Wednesday 29th March 2012

Another beautiful day with sunshine from dawn till dusk. The wind was very light from the east. The pressure is a little high, would there be enough energy to set off thermals?

Early flights found very little except a somewhat unsettled feeling atmosphere. ( wave influence perhaps ). And then suddenly they were soaring.

DGS pilots are really making the most of the current run of good conditions. Alan Carter, David Rippon and Robin Wilson all returned flights of more than 2 hours for their cross country endorsements. Alan Carter is also claiming a Silver Height, having reached 4800 feet above the airfield ( 5600 feet above sea level ) an truly astonishing height for local thermals. This flight will need to be confirmed after we have downloaded his logger trace. Mike Gadd worked hard completing his Bronze skills tests with a series of “interesting” cable break exercises.

There were several air experience flights most of whom were introduced to thermal soaring. Other flights of note were Ged and Trevor in the Twin Astir who seem to be away for most of the day, returning with a series of aerobatics to loose height ( Trevor hates using the airbrakes for this purpose? ) . Don and Richard Williamson took the K13 on a mini cross country.

Another great day


Sunday 25th March 2012

Light easterlies with an unusual profile and clear blue skies.

Early attempts to contact the wave were met with persistent 4 and 6 knots down!!
Instructor Martin Cropper flying air experience visitors. 
Richard, not wanting to waste time, set about getting the cooking facilities in the new “West end “ launch vehicle and celebrated with a fantastic cuppa.

A pair of old stagers. The Guslaunch winch attended by the ex Perranporth Landrover
Without warning, the wave and thermals got themselves organised and everyone went soaring.

Is this "Maverick"?  No it's Richard Williamson during his 2hr+ cross country endorsement leg in the Zugvogel
Well done to Nigel and Richard Williamson for completing their 2 hour soaring flights, Roger Appleboom for completing his first bronze leg with a convincing 2 hour 38 min flight (forgot to take a watch—or so he said), and Shrek for completing his first bronze leg of nearly 2 hours.

Nigel Williamson on final approach in the K8 after 2hrs 17 minutes of soaring
This picture was taken by regular visitor Henry Ford from the Zugvogel at 4200 feet
A really good day in the end---everything comes to those that wait.


Saturday 24th March 2012

Arriving at the airfield today at 8:30 I was pleased to see I was not the first. The hanger was open, vehicles out, and a couple of private gliders were being rigged.

There was an excitement in the air that you could almost taste caused ,no doubt, by the forecast easterly winds with the pressure high enough to discourage the thermal formations that can breakup wave patterns at this time of the year.

Time for a little equipment TLC while the airfield was rolled ( thanks Bob ) and everything prepared for what promised to be a busy day.

The K8 heads into the blue.
Did the day deliver? Oh yes! The wave was evident throughout the day. Always weak, sometimes very difficult, but ,for the careful, accurate, pilot it remained usable for most of the day. Junior pilot Simon Thornton was so pleased that he was going to have the longest flight of the day only to discover that he was beaten by 3 minutes by Andrew Beaumont who recorded a flight of 1 hour 37 minutes. Best reported height was only 3200 feet but everyone had fun.

A rueful Simon after discovering the Andrew had claimed the longest flight of the day by 3 imutes
We hosted 2 one day courses today. Both Nigel and Christian went home with smiles on their faces having had lots of soaring in the wave with plenty of opportunity to start learning to fly the aircraft.

One Day Course Students Nigel and Christian with me at the end of the day
A fun day.


Thursday 22nd March 2012

A trough of low pressure approaching from the NW. rain expected by midday, but eventually arrived at 4.30---some things are good if they are late!

Visibility wasn’t great, and soaring was very difficult. We retired to the launch vehicle for a briefing on how to get out of trouble if caught in cloud.

Later the CCF cadets arrived. Richard continued his excellent work teaching a group how to fly the simulator, while Robin and Steve pushed on with another group clearing the car park as part of operation first impressions.

Mike Sloggett, Matthew MacKay, Bob and I set about flying with the remaining cadets until rain finally stopped play.


