Sunday 27th May 2012

Could there be a more different day than yesterday? Today started with overcast sky and virtually no wind.

Just as the gliders were positioned at the launch point it started to rain. With no wind the shower took a long time to finish, just occasionally easing to tempt someone to start wiping-off wings before resuming.

Then the clearance came, followed very quickly with booming soaring conditions for a while before over-developing.

Mike Sloggett helped out with some trial lessons and used the K8 to catch up on some solo hours. Various members flew instructional exercises and  Nick from Eyres Field in Dorset visited to add a K7m and Brentor to his logbook. Martin Cropper did all the winching (thanks Martin). Then the sun came out again while we put the toys to bed.

Another very pleasant and interesting day.

David Jesty

Saturday 28th May 2012

Blue sky, high pressure and a gale roaring from the east, and temperatures on the airfield in the high 20’s. Could be a difficult day

Even the pole seems to be about to succumb to the wind.
The very strong winds made glider handling difficult but the club members were up to the challenge, with gliders being handled very carefully and picketed out with LOTS of tyres.

In today's turbulent conditions, teamwork and 'muscle' were even more important than usual when it came to the safe rigging and de-rigging of gliders. Here the team prepares to put the wings on Martin and Bob's ASW20F.
The soundings for today were not exactly classic wave, there was a stable layer to approximately 3000 feet (good), instead of an inversion this was topped by an isothermic layer of another 3000 feet (better than nothing) but the deal breaker was the wind speed. Instead of it steadily increasing with height it rose very rapidly to about 45 - 50 knots at flying heights only to reduce the higher you went.

Still, nobody told Ged who managed to scrape away in the Twin Astir to finally top out at 6000 feet. Good effort. There was rotor and broken wave low down which, while enabling some soaring, ensured that the approaches were “character forming”. A day for experts only.

We welcomed Alec Watt from the Wyvern Army Gliding Club who arrived with Holly (crew) and 2 club members and a very beautifully refinished LS4. They paid us a visit after the were unable to fly at Northill after flying was scrubbed due to the wind strength. Alec, a very experienced instructor, had a check flight with Bob Pirie in the K13 and then flew solo in the LS4.

Today a case of  'Blast off' rather than 'Take Off'!  Here is visiting pilot Alec Watt in the Wyvern Gliding Club's LS4.
As the day wore on, the wind strength increased still further, the rotor got even worse and we reluctantly stopped flying mid afternoon. This meant that several club members and visitors unfortunately did not get to fly – thanks for your help and patience, better luck next time  And for those who did fly, a couple of valium and some rose tinted specs will make the experience seem worthwhile.

And elsewhere around the club, the Pirat syndicate had the C of A done on their glider and then spontaneously felt the need to sweep out the hanger, Many thanks. Sandra spent her time preparing the clubhouse for the EGM including a delicious buffet for the attendees. Food seemed to be a popular subject today. Malcolm disappeared  into his RV at regular intervals only to reappear with plates of bacon sandwiches produced by his wife. Very nice they were too.


Wednesday 23rd May 2012

Apart from summer arriving, today was in many ways similar to last Wednesday. More or less the same group of hardcore enthusiasts...  a similar gaggle of gliders operating...  a few new (and equally enthusiastic) faces to keep the instructing team busy... and John Howe and Phil Hardwick contributing more than their fair share of winch driving. But despite some promising cumulus at either end of the day, opportunities for soaring were sparse.

G-DBVB with Ged in the back seat, Mike Gorber in the front . Outside Mike Gadd (left) and Mike Jones
While Ged, Dave Jesty and I kept BVB busy with a constant stream of training flights, today it was DMX's turn to spend most of the time earthbound, receiving some essential TLC. Once again a small team of volunteers (Steve Lewis, John Bolt, Alan Carter and Dave Bourchier) spent most of the day working on the glider, in order that others could fly. Thanks to their efforts, I was able to get the glider test flown and back to work in the late afternoon.

Meanwhile 'back at the ranch' our club Secretary, Sandra, was busy preparing for Saturday evening's SGM; dividing her time between office work and wielding a dustpan and broom.

