy rotates into the full climb…
 …and soars with the Astir…
Ray’s view of Harford Bridge Caravan Park,
 the A386 and the ‘Sugar Factory’.
Next up was Ray Boundy, whose task was roll reversals (no, not getting out of the front cockpit and into the back..!), which he also managed to intersperse with some soaring, at one point chasing Phil Hardwick (Astir) beneath a street running N-S across the airfield (see photo).  We then handed the K-13 to Steve Lewis for his scheduled Friend and Family flying, before Chris and Karon Matten, returning after a short break, resumed their training paths, Chris to the circuit and Karon to reconnoitre the stub runway (where she successfully landed on her third flight).

 Instructor Steve Lewis assists F&F visitor Debra Stephenson to strap-in,
as recorded by other family members.
Karon Matten gets aloft in K-13 HXP.

Of the privateers, it wasn’t so much a curate’s egg as a mixed bag of apples as small cu formed, developed into useful looking streets but then decayed into increasingly large blue holes.  Peter Howarth (Astir) was first to notice the street who, with Rich Roberts (Discus) and Phil Hardwick (Astir) all managed flights in excess of 15 mins, but none got much higher than 1,500ft and so were not able to ‘break the bond’.  Martin Broadway brought up the rear-guard with a hangar flight in the K-13.

 Peter Howarth conducting positive checks on the Discus airbrakes.
 Rich Roberts receives a ‘cert’ soaring bet on his mobile phone…
 Phil Hardwick about to close the lid of his Astir.

Yet another useful day for our trainees, good scratching and crosswind landing practice for the privateers and limited visitor flying.

Martin Cropper

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