Wednesday 27th June 20112

A non-flying day, with a sodden airfield and cloud down to the ground, but this didn't deter a large group of our most active members from turning up to tackle various chores, and mull over the implications of ongoing changes taking place at Committee level.

Today it was a case of 'our cup runneth over' with instructors for a change, what with Ged Nevisky, Steve Lewis and myself there, as well as David Jesty who had kindly turned out to help with what we thought was going to be a busy flying day. Then out of the murk appeared husband and wife team of instructors Gareth and Tracey Bird from Lasham - en route to Cornwall to celebrate Tracey's birthday. They broke their journey specifically to meet the DGS team, and to receive a site briefing before coming to help us over at least one weekend in August (dates to be confirmed).

In addition to the prospect of some extra help, our spirits were lifted further with the arrival of Andrew Stewart, a resident of Trelawney House Care Home, in Plymouth. Andrew, along with a small group of other residents with special needs and their carers, has visited us and enjoyed trial lessons on a couple of occasions in recent months. He really does enjoy his gliding and today - his 64th birthday - the objective was not so much fly as to present the club with a beautiful oil painting he has done of his first flight in a K-13, with Steve Lewis in the back seat. Happy birthday, Andrew! And thank you from all of the club members for your wonderful gift.

Steve Lewis accepts the gift of an oil painting on behalf of DGS from Andrew Stewart  
Workwise, Steve Raine mowed acres of sodden grass with the tractor, Phil Hardwick and Ged then serviced the tractor (totally unrelated to Steve's driving style!) and John Bolt assisted by Alan Carter to repair the holes that had to be cut into it to replace the K8 lower rudder hinge a task that was started at the RAF Harrowbeer event apparently. Meanwhile Club Secretary Sandra Buttery used the presence of such a large and affluent (?) group to sell Open Day raffle tickets.

Bob Pirie

22nd – 24th June 2012 –The Harrowbeer Publicity Event

Friday afternoon saw Alan and I cleaning, repairing, pumping up tires and generality titivating the publicity caravan in readiness for an early start on Saturday.  

Saturday was a little dull with quite strong winds, but the publicity team, being of stronger stuff duly made their way to the Harrowbeer event at Yelverton.  We parked near the dispersal where they had opened the air raid shelter to visitors and then the fun began.  It begged the question 'how many glider pilots does it take to put up a gazebo?'  answer - Mike Jardine, Martin Cropper, Chris Matten, Karon Matten, Alan Carter and of course, myself.  

How many glider pilots does it take to put up a gazebo?
Meanwhile, Martin Smith rigged his T31 beside us and we were pleased to see a brief visit by club members Steve Lewis, John Howe and Jeff Cragg.  The day went well with children going off with a smile on their little faces after sitting in the T31 and the parents being told to buy a draw ticket or they won't get their child back ... luckily they all bought tickets!!

The T31 was not lonely for long.
On Sunday we moved the caravan nearer to the other exhibits and after the gazebo was put up in double quick time, we had a slow but steady flow of visitors.  Earlier that morning Alan Carter had taken the rudder off the K8 and was already working on it and the only way I could get him to come to Harrowbeer was to let him bring the rudder with him!  Well that kept him and Colin Boyd amused in the caravan ALL day fixing it.  Meanwhile, outside, Martin Cropper, Rick Wiles, Dave Bourchier and myself was busy harassing  the public into taking leaflets and buying draw tickets. 

The Sunday pitch
All in all, the weekend was a very useful marketing and publicity tool.  We had one person wanting to book a group evening and we sold some 80 draw tickets for the open day, not to mention all the leaflets we gave out. A big thank you to all that helped.


Saturday 23rd June 2012

Low cloud, strong southerly wind – oh no not again I hear you say – or was that me? Tomorrow is the longest day; the summer solstice was 2 days ago; I am wearing 2 fleeces and shivering. Global warming indeed.

Ged introducing a visitor to the delights of gliding.
The faithful few were on the airfield with Ged and Seam flying 2 one day courses and an air ex visitor. Most flights were of the circuit variety but at one stage Sean found a small convergence which passed through the area at breakneck speed and gave him 20 minutes of soaring before it broke down into a shower. Scratch and Rick were taking in turns practicing flying the K13 from the back seat.

