Sunday 29th April 2012

It was a good to note that our long range members chose to stay away today – 20kt gusting 40kt winds were really vicious and there was more twig, wood and branch litter on the road on leaving the site than on arrival.

Matt Mackay did make it to Tavistock, courtesy of public transport, and brushed up his Bronze exam and woodburner lighting skills before we all (both of us) decided that we were better off in our respective cosy homes

Martin Cropper

Saturday 28th April 2012

Very low cloudbase, strong, gusty biting wind just east of north. Must be a flying day then. Not

The club was quite busy with members setting about a variety of tasks. Secretary Sandra was replenishing our supply of forms. Victor made sure we had a good supply of fuel for the woodburner. Ged and a small crew were repairing fences. Rick Wiles had a team fitting new cables to the Guslaunch winch and the picking up and disposing of the scrap cable. Alan Carter was in the workshop painting the Pirat wing. Mike Jardine, myself and Chris Kaminski spent quite sometime troubleshooting Mikes logger/gps setup and his new download cable.

During the afternoon I delivered a couple of training sessions for our pre-solo pilots concentrating on Approach Control and Basic Circuit Planning.

The day concluded with the Committee meeting late into the evening sustained by Alan Carter cooked pizza and nibbles supplied by Sandra. I must say that Sandra has definitely had a civilising influence on our meetings.


Wednesday 25th April 2012

Today it rained... then rained some more. And then really rained, leaving the airfield as wet as it's been all winter, with a torrent of run-off from the airfield carving a deep groove in the main runway access track before spreading stones and debris across the threshold to the hangar. H20-wise, we had it all today - the only Raine we didn't encounter being our colleague Steve Raine, who stayed at home while his namesake did its best to ruin our day.

Arriving at the crossroads at the top of the lane, it was quite welcoming to see smoke belching from the woodburner chimney - thanks to the recent clearing of an excess of trees and bushes by the cadets from Kelly College, who've been working alongside our own club members.
Today's highlights?

First of all, Dave "Rip-'n-Roll" Rippon once again abandoned his Field Treasurer's quill pen and cashbox to spend the morning rolling the airfield, culminating in  tractor and roller reversing tutorial from Chairman (and professional driving instructor) Steve Lewis. Meanwhile our other Field Treasurer, Robin Wilson, helped his syndicate partners Ged Nevisky and Phil Hardwick to haul the Twin Astir up to the hangar, so they could prepare the glider for its annual inspection (which this time around includes the tedious and costly task of replacing both release hooks).

Everyone present spent a while in the clubhouse discussing some of the challenges which face the club, including getting the field and the fleet ready for the open day on May 5th and contributing some very positive thoughts regarding such topics as the forthcoming election of an expanded committee (and who might serve on it!), and the current hot chestnut of a strategic plan for the club. 

During a discussion with Phil regarding the 'legitimising' of his recent Silver C distance flight, it transpired that he may well have achieved his Height Gain as well. Meanwhile Steve spent a while with Robin and Dave discussing NOTAMS, navigation and field landings, in preparation for their forthcoming NAVEX flights.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 22nd April 2012

An enjoyable, if somewhat cold and changeable, run down from Taunton on Sunday saw me first, and so it turned out, the only arrival at the clubhouse. Fire lit in anticipation of company (and to air a slightly damp clubhouse), the morning was spent manning the telephone, putting away the washing up and getting busy with the broom.

The forthcoming Open Day seems to be creating a fair bit of interest. The only other member to 'phone was Shrek, who would undoubtedly fly in a thunderstorm if he could only find someone to launch him!

The ground was wet, the weather varied from wet to very wet as the day wore on, but I've had worse Sundays, and all in all an enjoyable and constructive day.

Roger Applebloom

Saturday 21st April 2012

The showery, NW, airflow continues. To add to the fun today it was very cold on the airfield with most people wearing at least 2 fleeces.

The weather is definitely keeping people away; pity because they are missing some interesting flying. Today, even though there was very little sun on the ground, the passing clouds gave several flights approaching 30 minutes.

We welcomed Mark today. He is an early solo pilot from North Hill looking to broaden his experience. The smile on his face said it all. Also on the airfield today were father and son Barry and Roger Green who divide there flying time between flying cross country in their beautiful ASW20 located at Aston Down and local flying at Brentor. They are very welcome, of course.

We also had a couple of visitors and some telephone enquiries today from groups looking for Corporate / Group flying. Good news. Let’s hope the weather plays ball.


Wednesday 18th April 2012

The forecast for today looked poor. So did the weather. Low cloud, showers, and more low cloud.

