DGS News – Sunday 28th July 2013

With new K-7M looking great in the hangar (and even better in the photo on yesterday's blog) there was - yet again - a discreet tussle between discretion (weather) and valour (flying) in which (finally) discretion won out.  For even though the wind did not reach the 170 at 30 knots (!) predicted on the Met Office chart, it was still at right angles to the runway and far too strong for our trainees to get any training value out of the day.   So new acquisition G-DDAK stayed securely in the hangar (phew!)  Which was not to say that Don didn't cast an eye wistfully upwards on occasion, but rapidly lowering cloud and the odd fierce hail shower confirmed the wisdom of his original decision. 

That didn't stop One Day Course student Martin from turning up at the clubhouse to see what it was all about - where not before long he was shoehorned into the simulator and, given the benefit of some one-on-one tuition by Colin Boyd, was soon landing back on the airfield (well, minus a wing or two - who put that cow there??)

After a 'quick 90 min overview' on the Principles of Flight provided by Don's CD, new member Mike Vosper also felt the need to escape to the simulator.  'Trouble was, on completion, he decided to exit the glider to the left, just as you would from the real thing, only to collide with the clubhouse wall!  

Looks like they turned the simulator into a side by side cockpit

So after those who haven't yet taken their Bronze C exam managed to parry Don's exhortations into mid-afternoon, and as another sharp downpour sent its own message, we decided that it was best to leave G-DDAK snuggled up nose-to-nose with G-DDMX, to wait for the Wednesday crew.

Martin Cropper

DGS News – Saturday 27th July 2013

The forecast today was somewhat confused. Would we get the severe deluge that was forecast or would it miss us and stay on the eastern side of Dartmoor? Only one way to find out, so we went gliding.

G-DDAK flies. Instructors Don and Ged take it for it's test flight
The big news today was the arrival into fleet use of the “new” ( to us anyway ) K7M G-DDAK looking splendid in light blue and white. After a successful flight test by Don and Ged, it was put into club use and was kept busy all day. I think we owe our thanks to all the members that have worked so hard to get this glider ready for use.

Waiting to fly Robert and Lisa with their daughter
We welcomed lots of visitors today with a family group comprising Bill. Robert and John Fisher and Lisa Hale, and a little later on Colin James. Given that Colin’s nickname is “Jessie” there are no prizes for guessing that he is in the Royal Navy based in Plymouth.  All enjoyed their flights.

Bill Fisher being helped with his straps by field treasurer Robin Wilson

Colin "Jessie" James
The club members were also busy with several making use of the increased 2 seater availability to refresh their friends and family ratings. Mike Gadd spent some time flying with Don and finished the day with a new “Friends and Family” rating. Well done Mike.

Mike Gadd and Rick Wiles in "Friends and Family" mode while trying out DAK
And the flying? It was a lovely soft day. Gentle winds, lots of pre-frontal cloud formations. There was plenty of lift about for pilots with sensitive hands; never enough to climb in but enough to maintain height. Best flight of the day was John Bolt in the Zugvogel with 26 minutes closely followed with 19 minutes by yours truly while flying with Colin James in the K13.

And the weather? There was a light shower just at the end of the day.

A nice day with friends old and new.


DGS News – Wednesday 24th July 2013

Today started on a 'lonely' note, with first CFI Don and then me on the field before nine, soon to be joined by one day course candidate Alex Whittlesea and temporary member Adrian pike  But where was everyone else? While Don briefed, I juggled with hangar doors, Land Rovers, Quad bikes and windsocks, until relief arrived in the form of a steady stream of members enabling us to get the show on the road.

Visitor Leslie Raynes about to commit aviation.
Flying-wise, nothing spectacular to report, with our capability still restricted by the lack of a second two seater. But the real problem was the late start, with the first launch not happening until 10.45, by which time Don's cheerful banter and grin were deteriorating into mumbling and gnashing of teeth.

Happy to be flying. Visitor June Cotter ready for her air experience flight
Today instructional resources weren't a problem, with five us on the field at one point. Training-wise, the club delivered not only the one day course, but 2 trial lessons and several training or refresher flights for members. Unfortunately my decision to call a halt to proceedings due to the onset of rain prevented Chris Fagg from getting airborne, but we'll make it up to you next week - honest, guv!

Bob in the ASW20 studying the sky
There were a few strong thermals which carried K13 training flights up to a 1500ft cloudbase, but as happened last Sunday, Martin Broadway picked his moment and achieved half an hour in the ASW20F.
A superb launching service was provided throughout the day by Barry and Heather.

