Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 22nd December 2018

Watching the weather forecast this week has been a tense affair; all week a possible gap in the seemingly endless frontal systems promised a possible flying opportunity on Saturday. Normally the timing of such gaps tends to move but not this week so Saturday dawned with mostly 8/8ths cloud cover but at least high enough to fly. The wind was 12-15 knots westerly at runway level, stronger at altitude of course but flyable.

An uninspiring sky but flyable.
A K13 was got ready early to take advantage of the conditions. The K8s were left in the hangar, it was possibly a bit windy for them and as there was only a small (but beautifully formed) team the K13 would have enough capacity for our needs.

One Dat Course candidate Ben Followell
First up was Scratch who completed 2 good circuits with Instructor Rick Wiles to maintain his recency. We then welcomed visitor Ben Followell who was attending for a One Day Course. Ben was a solo glider pilot some 7 years ago when he was part of the Cadet Scheme at another airfield. After a couple of familiarisation flights with me he spent the rest of his course with Rick. By the end of the day he had flown his first ever winch launch and reacquainted himself with the pleasures of landing the aircraft. Well done Ben.

The K13 climbs into the sky once more
Everyone who wanted to fly did. By about 3pm the formation of moisture on the aircraft warned of  canopy misting problems to come so the glider was retrned to the hangar and put away after a thorough wash.

Rick's view from the front seat of the K13
looking towards Cornwall from cludbase.
Brentor Church is lower right
Not an epic day but it was good to fly once more.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 16th December 2018

Something strange was seen over Brentor Today. Yes, for a short time it was sunny so we actually got a K13 out of the hangar and flew. If you believe the old wives tale, were we doing the right thing?

Red sky in the morning, shepards warning
With a small crew gathering and if the weather forecast was going to be right giving a window of opportunity up to about midday it was action stations to get the airfield ready. We decided that it would be one flight each so that everybody would get a chance to fly.

K13 heading for a gloomy sky
First flight was at 10:12 with Mike Bennett and myself. The rain could already been seen approaching from the west  It was already raining in Cornwall. Three more flights were achieved with Andy Davey, Martin Cropper and Steve Fletcher. With the rain arriving it was now a quick dash to put the glider away (yes Colin it was dried off) and clear the airfield.

Back in the clubhouse it was time for teas and coffees to wash down the mince pirs supplied by Andy. The chairman set about updating the log books whilst we had our drinks.

The Chairman surrounded by aircraft paperwork
Only a few flights, but it was good to actually fly for once. Thank you to Richard for winching and everone else for the teamwork in running the airfield.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th December 2018

The weather has unfortunately settled into a winter pattern with low cloud interspersed with pulses of rain and high winds. So the last couple of weekends it just has not been possible to fly.

Does that me that the airfield has been quiet and deserted? Not a bit of it. The members have been getting on with their (mostly self appointed) tasks.

The sprucing up of the launch hut (mostly masterminded by Heather and Barry) has seen major improvements being made. The interior has had a completed paint job and the flooring replaced. It is looking much nicer. Scratch was drafted in to replace the log keepers seat with one he rescued from the Green Landrover. Outside, the steps have been refurbished and now sport some new non-slip treads. The exterior has been partly sanded ready for a new cost of paint. This will need to be a group effort as the paint of choice is a two pack paint which will harden very quickly once the catalyst is mixed. And the colour - Olive Green.

Barry adding non slip panels to the steps
The "new" log keepers chair
Rick and Scratch have been working on the vehicles. The Green Landrover has been stripped of any useful parts and then sent to the scrap yard. The bus has been started. A decision on it's future; new launch hut or sale?? will be made soon. The red tractor has had a leak in the cooling system repaired. I am sure I have missed some of what they did but you get the idea.

Rick and Scratch getting an old friend ready for it's final trip
Mike Bennett has been a one man whirl wind. The area behind the trailer park and clubhouse has been tidied including cutting back all the stray foliage. The defunct storage shed has been emptied and is now ready for disassembly. If that wasn't enough Mike has also been cutting up lots of wood for the burner to keep the clubhouse warm. Where does he get all that energy?

"Dartmoor chainsaw massacer?" Mike at work 
In the clubhouse the simulator has seen quite a bit of upgrading. The last few months has seen it upgrading to sport 6 screens. The large central one, 2 side monitors on each side to give a view that now goes from wing tip to wing tip ( great for circuit planning and winch launching ). The sixth screen is a small one in front of the front seat which displays the flight instruments. The software has not been ignored. The simulator now uses Condor 2. As if all that wasn't enough Rick has spent a lot of time at home developing the new local airspace files.

