Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 6th January 2019

After some winch problems on Saturday, Scratch was at the airfield early to try and fettle one of the winches back to health. ML2 was soon roaring into life, but unfortunately ML1 is going to be off line for a while waiting for some air pipes and fittings to be sourced.

With only four members at the airfield to fly, it was decided that a K8 would be readied for all to fly. Accuracy of approach and landings was the order of the day. The target in line with the launch hut and on a line between the track and launch hut. This would avoid any retrieves and the next launch would proceed soon after.

So I was first up to set the standard. The first landing was spot on and the second a little undershoot, but still close enough for the cable to reach for the next launch. Martin was up next. Both flights resulted in a slight over shoot (5m) requiring the glider to be moved back to the launch point. Leith took the third set of cables. Both flights resulted in over shoots (15m). Last but not least was Roger. First flight over shoot 15m. Determined to do better he chose to land back at the launch point rather than hangar flying. This resulted in a slight over shoot of 5m.

Prospective member holding the wing
We had a visit from a prospective new member, Malcolm, who has moved to the area. He will return another day when we can introduce him to flying at Brentor.

Hopefully we will get a few more members out of hibernation and back at the airfield to do what we all want to do, fly.

A big thank you to Scratch for getting the winch up and running. Also Roger and Martin for sharing the winch duties. Eight flights and a good bit of fun, we made the most of the day.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 5th January 2019

A grey sky with little wind
High pressure is in charge of the weather. In the summer this would normally mean endless sunny, warm days. However, in the winter, this has meant a week of low gray clouds with some low temperatures. Today the wind was non existent for the most part. But the good news is that is was flyable so that is exactly what we did.

Looking good with it's fresh  paint
Earlier in the week. Working in the hangar.
The first task was to take the newly painted and refurbished Launch Hut to the east end. The refurbishment has been completed by many members over several weeks. The week's efforts have seen the outside repainted and some of the woodwork replaced. Many thanks to all those involved. This was not the only work undertaken this week. While we were on the airfield enjoying ourselves flying, Chris Matten was busy rewiring the standby generator. It is now fully operational. Thanks Chris. Rick (and Scratch?) spent the start of the day fixing a particularly stubborn fuel leak on the Red Discovery which eventually required the fuel pump to be partly disassembled to fit new seals.

Visitor Derrick waiting to fly
Mike seems happy to be flying with Mark
Up on the airfield we welcomed Derrick Rayne who was visiting for some air experience flying with me. The K13 was busy as memebers kept up their skills with Instructor Mike Jardine. CFI Mark Courtney was also flying with us today. He flew with Mike Bennett with the aim of Mike completing his Bronze C in the near future. Mark also flew with Roger Green as a prelude to Roger taking BI training this year.

Looking down at the runway from the SW corner 
Steve Raine looking into the distance.
A nice day with friends.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 30th December 2018

I drove to the airfield in thick mist and drizzle, but an optimistic forecast gave a possibility of flying early afternoon. The first two trial flights were cancelled as the forecast would not lead to the possibility of completing their flights. The last trial flight was asked to phone back later when it was known if there was to be any flying. Eventually, with regret,  it was decided it was a no flying day.

The gathered members, Richard Roberts, Roger Applebloom, Martin Cropper set about drinking teas, coffees and eating the minature stollen supplied by Roger.

We decided to inspect the state of the airfield and walked the full length of the airfield. Surprisingly the airfield was found to be in relatively good condition considering the recent weather.

On returning to the clubhouse it was decided to rearrange the hangar to make room for Colin to continue the aircraft maintenance in hand and to bring the launch hut from the far east end to store it in the hangar ready for painting should this bad weather continue.

Farmer Roberts Taking the Launch Hut to the hangar.
Roger lowering the weather mast
In the dry ready for painting
All that’s left to do is to wish all members and families a happy new year.

 Let’s hope 2019 will bring some good weather and soaring.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 22nd December 2018

Watching the weather forecast this week has been a tense affair; all week a possible gap in the seemingly endless frontal systems promised a possible flying opportunity on Saturday. Normally the timing of such gaps tends to move but not this week so Saturday dawned with mostly 8/8ths cloud cover but at least high enough to fly. The wind was 12-15 knots westerly at runway level, stronger at altitude of course but flyable.

An uninspiring sky but flyable.
A K13 was got ready early to take advantage of the conditions. The K8s were left in the hangar, it was possibly a bit windy for them and as there was only a small (but beautifully formed) team the K13 would have enough capacity for our needs.

One Dat Course candidate Ben Followell
First up was Scratch who completed 2 good circuits with Instructor Rick Wiles to maintain his recency. We then welcomed visitor Ben Followell who was attending for a One Day Course. Ben was a solo glider pilot some 7 years ago when he was part of the Cadet Scheme at another airfield. After a couple of familiarisation flights with me he spent the rest of his course with Rick. By the end of the day he had flown his first ever winch launch and reacquainted himself with the pleasures of landing the aircraft. Well done Ben.

