DGS News Sunday 28th April 2013

Anyone with a modicum of intelligence takes the precaution of obtaining a weather forecast before flinging themselves into the third dimension - in case of predicted inclemency - and let's face it most of the 'Sunday Soarers' do have a modicum  of intelligence - between them. 

So with the Met Office, XC Weather and local radio all warning of increasing wind from the SW and rain by lunchtime, they could have been forgiven for keeping the gliders in the hangar whilst waiting for the impending gale and horizontal rain. Except that the Sunday Soarers and made of sterner stuff who, a bit like 'Catchphrase' 'Say what they see' - and what they saw was a breeze from the South (90 degrees cross) and grey, but unthreatening cloud.

So with David Jesty leading the charge to the launch point, Dave Parker keen to consolidate his winch driver training and (the welcome return of) Nigel Williamson (to deliver said training) it was up into the skies we went, and 'sod the weather forecast'.

Thirteen year old Luke Botham managed his first flight of the year, Jacob Knight returned to re-solo after a break from last August - now aiming to complete his Bronze, and Jerry Wellington converted onto the Bocian ('it's different..!'; he said, but the fact that his landings took up a decreasing proportion of the airfield was clear evidence of progress made). 

Later in the afternoon, with rain and gale still failing to run up, Daniel Leek arrived with Dad for a trial lesson and, following a 6 minute flight in the Bocian, promptly decided to join!

Daniel Leek being presented with his membership
card by Martin Cropper after his trial lesson.   He then continued to start
'proper' flying training with David Jesty.
David Jesty had 'fun' with Darren Wills and Sandra Buttery attempting to out do each other by landing on the stub runway (which was directly into wind), following which Sandra was so pleased with herself she went on to drive the winch for the rest of the day!  Thanks, Sandra.

Oh, and flight of the day went to (it's difficult to type:) Roger Appleboom, who spotted a
scruffy cumulus over the launch point and just didn't seem to descend! 

So it all just went to prove the auld aviator's adage: 'Never cancel a day's
flying on the basis of the forecast..!' 

PS.  The rain did eventually arrive, but not until 8 in the evening.

Martin Cropper

Andrews Week at the Cross Country Course

The cross country training week at Nympsfield was a bit blown away by the strong winds all week but we did get to fly on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday Ged attempted a 300k up to Craven Arms and then down through the Welsh hills but sadly he landed out on a mountain some distance north of Talgarth.
Phil had the Astir and attempted the 200 task ( they didn't set a 100 task ) and again sadly landed out east of  Gloucester.

I had a 200 km  flight in the DG505,  Nympsfield – Shobdon – Sennybridge – Nympsfield, with Steve Eyles . We succeeded but very nearly landed out twice ,once at Great Malvern when we were below the hill at about 800ft and secondly somewhere west of Shobdon near where Ged landed.

I had a very long retrieve to get Ged and Steve kindly fetched Phil.

On Saturday I had the Astir and decided to do the club 100k which was  Nympsfield—Bishops Cleeve (northwest )  --- Shipton under Wichwood . The trouble was that there was a NOTAM for Prince Charles  restricting flights over 3000 QNH over Nympsfield from 2.15 to 3.30 so I waited until 1 ish before launching. Failed to get away as the cloud base up gone up significantly.

Bit depressed so had lunch when at about 2.45 Christof launched and got away so I thought if he could do it so could I .

Andrew's glider in his small field
Surprisingly I got away but couldn't soar above 2300 QFE until 3.30 so I hung around at about 2000 ft until 3.25 when I decided to go for it . Stonking climbs over Stroud and even better over Cheltenham to over 5000ft in blue , turned Bishops Cleeve and then in blue all the way to Shipton under Wichwood by which time it was past 5'oclock. I decided to land out so found a smallish field and landed !! The photos were taken from a kite by Hamish Fenton www.photo.hdf.me.uk. Total flight 67 km with silver height. Phil who hadn't flown kindly fetched me.

The Astir really looks small

DGS News Wednesday 24th April 2013

The forecast for today suggested poor weather early brightening to sunny spells in the afternoon.