Wednesday 21st March 2012–A Game of 2 Halves

With a RASP forecast showing some thermal activity by 11:30 and shutting off at about 15:00, and a possible Easterly Wave forecast included, I was keen as ever chasing my 2 bronze legs to take the day off work and get up the club for an early start on Wednesday. Despite a number of operational tasks: DMX needing it's elevator fitted; the blue Landrover needed waking up with the Red Disco and quad US; and needing to change ends, flying started by about 11:00, just in time for the predicted conditions and promising looking sky.

Colin Boyd in the Beautiful K6 G-DFUB
By early afternoon the flying list started to fill up with a cue of 4-5 gliders lined up at launch point including some private gliders blowing out winter cobwebs: Colin Boyd and Robin Wilson K6, (although not so many cobwebs on that k6 I'm sure!); Alan Carter and Sandra Buttery's SF27; the Twin Astir with Phil Hardwick,
Bob Johns and Robin Wilson getting comfortable for the new season ahead.

Mike studying the clouds as he waits to launch the Zug
My second launch in the Zug connected me with lift and an energy line E-W directly down the strip which I took to cloudbase at 2600ft, but with a drift that left me a good 2 miles downwind in a strengthening Easterly. However pushing forward under cloud with the good glide of the Zug and circling back a few times I was able to stay with the energy to watch my first 30 minutes bronze leg go by, then my 1 hour cross country leg go by, and after a small lunch snack in the cockpit (just to prove to myself I could) I decided to bleed off my height and land after 75 minutes to let someone else have the fun with the club Zugvogel. By this time there was lots of good flying by others making the most out of the challenging conditions of small and concentrated lift low down down in a strengthening Easterly.

K13 returns after a good soaring flight
Alan Carter was chasing his 2 hour, and very nearly succeeded with the longest flight of the day at 1.5 hours and ended with a very well executed out landing in a good field at Longcross, 2.5 miles downwind. I was nominated / volunteered to go and retrieve Alan with Sandra, and after a couple hours we were back at the airfield parking the trailer under a blue sky with thermal activity obviously over for the day.

Mike, Alan and Sandra parking the trailer after the retrieve
I was therefore then surprised to see only one K13 sitting at launch - with everything else up in the WAVE that had set up after the thermal activity had died! So only one thing to do really, and taking Dons' brief, I took the awaiting K13 and cable and launched straight into my first ever flight in Wave, that lofted me in beautifully smooth air to 3500ft over Tavistock, Whitchurch, Cox Tor and surrounding area to watch my second 30 min bronze leg go by. After another 1 hour, time to practise some stalls and spins to get back down to an eagerly waiting ground crew at 5.30 to put the gliders away.

Mike took this photo of Mary Tavy  while flying the K13 in wave for his second 1 hour flight of the day 
The club gliders were kept busy all day, with instructors Don and Steve in the K13's and Steve Raine enjoying some early soaring in the K8 and John Howe also managing 28 minutes.

John Howe on final approach in the K8
What a day, obviously pleased with getting my 2 bronze legs plus my cross country flight of 1 hour on the same day, but the longest flight goes to Alan Carter with 1.5 hours, best height was Colin Boyd 4200ft. All told there were 6 flights over 1 hour, including Dave Rippon with his 1 hour cross country leg, nice one Dave!

Thanks to Dave Rippon and John Howe for winching, sorry If I missed anyone, and sorry to those that ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and so not able to make the most of the day - my commiserations, I know how that feels!

Mike Gadd

Sunday 18th March 2012

We weren't sure of what the conditions would bring today but a hardy bunch were raring to go. As it turned out, it was changeable day. We were sometimes looking up at nice puffy cumulus, then rain would come through followed by clear skies. If you timed it right there were soaring opportunities but but the Northerly was blowing them away quite quickly.

We had a reasonably good start to the day with the first launch at 10:15 am seeing Roger Applebloom having a check flight with Don followed by three more solo's. I tried the Zugvogel out for size with my first flight on type. Needless to say, 'trying it out for size' being the operative statement. My head was touching the canopy until I settled myself further back in the cockpit and after a circuit and landing, Richard (my son) couldn't contain his laughter when I couldn't get back out again!

