Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 27th August 2014

At Brentor today we were faced with just too many things starting with the letter 'W'.  Outdoors the WEATHER was pretty awful; WET(ISH) and increasingly WINDY - but at least WARM. Meanwhile inside the clubhouse our biggest challenge starting with a letter 'W' was the W.C. in the men's toilet which remained unserviceable, as it has been for several weeks now. (I'll explain why the latter deserves a special mention a little later in this report.)

In spite of the near certainty that it would be a non-flying day, nine members made their way to the club good and early, including three instructors and four enthusiastic ab intio trainees. All trial lessons were cancelled, but that did not mean an end to training activity.

I started the day by delivering a lecture on Lookout, the Scan Cycle and Collision Avoidance and as a result was able to sign off the appropriate empty boxes on several members' training cards. Then it was time to fire up the simulator, with trial lesson instructor Steve Lewis introducing Chris Jones's teenage son Max to the 'basics' of our sport.

Despite the weather, three generations of Mr Sagar's family enjoyed their 'boys' day out' at Brentor.
Soon afterwards, we received a visit from Mr Sagar N.S. (originally from India) and three generations of his family, who live in Croydon and Orpington and are currently on holiday in the southwest. Seeing how disappointed the three youngest members of the group were at having their trial lessons cancelled, we gave each of them a briefing, followed by a training 'flight' in the simulator, which brought a smile to their faces. Their visit had a happy ending for Dartmoor Gliding Society, too, because the family insisted on handing over a substantial donation to the club to our Hon. Treasurer, Steve Raine. It was pleasure having them with us, and we thank them for their generosity.

Instructor Bob Pirie gives Shreyas (aged 11) a lesson on the simulator,
while Arjun in grey hoodie and Shravan in striped top (both aged 9)
provide advice based on their own attempts.
 As ever, while training was taking place, there was a lot of good work being performed 'behind the scenes' by dedicated club members. For example, John Rogers assisted by Adrian Pike, set about tackling the 'BIG W' challenge, namely installing a new W.C. and in the process providing comfort and relief to their colleagues.

How many members does it take to tame a toilet?
Here (left to right) John Rogers, Adrian Pike and Jorg Beasley
grapple with the set of fitting instructions.
Phil Hardwick mowed the airfield; Steve Lewis, Steve Raine, John Bolt, Jorg Beasley, and Chris and Max Jones and I ventured onto the airfield and 'cut and coiled' what seemed like several miles of redundant launching cable ready for the metal recyclers. And finally, Ged Nevisky and Steve Lewis set about re-fitting 'Launchmaster' launch speed monitoring systems (including the one kindly donated by John Howe) to both club 2 seat gliders and prepared for the fitting of the third unit to the K8.

Out on the airfield removing old winch cables.
And now the news we've club members been waiting for. Further to the impassioned plea from our Winchmaster, Rick Wiles, regarding the recent loss of our entire stock of blue-coloured launching strops, Steve ('Sherlock') Raine applied himself to the case and found all three in areas of gorse and scrub around the airfield.

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News–Sunday 24th August 2014

Today the point for discussion was not whether it was going to rain, but when.  Opinions, based on various sources of weather forecast, ranged between 1200, 1400, 1600 or 1800.  So the conclusion was to go for it, as soon as possible, however not before changing ends since, despite the fact that all weather forecasts gave the wind as southerly, the evidence of the windsock ‘before your very eyes’ was that there was an easterly element which would mean launching from the east end would give a downwind component: not recommended!
Jerry Wellington first time solo in the tractor
Thankfully a strong team got the winch and launch point swapped within 30 minutes and we were flying by a little after 1030.  And with a Flying List of at least 6 trainees and 6 Introductory Flights to cope with, plus the usual solo pilots, that was not a moment too late! 

