Wednesday 28th April 2010

Well done and a big thank you to all who got the equipment out and ready to go by the time I arrived - and who got the 'new' west end launch point set up. Also to Ged and David J., who helped to ease the instructional workload.

The combination of the new airfield layout and the persistent southerly crosswind presented a few challenges and most pilots 'gave it a go', although some very sensibly preferred to have an instructor in the back.

Newcomers to our ranks this Wednesday were Richard Morgan (our new Fixed Price to Solo member) and Sue Smith, whom we're trying to convince to make gliders her 'odds on' favourite, rather than horses.Welcome to you both!

As I left the airfield I couldn't help but notice the very smart club open trailer which is nearing the end of a major refurbishment by Martin Smith and others.

I'll be away for the next three Wednesdays, but know that Don will ensure a seamless transition.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 25th April 2010

Very low cloud and drizzle greeted us in the morning, our visitor Mike stayed over in the hope we might fly but even the crows were walking.

Bob Jones disappeared into the murk with the roller and tractor and reappeared several hours later, just a shape emerging through the mist.

Guy Massey was subjected to a 1:1 Navigational Lecture, he kept looking out of the corner of his eye for an escape route ---but eventually gave in and figured out how to use the protractor.

The rest of the team set to more tidying up, this time the clubroom looks better for it.


Saturday 24th April 2010

A day of hazy sunshine and strengthening southerly wind.

There was not much soaring to be had but it was a good training day with lots of members keeping Don, Bob and David busy.

The new tow out trailer was delivered today. Thanks Gus. The new "Gus Cart"  just needs a lick of paint to finish it off. How about yellow and blue to match the "Gus Launch" winch?

The big news of the day was that Barry and Roger Green both took advantage of Don and his motor glider yesterday to complete their Cross Country Endorsements – well done lads. Out and return to North Hill soon perhaps?


Wednesday 21st April 2010

Following CAA clearance, gliders were at launch point by 0430, first launch at 0437 with a pause for caviar, hand-crafted croissants 'n coffee at 0700. Wotta day!...

...but only kiddin'. K7/13 de-rigged, annual inspection completed and re-rigged in the evening thanks to efforts of usual 'suspects'. What other club has a chairman and deputy who do so much hands-on work, three official inspectors (again all volunteers) to ensure everything in order, and a secretary who is truly 'hands-on' as the winchboss.

A full day's flying (38 launches) was achieved with some thermal and wave beneath overcast - operating cross- (and often slightly down-) wind. Plenty of post-solo training and checkflights, two ab initios and two trial lessons - all in good old DMX.

Robin Wilson re-soloed in K8 after lay-off (between umpteen flights in it by Geoff Craggs), and Phil Hardwick sampled for the first time and got hooked on the K6. Good to have our merry mariners (Martin Broadway and Chris Fagg) back with us. Also welcome back to Roger Grimes (ex-Dunstable) and to Dave Bourchier who provided a great service launch point controlling.

During the day buzzards soared... a cuckoo was heard... and there were also brief sightings of Gus in his blue van.


Stop Press BBC Southwest's weather forecast this evening featured footage of our K13 and K8 taken from Brentor.

Sunday 18th April 2010

Hangar doors open before the duty instructor arrives, fantastic. First launch 9.28 am.

The day started with light and variable winds and an easterly take off. Blue thermals most of the day, going to 5000ft over the moors. The winds became light westerly later forcing us to change ends, which for those of us flying looked very efficiently done.

The 2 seaters were busy all day. Well done to Guy Massey who re-solo'd today, concerted back on to the K8 and celebrated with a bronze leg. Alan Carter put his simulator training into practice and flew his first bronze leg as well.

The single seaters had some interesting and fun flying all day.

A good day, team effort as usual.


Saturday 18th April 2010

First glider at the launch point at 0810 and the 2 more by 0820. Amid all this frantic activity DCFI Mark Courtney still managed to find time for a cup of tea and a slice of Sandra's delicious lemon cake.

The day was sunny, with blue sky and light winds from the SE. which deilvered a warm day with over 8 hours of soaring available.

Longest flight was Ged in the Open Cirrus who returned for a break after 2 hours 17 minutes.

There were lots a visitors today ready to take advantage of the weather and sample gliding for the first time who were ably flown by Martin Cropper and David Jesty. Other visitors included 3 pilots from North Hill and 1 from the Wyvern club. DCFI Mark Courtney had a busy day with check flights and  training which included new member Mark who started his fixed price to solo today.

We had a passing visit from ex CFI Roger who made a low pass in his Dimona motor glider

Dimona above Jantar1 and Capri posing for a photo shoot

The real heros today were the members who gave up their flying to get tasks done around the club. Bob Jones spent the whole day at the winch instructing new drivers. Karon painted the K8/K6 trailer, a Forth Road Bridge size task which was later fininshed by Martin, Roger and Barry. Karon's husband Chris completed the repairs to the red Discovery. Thanks chaps ( and chapesses )

Steve Lewis

Wednesday 15th April 2010

After last weekend's balmy sunshine and intense activity, expectations (and reality) of unbroken cloud and a biting NNE crosswind deterred all but a few stalwarts. But they were rewarded with strong thermals up to well over 2,000ft agl (arguing with snippets of wave) - plus ticks on post solo progress sheets.

Once several essential ground equipment maintenance chores had been tackled, everyone got plenty of flying, apart from Ged and Steve L., who gave up their day so that others might fly.

