Wednesday 27th April 2011

Wednesday looked like a good day to slip the surly bonds of Brentor. RASP was yellow/orange over most of the UK and indicated a cloudbase of over 4000 feet AMSL in the afternoon.

Most ambitious task was declared by Ged Nevisky. He planned an out and back to Chicklade. Trevor Taylor turned up & rigged; generally a sign of a good soaring day ahead. Your humble scribe, not usually a Wednesday man, also turned out to rig the K6e for an attempt at 50k. Martin Cropper, the K6e owner, on leave for the week, also arrived but graciously gave me first dibs on the aircraft and helped out with instructing instead.
Martin Cropper briefs a visitor before an air ex flight while Alan flys the K6e

So, how did it turn out? Ged launched early and, after working hard to gain height locally, set off east. He got as far as Meldon but didn’t like the look of what was ahead so turned back and enjoyed over an hour and a half of local soaring. Trevor decided to wait until the afternoon to launch. He opted to show me the way to North Hill but at 62km out, with only blue ahead, realised it would be a one-way trip and turned back to Brentor. Muggins failed to connect with any useful lift so it is still an open field for somebody to do the first 50k Silver leg from Brentor for some years. Who is going to take up the challenge?

It wasn’t all thwarted ambition, however. Farmer Phil knocked out his 2 hour cross-country endorsement flight as if it was no more difficult than rolling the runway. Doc Robin easily got his 1-hour Bronze leg by a margin of 22 minutes. He said he’d have carried on for his 2-hour but there seemed to be a fault with the heater in the Zugvogel!

Bob Samson had a 97 minute flight in his immaculate K8. Chris Fagg consolidated his solo status with several flights in the K13 before setting off for warmer climes and, hopefully not, forgetting everything he has learnt at

All in all, an excellent days gliding thanks to Martin Smith opening up the field & Don stepping into Bob Pirie’s tasselled loafers at short notice. 45 launches were achieved, the highest total, so far, this year. Any advance on 45? Many thanks to the winch drivers who gave me a very welcome day off from the throttle lever

Alan Ballard

Monday 25th April 2011 – Open Day

A warm day with hazy sunshine and light winds.

After fuelling the early volunteers with bacon sandwiches, the club aircraft and all the launch equipment were out and ready. The K13 was actually ready for first launch by 8:30, although it was eventually launched at 8:45.

There was a good number of private gliders on display and lots of club volunteers to man all the jobs around the airfield.

The flow of visitors was generally light throughout the day, but those who did attend enjoyed themselves with some taking air ex flights, several taking advantage of the simulator and the refreshments offered in the clubhouse.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this a successful  day.

And finally thanks to Sandra for the photographs for this slide show 



Sunday 24th April 2011

The club was clouded in until 1200 (Which enabled Mike Keller and myself to unravel the ‘snake’s wedding’ that resulted from Alan Ballard’s ‘straightforward’ insertion of 30m cable when the cable bobbin broke up in his hand!
How many glider pilots does it take to sort out 30 metres of cable?

When the cloud lifted the wind was due north, 10-15mph steady. We launched from the E end and I flew two flights with Alan Mullin (from Ivybridge). I concluded my flying day with a flight in Ka-6E G-DDVH in which I managed to climb in a weak thermal over the railway line to the N, finishing with 4 x ridge runs (at 450ft!) before hangar landing with 15 minutes flying time.

Best effort of the day was Scratch who managed 31 minutes in the weak conditions.

Many thanks to Chris and Karon who worked hard pressure washing the hangar floor.

The day concluded with a BBQ and more discussions on how to cook a parrot or to be more precise how to cook Sandra’s parrot.
DGS parrot cooking experts?

Martin Cropper

Saturday 23rd April 2011

A warm day with clear blue sky and a fresh NW wind. The forecast for isolated thunderstorms later suggested strong convection.

In the event, sea air swept in from the north coast, more than 20 miles away, before the thermals could establish.

A pleasant day at the launch point made all the more so by Steve, Dave and Tony who were paying us a visit from their home club at RNAS Culdrose. They brought a very well presented Mini Nimbus with them but even this could not find any soarable conditions. Perhaps though, it is only a Cornishman who could fly an glider with the registration “EER “.
Mini Nimbus with a very Cornish registration
 Many thanks again to Martin and John who spent the whole day working in the hangar on the club aircraft, and to "Scratch" for his day long winch driving.


Wenesday 20th April 2011 Slideshow

I received lots of photos for today's blog. It seems a shame to just file them away so here they are


Wednesday 20th April 2011

With sunhats and sun cream the order of the day, an enthusiastic group turned out to improve their skills and exploit the soaring opportunities presented by some strong ‘blue’ thermals, hints of wave and the sea breeze which stirred things up in the late afternoon.

