Sunday 29th July 2012

Heavy showers associated with a trough prevented an early start. But once that had cleared there were really excellent soaring conditions with nice streets forming.

The trial lesson queue had backed-up a bit due to the earlier showers so Martin Cropper and I concentrated first on flying them all. They all left with big smiles which is how it should be. 

The only ab-initio member present was Val who joined the club a few weeks ago. I did a few flights with him giving him plenty of stick time to practice his turn coordination.

But where were all the budding cross-country pilots? One could have probably flown 50km upwind without even turning. Another wonderful day not utilised!

Thanks to all who helped.

David Jesty

Saturday 28th July 2012 - The Bocian Expedition

Sandwiches – check, tea – check, cheque book – check, trailer – check, ….and we're off on a 600 mile round trip to Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club. Martin Smith generously offered to drive with Alan Carter and Sandra Buttery going along to help. With a 6.30 am start for the driver it was a very long day, especially as he did not return home till 10.45 pm

On arrival at the airfield, the Bocian waited patiently for us outside the hangar while Martin and Alan gave her a good check over. After some serious negotiation, the deal was done and we set about de-rigging and loading our precious cargo, but it was such a beautiful day as I looked across at the well manicured, flat runway in the distance with a tug aircraft being kept busy and a Puchacz with my name on it.

SZD Bocian waiting for inspection
The temptation was too great and my first ever aerotow was calling me. Within minutes we were gracefully launched to 2,000 feet over the exceptionally flat countryside – a wonderful experience. 23 minutes later and back on the ground, I rushed over to help with the Bocian, but it was too late – sorry boys!

The Bocian seems to fit on the K13 trailer
Martin delivered the glider to Brentor Sunday morning and put it in the hangar, still on the trailer for now.


The Bocian will give DGS the added capability of moving the Club forward, allowing one of the two seater gliders to be taken offline for extended periods without affecting training or trial lessons. With all three gliders in operation, it can act as another solo machine and be used for Friends and Family without interfering with existing two seater operations. The Bocian still has to be insured and the ownership changed with the CAA during the coming week.

We are looking to rig the Bocian next Saturday (4th August), wind and tide permitting, It will need a check flight and acceptance into the fleet. Instructors will need to undertake difference training etc., before it is fully integrated into DGS operation.

As part of the purchase, we also negotiated two Irving parachutes. These are only 3 years old and have only been worn a few times.

DGS Committee

Saturday 28th July 2012

Another change in the weather today. The air was a little cooler and the somewhat lower pressure allowed for a nicely unstable day. Ideal for thermals ( and showers but they stayed away ).

Ged was the instructor today and he selflessly agreed to fly my air ex flights for me so that I could work with John to get the CofA and ARC renewal done on my Jantar which has finally had it’s new canopy fitted. Thanks Ged and John.

The Green Party with the Foka 5 
News of the day was the appearance on the father and son, Barry and Roger Green with their “new” Foka 5 in it’s purpose built trailer . This glider will be parked at Brentor to give them a base here. The also have an ASW20L based at Aston Down. Instructor Ged managed to find a gap in his day to have a flight in the Foka to add a new type to his tally.

Never one to miss a chance, Ged prepares to add the Foka 5 to his logbook.
It was nice to see Bob and Martin out in their ASW20F. Best flight of the day was 1 hour 19 minutes by Junior Matthew Wiles in the SF27.

Matthew trying to look modest. 


Wednesday 25th July 2012

A scorching day with very little wind - and the heat and lack of thermal activity were probably the reason why several of our regulars found excuses to be elsewhere.

The day's low point came right at the start, when BVB was found to have suffered a failure of its main wheel bearing, which resulted in the separation of the two halves of the heel hub. So for most of the day the glider sat forlornly where it had come to rest on the stub runway, while a replacement wheel and tyre were sourced from stores and fitted. It says a lot for the 'can do' spirit that exists among our members that by late afternoon the glider was back on-line. A vote of thanks to David Bourchier, Ged Nevisky and Colin Boyd for getting the job done - and especially to John Bolt for supervising and signing off the work. (John had a busy day, because as well as creating and fitting a new tail skid for the Zugvogel, he also fulfilled a commitment to carry out Bob Sansom's K8 ARC inspection.

With BVB temporarily our of action, Ged Nevisky and I - especially Ged -  kept DMX busy with a full programme of training flights and trial lessons. Today's visitors were Colin Jarvis from Exeter (accompanied by his wife Jane) on a one-day course; also Joan Harmsworth, who took a trail lesson. We also welcomed Martin Broadway's wife Kay and her friend Annie Norton, who took the opportunity to compare gliding with their usual sport of sailing. 

