Wednesday 28th September 2011

I could not have wished for a more enjoyable day to return to Brentor following my absence in Portugal. Bright sunshine… warmth… good company… and a healthy crop of trial lessons to keep Ged busy (within a little help from Martin Smith when two very nice ladies arrived). Plus a brisk and increasingly rough crosswind to keep us all on our toes. All we lacked were decent thermals or wave - and a few of our regular trainees who were rather surprisingly absent .

                                                  Our Visitors today
All club pilots present were current and capable; toying valiantly but generally unsuccessfully with weak areas of lift. The K8, Astir and the ASW20 all ‘gave it a go’ with disappointing results, and even our ‘night watchman’, Alan Holland, failed to perform his usual trick of conjuring lift from the dying rays of the sun.

Everyone who flew, flew well - apart from the occasional failure of pilots to ‘lay-off’ sufficiently for the crosswind. This can cause frustrating delays and cost us precious weak links, as well as potentially causing damage to fences. No one who flies at Brentor is a stranger to cross-winds, so let’s all make a real effort to improve our performance please. If in doubt, any instructor will be happy to assist.
Bob "skiving" in the ASW20F
Apart from skiving off in the ASW for a couple of flights later in the day, I worked with Richard Williamson in DMX getting some of his post-solo boxes signed off, including his first series of landings on the stub runway. Later on, John Bolt emerged from the depths of the hangar requesting a check flight. It’s always a pleasure to fly with John, and I saw this as a good omen, because it means that work on the Zug and Pirat is nearing completion and that he - one of our most experienced pilots - is once again ‘focusing his eyes on the skies’.
John Bolt obviously keeping a good lookout.
I’m not going to reel off a list of ‘thankyous’ - because everyone contributed 100 per cent to helping each other fly and, of course, to making our guests and their accompanying friends and relatives welcome.
At the start of the day our 'Fleetfettlemeister' Chris Kaminski had pointed out that both two-seaters were overdue for their monthly ‘wash and brush up’. So the team’s last activity before cracking open the beers was to give DMX a thorough cleaning and oiling.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 25th September 2011

The day started off with poor weather, allowing for a team of hardy members (including the CFI) to wash the K13 DMX. After a call to Brentor at 1030 to check on the state of the weather, Dad and I decided to make our way to the club.

As I arrived with Dad at about 1100, DMX was on the wire for the second launch of the day. There were good number of both members and guests waiting for trial lessons at the launch point and with a total of 5 booked it was going to be a busy day for the instructors. Martin Cropper took the trial lessons, whilst Don and David Jesty were on hand for member’s training flights.

With more people flocking to the club with the advent of better weather, K13 BVB and K8 DWG were both towed to the launch point. Dad and Jacob Knight took the K8 for a few flights as the rest furthered our abilities with the instructors. A few short-lived soaring flights were achieved before conditions deteriorated. All in all, a good day’s flying was had by all!

Many thanks to Scratch for his hard efforts on the winch, despite numerous cables going into the next field.

PS. Dad will be attempting to quit smoking on 4th October (His 50th Birthday), so no pressure!

Richard Williamson

Saturday 24th September 2011

A weather window allowed some flying as members took advantage to keep current. The day was relatively short as it finished with low cloud and rain arriving  at 3pm.

Other things going on today included the K8 undergoing it’s cleaning / lubrication service, some more fence repairs and a committee meeting.

The day ended with tasty Fajitas and beer followed by a cross country competition in the simulator.

Back Seat Driver ?? 

Wednesday 21st September 2011

After several days of rain the airfield was fairly soft. But the weather flyable with a 10 knot westerly wind.

While the members got everything ready to go Bob and Phil sourced a trailer load of fence posts and proceeded to repair the west end fence which had been trampled by the cattle who had a great desire to get onto the airfield. Thanks chaps.

There was the usual mix of training, check flights and air experience flights. It was only a little soarable despite the appearance of 4 private gliders.

The highlight of the day was a flight by Don and David Jesty in the K13 who flew downwind across the valley to Cox Tor with the intension of broadening our understanding of the local ridge soaring possibilities. After a hour or so I was just beginning to think that they must have landed out when they reappeared over the airfield with tales of ridge lift, energy lines and fields mostly full of sheep. What will the next flight in this project be? I wonder.

At the other end of the airfield Andrew was signed off as a winch driver and Sandra began her winch training.


Sunday 18th September 2011

I woke in the morning in my RV to the sound of driving rain, wind blowing at least 20 knots and the clouds covering treetops. Some would say – normal gliding day at Brentor :-)

But it was not to be and for once, even Don Puttock with his endless enthusiasm and optimism got defeated, so we got down to earth and got on with “ground works”. K13's open trailer has been relocated to it’s winter quarters and covered with tarpaulin (actually only front half – we need more tarpaulin and somebody to finish the job).Quad bike got fresh oil and new filter. Clubhouse has been vacuumed and tidied up.

The new “Club Fleet Basic Maintenance/Cleaning Board” has been hung on the wall next to the tech office. Read more about it and instructions about maintaining our glider fleet on club’s forum/mailing list.

