Dartmoor Gliding Club News[Wednesday 27th June 2018

A keen group of members turned up to see if the easterly breeze generated any wave in the heat of the afternoon.

Will There be wave?
Whilst Andy Davey used a line of energy we watched as the retrieve returned back to the winch to collect two more cables for the launch point.

Looking down at the east end of the runway from the north side
If the wave was there it was difficult to find and thermals in the blue sky were small and a challenge however Bob Sansom managed flight of the day with 15 minutes at 1,350 feet.

Bob Sansom circling south west of the airfield
Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 25th June 2018

They say things always happen in threes, and as the day progressed it looked like the saying is true. The first job of the day was to open the hangar doors. This gave us event number one. One of the wheels on of the doors had broken, thus preventing the doors from being opened. After a bit of searching around a spare wheel was found. Some blocks were found to support the door and the wheel replaced.

The offending wheel.
The next task was to put up a windsock at the western end. Event number two. Unable to attach the windsock to the pole, caused us to jury rig a piece of cord. This enabled the windsock to be raised. More about event three later.

We set about getting all the aircraft out of the hangar and readying the airfield for a good days flying. Our one day course student was Christopher Woodruffe who flew with me. He had to leave after 3 flights to go and care for his wife who is laid up at the moment. He will return shortly to complete the rest of his flights.

Christopher Woodruffe
Our other visitor was returning two trial flight candidate Terry Mansell. His first visit resulted in a rather short flight and not able to complete the second. Todays second flight resulted in a soaring flight of 22 minutes with me. He was very delighted with this picking out a lot of familiar locations due to the good visibility.

Terry Mansell
This encouraged the solo pilots to pull their gliders to the font of the launch queue. Roger Applebloom in his K6, 2 hours 20 minutes. Colin Boyd in the K8, 52 minutes. Andy Davey in his Zugvogel 2 hours 53 minutes longest flight of the day.

The lift locally was only short lived and our other solo pilots had to be content with extended circuits. Ed Borlase and Dave Downton in the K8. Josef Nobbs and Martin Broadway in the Zugvogel. Our newest solo pilot David Westcott had a couple of solo flights in the K13 after a check flight with me.

And to event three. On one of the retrieves, a loop developed on one drum of ML1. This resulted in the air line being fractured and rendered that drum out of action. We continued using the remaining drum whilst Phil Hardwick jury rigged a line to enable the cable to be wound in. In the mean time our engineering team of Martin, Colin and Phil brought ML2 on line which required swapping the batteries from the Gus winch and freeing a shackle from the rollers.

Only 19 flights today with 6 hours 56 minutes flying time. An average of 21 minutes a flight. Thanks to everyone for their winching, retrieving, engineering skills and general help running the field.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 23rd June 2018

The RASP read well for the day with a boundary layer in excess of 4000 feet and with indications of the wind changing directions from a light southerly direction to a light northerly direction by the end of day.

Tasks planned for the day were Richard Roberts in his discuss to Crediton and back and for Steve Fletcher in his Cirrus for a 5 hour duration to complete his Silver C.

We had 6 visitors for trial flights but we had a small but effective crew to run the field with winch driving , cable retrieve and running the launch point.

James Champ
First off was myself and James Champ. Thermals weren't too strong so we had three flights to have good look at the area.

We watched Steve Fletcher launch at 11.40 off for his duration flight, fingers crossed.

Richard Hewitt was next in the air for his birthday voucher flight.
By the start of the afternoon thermal conditions improved with multiple flights between 1 to 2 hours for Richard in the Discus, Barry in his K6, Phil and Malcolm in the twin Astir. and Allan in the K8.

Tessa Sanders
Next was Teresa Sanders. We launched and as Richard Roberts was thermaling above Blackdown, that's where headed and spent 20 minutes taking in the views at 1700 feet.

Brothers Cameron, Charlie and Angus Hill were keeping track of who could stay in the air the longest. Well they all enjoyed 20 minutes in the air up to heights of 2700 feet and took an opportunity to take control of the aircraft, future pilots maybe?

So Richard achieved his Crediton and back trip, what of Steve Fletcher? Well at 17.11 he landed back at the airfield having achieved his 5 hour duration flight (5hr 31minutes actually) and final leg of his Silver C. Very well done the smile tells all.