It was good to have ‘Hopalong’ Howe back with us manning the control tower for most of the day - complete with crutch - following his knee operation. Also Martin Broadway regaining currency upon his return from the Caribbean. Sue Buttery and Alan Carter (normally ‘weekenders’) joined the ranks of experienced members present who worked hard to get everyone airborne, and there were several new faces in the form of visitors and temporary members. Many thanks to Ged Nevisky, my co-instructor for the day, and also to the winch drivers, for all their hard work.
"Hopalong" Howe sporting brand new knee and and impressive scar.
With the single seater fleet temporarily depleted, the Zugvogel, which all too often remains ignored at the back of the hangar, really came into its own, with members who had previously made the effort to become and stay current on it achieving some creditable soaring flights. Full marks to Jeff Craggs who completed his type conversion to the ‘Zug’ and in the process achieved a very tight and impressive thermal climb off the top of the launch to achieve a half hour Bronze ‘C’ leg. Sandra is also poised to convert, so watch out, you ‘Zuggers’!
Alan Carter waits to assist Jeff Craggs with his first flight in the Zugvogel 3A 
The private-owner fleet, represented by Bob Sansom’s K8, Phil Hardwick and Andrew Beaumont’s Astir and Trevor Taylor and Steve Lewis’s Jantar, achieved some creditable flights. Most noteworthy of these were a one-hour flight towards his cross-country endorsement by Andrew, nearly two hours by Steve (topping out at 4700 feet), and only slightly less by Trevor.

In all, we achieved 37 launches with - to the best of my knowledge - not a single cable or weak link break. So well done everyone.

But the best bit till last! Having trained hard for so long - interspersed by some big gaps due to his nautical pursuits - Chris Fagg did all the right things today and it gave me great pleasure to send him off on his first solo, which he completed impeccably. Congratulations Chris - and ‘bon voyage’ as you prepare yet again to abandon us in favour of the seas around the Greek Islands.
Instructor Bob Pirie (left) congratulates Chris Fagg after his first solo.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 17th April 2011

With the weather looking promising, there was a good turnout and a majority before 9:00am. The whole fleet was brought up to the launch point and after 3 consecutive launch failures the fun could finally begin!

The day consisted of thermal/weak wave throughout the day, and almost everybody got to enjoy the conditions and rack up some flight time.

I took a flight in a k13 solo for 1 hour and 4 minutes meaning my first bronze leg (Finally!) and a flight towards my cross country endorsement!

Alan Ballard was prepared and ready to get his silver distance in the Ka6, but to his dismay the logger had been removed.

Trevor in the Jantar performed the norm of vanishing out of sight and returning after a couple of hours.We were also joined by a Culdrose Pilot who brought his "Mini Nimbus", and enjoyed a good flight around the local scenery and only to return for a cup of tea!
Alan Ballard has joined the ministry of silly walks. Martha & Don in the K13. Mini Nimbus in the background.
Busiest student was once again Marta who kept Don occupied!

And after an early finish, the K7/K13 had its wheel box "de-grassed" and can now be manoeuvred by manpower alone!

Thanks to Alan and Martin for the launches!

Jacob Knight

Saturday 16th April 2011

Occasionally, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, fate conspires against you and the best response is to give in gracefully and accept the inevitable. Today was like that, Don was at the Regional Safety Meeting, Mark was abroad on holiday, Bob was on family duty, Martin could not be contacted in Australia, and David and Ged have not yet had their completion courses. So, no instructor to supervise the training and pre-licence flying activities.

Today became a maintenance day. As it turned out, the sky remained and uninteresting grey for most of the day, so perhaps, we did not miss much.

Thanks to the few members who turned up to help.


Wednesday 13th April 2011

Very low cloudbase, strong crosswind and a forecast of rain before lunchtime made this a non flying day.

The assembled members kept busy with a host of minor tasks in between some practice on the simulator.


Sunday 10th April 2011

Breakfast on the terrace in the early sunshine for me & Don whilst we waited for a few more pairs of hands to arrive. Forecasts were consulted and it was decided that we'd stay launching eastwards despite the possibility of the wind veering westerly during the morning. A good call as it turned out and we stayed that way all day in the end.

First launch at 0910. We were aiming for 0900 but a cable repair thwarted us. Better luck next time.

Busiest student was Marta who took 13 launches, most of them launch-failure exercises, which kept the winch driver on his toes too.

Mike Keller achieved another half-hour Bronze leg so the prize is in sight.

Mike Gadd, a former member, dropped in and we are looking forward to seeing him again soon.

Trevor disappeared for a couple of hours in the Jantar

The day was rounded off with a beer and a chat in the clubhouse before we all set off home.

Alan Ballard

Saturday 9th April 2011

Blue sky, warm day, very strong easterly wind. Would there be wave? The atmospheric soundings gave mixed messages – strong inversion ( good ); wind strength not increasing with height ( bad ); wind direction changing significantly with height ( bad ).

So, how did the day turn out? The early flights were of short duration with several pilots reporting some patches of reduced sink rates, large smooth areas, some turbulent areas.

