Saturday 30th October 2010

The day started with high cloud cover and a strong southerly wind.

With the club relatively quiet, Darren and new member Marta took full advantage of the training on offer to progress their flying skills. Will continued his winch training.

Phil and Andrew, our latest Astir syndicate, rigged their new toy with the intention of continuing their practice and familiarisation flights but decided not to fly it as the wind strengthened. Good decision. So rigging and derigging pratice only today.    

The wind strengthened throughout the day. This made circuits and landings interesting but did permit all pilots to practice circuits and landings onto the stub runway from the north. This included Phil and Andrew who used the K13 to experience the challenging conditions; Good decisions seem to be becoming a habit.

The day finished late afternoon when the lowering cloudbase brought the start of the forecast rain.

An interesting day.


David Jesty gets his 3rd Diamond

David Jesty has recently got his 3rd Diamond, the 5000 meter height gain. Here is his story.

Back in the summer I accepted an invitation to join some of the North Hill pilots on their October trip to Portmoak near Edinburgh for six days of flying.

Five of the six days were flyable with often a combination of ridge, thermal and wave. The wave was often very weak and gentle (unlike Brentor's usual offerings!) One day produced 50kt winds at flying height allowing a hovering flight to take place in the wave but pushing into wind very difficult. Generally one could fly for as long as required, dependant mainly on how cold it was.

The best day was the Wednesday which started out blue and very cold. The CFI warned about the dangers of a very crowded ridge although he hoped that some blue wave might start up during the day. The first hour or so consisted of ridge flying: a mentally exhausting operation keeping eye on the other 14 gliders. A slight shudder of the wings announced the arrival of very weak wave and a slow climb ensued, helped by watching the other gliders marking the good and not so good lift.


Once up at 9000' I moved upwind to find stronger lift. The inevitable sink concentrated the mind, but each time it was fairly easy to find a new wave. The P600 airway creates a bit of a problem (you have to duck under it) but once out the other side you're clear up to FL195. A comment from Pete Startup a few days earlier about the local wave hotspot sent me west to the very cloudy Loch Earn area rather than east to Dundee where a classic rotor cloud was sitting. Flying along a nice wave slot the lift was fairly consistent but never booming. I headed to an area where there was a thin lenticular above the rotor.


At 12000' I donned the very fetching oxygen cannula and searched for the best lift. This was easily found and a continuous 3-4kt climb ensued, breaking off at just over 19000' being careful not to get pushed up into the airspace that was now very close above. The air temperature was well below -20C and with very cold feet I carefully descended, having to get below cloud base to avoid icing, then a down-wind dash for home.

There are more writings about the week on the North Hill website (DSGC) blog and, for any who might be interested, my flight log is on

David Jesty

Wednesday 27th October 2010

A pleasant and partially thermic autumn day, with the main topic for discussion being Dave Jesty’s 19,000ft flight to achieve his diamond height - thus giving him all three diamonds. But before you all get too excited, I should tell you this happened the previous week at Portmoak, in Scotland, (although he did get his gold height at Brentor a couple of years ago).

Dave was back with us instructing yesterday and with few pre-solo students around, we were able to provide some intensive coaching to Mike Keller, Chris Fagg and Mark Lowrey, who is normally a ‘weekender’. Mike and Chris have attended - and flown numerous times - on three Wednesdays in a row, and it is noticeable how beneficial regular attendance is in terms of their competence - and confidence.

Ged and Steve Lewis concentrated on winch driver training - and gave us some super launches in the process. Thirty eight launches with no breaks, only one weak link failure (with the strop quickly found) and no cables dropped over the hedge, despite a crosswind, was a pretty creditable performance for everyone involved.

In terms of ‘new faces’, we were pleased to have Dominic Tomalin (C.O. of Kelly College CCF) with us for a series of training flights. It will be interesting to see who solos first; the boss - or one of his cadets.

As with the previous Wednesday, a brief crop of useable thermals in the late afternoon got us all excited, with Barry Green achieving 29 minutes in the Zug.

Finally, my thanks to all of you who responded to my ‘rallying call’ via the Forum and had the airfield, gliders and equipment ready early, so that once some early low cloud had cleared, we were able to start without delay.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 24th October 2010

Clear blue skies and a light north easterly. Day started with "change ends", and fence down---so a slight delay.

