Saturday 28th August 2010

The forecast looked good confirmed by the deep blue sky early this morning. By 9am the airfield was busy as the airfield kit was made ready, club aircraft out and inspected, and the Jantar 1, Open Cirrus, ASW20 and Astir (yes it’s the Green Party again) rigged. The aircraft were later joined by the Twin Astir which emerged from it’s “T” hangar like a butterfly coming out of it’s crysalis.

Simon Leeson and DCFI Mark Courtney arrived from North Hill in the Rotax Faulke, made the tea, and then flew back to their home airfield. Now that’s what I call service. Perhaps bacon sandwiches as well next time??

Dominic Tomalin from Kelly College dropped in for a meeting with Bob, Don and myself to discuss Cadet flying.

The cloud rapidly developed throughout the morning and even looked to threaten rain at one stage. But as the cloud lightened a little so the thermal activity started. There were lines of thermal energy surrounded by some heavy sinking air which made soaring a challenge. The sort of day that really helps pilots develop their soaring and decision making skills.

Flight times ranged from a few minutes to well in excess of 2 hours. Cloud bases were variable ranging from 2000 – 2700 feet QFE.

There was a lot of training and Air Experience flights mostly conducted by Don and Martin. By the end of the day there had been a total of 48 flights.

The day finished in, what has become traditional style, in the clubhouse.

A very good day.


The Green Party Pays A Visit to the Bristol and Gloucester Gliding Club

The Mean Green Flying Machine,otherwise known as the Green Party, AKA Barry and Roger, collected our Astir FLJ from the home field at Brentor in the afternoon of Tues.12 August. We delayed briefly to admire the Bleriot monoplane replica that was being parked in the hangar overnight.Talk of those Magnificent Men, they must have all been Heroes in every sense of the word. Speaking as a glider pilot, we owe those early pioneers a great deal. Personally, having examined the wing section and other features, I would NOT wish to take to the air in such a machine.

However, I digress. We drove away toward Nympsfield, having been informed by David Jesty that an epic time was to be had over the next few days. An easy drive followed, we arrived to find room keys etc. as promised,so a beer,then bed.

Up early, breakfast in Stroud, then out with all the club kit. All very tidy. Roger had an aerotow with David in the back seat. I think the lady tug driver had her work cut out [mine was not much better]. During this time all sorts of exotic glass ships were being assembled and proposed tasks of gargantuan proportions were being plotted, the sky now was looking GOOD.The long distance fliers were all gone in a surprisingly short time.

Roger and self now had check flights,surprising how much more concentration is needed to do decent circuits and landings at a different field. However, all was acceptable.

We are both desperate to get silver distance and duration, however being the guy that I am, [always modest], I let Roger have first launch in our Astir. By this time the sky was not so good, another launch ensued. Roger flew for some 50 mins. and explored over a considerable area, but no 50Kms. today.

Shortly after he landed gliders were returning in large numbers, some with tales of "daring do". At least one 500km  around various turnpoints, plus other long flights [grrrrr].

Next day weather not so good, field very quiet. Roger continued aerotows, self took one launch in Astir, for 55 mins. Not bad considering conditions,and I believe longest of the day,flying very conservatively,in gentle ridge lift and the odd weak thermal.

Having towed our glider to the Long Mynd [Church Stretton] and Shennington [Edgehill],earlier this summer  we are finding that completing Silver Tasks is not as easy as we thought,but Nil Desperandum, Persistence will prevail, only the timing is uncertain.

Good Flying All,

Barry and Roger Green [The Green Party]

Wednesday 25th August 2010

Today is best summed up in three words.



Tuesday 24th August 2010

A continuous risk of showers and a strong westerly wind failed to deter the eight club members who turned out for today's 'play-day'. After a less than promising start, the weather improved and by mid-morning we were rewarded with sunshine, well-defined cloud streets and plenty of strong thermals - plus a lot of laughs. We operated just three gliders, the K7/13, the SF27 and the ASW20F, and those who flew all coped well with some very challenging conditions.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and especially to Barry and Heather for launching us and retrieving the cables so efficiently. Thanks also to John Bolt, whose latest improvement to the launch caravan has been the installation of a 'picture window', which gives visitors and our own 'caravan lurkers' a greatly improved view of all the work and antics going on outside.

