Wednesday 30th March 2011

Today day started by looking like a washout, but with the wood burner doing its stuff, a handful of Wednesday regulars stuck around and we all pitched in to help Don introduce nine junior cadets from Kelly College CCF to the joys of gliding.

While classroom and simulator sessions were happening in the clubhouse, John Bolt and Dave Bourchier set about fettling the tail skids of some of our club gliders. Meanwhile Mike Keller, Phil Hardwick, Robin Wilson, Dave Rippon, Andrew Beaumont, Bob Sansom and Steve Lewis devoted most of their day to helping the young visitors to get airborne.(If I've missed out anyone's name, I apologise.)I'm well aware that not all of you managed to fly yourselves, but I hope that you gained some satisfaction from seeing how much fun the cadets had.

Weather-wise, the met-man (person)? was true to his (or her) word and the rain and fog lifted during early afternoon, and all of the cadets who wanted to fly flew - some a couple of times. Some even managed to experience soaring under some cloud streets which appeared briefly.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 27th March 2011

The day started with the possibility of wave with the easterly in play. Everyone was quick to get the club fleet and winch ready for a timely start. First flight in the K13 saw Don and Mark Lowrey soon back on Terra Firma with the wave elusive again. After a practice cable break on the second launch, Mark went solo, congratulations!

The day progressed with lots of attempts to catch wave but to no avail, even Trevor soon returned in the Jantar.

The afternoon got interesting with thermic activity enabling some decent soaring flights, notably Richard Williamson achieving over an hour in the K6 to gain a bronze leg and a cross country endorsement. I also managed a bronze leg in the K8 and got to cloud base at 3500ft, getting myself back down with full airbrakes to circuit height and landed after 59 minutes DOH! Trevor had the flight of the day, staying airborne for 2 ½ hours
Richard Williamson after his bronze leg in the K6 
Don Puttock and David Jesty were kept busy with training flights and 2 trial lessons

Conditions then deteriorated but there were some valiant efforts to stay aloft as the light started to fade.

All in all a good day at the office.

Nigel Williamson

Saturday 26th March 2011

A strange day. Really murky , slight wind from the south/southeast dying of to still conditions just after lunch.It looked like the inversion would stay all day despite the local soundings indicating thermal activity possibly around late afternoon.

So was it a good day. Not half! Whilst it was not a good soaring day it was a great training day.

Ged had taken the trial lessons and check flights which left Don free to concentrate of BI training all day.And you guessed it Ged and Martha Radkowska had the longest flight of the day of 6 minutes

The usual Saturday team had arrived, Alan, Rick, Matthew, Simon, Dave, Martha, John Bolt and got stuck into getting the kit ready thank you guys for all your hard work.

Don volunteered to spend time with me bring me closer to the BI exams soon to take place.Having spent the morning with me firstly on the simulator, then for real in BVB trying to demonstrate the patter in some what challenging conditions, and here i have to give credit where it is due Don was really quite patient with me, it only took 4 attempts to get a half decent circuit.With launches from 800-1000 feet there was not a lot of time left for Bi exercises or so i thought, Don showed me I was wrong and indeed by the end of the day Don's patience and hard work had paid off. here I was now demonstrating half of the required BI patter exercises accurately with reasonable text book circuits. ( Thanks Don i owe you a beer).

Rumour has it that our illustrious chairman has been seen in a two seater recently. Well it's true I captured a couple of photos of Steve and Don together. Steve had rigged his own glider but before he could escape he was grabbed and underwent some more Basic Instructor work ups.

Don and Steve ready for a BI training flight.
There were 31 flights today with no events or incidents A special thanks to the winch drivers, John Bolt Dave Boucher, Rick Wiles, Alan Carter. who provided good consistent launches throughout the challenging day.

A good day was had by all.

Sean Parramore

Thursday 24th March 2011

Winds 100/15, and hazy. Flights to about 5000ft in a mix of wave and thermal.

The Kelly College cadets could not have had a better day for their inspection. Brigadier Munro listened to some excellent presentations from the cadets before being shown how to fly the simulator.

The inspection team then visited the launch point, and the Brigadier chatted to cadets and members while we took Squadron Leader Peter Westley for a short soaring flight. Peter hadn’t flown in a glider since his solo in a Kirby Cadet Mk3 some undisclosed time in the past.

