Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 28th September 2013

Careful watching of the forecast and the atmospheric soundings leading up to today gave several pieces of useful information. The wind would be straight from the east at 15+ knots at ground level and 30+ knots at flying heights and potentially gusty. Sound like typical wave conditions? Well no actually.

There was an inversion at about 2000 feet ( good ). Wind strength not really increasing above this (bad). The airflow was going to be very moist (bad).

Waiting in the rain
Flying started with an exploratory flight in the K13 which promptly launched to 1800 feet. This was followed by the K7M with Ged and our One Day Course candidate Michael Welby. The aircraft did not really soar but were able to maintain height with the conditions trying to form wave. Several flights around 20 minutes were made until heavy and persistent  rain arrived. This ended flying for the day.

Derigging at Neath

Ged and Steve preparing the trailer

Ready to go
The BIG NEWS of the day was the arrival of the third and final “new” aircraft from Neath. This aircraft is a K7M bearing the registration G-DCLT. It is intended to use this aircraft to ensure that we can field 2 * 2 seaters on every flying day while having the facility to take 2 seaters off line for maintenance as required. CLT is now in the workshop ready for it’s survey. After this there will be a list of jobs to do before it can join the fleet. Please feel free to volunteer to help with this.

G-DCLT in the workshop.
Many thanks to all those who have been involved in getting these aircraft to Brentor; Ged Nevisky, Mike Jardine and Steve Raine this time. Colin Boyd, Alan Carter and Sandra Buttery helped on previous occasions. I think we owe special thanks to Steve who has clock up over 1000 miles having been to collect all 3 aircraft.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 25th September 2013

Initially the day looked quite promising. The forecast was for light SE winds with some cloud cover later. This obviously excited our solo pilots with the appearance of of 3 syndicate gliders.

Flying started in good time but right from the off the visibility to the south was poor; it looked like there was low cloud and maybe drizzle over Plymouth and the south coast. The air aloft was smooth making for very pleasant flying conditions. The downside of this was that there was nothing to soar in.

Robin Wilson modelling today's "must have" gliding accessory
Two hours and fourteen launches later the cloud and rain had moved in from the south and that was the end of flying for the day.

One Day Course candidate Lawrence O'Dwyer
 Our visitors today included Lawrence O’Dwyer who managed to complete half of his One Day Course. Phillip Beasley who completed his Air Experience flights. The most unlucky was Stephanie Wilson was arrived for her Air Experience flight just as the rain started; this is the second time this has happen to her.

Phillip Beasley is ready for his Air Experience fligh
Also visiting today was Bob Hickman, a gliding instructor from Melbourne, Australia. He missed the weather window but spent a bit of time with us trying out the simulator.

Bob Hickman enjoying the simulator.
The forecast for Saturday looks interesting, strong easterly winds. wave maybe?


Dartmoor Gliding News–Sunday 22nd September 2013

Today was a first; and most probably a last - the first and last time I contradicted Don Puttock - and got away with it!  For as I arrived at the club just in time to catch the gastronomers tucking away their 3 course locally sourced breakfast (well, the mushrooms were) Don was preparing to give a lecture on aerotowing, on the basis that today's weather was to be a repeat of yesterday - fog.  No need, said I, for the cloud is lifting from the south.

K7m G-CDAK  takes to the air again.
And 31 launches, one One Day Course, 4 trial lessons and only one cable break, I think, proved the point.  Although it has to be said that the cloud lifted only just sufficient for normal launch heights to be achieved early in the day, and that the solo pilots had some entertaining encounters of a orographic kind on their way around the circuit, we certainly did better by doing what it says on the tin ('gliding') than 'managing people's expectations'.

Roger Applesomething in his K6
Dave Parker's K6
The solo team jousting with the grey stuff included Martin Broadway, Nigel Williamson and Jerry Wellington in the new K-8 (tubes appear to be working correctly, thank you, Steve and John), Dave Parker and Roger Applebrylcreem in their K-6s, and Leith Whittington in the superbly crafted (no wonder Slingsby's went bankrupt!) Dart 17R.

If you cannot guess from the registration this is Leith's Dart 17R
Don spent his time with ODC student Brian Hooper who, on his sixth instructional flight, flew the entire launch, circuit and landing without a prompt from Don (yet another miracle!), whilst twin engined power pilot Alistair Davison, ex-RAF fitter Derek Mardles and sister Christine Berry from Exeter, and Ian Harris, late of the rugby field, flew with me in G-DDAK.

K7M G-CDAK ready for the next launch
Darren Wills showed that his flying, like himself, is well on the mend, whilst Roger was checked out by Don to do some mutual flying with Dave P in preparation for his 'Friends and Family' rating.  Dave P also gained his spurs on the winch by completing quite a long stint with 90 degree crosswind.