Rick working on the simulator
Steve working on learning the instructor patter with Rick using the simulator.
In the hangar, Zugvogel and K13 HXP have been de-rigged ready for their C of A and ARC. Colin, who now has ARC inspection added to his inspectors ticket,  has been to the airfield most days to move this project on. The K13 is not really due yet but we have decided to move it to the winter months when it's absence from the fleet is not as difficult to manage.

HXP and the Zugvogel inthe hangar for TLC
Colin at work on HXP's port wing
Hoping for some flying weather soon.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 25th November 2018

Leaving Plymouth on a reasonably bright morning and with the forecast for north westerlies and possible wave it was hopeful for a good days flying. Unfortunately arriving at the airfield I was greeted by low cloud. Although there were signs that the cloud was clearing some stubborn low cloud remained over the airfield. But it continued to slowly clear and ever optimistic we readied the airfield to fly. One club K13 was taken out and three private gliders rigged, SF27 (Barry Green), Zugvogel 3b (Roger Green & Andy Davey) and a dart (Leith Whittington).

I finally decided to take a weather check flight at 12:41 with Martin Cropper. We launched into clear air to the east over Mary Tavy and found some definite wave and were climbing at 1-2 knots. Unfortunately the cloud was seen to be encroaching back towards the airfield. So it was open airbrakes and descend to circuit height and land before the cloud encroached too far. We stood down for an hour, by which time the cloud had cleared well to the west.

Leith ready for his launch
Barry Green (SF27), Roger Green (Zugvogel 3b) and Leith Whittington (Dart 17R) all took a launch. Barry and Roger returned after extended flights of 16 and 19 minutes respectively. Leith could be seen north of the airfield initially maintaining height, but then found some more defined lift and could be seen steadily climbing.
Steve Fletcher and I took a launch in the K13 to hopefully follow Leith’s way. Again off the top of the launch we noticed that the cloud was approaching from the west. We lost sight of Leith so again we took the safe option to return and land before the cloud came too far east. Leith returned after a 51 minute flight. He decided to quickly descend seeing the cloud approaching from the east as we had in the K13.

Wave clearly visible over the airfield
Another new flight at the club is the steps between the hangar and the clubhouse.  A nice addition by Colin Boyd.

Colin Boyd Flight
Only five flights, but we made the best of the short breaks in the cloud. Thanks go to Mike Bennett for winching and his efforts in the continuing clearance on the site. Also thankyou to Heather for retrieving and others who helped without flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 24th November 2018

I would like to say that today we emulated our Sunday flyers and went soaring up to great heights straight off the launch. I would LIKE to say that but cannot. We were blessed instead with low cloud and drizzle which kept the gliders in the hangar once more.

Brentor in the mist
The assembled members just got on with their self appointed tasks. Heather and Barry continued with the refurbishment of the interior of the launch hut which is now looking much smarter. Rick and Scratch were getting oily once again working on the bus engine with a side order of fixing the red tractor's colling system.

Personally I had a go at smartening up the rear seat instrument panel in DMX. This came about after Rick sent me a flying picture taken during his wave flight last Saturday. A kinder person than me might a referred to it as "Shabby Chic" but OMG I just couldn't leave it like that. So instruments out and, a quick spray and rebuild later, it looks a bit more presentable. Not perfect but better.

Before - definitely beyond shabby chic
After a fresh coat of paint
Hoping for flying weather on Saturdays please.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 18th November 2018

Well today started with 6 members and a couple of visitors from Northill on site by 845am. Then thankfully the club members continued to arrive giving us all the help we needed to open the airfield.

The forecast was for a lively easterly wind gusting at various points to 22 knots at low level. Although not ideal conditions that lend themselves to learning the sport of gliding for the inexperienced ,for the more experienced pilots and instructors that were all hoping for wave flying in some form it looked promising.

Andy Davey rigging in readiness for what was coming
(photo Richard R)
 The weather check flight was done by cfi Mark Courtney and Roger Appleboom , launch height of 1800ft with wave found in the immediate area over the winch.

The approach was buoyant but within limits so the private gliders were rigged. (Zugvogel 3b, k6cr, discus x2 (V5 and visitor FER ))

The club flying list was worked through with a joint effort from Mark c and Steve w using the k13s. Thanks guys. As the day progressed the day got better and better with regular heights for k13s of 4-6000ft

Wave straight off the launch(Photo Richard R)
The private gliders explored the upper limits with Roger A -7,500ft, Steve W- 8,000ft , Richard R -10,000ft and top of the pops Andy D -12,000ft

Roger Appleboom (k6cr)took this  beautiful photo looking south towards Plymouth sound. 
Still climbing at 5.6 knot at 9,000ft. Photo Richard Roberts (Discus bw V5)
Thanks must go to the solid team who chose to help out and not fly , Alan,Leith, Colin and team Northill were a massive help, we really are grateful. 