Some of the cadets are now completing the launch and landing with the instructor coaching them around the circuit, so very well done to them.

All the cadets flew thanks to the fantastic support from the DGS team---Ged and I instructed, while Alan Ballard, Alan Carter, Robin Wilson, Becky and Matt MacKay kept the ground training and field operations
going. Very many thanks to everyone for making this a very successful day.

We now have a new gas BBQ (tea fund acquisition), and Alan has been idly considering various recipe options for BBQ parrot. Alan don’t do it---
sausages will taste much nicer.


Wednesday 23rd March 2011

The sun shining, the hangar unpacked and club gliders being DI'd - a stirring sight at the start of the day.
Congratulations to everyone for a prompt start and a smooth and seamless performance today... Smooth at ground level, that is. But once airborne, it was 'rock 'n roll' the whole way, turning ab-initio training into something akin to a fairground ride, and causing even our more experienced 'players' to exercise both caution and humility.

Here's hoping things become a little smoother for tomorrow's Kelly College CCF inspection, and that the wave really gets itself sorted out for the weekend.

Today a couple of weekend regulars join the party, in the form of Darren Wills and Marta Nadkowska. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and both worked very hard to help 'keep the show on the road'. We welcomed our first 'fixed-price-to-solo' student of the year, Keith Wilson, who last experienced gliding when he attended a course at Perranporth some 40 years ago.

Pre-solo student Marta Nadkowska discusses her training record card with duty instructor Bob Pirie.  
New Member Keith Wilson gets to grips with his training card.
Meanwhile one of our other Wilsons, Robin, and his syndicate partner, Colin Boyd, took the opportunity to rig their beautiful K6CR, the former pride and joy of one of our technical gurus, Dave Hooper. After a test flight by Ged, Colin took to the skies. However, as conditions went from 'rough to rougher', heeding Colin's advice, Robin decided to 'fight another day'.

Colin Boyd ready to go in  the beautifully restored K6
Well done to Trevor for probably the best effort at making the most of the challenging conditions. And finally, it was great to have Dave Bourchier back with us. He not only got stuck into sorting out our diminishing supply of weak links, strops and other essential hardware, but refreshed himself with a creditable - if short - soaring flight with me in DMX.

"Once a jolly bagman..." Dave Bourchier gets stuck into tidying up the clubhouse and surrounding area
Bob Pirie

Sunday 20th March 2011

Ged woke up early and looked out of the hole in the wall, he had permission for a day's gliding but expecting bad weather and was going to cut the grass. Seeing nothing but blue sky he rushed off to Brentor, pointing his Cirrus towards a promising line of fluffy cumulus, promptly disappeared from our view for a respectable flight.

Earlier in the morning, due to Don's patient tutelage, (one end of him sounded quite relieved after our 3rd practice cable break) I gained my Bronze C and was rewarded with this opportunity to sing my own praises through writing the blog. Hah ! It took me long enough, having begun gliding in September 1979, well before some of our members were born. OK so I did have a few years doing other stuff, enough about how wonderful
I am. Can anyone beat 32 years from first flight to Bronze C ? please !!

A fairly quiet day otherwise, beautiful warm t-shirt weather which stared with a light SE wind and blue thermals, fairly soon after we set up the wind got too much West in it and we changed ends.

During the afternoon someone lit a very large bonfire in Mary Tavy but there were no takers as the action was on the other side of the airfield. The clouds drifted in, tempting everyone until it overdeveloped and got a little colder. There were only a few of us, one K13, K6, K6e, K8 and Open Cirrus, extended circuits mainly but a lot of members missed a good day out.

Alan Carter

Saturday 19th March 2011

A slow start to the day meant flying didn't commence till lunch time due to changing ends for the SE wind, also the K8 had its yearly wash with K6 and Zug rectification.

Flying started with Don and Scratch exploring loops in the K13 while the majority of the solo pilots sat on the ground waiting to see if condition's were soarable.

The thermal window opened up just after lunch and soon enough there was a queue of gliders waiting at the launch point. The longest flight of the day goes to Rick Wiles with 35 minutes in the K6. Chris Matten managed 1/2 hour in the K10.

