Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 26th August 2017

A nice, warm summer day with light variable winds. Surprisingly, there was only a small ( but beautifully formed ) cadre of club members present, perhaps understandable on a Bank Holiday weekend when family duties seem to multiply.

Our visitors today started with John McLeavy, followed by Angela Luckett and Andrew Thorne all of whom flew with me in HXP. Also visiting today was Rebecca Almond who flew with Rick in DMX.

Visitor John Mcleavy
Angela Luckett enjoyed an extended soaring flight
Golf enthusiast Andrew Thorne made a good start to learning to fly
Rebecca and Rick flew in K13 G-DDMX
Rick's other 2 seater flights included some training flights with David Archer, and soaring flights with Chris Matten and David Bourchier. My day finished with a very enjoyable soaring flight with Steve Raine in HXP.

Steve Raine rolls the K13 into another 2 knot climb

My view of Tavistock from the back seat of HXP at 2300 feet
From around midday, the soaring conditions improved with the usual narrow thermals low down improving with height. Notable flights included a very creditable 48minutes in the K8 for recent solo pilot Andy Davey. Longest flight was 3 hours 34 minutes by Stephen Fletcher in his Open Cirrus. Barry Green was airbourne for 1 hour 40 minutes in the Silent but maybe we should discount the flight as he needed to restart his engine during the flight to prevent a landout somewhere near Okehampton.

As the afternoon worn on it became obvious that the "cloud street" above the airfield was, in fact, convergence. Pilots reported climbing up the side of the convergence ending up 1000 feet above the 2300 feet cloudbase. Great fun.

Barry ready to take off in the silent - notice the convergence cloud above
Rick's view of the runway - it looks very long from here
K8 waiting under the convergence
The best news of the day was a visit by Ged who is recovering from his second major operation in the last 12 months. It was so nice to see him up and about. He is not flying yet but is definitely on the mend. Welcome back mate.

Ged enjoying a cup of tea while watching the action.
Many thank to all those whose helped out once again, and for those who didn't come today, "where were you? - you missed out".


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 23rd August 2017

Weather forecast today was a steady wind straight down the runway with the chance of some soaring from lunch time onwards. When I arrived at the club to cover instructing from midday the wind was blowing more south westerly, and sometime southerly.  At the launch point we even got a little wet with some drizzle. By 3pm the wind did what the forecast said and condition improved.

We welcomed a number of visitors:

Samuel Piper and  his dad and brother dropped in while on holiday near Newquay. Samuel has just taken up gliding and is learning to fly at York Gliding Centre. We wish him the well in his training.

Rick, Samuel and his family
We also welcomed Alison Bess.


And finally but not least we welcomed Mick Allan, Mick took up gliding and learnt to fly in Germany back in 1969. Mick has taken a one day course and we look forward to seeing Mick back at the club soon.

A rhyming image Mick with Rick
Everyone that wanted to fly did so, with some training flights with our new member Bela Csete. Longest flight of the day was Bob Samson in his K8. Bob manged to stay up for 38 minutes near the  end of the day.

Big thanks to Barry and Heather for winching and retrieve driving, also to Phil, Andy, Bela,  Bob and Colin for keeping the launches going smoothly.

Rick Wiles

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 20th August 2017

Today was a day of two halves: the first cable and the second.  With a warm front predicted to arrive at either 1200 or 1430 (depending on which forecast you favoured) and with Dave (The 'Voice') Downton having confirmed that the father and son One Day Course had been rescheduled, at 0905 a very short conversation between the assembled throng ascertained a. that we had sufficient to run the field safely and that b. Pete Howarth was concerned to maintain his currency as handling Pilot in Charge. So without further ado we got the cables out, a single K-13 and by 0950 we were flying.  So on a Sunday in the second half of August we were able to say “Welcome to DGS's Shortest Day”.   