If you are a club member and are not signed up to the Members Forum – why not? It’s easy to join via the members pages on the club website, it doesn’t require any particular computer skills, all postings get delivered to your email (although there is an option of web only access, or digests to avoid cluttering your inbox) and is a great way of keeping in touch with other member’s, organising the next expedition, raising and discussing issues etc. etc.

Club Fleet Maintenance Manager Chris with his new board.
While K6e was being moved back into it’s trailer to clear the workshop for the Pirat maintenance,  the Zugvogel upgrade continued, Don instructed new members on flight envelope and altimetry and then ... there was a break in the weather, long enough to organise a BBQ - burger and sausages tasted great (even if it wasn’t quite antipodean weather :-)
Well fed club members at the BBQ

Saturday 17th September 2011

The forecast of showers and heavy rain kept a few members at home. However, the usual suspects were on the airfield ready to fly guided by both CFI Don and DCFI Mark.

The early part of the day was definitely brightened up by the production of bacon sandwiches using the new launch hut cooker for the hardy soles at the launch point.
Don looks intent on delivering bacon sandwiches ( or is he protecting his own? )
The early flights were mostly circuits but as the showers became more frequent, it was possible to soar in front of the line squalls to a cloudbase of 2300 feet above the airfield. This was great fun in the surprisingly buoyant air whilst flirting with the leading edges of the showers.

Thanks must go to Chris and Alan for the winching and to Sandra for driving the retrieve for most of the day. She was lured out of the warm Landrover at the end of the day with the promise of a "high speed modified circuit" with DCFI Mark. She was still smiling much later as she left the airfield.

Meanwhile the technical group finished painting the workshop and stripped down the Pirat for it’s annual C of A inspection and several planned upgrades and refurbishments.

Following the success of  ladies powder room refurbishment, long term member Chris Matten, ever mindful of health and safety issues, demonstrated the required PPE for members cleaning the men’s toilet.

Ok Chris, we get the message.


Thursday 15th September 2011

The cadets from Kelly College arrived just as we finished changing ends, a quick briefing from Mark Courtney and into the flying.

On the first two flights there were huge areas of lift and I took one of the teachers to 2200’ and a trip round Tavistock and Mark took one of the cadets. The air was absolutely dead calm and ideal for training and the visibility was crystal clear

Unfortunately the lift then disappeared and the rest of the flights were much shorter but still enjoyed by all the cadets.

Many thanks to Mark, Colin Boyd,Jacob Knight, And Alan Ballard for a successful afternoon.


Wednesday 14th September 2011

A wise sage ( mother?) told me repeatedly to “Never judge a book by it’s cover”. Today was like that.

I left home in Plymouth in drizzle. The south part of Dartmoor was swathed in low cloud and showers. Oh dear, not again. Arriving at the club, the rain had stopped. There were gliders out ready and three private owners were rigging. Did they know something I didn’t? Well yes as it turned out.

The first launch was a little delayed due to the weather, but by 11.30, it was flyable. By 1:30pm the sky looked interesting. By 2:30pm it was booming with cloud streets forming in the moderate westerly breeze.

The sky at 3:30 pm from the launch point.
Instructor Ged was kept busy today by Shrek, one of our polish trainees. Farmer Phil had the best flight of the day with a flight approaching 2 hours after which he returned to give his syndicate partner a go. Most of the attending pilots had soaring flights. Colin Boyd flew over an hour in his immaculately restored K6 to complete the soaring requirements for his Cross Country Endorsement.

Meanwhile club secretary Bob Jones and I had set up camp in the winch with the intention of moving on winch driver training. Geoff Craggs and Robin Wilson continued their training and Bob Sansom who had returned to the winch after a long lay off was signed off. Thanks everyone.

Bob Sansom (left) is congratulated by Bob Jones on qualifying as a winch driver. 
Perhaps I should have rigged after all. Another sage ( my syndicate partner ) is always telling me to "rig and wait".


Sunday 11th September 2011

The day started wet and miserable as per forecast, but by the time we had our cooked breakfast it started looking better and we got DMX out. Flying list started with Marta, Shrek, Vic and Roger. Sandra and Allan ran the lunch point and I did the winching (under skilful guidance of Alan Ballard) - great fun and improves one's appreciation of winching process as a pilot.

Don was joined by visiting instructor Mike Sloggett - who flew BVB with some air ex visitors.
DMX being made ready while Don briefs the pilots on the difficult weather conditions.
Despite challenging weather - showers and strong SW/S wind requiring  proper lay-off on launch and making for interesting circuits, we have managed 19 launches, with (at times) everybody having to wait and take cover, to let heavy showers pass.

There was even some soaring done!

