Wednesday's Gliding Club News

Itching to get airborne for the first time this year after an enforced lay-off, it was great to be able to spend several hours at a busy and upbeat Brentor in the company of friends old and new. (And the weather conditions weren't bad either!)

After refresher flights with David Jesty, I then enjoyed a pleasant half hour in the K8 proving that conditions were, indeed, soarable - after which both single seaters were in continuous use. Not sure who had the longest flight of the day, but when I left mid-afternoon Alan Holland was showing no signs of returning to Earth anytime soon.

Bob 'back in the saddle' with K8.
Personally, it was a bit 'odd' not occupying the back seat of a K13, but reassuring to see everything operating efficiently with David at the helm - plus help with trial lessons from Ged Nevisky. Unusually for a Wednesday, Steve Lewis wasn't around to fly our visitors, due to the fact that he and syndicate partner Trevor Taylor were hauling their trailer north to Nympsfield to get some professional 'tlc' applied to their Jantar.

Kit Smith poses with quad bike.
Club member Bob Sansom takes nourishment while chatting with Michael Rogers and wife Liz, while fellow-member Kit Smith listens-in.
Jeff Cragg ready for the 'off'' in the Zugvogel.
 It was good to be welcomed by so many Wednesday 'regulars' and also to get acquainted with several enthusiastic 'new faces' on the brink of converting their memberships from 'temporary' to 'full'. The latter included Dave Downton from Plymouth, yachtsman and helicopter pilot Mark Hilpern along with Tina-Maria Lofting and son Haydn from Chagford, and Rob Manuel from Callington. During the afternoon Michael Rogers (accompanied by wife Liz) from Kingsbridge came along for a trial lesson.

Duty instructor David Jesty with Rob Manuel.  
Steve Raine  preparing to lasso new member Haydn Lofting.
Mark Hilpern's hair stands on end (at prospect of flying with Ged maybe?)
Impossible to name everyone who kept the show on the road today, but Barry Green (winch driver), John Rogers (control tower), Colin Boyd (launch point controller) and Jeff Craggs/Mike Heller (cable retrieve drivers) all deserve a mention. Plus, of course, the hard-working instructors.

For me it was great to be back - and thanks to everyone for that warm welcome.

Bob Pirie

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 24th May 2015

After yesterday’s late start but 40 launch day we had everything to play for today. However, with ‘warm sector’ conditions prevailing at 0900 (the cold front of which was due over the local area at 1200) it a case of watch and hope that conditions would improve for the afternoon. So, having consulted the ‘To Do’ List, by a process of natural cell division we formed two groups: the ‘Fencing Team’ and ‘Pop Rivet Party’. Duellists Roger Appleboom and “I’ll give it a Go” Richard Roberts comprised the Fencing Team, whilst the Howarths (Peter and Paula), Adrian Irwin and myself) (the heavy gang) made up the Pop Rivet Party.

Having sized up their weapons of fence construction: barbed wire, staples, stakes and basher, the Fencing Team set about repairing the fence opposite the clubhouse, stripping away the impeding brambles with slashing saw action (bare chested of course) and planting four new posts which should keep the cattle on their side of the field for a good while longer.

“Epee, foil or sabre?”
Roger Appleboom looks bemused at the weapons on offer as a member of the Fencing Team.
One of the four ‘Sunday Posts’ delivered by the Fencing Team.
Down at the other end of the airfield, the Pop Rivet Party was going with a bang! Head for heights member Adrian Irwin was chosen to ascend to the heavens with pop rivet gun in hand, rejoining the panels at the back of the launch point that had recently come adrift, whilst Peter and Paula Howarth brushed up their painting skills on the inside walls around the doorway and stairs, making a vast improvement to first impressions. Unfortunately, the paint ran out before the walls did so the cry is for “More Magnolia, please..!” (Richard Roberts has already arranged for any ‘spillages’ at B&Q Plymouth to be made available to us free of charge, but if you have some magnolia going begging then that would help speed the process to completion.)