With Jerry Wellington being signed off by Winch Captain Rick Wiles to drive the Guslaunch, he was rewarded for his first appearance on site since getting married with a wedding present of a full 3 hours on the winch!  We’re all heart, here art Dartmoor!  Thankfully he was then relieved by Roger Applepip and promptly got into the K-8, where he experienced a launch failure – our generosity knows no bounds!

Visitor Claire waiting to fly with Rick in K7m G-DCLT
A thumbs up from Gemma
On the two-seater side, today saw the inauguration of Rick Wiles as an Introductory Flight Pilot, having successfully his completed training with CFI Don Puttock; for which he was rewarded with an all female list comprising Mary Roberts, Gemma Burbridge and friends Claire and Shelly (the mad trio...) and Vanessa Allen.
Mary Roberts looks calm and collect while waiting to fly
Shelly wait for her Introductory Flight
Rick will hopefully be joined by Mike Jardine in the near future on the list of Introductory Flight Pilots, as we seek to expand our two-seater P1 base, with others in the pipeline. (Rick also achieved his Silver Distance yesterday, thus making him as fully fledged Silver C pilot – congratulations Rick!) 

Jerry Wellington launching in the K8. Is that wave on the right?
Unfortunately we experienced a couple of showers around lunchtime which, coinciding with a cable break/drogue parachute over the fence incident lost us around 30-45 minutes, however by limiting trainee flights to 2 each, it was possible to get through the Flying List before the end of the day. 

Introductory Flight Visitor Vanessa Allen flew in the K13 with Martin
By 1745 the threat of rain really looked precipitous, however all we had to do was re-rig the Pirat (which had landed out on Saturday, part of Rick’s 50km flight) before putting the gliders away.  Today was the first Sunday for some time when we operated both K-7/13s, and we really felt the benefit of being able to do so.

Martin Cropper

50km to Silver C – Rick Wiles 23rd August 2014

On Friday 22nd I checked the weather for Saturday. Looked like it could be a good day, time to look at the rasp. This was looking really good. Finally, my cross country 50km could be on.

I had another quick look at the weather on Saturday morning. It did not look so good over the gliding club and towards Okehampton. I checked through the hours and from 12:00 it was getting better, but from 14:00 it was looking really good. I arrived at the club and put the logger onto charge, checked Notams, Dawlish Air show was on but it was well clear to the North. I then checked the glider maintenance board which unfortunately revealed that the Pirat needed its monthly maintenance before I could fly it.

I talked over my plans with Ged and decided that when I get to the 50km point if it still looks good I will fly back to DGS, if it didn’t look so good then I will keep going and try for North Hill. It’s about 11:00 at the launch Ged is lined up first in his Open Cirrus, and I have the 2nd cable.

Ready for my first launch
The launch is going well 800ft and I hit a strong thermal which helps break the weak link. I used the thermal to climb and it takes me quickly to 1400ft. I am then really struggling to stay up and end up arriving back at the club. Ged is managed to stay up, but hasn’t climbed much higher. Being a typical glider pilot I try again, climb to about 1400ft and back on the ground. Ged is still near the club but is now climbing. I stop for a sandwich as Alan Holland climbs into the K8. He launches and then climbs quickly to cloud base. Steve Lewis takes the next cable and stays up. Right then, time to try again.

How miserable do I look?
 Time14:10 I take another launch to 1400ft. It doesn’t take long to find a thermal up to cloud base. Time to go and Dons words on a lecture spring into my mind. If you have height there is no need to stop for every thermal. On route to Okehampton I change to QNH and stop three times to top up height. Then I pick up another thermal, and it’s a strong one. Vario is measuring 10 up and with 3 turns I’m near cloud base.

The sky beyond Okehampton looks great.
Time to really cut the strings I line up for Crediton and off I go following the cloud street. Lift is still showing 10 up and I push the stick forward to speed up, ASI is showing 65 and I’m still climbing. I look for the best clouds on route slowing down in lift and speeding up in sink and only stop to top up height a few times, the thermals are still strong.

