Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 22 March 2023

It's Wednesday.  Would the willpower of the Wednesday Wishers overcome the forecast and make the cloud base rise and then stay there? Doubtful with the forecast showers and a cloud base that would be and down like a yo-yo (Ed: Thank you for not using one of your saltier sailor's phrases).

If we didn't go flying then there was some maintenance to do namely swap out an erratic XK10 (electric variometer) in CCY.  Pre-flight checks on Sunday had discovered a loose glass face and an loose internal screw was visible.

John Allan removes the defective XK10 variometer from the front instrument panel of K-13, CCY
Outer cover and front face removed, the XK10 is ready for a technical investigation to begin.
This is where the magic happens.  The XK10 was ahead of its time using a pressure transducer instead of a capacity flask  (Ed: Anyone under 35yro may not recognise the integrated circuits used in this device!)
The repaired XK10 vario was reinstalled, tested, and a duplicate inspection conducted.  Now CCY could fly again (Ed: Not until the paperwork is complete thank you!).
Today's Duty Instructor was Peter Howarth (Ed: As he found out by belatedly checking the club calendar!) and the Duty Introductory Flight Pilot was Hugh Gascoyne.  Sadly Hugh had no visitors today to ply his trade.  But Hugh's spirits were up as he is back on his motorbike following an attempt by a recycling lorry to reverse over him a few weeks ago.

Dave Bourchier and the Fleet Manager review the holdings of K-7 hubs and wheels to see if DGS can help a K-7 owner up country out of a tight spot.
A pitch inspection was called for as dry February has been followed by wet March.  Steve Fletcher brought back the photographic evidence (Ed: Are we sure that these aren't stills from some disaster movie where a tsunami engulfs New York City?).

The sky was looking good when Steve Fletcher headed up the field for his "pitch inspection"
Looking east from the track at the centre of the airfield.  The moors have disappeared into cloud
Looking back to the west is no better (Ed: Steve Fletcher later revealed that he almost lost a welly boot near here)
This is the normal landing area.  The cloud base in Mary Tavy valley to the east appears lower than the airfield height.
The Committee widens its search for a replacement for the SF-27A
From the DGS archives, a junior pilot looks pleased after her first 50km flight from North Hill to Brentor (Ed:  I hope she paid attention to the 1% rule on the difference between starting and landing height, as the airfield at North Hill is higher than that at Brentor).
With this evidence we hardly needed to hear the Duty Instructor declare that it was a non-flying day.  We then welcomed Colin back on site after Colin and Adam had undertaken mandatory glider maintenance refresher training last Saturday via Zoom.  The target of the day is K-8, GDK, and the fitting of the replacement ailerons "fresh off the boat" from Germany...

I took advantage of our Secretary, Steve Fletcher, being on site to countersign my application for my Sailplane Pilot Licence (Ed: for many years most of us have been flying on the British Gliding Association Gliding Certificate but new licensing arrangements, talked about and postponed for many years, are now definitely coming in.  So for those pilots who have achieved their Bronze Qualification and cross-country endorsement procrastinate no longer - Get it done!)

Dave Bourchier attempting to fit replacement wheels to the "gliding utilities" trailer (Ed:  Sadly, after much measuring with a tape measure and a vernier gauge, the realisation that all trailer wheel fittings are not standard slowly dawned)
Two groups conducted a "strop hunt" both to the South of the airfield and to the North.  One "Blue" strop was found on the south side of the airfield.  This was overhauled and a new weak link fitter to its carrier. Sadly no strops were found in the gorse or the trees on the north side but we all got muddy boots, trousers, and enjoyed a soggy walk.
A ground-level view of the "L-shaped" field, DGS prime land out option which lies to the south east of the afield  (Ed:  All early pilots should take the chance to view the local land out options)
Before and after lunch the simulator was put to good use by Steve Fletcher, Mike Bennett, and John Allan. 

In the glider workshop the focus was K-8, GDK as predicted.  But contrary to the plan Colin, Mike, and Hugh removed the old TOST CofG release and fitted a new one (Ed: TOST hooks are lifed items that need exchange after a certain number of actuations).  Unfortunately, the highly-anticipated new aileron hinges need a second hole drilling in the hinge and the locating collar before they can be fitted.  Fingers crossed that they will be available soon after their visit to a machine shop in Tavistock.
In the trailer rack the K-6, FUB syndicate attempted to make good the Total Energy probe mount on the fin, which involved resin, microballoons filler, and judicious use of syringes to get the "gloop" (Ed: Gwyneth Paltrow was not present for the K-6 rejuvenation attempt) in the right places, alas without sucess  (Ed: Plan B required me thinks which could include an invitation to Gwyneth Paltrow to come to Brentor with her steamer!  What are you thinking? I wish to point out that the use of steam is a recognised engineering technique to shape complex plywood shapes).

