Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 28th May 2014

Apart from only one private owner taking to the air today (Steve Raine in his Astir), today's attendance followed a similar pattern to recent Wednesdays, with a hard core of four regular pre-solo students (Andy Davey, John Rogers, Adrian Pike and Jorg Beasley) joined by an encouraging number of enthusiasts either 'coming back for more' as temporary members after trial lessons, or giving gliding a try either for the first time, or after a long lay off.

The biggest grin in the west. Chris Jones about take his first flight in 16 years
Today's welcome 'new faces' included Peter Lillywhite, Tom Mitchell and Fred Hunter, along with Chris Jones; the latter with an ear-top-ear grin when he found that he was able to operate the controls despite a serious injury sustained some years ago.

3 generations of the Pike family; Adrian, Toby and Jon
 While I focused on some of the more advanced trainees, Ged introduced  10-year-old Jack Windley to our sport via two trial lesson flights, and Steve Lewis was kept busy with some of our newer enthusiasts. In fact, today turned out to be a bit of a 'Pike family fun day', with grandad Adrian flying with me and son Jon and grandson Toby (12) flying with Steve.

Ged with young aviator Jack Windley
Today's weather was distinctly 'iffy', with just occasional hints of cloud streets amongst the 10/10ths cloud at about 1.400 feet. Ged (in the winch for most of the day until relieved by Phil Hardwick) delivered some superb launches up to cloudbase, and when his turn came around to fly with young Jack, this lightweight duo climbed through one of the rare gaps and released at 1,500 feet.

Bob waving from the back seat while Adrian continues his lesson
There was moisture in the air for most of the time and some persistent but light rain, but not enough to damp our enthusiasm. Unfortunately with only K13 G-DDMX available, there was a lot of hanging around in the increasingly chilly air for those waiting to fly, but they ran a cheerful and efficient operation and by tea time we had achieved 21 launches - with most people getting two flights each.

Gliding club life is really about people. Today's launch point was busy
While on the subject of our launching operation, I'd like to say a special 'thank you' to Malcolm Roberts who, having delivered a 'D.I. Master class' to some of our newer members, spent the whole day on cable retrieve duties, and  Chris Jones who, having shaken away the cobwebs alongside Malcolm in a rickety Range Rover, spent the rest of the day with 'L' plates on helping to man the control tower.

Was David really threatening physical violence to Allan while Martin looked on.
As ever, today wasn't all about flying. First of all Phil the Farmer spent a good deal of time in the tractor, putting the magnificent gang mower which he has acquired for the club through its paces. However, the biggest accolade of all must go to 'those who serve while others have fun'. As most members will know, there's a fairly arduous work programme underway on some of our club gliders, and while we were out flying, Martin Broadway, Alan Holland and David Bourchier - joined part time by Colin Boyd and Mike Gadd - were slaving away in the hangar on behalf of all of us. We owe them - and John Bolt - who we all too often expect to cope with such tasks single-handed - deserve a big thank you from every club member.

New man sized mower
It was a long but productive day, but even after the last hangar flight, things weren't over yet, because while everyone else's thoughts turned to beer and supper, Ged took on the task of fitting a new tyre to DMX ready for the weekend.

Ged in tyre changing mode.
Sadly, I end with the news that during the day word reached us that Mike Keller's wife had passed away after a long illness. I am sure that everyone in the club - and many of those members of the pubic who got to know Mike while booking trial lessons through him - will join me in expressing our deepest sympathy to him and his family.

Bob Pirie

Club 100km Flight in pictures

A couple of club members have been keen to develop some predetermined tasks for the club members to use. This one is a 100 km task from Brentor to Holsworthy to Crediton West and back to Brentor.

The first recorded use of this task was by Mike Gadd flying his Open Cirrus on Wednesday 21st May 2014. The wind at flying heights was in excess of 25 knots from the east so Mikes time was a little leisurely.