Another first today was for myself as I converted to the K6. A very enjoyable flight with a bit of thermalling and a stall thrown in to explore the airframe. The K6 appears to be  easy to fly and seems rewarding when flown well.

Later in the day saw Scratch achieve an excellent loop in his Grob Astir followed closely by a chandelle. Well done Scratch.

Elsewhere saw more progress from Matt Wiles in his attempts to consistently launch the SF27 (while managing to actually pull the stick back). and further training for pre solo pilots, including 2 air experience flights.

Bob Pirie escaped the Wednesday rut and flew his ASW20, losing bits of it on the airfield. Trevor Taylor and Steve Lewis were hangar bound with the CAA on their Jantar.

35 launches in total with only one weak link launch failure.

The day finished with a couple of beers and a discussion on how much Blaniks corrode, the swearing capacity of minor birds and how to cook a parrot on a barbeque.

Andy Carter

Thursday 17th March 2011

Today at DGS was all go with a training day for the Kelly College CCF cadets.

The day started with the Kelly College students getting a briefing of the days flying from Don before Ged and David started the flying instruction.

First in the air was Gareth Matos taking his first flight in a glider

Max, Rob and Aleksi were hands on to return the glider BVB back to the launch point following its landing.

Max Gratton gets ready for his flight with instructor David Jesty

Ryan Nicholl is prepared for his launch with instructor Ged and Yannick Stern is ready to attach the cable to the glider.

Matthew Mackay instructs Aleksi on the glider controls.

Galina assists with the wing with Matthew in charge of the launch.
As well as the instructors, thanks also go to Alan Ballard for winching, Alan Carter for driving retrieve. Robin Wilson and Matthew Mackay for ensuring the smooth running of the launch point.

A good team effort provided a good flying day for the cadets.

Mike Jardine

Wednesday 17th March 2011

A productive and uneventful day at the operational end of the airfield... A partly-productive - but rather more eventful day at the other end - which I'll come to later!

Warm sunshine, spiced-up by a moderate crosswind, enabled us to start discarding layers of winter clothing early on - and even more layers because of all the pushing and shoving involved because several members were absent and one of our retrieve vehicles was off-line temporarily. It was a pleasant day for training and polishing solo flying skills. Robin, one of our field treasurers, took advantage of the day and completed his conversion to the Zugvogel. He underlined this on his 2nd flght on type with some satisfying soaring.
Robin looks thoughtful as he contemplates his first flight in the Zugvogel
During mid-afternoon we were rewarded with a short 'window' of decent thermals thanks to a sea breeze front which had stayed tantalisingly to the southwest throughout the morning.

But with the thermals, came appalling visibility, causing us to call a halt to flying earlier than usual.

In addition to the club flying, we welcomed a new temporary member Richard Clarke who attended a one-day course, flying with both Ged Nevisky and Dave Jesty.

Instructor Ged Nevisky (left ) with Richard during his one day course.
And what about the non-operational and 'rather more eventful' end of the field?

Well, our CFI Don Puttock arrived and made great inroads into tidying up the clubhouse, hangar and surrounding area ready for Kelly College's headmaster's inspection tomorrow (Thursday 17th), and the main event - the inspection of the CCF by a brigadier - next Thursday.

But from that point, things went dramatically downhill for a while. Despite precautions, Don's bonfire ignited some dry grass, and the blaze spread very quickly to an area of gorse, adjacent to the trailers, tractors, clubhouse and diesel tank. While Don and helpers battled bravely to contain the fire, those of us at the launch point remained oblivious to the seriousness of the situation until the sound of a fire engine siren was heard.

But who was to blame?
Our grateful thanks go to the brave firefighters from Tavistock, who dealt with the blaze quickly, preventing any property damage. Rumour has it that our chairman, Steve Lewis, not only thanked them, but tried to sell them an air experience evening.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 13th March 2011

The usual suspects had the winch moved, all the toys out and airfield set up in  time for what promised to be a good day.

Don gave us a briefing;"Today will be blue, it might be possible for a silver distance to North Hill?"

Barry and I were advised to prepare ourselves and the K6. Result, did anyone get to North Hill? No!.I had a buttock clenching glide,back from 1400 feet QFE from out near the A30 just as well, it was down wind and I found some reduced sink en-route, I  had a great flight and would not have gone off up/cross wind on a blue day, had Don not suggested North Hill.