Weak thermal/ridge/wave for a period.

Both 2 seaters were fully occupied, Jacob Knight brought his friends to have a taster of gliding, and promptly went solo, well done Jacob.

The canny Irishman waited at the launch point for the perfect launch time, and the canny club members sat and watched the canny Irishman. Eventually he managed to scrape away in difficult ridge/thermal.
Canny Irishman in strange Gaelic tribal regalia
Special mention in despatches for Barry and Heather, who tirelessly kept those cables coming.

The day ended when the canopies began to mist and the sun began to disappear.


Saturday 23rd October 2010

The wind today was W 15 knots + with frequent showers.

The start of flying was delayed due to a large shower passing through. The time was not wasted as trainees Mike and Darren discussed airspace, maps and navigation with CFI Don.

Mike and Darren then took full advantage of the flying with instructor Martin.

Will made good use of the time continuing with his winch driver training and is making good progress.

The day finished a little early as yet more showers moved through the area.


Wednesday 20th October 2010

A slick start to the day - but the light crosswind swung from N to NW earlier than expected so we decided to change ends, rather than slog on with poor launches and long landings.

Lovely autumn weather with a couple of showers, and a marked drop in temperature whenever the sun was obscured by cumulus clouds. Thermals were a bit elusive - but Richard Morgan did well to achieve 28 minutes in DMX while I admired the scenery from the back seat. Richard and Chris Fagg, along with Mike Keller (who flew with Ged) benefited from several flights apiece, and it is great to see how their skills (and confidence) are improving. One of our temporary members, Ray Newman, also made a return visit and flew, leaving with a smile on his face.

Brentor always has some surprises up its windsock, and Wednesday was no exception. After a day with lacklustre lift, Phil Hardwick in the Astir suddenly found himself being propelled up to 2,800 ft by a strong thermal, then spent an hour exploring the skies - probably in some sort of wave effect. An envious group of onlookers watched his every move, and congratulated him on crossing this latest hurdle towards his cross country endorsement.

Phil returns to the airfield after his 1 hour flight in his new Astir. Picture by syndicate partner Andrew
Finally, two other bits of good news. Firstly it's nice to have Dave Bourchier back with us (Thanks, Dave, for all your launch point controlling efforts yesterday - and ditto to our winching/cable retrieving team of Dave, Barry and Heather) and, second, we were all relieved to see that Don's machine had recovered from its recent bout of 'bovine excess'. It is now protected by an electric fence!

Bob Pirie

Sunday 17th October 2010

Light NE winds backing to NW during the day with a curious 45 degree wind shear at 4000ft. Clear skies with beautiful lenticulars that were just out of reach.

Lenticulars over the launch point
Quite a busy day, the prize winners from the Bere Alston Scouts Meteorology course flew. A warm welcome to Nigel and Richard, Nigel is rejoining after several years layoff.

Very few managed to get away and soar, the flight of the day went to Trevor in the Jantar, unfortunately he was unable to break through to the upper wave system.

Thanks again to the regular supporters who made the day possible.


And Trevor reported

Got 1200ft launch contacted weak lift at 900ft just southeast of Mary Tavey gradually worked up to 1200ft cloud base. Lift broken and turbulent, saw lots of wave which shifted regularily!!!. Cloud base went up rapidly to 3400ft searched all over for the illusive wave eventually contacted 0.9kts smooth lift thought I had it made, managed to climb to 3,800ft which took ages then lost it.That was my max ht. Stayed fairly local didn't have much trouble staying between 2500 and 3500 still chasing wave which either couldn't connect or dissapered when I approached. Came back at 100kts quick loop circuit and land 2hrs59mins.


Saturday 16th October 2010

With a clear blue sky today promised perhaps a little soaring for the early afternoon. In the event the north wind was cold and the hoped for thermals did not really materialise.

Mark Courtney, DCFI and today’s leading instructor, was kept busy with training flights. He was ably assisted by Ged.

Very welcome today was a visit from a contingent from the Exeter University Gliding club who were checking Dartmoor out after our recent wave days.