The few stalwarts who turned up got on with jobs around the airfield. Phil Hardwick and Steve Raine hooked up BVB on it’s trailer and then left bound for Dunkeswell and Ian Mitchell’s repair shop.

Dave Rippon filled the roller with water, and headed for the runway to work on rolling out the damaged areas. In the event, large areas were too firm to make much improvement but he worked hard on the softer areas. In fact, he was gone so long we wondered if we should form a search party.

Ged spent some time stripping off the parts we needed from the old red Discovery which was then towed to the scrap yard. The old Perranporth Landrover was collected by it’s new owners. With the money raised by the old Landrover and the scrap Discovery plus the sale of some Discovery parts, we have now purchased a “new” Discovery and will end up perhaps £150 up on the deal.

So, we turned this

Into this

Our Thanks to the Cornish Gliding Club for the Landrover which made this deal possible.


Sunday 15th April 2012

The weather and soaring forecasts looked really great . In the event everything was to forecast except for the northerly wind which was a lot stronger than expected.

The club was busy from early on. Obviously, the members had been watching the forecasts. This was going to be a day of achievements.

Early morning rigging
Rick Wiles flew the SF27 for 5 hours for a Silver duration leg. Chris Kaminski (Pirat) Silver height. Phil Hardwick Silver cross country leg to North Hill ( see separate report ). Mike Gadd flew the final 7 flights he needed to complete his Bronze C.

Mike Jardine made a good attempt at his Silver cross country leg which ultimately ended prematurely in a field near Crediton. See Mike’s “How I done it “ post for more details.

Cornish visitor Dave with his Mini Nimbus G-EEER, had a long flight exploring lots of Devon ranging from Torrington to Plymouth to Liskeard.

The beautiful Mini Nimbus from Cornwall
Late afternoon saw Dave Parker going out to retrieve Mike from his field and Sandra going out to collect Phil from North Hill. (Makes a change from me going to collect Trevor).

Meanwhile, Ian Mitchell was in the hangar doing the CofA  / ARC work on G-DBVB ably assisted by Alan Carter who gave up a good flying day to help out. Many thanks Alan.


A late message from further afield - Barry Greene did his 50km Silver leg flying his ASW20 from Aston Down ( I believe he ended up at Hus Bos.

Sunday 15th April 2012 – Phil Hardwick’s Cross Country

Usual start at Brentor. I had done a little more preparation the night before so I took the first launch in a strong crosswind from the north followed by an indecisive circuit and standard landing. But it was working! Put off by my failure (cunning plan) no one launched so I took the second cable a little better informed.

I worked hard in the valley between Mary Tavy and Peter Tavy trying to climb and pushing north up the cloud street so not to get out of range of the field. After a while I reached the giddy height of 1200 ft. only to hear Martin Cropper on the radio, “2500 feet and climbing”,

Climbing in the thermals and flying into the northerly wind up the cloud streets became the routine until I reached cloudbase at 4200 QFE by which time Martin Cropper had circumnavigated the moor several times and several other Brentor gliders were filling the sky.

Now the routine changed. When I had moved far enough upwind and reached cloudbase I jumped east to the next street and started again. A tedious process that continued for several hours and the movement over the ground seemed unrecognisable and reduced to a halt at Crediton.

After a long time of achieving nothing I decided (against my game plan) to slip downwind past the A30 to hillier ground. With dramatic effect, my best climb!, then north across the valley to the north east of Crediton. Then a slow climb (thinking to myself if I had taken a tractor I would have been there by now!) watching the distance to North Hill 15 kms and blue sky all the way. 2500ft no chance, 3000ft no, 3500ft maybe? I crossed the Exe valley to North Hill at 70 knots. MacCready may not have agreed but he doesn’t take into account wind noise and fear.

Then a large airfield ( North Hill ) and 1500ft; very inviting to a tired pilot. A little unsure of the Dunkeswell traffic I looked for height to the north west but struggled to get 2500ft. Not enough to cross back to Crediton for a return trip to Brentor,  so I called on North Hill base on 129.975, but the butler had already called them all to lunch. I landed and for the first time ever I was glad to get out of FCJ.

North Hill made me very welcome, and I enjoyed meeting new pilots and seeing their undeniably plush airfield, we must all visit and learn from their shining example.

Thank you to them and all our club members, particularly Sandra, who helped make this happen. I fear I will be winch driving and buying the beer for the foreseeable future.


Sunday 15th April 2012–Mike Jardine’s Field landing

I arrived on Sunday to find other Saturday flyers at the airfield with aspirations of distance and duration . The RASP forecasts were the focus of discussion.