Approaching Crediton.
Just over Crediton I notice 2 other gliders which I am guessing are from North Hill. I push on and check the distance from Brentor which is now 48km away then 50kms I keep going got make sure that it counts, at 52km I decide I will keep going until I hit the 53km mark, I then make a decision - make for home or North Hill which I can see in the distance. About an hour after take-off and I’m at 53 km and I take a climb to 3800ft QNH its still working lets head back.
Still getting 4 knot average climbs
I am now flying into wind and the going is a lot harder. Height getting low I find a thermal, but it is not a very strong one and I’m being pushed back towards the M5. The next cloud is looking a lot better and I make for it and begin climbing back up to cloud base. It doesn’t seem long before I have to take another climb and I’m being pushed towards Exeter. I keep pushing on looking for the best clouds. North east of Whiddon Down and I’m getting low again, I see a field I like and keep it within reach whilst still looking for a good thermal. I’m climbing, but slowly being pushed the wrong way. The next cloud does look better, I make for it and the thermal is good and I am back near cloud base. Let’s push on, not much further to Okehampton then the wind will help get me back.

I cross the A30 heading for South Zeal and am getting low again. I see 3 fields that I like the look of, then spot that one has a power cable running along it. I pick the one that has just been cut. The bales are still in the field on the edge and the farmer is loading his trailer. The field ticked all of the important boxes! The ground is closer now about 1000ft. I am still trying to find lift and keeping an eye on the field. 800ft and decide it’s time to commit to landing. I turn downwind then left turn and left onto the approach. Touch down and I could not have picked a better field. Half way in I come to a stop. Right let’s find the farmer, not hard as he is walking towards me with a smile on his face.

All quiet and safe in my field
A long time coming and finally I have my Silver C!!

A big thank you to Ged Nevisky, Steve Lewis and Dean Hitchins (Scratch) for coming to collect me.

Rick Wiles

Dartmoor Gliding News–Saturday 23rd August 2014

Today was designated for club experienced pilots only. This done to allow our instructors a little time to fly for themselves in their own gliders without the pressure to man the back seat of the 2 seaters.

The RASP forecast was suggesting a hopelessly optimistic picture. In reality, with the strong NW wind, soaring conditions at Brentor can be testing with large areas of sinking air interspersed with tight, narrow, and often very boisterous, thermals. This may be due to wave effects from the coast or Bodmin moor but the jury is still out on that theory.

Today lived up to this pattern, particularly early on when missing one thermal would put you on the ground again. My own flight was like this; flying the mighty Jantar 1, I scratched away from 500 feet in what felt like a narrow column of thermal bubbles which topped out at 2000 feet. Pushing forward into the wind from the edge of Dartmoor where the climb had drifted me, I skipped the first couple of thermals ( standard practice flying this glider ) only to find that the cloud I aimed for gave nothing; a few minutes later I was sitting on the runway trying to figure out what had happened.

The Jantar 1 waiting to join the fun
Ged Nevisky did a better flying his Open Cirrus but abandoned his task after taking more that an hour and twenty minutes to reach Roadford Lake which is usually regarded as local soaring in good conditions.

Ged Nevishy and his Open Cirrus
The best effort today by a long way was Rick Wiles flying the club Pirat. Rick managed to approach the M5 52.6 km away where he turned to head back to Brentor. This is where things got even more difficult and he eventually landed out just east of Okehampton. This flight will count as his 50km Cross Country flight and completes his Silver “C”.

Rick waiting to go in the Pirat
After putting away our own gliders, Ged and I, accompanied by Scratch Hitchin, went out and retrieved Rick from his field. I must say he picked a really good field with a great surface. Access was a bit testing but a little hand pushing of the trailer soon sorted that out. We returned the the airfield just as the sun was setting which is disappointingly early these days.

The Pirat's first wing tip is off and being put into the trailer
So what did we achieve.19 launches for a total flight time of over 10 hours. a successful 50 km flight to create a new Silver ”C”  and a successful retrieve. A really good day.