The trace of Mike's Flight. Holsworthy to Crediton was a struggle into the wind,
but Crediton to Brentor was a glorious downwind dash.  
Roadford resevoir, about half way to Holsworthy
Somewhere in mid Devon
East of Okehampton - following A30 gliding back to BRT
North West Dartmoor - on route home 
Next time someone uses this task perhaps we will get some photos of the turnpoints


Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 24th May 2014

The forecast was not very hopeful and by 10am it was already raining in Plymouth. But keen as ever to make the most of the day, instructor Mike Sloggett led a small group and the K13 to the launchpoint.

The K13 is still casting a shadow but the showers can be clearly seen
Only 3 flights were completed before the cloudbase lowered and showers were imminent but at least Matthew Wiles maintained his currency and a test launch using the ML winch was completed.

Elsewhere, Ged Nevisky and Martin Smith were working on K7M- DCLT. Allan Holland and David Bourchier were working on the replacement skid for the K8. A couple of the gliders received their monthly maintenance which seemed to include washing the Pirat in the pouring rain !! Glider pilots are resourceful but sensible? I’ll leave you to decide

The Pirat gets a wash in the rain
 The simulator was kept busy for most of the day with a control lesson for a junior visitor, some flying by club members and instructor David Jesty practicing cloud flying.

David doing a little back seat flying
A productive day


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 21st May 2014

A prompt start, and full marks to all those private owners who led the charge to get the club kit ready before looking after their own interests.

It was a beautiful gliding day; warm and sunny, with 10 gliders campaigning from the west end launch point, and thermals from start to finish up to a  5000 ft cloudbase.

Mike Gadd's view of Roadford Resevoir ( including canopy reflections )

There was plenty of soaring (as well as some valiant attempts). Best flight of the day was by Mike Gadd in the Open Cirrus who completed a 107 km triangle Holsworthy-Crediton-Brentor; getting back in time to help at the launch point during late afternoon - then buy beers for the night shift.

Mike Gadd's logger trace
Disappointingly, there was yet again a poor turnout of club solo pilots - and for the second Wednesday in a row as I recall, Alan Holland found himself earth-bound as he got stuck into technical chores on the club's behalf, rather than grabbing those late afternoon thermals.

ASW20 ready to go
It was good to have Dave Jesty on the field to help with instructing, and he and I were kept busy training our four ab initio students, Andy Davey, John Rogers, Jorg Beasley and Adrian Pike; 'refreshing' Mike Keller (getting him ready for K8 private ownership) and giving recent one day course graduate Peter Lillywhite a taste of a long soaring flight.

ASW20 on the wire
 Apart from giving  from David Johnson a trial lesson, Steve Lewis spent most of the day working on an electrical problem on the Jantar with his syndicate partner Trevor Taylor  (the latter seldom seen at the club midweek and cursing the fact that he had to forsake any thoughts of soaring in favour of doing a school run). Another rare midweek flyer was Martin Smith seeking to get checked out for solo flying prior to attending a vintage rally in Denmark.

David Johnson ready for his trial flight - an 80th birthday present
Thanks to Phil Hardwick and John Howe for delivering some splendid launches.

Phil Hrdwick with syndicate partner Andrew Beaumont and their Astir

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News- Saturday 17th May 2014

The fine weather continues.A hot day with some cumulus early on. The main feature of the day was a large convergence sitting just to the north east of the airfield.

Mike Jardine took this picture of a glider climbing in his thermal
 To achieve long soaring flights, pilots needed to catch a local thermal, most of which were narrow and difficult, allowing a glide to the convergence to the north east. A couple of pilots managed this; most notably Mike Jardine in his Astir and Robin Wilson in his K6 who both managed well over 2 1/2 hours. Most pilots managed reasonable soaring flights although some would be better described as a low grovel.

Now in the convergence and overhead South Brentor Mike took this picture of 2 gliders
many thousands of feet below Can you see them?
The training burden today was fielded by instructor Ged Nevisky who stepped in at the last moment to cover for the rostered instructor who couldn’t make it today. Will Wilson flew with Ged continuing his training towards re-solo after a significant lay off. Returning today was temporary member Tom Mitchell who had his trial flights with us last Wednesday. Tom began his flying training today, a process that he enjoyed very much.