The first launch took Pete and Ed Borlase through some wispy cloud to a full launch height, followed by a normal circuit (as posted by Ed on Facebook); the second took the pair into a wall of cloud, an early release and hangar landing.  By 1030 the gliders were back in the hangar and the rain (early for once) had started.   
Peter Howarth and Ed Borlase about to launch on the first (and penultimate) cable. 
The clouds in the background tell their own story.
So having achieved all Key Performance Indicators (including the one that says 'give the gliders a good wipe down, especially in the elevator hinges, if they have become wet') by lunchtime we had called it a day.

Thanks go to Dave Downton for winching, and to everyone involved for the swift, efficient manner in which the kit was got out and prepared for use.  If only every day was as easy to set up as today...

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 19th August 2017

The weather forecast looked very usable. 4/8th's cloud cover with 15 knots of wind from the west. Little to no chance of rain although there is another front due this evening. While 15knots is reasonably strong it was straight down the runway and was not very gusty so was a real pleasure to fly in.

What about soaring? Well this brought a few surprises. At the upwind end of the airfield (and beyond) there was a large area of sinking air which stayed there all day irrespective of what the clouds were doing. At the downwind end there were a lot of thermal bubbles lifting with surprising amounts of energy. With the strength of the wind climbing in these bubbles would give 2000 feet by the time the wind had pushed you about 3 miles downwind of the the airfield; overhead Cox Tor. Pushing back into the wind could then be accomplished in large areas of lift, too smooth to be just normal cloud streets. My best guess suggests that this was a wave system in the strong westerly wind which was enhancing and suppressing thermal formation over relatively large areas. Very interesting.

The Zugvogel 3B about to launch from the head of the grid
The solo pilots are usually quick to catch on to the conditions and today was no different. After some short soaring flights by the 2 seaters, the Zugvogel 3B syndicate lead the way with flights of 23minutes by Alan followed by 50 minutes by Roger who topped out at 3000 feet. Longest flight of the day was by Barry Green flying the Silent who flew  for nearly 2 hours engine off after his initial launch. Regular blog readers will not be surprised to hear that Alan Holland managed 47 minutes in the K8.

This is Mike Jardine's view of the Zugvogel while they shared a thermal.
It's against the cloud top right
Roger Green's view from the 3000ft cloudbase
Today's visitors were One Day course Candidate Brian McManus and Air Experience voucher holder Steve George who flew with me. Another Air Experience visitor was Richard Jones who flew with Rick. Today also saw Bella Cset returning to continue flying training after his visit last Saturday.

One Day Course Candidate Brian McManus ready for another flight
Visitor Steve George helping to return the glider to the launch point after his flight
Visitor Richard Jones flew with Rick
Returning from last week to start his training is Bella who flew with mike.
Our thanks, as always, are due to all the members who helped make this a successful day. I am sure you know who you are.

The day finished with a meeting of the Committee who were still working all the way through sunset and beyond. Now that's dedication.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 13th August 2017

A steady southerly wind greeted us this morning (ie. not the south-westerly predicted), but it was well within limits and with the cloudbase rising all the prospects were looking good.

Our One Day Course student, ornithologist Tim O'Leary arrived spot on 9:30 am for his welcome presentation with Roger Appleboom, and our other visitors, Gary Andrews and Stephen Venning, were also very prompt. Although the sky looked promising it delivered only in fits and starts, hence both visitors were treated to two short flights in K-13 HXP.

One Day Course student Tim O’Leary is congratulated by Instructor Roger Appleboom
at the end of a successful day.
Visitor Gary Andrews also flew with Roger Appleboom.
A picture of concentration as visitor Stephen Venning
Star billing today has to go to Philip Hardwick (Farmer Phil) who, after a couple of hours winching, brought his Astir to the launchpoint, surveyed the sky and then launched into the only usable cumulus in the sky (over the launchpoint, and thence downwind), taking him to cloudbase at 2,500ft for a Flight of the Day winning 1 hr 25 mins. Leith Whittington came a close second (well, using the term 'close' loosely) in the single seater stakes with 11 mins whilst in the two seaters Roger Appleboom and Tim O'Leary did best with 20 mins, whilst Ed Borlase (with Martin Cropper) managed a very creditable 13 mins scratching at 800ft approx just to the south of the site.