Congratulations to Phil the Farmer, who after a dual soaring flight with Dave Jesty, then a couple of failed attempts on his own, conducted a successful and rather impressive Bronze C leg duration flight.

With all the banter on the forum about locking (or failing to lock) the site and the clubhouse, we ended the day by introducing DGS's first-ever 'Ceremony of the Keys'. Clad in leather flying helmet and pink tights, Martin Smith rose to the occasion - but as he marched under escort away from the securely locked clubhouse, a hammering on the window and some muffled shouts revealed that Sean Paramore was still locked inside!
Let's hope we manage to organize other 'ad hoc' flying days like this.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 22nd August 2010

An early start for Chris and Karon Matten who volunteered to ferry me back up to the motor glider, which was stranded by the weather at the Memdip Gliding Club Halesland, for an 8am take off. Chris and I had a fun flight back to DGS, trying to navigate the old fashioned way and dodge the clouds.

Meanwhile Martin Smith and Martin Cropper had the field ready for a quick start, Martin stayed on for an hour or so to get us going.

A good training day, but the thermals proved to be fairly useless. There were plenty of pupils to take advantage of the conditions including a new junior (Jacob) who is joining us. A fairly busy day with Alan,Barry and Roger doing great work on the winch finished with a couple of tinnies by the clubhouse.


Saturday 21st August 2010

Normally gliding over Dartmoor is a colourful experience with deep blue skies, the mosaic of fields in every shade of green, crops in yellow, and distant water in steely blue/grey. And today – white - (well light grey actually). The fog was so thick that visibility was less than the width of the runway all day.

However, the clubhouse was busy, John was in the hangar helping Bob with the CofA for his K8. Gus and Mike removed the chassis ??? from the Astir trailer for some much needed TLC. The highlight of the day was

Will Wilson who took and passed his Bronze exam supervised by CFI Don. Well done Will.


Thursday 19th August 2010

Soon after breakfast, Colin Boyd and I set off in the motor glider for Halesland (near Cheddar), a small group of Dartmoor members met in time for morning briefing in the clubhouse.

The Mendip Gliding Club very kindly lent us a K13 so our group could all fly---which of course we did.

A southerly wind and some wave interference meant the ridge was not really working, and so 15 minute circuits were the order of the day until rather large rainstorm stopped play. The motor glider became trapped there, the weather making it unsafe to fly away.

Everyone had a taste of the skills required for hillsoaring and the very friendly club atmosphere at Halesland. They even invited us back!!


David Jesty Flies Sid’s Task Week Nympsfield

Once a year, around the end of July, Sid's Task Week takes place at Nympsfield in Gloucestershire. Run by Sid Smith, the club's meteorologist, the week consists of a friendly cross-country competition. It is open to both club members and pilots from other clubs although being limited to twenty entrants the week gets booked up very rapidly.

I entered with my LS8 in 18m wing-span mode. The scoring system uses a handicapping system to be as fair as possible: the glider types ranging from an Astir to an 18mVentus. There were two classes roughly split between those who have yet to do a 300km and those who already have.

The weather was not great: flyable but hardly inspiring for cross-country flights. Tasks were set on five of the days: fairly short distances ranging from 130-150km. With the exception of the first day, all tasks were reasonably achievable even in the weak conditions that prevailed.

The great thing about task weeks is that you attempt cross-country flights when you probably wouldn't even have bothered to rig. This, coupled with learning from the experts afterwards, makes them invaluable for progressing one's own flying abilities. There is something very special about setting off on task with a dozen or so other gliders and seeing how they seem to find the better lines to fly.