Tom Mitchell with Ged in K13 G-DDMX
Notable visitor today was Oliver Considine, an Airbus pilot, who flew with me in K7m G-DCLT. We spent a very enjoyable flight frolicking  in the buoyant thermals while Oliver explored the handling difference between the glider and his Airbus.

Airline pilots Oliver waiting to experience gliding for the forst time
So, 29 flights for a total of 10 hours and 48 minutes including the training flights. A good day.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 14th May 2014

Hopefully today was a positive turning point in all sorts of ways related to weather, fleet and equipment improvements and removal of restrictions that had temporarily limited flying by some of our members. Also it was the Gadds' wedding anniversary, and Mike Gadd achieved brownie point all round by arriving early to help get the kit out, grabbing an enjoyable couple of hours in the Open Cirrus, and then getting home in time for tea.

Rigging the private fleet
We had a good turnout of private owner members and trial lesson/one day course candidates - but few ab initio students, and no demand whatsoever for club single seaters - which was  disappointing.
The lack of 'experienced hands' put a lot of pressure on the few, as so often seems to happen these days. But nonetheless we had an impressive line-up of nine gliders at the launch point, achieving a total of 37 launches - plus only one weak link failure when the hefty Duo Discus took to the air. The Guslaunch winch did all we asked of it - mostly in the skilled hands of Rob Wilson who spent most of the day winch driving, until Alan Holland took over, sacrificing his own chance to fly as a result. A welcome 'familiar face' returned in the form of Will Wilson, who spent most his day on cable retrieve (later relieved by Bob Sansom), and re-joined the club as a full flying member.

Today's grid getting ready under a good looking sky
Weatherwise, it was a super day with loads of soaring achieved, but the cumulus clouds kept coming and going - and when they 'went', pilots found little more than a hasty circuit or two on offer. Still, all good for club coffers (and pilot currency!), as were the 11 introductory flights to potential new members delivered by Steve Lewis. Today's flying visitors were One Day Course candidate Peter Lillywhite and Air Experience visitors Tom Mitchell, Paul Mcnaulty and Fred Hunter. We also welcomed Chris Jones who was visiting with a view to joining us to further his flying skills. Ex Army Air Corps Chris has previously flown helecopters in the Army and touring motor glider Grob 109's in the Air Cadets. We are looking forward to the chase to introduce him to sport gliding in pure gliders.

Experienced pilot Chris Jones will return to fly with us soon
One Day Course candidate Peter Lillywhite
Visitors from Newquay are Paul Mcnaulty and his wife
Air Experience visitor Fred Hunter 
Air Experience flyer Tom Mitchell
 Fleet-wise, the good news is that after months of hard work by John Bolt and various helpers to get our recently-acquired two-seater,  K7M  G-DCLT airworthy, I managed to start the day by test flying this aircraft. Apart from identifying a need to change the belly hook - which was done by Ged Nevisky and signed-off immediately - I am pleased to report that 'she's a beauty', and more pleasant to fly than her predecessor, DAK. Now we need to use her to her full potential as the second two-seater in our fleet but, above all, to look after her.

Bob Pirie about to test fly K7M G-DCLT
During the afternoon we put this glider into service, with John Howe and then Jorg Beasley in the front seat, but the greatest pleasure of all (apart from lots of soaring) was to sit back and let John Bolt Bolt sample the fruits of his labours.

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 11th May 2014

An improving weather forecast is always welcome; however it's of limited use when you are depending on people to drive sometimes long distances to attend the club. 

And so it proved; for while the weather was potentially soarable by the time we departed at 4 in the afternoon, at 7 in the morning it was still as vile as Saturday, with a vicious wind whipping showers in from the west that would easily have persuaded anyone with a journey in prospect to remain where they were. 