Chris Kaminski

Saturday 19th September 2011

Fog, low cloud. rain, wind - we met it all as we approached the airfield this morning. Various activities were in progress. The vehicles were being pressure washed and vacuumed . Meanwhile, Bob Jones was hard at work in the kitchen and was so close to being signed off for kitchen duties but for the lack of personal safety equipment in the form of marigolds and a pinny.
Secretary Bob Jones without the required PPE
Mathew Wiles and Darren Wills managed to find the brightest sunshine yellow paint to decorate the wall outside the office, while Pauline Puttock and I chose a more sophisticated "natural wicker" colour for the ladies powder room. Victor, Darren and Matthew then joined Don for a Bronze C lecture
Don in lecture mode - maps and navigation today
The day ended with a superb meal comprising bigos barszcz and pierogi and chocolate fondue with strawberries and marshmallows, oh, and a small glass of wine. The simulator was kept busy with competition flying to North Hill, and Chris says everyone was a lot faster than the Chairman! :-)
Gourmet gliding? Is this a new sport
Sandra Buttery

Wednesday 7th September 2011

Low cloud base and showers with a fresh to strong westerly wind. It takes more than this to stop our intrepid Wednesday crew.

They made the best of the flying, allowing Don to fly with Martin Cropper as his final preparation for his Assistant Category Course starting on Friday. Martin is about to have the most intensive 9 days of flying of his flying career. Good luck mate.

Ged and I worked on the current crop of mechanical breakdowns. The red Discovery now has fully refurbished rear brakes, it’s puncture has been repaired ( thanks to Jeff Cragg for spending a couple of hours in Tavistock getting this done ) and the primary generator has had a new fuel pump and filters fitted.

Meanwhile John Bolt continued the upgrading of the workshop and Sandra continued the ladies toilet project.


Sunday 4th September 2011

After what seemed a endless drive, I arrived at the club at around 9.30. There was plenty of scurrying to and fro with students and instructors readying aircraft for what looked like a promising day.

I had checked the RASP soaring forecast, which indicated thermic activity from 9.30 through to 13.30 with 4-6 knot climbs to 2,300 feet. The wind was set to increase SSW 15/25 knots and rain was due to arrive at 3 o'clock. As it happened, this was spot on.

The aircraft were towed out and the instructors commenced on what seemed to be an enormous flying list. As it turn out not everyone flew but it wasn't for lack of trying.

With my own soaring time suffering of late I decided to take G-DDWG the K8 for a fly. I released the wire at 1300 feet straight into lift, climbing to 2300  feet and was rewarded with a aerial display by our local buzzards which can only be described as mesmerising ! Wow what an absolute privilege. This also gave me longest flight of the day 33 minutes.(being mindful of my position with the wind conditions; a field landing would not have helped today).

By early lunch time the wind had increased making for very difficult flying, with a tricky southerly cross wind to contend with. All flights were being flown laying off to the south to assist our winch master Alan Ballard who worked extremely hard in providing consistent launches and organising the retrieval and tow out teams all day . Well done Alan and one and all. (You might just have the knack by now)

The instructors in the hot seat were Don and Martin Cropper. with a one day course booked in today and two trial lessons. Not including flying training and check flights.

It was good to see Chris Kaminski and Mike Ashton taking it in turns to try and find the elusive lift in their Pirat.

Well done to Dick Masters who although he has flown a K8 before converted to G-DDWG today and took 3 launches.

Visitors today were Roger Green of "Green Party" fame who currently flies his ASW20 out of Aston Down and Miles Broomilow from South Down Gliding club who, unfortunately, arrived too late in the day to be able to fly but joined us in the club house.

Vic England was at the club yesterday which was a non flying day and today as he was sat in the K13 ready for launch with Martin as the rain arrived at 15.10 and stopped play for the rest of the day, how unlucky is that.
Instructor Martin with new member Victor waiting for a launch (  or the rain as it turned out )
A special thank you to the unsung hero's again in the form of Tom Broadbridge who worked relentlessly ensuring a smooth operation of the launch area only to be thwarted by rain as his turn arrived to fly with Don

The day concluded with for one of Don's lectures on winch launching,

So everyone, lesson of the day, arrive earlier, and get your name on the flying list sooner. This would also get the club flying earlier - so more launches


Unseen by Sean,

Marta arrived especially early to wash, clean and lubricate the K8 before flying started. Both K13's and the K8 were out of the hangar before anyone else arrived. Marta was joined by Jacob servicing the K8. Great job. Many thanks


Saturday 3rd September

Just how often are pilots told “You should have been here yesterday mate”.

The above picture shows a convergence sitting over Brentor that stretched from horizon to horizon taken on Friday. And today? Drizzle, occasional rain, low cloud, no flying.

Still never mind. A good chance to catch up on the work around the club. Matt and Rick did a great job of the routine servicing of the gliders, (again), a task that includes cleaning inside and out and lubricating all the moving parts.
A gleaming K13, courtesy of Matt and Rick, showing  it's new name decals.
The technical team busied themselves repairing the workshop roof and applying new club name decals to the gliders so that they all have the same format and font etc. (to help with our corporate identity apparently).

There was also time for some cross country training for Matt with instructors Don and David and a review of the training syllabus with our newest member Victor England.

Instructors Don and David discuss the intricacies of navigation with Matt while new member Victor looks on.
One project that has taken on a life of it’s own is the refurbishment of the ladies toilet. Our lady pilots have been seen with paintbrushes, new flooring, lampshades and pictures; whatever next.

A fun day with friends