Dartmoor Gliding News–Wednesday 20th August 2014

Suffering rapidly-developing cold symptoms, my personal variometer was stuck on 'sink' to such an extent that by mid-afternoon, having completed a series of ab initio training flights, I handed over to Ged Nevisky for the last couple of refresher flights and slunk off homeward.

A nice view of Roadford Lake taken by Mike Gadd from the Open Cirrus
In contrast, the weather provided a far more cheerful picture, with conditions improving in the afternoon providing plenty of well-formed thermals and some classic cloud streets. These conditions continued well into the evening. Several of the usual suspects were unable to take advantage of these superb conditions in our own gliders, because Steve Lewis had a full training programme with two one-day courses to deliver, Mike Gadd and Ged were engaged in weighing the Open Cirrus, and I was in no state to do justice to the ASW when it (and I) became available.

Weighing the Open Cirrus
One Day Course candidate Malcolm Gibb
Grania Phillips enjoyed her One Day Course
So it was down to my syndicate partner, Martin Broadway, to disappear upwind, returning with a big smile after 1 hour 48 minutes. This was narrowly eclipsed by a later flight by Mike Gadd in the Open Cirrus who flew after finishing the reweighing and managed 1 hour 55 minutes. Other notable flights were Phil Hardwick 1 hr38 in Astir G- CFCJ and Colin Boyd 1:36 in his beautiful K6CR G-DFUB.

Part of today's crowd at the launchpoint 
Other highlights of the day were some great launches (apart from a 'lost half hour' during the afternoon) and a launch point crowded with gliders, club members and visitors. Even with the lost time we still achieved 40 launches

A health looking launch queue.

Always room for some banter.
Here Treasurer Steve Raine is extolling the advantages of using red wing tape.
 "Nobody ever asks to borrow some" he said
It was disappointing that yet again two of our three single-seaters remained in the hangar while there were experienced but disappointed solo pilots at the launch point waiting to fly. If you are in that category and have any concerns about upgrading to one of our 'hotter ships', talk to an instructor and we'll do our best to help you.

Let's get 'em flying!

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 16th August 2014

The RASP soaring forecast looked great. This seemed  a little at odds with today’s weather forecast but, never mind, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Even allowing for the fact that Saturday stalwarts Mike and Rick were away at Aston Down  the club was very quiet. In fact we had no club trainees at all so, Instructor Ged Nevisky and I decided to share the flying of today’s planned 5 visitors Michael Dyer, Barry Bowden, Alan Moss, Nick Jest and John King. Everyone seemed to enjoy their flights.

Michael Dyer with Ged in the K13
Alan Moss flew with me. The "Rambo style" headgear is a video camera. 
Nick Jest also flew with me
Visitor John King pictured here with Ged
Today’s highlight was Mike Keller flying his syndicate K8 for the first time. His smile showed us how much he enjoyed this glider which always looks so well turned out. He was helped with the rigging and derigging by a couple of us with lots of experience of this glider type and I am sure we will have him fully trained in the black art of glider rigging real soon.

Mike Keller looks pleased with his K8
And the weather? Well, the wind remained straight down the runway all day giving easy flying conditions with great launch heights to 1500 feet. The conditions were cyclic with an area of soarable clouds followed by a line of showers followed by a dead area with no discernable convection and then another area of soarable clouds etc. The conditions recycled four times throughout the day. We saw lots of showers but none fell on the airfield.

The unsoarable conditions overhead following a line of showers with better looking clouds in the distance
So getting a good flight was a matter of timing ( and maybe luck? ). Best flight of the day was visitor Alan Moss flying in K13 G-DDMX with me. We soared for 27 minutes to 2500 feet and only returned to the airfield to free up the glider for it’s next flight.

Many thanks to those members who did turn up and made today the pleasure that it was.


Mike and Rick at Aston Down 16th August 2014

To finalise the training to carry out introduction flights at Dartmoor Gliding, Rick and I travelled to Aston Down to meet with Don Puttock.