In my mind this all added up to one thing; weak wave that no one had recognised in the air. So, I took a launch in my Jantar 1. Just upwind of the airfield there was indeed a little turbulence followed by some reduced sink. Turning across the wind I could follow this reduced sink and, in fact, conditions improved. Initial climb rates were very low ( 0.2 knot average ) needing some very accurate flying but gradually the climb rates got better. Best climb rates were 2.1 knot average with long wave bars running from Burrator Reservoir in the south to just short of Meldon Reservoir in the north. The system topped out at 4760 feet above the airfield ( 5580 feet above sea level ). After some very enjoyable sightseeing, I pulled the airbrakes to return to the airfield for a much needed cup of tea and a total flight time of 2 hours 8 minutes. Very satisfying.
The 19  metre Jantar1 looks purposeful while waiting to be towed to the launch point.
Other pilots followed my lead and found the wave, with several flights over an hour and most pilots having soaring flights. Strangely, everyone seemed to think that the wave system stopped at 2000 feet!

Thanks once again to the winch drivers who gave very good launches all day despite the gusty conditions.

A very good day.


Wednesday 6th April 2011

With wind forecasts varying from SW to S to SE, the decision to set up the field for the latter was justified, and all equipment was in place and ready to go once various private-owner and club glider fettling chores (Incl. fitting £354 worth of new safety harnesses to BVB) had been completed. While Dave Bourchier commenced ‘surgery’ on the ML winch, which will be offline for a while, Dave Rippon spent most of the day launching us, with ‘Scratch’ taking the helm later on.

Mike Keller and David Rippon
Most found the combination of cross-wind, lively broken thermals and the prospect of wave developing ‘interesting’; the second longest flight being 37 minutes by Ged in the Open Cirrus. The longest flight (but using an engine) was Don Puttock’s much-vaunted motor glider ferry trip to North Hill, with Alan Carter navigating and thus getting even closer to his Cross Country Endorsement.

How many experts does it take to launch Ged in the Open Cirrus?
The combination of breeze and warm sunshine worked wonders in terms of drying out the field. However the thin, high cloud made the strength of the sun deceptive, and despite an application of sun cream and wearing my ‘thermal hat’ half way through the day, I arrived home after a day’s instructing suffering from sunburn. Warning to all! The ozone layer is definitely thinner than it was no so long ago, so don’t take chances and from here on this season always apply sun lotion and wear a sun hat (but not one with a peak which may interfere with your vision).

In addition to the usual Wednesday regulars (now including Keith Wilson, who started last week), it was good to have Jim and Nelson Rose out of hibernation and back with us. Nelson flew with Dave Jesty but father Jim, suffering from a bad back, decided to remain on the ground and enjoy the scenery.
Jim Rose (left) and son Nelson Rose watch the action. 
These days there are so often new faces on the field at Brentor and on this occasion it was Richard who lives ain Mary Tavy  He used to glide with the Royal Naval Gliding and Soaring Association at Lee-on-Solent (HMS Daedelus) and is now showing signs of having been re-bitten by the bug.

There’s always something happening at Brentor to induce a chuckle, and this time around it was Bob Jones who, with parachute on back, heroically leaped onto the quad bike to herd the sheep away from the undershoot area. However, they mistook him for the farmer bringing them food, so he found himself surrounded, with the whole flock then starting to follow him back to the launch point. His only option, therefore, was to do his ‘pied piper’ act and point the quad towards a distant field, with dozens of hungry (amorous?) ewes in tow.

Little Bo(b) Peep or The Pied Piper of Brentor
Bob Pirie

Sunday 3rd April 2011

Like the Windmill Theatre we never close (well OK, Mondays except Bank Holidays, Tuesdays, Thursdays in the school hols and Fridays apart from Good Friday). Today was Mothers Day and many dutiful members were treating mums, wives, girlfriends so we were a bit thin on the ground for flying.

However a day at the club is never wasted. Mike Keller made great progress with his oral exam towards his Bronze Badge. the rest of us benefited from listening in on Don's briefings and refreshing our knowledge. Various housekeeping tasks were tackled, the fat was chewed and the tea fund swelled.

The moral is to turn up regardless of weather and someone or something will gain from your presence. It could be you

Alan Ballard

Saturday 2nd April 2011

Early start, gliders out and ready, and then --- wait. Today's start was delayed by low cloud. The time was not wasted though as an eager group of pilots and trainees lead by Don Puttock searched through various internet resources to decide on the weather and soaring possibilities. By the time this was done conditions had improved so it was on with the flying.

The day was filled with training, BI work ups flights, and solo pilots testing the conditions. Patience was definitely  rewarded as conditions improved and became soarable.  Honours for best flights today are shared between father and son team Rick and Matthew Wiles who both recorded identical flight times but in seperate aircraft during different parts of the day --- curious.

Flying finished around 5:30 (as the cloud base had once again lowered) just in time for a very well attended BBQ using the brand new BBQ purchased by the tea fund. I am sure this will get a lot of use over the coming months.

The day moved on to the AGM. This was the best attended meeting for years. In fact, there was standing room only at the back. The members heard reports of the outstanding successes of the previous year and were presented with the challenges for the coming year. The management committee consisting of Chairman Steve Lewis, Vice Chairman Ged Nevisky, Secretary Bob Jones and Treasurer Martin Cropper were re-elected  unopposed.

A busy day