Sunday 28th November 2010

The clubhouse temperature was -2 degrees at the start, the stove soon raised that to plus 9 degrees (almost tropical).

Light North east winds gave us a gentle weak wave up to 1800ft QFE, with a clear blue sky. The day was fairly busy with a mixture of soaring and training going on.

The "Green party" took the single seaters for an early soaring flight, just to show us how it should be done.

Matthew Mackay and Nigel Williamson flew the K8 for the first time, Nigel soared for an "almost" Bronze leg, and Matthew cracked it with a flight of 32 minutes (a very good effort in quite difficult soaring conditions).

Jacob Knight flew the K6 for the first time, followed by a perfect landing, very well done to him also.

We all retired at sunset to a clubhouse ( now up to 14 degrees)---big grins all round. Thanks everyone for making it a great day.


Saturday 27th November 2010

The wind was very strong from the north and the sky was strangely clear over the airfield but everywhere else the cloud cover was almost complete right down to the top of the hills. It was VERY cold. Overnight snow at least made the airfield somewhat picturesque.

View from the west end looking towards the east
Sandra and Alan continued on their quest to re-solo after their injury enforced layoff.  We also welcomed new member Przemek ( nickname Shrek ) who made another epic trip to visit us. He commenced his training with a couple of flights in the K13. For details of Shrek’s epic journey to come flying see the blog entry for Saturday 13th November - that's what I call keen

The extreme cold soon drove members back to the clubhouse and the warmth of the woodburner. Rick and Matthew breathed life back into the computer system, several members took part in a soaring contest on the simulator, Don gave a pre bronze lecture and the rest of the members chatted over steaming cups of tea ( later replaced by ice cold beer ).


Wednesday 24th November 2010

After the heavy showers over the last couple of days and today’s showers and low cloudbase it was decided that this would be a non flying day.

There was still a lot going on though.

Don was in lecture mode with two pre bronze pilots discussing stalls and spins.

Andrew and Phil, the “Astir Construction Company”,  really pushed on the “Private Pilots Parachute Storage” project rearranging the back office, filling in the wall where one of the windows used to be, and positioning the new parachute cupboard. Many thanks. Only the background heater system to go.

The woodburner kept several members busy cutting up logs for the coming days.

The ML winch was fitted with a new cable. This winch will come offline now for some much need attention. The “Guslaunch” winch was checked over. started and the left hand drum released ( the brake tends to stick on ) ready for use on Saturday.


Sunday 21st November 2010

Light north-westerly wind, and the airfield beginning to dry out. Cloud at about 3000ft to start, but heavy overcast at 800ft by the end of the day. The wave teased us all day, and needless to say it was working well as the sun went down.

A big vote of thanks to Barry, Heather, David and Martin who worked hard all day to make it a success for newer trainees .Not only did Barry spend the entire day on the winch, but he started by painting the club house door, and Heather vacuumed the clubhouse before driving the cable retrieve truck!!

Well done to Nigel Williamson and Matthew Mackay for going solo, to Jacob who now has as many launch failures in the K8 as normal flights.

The day was completed with Marta demonstrating how many different ways you could overstress a K8---thankfully it was on the simulator.


Saturday 20th November 2010

After all the rain this week, the airfield was very wet. But, with the wind ENE, lenticulars close by and a promise to be very careful with the grass, it was game on.

The early flights were a little disappointing with the gliders able to maintain launch height for 20 –30 minutes or so.

Approaching the wave slot
And then the wave set up, Our polish pilot, Krzysztof  (Chris) Kaminski had his very first wave flight and recorded a very creditable 94 minutes for a Cross Country Endorsement leg. He was understandably a little cautious and did not venture  to any great height. He was shown "how it's done" by Junior pilot Simon who piloted his K13 to 6500 feet and back in just over a half hour. Well done Simon.

K6 photographed by Simon in his K13 while returning from 6500 feet
Unfortunately, at about 3.45 the temperature had dropped enough to rapidly lower the cloudbase and, with all the gliders safely back in the hangar, it was off to the very warm clubhouse ( thanks to the woodburner ) for beer and “how I did it” stories.


Thursday 18th November 2010

Another Kelly College training day. This week the talk was about stalling and how to avoid becoming a stalling statistic.

Thanks again especially to David Jesty and Alan Bamford who helped make a very
professional training session.

Lets hope the field dries out for the easterlies this weekend.


Wednesday 17th November 2010

The field was ankle deep in water today, but at least we didn’t have the same serious difficulties as St Austell!!

Thanks to everyone for the housekeeping efforts, and to Andrew who secured the simulator screen properly to the new wall. We now have a parachute cupboard for those private owners who would like to use it.


Sunday 14th November 2010

Rain,low cloud and then more rain all morning.