In the afternoon, our Chairman arrived to see progress at the club and observe John Allan flying at St. Crepin, and in wave, in the French Alps (Ed: Does that mean that someone in the world is flying in wave over Dartmoor?).
The Chairman's view of John Allan climbing in a mixture of ridge lift and thermals prior to connecting with wave at St.Crepin in the French Alps

In the real world the rest of the DGS members shut the hangar doors and departed the site keen to get home before the wind increased some more and the evening rain set in.

Gavin Short

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 18th March 2023

The day started with nor a lot of hope in the weather. The south coast was swathed in low cloud and drizzle.  Arriving at the airfield at least the drizzle had stopped and there seemed to be an optimistic attitude about the weather improving; the gliders were out and the winch was on it's way to the west end for the expected westerly breeze.

Cloud base early on
Improved to this
Initially the cloud base was very low but things did improve rapidly allowing the first flight by !0.15am which was Rick giving himself a quick solo flight in a K13 after his 4 weeks away.  First flight in the K8 followed a couple of minutes later with Mike Bennett. Longest flights today were extended circuits of 10 and 13 minutes by John Smith and Malcolm Wilton Jones both flying the K8 (not together of course).

Daily Inspection
The DGS "X Wing" waiting to go
 Ricks training load today was fairly light. This allowed Steve Fletcher to extend his practice at flying from the back seat. Also making use of Rick's availability was Dave Archer and Mark Elliot both of whom had some more cable break practice.

Rick and Steve
Another solo to add to the tally from David Archer
Visitors today saw the arrival of Malakai Parsons and Shaun Taylor both of who had Two Flights Vouchers. After their flights with Scratch and myself, respectively both left with smiles on their faces.

Malakai and Scratch
Throughout the Day there was a fwe issues with the radio in the bus leading to a temporary antenna replacing the permanent one. Davis Archer dashed home to get his kit to sort it out ( 2 2 hour round trip!!!) and diagnosed water ingress in the coaxial cable. Heroic efforts David

Running repairs
A somewhat muddy day whist maintaining flying skills.


Dartmoor Gliding News - Sunday 19th March 2023

A break from the recent low cloud, rain and wind gave a chance for the Sunday Soarers to fly. A light westerly breeze, cloud base up to 2500ft AGL (Above Ground Level) the early arrivals set about getting things ready. As members gradually arrived, they set about the various tasks and we achieved a very good first flight launch at 09:36.

First to fly with me was Valerie Keily returning on her 3 month membership to start learning to fly. Recent weeks have delayed this due to the weather. Three flights and two more later in the day saw her progress to start using coordinated controls to turn the glider.

Val Happy to be in a glider again.
Next to fly with me was Sean Westrope. Sean has been steadily progressing and today achieved that momentous achievement of completing his first landing. Well done Sean, keep it up.

To enable Ed Borlase to fly the K8, Richard to fly with new members Vandy & Zen Kanwar and for Phil Hardwick to be available for the imminent arrival of the first visitor today some redistributing of skills was required. This culminated in me going to the winch and doing a few launches to achieve some of the above. Ed promptly took his launch and stayed aloft for 1hour 1minute to achieve flight of the day.

Ed's view of Mary Tavy and Cornwall in the background.
Blackdown from the K8.
Richard and Zen getting ready.
Both Vandy and Zen had extended flights of 17 and 26 minutes respectively. Both gained valuable hands on the controls during their flights. First visitor Jo Curtis arrived with five members of her family. She was treated to two flights including a 26 minute soaring flight by Phil.
Jo and Phil before her first flight.
Next to fly with me was Matthew Stone. During a short soaring flight we looked at the symptoms of a stall and on another flight Matthew got a valuable lesson of what to do when running out of height in the circuit. Last flight of the day saw Matthew execute a good hangar landing without any prompts from the back seat.
Matthew getting ready.
Climbing well on the soaring flight.
Our next visitor, Emma Senior arrived with her family. Emma experienced a launch failure on her first launch. Unphased she enjoyed two further flights with Phil.
Emma excited to fly with Phil.
Off they go.
A good day flying where we all achieved something and equally chipped in with all the tasks required in keeping things moving. Thank you all at the club today.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 15 March 2023

Today should have been Tuesday and we would have enjoyed a nice thermic day from 0930 to 1630 with climbs up to the cloud base of 2,850ft AGL at the best part of the day.  Wind would have been from the Northwest to West heralded by pretty, fair weather, cumulus clouds. Just what DGS members needed after this run of poor weather.