Grumpy trying the Zugvogel on.
I decide to jump in the K8 and managed to get a further 5 launches to complete my bronze
Bronze Completed !
 C.Leith Whittington, Shrek and Dave Parker continued their training with Don in BVBWith Dave and Don achieving the longest flight of the day Flight with 30 minutes. Martin took BVB for a trial lesson with John Gill. Roger Applebloom continued his progression at lightning speed by converting to the K8. Richard Williamson and Phil Hardwick flew the Zug after I took over from Phil for the afternoon shift on the winch.

Only 25 launches but a good day was had by all.


Saturday 17th March 2012

The forecast was suggesting a front approaching carrying large quantities of rain. However, glider pilots are nothing if they are not optimistic, so, out with the aircraft and let flying commence.

In the hangar there was the usual suspects doing the aircraft maintenance work. In the clubhouse it was smelling like the local Indian takeaway as Sandra and Pauline got ready for the Safety and Curry evening. 

The flying proved to be quite frustration with just enough thermal activity to tease by not enough for consistent soaring. Later in the day a very long line of showers approached the airfield, which added enough additional activity in the atmosphere and suddenly they were all soaring. Our commiserations go to Mike Gadd, who is desperate for a bronze leg, but sensibly landed after 25 minutes just as the showers reached the airfield.
Mike ready for yet another go in the Zugvogel
The longest flight of the day went to Matthew Wiles who managed to get the wrong side of the showers and was cut off from the airfield. He brought the K8 back to the airfield after 33 minutes after having to battle back through the rain. It did keep him quiet for a little while afterwards.

And the Safety and Curry Evening. David Jesty presented a Safety Brief and Q&A session to a packed audience; it was standing room only at the back. The delicious curries followed which raised over £40 for the tea fund.


Thursday 15th March 2012

Don’t you just love long range weather forecasts. The predicted good day turned into fog, and worse than that, fog all day.

Not to be disheartened, we started the day with a hearty breakfast and then set up the field "just in case".

Operation first impressions moved on a pace. We found an old bath in the car park and got £20 for it from the local scrapyard!!

When the Kelly College CCF cadets arrived, about 15 in all, the airfield become a hive of activity. Richard Williamson delivered flight training on the simulator, while Ged supervised the jet washing of vehicles and the hangar apron, Mike Gadd supervised the painting of the generator hut,while Bob Jones and I kept the cut gorse flowing to a bonfire ably supervised by Steve Raine.

Thanks everyone, and very sorry the weather didn’t play ball.


Wednesday 14th March 2012

Wednesday was a great day for sunshine. After the early mist burned off, the sun ensured that there were a lot of burned faces at the end of the day.

Just a shame that some of that warm air wasn’t going up! Despite valiant attempts to push out over Dartmoor, an airing for the Twin Astir and hanging around the farm and scrapyard no usable lift could be found.

Malcolm White (left) seems happy with his one day course  
Ged had a busy day, split between a day course for Malcolm White and polishing Shrek’s circuits. The later culminated in Shrek’s first solo flight at the end of the day. ( That's the second new solo pilot this week !!)

Shrek is congratulated on his 1st solo by instructor Ged 
A great finale. Congratulations Shrek.

Steve Raine

Sunday 11th March 2012 Roger Applebloom's first solo

Last weekend was a good one; Yeovil Town got 3 precious points, England beat France in Paris, and I had my first solo flight; life seldom gets better!

It takes a brave person to risk someone first solo on a busy day when there is only one functioning 2 seater, so Don obviously either had more faith than me in my abilities as a potential pilot, or was intent on getting rid of me one way or the other and at whatever cost. For whatever reason, the chance to fly solo swept away two months of frustration at not getting it right; cramped circuits, speed control on final turn, rounding out too early/too late, holding off maybe/not at all.....all the usual stuff.

Final checks done, cable on and secure, the Puttock behind in spirit if not in body, and Shrek's implorations to bring BVB back in one piece ringing in my ears, I wanted only to keep the first flight simple, cautious, without bending or breaking anything. I pulled off the launch a bit early because of speed, went almost straight to the high key point and the downwind leg, turned early, landed long, 3 minutes of doing nothing too badly.....and nothing broke. The second flight I actually loved....every second! And still nothing broke. Job done.