Father and son and Mum and partner.  Russell and Murry completing their one day course
Again father and son turn up for a trial lesson, little Rufos and Dad Ben.
Meanwhile, a largish crew were at RAF Harrowbeer ( Yelverton ) with the Advertising Caravan and Martin’s T31 to encourage members of the public to try gliding. And last but not least, special mention should be made about Anne and husband Malcolm who arrived today in their RV and spent most of the day cleaning the clubhouse and it's facilities and making bacon sandwiches for the troops.

Is Victor hoping for an auto tow launch?


Wednesday 20th June 2012

Once again, thanks to the efforts of those who got the show on the road early, we had an most enjoyable day's flying before the rain set in for real during the late afternoon.

Right from the start we had an easterly breeze - with the windsock lurching occasionally between north and south. There were early hints of wave, and as the day progressed, the wind strengthened to give wide areas of lift between the airfield and the moor, with rotor to keep us on our toes on our final approaches.

Lenticular to the north of Brentor.
With the whole club fleet as well as the Open Cirrus and ASW20F in action, we often had four or five gliders in the air at once, and for a short time all six. Today's high flyer was Martin Broadway (3,600 feet) in the ASW, with Alan Holland achieving 1 hour 41 minutes in the Zugvogel. I think the only pilot to leave the field disappointed was Richard Williamson who, after a successful check flight, was unable to grab a solo glider before he had to leave the field to prepare for an important career-related interview tomorrow with his employer, FlyBe. We hope all goes well, Richard.

Chris Fagg looks left...

..while Mike Payne (leader of the visiting team from HMS Vengeance) looks right. Mike is well on his way to becoming a solo pilot, following previous experience at Portsmouth Naval Gliding Club, Lee-on-Solent.
On the ground, there was - as so often happens - some last minute scrabbling around for loggers, while at the winch end, Robin Wilson and John Howe once again provided a splendid service, with launches up to around 1,500 feet. I know they're happy in their work, but it would be nice to have more volunteers come forward.

Leith Whittington looks relieved having coped with a 'lively' approach through the rotor and incoming rain. 
As we did last week, we left the fence up, topped by fluorescent markers to deter us all from 'cutting it fine' with our approaches.

A fair cop, guv!'  Newby Open Cirrus partner Mike Gadd - trying out his new investment for size - appears to be about to be 'cuffed' by Steve Raine (who is allegedly experienced in such techniques). 
Hardly a flying day goes by without one or more interesting visitors joining in the fun, and today we had a nautical theme with six members of the crew of the Trident nuclear submarine, HMS Vengeance, which is currently undergoing a refit at Devonport. (This will be the first of several groups, apparently.) Despite a certain amount of 'Navy Lark'-type banter from the mostly 'mature' club members present, this young and enthusiastic team really entered into the spirit of the occasion, had a good day's flying, and even helped the private owners to de-rig in the pouring rain, before heading back to base with smiles on their faces. Thanks, guys - and we hope we'll see you at Brentor again before you set sail (or whatever it is that you nuclear submariners call it).
Cap'n Steve (left) with our nuclear submariner visitors

'Steady as she goes!' Naval officer and advanced trainee glider pilot, Michael Payne, goes solo on the quad bike.

Bob Pirie

Saturday 16th June 2012

A typical summers day. Typical for this year anyway. Gale force winds, low cloud, drizzle and some longer periods of rain.

But it takes more than some inclement weather to deter the DGS members who turned up today eager to get on with some of the seemingly endless list of tasks required to operate and maintain the airfield and club.

Ged spent the whole day in the tractor cutting the grass. In fact he was missing for so long we almost sent out a search party for him. Sean and Rick were ensconced in the office, hunched over a laptop, auditing the club membership database.

Chris and David spent their day preparing the Ex Perranporth winch for it’s planned test. They had the engine running, checked out all the controls, and adjusted the drum selection mechanism. Interestingly, one of the discoveries made was that the engine had 4 more cylinders than the popular view. It does not have a V8 engine, it is a V12.

The weather forecast for Wednesday is looking a lot better.