But today was Wednesday.  www.yr.no forecast a humid wind from the Southeast and South bearing (Ed: No pun intended this time Steve Lewis) rain throughout the day.  It hardly seemed worth the effort to consult the more aviation-based forecasts but for completeness Skysight and RASP had the cloud base descending early on to airfield height, no thermal activity, and continuous rain (Ed: Well that was a waste of a few electrons checking those forecasts then).
As if to seal the fate of the day, whilst looking out of an east facing window at home, towards the moors early this morning, gave a wonderful transitory display of a blood red sky "Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning".  The rhyme means that a red sky appears due to the high-pressure weather system having already moved east meaning the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low-pressure system. (Ed: That's great but why no photo? Your dressing gown has pockets. Use them. Buck up!).

Later, at the clubhouse, after tea and biscuits (Ed: Thanks to an emergency run to B&M by Mrs S on Sunday) we were able to contemplate  some ground-based projects (Ed:  For the more refined inhabitants of Tavistock and Grenofen B&M is a store that offers "Big savings on Big names").
No posh biscuits here for the residents of Tavistock or Grenofen (Ed: Hands off the Bourbon Creams they are reserved for Colin)
The Duty instructor was Mike Jardine with Hugh as the Duty Introductory Flight Pilot. Regrettably, Hugh had to tell our trial flight visitor that he would have to rebook due to the inclement weather.  There was a digital rumour that our CFI was back in the country but that he had cried off coming to the club due the pressure of work.  The clubhouse consensus, over tea of course, that this was a subterfuge, or slight of hand, and he was still sunning himself on Bondi beach (Ed: I still can't get that image of Rick in a pair of 'Budgie smugglers" out of my head).

So to the jobs, or so I thought. However, tea has wonderful restorative and invigorating powers (Ed: Even Hugh's decaf version?).  Looking out the window the rain had stopped. The sky was brightening and a closer inspection of RASP had the rain setting in at 1100. There was K-8, FXB waiting in the hangar for a test flight after its annual inspection.  So once we got the tractor and winch running we deployed a bare minimum of flying kit ready to launch from the west end.  What could we achieve with five people on the field before the rain set in?
Looking out of the window gave a more promising, in real-life, forecast
A singular view from the launch point today
A happy retrieve team arrive with the first set of cables
This is why the retrieve team are looking so happy.  New, smart, and snazzy waterproof seat covers.  Ideal for those "Dartmoor days" (Ed: And sporting Ukrainian colours too)
The Duty Instructor prepares for FXB's test flight following its annual maintenance and inspection
A test flight by the Duty Instructor just after 1000 was followed by flights by John Allan, Gavin, Steve Fletcher, and late-arrival Scratch (Ed: I thought Scratch never flew on Wednesdays on principle). The rain arrived at 1100 as forecast. After the first shower, the rain set in fully, Hugh rightly declined to fly. So we packed up and returned FXB to the hangar.  The wheel box was cleaned of mud and the glider was dried off.  Although we flew the forecast was correct in that it wasn't suitable weather to fly visitors.
Following the initial rain shower the DGS Synchronised Squeegee Team leaps in to action as Scratch runs through his pre-flight cockpit checks
Scratch returns to earth from what turned out to be the last flight of the day
So on a non-flying day we flew five flights and FXB enjoyed 31 minutes aloft (Ed: Which just proves that all your pontificating about the weather is for naught.  So the DGS mantra should be "Turn up, fly if you can!"  Don't be scared off by the weather forecasts, or the weather pontificators and pundits, as Dartmoor can confound them all).

While bringing the winch back to the MT hangar two Unidentified Flying Objects were recovered from the field and secured in the clubhouse.  Richard has been informed of the whereabouts of his errant water ballast barrels (Ed: Sadly we cannot vouch for the safety of his other two water barrels which were not found.  We await a press release from President Biden or the USAAF presently)

The hangar at midday.  Who would have thought that we had been flying.

All packed away by 1145. Lunch consumed, accompanied by more tea of course, all departed by 1300 into the murk.

Gavin Short

Dartmoor Gliding Club News-Saturday 11th March 2023

Today the weather gods were in a teasing, playful mood. The day started with a very low cloud base ( just above the trees ) which gradually lifted to what looked like 700ft and then stubbornly and stuck there. By late morning there were obvious signs of an active wave system just to the east of the field created by the easterly winds. This was particularly frustrating as we had no safe way of getting there or back. 