Unfortunately the last two flights of the day failed to connect to the wave , we assume the bars had shifted a little.  All aircraft put to bed and fence etc sorted by 4:20pm.


Thanks to all.

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 17th November 2018

With high pressure in charge and the wind flowing from the east there was a good chance of wave today. The day started with low overcast with drizzle on the coast but over the airfield the wave system was obvious. The wind was certainly easterly but stronger than forecast, so a day to fly the K13's and leave the K8's in the hangar.

The primary wave bar
Mike and Rick doing their pre-flight checks
The first wave bar was a long way up wind of the airfield, the second was towards the west end so we would probably be launching into sink with the need to immediately fly downwind to the east end to either connect with the wave and rotor or land. The first flight was Mike Bennett with Rick. and that is exactly what they did. After a turbulent launch they flew downwind and used the rotor to connect with the secondary wave bar. They then used this to climb to 3600 feet giving them enough height to move forward to the primary wave bar almost overhead the leading edge of the moor. They returned 37 minutes later big smiles on their faces.

The slot in the middle marks the primary wave bar
Looking east from the primary wave bar.
The cloud in the top half of the photo is the cap cloud over Dartmoor
I was due to fly the second flight in the other K13 but I made a tactical error. I decided that as we were a little short handed, I would spend 10 minutes or so to help rig a glider before flying. This took much longer than usual due to a stuck pin. On returning to the K13 it was obvious that the weather had changed again. The wind was even stronger, with the gusts almost making standing difficult. This lead to us taking the gliders back to the hangar for safe keeping while we waited for conditions to settle down.

We were patient but the wind just did not settle so by late afternoon we abandoned any chance of further flying. What a shame.

As this was the first easterly day I expect that the conditions will improve over the next few days.

Still kicking myself


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 11th November 2018

A small team gathered at the club on Sunday, the forecast was for South westerly winds and showers.

The field was set up and first to fly was trial flight visitor Janeta Clarke who visited with her experienced ex forces helicopter pilot husband.

Visitor Janeta waiting to fly
After 11 minutes aloft keeping ahead of the approaching showers we landed back at the field and then the showers arrived.

John O’Connell and I waited in the K13 But the weather worsened and with the wind moving South east ,gusting and with a horizontal wind sock I decided to call an end to the flying.

Back to the hangar
Next task was to rig the second K8 so we will now have two online shortly.

Getting FXB ready to rig
Almost done
Thanks to our ever optimistic members that turned up today to put a lot of effort in for what was a short flying day and for rigging the K8.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 3rd November 2018

With a frontal system on the way the weather started off badly and just got worse. Early on saw low cloud and near gale force, southerly winds. As the day progressed the cloud lowered even further and turned to drizzle which became heavy rain by the end of the day. So another non flying day.

Cleaning the mower
 Several tasks were undertaken. The tractors were brought down to the hangar apron for some TLC and the mower was pressure washed in preparation for the winter. Mike spent his day tidy up all the gorse, brambles and long grass on the western side of the trailer park as part of the drive to tidy up. The simulator had parts of the trim mechanism replaced.

Mike with chainsaw
Later David Archer and I spent some time working through Approach Control. We will be offering lectures as required throughout the winter.

Later in the day the committee met for their meeting during which it was decided to purchase Bob's K8 which has been on loan to us for some time. The members will now have a choice of 2 K8's to fly.

Hoping for better weather


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 31st October 2018

Due to work commitments I arrived at the airfield after lunch where the team had everything prepared ready for the flying to commence.

The RASP was not looking good for the day but we got on with the flying programme. First up, two flights with Robin to work towards getting him current again. Next up was John Smith. John and I sat in the K13 waiting for a break in the clouds that had moved in from the South East.

The break never came and with a cloud base at around 500 -600 feet I called it a day and we moved to the warmth of the club house where new member John O’Connell tried his hand on the simulator under the watchful eye of Colin Boyd.

John trying out the simulator while Colin looks on from the back seat.
Thanks to all for the preparation.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 27th October 2108

What a difference a week makes. Last week we were flying in tee shirts and shorts. Today, even though initially we had a clear sky, the temperature was a decidedly chilly 7C. After allowing for the wind chill from the 15 knot northerly this was close to freezing and the assembled members were wrapped up in every layer they had brought with them. Personally I was wishing I had brought my Arctic cold weather suit; a lesson learned.