Dave Downton about to be launched in his immaculate and resplendent K-6 Easyjet..!
 ...And away he goes..!
And the prize for most colourful glider at Brentor to date must surely go to Dave Downton's immaculately finished and resplendent K-6, or K-6Easyjet, as it is alternatively known. Dave is thoroughly enjoying his new mount, with its superior performance, “It just doesn't seem to want to come down!” he said. If only all gliders were like that (ie. orange..!)

 Cirrus towards the end of the day herald rain for Monday morning...
Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 12th August 2017

If you had taken any notice of the forecast for today you probably would have stayed at home. If you went to the airfield anyway you were met with relatively benign, flyable conditions. The wind was 8 to 10 knots but only about 10degress to the north of the runway direction. There was none of the forecast rain. As the day wore on, what was initially 8/8th's cloud became 6/8th's with with enough thermal activity to provide a challenge.

The benign conditions
Winchmanster Scratch has his toys nicely lined up and ready for the day
Low down the thermal bubbles were tight and narrow - great fun. Several flights were extended just soaring low down - even more fun. There were 10 or so flights with times in double figures with Martin Broadway showing the competition a clean pair of heels with 35 minutes in the K8.

The K8 takes another launch
Jo Hurst was today's One Day Course candidate. By the end of her course she was flying the glider around the circuit with some style. We also welcomed visitor Bela Carole Csete who enjoyed his Introductory flights. Today's training was handled by Rick Wiles who seems to have an insatiable appetite for the back seat of a K13.

One Day Course candidate Jo Hurst
Visitor Bela Carole Csete is keen to learn to fly.
A nice day with a few friends.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Thursday 10th August 2017

Flying on Thursday? This is the middle of a club flying week masterminded by DCFI Gordon Dennis. It is fair to say that they have already seen several seasons of weather this week, but it is also fair to say that they have been making the best of it, flying at every opportunity.

But today will be different. There is a very encouraging forecast and even RASP ( Regional Atmospheric Soaring Prediction ) looks ok. In response to this the club is busy with a lot of solo pilots hoping to get some soaring in. After the well attended morning briefing it was off to the east end launch point ready for first flight at around 10.30am in the light NW breeze.

The solo line
The launchpoint was busy and to keep things moving along the 2 line system was adopted, single seaters on the inside, 2 seaters on the outside. This greatly simplifies the task of organising the launchpoint and keeps the amount of glider moving to an acceptable level.

Ed Borlasse with Gordon in DMX
The 2 seaters were kept busy. Gordon concentrated on flying club members Tony Tayler, Ross Tayler, Edward Borlase and Callum Doyle who each had 3 training flights. This along with check flights for Peter Harvey and Mike Bennett kept Gordon firmly in the back seat of K13 G-DDMX all day to the final flight at 6.30pm. K13 G-CHXP was also busy flying today's visitors, Bella Karoly Csete ( today's One Day Course ) and Roy Wilkins flew with Roger Appleboom, Toni Pike enjoyed a couple of soaring flights with me, and Cindy Nilsen flew with Colin Boyd who was exercising his Friends and Family privileges.

Roy Wilkins waiting to fly
Visitor Toni Pike
There was quite an array of private gliders with the Open Cirrus, Standard Cirrus, Club Libelle, Zugvogel 3B, K6e, Astir and Twin Astir all putting in an appearance. Most interesting flight today was Robin flying the Twin Astir solo who found a working thermal for a flight of 37 minutes. Also of interest was Dave Downton who flew his "new" K6e for the first time.The conditions didn't live up to expectations bur everyone had fun trying in the very patching soaring.