Roger is congratulated by Don after his first solo flight
My thanks to all the instructors who have had to endure some pretty terrible flying since last August, and to those on Sunday who didn't get a flight because I was hogging the only glider: looks like cakes on me next Sunday.

Roger Appleboom

Interestingly this is what Martin Cropper, with his somewhat jaded sense of humour, thought of the day

When you’re learning to glide the time at which you fly is governed by the ‘Flying List’. First come, first served: you can’t say fairer than that. Well, it is fair in that it’s consistent, but when you’re not master of your own destiny ie. reliant on a lift, and your family has other plans for you ie. the next serial is grandma’s at two pm, and they haven’t even started flying until 1030 because there’s mist on the runway or cloudbase is only 250ft, and then some berk needs to hog the cables because he’s doing launch failures from which the retrieves take forever, this rigid adherence to the Flying List can seem a little unfair. And thus it was for Luke and Joe  to whom we have to say thanks for turning up, but on some days, you may find you leave without having flown, for all the reasons above.

And so who was that berk hogging all the cables? Step forward none other than Roger Applebloom who, after a little more than his original projection of 80 launches for a fixed fee, went solo for the first time today. Congratulations, Roger! For those who do not know him, Roger is proprietor of a garage, workshop and motorcycle training school near Taunton who bikes the 70 miles down every Sunday and regularly arrives at the club FIRST (within the speed limit – he says). This dedication and consistency has earned him many a lecture from Don (today’s was ‘TePhiGrams and radiation fog – my part in their creation’) but who today was rewarded by the departure of the CFI from the back seat, and made 2 faultlessly flown solo flights. Only one line remains unsigned on Roger’s ab initio training card, and that’s because everyone had to depart early (not least Don, who took one of the ex-Perranporth K-13s to Dunkeswell) – the cans can wait for next week..!

Following Roger’s solo, and with only one K-13 serviceable, the challenge fell to David Jesty to get through as many of the trainees as possible in the time remaining. Still, with conditions improving and with the K-8 taking the solo pilots (Allan Holland 38 mins, Alan Carter and Allan Ballard), Leith Whittington, John *** and Shrek all achieved some soaring training thanks to David’s sharp eye for a thermal and refusal to let any chance go to waste. Our two Trial Lesson visitors, 80-year old Albert Greatrix (whose family remembered ex-member Frank Maresh with affection) and slightly younger Kyle Moore (ex-microlighter who may well join) went away happy after flights of 14 and 12 minutes respectively.

So 27 launches on a day that started clagged in mist, some disappointment for our younger brethren but a very creditable first solo to Roger Applebloom – is that judged to be failure – or success?

Martin Cropper

Saturday 10th March 2012

The airfield was shrouded in low cloud today. There was some discussion about how the atmospheric soundings showed this possibility. Not much compensation really.

Members again went into work mode. Scratch seemed to want to spend his day burning gorse. ( see Wednesday - Pyromaniac required). Ged was rolling the airfield and moving tractors around. Trevor and I finished the work on the fittings in our new trailer. Martin Smith split his time between aircraft repairs and helping Sandra with the refurbishment of the Marketing Caravan. Everyone else were rushing around tidying and sorting things out.
A few camp fire songs perhaps?
Early afternoon the cloudbase rose a little which encouraged a hardy few to take up Don's offer of some low height cable break practice.

The day finished with the a Committee meeting.


Thursday 8th March 2012

After a quick email the day before, I managed to round up a group of enthusiastic pilots (plus a winch driver!) to fly on Thursday before the Kelly College CCF cadets arrived.

Things kicked off nice and early with a cooked breakfast, courtesy of Don and Pauline - heartily enjoyed by Ged, Don, Pauline and I. Whilst we were fuelling up for the day, the rest of the team arrived; Steve Raine, Mike Gadd and Matt Mackay. After we had our fill, we proceeded to set the kit up. I had a good feeling about the day, and Don must have too as he instructed to take all four aircraft to the launch point.

The DGS runway hiding in the cloud shadow.
The day's flying commenced with Mike having a few launches in the Zugvogel without any real success, similar to myself in the K8. Upon Don's command, I hopped out of the K8 and prepared myself for a conversion to the Zugvogel, I must say that the nerves were certainly kicking in at this point but we pulled the aircraft on to line and I was ready to go. A couple of minutes prior, Matt had launched in the K8 and appeared to be going round in circles under some clouds... I knew where I was heading! 