Sunny over the runway. Showers to the west. Wind across the runway
The northerly wind was strong and gusty straight across the runway, definitely out of limits for flying visitors which were reluctantly canceled for the day. The club was going to fly though so both K13's were readied and taken to the east end launchpoint. Instructors Rick and Mike proceeded to fly with all the memmbers who wished to fly including new member John O'Connell who is keen to experience glider flying in all it's facets..

HXP waiting in the sun. Shower clouds showing to the right (south)
Very quickly the were showers all over the local area but luckily these seemed to go around the airfield. Rick seemed to be well tuned in to the conditions. Twice he managed to find a thermal to whisk him rapidly to the 2000 ft cloudbase before being blown too far downwind. The first of these was a 19 minute effort with John Smith followed by 17 minutes with  David Archer. There was also some lift to be had from the north ridge but only relatively low down. The gusty conditions sensibly prevented too much exporation of this. MOst landings were on the stub runway.

John O'Connell with Mike in DMX
Take up the Slack
Lift off
Around 3pm we had had enough of the cold and, as all those who wanted to fly had done so, decided to return the gliders to the hangar.

We made the best of a difficult day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 24th October 2018

A small but beautifully formed Wednesday crew turned up to be met by thick fog and NNW fresh breeze across the runway. After the usual deliberations and a cup of tea we set the field up and waited. I decided to rig my Cirrus and as the fog dispersed and the wind moderated to about 10 to 15 knots I decided to launch. Given a rasp forecast of no thermic activity and not a cumulus cloud to be seen no one else felt the desire to rig.
The view from the North ridge
So off I went and found just a bit of lift off the slope to the North side of the airfield which I managed to use to keep myself aloft for a bit longer than if I had found nothing, best of the 4 flights was only 11 minutes though. Whilst I was enjoying myself Heather cleared up and hoovered the club hut and then painted around the new , 'shop' board. A huge thank you to Barry for winching and to Phil and John Smith for launching me and to heather for driving the retrieve, what lovely people we have at the club, thanks folks

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding news-Sunday 22nd October 2018

Driving to the airfield, the weather was bright with some early morning mist patches which would soon burn off. After a cup of tea and coffee, the early arrivees set about getting the airfield ready. The first job was to sort a winch out. With only one cable available on the Gus it was decided to use ML2. A quick phone call to Rick to confirm it was on line, revealed that the brakes needed adjusting before it could be used. Andy Davey undertook the task and the cables were soon towed out ready for flying.

With both K8’s off line, the two K13’s were DI’d and towed to the launch point. Unfortunately by this time the fog had decended and we had to stand down and hopefully wait for the fog to lift.

The fog descends for the first time.
After about an hour and a half the fog had lifted and we decided to go flying. First up was visitor Joanne Greaves who came with her family and friends. She was a bit of an adrenaline junkie who has previously done a tandem parachute jump. Despite this she did let out a bit of a scream in the first part of the launch. After three short flights she left with a big smile on her face.

Joanne Greaves and Family
Next to fly was returning new member John O’Connell who was getting to grips with the primary effects of controls and starting to use all three controls. Also flying with me to maintain currency were Martin Cropper and Colin Boyd. The other solo pilots Roger Applebloom, Ed Borlase and Andy Davey made use of the K13 with no K8 to fly. Leith added to the circuit count in his Dart.

We also had a visit from prospective junior member Marcus with his father and grandfather. Marcus spent most of the day helping around the field under the guidance of Colin Boyde. Although he was offered the chance to fly, it was decided to return at a later date after buying a voucher.

Marcus and family talking to Leith.
The view from K13 late in the day.
Thanks go to everybody who looked after our visitor and ran the field especially Alan Holland who winched without flying due to a dose of the flu. Only 18 flights with the late start not bad.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 20th October 2018

With high pressure very much in charge, today's sky was cloudless from start to finish. What little breeze there was came from the south. The early morning dew was amazing, the grass couldn't have been wetter if it had been hosed down.

The early morning runway com plete with very wet grass
The launch point was set up at the east end. the winch was set up at the west end just inside the fence line. The cattle in the top field prevented the use of the field to extend the cable length. Initially we removed half of the fence to provide more cable break options but the cattle were so intent on getting onto the runway ( our grass must look a lot better than that in the other field ) that we had to replace the fence.

Heather keeps them at bay while we put the fence back up
Today's conditions lured out several private gliders with the Open Cirrus, Twin Astir and Barry's SF27 all making an appearance. The day did not live up to the promise of thermals in the blue. Best flight of the day was a 15 minute effort by me in K13 G-CHXP with a small thermal located overhead Brentor Church enabling a height gain of a whole 150 feet. A least everyone tried.

One Day Course Candidate Neville prior to his first flight
Today we hosted 2 One Day Courses with friends Neville Devonport and Stephen Robinson.

Visitor Stephen Robinson