Today's highlights? The temporarily lack of a second two-seater was a pity, but our new members were patient, and some efficient winch driving and cable retrieving - with two gleaming new cables - helped to minimise delays.

It was good to have one of our more advanced trainees, Richard Walker, back with us after a six months' layoff, and we also welcomed Mike Jones, a friend of Mike Gadd, for some trial lessons.

The Twin Astir was back on line, enabling me to undertake some type conversion flights with Robin Wilson while regular backseater Ged was instructing with One Day Course candidate , Mike Gorber. We're now hoping that Mike will take the plunge and sign-up for fixed price to solo training.   David Horne, who signed up for  our Fixed Price to Solo deal last Wednesday, was back with us today not only getting in his own flights but also immersing himself in all those operational activities which are so essential to the safe and efficient operation of Dartmoor Gliding Society.    

Bob Pirie

Sunday 20th May 2012

Despite the up-beat RASP forecast, the airfield stayed shrouded in murk until lunchtime.

Conditions improved greatly by noon in time for two trial lessons. After Martin Cropper flew these, Leith made good progress with his flying exercises.

Early solo pilot Roger Appleboom again soared well with one of his flights in excess of 20 minutes.

A quiet but very pleasant day.


Saturday 19th May 2012

A largely overcast day with very little wind.

Although there was very little thermal activity persistence paid off and a couple of soaring flights were made.The club was busy flying a group of scouts and their leaders as part of a badge course.

Sean looks happy to be re-acquainted with the T31
Highlight of the day was the appearance of vintage gliding enthusiast Martin Smith and his venerable T31, an open cockpit 2 seater.  Sean Parramore took advantage of Martin’s generosity and flew a T31 for the first time in 40 years. Club members Alan, Sandra, Matt and Rick all took advantage of the opportunity to add a T31 flight to their logbooks.

We've got his boots but where's the pilot? Apparently there is not enough room in the T31 back seat for Martin and his boots.
Elsewhere on the site, Junior Gliding coordinator Matthew was signed off as a winch driver. Well done and thanks for the launches Matt.

Matthew at work on the Guslaunch winch
The day finished with a BGA organised Child Protection Course delivered in the clubhouse by Karon Matten, the BGA Child Protection Lead and DGS Child Protection Officer.


Wednesday 16th May 2012

What a day! The cumulus were popping right from the start and delivered what they promised - although the gradual but relentless encroachment of sea air from the north coast gave us extra impetus to 'get up there and on with it'. Thus there were hardly any instances of pilots saying: "I think I'll just hang on for a while and wait for conditions to improve."

The fact that we were few in number meant that we hardly noticed that BVB and DWG were temporarily offline. However, we all definitely noticed and appreciated the sterling efforts by our Technical Officer John Bolt, Chairman Steve Lewis and all-round Problem Solver Dave Bourchier, which got them sorted by the end of the day.

Today's highlights? Well, a light, cold breeze and frequent cloud cover made the strength of the sun deceptive, and many of us arrived home with sunburn.

Soaring conditions locally were perfect, with most pilots indulging in decent soaring flights up to a cloudbase of more than 3,000 feet. Towards evening, there was little evidence of the sun over the airfield, but to the north and east, the thermals were still 'working', and a convergence provided the final magic ingredient of a super soaring day.
It doesn't get to look better than this
As far as club aircraft were concerned, in DMX Don occupied himself with 'entertaining' firstly David Horne, from Plymouth, who after a recent one-day course has signed up to our fixed price to solo programme, and then Nigel Twinn, from Tavistock, who is coming to the end of his three-month trial membership. (Hopefully Don and the team have convinced you to join us on a more permanent basis, Nigel.) 

Jeff Craggs (left) explains some of the mysteries to new members David Horne(centre) and Nigel Twinn.

Lacking the K8 - their preferred mount - John Howe was persuaded to upgrade to and soar in the Zugvogel, while Steve Raine went off the in K13 and earned himself a Bronze C and Cross Country Endorsement leg with a flight of more than an hour. (Not bad for someone who only went solo back in January.)