K8 on final approach after a local soaring flight.
David Jesty, Martin Cropper and Don, were kept busy with training and air experience flights all day. The solo pilots also enjoyed some local soaring.

Thanks to Alan Carter and Heather who kept us supplied with cables. Every one flew that wanted ,the sun shone and a good day was had by all.

Roger Green.

Saturday 12th March 2011

Doors open as usual at 8.30am. Gliders out, change ends and on with the fun.

The weather today was 8 knot winds SSE, With high cirrus, heavy cloud cover, poor visibility, not exactly a classic day.

The solo pilots amused themselves by trying to sustain their flights the longest despite the difficult conditions, ably assisted by very consistent winch driving from Sean, Rick and Mike. Youngster Matthew Wiles spent his time getting more acquainted with the SF27 which he flies thanks to it’s owner Martin who did manage one launch in it himself.

Sean waits patiently in the ML winch for the next launch
Mark Lowrey made good use of Don’s time continuing his progress towards solo. Alan and Andrew Carter completed more flights towards their Bronze flight tests and Alan also passed his Bronze exam. Well done.

A quiet day? I don’t think so.


Wednesday 9th March 2011

A 'small but perfectly formed' group of enthusiasts concluded that the metman had undersold the weather prospects, and were rewarded with a splendid day's gliding enhanced by a brisk westerly wind straight down the runway, a mud-free airfield, launches approaching 1,500 feet, and cloud streets booming with thermals.

We were thinner on the ground than usual which was a shame, given the super conditions and the fact that we had three instructors raring to go (Ged Nevisky, Dave Jesty and myself).

...part of the 'small but perfectly formed' group, at the end of a super soaring day. (Alan Holland and Dave Jesty were elsewhere on-site whern the photo was taken, and our Chairman, Steve Lewis, was manning the camera.)
Thanks to a new fuel filter, which Ged collected from the supplier during the morning and then fitted, the ML winch was back 'on song', with the Guslaunch providing backup while the ML was being attended to. A splendid winching service was provided by Dave Rippon and Alan Holland.

We were also grateful to our glider technical guru, John Bolt, for ensuring that we had two serviceable training gliders on-line (after a small problem with the K7/13's tailplane last weekend).

Training-wise, the day provided a great opportunity for one of our most advanced ab-initio students, Chris Fagg, to hone his soaring, navigational and spin recovery skills during a flight of more than an hour. Meanwhile his son Ian, a professional yacht skipper, tried his hand at the helm of a K13 - not just once, but three times. Another new temporary member who, with Ian, chipped in and helped with various airfield chores, was Lucas Terry, from Torpoint, who last glided as a lad when his father was serving at RAF Bruggen, in Germany. Thanks, guys!

Andrew Beaumont and Phil Hardwick made a significant contribution to club funds by performing umpteen launches in their Astir. Then, while they paused to get their breath back (...or ran out of steam? ...or cash?), I absented myself from the back seat of a K13 and took the opportunity to have a little solo fun in this very pleasant fibreglass single-seater. It was interesting to compare it with another Astir variant which I flew at Lasham last weekend.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 6th March 2011

A30 early Sunday morning.. Glider trailer? Cruising swiftly past on the bike. 'Devon and Somerset Gliding Club'  With a cheery wave, we shot off.  It was far too cold to go that fast but I had to get to Brentor ahead of them.

Dull, gloomy, not quite as cold as Saturday but not very promising.   How wrong can first impressions get. Today turn out to be a really good soaring day with a mix of thermal and wave.

Mark, James and Henry arrived with the DG505, they were kind enough to reward me with the first flight just for helping to put the wings on. They proceeded to gently coax it into the air throughout the day using a brown strop.

Mark (ninja) Courtney and James Hood in the North Hill DG505 
The clouds got a bit darker, the wind increased from the ENE slightly, the soaring got better and better but with a cloud base of 2,200 feet.

The K8 was unclaimed at the launch point by a cable with a blue link so  stole if for a 1/2 hour attempt only to fail after 20 minutes because my thermal had filled up with plastic. Then, taking the K6, kept those on the ground spellbound with a 41 minute Bronze Leg flight on the north side of the airfield, finishing with a multiple landing attempt.