Looking pleased with his 5 hour+ flight - I think so
Big thanks to the winch drivers,retrieves and launch point crew for working hard and efficiently in very hot conditions, a very enjoyable day for all.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 10th June 2018

With a small crew arriving at the airfield we set about getting things ready. The weather forecast showed the wind from the east again and 10-15 knots. So again there was the anticipation of wave. Gliders DI’d, winch set up and the hurdle fence down, the first launch was at 09:52. A quick launch failure for Dave Downton resulted in a long walk back from down the field. He later flew the K8 for a couple of circuits. Next up was David Westcott, who recently went solo at Aston Down and had a couple of dual flights last week endured a medium launch failure followed by a power failure. So David was ready for his first solo flight at DGS.
David Westcott ready for first solo at DGS.
Our solo pilots Roger Applebloom, Dave Downton, Ed Borlase, Josef Nobbs made various excursions into the air. The conditions always looked better than what was encountered. The longest flight of the day was Roger in his K6 with 24 minutes.

We had several visitors today. Lesley Noble and Martin Garland were on holiday from Cape Town. Their friend Ingrid Noble also came along. All had 2 flights each. Lesley and Ingrid flew with me. Martin flew with Martin. Also visiting the club to experience gliding was Charlene Nunn and David Murphy who flew with Martin

Lesley ready to fly with me. Spot the deliberate mistake.
Ingrid, thumbs up ready to go.
Martin with Martin
Charlene with Martin.
David ready to fly with Martin
One other visitor was David Westcott’s son Rory. As we strapped him in a rather nervous Rory was given gentle encouragement by both his dad and myself. Going up the launch it was obvious how nervous he was, but some gentle encouragement to look out and see what was happening was like switching a light on. The rest of the flight was fully enjoyed and we may be getting a new member in the near future. Time to sell some more pottery dad

Rory ready for his first flight in a glider
Meanwhile David had another couple of solo flights in the K13. With the light conditions and some good flying by David we decided to convert him into the K8 for a couple of flights. The first was 13 minutes, his longest flight of the day. Well done David.

David Westcott getting ready for his first flight in the K8.
Thanks to Phil Hardwick for winching and not flying. Also thanks to Roger, Ed, Joe, Dave and Martin for winching, retrieving and generally running the field.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 9th June 2018

Today I thought I would start with a big thank you to all of our readers without whom all the effort involved in producing this blog would be for nothing. This blog passed what I consider to be a milestone. The 1300 blog posts have achieved over 300,000 page views. Excellent.

What of today's activities. Well the light winds were from the NE at ground level and somewhat more easterly aloft. Regular readers will know that when the wind has east in it there is a possibility of wave at this airfield. There were definitely signs of this today. A cap cloud was pinned down across the higher Tors to the east. There was a line of cloud sitting more or less North - South over the west end of the airfield.

Looking east into an uninspiring sky. Beginnings of the cap cloud in the distance
Looking west at the same time as the above photo. The cloud laying across the wind
There were largish areas of sinking air, but no real signs of wave lift except for some areas of reduced sink. What we did get, however, were wave enhanced thermals. These small diameter columns and bubbles of lift had astonishing rates of climbs. Lots had 8 knot cores which provided a quick ride to the lowish 3000 foot cloudbase for those pilots who could turn steep enough. The effect was fairly local. Venturing North towards Roadford revealed a rapidly reducing cloudbase, perhaps 1800 feet at the A30. To the south the cloud and wave effects diminished beyond Tavistock.

Approaching the leading edge of the clod
Roger Green's view of the lowering cloudbase heading north in his Zugvogel 3B
Our pilots were up to the task of riding the tight bubbles of lift with 10 soaring flights. The best flight was 2 hours and 40 minutes by Ged and Phil the their Twin Astir. That's the second week in a row that the Twin has had the longest flight. Never thought I would write that. Concrete swan? I don't think so.

Pieter enjoying his flying
 Today we were joined by Pieter Auwers for a One Day Course. Pieter enjoyed some good soaring the the K13 with me and spent lots of time learning to flying the aircraft around in the buoyant conditions. We were also joined by Pieter's mother Paddy and Michael Warren-Meek who both enjoyed Air Experience flights with Rick.

Paddy and Rick
Michael and Rick waiting to go.
Once again we are indebted to our winch drivers, Heather on the retrieve, the helpers at the launch point but most of all to the members and visitors alike who had their patience sorely tested while the K13 had a main wheel puncture repaired.



Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 6th June 2018

I know a song that will get on your nerves, get on your nerves. More about that later.

The weather forecast was for light north easterly winds with easterly wind later in the day. Although there was a north westerly at ground level, which tempted changing ends, launches were of good height showing the upper winds were as forecast. Even the twin astir was achieving 900ft launches. Ged, Robin, Phil and Trevor in various combinations flew the twin astir. The combination of Phil & Trevor did best with 48 minutes. Other private owners achieved notable flights. Andy Davey in his Zugvogel 53 minutes and Barry Green in his K6 34 minutes. The K8 was well used by Steve Fletcher, Martin Broadway 1 hour 2 minutes and Alan Holland 1 hour 3 minutes.