The greatest disappointment of the day was that, by the time we had got through the flying list, we had run out of time for Don's lecture on aerotowing - let's hope it will keep for another day (Don is thinking of organising a mini exped in the near future for those interested in aerotow training). 

Don, on the left, is obviously disappointed at not delivering his lecture.
What sort of mushrooms did they have with that gourmet breakfast?
And the best news of the day is for the Wednesday crew: - for you, the war maybe over but airfield is set up ready for the expected easterly.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News – Saturday 21st September 2013

So here’s a fog warning ----- Lookout fog ----------.

Forecast winds light SW, day starting with mist but clearing. Actual winds light SW, day started with FOG, cleared for about an hour and then more FOG.

It was a quiet day on the airfield. The instructors outnumbered the pilots; there was 6 of us including Mike Jardine who is a BI in training. We made a dash for the launchpoint as soon as the fog started to lift. By the time we got going there was time for two practice cable breaks by the Mikes Sloggett and Jardine and then the fog descended again leaving us to walk the gliders back to the hangar.

Gliders in the mist ( Could be a good film title?)
Other work around the airfield today included Ged and Steve Raine fixing the small tractor and mower; Steve then mowed a large part of the airfield. In the hangar, the K7M G-CDAK, had it’s trimmer system checked and adjusted. In the clubhouse, Don was busy working on the new EASA licencing and how it will integrate into our training systems.


Dartmoor Gliding News – Wednesday 18th September 2013

Tuesday had been a day of wind and rain. Wednesday started out the same way but there was a forecast gap with some good weather promised. And, just like last Saturday, that is exactly what we got.

The day started with low cloud and drizzle but gradually improved until at 11:00 am conditions looked good enough to make a start. David Jesty, today’s instructor, decided that the K8 would stay at the hangar due to the strengthening and gusty NW wind. This enabled John Bold and I to replace all the instrument tubing to prevent a repeat of last Saturday’s instrument issues caused primarily by the soft silicone type tubing kinking under it’s own weight.

K8 waiting for better weather.
 Due to the wind direction all the pilots took at least one flight in the K13 with David to augment their crosswind handling skills, a great use of the conditions. By 3:30 the wind had strengthened sufficiently to call a halt to proceedings but not before David Rippon had demonstrated some spirited soaring in the K13 with a flight of 25 minutes.

K13 G-DDMX flown by David Rippon, with David Jesty in the rear seat, soaring in the strong crosswind conditions
Glider pilots are generally optimists. Today this was demonstrated by the two Astir syndicates who rigged both gliders but missed out on any soaring. Good effort and better luck next time

The eternal optimists - good try

Dartmoor Gliding News – Sunday 15th September 2013

Those of you who have had to endure management initiatives such as 'time & motion', LRQA, Continuous Improvement and such like may have come across 'Lean'. 

For 'Lean' is certainly what we were today - and if it wasn't for the presence of Sean Parramore, thus enabling us to winch and instruct we would have been less than lean, we would have ben a veritable size zero! 

Thankfully, Jerry Wilkinson also arrived to add to the 'throng', which with Roger Applebrough and myself meant we had sufficient numbers to get One Day Course member Ian Henderson and trial Lesson student Freddy Ludwig into the air. 

However, it wasn't to be for very long before the widely trailed weather front arrived and the southerly wind picked up (the forecast said '230' at '45') and the odd spot of rain became more persistent until we had to call for 'carriages' to take our visitors back to the warmth of the clubhouse whilst we trudged back with K7M G-DDAK getting wetter and wetter. 

Still, 3 launches on an expectedly unflyable day was better than none - and we look forward to welcoming Ian back on Wednesday to continue his course...

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 14th September 2013

The weather forecast looked favorable. A gap between the rain bearing frontal systems coincided with our flying day. Result.

Behind the scenes yesterday, Ged Nevisky, David Bourchier and Rick Wiles had managed to fit a new water pump to the ML winch so by the time we arrived on Saturday everything was ready to go. Above and beyond the call of duty. Many thanks.

Was the winch given a heart transplant. The errant, organically shaped waterpump.
There was a full programme for both of the 2 seaters, Ged, flying the K13 G-DDMX, furthering the flying training training with grandson grandfather duo Andrew and Michael Swann and helping Rick Wiles with his BI training. I was flying the K7M G-CDAK. There was a One Day Course for Kim Metcalfe and Air Experience flights for Kim’s grandfather William McFarlane, David Measey and John McNiahon. On top of this Ged and I both flew with Andrew Swann’s friend Saif Chowdhury  who managed a soaring flight with both of us.
Kim Metcalfe and his grandfather William McFarlane
David Measey
John McNiahon
Saif Chowdhury
The solo pilots had a great time in the buoyant conditions. Robin Wilson had the longest flight with 1 hour 37 minutes in his K6. Martin Broadway managed  over an hour in his ASW20. And finally,Allan Holland returned the K8 after 1 hour and 1 minute promptly announcing that the variometers weren’t working. Just as well really or he would probably still be up there now.