Early Saturday morning saw the arrival at Aston of two hot air balloons  landing next to the 1 mile runway , next to arrive was Don in the number 89 bus , Aston's mobile launch point. We can pinch e few ideas from that for our project.

The Cotswold Gliding Club, Aston Down
Flying started early and commenced in a PW6U , first was a familiarisation of the airfield and aircraft flight , lovely aircraft and great for the spinning exercises that were to be carried out.  We had fantastic views of the Cotswolds and what a difference to be looking down at a Tarmac runway. After use of that aircraft we moved to one of the clubs K13's to continue our flights and training.

A PW6 2 seat glider
We both had an excellent day at Aston and thanks go to Don for making himself available to carry out the training. Also a thanks to the members of Aston for their welcome and assistance.

Well done to Rick who is now ready to assist our team of instructors and I hope to be joining them shortly.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 13th August 2014

 Although there were hints of something better to come later on, today started wet... wet... wet.. and with a strong north westerly crosswind blowing. Any thoughts of campaigning club single seaters soon passed, so it was out with the two-seaters, while Martin Broadway and Dick Masters carried out monthly maintenance on the K8. It was not alone in receiving special attention, being joined down at the hangar by the privately-owned K8 of Bob Sansom and Mike Keller, undergoing its annual inspection by John Bolt.

The Hanson's. Kiyomi, Jacqui and Fraser
 Once again we were fortunate to have several experienced Wednesday regulars running the field, but few of our regular ab initios (which was a shame because with two two seaters, our capacity is greatly improved).
Our usual early birds were assisted today by enthusiastic junior temporary members, Fraser and Kiyomi Hanson, accompanied by their mother Jacqui, who are about to rejoin their Emirates captain father, at their home in Dubai. Having missed out on flights over the last couple of weeks, we 'upgraded' them to take the first two pairs of instructional flights in the capable hands on Steve Lewis and Ged Nevisky. They pitched in enthusiastically with various tasks, performed well in the air, and we look forward to seeing them again around Christmas time.

The ever busy Astir syndicate, Ged and Robin this time.
The heavy showers took a while to clear, delaying the start of proceedings. But after the youngsters had flown, I delivered ab initio and more advanced instruction in DMX, while Steve, with some assistance from Ged, put smiles on the faces of Paul Abrey, Nigel Jenkins, Rupert Grantham and Jim Strachan, today’s  trial lesson candidates. The only other glider to take to the air was the Twin Astir, which was once again flown by various permutations of syndicate members. The air was 'lumpy' and soaring conditions not easy, but Ged and Robin Wilson ended the day with a top-scoring flight of 21 minutes.

Paul Abrey
Nigel Jenkins flew with Ged
Rupert Grantham
Jim Strachan and family
We ended the day at a respectable hour, unanimous in our gratitude to the small team of dedicated members who have worked hard to ensure that we once again have two serviceable two-seaters to meet the needs of club members and visitors. All we need now is the weather!

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 9th August 2014

The forecast was for a SW wind gaining in strength and getting more gusty. This and the impending arrival of an intense low pressure system previously know as Hurricane Bertha suggested a training day.

David Bourchier is just the right height to balance the wingtip on his head while rigging the K13
The day started with K13 G-DDMX being re-assembled after it’s recent C of A work. For the last 2 days a small army of members led by Inspector John Bolt have taken the aircraft through all of it’s annual inspections and I must say it was looking nice with it’s freshly painted wing tips and chip free leading edges. Thank you everyone who was involved.

Do you recognise this man? It me doing rudder pedal adjustments
Chief Flying Instructor Don Puttock was on duty today and he and I shared K7M G-DCLT until the K13 and Instructor (and club fleet manager) Ged Nevisky joined us at the launch point in the early afternoon.
We flew several Air Experience Visitors between us in the buoyant and sometimes soarable conditions. The solo pilots made good use of the K8 until the gusty conditions dictated that it would be better left on the ground.
Air Experience visitor Elizabeth Page with me in K7M G-DCLT
Visitor Pietar De Wilde and family
Visitor Miles Redhead was flown by Ged
Visitor Marie Lashbrook flew with Don in the K13
 Highlight of the day was the first visit by James Brown who has joined us as a junior member. Currently studying for his A Levels James is an ATC glider pilot ( grade 2, I think ) who will now undergo additional training to help him convert to Sport Gliding and study and practice for his Glider Pilots licence.