It was great to have our trial lesson coordinator, Mike Keller, airborne again after a bit of a lay-off from flying, while 'fixed price to solo' member David Horne made good progress with his approaches and landings, and 're-treading' glider pilot Malcolm Roberts (see last Saturday's blog) completed another successful re-solo.

Steve Raine continued to whittle away at his post-solo flying exercises, before donning the mantle of a trainee winch driver. Our thanks to John Howe and David Rippon for sharing winch driving duties between flights in the K8.

Private owner-wise, we had three gliders airborne: Chris Kaminski's Pirat, Colin Boyd and Darren Wills in their K6, and Martin B. and yours truly in our ASW 20F.

Finally, we were pleased to note the return to the field of Steve Lewis's and Trevor Taylor's Jantar after several months away while its cockpit canopy was being mended. 

Bob Pirie

Saturday 21st July 2012

Summer arrived today. The only signs to remind us of our wet spell was a somewhat soggy runway.

The club got off to a slow(ish) start because most of the attending members decided to rig their own aircraft. Meanwhile a few members soldiered on and got the club flying underway with Air Experience Instructor Mike Sloggett entertaining the 1st Highweek Scouts, a task which he stuck to all day. The scouts had a great time – thanks Mike.

Some of the scout group watching the action.
So what of the soaring day. Well, it remained soarable from around 11am until well past 7pm; an 8 hour soaring day. Do you need your 5 hours? Where were you? It was sometimes a little tricky to get away due to the systems recycling but once aloft there were cloud streets as far as you could see, the bases of which rose rapidly through the day to about 3000 feet above the airfield. The day ended with 2 convergences positioned close by.

So, what did the club members achieve? I had the longest flight in a club aircraft, 1hour 44 minutes in the Zugvogel. Ged had the longest flight of the day, 3 hours ( and  1 minute ) in his Open Cirrus. While both of us were building solo hours needed for our instructor ratings, Ged was a bit more adventurous and had a go at a cross country flight to try out his new moving map system. His task was Brentor – Holsworthy – Crediton – Brentor for 100 km. Initially everything went to plan, but, 5 kms short of Holsworthy, disaster, his computer froze and needed to be reset. He was unable to reset the task in the air and the computer would not allow him to start the task in the middle so he returned to Brentor to start again. The computer went well this time but by the time he approached Holsworthy the sea air had cut it off. He eventually returned to Brentor for a “comfort break”, air braking all the way down from 3200 feet.

Will looks pleased with himself and the Zugvogel. 
Meanwhile, Will Wilson converted to the Zugvogel and landed with the customary smile which seems to come from flying this aircraft. Malcolm Roberts re-soloed some 38 years after he last flew solo. Well done.

Malcolm looks remarkably calm waiting for his first solo flight for 38 years 
A great day


Wednesday 18th July 2012

The bad weather continues …….

David Boucher fitted the replacement feed wheel to the Guslaunch winch so it is ready for the fantastic weather being forecast for the weekend.

The main point of interest today is the progress being made on the ridge soaring project. After last weeks visit to Cox Tor, Ged has been out walking the fields in the area to confirm the landout possibilities. Don and Ged visited an area a little further north to check our landing opportunities for the next set of ridges as a prelude to trying the soaring out on these. The object of this project is to safely open up the ridge soaring possibilities in the local area.


Sunday 15th July 2012

Unfortunately there was no-one with a camera to capture evidence of the only day without rain for weeks. 

A dull start saw the usual diehards getting the kit out ready for the arrival at 1000 of Scouts from Denbury for a taster day.  The widely reported rash of cable breaks with the ML winch continued until Scratch and Steve Raine cut in a significant length of new cable – which stemmed rapidly rising impatience and enabled over 40 launches to be achieved over the day. 

The Scouts (6 male, 2 female) didn’t seem perturbed, however, and by lunchtime the day was looking pretty promising.  Indeed appropriately for the middle of July it made like the Tour de France and … cycled (ho, ho).  So for some it was smooth climbs to 3,500ft, with 4 to 6 registering on the variometer giving views to Torbay and beyond, whilst for others it was the equivalent down for 4 minutes under 8/8 all the way round a brief circuit. 

As the Scouts departed with ‘ear to ear’ grins, solo pilots Alan Carter, Sandra, Martin Broadway, Jeff Cragg, Shrek, Alan Holland and Scratch were able to get in some much needed solo time and Roger Applebloom converted onto the Zugvogel before, as encroaching cirrus marked the advance of the next (inevitable) warm front,  it was time to reflect on a day which, once upon a time, would have been normal for an English summer. 