Bob Samson had six flights with me with launch failures and circuits thrown in. Hopefully he will re-solo soon and be back in his K8. Paula Howarth was also visiting the club again and had two flights with me. The second was a complete flight by her, proving that she hasn’t lost her touch being away.

Our visitors today were the stars of Some Mother’s Do ‘ave ‘em in the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. Organised by Ed Borlase, Joe Pasquale and Sarah Earnshaw were keen to experience a flight in a glider. First up was Sarah. After she was strapped in and the checks done, off we went. The screams finally stopped at about 600’ and all were heard from the ground. Thankfully they were screams of delight and not of sheer terror.

Sarah Earnshaw ready to go.
Next was Joe who holds a PPL. So after the launch I allowed him to take control. He mastered the controls quickly and we even managed to climb to above launch height in weak lift. Unfortunately it didn’t last and we were soon back down to circuit height. I re-took control at about 500 feet to complete the circuit and landing.

Joe Ready to fly.
The last visitor was Nick Ryal, the company manager for the show. We had a 14 minute flight including sharing a thermal with other gliders which was a good experience for Nick.

L to R. Paula, Joe, Ed, Sarah, Nick and me.
Sarah and Joe at DGS
Thanks go to Heather for retrieving all day. She was rewarded with a cuddle from Joe.
 Also thanks to all the others not named for winching, retrieving gliders and running the field etc. A good day was had by all. We didn’t get a rendition of the song from Joe, but he did keep us entertained during his visit. After leaving the club Joe has said thanks to his experience at DGS he will be looking into finding his local club and taking up gliding instead of power flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 3rd June 2018

“Would you like wave in the morning and thermalling in the afternoon, sir?” a mythical meteorological Jeeves appeared to ask the pilots on the flight line as we set up to launch a little before 10am. “Ooh, rather – top hole!” they mythologically replied and so off we toddled to the Drones Club in the sky, courtesy of an early morning change of ends deftly carried out by Roger Appleboom and Dave Westcott before the rest of us had arrived.

Dave Westcott’s view of the Tamar valley during his first wave flight to 2,600ft.
New solo pilot Dave was, indeed, first to launch, straight into a weakly rising current of air over Mary Tavy, which was eventually found to stretch 4 miles south to Tavistock golf club, taking Dave to 2,600ft in his first encounter with wave. “It's so smooth,“ he said, “It's like nothing else I've ever experienced”.

Ed Borlase’s view of the club during his 2hr+ Bronze C qualifying flight.
Second to take advantage of the opportunity was Ed Borlase who, launching a little after 1030 in the K-8, remained aloft for 2hrs 13 mins, thus completing one leg of his Bronze (and achieving over 4,000ft agl - he would have gained Silver height if only he'd had a logger with him..! - see photo)

Steve Fletcher in his Open Cirrus joins Ed Borlase in one of the afternoon’s thermals over Mary Tavy.
Steve Fletcher then made it all look easy in his Open Cirrus, flying for 3 hrs 7 mins, whilst Martin Cropper hosted our visitors, who included Steve Knott, a One Day Course student who didn't manage to fly last Sunday due to the low cloud – no such restriction today as his last flight went to 3,500ft for 1 hr 8 mins!

One Day Course student Steve Knott about to be launched into the heavens.
Other visitors were Air Cadet Edward Salisbury, Saltash resident Gloria O'Brien and Ed Borlase's F&F Izabela Zduniuk (he chooses them just to baffle to log-keeper..!)

 Iza Zduniuck, a F&F of Ed Borlase, is ready for flight with her Go-Pro.
Richard Roberts showed off the manoeuvrability of his Discus by hauling it around the sky between Okehampton, Plymouth and Kit Hill at a great rate of knots, whilst Joe Nobbs took pity on the Zugvogel hangar queen, giving it a 1 hr 27 mins work-out, while Phil Hardwick took his Astir for an afternoon's thermalling for 1 hr 27 mins.

So what of the stats? Well, the launch rate really was appalling, being no more that 3 per hour for the first 6 hours and then 'surging' to 5 in the last hour. The average flight time, however, was something to bring a smile to the face of the winch launch pilot: 42 mins per launch!

At which point thanks in abundance should be passed to our happy band of winch-drivers: Roger Appleboom, Phil Hardwick and Joe Nobbs, all of whom kept the gliders going up the wire at 55kts, and to the retrieve team for bringing the cables back – all of whom flew. It's not often that we get an easterly that doesn't exceed 15 kts which provides smooth, nursery wave in the morning, and then steady 6-8 kt thermals in the afternoon.

A day to reflect on with gratitude..!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd June 2018

A somewhat cloudy day. RASP was suggesting a good day for local soaring. The wind was a little troublesome being directly across the runway from the south but it was reasonably light at about 8 knots.