Despite his being on-line and ready to go early, Andrew Beaumont decided against going cross country in the Astir, but he had a couple of good local flights anyway. Darren Wills also achieved a Bronze leg in the K6, Martin Broadway and I had fun in the ASW20F, and Ged and Phil got the newly-ARC'd Twin Astir airborne for some dual and solo flights.

A light day's instructing workload saw Bob off and away in the ASW20F. He's flanked by syndicate partner Martin Broadway (right) and Steve Raine.
Thanks, by the way, to Jeff Craggs and John Howe for some splendid winching (apart from my own 650ft launch, that is!)

But I've saved one of the best bits to the end. Even our esteemed and hard-working CFI, Don Puttock, is not immune from the need to keep his solo hours up, so as we were about to conclude the day's operations, he eased himself into the front seat of DMX for what he later described as 'Probably my most enjoyable soaring flight since I've been at Brentor'  (or words to that effect). Also, with his own solo hours in mind, Steve Lewis ended the day soaring along a sea breeze front for a very enjoyable 1 1/2 hours or so in the Zugvogel.
Photo taken by Don in the K113 flying towards the sea breeze front

Bob Pirie

Sunday 13th May 2012

After spending Saturday preparing glider and trailer for an attempt to North Hill on Sunday, I took a gamble and left the SF outside, rigged and ready to go, we were greeted by a perfect day for the attempt. Forecast westerly wind giving a tailwind of 15 knots, predicted 3.5 to 5 knot thermals all day. 

I got as far as Meldon before hitting sink at 3800 feet, in the light of the telling off, ( or should I say  debrief  )  from Don,  I realised I should have pressed on for the next lift as I only had a gap of 20 miles to cross before the home leg to North Hill. Armed with this insight and renewed optimism, I tried again but failed to get the height I found earlier until a climb to 2600ft in a thermal just before base leg at 600ft, too late in the day. I learned a good lesson, plan better ! but at least I now have a good idea how my 47 year old glider will perform on longer flights.

Ian Mitchell arrived early with his Rotax Falke and flew one visitor and 3 club members who are working on their field landing and navigation tests  I understand Roger Appleboom gained a bronze leg in a K13 of 45 minutes but got his ear bent because it was needed, as the K8 was U/S the only aircraft available to early solo pilots was one of the  K13s, the other being utilised for Trial Lessons.

Martin Smith was keen to fly something but as there was nothing on the field he could squeeze into I let him fly the SF27, so he is now current.

Jim Woolford a visiting experienced pilot came to fly with us but  found he could not fit into the Zugvogel so flew the K13 at the end of the day, we waited patiently for him to land after the airfield had been cleared and gliders put to bed, he seemed to enjoy the visit.

Alan Carter

Saturday 12th May 2012.

A sunny day with a biting northerly wind. The RASP soaring forecast suggested that this would be a good day, and that is exactly how it turned out.

It became soarable from fairly early in the morning and this continued all the way through to the early evening.
The clouds mark the early morning thermals.
The conditions were quite inviting and this led to the 2 Astirs, the Open Cirrus and the ASW20 making an appearance. All the pilots made good use of their aircraft most managing long extended local soaring flights.

Open Cirrus G-DCGY and Astir G-CJSK waiting in the sunshine.
The training tasks were undertaken by Don and I was kept busy all day with a long list of Air Experience visitors, all of whom went away with smiles on their faces after experiencing soaring flights for the first time.

The day closed once again with a Committee meeting.

Another good day.


Wednesday 9th May 2012

After last weekend's euphoria, we came down to earth with a splash today - all bit like a fortnight ago really.

In the front of the hangar Phil and Ged tackled 'round two' of their Twin Astir-wrestling competition. Having succeeded in prising out the old release hooks from the nose and belly last time, their challenge for today was to fit two new ones, which taxed their ingenuity and patience even further. Meanwhile back in the clubhouse, Field Treasurers Robin and David busied themselves with crunching the numbers following the Open Day - occasionally demanding small quantities of green ink for their quill pens, which was encouraging!

