Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 24th February 2016

Today’s weather forecast had been looking promising for several days. Tuesday would had been a wonderful thermal day ( the first of the year ) but we don’t fly on Tuesdays. Wednesday dawned with a blue sky and a light NE breeze. Ah, east in the wind, so a wave day then. Well no. Right from the start the atmospheric soundings had ruled that out, but that would leave things clear for some thermal development.

Cleaning the hangar apron
It took a little time to sort out the airfield. Turning the winch around and towing it to the east end was a tricky task with the airfield still very soft. The gliders were got ready and the hangar apron was cleared the mud and stones washed onto it throughout the winter.

Towing the K13 back under a blue sky
The after several circuits the K13 was manned by Ged and Barry who went soaring for 31 minutes, the best flight of the day. A little later, Alan Holland soared the K8 for 21 minutes only returning to let others have a go in what he described as entertaining conditions. Everyone who wanted to fly did so and just after 5pm the gliders were returned to the hangar to allow the assembled members a chance to warm up after the bitter conditions at the launch point.

Best flight of the day goes to Ged and Barry in K13 G-CHXP
A very special thanks must go to Heather who worked hard all day. She started by cleaning the clubhouse, followed by helping to clear the hangar apron after which she drove the cable retrieve for the rest for the day.

A great flying day at last.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 21st February 2016

Who pinched the church?’
No sign of it on the road from Tavistock.
With the windscreen wipers beating out their rhythm and Brentor church invisible on the approach from Tavistock, it was obvious that flying would not be on the agenda today. So back to the whiteboard, then, with briefings on aerotow eventualities, winch eventualities and an exploration of salutory lessons to be found on YouTube (rope break whiplashing back around the canopy of a K-13) which led to more leisurely viewing of a soaring lesson over Bicester that was, as Roger Appleboom put it, “Like showing a menu to a starving man..!”

Like showing a starving man a menu!’
Roger Appleboom avidly watching a video of summer soaring from Bicester.
 Prior to this, however, a recce team had ventured out to survey the field and identified that the fencing contractors had left some obstructions on the airfield. And so we scrambled our ‘Bouquet of Barbed Wire’ Recovery Squad (Roger Allpleboom, Ed Borlase and Dave Downton) to move the 3 rolls of barbed wire to a safer location. Simultaneously (division of labour and economy of effort being Sunday watchwords) Rich Roberts and Pete Harvey moved the Guslaunch onto the hardstanding ready for maintenance on Monday.

The Bouquet of Barbed Wire team about to mount their assault.
Back in the clubhouse, Dene ‘Scratch’ Hitchens dropped by to show us a mod he has been working on for his syndicate’s Astir, and Adrian Irwin called in to announce that he was off to Australia - sampling the thermals (rumoured to reach 14kft) near Perth - for a month. It’s funny how people like to share good news with their fellow (but groundbound) aviators, isn’t it (probably a good idea that we can’t insert emoticons in the blog…)

Allan Holland then arrived to assist with today’s history lesson which, bizarrely, strayed onto the Blitz in Plymouth, the Theatre Royal, Bank pub and movements of (and beneath) Derry’s Cross clock.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 20th February 2016

The poor weather continues. This week has been particularly difficult. After last Sundays showery day, Monday and Tuesday were cold, bright and dry. If it had been windy the airfield would have dried out but alas not. So Wednesday dawned to ......... torrential rain. At one point driving to the airfield I would have described the rain as monsoon like; the car wipers just couldn't cope. So not a flying day. Thursday dawned bright and clear with an endless blue sky from horizon to horizon. Friday was a little showery. So could we fly on Saturday? Low cloud and a day of drizzle put paid to that.

You might be wondering why we go to the airfield when it is not flyable. Well many years ago we gave an undertaking that we must do what we say we will. The airfield is supposed to be open  Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday so we make sure that it is. If we have a visitor then we are there to greet them  If a member wants to attend to use the simulator, study, have a chat or to help out with the myriad of jobs and projects, someone is there.

So nothing going on then? Not a bit of it. The ground works for the new workshop has been finished. Simon Collier made sure that the aircraft monthly maintenance schedules were up to date.