The Pop-Rivetting Party ready for the off.
“Greatest Height Gain of the Day was claimed by Adrian Irwin, with a massive 1.2m
whilst pop-rivetting at the launch point”.
After checking that the forecast update revealed the clearance was not going to materialise before 4pm, and a quick hoovering (which Jerry Wellington would not have approved of) we decided we had done our bit for home improvements and shut the generator down (in fact the sky remained overcast until about 4:30 the following day, after which it looked very soarable.) Let’s hope we can give the ‘To Do’ List a stiff ignoring next week..!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 23rd May 2015

A very pleasant, warm day with a light NW breeze. There were large areas of overdevelopment which limited the soaring a little. Viewing this differently these conditions provided some challenges ( and fun ) for the soaring pilots.

Winch drivers view today
The launchpoint was busy with 4 club aircraft and the Dart 17R, K8 and the Twin Astir from the private fleet with Roger Green’s ASW20 rigged and waiting by it’s trailer. First launch was a little later than usual but once we got going the launch rate was good with a total of 40 flights being flown by the end of the day.

Looking down at the launch queue from the ciruit
Leith relaxing in his Dart 17R just before his launch
Our 2 newest members, Robert Manuel and Paul Lowther, both enjoyed some soaring with me in K13 G-CHXP while working on control coordination. They both made good progress.

Trainee pilot Paul Lowther
Trainee pilot Robert Manuel
We welcomed several visitors today. Mark Hilpern, Haydon Lofting, Rubina Saha, Savitha Krishnan and Arun Rajaglopal were flown by IFP’s Rick Wiles and Roger Green. Judging by the smiles, everyone enjoyed their visits.

Visitor Mark Hilpern in K13 G-DDMX with Rick
Visitor Rubina Saha
Savitha Krishnan flew with Roger Green
Arun Rajaglopal flew with Rick in G13 CHXP
Also flying with us today was Stefi Guiu who has been missing for a while due to her exam and study commitments at the university. This was a fleeting visit as she is going home to Romania next week for the summer. She is looking forward to flying throughout the summer in her new glider, a Speed Astir 2. She has promised some pictures and a blog post to let us know how she gets on.

A good day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 20th May 2015

The forecast for today was encouraging with long periods of sun. The wind was maybe a little strong with about 15knots NW at ground level and 25 knots at flying heights.It was colder than might have been expected for this time of year with  most people wearing fleeces against the cold wind.

Delighted with his flight, today's "Ace of Base" Andrew
Soaring today was a challenge, particularly low down, with some determined scratching required to effect initial climbs while trying to avoid the large areas of sinking air. But DGS pilots were up to the challenge with many pilots managing soaring flights. Best of the day was Andrew Beaumont who managed 2 hours in the Astir.

One Day Course Candidate Nigel with IFP Fred
We welcomed Nigel Richards toady who joined us for a One Day Course. Nigel did have some previous experience, so after a site familiarisation flight with IFP Fred Marks, He enjoyed a couple of soaring flights with me during which he was able to start to get to grips with the controls before finishing his course with a couple of flights with Ged Nevisky. I hope this is the start of a whole new hobby for Nigel.

A nice club day


Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 16th May 2015

Clear skies and a brisk westerly wind encouraged some well place optimism with the club fleet out and private gliders rigged.

An optimistic start for the day with both private and club gliders being prepared .
The soaring conditions remained tricky all day. We have noticed this on previous occasions with strong westerly winds like today. The jury is still out but it seems likely that the conditions are affected by a wave system triggered by the Bodmin Moor, several miles upwind in Cornwall. Astonishing areas of lift showing more than 10knots with very strong areas of sinking air with the system moving around continuously, seemingly at random, hints at rotor activity. Occasionally areas of smooth lift was found further strengthening the idea of a wave system perhaps being broken up by the thermal activity which, in turn, is being broken up by the wave system.