The sky was looking good with cloud streets running up from the south but this proved to be a false hope. Try as we might there was just no significant thermal activity to be found. Strange. This a least made it easy for us to ensure that all the gliders were clear of the Red Arrows as they passed a little to the west. It was a bit if a treat to be able to talk to them on the radio.

Mike Jardine was satisfied with his soaring flight in the Astir CS
Phil Hardwick towing the Twin Astir back after his soaring flight
At around 4pm the sky suddenly switched on. Mike Jardine was the first to take advantage with an 18 minute flight in his Astir, followed by Allan Holland (K8) at 55 minutes , Andy Davey ( Zugvogel 3B ) at 59 minutes, Mike Jardine (K13 this time) at 41 minutes. Longest flight of the day was by Ged Nevisky and Phil Hardwick flying the Twin Astir at 1 hour 10 minutes. I've wait a while to be able to asign best flight to the Twin Astir. Well Done chaps.

Visitor Arthur Shiers with Mike Jardine
We had 2 visitors today. Arthur Shiers and Simon Ovens both of whom enjoyed their flying with Mike Jardine.

Simon Ovens waiting to go soaring with Mike Jardine.
Many thanks to all those who helped make today a success


Dartmoor Gliding News-Monday 28th May 2018

Two Bank holidays this month and both lovely sunny FLYING days! Unheard of normally but I didn’t hear anyone complaining…

Rick and Peter were todays instructors.

It was a busy hot day where early on in the day the very promising looking skies simply did not deliver, and then things changed and there were some very happy people having longer flights, Steve Fletcher in his Cirrus showing off with a 2-hours plus flight towards the end of the day.

Steve Fletcher's view during his 2 hour 46 minute flight
At one point we had all the gliders on the ground ready to fly- and then there were none. The few of us left on the ground scanned the skies to spot them all!

We had a birthday boy, Mike Bennett, who gracefully accepted a rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” sung by club members alongside gifts of sweets and crisps before flying started. Mike was later stunned into silence by his birthday gift from his wife, a voucher for a Spitfire flight at Biggin Hill!

One Day Course Candidate Stephen Hill receives his certificate from instructor Peter
Back to glider flying and we had two visitors Tim and PPL pilot Stephen. Tim enjoyed his Trial Flight and he stayed with his family to watch the flying and chat about his past gliding exploits as an Air Cadet where he was a solo pilot. See you again soon Tim.

Ex Air cadet Tim.
Stephen flew with Rick and latterly Peter for his One Day Course, Stephen who is usually a power pilot enjoyed his gliding day.

Thanks to Heather for services above and beyond retrieve driving (all day on a very hot day) and Barry for manning the winch for most of the day (supported by Mike when Barry went for his flight).

Karon Matten

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th May 2018

Although driving to the airfield in rain, the forecast was optimistic for a clearance and flyable weather later in the day. After the initial cups of tea and coffee the clouds were still hanging low over the airfield so we set about some of the maintenance tasks around the airfield. Andy Davey fired up the tractor and set about cutting the grass. This was until a minor repair was required to the mower. Phil Hardwick and Andy set about finding the necessary nuts and bolts to affect the repair. They were ably assisted at various time by Roger, Leith and Martin.

Phil and Andy sorting the mower.
Meanwhile Richard Roberts and I set about various repairs to the hurdle fence. With several tie-wraps, pieces of wire and penetrating oil, wire fencing was re-attached to the frames and barbed wire was tensioned. The next stage was to swap several of the panels around. Any that were in poorer state of repair were placed at the southern end. At the north end the top of two panels were painted green. It has been agreed with our landlord that these are the only two to be removed should he need to move livestock around, Richard is continuing to talk to him with regard to the access and use of the top field.

Green Fence Panels
Colin arrived to look into the instrument problems on HXP. After a little fettling it required a flight test on bank holiday Monday. He also supervised the swapping of wheels of the K13’s and replacing of the bearings on DMX’s wheel. Joe Nobbs set about repairing a puncture to an inner tube and fitting to a spare wheel assembly. There is a nearly complete spare wheel for the K13’s.

With a few of the small crew disappearing to spend time with families, and the weather not really clearing it was time to pack up and head home.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 26th June 2018

Today's forecast for winds at 12 knots from the NE teased of possible wave conditions. The wind was actually a little further to the north than that. The final approach was indeed somewhat "character forming". This, unfortunately, led to the cancellation of our visitor flying for the day but conditions were just out of limits.
The Astir CS with pilot Mike Jardine ready to try again
 The club members explored all the reachable area looking for the elusive wave to no avail. There were a couple of extended circuits from the Astir and K13 but there was no wave. With the somewhat overcast sky and the wave influence there were no thermals to be found either. Somedays are just like that.

The visibility was poor
Better luck next time.