And now the news we've all been waiting for. Demonstrating a big surge in DGS 'can do' spirit, a dedicated team of members spent most of the day in the hangar, putting the finishing touches to our beautiful, recently-acquired K7M. Blue and white in colour, she's called G-DDAK and subject to completion of a few paperwork and insurance formalities, she should be ready to roll sometime this weekend. So our training capacity will be doubled!

Congratulations to the Committee for sourcing this essential training glider (along with a very tidy K8 single seater which came as part of the deal) and I'm sure everyone will join me in thanking all those club members who put so much effort into her preparation not only today but during recent weeks.

It was unfortunate that a few of our club single seater pilots ended the day dissatisfied because they found the Zugvogel blocked in at the back of the hangar due to the work being carried out on the K7M. This was unfortunate, but underscores the importance of arriving and getting the kit out early.

Finally we wish Ged Nevisky and Mike Gadd (supported by the 'Wiles Crew') the best of luck flying in the Inter-Club League at Halesland this weekend.

Bob Pirie

DGS News – Sunday 21st July 2013

With waving branches of trees signalling a 'brisk' wind from early morning it was clearly going to be a day when good precautions would be necessary, but blowing from due East was just too inviting an opportunity to be missed!   

With just the K-13 and Roger Applebesom's K-6 at the west end launch point we set off in search of wave.  And strangely didn't find it - or not until later, when Jerry Wellington managed 39 minutes, no higher than 1400ft in the traditional beat between the winch and sugar factory.  Other contacts were fleeting, although it did prove possible to give new joiner Mike Vosper a 35 minute first flight site acquaint!

However, once Martin Broadway appeared in the super sleek ASW-20, the wave responded by spreading out in a wide area to south of the site, enabling Martin to fly for over an hour and up to 2,000ft. 

Visitor Robert (Rupert) Seward
We welcomed VIP biker Robert (Rupert) Seward, who arrived with half a chapter of Angels on the bikes, who was given a 39 minute treat over St Michael de Rupe church to the scrap yard (secondary wave) un to 1600ft, in which he discovered that gliders are much more sensitive to fly than bikes are to ride! 

New member Robert (Bob) Goodall
Another new joiner, Robert Goodall, took a couple of flights but by that time the wind, which had moderated over lunchtime, really picked up, making it difficult to give any 'hands on stick' time - however, his mother-in-law will visiting again soon and so, I suspect, will Bob!  

Thirteen year old Henry Flower got some useful experience in the increasing wind, however, and Daniel Leek go some ticks in boxes on his Training Card.

Martin Cropper

DGS News – Saturday 20th July 2013

Clear blue sky with a strong breeze from the east. The conditions were somewhat blustery to start with leading to caution with glider handling.

Ged was accompanied by Matt Wiles on the first flight and they found a lot of rotor but managed to stay airborne for 30 minutes until the conditions wore them down and they decided to land.

FAther and daughter team Martin and Angela Stone
 As the day wore on the conditions got easier although some rough patches remained throughout the day. We provided Air Experience flights for Adrian Iles and father and daughter Martin and Angela Stone. We also welcomed visiting glider pilot Dave Khibbs from the Stafford Club.

Ongoing work on K7M GDDAK
Meanwhile in the hangar, the work on the Pirat continues as does the work on the “new” K7M. Also in the hangar today was Martin Smith and his T31 for C of A after which he took several launches with various club members.

Hiding are we? 

DGS News – Wednesday 17th July 2013

Despite a commendable effort by our dedicated 'regulars' to get the show on the road early, the debilitating effects of the heatwave resulted in the presence of relatively few members to run flying operations or work on vital tasks in and around the hangar (the latter including Dave Bourchier who, despite his fruitless quest for a 'three legged puller' (?) seemed to have achieved what he had set out to do and was smiling by the end of the day.)

Meanwhile the temporary absence of a second two-seater also presented us with a real challenge.What we did have in abundance were (a) visitors and new members (wonderful!) and (b) horseflies (ouch!).

