Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 25th August 2018

Yesterday the weather was poor with rain and drizzle. For tomorrow there is the weather forecast from hell, torrential rain and strong winds. But today everything looks well set for a good soaring day. Warm sunshine, breeze from the NW at about 8 to 10 knots. Interestingly the wind strength is forecast to remain constant up 10,000 feet which usually suggests little or no gusting. Great. The RASP soaring forecast looks good with the afternoon rated as excellent.

Early on the club was busy with people rigging their gliders, getting the club aircraft out and the airfield ready. The good forecast added some additional enthusiasm to proceedings and after the morning briefing by Instructor Rick Wiles it was off to the launchpoint to wait for the promised thermal activity to start. The first few flights were training circuits but by midday it was obvious that there were thermals to be had and the private fleet launched.

Ged and Phil were the first to go in the Twin Astir and were not seen again for 2 hours 42 minutes. Roger Green was next in the Zugvogel 3B for a flight 2:43. This aircraft launched again later for a flight of 1:36 by me. Steve Fletcher soared the Open Cirrus for 1:59.

Roger Green's View of the Plym Estuary from 4000ft.
Looking towards Saltash
Third to launch was Richard Roberts in his beautifully presented Discus WL. Richard was going cross country. His task was from Brentor to Salisbury Catahedral and back, a total distance 348km. In the event Richard turned back a little short of Salisbury as the area looked "a little soft". Even so he still acheived a flight of 284km with a total time on task of 4hrs 15mins. Great effort.

Richard getting the Discus ready
Richard's Task

Out Air Experience visitors today were Alister and Gregor Morley with Tamsin Perret. All Enjoyed some soaring in the bouyant conditions.  

Visitor Tamsin
Alister with me waiting to launch
Visitor Greg
Our thanks once again to all the helpers who made this a successful day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Salisbury and Back

What were you doing last Saturday? Glider pilot Richard Roberts was flying his Discus WL cross country from Brentor near Tavistock aiming to turn the Cathedral in Salisbury 174km away. As Richard was also intending to return to his home airfield this would have been a total flight of  348km.

Richard getting the glider ready
Great visibility on task
In the event he turned a little short of Salisbury as the area looked "a little soft" for a total flight of 284km after 4 hours and 15 minutes on task.

The task

His low point ( in both senses of the word ) was getting stuck for 35minutes over Crediton on the way home before climbing away once more to complete the task. The highlight of the flight for him was the view of Poole Harbour in the distance as the visibility was so good.

Poole Harbour in the distance

A great flight


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 22nd August 2018

A grey day with low cloud greeted the Wednesday flyers. I arrived at the club to find Heather rubbing down the paint work on the window to the right of the club hut door. I managed to find some wood filler in the hangar and set about filling some rather large holes in the frame. Heather did a great job painting the window whilst I optimistically decided to go and rig my glider because I thought I saw some blue appear over the airfield.

With the field set up with the Gus launch at the far western end of the field we took the K13 and club K8 down to the launch point. Rick arrived full of optimism and enthusiasm and as Rick and I arrived at the Launchpoint the cloud base dropped and the Dartmoor drizzle descended. The Wednesday crew found that the clubs newly renovated K8 came in handy  straight away….. as a shelter!

Surveying the cloudbase from the shelter of the K8 wing
The cloudbase remained reasonably low with no possibility of soaring so the day was used to practice launch failures and with a slight southerly wind this meant we quite often ended up retrieving the launch cables from over the fence. Heather drove the retrieve all day and did a sterling effort clambering over the fence and retrieving the cable. Where would we be without her? A huge thank you to Heather.

Barry drove the winch for most of the day until I briefly took over to give him a rest towards the end. Thanks Barry.

Everyone that wanted to fly did, albeit briefly to practice their eventuality flying.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 18th August 2018

The initial synopsis was not looking good. Breezy with rain and low cloud. Undeterred on arrival at the airfield conditions were somewhat better than forecast. The wind was in fact SW at about 8 knots but not at all gusty. The cloudbase was low initially but this just gave the opportunity to get some maintenance tasks done.

Rick set about rigging the green Landrover with a tow out bar because the preferred tow out trailer had suffered some stress/fatigue fractures near the wheel axle which Allan Holland then set about repairing. Last seen there was a lot of grinding and welding going on. Thanks chaps.

Rigging GDK
Making use of the time, another group of us set about rigging the club's K8 G-CGDK which has finally completed it's extended maintenance program and is ready to rejoin the fleet. Rick later test flew this glider and released it for club use.

K8 G-CGDK rising into the air for it's test flight
We were very pleased to welcome Shona Fenion, a visiting glider pilot from Surrey Hills Gliding Club, who was in the area and couldn't resist popping in the spend a day with us. Shona's enthusiasm for flying was obvious and her help around the launchpoint was very much appreciated. Although Shona only managed three circuits we do hope that she will visit again soon.

Shona with instructor Mike
Our other visitors today were Nigel Storrs, Mike Fallowfield, Jack Grabham, Nick Dagarne and Susan Opie who were all attending to experience gliding for the first time.

Nigel Storrs
Mike Fallowfield
Jack Grabham
Nick Dagarne
Susan Opie
The flying itself was very pleasant with the smooth airflow from the SW. Although there were no thermals to be found, there were large areas of reduced sink which allowed circuits to extend up to 8 minutes in the K13's. Visibility was never very good with areas with lower cloud bases and drizzle around the county.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 15th August 2018

The RASP was showing low level cloud at the start of the day lifting to 1800 feet by the early afternoon.