Still, with the opening of the Olympics the weather’s all about to change for the better, isn’t it?  Special thanks go to Scratch and Alan Carter for their grit, determination and patience to deliver a launch service in spite of the ‘bag o’ nails’ they were passed.  Do not adjust your sets – the situation is confidently predicted to improve.

Martin Cropper

Saturday 14th July 2012

After all the recent rain the airfield looks like a lake in places. But the cloudbase was rising and there was some gaps appearing in the overcast so gliders out and on with the fun.

The flying today really centred around training and practice. There were a few cable breaks following a mechanical failure but these just added another aspect to the training. Will Wilson introduced some of the close members of his family to gliding.

The Wilson family and K13.
Good news today about our local Danger Area D011. After the lobbying of the military, the BGA Airspace Committee and the CAA ( or should that be NATS? ) by CFI Don, the danger area will be split into three parts, two of which will only be activated by NOTAM when required instead of the whole area being listed as active Monday to Friday. Well done Don.


Wednesday 11th July 2012

The morning weather looked hopeless. It was windy with frequent showers and drizzle.

Don hosted a discussion about wave and wave flying. After lunch the weather had cleared a little. So, gliders out and on with the show.

The first to fly was Charlie Davies, an air experience visitor who had been patiently waiting while all the kit was readied.

The wind was 12 - 15 knots westerly and this prompted Ged and Don to jump into the K13 to fly 2 or 3 miles across the valley to Cox Tor for a spot of ridge soaring. From the launchpoint we followed their progress with interest.

Don and Ged waiting for epicness
On arrival they were seen to climb and initially everything looked good. A little later they were spotted flying below the top of the hill and then heading south. What had actually happened was that after the initial climb the wind had shifted a little towards the south effectively stopping them climbing. After a struggle to soar the hill they selected a good field for the inevitable land out. However, fortune favours the brave and while approaching the field a thermal presented itself and, 15 minutes of sweaty palms later, they found themselves at cloudbase for an easy glide back to the airfield. Their flight time was a little over an hour; amazing.

Soaring Cox Tor

Several club members managed short soaring flights in the windy conditions and everyone had fun. We made the best of the day.


Saturday 7th July 2012

Saturday was wet and drizzly - no change there then! 

Time was not wasted and the winch team soon go to work on the Perranporth winch. By the time I got up to the Airfield, Rick was already testing the winch by launching the gold Discovery.  It was soon realised wings were needed! Cue DMX.
Scratch adjusts the brakes while Alan looks on.
With a mild easterly wind the winch was taken down the far end ready for launch.  As the V12 engine purred into action, DMX was gently airborne at 50kts. reaching about a thousand feet.  The wire was smoothly retrieved and there were smiles all round, especially from Roger Appleboom who had a front seat ride with Don.
The Ex- Perranporth winch in action
The second launch proved just as good as the first and as more drizzle threatened we decided to finish on a good note and put the little winch indoors for the night.


Wednesday 4th July 2012

The run of poor weather continues.

The Wednesday group did not let this put them off and several members turned up to volunteer their labour.

Dave Boucher assisted John Bolt in completing the K8 C of A / ARC renewal help by various members along the way. The most sustained effort today was definitely Andrew Beaumont and Steve Raine who took turns to drive the tractor/mower the whole day and, in doing so, managed to cut all the grass on the airfield.

Steve looks satisfied with his efforts ( camera shy Andrew is hiding away.)

Sunday 1st July 2012

At last the weather improved- albeit briefly.

Aircraft were out and prepared early to make the most of a half-decent day's forecast. Check flights and training flights filled most of the day. It was good to be able to welcome Val (unpronounceable-surname) who is hoping to learn to fly with us. Martin Cropper kindly gave him the correct treatment with a 40 minute flight for his trial lesson. He stayed all day to help out and finished with a couple more flights with Martin.

The weather started off nicely with a brisk headwind and good soarable conditions. However, the day over-developed, occasionally recycling but the wind unexpectedly backed to a 90 degree cross-wind making approaches a little more challenging later in the day. Even so, it was very nice to actually go flying.


Saturday 30th June 2012

June finished in much the same mode as the rest of the month, high winds, low cloud, showers and a saturated airfield – delightful.

DGS members are a resilient lot and several members were around the club doing various good works – thanks one and all.

We had a visitor who will be of interest the more long standing members. Ken Basterfield popped in to see us as he was passing. Ken was an active member some years ago until he left to go to Talgarth with his Open Cirrus where he has since become an instructor and tug pilot. Ken now lives in East Devon.

Hopefully the weather will get better soon.