The groundwork for the new workshop
Three of our pilots have been away this weekend attending module A of their instructors course. This is VERY important to the part of the club's plan.

Mike provided some notes on the trip as shown below


Grey skies , low cloud and rain was the weekend weather at Stafordshire gliding club where module ' A' instructor training was taking place for Rick Wiles, Mike Jardine and Peter Howarth all from Dartmoor Gliding 

Low cloud and rain at the Staffordshire Gliding Club
 The course was held by BGA coach Simon Adlard ( pictured ) and Mike Fox.

From left to right. Rick, Simon, Mike and Peter
The course was interesting , very informative and well received by all attending.
Our thanks and appreciation goes to all those involved and assisting some of whom are pictured.

Some of the helpers. 
Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 14th February 2016

The 'approach shot', taken from Harrowbeer aerodrome looking north-east at 0800, clearly shows a cap cloud over the moor and an edge of rising air to the west with which we are very familiar when the wind is anywhere east of north/south.

View from another airfield: Harrowbeer looking north-east at 0800.
Cap cloud and a wavy edge clearly in evidence.
So that bade well for an interesting day's flying, as many fellow members obviously thought, as there were at least 14 of us, lure by the the north-easterly forecast, assembled at the club by 0900. Sadly, however, the other familiar element we have become used to this winter is the rain which, since it had stopped only just after sunrise, following intermittent showers yesterday, left the field in no fit condition from which to fly.

A good turnout at the club today, sadly to be thwarted by...
...the field being akin to a waterbed, as the tyremarks clearly show..
How frustrating! Did the wave actually form? Well, with a wind profile decreasing in strength with height and, looking at the sky later in the day, it wasn't guaranteed – there were a couple of lenticulars downwind but nothing to suggest wave over Brentor.

So we busied ourselves with keeping the woodburner going (it was bitterly cold outside – Maslow's hierarchy of needs applies..!), some teach-ins about spins, tightly banked turns and the ziz-zag circuit, whilst the Greens (Barry and Roger) got on with selling their cobra trailer to a couple from Sutton Bank (Yorkshire), whose departure was delayed by the fact that the 12-pin electrical connector disintegrated into - 12 pins, 7 wires and no idea where each should go..! With the help of Pete Howarth, however, (one of those unusual males who reads first before assembling) a instruction card was found that enabled the right coloured wire to be screwed into the correctly numbered pin and eventually, after a finger numbing half an hour, they were away.

With the next couple of days promising dry, sunny weather, there is good reason to hope for flying to be possible on Wednesday.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 13th February 2016

A cold dry day ( at last ) but a quick inspection of the airfield showed just how wet the runway is. It is wetter that any of us can remember so today was a non flying day. This was particularly disappointing as Barry and Heather had travelled up especially from St Austell to help with the winch and retrieve. Our thanks for the offer and your efforts.

The fleet waits patiently in the hangar for better weather
Is the airfield quiet? Well not really. Today saw the end of the Fencing Project. The north and south fences have been replaced by contractors. This project is important from a safety point of view and will help keep the farm animals from the adjacent fields from straying onto the runway. Our thanks to Jorg and Steve for their handling of the contract and of course a big "THANKYOU" to the Lottery for their funding assistance.

Some of the contractor's equipment
This machine is used to drive in the posts
A large part of the job was removing all the old fence
and the gorse from the fence line
We now have a couple of thousand metres of new fencing
Today also saw the start of the Workshop Project. The plan is to build a new workshop a the rear of the hangar to provide the warm, dry and well lit conditions required to repair our aircraft effectively. Again, perhaps this does not sound too exciting but this is a vital upgrade to the club infrastructure.

What we need now is several days of windy, dry easterlies to dry out the runway.



Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 7Th February 2016

Those of you who remember Dennis the Menace, in either the Beano comic, or later TV animated version, will doubtless recall that one of his rivals was Walter 'the Softie'. Well today our airfield was having its own 'Walter' moment, as our Survey said, that ground was far too soft for anything more than a feather to land on it, let alone our equivalent of Dennis's soapcart, 900lbs of fully crewed two-seat glider..! Add the factor of further rain forecast to arrive at any time after 1200 and it was clear that to risk a few launches in the morning could easily have resulted in an embarrassingly stuck glider trumping a couple of lines in a log book.