As for the results, some would say that the weak conditions favoured the larger wing-spans (the two 18m gliders leading the results on the beginning of the last day) but we'll gloss over that. Suffice to say it was a nail-biting final day with all to play for. In the end Sid scrubbed his intended task (NYM-YATe-ROSsonwye-NYM) as the weather was clearly not good (heavy stratus at 2000'). This meant that any flights would be scored as if undeclared. A number of us launched anyway as we were in the launch queue and attempted the scrubbed task, using the ridge down to the M4 to stay airborne. After achieving 10km in about 1 hour the weather improved allowing me to not only complete the scrubbed task but also fly up to the Malvern Hills to add some more distance. Others tried to do the task a second time only quicker.
Just prior to the prize-giving the friendly rivalry heated up and there were a few pilots doing some 'points-optimisation' of their last flights on the club computer. By adding extra turn-points, extra distance and hence extra points could be gained (speed was never an issue and the flights were being scored as undeclared anyway). Eventually, after a slight clerical error was corrected, the overall winner was determined to be the Ventus by a small margin.

I cannot recommend these task weeks enough. They're very friendly, cheap, no retrieve crew are needed (fellow competitors will come and get you) and, above all, they're great fun.

David Jesty

Wednesday 19th August 2010

Most of group arrived promptly and set to work getting ready for the 'off', John Bolt and Martin Smith having already completed essential minor work on both two-seaters. Also the control van now boasts an elegant staircase and handrail hand-crafted by John.

Rain stopped play for a while and returned a couple of times, but excellent teamwork during set-up and launching/retrieving operations meant we made the most of the day in terms of training and soaring, with 40 launches. Well done Barry and Heather, who spent the day in the winch and cable retrieve car respectively.

Conditions weren't great, but we were all surprised and encouraged by Martin Broadway, who suddenly found 36 minutes-worth of lift in the K-8, soon to be joined by both two seaters. But then it all disappeared.

Martin Smith spent the day training our first one-day course candidate, Dick Strong, introducing him not only to flying a glider, but also to many of the other essential activities on the field. Meanwhile our father and son 'fixed price to solo' team of Jim and Nelson Rose really started to get to grips with flying a K13.

Bob Sansom made further progress from last week by re-soloing in the K8, and it was good to have Dave Rippon back with us and getting in a couple of solos following his recent hand operation. Could the Michael Jackson-style white glove become the latest 'must have' gliding fashion accessory?

Bob Pirie

Vintage Gliding Club 2010 Rally Tibenham by Martin Smith

The VGC international rally comes together for 2 weeks in Aug each year. The rally takes place in a different country each year and members come along to fly their gliders, meet old friends and make new ones.

Although I had not been to a VGC rally for a couple of years, my Slingsby Tutor (circa 1947) now resplendent in it’s new trailer, and was just begging to go to the VGC rally. (So I had to go too)

Tibenham was one of 18 airfields spread across Norfolk during WW II operated by the Eighth Air Force, and is about 20 miles south of Norwich. During the war it was the home of US Liberator bombers from the 445 bomber group. Tibenham was made even more famous, as the actor James Stewart was the station commander for two years.

Norfolk Gliding had been using the airfield for some 50 years but in 1987 32 acres of concrete and 22 acres of arable land were purchased. You can read the whole story on their web site

The VGC rally is always a great place to meet like minded people from many nationalities, not all brought a glider with them, but with over 80 vintage gliders to look at, and even fly in, getting a flight in one was not a problem.

For my part Monday 2nd Aug was a 7hr drive, I set up camp and checked in late afternoon and got an early night. Tues I rigged and had two flights the first was not long but the second saw the Tutor soaring to 2,000 ft, I then got carried away taking pictures and quickly ended up back on circuit. However on landing the inner tube moved inside the tyre shearing the valve off and ending my flying for the day. Wed was damp and raining so it was scrubbed, that suited me fine I needed to go into Norwich to find an inner tube I went to garden centres (Wheel barrow inner tube would do the job) to John Deere, and all manor of motor bike show rooms, but to no avail, however on returning to the Norfolk gliding club and thinking of packing up and going home, I came across Stuart from Anglian Sailplanes who could get me an inner tube by Thurs morning, and he was as good as his word, he even delivered it! (What a super service, and typical of VGC members)