Steve Lewis and I then delivered some individual briefings on Navigation Exercise preparation and ridge soaring, before the whole team convened for an impromptu Open Day 'washup' discussion to capture thoughts about what went well (i.e. most things) - and what we might consider doing differently or additionally next time around. We recognise that only a handful of us participated in this informal session, so any other members who have observations or ideas should send them in a 'one-on-one' e-mail to our Chairman, Steve Lewis. Steve will then collate them and share them with CFI Don Puttock and the rest of the Committee.

Further evidence of the valuable PR potential offered by our local media arrived today in the form of copies of The Plymouth Herald which carried a two-thirds page spread of our Open Day, including some excellent photos taken by their photographer, Penny Cross. Hopefully there will be coverage in the Tavistock Times tomorrow.

Dartmoor is well known as a destination for migrating species, and it's encouraging to note increasingly frequent sightings of Barry and Roger Green from Aston Down (often accompanied by Heather). Latest news from the 'green party' is that they've acquired that Polish Foka 5 glider advertised on Glider Pilot Net during the last few days and plan to operate it from Brentor. It certainly looked pretty and sounded like a heck of a bargain. Now we look forward to seeing this distinctive high performance sailplane from the sixties 'in the flesh'.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 8th May 2012

The forecast was for strong thermal activity from about 10am with some overdevelopment later. Winds NE veering SE later

Several members stayed over the previous night, so a fry up was the first order of business.

Darren bagged himself a soaring training flight for an hour. Cloudbases about 3000ft QFE and strong lift made that straight forward.

Martin Cropper flew a steady stream of trial lessons while David Jesty assisted me on the instructing load.

Thanks to Nigel we had a winch driver all day. A great day had by all


Saturday May 5th 2012 – Open Day

Take a friendly, traditional-type gliding club operating from one of the UK’s most scenic gliding sites - determined not only to grow, but to do so as part of its local community.

Unleash the energy of its CFI,  its Chairman and a few dozen members aged from 16 to around 80  - augmented by some enthusiastic ‘imported’ talent, including off-duty Air Cadets, model helicopter and hang glider addicts (complete with their ‘toys‘), and a jolly fellow prepared to give trial lessons in his gleaming motor glider. And persuade ‘Mrs CFI’ and her team of volunteers to keep the workers fuelled with tea, bangers and sarnies.

Lay on a dry airfield, and a perfect flying day, with wave to 3,000 ft in the morning and wall-to-wall thermals in the afternoon. And you’ve got yourself the basic ingredients of  a successful Open Day.

But then add to the mix trial gliding lessons for members of the public at rock bottom prices…  multiple low passes by a Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF)…the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Tavistock… and a couple of hundred or more guests of all ages who responded to the publicity. And you’ve got yourself a winner!
No, not the Farnborough Air Display, but Dartmoor Gliding Society's Open Day.
So often, pictures are more effective than words - and it was even better to have been there in person. It was a wonderful Open Day, and after nearly 80 launches achieved efficiently and safely with zero aggro, as well as some nine hours of smiling, explaining and fulfilling various roles to keep the event running, I think everyone who contributed can deservedly sit back over their cocoa this evening and reflect on a job well done by all who contributed to this memorable event.

The Mayor of Tavistock, Councillor Philip Sanders and the Mayoress, Mrs Hilary Sanders, are welcomed by one of our youngest members, 16-year-old Joe Morel and Chief Flying Instructor Don Puttock.
Finally, special thanks to the external organisations and individuals who came along and supported us, including:
- The pilots of the BBMF
- The ‘off duty’ cadets of 2174 (Plymouth) Air Cadet Squadron
- Chris Newby and Matthew Pressie from Newton Abbott Heliclub
- Mark Nichol and Alan Hughes of South Devon Paragliding and Hang Gliding Club
- Ian Mitchell and his superb Motorfalke motor glider
BBMF Spitfire and Hurricane lining up for a flypast.
Photo reconnaissance Spitfire with 5 bladed prop and Griffon engine.
The Hurricane looked ( and sounded ) beautiful.
It was only thanks to the efforts of Ian (a professional glider engineer based at Dunkeswell) and a retrieval team of our own club members led by Ged Nevisky and Chris Matten, that we got the K7/13 back to the club late last night following its annual inspection.