None of the above could have happened without the team work of all the members present on the airfield. Winching, Cable Retrieves, Log Keeping, Launch Marshalling, Glider Towing etc. etc. etc. Many thanks everyone.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 11th September 2013

8/8th’s cloud suggested today was always going to be a training day but there were plenty of club members in attendance.

So, gliders out and inspected while others were on the airfield preparing the launchpoint and winch. And then ….. disaster ….. the ML winch was unserviceable. The water pump had broken. So no flying today.

The club members changed gear and got on with maintenance tasks. Phil Hardwick was seen repairing tractors, mowers and fences, I led the training effort on the simulator, Martin Broadway was strimming the grass in and around his trailer. Robin Wilson was sorting out the scrap cable and metals, Mike Vosper reprofiled one of the winch rollers.

The winch was brought down to the hangar apron where the offending water pump was eventually removed. It didn’t give up without a fight but the team of Ged Nevisky, David Rippons and David Bourchier were up to the task and by midday it was laying on the floor. There followed a series of phone calls, photographs and emails and,  after a couple of hours, a replacement part had been ordered for collection in Plymouth tomorrow. Ged Nevisky and David Bourchier are intending to collect the spare part tomorrow and refit it to the winch on Friday ready for flying on Saturday.

The offending waterpump.
We had a full programme of visitors today who will need to be rebooked for later. They took their today’s disappointment in good humour and most availed themselves of a chance to fly the simulator to wet their appetites for the flights to come.

A character building day highlighting the club members resourcefulness and team working.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Sunday 8th September 2013

The day started well for the Sunday Soarers with an early morning breakfast cooked by the CFI himself, whilst the ‘toys’ were unpacked from the hangar.  We were joined this morning by a new addition to the team in the form of a new cosy for the teapot, modelled here by Roger Applebloom (see photo).  This was custom-built for the club by Mrs Thatcher of Okehampton, aka Roger's mother-in-law.

Roger and his new career as a teapot cosy model 
Once the early morning rain had cleared a small but determined band of pilots gathered to see what fun could be had; and the answer was plenty, especially with the new K8 single seater.  Mike Sloggett was the first to take to the air and put this glider through its paces, enjoying a variety of spins, stalls and spiral dives to make sure it was safe for me.

Jerry having converted to the K8 today and enjoying a late afternoon sunshine flight.
Having only soloed only three weeks ago this was my first attempt at flying a single seater and I was rather nervous to say the least.  I needn't have worried though as once in the air she and I got on really well and I managed one of the longest flights of the day (admittedly only 12 minutes but conditions were not brilliant) to be forced down by an oncoming rain shower.  Sandra, Roger and Nigel all then had the chance to experience what a great addition this plane has been to our club and the smiles on all of our faces were a joy to behold. Sandra described the new K8 as lush. Meanwhile Leith was practicing circuits in his new Dart 17R

Lee Ballinger at the end of his One Day Course
We were joined by several temporary members today including Lee Ballinger who stayed with us most of the day for his one-day course and had a great opportunity to fly the plane himself.  Martin enjoyed a couple of flights, including the longest of the day at 14 minutes in which he was also able to fly some of the circuit himself.  His friend Roger, being completely blind however, was not able to fly the plane himself but really enjoyed the many sensory experiences that gliding can provide.  Finally Matt loved his first experience of flying in a small plane, although his wife was beginning to wish for slightly warmer weather, or a nice cup of tea, to watch him by.

Roger Fordham Trial lesson - notwithstanding that Roger is 'blind' he seemed to enjoy himself with Don
Talking of tea I'm feel I must file an incident report from this morning in which one of our members got burned – yes Roger, a teapot that is designed to hold boiling water, covered by a tea cosy, which is designed to keep said water hot, will be extremely hot - especially when you hold the pointy bit that the tea is poured through and the steam escapes through, when offering the teapot up for a photograph!!! 

Jerry Wellington

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 7th September 2013

The negative sounding weather forecast, possible heavy showers, localised flooding etc. etc., obviously put off lots of our members and lead to a quiet day on the airfield.