Thurs afternoon saw several short flights in the Tutor, by now I was getting to grips with it. Fri was to be my last day, but not without a couple of flights, one of which was in a Slingsby T31 a two seat version of the Tutor the owner was looking to sell it, as he has 3 of them! so with his 10 year old daughter strapped in the back I was off. (My first ever glider flight was in a T31 and I was around 14 or 15, so I was chuffed to bits and rounded off my week nicely)

I must mention the quality of the gliders at the rally, if you think you have a nice glider, tucked up in you trailer, I’m sorry to say, whether you have a wood or glass glider it will probably get 3rd place, the gliders are astounding, the love, time and effort to keep these old gliders in first class flying condition is immense. (then there is the trailers they come in…..if I told you about those, you would probably set fire to yours)

Our hosts Norfolk Gliding club put on a great week, with a full catering services morning, noon and night, entertainment each evening, including the International evening (Hic!), Morris dancing, Model jet, and full size flying displays, Dwile Flonking (you can look that up yourselves) and many more.

Norfolk Gliding had at it disposal for the rally, 2 club gliders, two winches and five tugs, plus a dedicated launch and retrieve team from the ATC, six quad bikes to take you from your trailer to the launch, and back again! (Now that’s service)

The Norfolk Gliding has a great Web site, with pictures from the rally at -

Next year the VGC rally is in Spitzerberg, Austria, just the other side of Vienna!
See you there,

Martin Smith

Sunday 15th August 2010

A slower start to the day, changing ends was the first task and completing the rigging of the K7M after the previous days landout was the 2nd.

The soaring conditions did not live up to expectations, it was rather windier than expected which tended to break up the (mostly blue) thermals.

David Jesty had his first busy day instructing and did a great job in an awkward crosswind, so well done to him.

Thanks to all the team for keeping the show on the road, the cable dropped over the fence at least twice, but was quickly resolved.

Winch driver training went on all day.

A very busy day, both 2 seaters were fully occupied with trial lessons and club training ended with a quiet beer watching the last of the clouds gently roll by.


Saturday 14th August 2010

Loads of stuff going on in between heavy rain showers.

Ged secured the launch hut to the new base, John fitted the new steps.

Lectures for the beginners kept us amused until we saw a little break in the weather.

A little flying in between washing the K13 the natural way. The K13 went off on its last launch, for some instructor training and hangar landing. Well suffice it to say the wind was stronger than it looked and we didn’t get back to the airfield----the field adjacent to the airfield has some rather curious cows but is big and smooth, so that’s where we went.

Thanks very much to our patient band of helpers who helped extricate us from our embarrassing predicament.
The good news is the beer afterwards was very nice.


Wednesday 11th August 2010

An encouraging turnout today of members, visitors and one new member. An earlier start would have been nice but our progress was impeded initially by a snarled drum on the ML winch (a hangover from Sunday?), and a couple of minor problems with club gliders which needed attention. Thanks to everyone who pitched in - even to the detriment of their own personal flying.

We were busy with trial lessons, including the Frost family of five from Oxfordshire, and John Barker from Fowey. Thankfully Ged and I were helped by that 'Maginficent Man in His Flying Machine', Don. (Talking of venerable aircraft, we've been providing overnight accommodation in the hangar to a Bleriot monoplane replica from the Brooklands Museum, which is being used for filming at Morwelham Quay.(Bob Jones will tell you all about it.)

Our ranks were further swelled today by one visiting glider pilot, Henry Ollis, who flies at Haddenham, near Thame, and one new flying member for DGS. Welcome aboard to Alan Bamford, who trained at Lasham and was Captain of Imperial College Gliding Club until graduation about six years ago. Opting for aviation rather than biology, he pursued an airline career and is now a Dash8 captain with Air Southwest, based at Plymouth. So now, in addition to 'Phil the Farmer' and 'Dave Ripoff', we've got a 'Dashin' Cap'n'!