As the morning wore on gliders were starting to stay up; conditions were getting better. Rick Wiles was on the radio inviting me to join him at 4000 feet south of Okehampton. Phil was long gone on his attempt to get to North Hill. I was on my 4th launch trying to find a thermal to get me going.

By 1.45 pm I was off again again. It took some finding but in the end I found a thermal over the airfield to take me to 4,500 feet. I joined Rick who was keeping at cloud base over Lydford gorge.

I started to head for Meldon reservoir but twice had to turn back and top up the height. Third time lucky 3,200 feet and over the moors heading for Okehampton services on the A30.

Ok, next objective was to get across the A30 on track for Crediton. Height was beginning to go and so were the thermals , the sky was overdeveloping. A few turns in the only lift I could find and a top up of 200 feet.

Crediton was getting nearer but height was now down to 2000 feet, time to pick a field; it wouldn't be North Hill today. A good field was sighted , good size , shape ,no obstacles, into wind and near a farm maybe a cup of tea awaited.

A good flight around the field, good approach and pleased with the landing, my best one of the day , A quick phone call to David Parker who had agreed to be my retrieve. Now to go and find the owner of the field.
Mike Jardine ( left )and the Gillards whose field he is in.
I was soon joined by the farmers, the Gillard family, who with their quad bike towed me from my landing area to locate the glider near to a gate for easy access to the road. Their assistance was greatly appreciated.

All in all lots of learning and experience gained , those apron strings tying me to Brentor cut and flying over new areas. North Hill next time.

Once again a big thanks to my retrieve driver Dave without whom I couldn't have gone for the attempt and to the Gillards who made me welcome in their field.

Mike Jardine

Saturday 14th April 2012

The somewhat dire forecast of heavy showers and possible  thunderstorms kept most members away today. The hardy few who turned up were treated to a perfectly usable flying day.

The bad weather could be seen perhaps two miles to the west and during the day it also circled around to the south but it never got to the airfield. One advantage of this was that we were treated to some soaring on the large areas of rising air that can often be found on the leading edges of showers. Good fun.

Other news is that junior Matthew Wiles passed his driving test yesterday, 16 months after his first solo flight on his 16th birthday, and immediately demanded to commence his winch driver training. He seems pretty good already. I was treated to a couple of great launches while instructing in the K13; speed nailed all the way up and launch heights just short of 1400 feet. Leading the way again Matthew.

Matthew - trainee winch driver.
Yet more junior news this week is that Richard Williamson has received a bursary of £300 towards the costs of achieving his silver badge from the Royal Aero Club Trust. Well done Richard

Richard is obviously happy with his news
At the end of the day, we de-rigged K7M G-DBVB ready for it’s C of A and ARC tomorrow.


Wednesday 11th April 2012

Like yesterday, today quickly developed into a good soarable day, providing well-defined cumulus with bases of around 3,000 feet.

The whole fleet was in action, with both two-seaters kept busy with trial lessons, some introductory flights for a couple of Mike Keller's friends, and some more routine training (and soaring!) for members.

We were true to our word in ensuring that Joe Morel was compensated for the time he spent working in the hangar last week, with a good soaring flight and a couple of stub landings. Meanwhile, despite arriving well into the afternoon, Dominic, the commanding officer of Kelly College CCF, found himself airborne and being put through his paces by Ged. Once again, our visitors received personal attention - both on the ground and in the air - from Steve Lewis, who is clearly relishing his B.I. role (in addition to coping with all the challenges which go with being Chairman of the club).

The soaring potential today was there for all to enjoy - with some managing to exploit it more successfully than others. Several of our more experienced pilots managed flights of over an hour, and Phil Hardwick severed the 'apron strings' which tie most pilots to Brentor and headed in the direction of North Hill. Unfortunately, with rain showers threatening as he worked his way along the north side of the Moor, he abandoned his task after an hour and a half and returned to let his syndicate partner, Andrew Beaumont, do some flying.

We were pleased once again to welcome a regular visitor from Culdrose, with his Mini Nimbus G-EEER ( great registration for a Cornwall based glider), but our powers of persuasion were insufficient to get him to put the wings on.

Equipment-wise, this week's innovation was the debut of the 'new' Land Rover Discovery, ( purchased with funds generated from the the sale of the old Landrover given to us by the now defunct Cornish Gliding Club ) which provided comfortable transport for our guests as well as undertaking the myriad routine tasks which our vehicles perform. 

All in all, a good - and hopefully enjoyable - day's effort by all members who were present.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 8th April 2012

One of those quiet days where very few attendees waited for the clag to lift, which wasn't until 1215 and then, had their fill of flights before the lowering cloudbase got the better of them.