There was a small but beautifully formed group of Wednesday regulars along with Instructor David Jesty ready to fly the moment that the conditions improved but we were thwarted by the weather which remained foggy the whole day. Instead we enjoyed the tales from Andrew and Phil about their Cross Country Course and their landouts and subsequent retrieves. We will have blog reports on these soon.

Can you see the windsock.? Neither could we. This was as good as the weather got.
 Putting us to shame were Colin and Sandra who spent their day painting the outside of the glider workshop and the engineering store. This has made and amazing difference and really tidies up the look of the area behind the hangar. Well done.

Colin looks pretty handy with a roller. 

Club Secretary Sandra and paint brush


DGS News Sunday 21st April 2013

"Well, the rooks are nesting higher", stated Martin Broadway wryly:  clear evidence that we are going to have a good summer this year.  And he should know, being a bit of a migratory being himself who, having spent the winter months sailing around the Caribbean had obviously been made aware of the news about the rooks, and decided that now was the time to return to Brentor for a check flight.  Which, based on yesterday's inspiring conditions, would have been a pretty safe bet, but, as Martin surveyed the lines of grey clouds from the protection of his woolly hat and thick, seaman's sweater, demonstrated that Dartmoor is not a safe place to bet on at any time of year. 

And so it was, yet again, for the Sunday Soarers, uncharacteristically to be dealt the dud day of the weekend.  Not that a bit a low cloud and (the odd spot of) rain would put us off.  So, with Leith Whittington knocking on the door of Don's caravan at 7.00am and Roger Appleboom and Dave Parker determined to 'get the kit out' (not in a Royal Marines manner) as early as possible, there was nothing for it but to try and get as many flights in as the forecast approaching 'weather front' would allow.

Twelve year old Trial Lesson student Edward Hughes is ready to go
in K-13 DMX.
One Day Course student Oscar Lazaga, having travelled from Surrey to fly with us, proved game for the course, his final launch of six merging with the cloud at 900ft, whilst Leith and Dave got in some very interesting launch failure practice (well it looked that way from the ground) and Roger Appleboom shook the rain from the wings of the K-8 a couple of times.

Sadly, 12 year old Trial Lesson student Edward Hughes (pictured) had to put up with a first launch low cable break followed by a very brief introductory flight before the rain really came in and put paid to practical aviation.

That also prevented Fixed Price to Solo member Jerry Wellington from flying and Martin Broadway from getting his check flight in.   Still, without them, the others wouldn't have been able to fly (thanks guys); and their day will come, possibly next weekend (when Sunday is confidently predicted to be, well, Caribbeanesque, at least at this range..!)

Martin Cropper

DGS News Saturday 20th April 2013

With a good looking forecast, this was always going to be a busy day. The gliders were out early in the sunny start to the day. Winds remained light and variable, mostly from the south. Conditions were very thermic until the conditions overdeveloped. A passing convergence provided the entertainment later in the day.

K7M G-DBVB rigging was finished and after a successful test flight in the very thermic morning, it was put to work. We welcomed a group of scouts from the Brentor and Mary Tavy group who were to fly today to complete the practical phase of their Aviation Badges. And boy did they fly. They all had several flights each, most had soaring flights and one was luck enough to experience the thrill of soaring well above the cloudbase in a convergence. When not flying they were a great help in and around the launchpoint.

Brentor and Mary Tavy Scouts on Brentor Airfield. The adults in background (from left) are Rick Wiles (Gliding Club Winchmaster), Steve Lewis (Gliding Instructor), Tracy Williams (Assistant Scout Leader) and Simon Grylls (Scout Leader). 
Today saw the return to the club of John Blaskett after an enforced lay off who is keen to re-establish his solo status. Welcome back John. Mid day saw Ged appear with the Open Cirrus after a week at Nympsfield on a Cross Country Course. Apparently he landed out on Friday half way around a 300 km flight. Hopefully we will have a report from him soon.