Tavistock and the Tamar estuary shrouded in haze.
The airfield from 2,700 feet
Introduction flight for Joe Dash for his birthday.
With 2 groups of visitors planned and plenty of club training to do, the instructing team of Ged Nevisky and IFP Rick Wiles and IFP Mike Jardine kept the K13’s busy. On the club front it was interesting to see returning member ( and ex Junior Nationals pilot ) Richard Roberts starting out to regain his flight status after an absence of approximately 20 years. Great news.

Richard relaxing with a cup of tea after getting back into a glider
The first group of visitors today was the 2nd Plymstock cubs and their leader Nick Hele. Although they did not fly they were given a thorough tour of all the gliding activities and spent some time in the simulators. I wonder if any of them will become glider pilots in the future?

2nd Plymstock cubs
The second group today was a stag party. They all flew with either Mike or Rick and then adjourned to the clubhouse for a  BBQ and a beer or two in preparation for their planned night on the town. A memorable stag party indeed.

A very organised stag party
Another photo for my glider pilots strange hat series

A busy day


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 13th May 2015

The weather forecast looked favourable with plenty of sunshine and a light SE breeze. The only negative was an approaching front due to deliver rain over night. The soaring conditions were difficult with a lot of high cirrus with only random thermal bubbles low down needing patience and a fair bit of skill ( or luck?) to exploit.

An organised launchpoint with a weak looking sky 
We welcomed 2 new people today,  David Downton who flew with Ged and One Day Course candidate, kite surfer Alex Payne who flew with me and will hopefully be returning to make gliding his second hobby. The K13 was kept busy all day.

David Downton
One day course candidate Alex Payne
There was a good turnout of single seaters with the club K8, 2 Astirs , a K6, and the Open Cirrus. Soaring conditions were somewhat tricky low down but once above 2000 feet thermals were more organised and the 4500 foot cloudbase was within reach. The best flight was Robin Wilson’s 1 hour 25 minutes in his K6. Other notable flights were Mike Gadd in the Open Cirrus who flew for just over an hour before returning to let his syndicate partner, Ged, have a go and Martin Broadway who soared the club K8 for 3/4 hour.

Today's "Ace of Base" Robin Wilson with his mighty K6
 Meanwhile in the hangar, John Bolt completed the C of A and ARC renewal on the club Zugvogel 3A which is now ready for club service again. Allan Holland spent several hours in the hangar repairing the fuselage dolly from Robin’s K6.

And this season the best dressed glider pilots are wearing !!!
Apart from the usual thanks for all the helpers. special thanks must go to David Rippon who came to the club early and, single handedly, changed ends i.e. towed the winch to the east end, brought the launchpoint up to the west end and towed out the cables ready for use, all without the chance of flying as he had to leave straight afterwards to attend to family matters. Now that's dedication


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 10th May 2015

"Socked in, then?!" came David Bourchier's greeting on his arrival. To which we could only agree: with cloudbase below the level of the club's height above mean sea level, 'socked in' is what we were... 

So there was nothing else for it but to resort to the 'To Do' list, on which the most significant item was to be rectified by the aforesaid Dave Bourchier, namely 'Repair brakes on quad bike'.  For which Dave had come equipped with new pads, to which were added, courtesy of a 'flying' visit by Rick Wiles, some essential special to type seals, all of which were out in place and bled through by Dave by lunchtime. Except the lever didn't work..! Step forward Motorcycle Instructor Roger Appleboom, however, with a fistful of HP air from the compressor and...job's a good'un, stops on a sixpence (for those of you who remember...)  So a serviceable quad bike at one end of the field

- and at the other, Rich Roberts extracted his newly acquired K-6CR 'FHZ' to remove the turn and slip to check for earths - or as the Old/Bold Pilot said, "If you've got earth on your T&S it's probably time to get out as you've struck the ground..!"

Richard Roberts's newly acquired K-6CR, 'FHZ'.

After lunch we retrieved one metal and one wooden five bar gates from the airfield to the hangar area, the first to replace the bent one at our entrance, the second to be broken for firewood.

Let's hope for better weather on Wednesday.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 9th May 2015

The day started with heavy rain which would have kept most sane people at home but there was a clearance forecast for later.