Field Treasurer David Rippon was accompanied today by his wife Pam.
  As the day went on, we became quite adept at dispensing with the latter via energetic (and rather bloody) slapping and cursing. However, the privilege of introducing newcomers to our sport is always a  pleasure, but it takes time and in today's sweltering conditions - and with limited availability of aircraft and seasoned members present - we were hard-pressed to meet everyone's expectations.  But we did it!
Air experience visitor Wendy Tapsfield flew in the K13
David Munilly flew with Ged in the Twin Astir
Thanks to Steve Lewis's and Ged Nevisky's instructional efforts, not only did we make inroads into two one day courses Colin Austin and David Denton and trial lessons David Munilly  and Wendy Tapsfield, but new temporary member John Rogers from Bere Alston helped out energetically on the field and was rewarded with three flights. An enthusiastic gig rower, John was accompanied for much of the day by fellow-oarsman Mike Vosper, from Colytown, who also got stuck in to provide much-needed ground handling assistance.
But the day was not only about visitors, and several club members were also able to get airborne, either working on regaining currency in via K-13 or soaring in the Zugvogel.

One Day Course candidate Colin Austin
Twin Astir syndicate members Ged, Phil Hardwick and Robin Wilson very kindly allowed a few other members to sample the joys of their 'big bird'. The only other private owner to take the air, albeit briefly, was Trevor Taylor in the Jantar. Throughout the day several pilots managed to exploit 'blue' thermals, but nothing spectacular.

And now a word about airfield layout. With a light crosswind from the north, few competent members present, the certainty of an uncomfortably hot day developing and the top field at the west end available to us, Phil and Robin set up the winch in the middle of the latter. They then pulled out the cables and that's where we set up the launch point. Being well up the airfield from the eastern boundary, this enabled most (and I stress 'most') gliders to finish their landing runs before or parallel with the launch point - saving time, and saving sweat!

New member John Rogers said he had been wearing several hats today. ( i think he'll fit right in ) 
Today everyone worked hard to ensure that everyone flew, but special thanks to our winch drivers Barry Green, Phil Hardwick, Robin Wilson and Alan Holland plus, as ever, our cable retrieve driver Heather Horswill. Heather's hard work and good humour even in adversity keep our spirits in the air - but our feet firmly on the ground. Also, I know how much new members and visitors appreciate the time taken by vice-chairman Colin Boyd to welcome them and 'show them the ropes'.

Bob Pirie

DGS News – Saturday 13th July 2013

After the studying the RASP (Regional Atmospheric Soaring Prediction) all week with  promising thermals (and a RASP Dr Jack star rating of 3-4 for limited areas) between 13:00 – 17:00, I made the decision and prepared for my 50km silver. The Exeter valley was forecast to be unreliable so I planned an out and return to South Molton (53km each way).

Enigmatic Mike waits for the conditions to improve ( or is he hoping for divine guidance )
Getting to the club early, I found Rick and Matt already there pulling out the kit, and we got to work fixing the flat on the main wheel of DMX. Changing ends was also in order, as despite the 214 spot forecast for a wind direction of 040, we had winds to the west which stayed that way for the day. A few others turned up but the day was checking out to be a quiet one, I guess the beach and families was the call due to the heat.

Matt Wiles returning to gliding after his exams and instructor Mike Slogget
Mike Slogget and Ged were kept busy sharing the instructing, getting pilots Jerry Wellington, Matt Wiles (returning to Solo), Jeff Crag airborne in DMX. An early extended flight by Mike Sloggett and Jerry Wellington showed some promise (with Jerry flying and managing to keep DMX circling), however conditions remained difficult low down to the unskilled and despite attempts (Sandra, Colin Boyd), thermals were difficult to connect with in rather stable blue air.

Colin Boyd and K6
 Also the Twin Astir was returned to the air obtaining flight of the day (35 minutes) in the skilful hands of Ged with Gus (who has spent some time fixing the landing gear issue with the Twin), just to wind up those stuck on terra-ferma including me having two attempts in the Open Cirrus, falling down on both with only slightly delayed circuits – well my 50k will have to wait then!

After giving up with that, I offered my services in the front seat of DMX as P2 for Rick Wiles to practice his back seat flying. Not sure if I helped or hindered really, but all that was managed was further delayed circuits – but good fun all the same, for a change just to sit there, let the P1 do all the flying, and allowing me the freedom to peer down onto the roof of my own house in Mary Tavy without worrying about lookout, (well I trusted Rick was looking out anyway).

K13 on final approach to the east end
Well done to Dave Parker and Jerry Wellington as trainee winch drivers under the watchful eye of Rick Wiles.

Winching dream team Dave Parker, Jerry Wellington with Rick Wiles in the drivers seat
Despite the disappointment of not getting away, it was good to be out in the sun playing with aeroplanes with friends.