Best flight of the day by far was Bob Pirie flying his ASW20F. He flew for 2 hours 15 minutes and only returned to the airfield because he was suffering in the cold conditions underneath the increasing cloud cover. Perhaps a bit early to be flying in a tee shirt Bob.

Bob warming up after a good flight in his ASW20F
I think a word of thanks is due to the “unsung heroes" around the airfield. Today I think special thanks is owed to Mike Gadd and Steve Raines who did the winching between them.

A great day


DGS News Wednesday 17th April 2013

For the second Wednesday in succession the return of lousy weather got the better of Brentor and also, I gather, of Nympsfield where Andrew, Phil and Ged's cross country course had been scrubbed.

Huddled around the woodburner we were few in number, as my syndicate partner Martin Broadway regaled us with tales of a winter spent sailing the warm seas off Honduras. But back in the 'real world' and the character-building environment of Brentor, he soon found himself ensconced in the simulator and de-rusting his soaring skills after an absence of several months.

Two fuselages - those of the Jardine/Raine Astir and our own ASW20F - emerged from their boxes briefly as minor electrical problems were addressed. Meanwhile on a more ambitious technical scale, Alan Carter was making significant inroads with restoring his  'SF'  wings, and - in the opposite corner of the hangar - Colin Boyd's efforts to create a second serviceable quad bike (brakes and all!) were rewarded as its engine burst into life.

During the early afternoon, Alan Holland arrived intent on reducing the draughts and low temperatures recently endured by Zugvogel pilots.

Bob Pirie

Early in the evening Colin Boyd and Steve Lewis hosted an evening event for the local Explorer Scouts group who are coming to the airfield on Saturday to fly and work towards their Air Activities badge ( and have a lot of fun in the process ).


DGS News Sunday 14th April 2013

With yesterday’s low pressure/depression/cyclone still whipping through the west-country (causing some interesting looking undulatus/wave clouds over Dartmoor 5 miles S of site in the early morning) and 40kt winds predicted astern of the cold front due to pass through at 1200, this was a day best devoted to … yes... weather. 

Which was what prospective Bronze C exam sitter Dave Parker volunteered for/asked for/got from one of Don’s expert briefings: the ones that subliminally draw you in (anti-clockwise), and leave you with a thorough appreciation of  Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis's contribution to the understanding of weather, having passed the föhn, lapse rates, pressure, moisture and volume before finally reaching the dew point. And following which Dave has no excuse for not passing that part of his Bronze exam next week.

More immediately obvious were a. Sandra’s efforts in the Gent’s toilet (which involved the liberal use of brush and paint – as many cobwebs have protested…) and b. Colin and Roger’s teamwork with the spare part kit specially obtained for the front brake of the ‘new’ Quad bike (which moves/cycles with precision and ease – to no effect at the brake end whatsoever…!)  

‘Almost’ as interesting was Don’s brief about the wave/rotor/sink to be caused by EASA changes in air law, training regulation and club organisation, due to take effect in 2015 – and what side of that particular system do we want to be on?

Martin Cropper

DGS News Saturday 13th April 2013

What a difference from last week. Gone is the balmy thermic conditions to be replaced by wind, rain and fog. Delightful.

Martin Smith turned up to complete the C of A on K7M G-DBVB. It is  ready for fleet use once again once a test flight is completed. Good news.

Don in lecture mode.
CFI Don Puttock was keen to make the most of the day and got into lecture mode. Subjects covered were the new licencing systems which will affect all pilots by 2015, Altimetry, LIft and Drag  and  Approach Control. Ground schooling is a necessary part of learning to fly and is a great use of time when it is unflyable.

An informative day


DGS News Wednesday 10 April 2013

Today was characterised by (a) a distracted group of our 'seasoned' pilots (more intent on getting BVB rigged and/or preparing their own gliders for a cross country course at Nympsfield next week), (b) an unexpected influx of youngsters eager to get into the air, and (c) an accurate weather forecast, promising and delivering rain by late morning.