Wednesday 13th June 2012

The wind was more south than the hoped-for east, and flying activity was extinguished when rain set in by mid-afternoon. But the fact that the team had made a real effort to get everything DI'd  and set up early - including changing ends - meant that we were all able to make the most of a disappointingly short day.

With wall-to-wall cloud cover and heavy showers everywhere but Brentor for once, the appearance of some lower level cumulus (1,600 base at best) inspired some valiant attempts at soaring, with a couple of us managing to claw flights approaching half an hour from the less-than-perfect conditions.

Training-wise, Steve Raine continued to nibble away at his post-solo flying exercises and the hard-working Dave Bourchier proved that re-soloing is well within his capability - when he decides to take the plunge.
Andrew Beaumont indulged in some gentle soaring practice with Ged, who also conducted some introductory flights with Cliff Allen (a sailing chum of Martin Broadway). Martin, Robin Wilson and John Howe all did some solo flying, but Phil Hardwick was thwarted by the rain.

Work-wise, Phil and Ged started the day by making vital adjustments to the mower, before Phil set out to mark out the areas needing mowing. Colin Boyd fulfilled his commitment to get some welding done on the lower rudder hinge of the Zugvogel which was then refitted by Alan Carter ready for inspection by John Bolt. Finally, Colin and Dave B. worked hard returning the temporarily-dormant ML winch to a fully serviceable condition.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 10th June 2012

It was a bit grey and drizzly outside so we decided to drive the car instead of riding the motorbike to Brentor today! Nevertheless it was a pleasant journey driving along the back lanes to avoid the A.30 holidaymakers.

We stopped at Okehampton to pick up some essentials for the Club's Tea Swindle and arrived at the Clubhouse to see that Roger Applebloom (who braved the weather on his motorbike) was taking full advantage of having one-to-one instruction on Air Navigation with the CFI.

Meanwhile, Colin Boyd was putting a very smart front door on the storeroom behind the Clubhouse and Dave Bourchier was working on the ML winch among other jobs about the place.

After stopping to put the world to right over lunch, Alan and I sorted out a few things with the publicity caravan which is going to be used at the RAF Harrowbeer Event on 23rd and 24th June. A few more volunteers are still needed for this event at which it is hoped to be a good opportunity to advertise our Open Day (25thAugust) and to sell some Trial Lessons.

And if you haven't yet volunteered to help at our Open Day in August, please get in touch.

Sandra Buttery

Saturday 9th June 2012

The RASP forecast was certainly more optimistic today. Too optimistic as it turned out. As the day wore on the cloud base got lower, the wind, westerly initially, strengthened and moved around to the south.

The 2 K13’s and the K8 were out and kept busy throughout the day. Don was instructor in charge today and members were taking advantage of the opportunity to fly with him. I managed a couple of flights with him doing instructor training exercises.

A little excitement came when we heard a loud band from the winch ( even though it was more than a kilometre away). Apparently a loop of cable had caught the guard and caused some superficial damage.
The Guslaunch showing it's battle scars. It was back in action in about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile Jeff Craggs was studying hard for his bronze exam in the clubhouse – not quite ready but not too far from ready either.


Open Day Update

The Open Day held on 5th May 2012 was a roaring success. Here are copies of what the press had to say
( click the image to enlarge)

Plymouth Evening Herald May 8th ( Top half of page )

Plymouth Evening Herald May 8th ( bottom of page )

Tavistock Times 17th May

Holsworthy Post 17th May

Wednesday 6th June 2012

First a torrential start to the day, followed by an efficient changing of ends by the small group of enthusiasts present after the first couple of launches.

Retrieving the glider from the bed of a trout stream? No, it's just the water draining off the airfield
Then it was a case of making the most of a situation in which Brentor was dogged with occasional low cloud, sporadic showers and a strengthening crosswind, while to the north and west conditions perked up quite well with sunshine and cumulus clouds. In fact, when I arrived home in North Cornwall, my wife reported a sunny and rain-free day's gardening.

Low cloudbase over Brentor Church
Flying-wise, we had two trial lessons scheduled, but one candidate phoned in requesting that his flight be re-scheduled while the other, Ben Bishop, joined in the fun on the ground for a couple of hours before opting to come back in a couple of weeks' time.

