Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 22nd September 2018

After the heavy winds of the first named storm of the season this week todays winds was relatively light. That was the end of the good news, unfortunately, low cloud and continuous rain put paid to any chance of flying today. A few hardy souls were to be found at the airfield.

The view from the east end.
The busiest, by far, was Scratch who was working his way through a list of mechanical defects on the vehicles. First up was the red Discovery which has had some serious issues with the front brakes. Scratch managed to accertain that he had all the correct spares for the job but unfortunately the calliper retaining bolts were so rusted in place that a major strip down of the whole suspension assembly will be required to allow for these to be drilled out. His next job was to replace the auxiliary drive belt and tensioner on the Vitara. This was duly completed completed and surprise surprise the previous battery and power steering faults have disappeared. Excellent.

Scratch working on the Aux belt with Ged looking on
Remanufacturing the Vitara's driver's door lock.  
The simulator now sports 5 screens arranged to give a 180 degree view of the action. This will not only make teaching circuits and winch launching possible but also enhance the general realism of the experience.

By mid afternoon, as we left the airfield, it was still raining.

Hopefully the weather will improve for next week.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 16th September 2018

Driving to the airfield it looked like the weather was as per the forecast, which would probably be a day of circuits and bumps rather than any soaring flights. When I arrived at the airfield the chairman was already there opening the hangar and getting the quads out. We optimistically loaded the disco up and put a windsock up and checked the airfield setup for the day.

Returning to the clubhouse we put the kettle on awaiting for others to arrive. Whilst drinking our tea and coffee the Dartmoor mist descended on the airfield. So the chairman and I set about looking what jobs we could undertake. We decided to attack the fence trailer.

Before. Definitely in need of some TLC
After in it’s shiny new livery
After another hot drink we decided to carry on clearing the area behind the trailers. Now the Perranporth winch has been removed, we decided to move the Jantar trailer down to the east end trailer area. As it was a none flying day we then packed away ready to depart the airfield. Although no flying, there is always tasks to undertake at a gliding club. Hopefully better weather next week.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 15th September 2018

The forecast was for a SW wind backing to SSW and eventually to South with the speed picking up towards the end of the afternoon. The RASP predicted low cloud until around 9.30 with good soaring conditions from about 1330 to 1630.

Arriving at the airfield at 8.15 it was clear that the weather wasn’t following the script, thick fog enveloped the airfield and the wind was definitely from the SE. Hoping that the wind would follow the forecast and the cloud would lift the Saturday regulars set up the field and got the Clubs K8 and a K13 ready to launch. By 10.30 the fog was still stubbornly sitting on the airfield.

The sun eventually broke through and gliding began around 11.00. Rick was the duty instructor but he had to leave at 2.45 so anyone wanting to fly after that had to be a current self certifying qualified pilot with their own glider, but was it worth us rigging? The cloud cover was varying between 6 and 7 octars with a large bank of cloud hanging over the airfield. After a few indecisive minutes and debates Barry Green decided he would rig and fly his new SF27,  Roger Green and Andy Davey decided to rig their Zug and I rigged my Open Cirrus, believing it was better to have rigged and not get away then not to have rigged when others were getting away.

The wind didn’t follow the forecast and at best was from the South.

Visitor Catherine Downing
Rick flew our 3 trial flyers who all were on two trial flight vouchers. Around mid day Rick managed to get up to 1800 feet and did the longest flight of the day of 24 minutes. Roger and Allan Holland decided to fly at this time and both worked hard to get 21 and 19 minutes respectively. But the thermals never really got going and most of us had short flights hunting weak thermals and working hard to stay up.

 Visitor Jackie Holland
Visitor Joelle Penderton
The Southerly wind freshened giving a 10 to 15 knot cross wind so everyone got in some good cross wind landing practice.

After Rick left only Andy Davey and myself flew but we were never going to get away with both of us struggling to stay above 700 feet in very weak lift.

The decision was taken at around 15.30 to pack up.

As we finished de rigging the last of the 3 gliders around 16.30 the sun broke through strongly, the clouds went fluffy and Allen Holland said "I told you we should have waited"!

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th September 2018

The hardcore of Saturday pilots were at the starting blocks early as per the duty instructors request.

The morning Forecast was ok so we got the team together and had the morning brief in the club house. By the time we came out ready and eager to launch the mist had descend and the wet stuff fell.

Aircraft ready, airfield ready , pilots briefed and ready, weather oh ....... Didn’t see that coming

The best laid plans of mice and men/women and all that. More tea I think. But an hour later we were getting the gliders into the air.

A Grey overcast Day
One day course was Paul Snell , a retired Chaplin and now adventurous traveler.
Paul flew initially with Rick and later with Steve and as the weather improved so did Paul’s upper aircraft handling, hope to see you back again soon.

One Day Course CAndidate Paul Snell with Rick
The other visitors Gordon Smith ,Graham Hancock and Brian Johnson all had one or more flights , some lucky enough for an extended circuit in reduced sink.