Jantar1 and LS8 head the launch queue
A blue hole appeared in the sky, indicating a wave slot  through which David Jesty scratched his way to a 3hr 25 minute flight in his LS8 followed by Trevor in the Jantar for 2hr 31 minutes to a height of 6200 ft. above the airfield (7020 ft. above sea level)

Trevor Taylor's cockpit picture showing 6200 feet above airfield still in gentle lift
The whole sky was blue by about 15.30 however the day had provided interesting, challenging but excellent flying for those lucky enough to get airborne, A disappointed Jason had his failed to get a 30 minute Bronze Leg by the narrowest margin, flying the K6 for 29 minutes. How unlucky was that

Martin Cropper and Alan Ballard blew the cobwebs out of the K6E showing us that a K6 can actually perform a beautifully held-off gentle landing.

Alan Ballard and the K6E
Don was kept out of the single seaters, hard at work, with a busy day of training.

Alan Ballard and Nigel bravely fought the winch for most of the day with me  finishing the last couple of hours so they could fly. Launches of over 1500 feet seemed the norm today.

A challenging, exciting wave day

Alan Carter

Saturday 5th March 2011

With a clear sky and the wind forecast to swing into the east there was great expectation for a good flying day with several private gliders coming out for an airing.

Private gliders come out for an airing 
The launch point was busy throughout the day as pilots searched and searched for the elusive wave / thermals without too much success.

Busy Launchpoint
Don took the SF27 up for a “quick test flight” gave a soaring demonstration on the north ridge landing after 35 minutes. How does he do that?

Don Puttock in the SF27.
So what did we achieve. Well, 46 launches including first flights on type for Matthew Wiles ( SF27 ) and Richard Williamson ( K6), 3 air experience flights and a lot of pilots with smiles on their faces.

Matthew tries out the SF27 for size prior to his first flight on type
Thanks Sandra for the information and pictures, and Scratch and Rick for the great winch driving.


Thursday 3rd March 2011

The gliders were ready, the sky was ready, the ground was drying out, was wave developing for the Kelly College Students?

Then we got started with the Cadets keen to get involved in moving the gliders and assisting with the launches.

Instruction was being given by Ged and Don because of the good conditions and lenghts of flights the cadets had the opportunity for excellent hands on experience.
And following the previous months classroom theory and simulator work they were able to put this knowledge into practice.  Flights of up to half an hour were being achieved in the developing wave conditions.

To add to that experience Don also demonstrates his flamenco dancing skills.

Thanks go to Alan Ballard on the winch and Matthew Mackay for taking charge of the cables and keeping the sheep clear of the landing area.  It proved to be a good afternoons flying.

There were smiles all round, this was evidence of a successful afternoons flying.
Mike Jardine

Wednesday 2nd March 2011

Happy birthday to three Brentor wives (Mrs Fagg, Mrs Keller and my own wife, Carol) and thank you for letting the lads come out to play.

We had a great turnout of mostly current solo pilots, with those needing check flights dealt with swiftly by Ged. Phil the Farmer took another step up the ladder by soloing in the Twin Astir. It was good to have Richard  Williamson with us flying and helping out energetically at the launch point - in the process lowering the average age of our Wednesday crew.

With the state of the field improving, we set up the launch point in its 'old' position at the western end (thus protecting the swampy area on the downhill side of the centre track from further damage). All landings were well into the airfield, beyond the rutted cross track. The wind was NNE as forecast, with the sun kicking off some weak thermals initially, followed by a hint of wave. Then came a flat blue period, until during mid-afternoon wave kicked in, resulting in the whole club fleet plus Trevor in the Jantar all airborne at the same time.

Eventually we called an end to proceedings due to a combination of low sun and some fierce rotor.

I'm not sure of the day's vital statistics, but they included 35 launches, some flights of over an hour, a couple of climbs to 3,000 or above, and everyone with big smiles on their faces.

Finally, happy hols to Bob Jones, who is off to Colombia, and good luck to John Howe, who is about to have his long-awaited knee operation.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 27th February 2011

The wet weather continues to make the airfield unusable but this did not put off the Sunday team.

The clubhouse was busy with keen pilots studying for their bronze exams, others using the simulator and many enjoying the what the Irish would refer to as the “crack”.

The forecast is definitely promising flying for Wednesday