The K13 climbs into the sky once more
Everyone who wanted to fly did. By about 3pm the formation of moisture on the aircraft warned of  canopy misting problems to come so the glider was retrned to the hangar and put away after a thorough wash.

Rick's view from the front seat of the K13
looking towards Cornwall from cludbase.
Brentor Church is lower right
Not an epic day but it was good to fly once more.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 16th December 2018

Something strange was seen over Brentor Today. Yes, for a short time it was sunny so we actually got a K13 out of the hangar and flew. If you believe the old wives tale, were we doing the right thing?

Red sky in the morning, shepards warning
With a small crew gathering and if the weather forecast was going to be right giving a window of opportunity up to about midday it was action stations to get the airfield ready. We decided that it would be one flight each so that everybody would get a chance to fly.

K13 heading for a gloomy sky
First flight was at 10:12 with Mike Bennett and myself. The rain could already been seen approaching from the west  It was already raining in Cornwall. Three more flights were achieved with Andy Davey, Martin Cropper and Steve Fletcher. With the rain arriving it was now a quick dash to put the glider away (yes Colin it was dried off) and clear the airfield.

Back in the clubhouse it was time for teas and coffees to wash down the mince pirs supplied by Andy. The chairman set about updating the log books whilst we had our drinks.

The Chairman surrounded by aircraft paperwork
Only a few flights, but it was good to actually fly for once. Thank you to Richard for winching and everone else for the teamwork in running the airfield.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th December 2018

The weather has unfortunately settled into a winter pattern with low cloud interspersed with pulses of rain and high winds. So the last couple of weekends it just has not been possible to fly.

Does that me that the airfield has been quiet and deserted? Not a bit of it. The members have been getting on with their (mostly self appointed) tasks.

The sprucing up of the launch hut (mostly masterminded by Heather and Barry) has seen major improvements being made. The interior has had a completed paint job and the flooring replaced. It is looking much nicer. Scratch was drafted in to replace the log keepers seat with one he rescued from the Green Landrover. Outside, the steps have been refurbished and now sport some new non-slip treads. The exterior has been partly sanded ready for a new cost of paint. This will need to be a group effort as the paint of choice is a two pack paint which will harden very quickly once the catalyst is mixed. And the colour - Olive Green.

Barry adding non slip panels to the steps
The "new" log keepers chair
Rick and Scratch have been working on the vehicles. The Green Landrover has been stripped of any useful parts and then sent to the scrap yard. The bus has been started. A decision on it's future; new launch hut or sale?? will be made soon. The red tractor has had a leak in the cooling system repaired. I am sure I have missed some of what they did but you get the idea.

Rick and Scratch getting an old friend ready for it's final trip
Mike Bennett has been a one man whirl wind. The area behind the trailer park and clubhouse has been tidied including cutting back all the stray foliage. The defunct storage shed has been emptied and is now ready for disassembly. If that wasn't enough Mike has also been cutting up lots of wood for the burner to keep the clubhouse warm. Where does he get all that energy?

"Dartmoor chainsaw massacer?" Mike at work 
In the clubhouse the simulator has seen quite a bit of upgrading. The last few months has seen it upgrading to sport 6 screens. The large central one, 2 side monitors on each side to give a view that now goes from wing tip to wing tip ( great for circuit planning and winch launching ). The sixth screen is a small one in front of the front seat which displays the flight instruments. The software has not been ignored. The simulator now uses Condor 2. As if all that wasn't enough Rick has spent a lot of time at home developing the new local airspace files.

Rick working on the simulator
Steve working on learning the instructor patter with Rick using the simulator.
In the hangar, Zugvogel and K13 HXP have been de-rigged ready for their C of A and ARC. Colin, who now has ARC inspection added to his inspectors ticket,  has been to the airfield most days to move this project on. The K13 is not really due yet but we have decided to move it to the winter months when it's absence from the fleet is not as difficult to manage.

HXP and the Zugvogel inthe hangar for TLC
Colin at work on HXP's port wing
Hoping for some flying weather soon.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 25th November 2018

Leaving Plymouth on a reasonably bright morning and with the forecast for north westerlies and possible wave it was hopeful for a good days flying. Unfortunately arriving at the airfield I was greeted by low cloud. Although there were signs that the cloud was clearing some stubborn low cloud remained over the airfield. But it continued to slowly clear and ever optimistic we readied the airfield to fly. One club K13 was taken out and three private gliders rigged, SF27 (Barry Green), Zugvogel 3b (Roger Green & Andy Davey) and a dart (Leith Whittington).

I finally decided to take a weather check flight at 12:41 with Martin Cropper. We launched into clear air to the east over Mary Tavy and found some definite wave and were climbing at 1-2 knots. Unfortunately the cloud was seen to be encroaching back towards the airfield. So it was open airbrakes and descend to circuit height and land before the cloud encroached too far. We stood down for an hour, by which time the cloud had cleared well to the west.