By mid morning it had stopped raining and started looking hopeful. Pilots who attended today were rewarded with some great soarable conditions with a 10 knot breeze straight down the runway so good launch heights were also on the menu.

David briefing Jeff Craggs before another training flight
Instructor David Jesty was kept busy throughout the day with training and check flights but not so busy that he and experienced pilot Malcom Roberts could post the longest flight of the day at 1 hour 16 minutes. There were lots of other soaring flights in the interesting and somewhat challenging conditions. Great fun.

K13 landing past the K8 ( just visible behind
Good view of the airfield taken fron the NE corner.
The visibility was quite good today.
The Tamar estuary at Saltash is easy to see even from this low height
We entertained 2 visitors today, Robert Manuel and returning temporary member Frank Roberts both of whom had soaring flights with Rick Wiles.

Robert and Rick
Frank looks happy to be flying again
As we were enjoying tea and medals in the clubhouse, ex member and instructor Bob Hawley paid us a visit with his daughter Adele, Within minutes Adele was encouraged into the simulator with Rick Wiles. As I left, Rick was teaching elevator control and was heard to say “Yes that was very good but shall we try it again without the loop this time!!”

A good day


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 6th May 2015

Low cloud, windy conditions with very heavy gusts; the weather is not being kind to us, is it?

Arriving late due to work commitments I met a strangely familiar convoy on the single track road to the airfield. It was familiar because it was three car loads of club members going out on a mission to move one of the ex Perranporth gliders from it’s current storage location to a new space provided by Vice Chairman Colin Boyd.
Preparing to remove the fuselage from the trailer
A K7m with a front wheel rather than a skid
Now we know why the crew was so large
unless it flew there of course
I held the fort at the airfield maintaining the fire in the woodburner and it’s fuel stock. I know that it is May but today was unbelievably cold. My other task was to make sure that the kettle was on when the off site gang returned.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 3rd May 2015

Although today became a no fly day, that was not for want of trying from the ground upwards. With One Day Course student Alex Payne and 6 Introductory Flights scheduled, there was a lot to do.

And so, led more by optimism than common sense, and the knowledge that there was a weather window between 1100, when the cloudbase was due to lift, and 1pm, when the wind was forecast to increase to 33kts from the south-west, we got the gliders up to the launch point. Only for them (and us) to be drenched by a heavy rain shower even before we got to the starting line..!
'Chaingang' members Jerry Wellington and Peter Howarth set on the track waiting for cloudbase to lift.
A triumph of optimism over commonsense as the K-13 is
swallowed by a rain shower on is way to the launchpoint.
 Three quarters of an hour later, with the weather station alarm sounding almost constantly, we decided that discretion was better than valour and, with due regard to the wind (which was not SW at all, but due South), we gingerly took the gliders all the way back to the hangar.

"Take up Slack!" Jerry and the K-8 ready to go back to the hangar.
That did not stop the fun, however, for in the afternoon IFP pilot Pete Howarth enjoyed instructing One Day Course student Alex Payne in flying the simulator, leading the way for all if us to give it a go.

One Day Course student Alex Payne enjoyed his instruction with Pete Howarth on the simulator.
Returning member Richard Roberts was particularly impressed with the simulator as he contemplates restarting his flying, having already bought a K-6 (the fourth on site - fifth including the K-10). So, although we left early, leaving Dave Bourchier completing maintenance in the hangar, and largely as a result of the simulator it was launch rate: nil; smiling faces: 6!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd May 2015

With a low pressure area to the west firing in wave after wave of rain and strong winds it was not a surprise that it was just not flyable today.

The members at the club just quietly got on with various tasks. Leith and John worked on the CofA Leith’s very pretty Dart 17R. Rick and David worked on restoring the brakes on one of the quad bikes until Allan arrived when the focus shifted to some welding repairs on the GusLaunch winch.

John working on the Dart in the hangar
The beautiful lines of a Dart 17R
Allan working on the winch while I get in the way.
Hoping for summer weather soon