Our club’s status as an accredited Junior Gliding Centre was reinforced ‘in spades’ today by the high proportion of young helpers - some not yet in their teens - who contributed to today‘s success.

And finally congratulations to Will Wilson, who managed to achieve a Bronze C leg today amidst all the other distractions, and to Barry Green (one of our 'more senior' members) for having recently completed his Silver C distance (and badge) while flying out of Aston Down.

Here’s to the next time!

Bob Pirie

To view the Open Day in pictures please click one of these links

Open Day Slideshow 2012

Open Day Flypast 2012 Slideshow

Friday 4th May 2012

A small group of club members arrived at 1830 on Friday evening to welcome back BVB. Ged and Chris Matten collected the aircraft from Dunkeswell and arrived at the club at 1915.
The seat goes at the other end. A playful start to rigging BVB
Chris Kaminski, Nigel Williamson and Richard Williamson helped to rig BVB and all was going well until they tried to rig the tail plane. Upon attempting to connect the trim tab push rod, it was noticed that the inner bearing was missing. Thus commenced a spot of late-evening maintenance.

Chris, Richard and Nigel all worked extremely hard trying to find a suitable way of fixing the problem. First, it was suggested that we find a new bearing, but no such luck. Next, Chris thought that we could use a spare trim tab. The group went through the motions of removing the old tab and fitting a replacement. This was all going well until it was noticed that the angle of the edge of the tab was slightly different to the original and hence would not fit.
Working into the night to fix the problem
Finally, the group removed the old bearing and replaced it with the bearing from the spare trim tab.

The tail plane was then put back on to the aircraft, ready for inspection in the morning.

All in all a job well done to get BVB ready for the Open Day tomorrow.


Wednesday 2nd May 2012

While many parts of the country endured miserable weather, here at Brentor suntan cream, sun hats and tee shirts were the order of the day, as we basked in warm sunshine punctuated by occasional cumulus clouds.

It was thermic from the first launch right though until around 1900 hrs, apart from occasional lulls in the conditions as hints of wave tried to confused matters.

We had a good turnout of members and visitors, and 'well done' to the former, for getting the kit out early and keeping things humming along efficiently and safely. I think the only glitches were a brief pit stop to replace a punctured inner tube on the Zugvogel; part of the parachute end of a launch cable was devoured by the winch, and (as ever!) someone lost a blue strop. Thanks especially to the winch drivers, who delivered surprisingly respectable launches given the light crosswind (which was sometimes downwind!)

The field was in great condition, thanks to recent efforts by our specialist field rolling team, and also to most pilots who now seem to be more selective in where they land - and the way they tow their gliders back to the launch point.

As an interesting illustration of how wet it has been, I found a load of frog's spawn deposited on what was recently a waterlogged patch - and is now one of the dryer parts of the landing area. (By the way, if you make a similar find, please scoop it up and remove it to a nearby ditch or pond.

Flying-wise, there were six gliders operating and for prolonged periods, all of them were airborne simultaneously. Apart from a few pilots who fell victim to those occasional lulls in conditions, most enjoyed strong thermals up to a 4,000 ft cloudbase - and Ged Nevisky reckoned he got even higher than that over the Moor. I believe that at least one pilot thinks he may have achieved Silver C height, and it was good to hear that Phil Hardwick's recent distance and height claims have been confirmed.

Richard Williamson's view from the Zugvogel
Steve Lewis handled the trial lessons while Ged and I job-shared instructional duties, enabling both of us to skive off for a few hours of solo flying. With our rating renewal dates approaching, it was essential that we 'got some in' - and we certainly did.

Instructor Steve Lewis on approach in K13 G-DDMX
Looking forward to seeing you at our Open Day on Saturday.

Bob Pirie