Sunday Soarers’ Selfie: Ed Borlase, Paula Howarth, Martin Cropper
and Pete Howarth enjoy Sunday morning sunshine out on the airfield
- it didn’t last for long (the sun, not the enjoyment..!)
And so we retired to the clubhouse, for more hot drinks and doughnuts (thanks to Paula Howarth) and a couple of teach-ins on airbrakes, approaches and spins to consolidate on last week's stalling masterclass from Don.

Sunday’s hot drinks and doughnuts, supplied by Paula Howarth.
At little later we were greeted by the arrival of silver van man, aka Chris Matten, who was able to brief us on progress with his K-10 following its glue survey at Dunkeswell. Here's hoping that the run of depressions will give way to some high pressure next weekend...

The fencing contractor’s swing shovel frames the church at Brentor.
NB. Readers will no doubt be pleased to hear that, after more than a year of painstaking negotiation we now have a new, 25 year, lease in place. This represents far greater security of tenure than we have had of late, and I'm sure everyone will want to thank lead negotiator, Colin Boyd, for patiently but determinedly steering this vital legal document to its successful conclusion. Thanks, Colin, you can now have part of your life back..! You may also be interested to know that we will be claiming reimbursement of the legal fees from a grant courtesy of the BGA.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 3rd February 2016

New month. New possibilities. For several days the weather forecast had been highlighting flyable conditions for Wednesday. CFI Don Puttock had been keeping club members informed via the Forum. Initially the conditions looked almost gentle with some thermal soaring on the cards. As we got closer to the day the forecast worsened somewhat with westerly winds 15 knots+ at ground level and 40 knots+ at flying heights. This would not be a day for the K8 then but, with the wind straight down the runway, it would be flyable with care.

The cloudscape over Brentor Church does not show how windy it really was 
 By 10:30 everything was set up ready to go. The Gold Discovery would serve as a lightweight launchpoint  The quad bike was the glider tow vehicle of choice. We still have the contractors on site so the radio equipped Suzuki Vitara manned by a knowledgeable club member would control their movements to keep them safe.

Our lightweight launchpoint
Flying continued throughout the day in the cold, challenging conditions but DGS pilots and trainees are well versed in this kind of flying and a great time was had by all with everyone making the circuit adjustments required look easy guided by CFI Don. Everyone who wanted to fly did so. By the end of the day we had completed no fewer that 20 launches; a very good total for a single glider day when glider handling need some extra care.

Steve Raine receives an "animated" briefing from Don
Our thanks today must go to the winch drivers who demonstrated not a little skill in launch gliders in this wind profile with launches going to 1600 feet. Thanks also to the members operating as safety cover for the contractors. Our special thanks must go to Don who flew in 18 out of the 20 launches. Now that's stamina.

The conditions at the end of the day
A great day.



Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 31st September 2016

Another Sunday, another no fly day. With cloudbase at 600ft amsl (see photo) and the airfield 220 feet higher, there really was no question about it – and the wind was forecast to increase to 45 kts later in the day.

The moors just south of the airfield; cloudbase at 600ft amsl says it all...
And so it was that Don and Peter Howarth settled into another day's Instructor Training, using Ed Borlase as a guinea pig – it's astonishing how a subject as simple as trimming can encompass human factors, the manoeuvring envelope, spanwise flow, stalling, vortices, Va and Vb, (who said Vc and Vd – one desirable, the other not..?!) and the Coriolis effect..!

CFI Don Puttock in full ‘Bloggs on - Bloggs off’ mode while
Ed Borlase provides added student audience value.
Still it wasn't all theory, as Colin Boyd and Roger Appleboom restored the K-8 to serviceability whilst Barry and Roger Green (aka the Green Army) returned their ASW-20 to the site, ready for the (whisper it) s-e-a-s-o-n. (A day's flying would be good to get some practice in..!) They were accompanied by Heather Horsewill – and it was good to see her wrist is on the mend, encased in a support bandage.

Outside, the contractor continued work on the fencing - you don't need a cloudbase above ground level for that! Here's hoping for a 'weather window' on Wednesday...

Martin Cropper