Pete Harvey in the Standard Cirrus
Zugvogel 3B
Club Libelle
A great day leading to a total of 50 launches.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 6th August 2017

Stay flexible and expect the unexpected! A good maxim for anyone involved in gliding and proved its worth today, as the weather steadfastly refused to conform with the expected westerly, dry with long sunny periods, instead preferring a steady southerly and lead grey 100% cloud cover throughout. Our expectations for a relatively quiet, trainee focussed day were also wide of the mark, as Dave ‘the Voice’ was inundated with callers seeking air experience opportunities, whilst others simply turned up without being invited! So we had to switch from meeting ‘club’ to ‘visitor’ expectations, a change which was made admirably by all today – patience being a virtue that was deeply mined – and everyone flew who wanted to, eventually…

One Day Course student Craig Knight
The day started with Roger Appleboom taking our One Day Course student, Craig Knight, for his first perambulation about the sky, closely followed by Louise Stone, fresh from milking 24 cows in the South Hams (so this really was the latter part of her day). After a couple of familiarisation flights Craig ‘gave way’ to Peter Stevenson, Ashley Goodbeer and Loretta Elizabeth Capel. (the last two from Exeter)in K-13 HXP, whilst the front seat of the other was taken by our second Louise, Louise Hill. Louise, who had come all the way from Richmond, London (well a B&B at Whitsand Bay, actually…) with her boyfriend Alex, was visiting the West Country when a planned trip to her mother’s had to be called off (due to her feeling ‘unwell’) and so, on arrival in Cornwall, was not expecting to be proposed to by Alex! (Surprise, surprise..!) Their visit to us today was all part of Alex’s pre-planned engagement celebrations (and for him relief as Louise said yes, sporting a very sparkly ring on her left hand) – is that a first for Dartmoor Gliding..?

Visitor Louise Stone chats with Martin Cropper.
Visitor Peter Stephenson with Roger Appleboom.
Visitor Ashley Goodbeer from Exeter.
Loretta Elizabeth Capel looks pleased after her flight with Roger Appleboom
Trainee-wise we also had a few surprises. Not least being the ‘new’ ML2 winch for its delivery (or not) of power, as Dave Westcott discovered at about 150ft into his first launch! Thankfully Dave handled the recovery with composure, and no need for instructor intervention. On the long walk back he gratefully recalled the watchwords: ‘Always Expect a Launch Failure’ and will proudly record the event as a ‘first’ in his logbook. Junior Pilot Jack Simmonds was also in the training hot seat, making progress co-ordinating his turns in (very slightly) rising air. Thankfully, there was none of that left by the time it was Ed Borlase’s turn to fly, enabling him to complete three well-judged circuits ending with a hangar landing that came to rest just at the top of the cross-track.

 Louise Hill receiving her pre-flight brief from Martin Cropper.
Louise Hill landing after her first flight.
Visitor Alex Lennon-Smith with Martin Cropper.
Thanks go, in particular today, to Colin Boyd for realising that we were slightly short-handed with winch drivers, to Dave Downton for winching and Leith Whittington for helping at the launchpoint all day without flying, and to Joe Nobbs for winching and then saving us the trouble of having to tow the K-8 by flying it from one end of the airfield to the other (and lining the Treasurer’s coffers paying for the privilege..!)

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News- Saturday 5th August 2017

The weather forecast looked good with a NW wind and rising temperatures with thermals predicted.

A tempting sky as the K13 made its way from the hanger,
with the Zugvogel of the three wise men being rigged for its first flight at Dartmoor.
First in the air was John Ashworth for his one day course which went well,
A trial flight for Dave Dupont with instructor Martin Cropper
Next in the air we're family visitors Matthew Bell flying with myself .....
..... and his father in law Clive Elks flying with Martin
catching thermals to 3000 feet and 30 minutes in the air
Scratch on Approach in K13-GDDMX for a hangar landing at the end of a busy day.
Needs a wash. Thanks for showing us that Scratch
HXP . All members had flights with 36  launches courtesy of Barry, Scratch and Alan good teamwork.
A good day had by all. Now let's hope the weather stays good for the clubs soaring week.
Mike Jardine