Mike Gadd

DGS News – Sunday 14th July 2013

This blog wastes no space or time going on about breakfast at the expense of the flying report; because today - we have visual evidence of just what a sumptuous repast you could partake of if you turn up at the clubhouse between 8.00-8.30 on a Sunday morning!  Just bring a locally sourced, top quality ingredient (or beans!) and join in.
This is what a gourmet breakfast looks like ( apparently ? )
Today, despite the heat, the weather gods were kind - the wind a light Westerly, thus allowing early solo pilots to get some valuable launches in whilst the trainees (I hope they agree) all got some useful training flights and hands on stick time.  Early solo Dave Parker was even given the bonus of an ultra low level launch failure, thus enabling him to keep the gathered throng agog for many hours after the event! 

In pundit-land  the arithmetic was not adding up for, whilst there were some thermals, they were not as plentiful or as strong as the forecast predicted.  Still, enough for Trevor Taylor to 'struggle' up to Okehampton and back over two and half hours, whilst Darren Wills, 'fresh from Glastonbury ageing rock star' Colin Boyd (see photo) and Roger Applebarrow kept plugging away in their K-6s.

Ageing rock star alert
Once again, we have to thank Nigel Williamson (where did those hob nobs go..?) and Allan Holland for their winching and ensuring that the chocks are under the winch (- in preparation for the second launch!), and we look forward to the return of new members Simon Greenway and Daniel Leek (who one again soared for 12 minutes) to make progress through their pre-solo cards.

Martin Cropper

DGS News–Wednesday 10th July 2013

Another day with fabulous weather as the summer continues. Endless blue skies winds relatively light from the NE although at flying heights this was around 15knots from the east. Thermals were available from the first to last flight.

One Day Course caandidate Roger picture here with his wife.
 With One Day Course Candidate Roger Tackley, air experience visitor Les Braund, visiting glider pilot Mike Brown from Dalton, and several club members requiring training, check flights etc. and some delay while the rear wheel and tyre was changed half way through the afternoon, there was a lot of pressure on the K13 today. But in true DGS style everyone took the inevitable delays with good nature. Many thanks everyone.

Les Braund
There was lots of soaring. Best flight was Phil Hardwick in the Astir who soared for 2 hours 28 minutes  to 3900 feet. Even the busy K13 managed several flights in the 20 to 30 minutes range with instructors Ged and
Steve maximising it’s use. The last flight of the day was at 6:30 and it was still very soarable.

Next week Duty Instructor will be Bob Pirie who is returning from his self imposed exile in Portugal.


DGS News–Sunday 7th July 2013

It was a definite ‘Why Won’t It’? Day…Starting with the printer that refused to produce the all important Met Office weather and wind, even after I’d changed the black ink. Until I noticed the tiniest of icons on the toolbar which, when opened, advised me that I’d chosen to use a cartridge which wasn’t a genuine Epson one. You can imagine my delight at being told something I already knew.

At the airfield the ‘WWI’ focus switched to the tractor, which wouldn’t start, but was vital for us to change ends. Until Dave Bourchier connected the jump leads to exactly the right spot on the starter motor. The ‘WWI’ scenario then shifted to the thresher/grass cutter, which wouldn’t disconnect, and then to launch hut trailer, which wouldn’t come off the tractor because someone (i.e.. me) had allowed the engine to run down and stop, which then wouldn’t start! So this, to some extent I hope, accounts for the very late start and inability of one or two trainees on the flying list to fly.

Up up and away in the K13
However, by 11:18 the first launch was away and between then and a few minutes before 7pm we managed 24 flights. Everyone soared - in the blue. Whilst our day wouldn’t bear comparison to those ‘up country‘ where 500kms+ were being flown, the fact that every trainee managed 12 minutes minimum - and some much more.

Trevor Taylor (only just) beat Colin Boyd to 4200 eetf on his 2½ hours meander around Devon (including an air display over his own house in Plymouth - excuse me whilst I reach for Laws & Rules…), that Roger Appleblossom flew for an hour plus and returning Kiwi Nigel Williamson for over 30 minutes, shows that clouds aren’t necessary for good (indeed some would say easy) soaring.

We welcomed new joiner Duncan Parker from Saltash (pictured - he said he’d be all right next time, when he will be accompanied by a packet of ‘Quels’) and we commiserate with Dave Parker, who has yet to get his K-6 airborne, with him in it!

New member Duncan Parker  
The news from the Arrivals Lounge is that Leith Whittington’s Dart 17R is awaiting customs clearance - or something similar - and should be on site in the next few weeks.