There was a very good sight at the club today. Chris Matten’s K10 made an appearance at the launch point after several years of not flying during which the wings were recovered and repainted.
Chris Matten and the K10

For those who do not know, Chris’s Schleicher K10a is a very rare glider indeed. It was one of only 12 prototypes built during 1963 – 1965 as a replacement for the venerable K6CR. It has an all flying tail, new aerofoil section and a very sturdy wing construction which was aimed at producing a highly laminar airflow over the wing. Glide angle was improved from 28 K6CR to 32. Schleicher used the lessons learned from the K10 to produce very popular K6E which replaced it. This K10 is the only one on the CAA register and may well be the only one in flying condition in the UK.


New Syndicate

Aircraft have been changing hands

Phil Hardwick and Andrew Beaumont have bought themselves a very nice Grob Astir CS from the Barry and Roger Green who ( if the rumours are to be believed ) are looking for a DG303 or similar.

DSC00602 crop
Andrew and Phil trying out their new toy.

Have fun chaps


Wednesday 14th October 2010

A classic autumn day with possibly a record line up ( for a Wednesday) of 10 gliders, with plenty of members to fly them, plus visitors. Good to see Phil and Andrew up in their Astir, and Bob Sansom resurrecting his lovely K8 (after six years in its trailer).

A competion grid?   No  just a Wednesday at DGS
Our sympathy goes to to Don Puttock whose parked T61 was found to have suffered from the (amorous?) attention of a cow. Weatherwise, last weekend's wave had died, but there were some patchy thermals, with Ged achieving 1.5 hours in the Open Cirrus.

Good to see so many visitors; especially Andrew and Ericka Thompson from Lostwithiel. Andrew came along for a voucher flight, then Ericka (who is disabled) was persuaded by our resident 'meeter and greeter', Heather, to give it ago - twice! From a backseat perspective, it was wonderful to hear Ericka's laughter and share the joy the experience gave her. Thanks to all the members who gave them such a warm welcome.

Vistors Andrew and Ericka Thompson (centre) with instructors David Jesty and Bob Pirie
Two other visitors were the Harmers from the Devon and Somerset Gliding Club. Pete is their CFI (and a former Lasham colleague of mine). After submitting himself for a site-check, he took wife Jill for a short soaring flight in the K7/13, which made a change from their Turbo Duo Discus. Such visits help to cement the increasingly close links between our clubs and I am sure DGS members will be made welcome at North Hill (which, incidentally, was socked-in by the weather yesterday, while we were basking in sunshine).

In all, a respectable 43 launches were achieved.

A big thank you to all who helped out - which was most of you - and commiserations to Colin Boyd and Alan Bamford, who worked particularly hard but remained earthbound, so that others might fly.

Bob Pirie

Karon Matten - BGA Officer

It is my pleasure to announce that Karon Matten has been appointed as Child Protection Lead for the BGA. Karon will be advising the BGA on all matters relating to child protection.

Karon is the longest serving lady glider pilot at DGS ( must have started young ) and has assisted with club operations throughout. She has held many posts at the club and is currently the DGS Child Protection Officer.

Many thanks and well done.


Sunday 11th October 2010

Low cloud and poor visibility to start, winds forecast 1000/35. The clubhouse was fairly full with our members and visitors from Northill. The windsock predictably showed zero wind at the surface.

Sandra made a visit after her unpleasant motor cycle incident, Alan is still in hospital but cheerful and getting better. Hopefully they will be flying again soon.

Early pm the low cloud began to clear and the K13 checked things out with a quick climb to 7500ft in wave followed by an ear popping descent.

The wave established nicely to allow reliable beats from Meldon reservoir to Yelverton at height from 6000ft to 9000ft. James Hood took BVB up to 9000ft, probably the best height of the afternoon, several members experienced the fun of wave for the first time---so big grins all around.

Trevor landed out after several hours of exploration, and Alan Ballard landed out in the K6 after several minutes of exploration---but thats

The day finished with a beer courtesy of Alan Ballard---cheers.


Saturday 9th October 2010

Very strong winds from the east promised wave although the wind strength profile in the forecast was not correct for classic wave.

Early on the cloud cover was almost complete with a cloud base of an estimated 500 feet. The rotor / wave influence could be clearly seen but with the cloud cover it was a case of “rig and wait” for the 3 private gliders.

Late morning the cloud rolled away just enough to permit a 2 seater to launch. They found very rough rotor everywhere. More waiting then.

Mid afternoon the cloud cover openned a little more allowing another three K13 launches but still rotor, no proper wave.