The good news was we could also find it was forecast to be showery by going onto our brand new internet connection. The first weather forecasts were printed off with an admiring audience.

The morning was spent discussing Navigation for the bronze C exam, and then Marta polished her turning skills on the simulator, and Jacob demonstrated his aerobatic skills in the Fox. ( the simulator can be many different gliders )

The field was very wet, so only one glider was operated in the afternoon---with a great deal of care to ensure the field surface was protected. We flew as many training and currency flights we could, then the heavens opened and we returned to a nice warm clubhouse to dry off.


Saturday 13th November 2010

Grey overcast day with very little wind marked this gap between 2 weather fronts. After yesterday’s rain the airfield was very wet and soft. But after a late pitch inspection and with juniors Matthew  and Simon keen to fly it was game on.

Everyone who wanted to fly did so. It is important for Matthew to stay current, his 16th birthday ( and 1st solo ?) is less than a month away.

Although the flying was relatively low key there was a lot going on.

We welcomed polish visitor Przemek ( nickname Shrek ) who is keen to join us and learn to fly. A measure of his dedication came from his epic journey to visit us. He caught a bus from his home in Perranporth to Truro; a train from Truro to Plymouth; a bus from Plymouth to Tavistock and  yet another bus from Tavistock to Brentor. Phew!!!

We also welcomed to return of Alan and Sandra who both soloed earlier this year but who have been missing from the airfield for some time following a accident on Alan’s 2.3 litre Triumph motorcycle which left them with a broken leg each.

Our current projects continue to grow.

The simulator project is almost complete. Masterminded by Martin Smith who did all the original design and engineering work, the project has now been moved forward by Rick and Matthew Wiles – computer and software. David Jesty – trim system, John Bolt and Andrew Beaumont – building alterations. Sandra Buttery painting and decorating. I now hear there are plans to add extra screens for an all round view to enable teaching of circuit planning. Great work everyone.

How it all started

After a lot of hard work in Martin's garage

One worker and three watchers

Danger! Sandra at work
The clubhouse is now has a broadband connection to the internet thanks to Martin Cropper and Rick Wiles. This will be useful for pilots to get Notams and weather forecasts. Turn points can be inspected using Google earth. Of course everone will have access to all the training materials on the club website. The simulator is also connected which will enable the pilot to take part in virtual online gliding competitions. A wireless facility will be added over the next week or so for the use of club members with their laptops and smartphones.

And finally. The new woodburner kept the clubhouse warm and cosy all day. This only needs a little cosmetic work to finish the project.
Missing a little paint and pair of slippers

A quiet day? I don’t think so.


Thursday 11th November 2010

Wet and windy to start, David Jesty spent the morning muttering at the simulator while fixing up the trim. Meanwhile I made him fresh coffee using freshly boiled water from the woodburner---now that's what we call living.

Two batches of cadets arrived for their simulator and theoretical training, they all practised co-ordinated turns and they all made credible landings. We are now quite sure the simulator will shorten the practical training time.
The cadets seem intent on the simulator action. Instructor David Jesty is supervising
 The cadets went home and we retired to the woodburner for a quiet beer---a great day.


Wednesday 10th November 2010

With a clear blue sky, little wind and everything ready to go early, it looked like a really enjoyable and productive day was in prospect. And it was, too, in many ways which I’ll come to later. But in the afternoon we were dogged by cable breaks (always good practise, though!), and multiple incursions of cows onto the field. Oh, and the soft surface made retrieving and ground handling a bit difficult.

Two one-day course students Colin and Stephen Davies joined us and flew with Ged. We’ll be welcoming them back shortly to complete their course

Club aircraft were put to good use, with advanced pre-solo pilot Chris Fagg finding the first thermal of the day, then John Bolt in the K8 achieving 17 minutes. In fact, at one stage there were three gliders in the air, which is quite an achievement on a barely-soarable day at this time of year. Meanwhile Phil and Andrew continued to get acquainted with their recently acquired Astir.

Following a briefing from Dave Jesty, Dave Rippon, our Field Treasurer, proved that his abilities extend beyond the K8/6 (and cash box!) by progressing to his first flight in the Zugvogel. This means he can now fly every glider in the club fleet.

Field treasurer David Rippon flies the Sheibe Zugvogel 3A

However, I’ve left the best news until last. The highlight of the day was when Mike Keller completed his first solo glider flight in K13 G-CDMX. Mike, who hung up his wings (rotor blades?) as a Royal Marines helicopter pilot 35 years ago, has been training with us throughout the summer and his flight was a text book example of how it should be done. Congratulations, Mike!