How many glider pilots dpes it take to rig a K7M?( answers on a postcard please )
Once we'd got the wings onto BVB, with vital 'insider assistance' from Ged Nevisky with his head and shoulders buried in the fuselage, it was off to the winch for John Howe and Mike Gadd, while the rest of us either pursued other chores, or headed out to the launch point to help Steve Lewis get two of our youngest would-be glider pilots airborne.

Ged inside the K7m fuselage to fit the rear drag pins to the wings
In the short weather window available today, the club really lived up to its credentials as a Junior Gliding Centre, with my my grandson Freddie Fricker (11) and new junior member Dominic Emerson (15) each getting a couple of flights in before the rain rolled in and we called it a day. Then, just as we were preparing to put the kit away, another potential junior member, Theo Hall (16), who lives locally, rolled up with his mother and little sister. Sadly, Theo was disappointed on this occasion due to the weather, but his sister had a big smile on her face as she tackled a colouring book in the clubhouse, kindly provided by our club secretary, Sandra Buttery.Meanwhile Dominic was hard at it on the simulator, benefiting from the wisdom of Mike Gadd and Colin Boyd.

Dominic and instructor Steve in the glider being supervised by Freddie.

Vice Chairman Colin Boyd instructs Dominic on the working of the cable release while Freddie and Steve look on.
Thanks to all of you who turned out today, helping to rig BVB and to look after our young visitors, and good luck to Ged, Andrew Beaumont and Phil Hardwick as they prepare to embark on their cross country soaring course.

Bob Pirie

DGS News Sunday 7th April 2013

A Day at the Races.  No, not a reference to the Marx Brothers, or Queen album, but to the overhead view that was had by David Jesty, Roger Appleboom and Martin Cropper today. 

Good view of the Point To Point racecourse just south of the airfield
Once again one of the Saturday pundits proved to be the harbinger of doom, in this case Steve Lewis, whose parting shot at last night’s AGM was “I hope the wind doesn’t put you out of limits…”  Which indeed it did.

As photo shows the windsock was bar taut.  Not a day for the faint hearted.  And so it fell to David Jesty to cancel the One Day Course and 4 x Trial Lesson bookings, to return another day, whilst the faithful few who remained decided to remain current in strong wind conditions. 

The view from the winch showing the strong south easterly cross wind conditions
 Conditions proved ‘interesting’ in that, whilst a wind in the south east had the possibility of producing wave, today it caused the ridge to the south-east of the site to generate lift, not just for a fleeting beat, but sufficient for Roger Appleboom to be able to work for 13 minutes.  That set a target for Martin Cropper to beat.  Strangely enough, with Roger keeping the log, Martin’s time came in at one minute less, or is it fewer?

Nonetheless, the south-easterly wind gave both pilots the opportunity to undertake some valuable marketing for the club; namely by displaying DMX up and down the racecourse at Cherrybrook in full view of the thousands of spectators at today’s point-to-point (but not below 500ft, of course!). 

The final turn for the horses.
As the photo of the racecourse shows, the horses ‘final turn’ and start/finish line was just above the cockpit edge, whilst the line of energy that Roger exploited was from bottom right to top left of the photo, just left (to windward) of the Cherrybrook river valley. 

Thanks to Heather for driving retrieve (and general morale - upward), and Colin Boyd for keeping wings on ground/at a suitable angle during various stages of the launch/recovery process.   

Martin Cropper

Saturday 6th April 2013–DGS Annual Awards

After the AGM, the annual award presentations were made.

Phil Hardwick received the North Hill Trophy from Sandra for his qualifying cross country  flight
Phil received the Spitfire Trophy awarded for the most improved pilot in recognition  of his Silver C
Alan Carter received the Wooden Spoon for covering everything in the hangar with dust while sanding his SF27 wings.  His pullover shows the remnants of the flour bomb used as part of the presentation.
Phil looks particularly pleased with himself - Well done mate.


DGS News Saturday 6th April 2013

The forecast  looked really good. Light easterly winds. Little or no cloud cover. The soaring forecast predicted good conditions and the light winds would mean no wave influence. And this is exactly what we got.