Leith ready for his launch
Barry Green (SF27), Roger Green (Zugvogel 3b) and Leith Whittington (Dart 17R) all took a launch. Barry and Roger returned after extended flights of 16 and 19 minutes respectively. Leith could be seen north of the airfield initially maintaining height, but then found some more defined lift and could be seen steadily climbing.
Steve Fletcher and I took a launch in the K13 to hopefully follow Leith’s way. Again off the top of the launch we noticed that the cloud was approaching from the west. We lost sight of Leith so again we took the safe option to return and land before the cloud came too far east. Leith returned after a 51 minute flight. He decided to quickly descend seeing the cloud approaching from the east as we had in the K13.

Wave clearly visible over the airfield
Another new flight at the club is the steps between the hangar and the clubhouse.  A nice addition by Colin Boyd.

Colin Boyd Flight
Only five flights, but we made the best of the short breaks in the cloud. Thanks go to Mike Bennett for winching and his efforts in the continuing clearance on the site. Also thankyou to Heather for retrieving and others who helped without flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 24th November 2018

I would like to say that today we emulated our Sunday flyers and went soaring up to great heights straight off the launch. I would LIKE to say that but cannot. We were blessed instead with low cloud and drizzle which kept the gliders in the hangar once more.

Brentor in the mist
The assembled members just got on with their self appointed tasks. Heather and Barry continued with the refurbishment of the interior of the launch hut which is now looking much smarter. Rick and Scratch were getting oily once again working on the bus engine with a side order of fixing the red tractor's colling system.

Personally I had a go at smartening up the rear seat instrument panel in DMX. This came about after Rick sent me a flying picture taken during his wave flight last Saturday. A kinder person than me might a referred to it as "Shabby Chic" but OMG I just couldn't leave it like that. So instruments out and, a quick spray and rebuild later, it looks a bit more presentable. Not perfect but better.

Before - definitely beyond shabby chic
After a fresh coat of paint
Hoping for flying weather on Saturdays please.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 18th November 2018

Well today started with 6 members and a couple of visitors from Northill on site by 845am. Then thankfully the club members continued to arrive giving us all the help we needed to open the airfield.

The forecast was for a lively easterly wind gusting at various points to 22 knots at low level. Although not ideal conditions that lend themselves to learning the sport of gliding for the inexperienced ,for the more experienced pilots and instructors that were all hoping for wave flying in some form it looked promising.

Andy Davey rigging in readiness for what was coming
(photo Richard R)
 The weather check flight was done by cfi Mark Courtney and Roger Appleboom , launch height of 1800ft with wave found in the immediate area over the winch.

The approach was buoyant but within limits so the private gliders were rigged. (Zugvogel 3b, k6cr, discus x2 (V5 and visitor FER ))

The club flying list was worked through with a joint effort from Mark c and Steve w using the k13s. Thanks guys. As the day progressed the day got better and better with regular heights for k13s of 4-6000ft

Wave straight off the launch(Photo Richard R)
The private gliders explored the upper limits with Roger A -7,500ft, Steve W- 8,000ft , Richard R -10,000ft and top of the pops Andy D -12,000ft

Roger Appleboom (k6cr)took this  beautiful photo looking south towards Plymouth sound. 
Still climbing at 5.6 knot at 9,000ft. Photo Richard Roberts (Discus bw V5)
Thanks must go to the solid team who chose to help out and not fly , Alan,Leith, Colin and team Northill were a massive help, we really are grateful. 

Unfortunately the last two flights of the day failed to connect to the wave , we assume the bars had shifted a little.  All aircraft put to bed and fence etc sorted by 4:20pm.


Thanks to all.

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 17th November 2018

With high pressure in charge and the wind flowing from the east there was a good chance of wave today. The day started with low overcast with drizzle on the coast but over the airfield the wave system was obvious. The wind was certainly easterly but stronger than forecast, so a day to fly the K13's and leave the K8's in the hangar.

The primary wave bar
Mike and Rick doing their pre-flight checks
The first wave bar was a long way up wind of the airfield, the second was towards the west end so we would probably be launching into sink with the need to immediately fly downwind to the east end to either connect with the wave and rotor or land. The first flight was Mike Bennett with Rick. and that is exactly what they did. After a turbulent launch they flew downwind and used the rotor to connect with the secondary wave bar. They then used this to climb to 3600 feet giving them enough height to move forward to the primary wave bar almost overhead the leading edge of the moor. They returned 37 minutes later big smiles on their faces.

The slot in the middle marks the primary wave bar
Looking east from the primary wave bar.
The cloud in the top half of the photo is the cap cloud over Dartmoor
I was due to fly the second flight in the other K13 but I made a tactical error. I decided that as we were a little short handed, I would spend 10 minutes or so to help rig a glider before flying. This took much longer than usual due to a stuck pin. On returning to the K13 it was obvious that the weather had changed again. The wind was even stronger, with the gusts almost making standing difficult. This lead to us taking the gliders back to the hangar for safe keeping while we waited for conditions to settle down.

We were patient but the wind just did not settle so by late afternoon we abandoned any chance of further flying. What a shame.

As this was the first easterly day I expect that the conditions will improve over the next few days.

Still kicking myself