The usual suspects enjoying some banter while sheltering in the launch hut.
The only glider in use for both dual and solo flying was K7/13 G-DBVB, benefiting from its re-positioned and fully-functioning 'Launch Assistant' device ( thanks to David Jesty ). However, the variable cloudbase prevented most pilots from achieving full launch heights.

So hardly a memorable day, but I think everyone went home invigorated by the fresh air and, most importantly, current in terms of their flying.

Bob Pirie

Sunday 3rd June 2012

The gloom and drizzle was just as forecast. But despite the weather Martin Cropper did 3 hours solo (in tractor cutting grass). Also, various fettling jobs were attempted.

Highlight of the day was Martin trying to stop the tractor engine. No one knew how to turn it off and that engine-difficult as it is to start- just won't stop. Eventually he got it to stall but only after it staggered along for a while like a dying swan. So if you wonder why the tractor is where it is... now you know.

Looking forward to summer.

David Jesty

Saturday 2nd June 2012

A cloudy day with strengthening easterly wind and the forecast gave the arrival of rain later. The only real question was when.

A busy day on the instructing front. G-DBVB was non stop with a One Day Course and three Air Experience candidates. G-DDMX was kept in the air with check flights and other club training. All these flights were progressed a quickly a possible to get as much done before the rain started. As it turned out all the training objectives were met and the gliders were put away before the rain came.

The day was not really soarable but some wave / ridge effects enabled some extended flights. Best of the day was Will Wilson with a 16 minute heroic effort in the K8.

Malcolm takes spring cleaning VERY seriously, even the light fittings did not escape his ministrations
Darren Wills spent a great deal of time training on the winch today. Many thanks. Malcolm ( and wife ) spent a lot of time spring cleaning in the clubhouse as well as continuing his training towards re-establishing his solo status, and providing very welcome bacon sandwiches. Matthew and Rick  finished their day giving the Simulator a controller transplant and some software TLC.

A productive day.


Wednesday 30th May 2012

With a lowish cloudbase, the first part of the day was only good enough for practising launch failures. Fairly soon we had sunshine and cumulus - but precious little in the way of useable thermals. However, on the plus side, the westerly breeze settled straight down the runway, enabling the 'HHW Winchers' to provide us with launch heights of 1,300 feet plus. ('HHW Winchers???  No, not a costly out-sourced service, but simply the Howe/Hardwick/Wilson trio once again giving up a chunk of their day to enable their fellow members to get airborne.). Robin ( the W) finally got himself signed off as a fully fledged solo winch driver. 

There were enough club members around to keep Ged, me and both two-seaters busy with both pre- and post-solo training, as well as trial lessons, with our newly re-elected Chairman Steve Lewis also helping out.

Our earliest and most enthusiastic visitors of the day were a team of residents and Mencap helpers from
Trelawney House, in Plymouth. Their 'star turn' was .Andrew Stewart who, having had his first glider flight with us a few weeks ago, returned today for another bite of the cherry.
Andrew Stewart was 'on top of the world' after his second glider flight at Brentor.

The Trelawney House team wait for the weather to improve.
Later on Stewart Hulley from Plymouth, accompanied by his girlfriend Lyndsay Jeff - who remained firmly on the ground -, enjoyed his trial lesson.

John Bolt and Steve Lewis prepare Stewart Hulley for his trial lesson. With him is his girlfriend, Lyndsay Jeff.
And finally, Debbie Wester overcame her initial fear of flying and enjoyed a birthday prezzie trial lesson, which had just been sprung on her by her husband.

Debbie Wester's trial lesson in a glider came as a complete surprise - and she seemed equally surprised by the fact that she enjoyed the experience
As well as achieving really healthy launch heights, our day was made more enjoyable by moving the winch further into the farmer's field and the launch point forward beyond the wind sock. The latter enabled most pilots to land either before or level with the launch point, thus greatly reducing  the amount of time and energy wasted retrieving gliders. With this layout, the windsock is not visible to pilots who are about to launch, so information on current wind status needs to be requested from the ground signaller or wingtip holder. 

Having barely recovered from all the work she put into preparing for the EGM, club Secretary Sandra applied herself to redecorating the interior of the chequered caravan, while her partner Alan enjoyed another summer's day deep in the bowels of his trailer, sanding off layers of filler from the wings of the SF.

Bob Pirie