The teasing view with wave to the east
So nothing for it but to ignore the outside views and get on with some work. We used the available labour  to rig K8 G-CFXB after it's ARC / CofA. After a test flight it will  re-join the fleet ready for the soaring season. This then required us to rearrange the hangar to accept all the aircraft.

 4 gliders safely in the hangar
Today, Fleet Manager Gavin Short arrived bearing ( pun intended) gifts. The aileron hinges and bearings for the 2nd K8 have finally arrived so the 2nd K8 will rejoin the fleet soon.

By mid afternoon it was raining and the cloud base had lowered again.


Dartmoor Gliding News - Sunday 12th March 2023

The stream of fronts and troughs crossing the south west continues. Forecast was for cloud base to be not much above ground level, so no chance of flying. Again only a small group arrived at the club.

View from the hangar apron.
After teas and coffees with biscuits supplied by the fleet manager, we looked for tasks that could be undertaken. Following the hard work and welding carried out by Scratch, the K13 trailer steelwork required wire brushing and painting with Hammerite. Sean, Ed and Matt armed themselves with wire brushes, paint and brushes and started the task. Slow progress was made and part of the task has been completed. More to be done on the next non-flying day.
Steelwork painting underway.
After his trip to Denbigh, Richard brought his trailer to the hangar. The Discus was decanted into the hangar. Was this for some fettling ready for the soaring season? No, it was to continue the internal lining of the trailer with carpet underlay, a job started whilst he was away and now needed finishing.
Art deco carpet lining being applied.
After lunch the Discus was re-packed and the trailer returned to the east end. No flying, but some good work carried out. Better weather soon please.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 8 March 2023

After making tea for one's better half and retiring back under the duvet if you just looked at the Met Office's Yellow snow and ice warning (Ed: Yellow snow? Do behave!) you would firmly stay there and continue reading the latest Tom Clancy thriller (Ed: Isn't he dead? Ahh, that is what ghost writers do!).

But being good pilots we look at other forecasts and they were telling us rain, low cloud, and maybe some sleet on Dartmoor.  So not cold then.  And so it proved to be.  The back roads were filthy and I was glad I hadn't washed my car yesterday (Ed: You do realise that there is still a hosepipe ban extant in Cornwall?).
This is what happens when the air temperature matches that of the dew point
It was obvious that we had to cancel today's visitor flights and ask them to re-book. Cue a disappointed Duty Introductory Flight Pilot, Hugh.  The Duty Instructor, Mike, with nothing to do tried to remember how to light the wood burner.  But with John Allan's arrival we able to revert to gliding talk and ask him how we was getting acquainted with his new Glider, a Mini-Nimbus, which he has temporarily based at North Hill (Ed: A wise decision which allows for a much more expansive airfield to land on when one is converting to a new type).
And 15 minutes later when the two temperatures diverge - Magic happens!
After lots of "hangar flying", and when the heavy rain stopped, we pulled our fingers out and repacked the Motor Transport hangar which wasn't as shipshape and Bristol fashion as it should be from Sunday's use.  When Colin arrived and lunch had been consumed (Ed: Which didn't include you because you left your rucksack at home...which had your lunch in it. Doh!) we proceeded to the hangar.  
John masterfully backs the winch and tractor in to the MT hangar (Ed: Quite a feat as there is no power steering and no mirrors)
And now to add the retrieve vehicle
The final result.  Shipshape and Bristol fashion
The K-8 needed its ARC (the certificate) displayed in the aircraft and the replacement letters (F and X) applied to complete the full G-Reg under the Port wing following some minor repairs.  Its now ready for rigging on Saturday, fingers crossed (Ed: Since the K-8 was built in Germany shouldn't that be "Thumbs pressed"?).
Colin prepares to add the registration letters "F" and "X" to the underside of the port wing
This is where the magic or special effects happen (Ed: Oh yes, "FX" - Special effects! A little bit of Hollywood magic comes to DGS)
Registration complete.  FXB is ready to be rigged on Saturday and fly.
CCY received a bit of fettling. Namely the capacity flask for the mechanical variometer, which was re-secured.

Back in the club house I brought the documentation for K-13, G-CFGR, up to date and procured Colin's signatures in the relevant places (Ed: New pilots think gliders fly due to the relationship between lift, drag, and weight. Old pilots know that a glider flies only with the correct paperwork and relevant signatures in place).

Jobs done we retired to the clubhouse for a final cup of tea before heading home.

It was still raining when we left.

Gavin Short