We enjoyed super soaring and training conditions, with the usual suspects pitting their wits against what some perceived as being elusive thermals. Finally, the day ended on a high note for Bob Sansom, who was a little surprised, after some refresher flights, to find himself re-soloing after a lay-off of almost a year. Bob, we hope you'll now prove to us that you really do have a concours condition K-8 in that trailer.

We had hoped to organise a solo flying day tomorrow, but were unable to assemble sufficient people. Next week maybe?

Thanks to everyone who turned up and flew; who drove things, mended things and in various other ways helped others to fly.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 8th August 2010

A promising start weather-wise saw two members arrive before 8am and a gaggle by 8.30. Gliders and winches were soon inspected whilst Don went off in the motor glider to do field landing exercises with Colin Boyde.

The first pair of cables on the Guslaunch saw the K6 and K13 thermalling, which seemed to bode well for the rest of the day.

We then swapped over to the newly repaired ML winch to put it through its paces. First off was Andrew Beaumont in the Zugvogel; also off were Alan Ballard(P1) & Phil Hardwick(P2) in the winch as Newton's Third Law of motion came into play and seven tons of winch made its stately progress down the field owing to the P1's senior moment in forgetting to move the wheel chocks across from the Guslaunch.

Sadly the cloud over-developed and stayed that way until late afternoon but that didn't stop a full day of training and no less than 6 trial flights; a total of 46 launches before packing up, followed by a few beers and a chat at the clubhouse to round off a very enjoyable day.

Alan Ballard

Saturday 7th August 2010

Today started with the weather looking very unpromising, low cloud and showers.

Ged arrived with the new trailer for the launch hut on the back of a lorry and, as he had to get the lorry back ASAP, the job just had to be done irrespective of the weather. The launch hut was lifted by crane while the existing axles, draw bar and misc metal fittings were removed using a couple of large disk cutters, before being lowered onto the new trailer.

This was another demonstration of team working as Ged, Rick, Mathew, Colin, John, Guy and I worked through the rain to finish the job. Thanks everyone. Refurbishing and a new paint job next.

Later in the day the conditions improved and flying commenced with plenty of training flights and a little ridge soaring on Blackdown.

The day finished with barbeque, beer and tall stories in the clubhouse.


Wednesday 4th August 2010

With a very low cloud base and an increasing, blustery wind the flying programme was reluctantly cancelled after several inspections.

Was the day wasted. Not a bit of it.

Don led a well attended lecture stream throughout the morning. The clubhouse was really busy.

We  welcomed 2 new members and one returning old member.

Phil the farmer repaired the tractors hydraulic systems ( busman’s holiday perhaps?).

John and David completed the review of all the aircraft logs and maintenance records. These must be the best kept records in the country. I think that the only further improvements might take the form of ironing the papers and polishing the paperclips.

We can also report the completion of the repairs to the ML winch. This probably demonstrates team working at it’s best. Alan Holland stripped the winch and diagnosed the fault. The somewhat obscure new parts and  a supplier was located by Roger Green. The purchase and delivery of the new part was conducted by club Secretary Bob Jones with cheques from Treasurer Martin Cropper. Alan Holland assisted by David Bourchier and Barry Green completed the fitting of new parts and the reassembly. I have probably missed several names from this list. Many thanks to all those members who helped with this essential repair


Sunday 1st August 2010

Very grey, patches of  low cloud and the odd rain shower. Not terribly inspiring.

However a few of our "enlightened" pupils had a fantastic day, practising circuits and making great progress.

With just enough to operate the field and Martin Cropper happily keeping the launches going, we managed sensible training sessions, lectures and even a trial lesson.

Thanks everyone for your great teamwork.


Saturday 1st August 2010

A low grey sky did not promise much today.

But, with the modearte westerly wind straight down the runway, most pilots used the opportunity for a circuit or two to maintain match fitness.

One member who capitalised on the conditions was Stuart Ayley who completed  his first solo  flight. Well done Stuart.

CFI Don Puttock congratulates Stuart after his first solo flight.