From very early the day looked promising. And didn't it deliver
Flying start was a little delayed as everyone seemed to want to rig their own gliders today and this caused a bit of a traffic jam in the rigging area. Apart from the club aircraft we ended up with an ASW20, Jantar 1, 2* K6, K8 and an Astir. I tried to get a photo of the grid but soaring was so good that most aircraft were all on the ground together.

Rigging gridlock
 And the flying. Brilliant. We started with strong thermals marked by shallow cumulus clouds with bases at 3500 feet QFE ( height above the airfield ). This gave way to blue conditions which seem to make the thermals even stronger to a little over 4000 feet QFE. I recorded several thermal climbs with average climb rates close to 5 knots ( 500 feet per minute ). There was also a large fire on Dartmoor above the ranges at Willsworthy. Climbing in this was not as exciting as I thought it would be. The lift, although strong was very rough and the smoke make me cough. We live and learn. Later in the day, a Sea Breeze Front moved close to the airfield which provided even more soaring opportunities.

Most pilots had a good day with lots of soaring flights. New member Jerry made good use of Ged’s availability to further his training. Longest flight was Bob in the ASW20 which made a reappearance after a winter in it’s trailer and after scratching away from a very low launch went on to soar for 2 hours 38 minutes

Great Buffet
After flying, the club members assembled in the clubhouse for a very well attended AGM. After a buffet prepared with great style and culinary skill by Club Secretary Sandra. The Committee presented a summary of the year gone, details of current plans and some ideas for the future. Lively discussion was the order of the day. The Committee remained unchanged.

Well attended AGM
A brilliant day.


DGS News Wednesday 3rd April 2013

Stonking lift in the form of (mostly blue) thermals and wave, lots of rotor and a lumpy crosswind were the order of the day; the sort of conditions relished by DGS-trained pilots when current and on top of their game.

And there were plenty around to join in the fun. But where were the rest of you? And where were the ab initio students who, had they been there, could have had almost unlimited access to two two-seaters and three instructors? (I stress 'almost', because in the absence of students and solo pilots seeking to regain currency Ged Nevisky, Martin Cropper and I had ourselves a ball joining in the fun with the rest of the gang.

Inspector Martin Smith giving the tailplane of the Bocian some close scrutiny after a query was raised at the DI
(insert your own thought bubble)
The Man in Black is… Trevor Taylor ( on the glider nose ) – caught being uncharacteristically helpful in getting the gliders out in the morning.

 Conditions were no means easy - especially launching and on final approach - and with eight gliders at the launch point every member of our small team was kept busy helping one another, or scanning the heavens to identify which 'white dot' was the highest. In the final analysis, the 'white dot of the day' award went to the K8 flown by Chairman Martin, who climbed well above 7,000 feet during a flight of two hours or so. Several of us achieved flights somewhat shorter - and lower - but respectable nonetheless. And some took the opportunity to venture slightly further afield than normal.

Brentor Airfield from 3,000ft.

K-8 DWG’s altimeter seems to be working correctly at 7,000ft (time – about 1145 – before lunch!)
Unfortunately not all pilots managed to contact, let alone exploit, the fantastic lift, but that was more a case of the luck of the draw than any lack of competence or enthusiasm.

The main thing is, we all had a safe and fun day's flying in exciting and challenging conditions.  (But, on reflection, enduring an hour or two at 4,500 feet crammed into the sub-zero luxury and sound effects of the Zugvogel's cockpit must be almost as masochistic as reclining in a bathtub full of cold baked beans in aid of 'Comic Relief').

As ever, our combined enjoyment depends so much on mutual efforts to help each other get airborne, and in terms of today's flying operations, I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to Dave Rippon who, despite a severe cold, drove the winch before retreating homeward to attend to his Field Treasurer duties; also Heather (for cable retrieving) and Barry who, having Di’d three club gliders and had a shortish flight in the Zug, spent most of the day driving the winch.

Bob Pirie

Pilot Trevor Taylor reported reaching 7600 feet above the airfield in the Jantar 1, but if the K8 was somewhere close then my money for Ace of Base is with the K8 Pilot Martin Cropper. The K8 has half the glide angle of the Jantar and probably twice the sink rate.