For the three of us who did turn up there was much to discuss, such as the new format for the AGM to be held on Saturday 31st May (attendance welcomed by all), requirements (both people and things) for the Open Day scheduled for 23rd August (for which Jerry Wellington has kindly 'volunteered' to be Project Manager) and safety: what we can do to improve safety at Brentor? - Here the focus was provided by Dave Parker, and his concern over crosswinds vs experience/currency, a fertile area for thought and talk. 

The perfectly vacuumed carpet – the picture doesn't show the 3 Dysons full of 'stuff' that Jerry emptied out behind the bike sheds..
All this fuelled by the traditional Sunday Soarers cooked breakfast (kippers and perfectly poached egg this week) gave us the energy for Dave Parker and I to sally forth and persuade the cable on the north side of the Guslaunch that it really should pass between the (newly refurbished) vertical rollers, rather than around them, whilst Jerry Wellington, having noticed that the Saturday Supersonics had left us with a pristine clean grate in the woodburner (for which many thanks), decided to pass on the compliment by presenting the Wednesday Whingers with a perfectly mown carpet for their midweek arrival (see photo) – I wonder if they'll notice..?

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 10th May 2014

The weather forecast showed very deep low pressure system with strong winds and that is exactly what we got.

There was a small group of members at the airfield to continue with the maintenance schedule. I took the tractor and commissioned the recently repaired roller. This device is now full of concrete and probably weights about 5 tons. The take off and landing areas have been rolled.

Have roller will travel
The wind on the runway was extremely strong, it was difficult to stay on your feet at times. My thoughts were with the youngsters on the Ten Tors expedition and the crews of the Sea King helicopters providing safety cover.

The ML To Do List
In the hangar the usual trio of Rick Wiles, Allan Holland and David Bourchier started on the refurbishment of the ML winch. This work will take some time to complete but they made a great start.

Rick Wiles at work on the ML winch
David Bourchier looking very studious
As well as work on the ML winch Allan did some work on the K13 canopy

The weather for Wednesday looks a lot better. ( fingers crossed )


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 7th May 2014

The weather was always going to control today’s activities. The morning started with some rain but after this had clear through, it left a showery SW airflow which increased in strength and gustiness as the day wore on.
The K13 ready for another flight
It was decided that, given the conditions, we could not fly air experience flights today and that all pilots would fly in the 2 seater with an instructor. This was particularly disappointing for our One Day Course candidate Peter Lillywhite. Peter was introduced to the club and it’s operation and was able to at least see a few flights in progress. He made good use of the simulator. By the end of his second session he was able to fly the simulator with some skill and in fact completed a short cross country from Brentor to Plymouth and back finding plenty of thermals for the return trip. This simulator time will greatly help Peter when he comes back for his flights.

Peter flying the simulator. He is approached Brentor from the south after a simulated out and return to Plymouth
 Every club member who wanted to fly to experience the lively and, at time difficult, conditions did so with instructor Ged but by mid afternoon it was obviously time to return the K13 to the safety of the hangar.

Elsewhere, the K8 wiring fault was corrected and it’s electric variometer is now working correctly. The “new” K7M G-DCLT had it’s C of A completed and is ready to fly as soon as a copy of the insurance certificate has been supplied to the CAA.

The new radio in the Landrover.
The Landrover Discoveries now sport new radio transceivers tuned to the club ground frequency thanks to the efforts of Vice Chairman Colin Boyd. Complete with the roof mounted antennas this is a huge improvement on the handhelds previously used.

Also of interest was the arrival of club member and farmer Phil Hardwick who arrived with a proposed replacement mower in tow on the back of his Landrover. This machine will provide a cutting width of 20 feet as opposed to the 8 foot width of our current machine greatly reducing the effort required in mowing the airfield. I get some photos of the when it gets tested.


Dartmoor Gliding–Sunday 4th May 2014

And then it was May. Whatever happened to April? Normally the month that kicks off the season, this year it seems to have slipped by before we’ve really woken from our winter slumbers. 