Martin Cropper

DGS News - Saturday 6th July 2013

The forecast looked promising, warm day light winds. The soaring forecast was a little uncertain but would almost certainly be a blue day and with the pressure so high would thermals form at all..

Club member Jerry continues his training
Flying start was delayed a little until some early morning mist had burned away. Despite some valiant efforts to find thermic conditions it just did not happen. Later a wedge of sea air drove into the area and stopped any possibility of thermal development.

The Jantar 1 waiting to go
Some of the private fleet were out today including the Astir G-CJSK flown by Steve Raine and Dene Hitchen, The Jantar 1 flown by me, and a very rare appearance of the K10 flown by Chris Matten. The K10 was the development aircraft that came between the K6CR and the K6E. It has the all flying tail of the K6E, the wing is a different profile from the K6CR and has a lot of ribs ( reportedly to maintain the new laminar profile ). This is the only K10 in the UK. Of the other 9 aircraft originally manufactured only one other is known to be flying; that one flies in Belgium.

Proud owner Chris Matten and his K10
The hangar was a hive of activity as work continues on the new K7M and the Pirat. Many thanks to all those involved.


DGS News–Wednesday 3rd July 2013

The morning started with low cloud and drizzle. The forecast was for improving conditions. Everyone kept faith with this and by 2pm conditions had improved enough for flying to start.

There was a little thermal activity to temp and test the solo pilots including Phil Hardwick who piloted his Astir to equal Robin Wilson's longest flight of the day at 17 minutes. Considering the 1200 foot cloudbase and the strong westerly breeze, good effort both of you. Also enjoying the conditions with instructor Ged were returning temporary member Adrian Pike and new member John Rogers.

Meanwhile the hangar was busy with more work on the Pirat, this time involving taking the wings on and off several times. Also of interest was the delivery of the latest replacement engine for the Guslaunch Winch.

The forecast for next weekend is looking much better.


DGS News – Sunday 30th June 2013

In a change to our normal schedule, today's breakfast fayre included - in addition to the usual bacon, eggs, sausage and mushrooms - locally sourced tender lamb chops - but hang on, isn't this supposed to be gliding club??  

Sadly, the early morning summertime start we all wish for was postponed by church depriving mist which took Don's irrepressible optimism to shift ('Look, it's gone up another 50 feet whilst we've been speaking!')  By 1030, however, Don's optimism was rewarded as the church magically reappeared and we were able to fly some expertly instigated low-level launch failures courtesy of Scratch at the winch, followed by the inevitably long retrieves.  

Gradually, the cloudbase lifted sufficiently for flying to take place in earnest, and a brace of K-6s appeared at the launch point to accompany the K-13.  

Newly-soloed Leith Whittington (Red Quad Leader) and Dave Parker (Red-2-boldly go)) marshalling gliders to the launch point.
 Thus, over the course of the afternoon, and with a moderate wind just a few of degrees north of the centreline, we achieved 30 launches, including 2 'first' solos, those being 'new kid on the block' ex-ATC instructor Tony Dean, and 'not-so-new kid, off his block' Leith Whittington - Well Done both (for achieving this stepping stone on the way to Licence).  For anyone who has yet to meet Leith, he is pictured here leading the 'Synchro Pair' of Red Quad bikes with Dave Parker, an idea he got from watching the Red Arrows, when they (or was it he) used to fly Vickers Varsities!

Newly joined Junior Member Andrew Swann prepares for a launch with CFI Don Puttock
Unfortunately, the improvement in the weather was too late for Dave to rig and fly his newly acquired K-6, however there was time for some soaring: 13-year old Junior Member Andrew Swann managing 20 minutes on his second flight with the club, and Robin Wilson's grand-daughter Charlotte thermalled for 15 minutes in the K-13 as a 'Friends and Family' reward for volunteering to study - what? you guessed it, medicine!

Robin Wilson’s grand-daughter, Charlotte,  looks forward to a second flight with CFI Don Puttock
So, from a morning which appeared to be a scrub/stack/early wash down bar open, the day blossomed into one of quite satisfying achievement.

Now, to get back to those lamb chops, did you know that a lamb from the 31st December in the first year of its life to being mated is known as a hog? Fascinating, Leith, no I didn't - do you know of anything less interesting..?  

For an update don't miss next Sunday's blog - where the Arrivals Lounge may contain news of a Slingsby
Dart 17R (R? - means flown by pirates..!). ( R means retractable undercarriage - Steve )

Martin Cropper