New member James Brown started his sport gliding career with Ged in K7m G-DCLT
A good club flying day


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 6th August 2014

Plenty of our more experienced members – plus ab initio student Chris Jones – responded to my call for an early start. The K-8 (still on its trailer from Sunday’s field landing) was cast aside initially, with emphasis placed on getting both two-seaters airborne and earning their keep. With training flights underway, the K8 was rigged and then test flown by Martin Broadway, before providing plenty of fun for solo pilots, and more than earning its keep in the process.

With a light WNW wind and the winch in the end field, launches up to 1,500 feet were the norm, with a whole succession of winch and cable retrieve drivers sharing the workload .

Chris and I started the day with a good soaring flight in DMX, facilitating a useful programme of ab initio exercises, followed later by a series of dual flights with John Rogers. For the rest of the day, I focused mainly on my undeclared personal objective of getting three of our lapsed solo pilots – Mike Keller, Dick Masters and Chris Fagg – up and away on their own once again in the K8. This involved a fair amount of spinning, and several simulated launch failures, including one straight ahead from a great height into the empty bit of the sheep field. (Well, we do say ‘If it is safe to land ahead, do so’, don’t we?) John Bolt and Bob Sansom also soared this popular little glider.

A "flock? or squadron?" of K8 pilots. From left to right
Bob Sansom, Chris Fagg, John Bolt, Mike Keller and Dick Masters
Trial lesson Instructor Steve Lewis was busy as usual in CLT, flying with trial lesson candidates Ian Greening, Malcolm Roberts and Vernon Smith, as well as Junior Member Ross Pratt

Malcolm Roberts took his air experience flights with Ged
Vernon Smith in K7M G-DCLT
Junior member Ross Pratt waiting to go after Dick Masters helped him strap in.
The only other gliders in action today were the Zugvogel, which Alan Holland extracted from the back of the hangar during the afternoon to go soaring, and the Twin Astir, which was campaigned enthusiastically by various permutations of syndicate members under Ged Nevisky’s supervision.

A pity that there were no private single-seater gliders in action, but an upside to this situation was that several of their owners were with us today, keeping the field running and taking to the air in club gliders, including Mike Gadd introducing his father-in-law, John Wheeler , to our sport. Our ab initio ranks were slimmer than usual due to holidays.

Mike Gadd with his father-in-law John Wheeler
Operationally, it was a pleasant and productive day, overshadowed only slightly by the prospect of our having to de-rig DMX ready for its annual inspection before we headed homeward at the end of the day. In fact, the club’s favourite workhorse suffered from a punctured main-wheel tyre during the late afternoon, causing extra aggro for Vice-Chairman Colin Boyd and a small team of helpers who carried out a repair to enable the glider to be towed back from the far end of the airfield to the hangar.

Changing a K13 main wheel is a spectator sport appartently.
Usually as the end of the day nears, members tend to drift away to engage in nocturnal pursuits, but this evening a dedicated crowd remained not only to put the kit away, but to get DMX de-rigged and ready for John Bolt and David Bourchier, along with various volunteers, to carry out essential C of A inspection work tomorrow and on Friday prior to the revalidation of it’s ARC ( Airworthiness Review Certificate ). Hopefully, we’ll then have two two-seaters available for the weekend. Such voluntary effort is well and truly ‘above and beyond the call’ – and we thank you both, as well as all those other members who have committed to help you to make it happen.

Many hands make light work
Positioning the parts in the hangar ready for the workers.
Turning the fuselage upside down 
Bob Pirie