Certainly Sunday was the first full flying day for the Sunday Soarers in some time.  We managed 26 mis-hapless launches, including 4 trial lessons, 3 check flights, 2 private and one club glider soaring, and the return of (like the Cuckoo) that rare bird, the ‘walk-in’ (i.e.. members of the public thinking – ‘that looks nice – I think I’ll go it a go today’) of whom we had three – two flown and one asked to re-book via Mike. 

The K13 takes another launch
So it has to be said that a couple of club members either did not manage to fly, or had less than their proper ration of flying, but that is almost inevitable when the first month of the season disappears without trace!  So it was great to see first timers Graham Davey, Donald Roper (Indie car club founder), Philip (Dad) and Tom (son) Wooton, and Adrian Keatley; new club junior members Lucy and Matt Brooks,.  Dark horse walk-in was Hugh Turner who, as he stepped into the cockpit, announced that he had 3.5khr flying ASH-25s etc. in New Zealand and promptly took us to 2,500ft (when I thought the thermals stopped at 2,000ft) and gave me a master class in soaring for half an hour – before returning to his summer job looking after the hotel on Burgh Island!

It’s good to see Dave Bourchier has returned as a regular attendee - he was, as I left, in deep discussion with two former members about the ‘old days’ (one of whom was nominated for a Nobel Prize for Peace) and who recalled that one of our brethren was the owner of a butcher’s shop in St Judes – any takers??

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 3rd May 2014

Sometimes being a glider pilot tests your patience; today a was like that. I had been watching the Saturday forecast for most of the week. Initially it was looking like a good day on Saturday, strong thermal activity for more than 6 hours so perhaps a 300km flight would be on. I was ready, the glider was ready with flight computers programmed and waiting to guide and record an epic flight. And then the forecast changed. Everywhere west of the Exe valley would be unsoarable. So much for epic flights then.

Stefi and the K8
There was some flying as pilots made use of the flyable but flat conditions to maintain currency. We welcomed our Romanian student, Stefi, back from her Easter holidays. After a good check flight with Ged in the K13 she spent her day flying the K8. The Twin Astir made an appearance so that syndicate members Ged, Robin and Phil could get into practice.

Getting the Twin Astir ready to fly
Elsewhere, the C of A work on the “new” 2 seater K7m G-DCLT continued. It was also weighed and it’s flight limitations calculated. The Pirat was also put through the weighing procedure.

Phil in  the Twin Astir ready to fly.
Still waiting for good conditions at Brentor.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 30th April 2014

Today’s forecast showed a little promise but looking out of the bedroom window gave me some doubts. There was thick fog.

Arriving at the airfield things did not look much better. The fog was still very thick but, keeping the faith, we got the gliders out, the airfield ready and then we waited. Gradually the fog lifted and the flat grey cloud started to show some variety of colour.

One Day Course candidate Andrew Wilks pictured with his wife Svetlana 
Eventually our patience was rewarded with signs of some blue sky and we got on with flying the full 2 seater programme. Andrew Wilks,  our One day Course candidate, managed to fly the first half of his course. He made a good job of starting to fly the aircraft, helped, no doubt, by the introduction he received on the simulator while we were waiting for the weather to improve. The soaring flights he enjoyed  encouraged the solo pilots to get going and one Astir privateer made an appearance along with the club K8 and Pirat.

The Langman girls ckeck out the K13 before mum's flight
We also welcomed visitor Annie Langman who enjoyed a trial lesson in the K13 with Ged. All the club members who wanted to fly did so but the instructors flying the 2 seaters lead the way with the soaring.

Annie Langman shares a joke with instructor Ged before her air experience flight 
By mid afternoon the weather deteriorated once again forcing a stop to flying for the day.

The K8 waiting for it's next pilot
As the flying programme had finished a little early with used the spare time and labour to assemble the “new” K7M G-DCLT which is moving ever closer to being ready to fly. Many thanks to all those who helped.

We made the best out of the day.