This photo of the "quiet " launch point was taken by Steve Raine from the front seat of the K13 
This is a pity because very often these conditions can, and do, provide lots of interesting soaring opportunities. Soaring the front edges of showers can be an absolute hoot. Often as the air rises over Brentor and onward to the higher ground of the main moorland to the east, a line of rising air is formed and seems to operate like a convergence. We had one of these today.

The veiw from the rear seat of the K13 flying under the "convergence" flying south west.
The estuary on the left is the river Tavy  leading to the main Tamar estury and onwarsds to the bridges at Saltash and the Hamoaze beyond
 Those members and visitors who did turn up today were treated to some very nice conditions. The only shower lasted less than 5 minutes, the wind was nicely down the runway, the sun shone for most of the day. A “convergence?” formed at the east end of the airfield providing great soaring opportunities. The longest flight was 48 minutes. This flight was only terminated as the pilot returned to the airfield to let other members fly the "new" K8.

We welcomed One Day Course candidate Alan Hunt who flew with instructor Sean Paramore, and Air Experience visitors Edward Lloyd, and husband and wife team Paul and Marion Balsdon all of whom enjoyed their flights who were flown by me. Also visiting was experienced glider pilot David Bamber who had a site check with CFI Don Puttock.

Pictures of our visitors can be found by following this link


Elsewhere on the site, a group comprising Rick Wiles, Mike Vosper, Colin Boyd, Mike Stacey, Ged Nevisky and David Bourchier spent the whole day working on the new engine for the GusLaunch winch. Mike Stacey is in fact not a club member but was one of the founder members of the club and lives just across the road. His sons run the farm next to the airfield and Mike borrowed a front loader to help lift the engine in place. Many thanks Mike. By the end of the day, the engine had been fitted to it’s mount and the prop shaft aligned. Great work. It still remains to fit the radiator, electrics and fuel lines but today was a major step forward.
Today's winch work in pictures

A productive day.

Steve Lewis

Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 4th September 2013

The upbeat trend which has been developing on recent Wednesdays - at least the flyable ones - continued this morning, with a healthy turnout of early-arriving club members getting the kit out, rigging both club and private gliders, changing ends and getting part of the fence down, because the wind had changed to a crosswind from the south, with a bit of east in it.

One day course candidate Terry Newman from Kent, visiting relatives in the west country, was 'chomping at the bit', having been foiled by the weather on a couple of previous occasions last winter. (He soloed in a T21B at Lasham with the Boy Scouts many years ago.) Then a succession of trial lesson candidates started pouring through the gate, including another one-time glider pilot, Derek Hoskings (85) from St Ives, whose wife had given him his lesson as a birthday present last year. (Later in the day both Terry and Derek demonstrated that they had not totally lost their touch and their sense of humour, and Terry will be coming back in November to complete his allocation of flights.

Visitor Derek Hosking
Visitor Richard Pope
Visitor Margaret Lowe
But...!  Those flights were indeed much later in the day, because a blanket of thick fog which had greeted us when we arrived persisted and it was not until noon(ish) that we were able to start flying. Then we were knocked back by the K7M having to be taken offline temporarily due to a paperwork issue.  We got it back eventually, but these factors, combined with several cable breaks, threatened to throw the day's club and visitor flying programme into chaos.

Despite these setbacks, good teamwork and hard work by everyone enabled us to achieve more than 30 launches in the short time available to us. All the visitors got flown, but once again our regular and 'regular temporary' members bore the brunt of the situation; inevitable in the circumstances, but unacceptable. I am sure instructors Ged Nevisky and Steve Lewis join me in thanking you all for your understanding and patience, and in apologising for any disappointment you experienced. You worked hard, and we did our best, but sometimes these things happen.

Rigging the "new" K8
K8 G-CGDK ready to join the club fleet
On a more positive note, foggy mornings can have their advantages. Today, led by John Bolt brandishing his weight and balance charts and a huge set of scales, we rigged and weighed the 'new' K8, which came as part of the package with the K7M. At the end of the day, with C of A, ARC and insurance formalities completed, I test flew her, and phrases like 'an oldie but a goody' come to mind. Or, in the words of Bernard Matthews (or was it Jamie Oliver?) 'she really is a little booty!'  There's no need for full forward trim and stick on the dashboard at the start of the launch, which her predecessor tended to need. She's also quieter, less draughty and generally more comfortable - with a much more generous maximum cockpit weight. The Committee (in acquiring her) and John and his team of dedicated helpers (who fettled her) have done their job. Now it is down to us, as club members, to look after her.

Bob surveying the sky before test flying the K8
Having enjoyed the privilege of carrying out the initial test flight, I then invited John to give her a go. From the ground you could sense the fun he was having, and this was further evidenced by an ear-to-ear grin as he emerged from the cockpit.

John Bolt definitely looks happy.
Bob Pirie