Richards view of the Zugvogel cockpit
With my second bronze leg in the back of my mind, I took my first launch in the Zugvogel. It was a fantastic experience, like nothing I had experienced before. Once I had released the cable, I turned the vario up to full volume and made for the direction of the K8, which was still in the air and climbing! I made my way up to the cloud base at 3000', headed towards Brentor Church and my lift vanished - sink at 10 down come in it's place. I hastily returned to the east and found lift again. My this point I saw that half an hour was up: I had my second bronze leg and subsequently, completed my bronze! I started to head back to the airfield, using my height to experience stalling in the Zugvogel. Once I was back at circuit height, I came back in and landed. I was met with Don's usual 'oh no, only 29 minutes!' followed by a grin and a 'congratulations' - it was actually 42 minutes. Matt Mackay was also ecstatic as as he had also achieved a bronze leg with 44 minutes - the longest flight of the day.

Ricgard and Matt look very pleased with themselves
I hastily handed over the Zugvogel to Mike Gadd and he went to try and find the same lift as we did, but to no avail. Robin Wilson then had a few launches and managed a quarter of an hour, but it seemed that the best of the conditions had already gone. Meanwhile, Steve Raine took his first flights in a single seater by converting to the K8
Steve Raine on final approach after his first flight in the K8
By 1500, we had hangar landed the single seaters and prepared the K13's for the cadet's arrival. 

When they arrived, I ensured a slick operation, bringing in my experience from the Air Training Corps to make sure they had the most launches possible. Bob Jones had arrived to help on the ground. He took the north side of the launch point with two cadets, and I did the same on the south side. We had 6 cadets come to the club this week, and all six flew. Don and Ged took DMX and BVB with the cadets. Some had their first flights in a glider, and others were furthering their skills, including some good landings - well done guys!

BVB launches with another cadet on board
At 1745, we wrapped up the day's flying. The cadets had had a great afternoon flying, and I think they were brilliant on the ground with the ground handling - they are to be commended!

All in all a fantastic day. 

My thanks go to Don for pushing me to complete my bronze and giving me the 'buzz' again for gliding. I owe him an awful lot for that and I certainly wouldn't have achieved it without him.

Richard Williamson

Phew! So summarise. Two bronze legs, a completed bronze badge, two type conversions, a successful cadet flying session and a good breakfast. 

A fantastic day indeed.


Wednesday 8th March 2012

'Where the young lead - the oldies follow.' No, although our youthful CFI is the driving force behind 'Operation First Impression', it's the Kelly College CCF gang who also deserve a big vote of thanks for putting so much effort into sprucing up the airfield.

Inspired by the improvements carried out so far, a big crowd of club members turned up on this non-flyable day to make further inroads. It's impossible to give everyone a 'name-check', but while Secretary Sandra grappled with the files, and Steve Lewis and Trevor Taylor carried out transplant surgery involving their Jantar glider and its old and less old trailers, the rest of us were pointed in various task-related directions by Don.

Over the horizon, Dave 'Gorse-Ripper' Rippon (Zetor tractor) and Andrew 'Bog-Buster' Beaumont (JCB) had a field day annihilating the island of gorse and levelling the ground on the north corner of the stub runway. That was until Andrew's steed blew an hydraulic hose, when he joined Robin Wilson and Steve Raine in the more physical task of attaching tractor strops to clumps of gorse, and then manhandling them into heaps ready for burning. The outcome is amazing and will give us a much-increased landing area.

Piles of gorse waiting for a pyromaniac
Overseeing the whole exercise was our Field Manager, Phil Hardwick, who seemed to be everywhere; directing... advising... assisting... - while at the same time, replacing fence posts and, later, levelling some of the dryer parts of the field with the roller attached to the big tractor.

Don continued to focus on sprucing up the area around the hangar and clubhouse, and in the process assembling yet another load of cash-generating scrap metal for the Tea Swindle Fund, while I was able to make some inroads into clearing years of accumulated guck, sludge,. leaves and algae from the diesel tank bund and supporting structure. Don and his wife, Pauline, also took a couple of hours out to undertake a promotional tour around Tavistock to persuade key institutions and other local contacts to come to our Open Day.