So if your name was Dave Parker (2 x cable breaks first 2 flights of the day) , new returning glider pilot Malcolm Roberts (whose wife provided burgers, bacon baps and hot+buns from their motorhome) or Roger Applebloom (made his first solo hangar landing - v safe) then you had a very satisfying day under the tutelage of David Jesty.

Alan C and Sandra were disappointed that Ian M cried off in the motorglider at 1115 (but we were still clagged in at that time) and I think they made the journey to Dunkeswell for Alan to get his cross country endorsement signed off with Ian.

Martin Cropper

Saturday 8th April 2012

The lines ( temperature and dew point ) on the atmospheric soundings for today were almost touching suggesting  a very moist airmass with lots of low cloud. And that is exactly how it turn out.

There were enough members keen to fly and keep their currency, practice circuits, cable breaks etc. in the brisk NW wind. Early launches encountered a 700 ft. cloudbase but this gradually improved to allow everyone to have some fun.

We welcomed new member Malcolm Roberts who joined the club today. He is an experienced Silver “C” glider pilot who last flew 44 years ago. I guess some things you never really forget; on his second flight he flew the K13 around the circuit and landed perfectly. At the end of flying Malcolm kindly produced bacon rolls for everyone. Something tells me he and CFI Don ( absent today) are going to get on really well.

Meanwhile, in the hanger, K13 G-DDMX was derigged, cleaned out and fitted with a much needed new undercarriage skirt and then reassembled ready for tomorrow. Thanks John.


Wednesday 4th April 2012

Once again Brentor has basked in thermals and wave while I've been abroad...  And once again low cloud and rain returned for my first Wednesday duty day back at the club. In fact, they followed me most of the way down from North Cornwall, but then there was than a clearance, which enabled me to indulge in a much-needed solo soaring flight in K-13 DMX before the day's main flying activities got underway.

There was a splendid turnout of members - but trial lessons were cancelled due to the deteriorating weather which (sod's law!) actually improved, enabling the few who were determined to get their gliding 'fix' for the day to do so.

Most of the action, however, was centred inside the hangar, where a team of stalwarts de-rigged and later rigged the Zugvogel, enabling John Bolt to carry out that glider's ARC inspection and various helpers - under his supervision - to carry out minor technical jobs and touch up the scuffed paintwork inside the cockpit.

One of our younger members, Joseph Morel, (aged 16), deserves a special mention, because he opted to work as a member of the Zug work party rather than flying. If you're around next Wednesday, Joe, you've earned yourself a place at the top of the flying list.

The next glider due for its annual inspection, plus some additional minor technical work, is K7/13 BVB. Rather than loading John with all of this, and in order to get the glider back on line in a timely fashion,the plan is to have the work done professionally by Ian Mitchell, at Dunkeswell.

The bad news on the ground equipment front is that the old JCB has officially 'died'. But then there's the good news. There's usually a silver lining around if you look for it, and by selling both the JCB and the old red Discovery to the scrappy, and the ex-Perranporth Land Rover via e-Bay as a restoration project, will more than fund the purchase of a replacement Discovery. Roger Appleboom has acquired one on our behalf and has kindly agreed to check it over and service it, before delivering it to the club next Sunday.

Colin fooling with his sunglasses while finishing off the work on the quad bike
There's more good news in that the quad bike is now back in service. The availability of this precious asset is thanks to the hard work put in recently and today by Alan Holland, Colin Boyd and  Dave Bourchier. Yes, Dave re-appeared after a long absence and immediately donned his overalls and got stuck in. Welcome back, Dave - we hope this wasn't a one-off event.

Two other recently absent friends who also spent there day with us were Barry Green and Heather, who helped at the launch point and retrieved winch cables.  

Bob Pirie

Sunday 1st April 2012

Glorious weather with blue sky, no clouds and endless sunshine although a little cooler than the unseasonably hot weather of the last couple of weeks.

There were lots of soaring flights today, the longest by Alan Carter at about 2 1/2 hours. Highest flight today was about 3300 above the airfield ( 4500 feet above sea level.

Instructors David Jesty and Mike Sloggett kept the K13s busy all day.

Another good day.

Ged Nevisky

Saturday 31st March 2012

Today marked a serious change in the weather. Gone are the warm, blue sky, sunny days. In it’s place was a cold grey overcast day.

Not very many members turned up wanting to fly ,so today ended up as a non flying day.  Perhaps, the need to soar has been temporary sated by all the good flying recently.

A little work was done around the site, Don gave an altimetry lecture after which the clubhouse filled to bursting with members arriving for the AGM lured, no doubt, by the promise of Sandra’s buffet.

The good news today was that we had a chance to inspect Alan Carter’s logger trace from Wednesday and confirmed that he has indeed achieved Silver Height.