Mike Keller being congratulated by instructor Bob Pirie

Under Don's leadership as CFI, Dartmoor Gliding Society has had a healthy 'run' of first solo flights this year, but as those pilots progress through their post-solo training, that leaves plenty of room for new trainees. So to anyone whose been thinking of trying gliding - but never got round to it - we invite you to wrap up warm and come on down any Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday  
Bob Pirie

Sunday 7th November 2010

A wet start that soon cleared, with light NE winds. Soaring for an hour or so, mainly thermals triggered by the ridge.

The wet ground and cross wind convinced us to leave the motor glider on the ground today.

Alan Ballard spent a hard day fixing up the new wood burning stove, which is now operational and was gently warming the clubhouse by the end of the day.

The K13 trailer is now ready to be shifted and inspected for potential repair.

Well done, Jacob Knight for his first flights in the K8 the third flight being a well handled cable break.

Three pupils today kept us busy, thanks to everyone for keeping the field operating for them.


Saturday 6th November 2010

The day started with mostly blue skies interspersed with some low cloud. The wind was initially very light from the west and gradually strengthened throughout the day.

This was a good training day with both the K13s manned and busy. Juniors Simon and Matthew were both flying well with Matthew completing another sequence of cable break practices in preparation for his much anticipated first solo on his 16th birthday next month.

Story of the day must be about Darren Wills who went solo today, 24 years and 6 days after he first flew solo in a motorglider as an ATC cadet. Well done Darren. This was a double first  as it was also instructor Ged Nevisky's first time sending a new pilot solo.

Darren Wills being congratulated by instructor Ged Neviski
Double first solo. Darren Wills ( left ) being congratulated by instructor Ged Nevisky
The club forum this week contained a series of 11 messages under the title “ Lots going on” . And so there was.

Martin Smith commissioned the simulator which is looking magnificent in the clubhouse. The screen still needs to be finally mounted but the computer and software are working and Martin is already talking about upgrades to include controls for cable release and trimmer. The major flying controls ( elevator, ailerons, rudder and airbrakes ) are already working well. Last seen, it was surrounded by a group of pilots either flying it or offering “helpful advice” ( read banter ) until late into the evening.

Alan Ballard spent his day mostly on the clubhouse roof fitting the chimney for the new wood burning stove. This will be finished soon.

Several members have been clearing out and burning the old K7 wings from one of the spare trailers with the idea to make one of the trailers roadworthy for K13 retrieves.

Rick wiles was working on the broadband installation which is making progress and will be available soon.

Finally, CFI Don Puttock, assisted by Sean Parramore and Karon Matten, cooked a meal of sausages and sweet potato mash with crusty bread for the all the members in the very busy clubhouse none of whom seemed in a hurry to go home.

A great club day.


Thursday 4th November 2010

John spent  the morning fixing the JCB, while Colin and I set about tidying the clubhouse.

The Kelly college cadets had their first proper ground school sessions with the benefit of the new plasma screen----very impressive.

David Jesty, Alan Bamford and I shared the lecturing task, with Mike Jardine there for moral support.


Wednesday 3rd November 2010

With deteriorating conditions forecast for later in the day, we made a prompt start in the hope of at least conducting some launch failure exercises in the K13, as well as running a spot landing contest using the K8, in aid of the Poppy Appeal. We achieved the former - just - but the latter was a non-starter with the first competitor abandoning his launch due to lowering cloud.

Thank you all for your enthusiastic act of faith in getting the airfield, the gliders and the equipment ready at the beginning of the day, and congratulations on the speed with which you put everything away (including re-erecting the fence) as the rain started to fall.

Back in the clubhouse, there was a great atmosphere, with members gathered in small groups reflecting on past achievements or discussing ways of improving the club still further. All the while Mike Keller and John Bolt were kept busy fending off 'advisors' as they worked on the installation of the CFI's "T-Swindle Thermal Generator", while everyone was full of admiration for the gleaming new flight simulator which is largely the brainchild and handiwork of Martin Smith.  Congratulations, Martin!

Bob Pirie

Sunday 31st October 2010

Rain and cloud greeted us first thing. Slowly a wave slot appeared and the cloud began to clear. After changing ends, we were treated to gentle wave in the SE winds. During the day the wind backed and the wave shifted to just out of reach----at that moment, a tug was at the top of our wish list. We just managed to keep going with a limited number of people. The day turned out amazingly and was nothing like the

There was lots of stuff going on around the site.

The simulator arrived with Martin Smith, it wouldn’t fit through the front door---oops but it did fit through the back door of the clubhouse---phew. The plasma screen is now ready to be mounted.

Despite a heavy cold, Mike fitted the slabs for the wood burner. What I can only describe as surgical precision was used to lay them.

We are now very close to being broadband connected, Martin Cropper is just looking for that last bit of expertise to complete the connection.