Visitor Brian Johnson
Gordon Smith enjoying his flight

Visitor Graham Hancock
As the day went on the cross wind freshened and the k8 was stowed to one side as it was deemed a
little too much crosswind.

Pilot's eye view of the North side of the airfoeld
The heavier k13s continued to fly club members and good progress was made by all.

Steve Lewis continued the BI flying and achieved longest flight of the day in the process.

Thanks to those who helped run the field all day and didn’t fly. You know who you are.

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 2nd September 2018

The forecast was for a light SE breeze for the morning, so with the field already set up to launch from the west end of the field, the aircraft and winch were prepared to start flying. First launch was achieved at 09:47. Dave Westcott flew first with me for check flights after a few weeks away. After a couple of cable breaks and a power failure was declared clear to fly the K8. Similarly Ed Borlase also asked for a quick check flight as a confidence booster before he flew the K8.

Our One Day Course today was Craig Downton, nephew of The Voice Dave Downton. After his six flights he was starting to use all three controls. He left very happy and appreciated there was more to this flying than he thought. Overall he enjoyed the launches more than the rest of the flying.

Craig Downton ready for his course
The visitors today were Chris Beasley, Edward Gales and Lee Edwards. All enjoyed their experience flights, albeit short with no soaring today. They all left with smiles on their faces.

Chris Beasley
Edward Gales
Lee Edwards
After a longer ground run in the K13 and an aborted take-off by Colin in the K6 we were forced to change ends. We towed the aircraft to the east end and set up the gus winch to continue flying.

We welcomed back Roger Applebloom today after being laid up after his recent op. He undertook light duties manning the control tower and occasional retrieve, driving the quad. He also managed a quick flight in the back seat of the K13.

A visiting solo pilot from Culdrose was Lizzie Westcott (no relation to Dave) enjoyed a couple of flights with me to get used to our airfield and winch launching. She looks forward to returning again to eventually re-solo on the winch and occasionally fly at Brentor.

Lizzie Westcott ready to fly at brentor for the first time.
Carrying on the earlier eventuality training, Martin Cropper was given a couple of cable break practices which were well executed and talked through. We wish him well for his op and speedy recovery.

Solo Pilots Ed Borlase, David Westcott and Josef Nobbs all enjoyed flights in the K8. The longest was 10 minutes by ED in reduced sink over the winch until he had to move when the wings were levelled on the K13. Good observation ED. Leith also had his usual 5 minute circuits in his Dart.

Thanks go to Dave Downton and Phil Hardwick who between them chose to winch and retrieve all day without flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 1st September 2018

According to the Met Office today is the first day of Autumn. Other scientific disciplines list the start of Autum as the Equinox on September 22nd. Whatever the season really is, the endless high pressure systems of the long, hot summer seem like a distant memory. The SW is being crossed by a series of frontal systems rolling in from the Atlantic.

The Grey cloud stretched fom Horizon to horizon

Today's frontal system is a tightly curved occluded front. This has given us a light(ish) grey cloud sheet from horizon to horizon. In among  this cloud sheet were the wave and lenticular clouds often associated with frontal systems. These do not seem to offer any soaring possibility but I would need access to a motor gliding to test this idea. The wind is light to moderate from the SE going more southerly as the day progresses. Temperatures are still good around 20C. Easily tee shirt and shorts weather.

In the distance some lenticular clouds were in evidence
 After a quick change of ends to put the winch down at the east end and brnig the control tower to the west end, it was off to the morning briefing. The soaring forecast did not look good but there was a chance of some limited soaring later in the afternoon. So a training / practice day then.

With this in mind the 2 K13's and a K8 were prepared and taken to the launch point. Instructor Mike Jardine was looking after the club flying and I was looking after the visitor flying. Early on there was some signs of reduced sink rates which allowed circuits to extend to 9 or 10 minutes and as the afternoon progressed there were even some thermals to be found. The longest flights were Allan Holland in the K8 at 17 minutes, myself and visitor David Browitt in K13 G-CHXP at 18 minutes and Martin Broadway at 23minutes in the K8.

Our Introductory Flight visitors today were Gary Hine, Nigel Crane, David Browitt, Andrew Cutler and Andy Ball, all of whom seemed to enjoy their flights and trying out the aircraft controls.

Gary Hine looking thoughtful before his flights
Visitor Nigel Crane flew with Rick
Visitor David Browitt
Andrew Cutler flew with Mike.
Notice the clearer sky later in the Day
Visitor Andy Ball ready to go.
Out thanks as always to all the helpers especially Heather and Barry for retrieve and winch services before they departed towards distant airfields where Barry is checking out a prospective new glider. More news on that at a later date.

An enjoyable club day.


Dartmoor Gliding News-A Trial Flight in Pictures

Lizzie Westcott enjoyed an Air Experience flight with instructor Peter Howarth.

These are her photos of the event.

On the launch

The view South from the top of the launch

And the view North
Lizzie and Peter
Looking over the  launch point
Final approach towards the east end of the runway.