Today was going to be busy but with Instructors Mike Sloggett and Mike Jardine on site we were up to the task. We had a one day course and 5 trial flights to fly but the low cloud was determined to stay making the day shorter than we would like.

First off was Terry Matthews who had 3 of his one day course flights , it was decided to continue the training on another day with improved conditions and we look forward to the return of Terry to complete his training.

A birthday flight was taken by Norman Jelley with Mike Sloggett.

Norman and Mike
Friends Zillah Martin and Aryanna Japhayel both had flights with improving views over the moors as the cloud base lifted to 1100 feet.

The final trial flights were for sisters Jamie Carney and Josephine Carney who were holidaying in Brentor with family.

Then it was down to training with club members and some solo flights in the club K8.

Whilst it was a day of practicing circuits a good day was had by all with a great team effort.

Thanks to all involved.

Mike Jardine

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 11th August 2018

Early low cloud with it's attendant drizzle made this a non flying day right from the start. This didn't deter the members much and there were several groups who set about tasks around the airfield.

Early morning mist and drizzle
The Launch Hut was brought down to the hangar to allow a good deep clean and tidy up. Rick started work on the brakes on the Red Landrover. Meanwhile the Red Tractor was droning up and down the runway with mowers attached - the end of the dry spell has encouraged the grass to grow once more.

Launch Hut receiving some TLC. A new paint job is being planned for the Autumn
The headless mechanic. AKA Rick
In the club house, apart from an impromptu talk on circuit planning and approach control, the major effort was to continue with the upgrade of the Simulator which has now had a new computer motherboard fitted, facilitating the installation of a new graphics card allowing 2 more monitors to be fitted. The new monitors show the wingtip views left and right. This will facilitate circuit training and winch launch training and generally increase the immersive nature of the updated Condor 2 software. Topping off this series of upgrades was the fitting of a newer, replacement main screen which has much improved resolution.

The simulator with 3 working screens
The cloud did lift a little in the afternoon but never enough to even consider flying.

The afternoon view. The cloud is only just above the church
Better weather next time?


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 5th August 2018

With a forecast of light south easterly winds, the first task of the day was to change ends which was quickly achieved by Leith. Another Sunday with a small turn out of members, it was going to be a busy day for all looking after the visitors and keeping things running smoothly with the airfield operations.

Our visitors today were Doug Longman, Sam Charlesworth, John Hamlyn, Sam Charlesworth, Ian Sutherland and Peter Thompson. The first signs that soaring conditions were improving was when Martin took off with John Hamlyn and stayed aloft for 24 minutes.

Doug Longman with me.
John Hamlyn after his flight with Martin.

 Sam Charlesworth and Peter Thompson both had soaring flights of 22 minutes and 32 minutes respectively with me.

Sam Charlesworth ready to fly with me.
Peter Thompson having waited 12 months was rewarded with 32 minutes soaring.
Our last visitor Ian Sutherland had a couple of flights including one of 34 minutes with Martin.

Ian Sutherland with Martin.
Our solo pilots David Westcott, Ed Borlase, Dave Downton and Josef Nobbs all had soaring flights in the K8. The longest was 1hour 11minutes by Ed. Another leg towards his Cross Country Endorsement completed. Well done Ed.

Ed’s view of the airfield from 3000 feet.
Thanks to Dave Downton and Josef Nobbs for winching and retrieving between them all day. And thanks to all others for keeping the airfield running smoothly.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 4th August 2018

Setting out for the airfield from the south coast the sky was a deep clear blue as the forecast suggested. Crossing the lower parts of Dartmoor revealed discrete areas of low level orographic cloud. The forecast had mentioned fog and low cloud but only in relation to the north coast. By the time we arrived at the airfield it was obvious that the low cloud was not confined to the north coast at all, it was overhead the airfield. Brentor Church was hidden in the cloud.

So the airfield and gliders were got ready and then we waited. for the low cloud to burn off. Instructor Rick Wiles seemed really excited after I returned from the hangar after having assembled a new tail wheel for DMX. Excited by a tailwheel? No he liked the idea that for once it was me who had dirty, black hands.

Two weeks in a row. My initiation into the black hand gang
A quick clean up and it was time for Instructor Mike Jardine's morning briefing during which we explored the weather forecasts, the RASP soaring forecast and the current NOTAM's ( Notice to Airmen ) which list potential air navigation hazards etc.

The morning Briefing
By 11.30 the low cloud had rolled sufficiently away for flying to commence. Early flights were mostly circuits unsurprisingly but a least the views were interesting with the low cloud north of the field. The air started to feel buoyant by about 1.30pm and strongly thermic around 3.00 pm. Longets flight og the day was 1 hour 17 minutes by Andy Davey flying the Zugvogel 3B with Steve Fletcher just 2 minutes less in the Open Cirrus. There were numerous flights around the half hour mark. The grid today was varied with the 2 K13s, the K8, K10, Astir, Open Cirrus and Zugvogel 3B all making a showing.

A view over the low cloud to the north provided some early interest
Our visitors today were John Freeborrn, Edward  Greenberry, Richard Evans, Rob Bannister and William Butterfield who flew with me in K13 G-CHXP, and Patrick Ager and Chris Wright who flew with Mike in K13 G-DDMX.

John Freeborn
Edward Greenberry
Richard Evans and family
Rob Bannister
William Butterfield
Patrick Ager
Chris Wright
After flying the Committee assembled for their regular meeting which stretched on until dusk.

A busy club day.