But I've left one of the best bits till last. While at the front of the hangar Don was waxing lyrical over the 'scrap or spares' potential of the blue Land Rover (a supposed non-runner bequeathed to us by Perranporth), Ged Nevisky was working behind the building trying to resurrect the slumbering beast. Eventually, with a bit of help from the tractor, it came to life and was then kept running all afternoon. Ged will now advertise it via E-Bay as a restoration protect rather than a heap of bits.
The forlorn looking Landrover as it was delivered to the airfield is now a runner thanks to Ged.
STOP PRESS: I'm off on holiday - so expect sunshine, easterlies and wave from this weekend until the end of March.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 4th march 2012

The rain cleared by late morning but the wind was way too strong to permit any flying.

The members made good use of their time continuing with gorse removal and pushing "Operation First Impression" forward.

Better luck next time.


Saturday 3rd March 2012

Day started early at 8.30 the hangar area was busy. Mike Gadd was busy readying the kit ready for a challenging day.

Was that Master Chef being filmed in the club house? No it was me, cooking a full English breakfast for Martin Smith, Rick Wiles, and myself. Talk about a hearty breakfast! There were a few enquires as to whether I would cook a few more for members who found the odour too great to resist. Sorry every one! but it certainly set us up for the day.

As always Rick selflessly readied the "Gus" launch, towed out and DI'd the cables and ended up winching most of the day except for a short time after lunch when he grabbed BVB between trial lessons and instructional flights to practise his friends and family rating by flying with his son Matthew who had worked relentlessly retrieving gliders and running the launch point. "Thanks Matthew great job!"

BVB passes overhead.
Mike Jardine, Dean "Scratch" Hitchen were readying G-GJSK Astir for its annul ARC inspection by John Bolt. That went smoothly through.  Lets hope we get to do more souring hours in it this year guys?
Steve and Trevor were working on their Jantar, which requires a little work at the moment, we all hope that all goes well!

Sandra was busy jet washing the advertising caravan, and working on committee stuff, and Alan "Q" Carter was playing with the SF and associated gadgetry. "Have you seen the panel in his SF? It looks like the space shuttle! Great job Alan"

Chris and Karon had popped in for a break. Chris has been poorly recently and is now on the mend.
Martin had briefed on the day's conditions and the day was set to be quite challenging with fairly stiff SW 15 knot cross wind. Particular consideration was needed to drift and wind gradient on final approach!

Mike Gadd decided to test himself flying the Zugvogel in the challenging conditions and was pleased he did well. done. Bob Jones also flew the Zugvogel in the afternoon with his final flight being a hangar landing.

Mike Gadd and Zugvogel
We had two trial lessons today flown by myself the first was Simon Perkins from the Exmouth area, who had a interest in flying and was rewarded by being able to soar in a thermal with a Red Kite, and by gaining the longest flight of the day of 14 minutes.We left the wire at 1300 feet and went straight into a 3 knot climb to 2400 feet. The other trial lesson was Alison Donkin who lived locally, hope to see them both again in the future.

Martin was kept busy flying with Leith and Shrek, Leith is undertaking a fixed price to solo course, and
indeed the conditions made it a more intensive day for him, they both coped admirably.

A complete sheet of flying activity, all in all a very challenging and rewarding day.

Sean Parramore

Thursday 1st March 2012

The first Flying day for the Kelly College CCF unit. Many thanks to Ged Nevisky and Mike Sloggett for looking after the flight instruction and Richard Williamson for the ground school.
Richard in ground school mode
The day started with housekeeping, the field was just in the right condition for rolling, so Ged got the tractor out while Steve Raine and Bob Jones cleared the bonfire debris and other stuff around the site---the effect is now becoming very noticeable and the area starting to look much smarter.

Alan Ballard arrived to find he had to change ends while the rest of the team set up for the cadets visit. Dominic Tomalin is CO ---bus driver---organiser was rushing around covering all the corners, while Bob, Steve and Alan operated the field and Jeff Cragg supervised the clearing of gorse occasionally punctuated by an anecdote or two.

The day ended with a tinnie and chat in the clubroom---thanks everyone.