Superb Gus-launching by Bob Jones and John Howe - and competent demonstrations of soaring by Messrs Craggs and Hardwick.

Pity there weren't more people around. Lots of dual training flights, but only one ab initio, no trial lessons and the K6 and Zug unflown. So, next Wednesday: "Let's 'ave yer!"

Good to meet John Bolt's young grandson, Tom. No doubt, influenced by Grandad and Uncle Colin Watt (Lasham CFI), his education will soon extend from ABC and National Curriculum stuff to ARC, Cof A, BGA and, heaven help us, EASA.

Finally, please note that in appreciation of our DCFI Mark Courtney's agreement to deputise for Don this Saturday, two gleaming new cables were installed on the ML winch after flying ended yesterday.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 13th April 2010

First glider was at the launch point by 8.15, thanks everyone thats the way to do it. I am sure when we get into the swing of things this will be the norm for the summer.

The wave was being elusive all day, around 3pm very strong blue thermal conditions developed. A fairly strong cross wind was making the approaches tricky for beginners.

We had our fair share of cable breaks etc, thanks everyone for your patience and work getting them sorted out. Scratch (aka Dene Hitchen) needs a special mention for his organisational and leadership skills in getting a major tangle sorted out in record time.

2 new pupils today started their basic training, both are doing really well. They went home smiling and happy.


Saturday 10th April 2010

A warm, blue sky day with a light wind ESE (straight down the runway). Tee shirts and sunglasses were the order of the day.

The airfield was very busy. With trial lessons, new members and check flights to deal with Don and his instructor team were kept busy all day.

It remained soarable throughout the day with narrow thermals to 2900 feet. There was some wave influence noticable but this did not have much bearing on the day. Longest flight was Steve Lewis in the Jantar 1 who returned to the airfield for a cup of tea after an hour and a half of local soaring.

There were several "firsts" today. Alan Ballard completed his Bronze "C". Alan Carter had his first flights in the K8.

Amongst the private gliders today was Martin Smith's Slingsby Tutor. This 1940's glider has been rescued by Martin and put back into flying condition. And today he flew it. The first time it has been airbourne in 10 years. This will no doubt be of interest to the Vintage Glider Club.

The Tutor was also flown by Ged who could not resist the opportunity to relive his youth; his fist flight in a single seat glider was a Tutor in the 1960s. He had forgotten the joys of open cockpit flying and managed to have his glasses blown off whilst looking backwards. Candidate for the "Wooden Spoon" trophy perhaps?

Steve Lewis

Wednesday 7th April 2010

Following a depressing run of wet Wednesdays, a small group of 'the faithful' arrived early and got the kit out - trusting the met man's prediction that the low cloud would clear around noon.

And clear it did, leaving us with a brisk crosswind and some strong but broken thermals. Everyone flew, with Dave Rippon completing his Bronze spins and a simulated field landing. Then, to prove it wasn't a fluke, he landed on the stub again on his own.

Early proof of the 'pulling power' of Monday's Open Day and the warm welcome provided to our guests by DGS members was the return of Ron Quilter from Mary Tavy. Having met many of us on Monday, he came up to the airfield this afternoon, had three flights and is now in the initial phase of his three months' temporary membership. Welcome aboard - and thanks for helping out, Ron!

Finally, commiserations to Martin Smith who, despite plans to make his first flights in the Tutor, decided that discretion was the better part of valor due to the strong crosswind and left it firmly on on the ground.

Bob Pirie

Monday 5th April 2010 - Open Day

There was a great atmosphere as a large contingent of club members arrived early to get everything ready for the open day.

The hangar was emptied in double quick time and the club gliders were lined up. These were joined by the Jantar1, Open Cirrus, Twin Astir and Martin's Slingsby Tutor. It was the Tutor that created the most interest amongst the club members.

The clubhouse was busy; several members wives were in the kitchen making tea, coffee, bacon sandwiches etc. Young Mathew was on the computer demonstrating a gliding simulator which lots of visitors attempted to fly.

There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day, and while the crosswind was far too strong for air experience flying, everyone had a good time. Voucher sales were bouyant and several visitors showed real interest in learning to fly.

The highlight of the afternoon was the arrival of Alan Holland flying his Super Cub which looked almost threatening in it's Belgian camouflage markings. His arrival and later departure attracted lots of spectators.

Many thanks to everyone how help make this such a successful day

Steve Lewis

Sunday 4th April 2010

The day started off with a fairly brisk westerly, straight down the strip which continued all day.

With good winch launch heights it wasn't long before pilots were getting some good soaring flights. Thermals were broken lower down but soon organised themselves above 1500' AGL up to cloud base at 4k'.

Don did some longer flights concentrating on soaring techniques and some trial lessons were flown.

All in all, a very good day.

David Jesty

Saturday 3rd April 2010

After heavy overnight rain the amendments to the drainage system were given a good workout.

The tidying of the hangar continued throughout the day - this is becoming a habit.

Advantage was taken of the empty hangar to put the K6 through it's CofA and ARC renewal inspections which was completed and the glider rigged ready for the next flying day.

Thanks to all the helpers.


Friday 2nd April 2010

The weather cleared with South Westerly winds and 6 knot thermals.

Fitted GPS to K13- this has got to be good news for Messrs Clark and Westlake! ( see post for Sunday 7th March )

We had Hot Cross Buns, zingy coffee, flew a helicopter, didn't wreck the clubhouse, surveyed landing out places at Widgery Cross and designed an irrigation system for the somewhat damp runway.

An altogether productive day.