Picture taken by Ged of the cloud cover whilst flying in the rotor

The wind towards then end of the afternoon had built up to 25 knots or so on the ground and 40+ knots at 1000 feet. Discretion is the better part of valour so toys away and back to the clubhouse for tea and buscuits.

I bet tomorrow will be good.


Thursday 7th October 2010

Once again the Kelly College CCF contingent scored with the weather. A brisk south-easterly breeze promised a chance of 'wave'. We knew that was even more likely when we saw Trevor Taylor arrive in a hurry and start rigging his Jantar!

CFI Don Puttock and Mark Courtney went up in a K13 to check conditions and came back confirming there was wave lift just east of the airfield. Without further ado Trevor took a launch and disappeared in a steady climb. Meanwhile Don and Mark briefed the Kelly College contingent.

Conditions were brisk, but Dominic, Darcey, George and Tom who had already flown with us, were given the opportunity to see Dartmoor as they had never seen it before - at 2,000 feet from a glider. They were each airborne for twenty minutes or so and then we managed to get in some shorter flights for those who had not flown before. Unfortunately the low cloud that had been lurking to the east came spilling across the moor to curtail operations. Trevor was the last to land with another two hour flight to log!

The cadets then helped to repack the hangar before finishing off with a talk in the clubhouse by Don.

As Mark Courtney pointed out - "There aren't many gliding sites in the South of England where you can enjoy the experience of wave flying on your first visit!"

Bob Jones

Wednesday 6th October 2010

With bright sunshine and some tasty cloud streets (most of which seemed to 'kink' and avoid Brentor) we had a good turnout and pre- and post-solo pilots alike enjoyed a good day of training and keeping current. We were pleased to welcome a number of temporary members coming back for more!

A strong cross-wind proved challenging for those who flew and variable attempts at 'laying off' stimulated criticism worthy of Craig Revel Horwood from our 'Strictly Come Winching' team. Seriously, gents, thanks for all your efforts at getting us airborne - and thanks also to those who mended the fence. On the plus side, it is always encouraging to see relatively inexperienced pilots progress to the point where they can cope competently with strong crosswinds and wind gradients, and yesterday was such a day.

It was especially nice to see John Bolt airborne solo in the K6 showing the youngsters how to do it. John, an ex instructor, has had a bit of a lay off from flying but is now solo again and has that very satisfied, knowing smile sported by pilots the world over.

John Bolt
Talking of progress, there was some excitement early on in the day when John Bolt re-weighed the Greens' Astir to ascertain whether or not Andrew Beaumont was within weight limits. The result was positive, so Andrew and Phil the Farmer have now become the proud owners of the glider - leaving Barry and Roger contemplating the future, with the deposit money for something big and shiny burning a hole in their pockets.


Sunday 3rd October 2010

Torrential rain and low cloud meant that flying was not possible today.

The airfield was quiet with just a little maintenance activity.


Saturday 2nd October 2010

After yesterday’s torrential rain the airfield was in surprisingly good condition and perfectly flyable. With the moderate wind from a little east of south, after a quick change of ends, it was game on.

Instructors Mark Courtney and David Jesty were kept busy with training flights and ensuring Leanne Unsworth made the most of her One Day Course.

The thermal activity was fairly low, just teasing the pilots by extending their circuits a little except for Alan Holland who managed to soar the K6 in the very difficult conditions.

The day finished with cups of steaming hot tea and slices of lemon drizzle cake in the clubhouse.


Thursday 30th September 2010

For the third consecutive Thursday the CCF contingent from Kelly College brought their flying weather with them. Mark Courtney and Martin Smith flew eight new hopefuls that included the college's headmaster, Dr Graham Mawley. They were accompanied by Dominic Tomalin commanding officer of Kelly College CCF and Squadron Leader Peter Westerly, West Region co-ordinator for RAF cadet units.

The encroaching warm front stayed clear of Brentor long enough to allow all eight to get in two flights each. Dominic and Darcey Ball then managed a flight each with Darcey able to add fifteen seconds of cloud flying to her log-book! Within minutes of the group leaving Brentor, the heavens simply opened!

In addition to our two stalwart instructors, thanks also go to John Bolt and Alan Ballard on winch, Phil Hardwick and Andrew Beaumont signalling and Robin Wilson on quad bike retrieve.
Yours truly accompanied on double bass!