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

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 13th October 2018

This is the second day of Storm Callum. Luckily, apart from a few heavy showers the day remained mostly dry. The remarkable thing though was the wind strength. This was no ordinary storm. The wind was a wild, snarling thing with gusts that could take you off your feet. Looking around, the gusts looked like little tornados as the autumn leaves were picked up and spun around in circles a meter or two across. Definitely a no flying day.

Looks innocent from here but holding the camera still was a real challenge
In the hangar, Rick and Scratch worked on the front right had side of the Red Discovery. The vehicle put up quite a fight with various seized bolts keeping our would be mechanics honest, but by the end of the day the job was complete with a new disk, new pads and a fully refurbished caliper with new pistons and seals. Left had side next week?

Rick and Scratch wrestling to Landrover into submission
Meanwhile in the clubhouse treasurer Steve Raine was working with Instructor, Mike Jardine in the simulator learning the patter for the flying exercises Steve will need when he progresses to Basic Instructor. Excellent.

Steve and Mike. A study in concentraation
Outside, Mike and Colin used the their time to convert a huge pile of scrap wood into suitable pieces to feed the woodburner which will be needed in the winter months to come.

Reducing the scrap wood pile. Colin and Mike
Hoping for better weather next week.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 7th October 2018

With yesterday being a non flying day, todays forecast gave light northerly winds backing north westerly as the day progressed. A steady flow of members arrived and we set about getting ready to fly. Again we were able to place the Gus winch in the top field to give higher launches.

Getting Ready to Fly
First to fly with me was David Westcott for a check flight. After a perfectly executed cable break recovery he was cleared to fly the K8.

Result of cable break practice soon sorted by Ed and Phil
The Sunday soarers welcomed back Martin Cropper to the airfield after his recent lay up. Martin had a quick flight with me to maintain currency before the first of a full days trial flights arrived. Our first visitors were family dad Ron Ayre, son David Ayre and brother in law Graham Lawton. They were joined by many family members who all came to watch.

David Ayre and family members.
Ronald Ayre
Graham Lawton
The next visitor was David Pike who had to wait for his flight due to a cable tangle which had delayed Graham’s flights. Again the winch and retrieve crew were put to the test sorting things out and getting us flying again.

David Pike waited patiently for his flight.
Our last visitor was Steve Hart who enjoyed two extended flights due to 1300ft launches.

Steve Hart
Our solo pilots David Westcott, Ed Borlase, Roger Applebloom, Alan Holland and Josef Nobbs all enjoyed flights of various lengths in the K8. The longest flight of the day was Josef who managed 26 minutes. The twin Astir made an appearance and was flown by Phil Hardwick and Martin Broadway. Thanks go to all who helped run the field today.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 6th October 2018

As September gives way to October. the decline into Autumn continues. The weather today gave a very low cloudbase, and a strong, gusty wind from the north ie. straight across the runway. Even without the forecast 90+% chance of rain (which never materialised, interestingly) this was going to be a non flying day.

Looking towards Brentor Church from the NW corner.
The wind was very strong
Arriving at the airfield we were met by a puzzle. Despite the fact that everything was locked up and secure, the water in the kettle was boiled and the generator was warm. Curious. Dartmoor's version of the Marie Celeste perhaps?  Once we found the note on the table the puzzle was solved. Mike Bennett had arrived much earlier than us and needed to return home.

After a cup of tea, it was time to plan out today's work. Rick used the time to catch up with briefings for trainee pilot David Archer. The remaining three of us decamped to the runway to investigate the cables on the ML2 winch. This had suffered a tangle on one of the drums and initially the idea was to add some more cable to replace that which was lost in the tangle. We decided to pull out both cables to check them first. Close inspection revealed that the cables were approaching the end of their useful life so the decision was made to replace both cables with new ones. Rick arrived at this point and between us we fitted the winch with 2 new cable and cut up and disposed of the old cables.

The ML2 in the NW corner to remove the old cables
Barry keeping and eye on the new cable being layed out ready to fit onto the winch 
Nice new cables
Meanwhile, in the clubhouse, David was working on the simulator. He replaced the controller which had giving poor jittery reponses with a brand new one. Problem solved. The simulator controls are once again silky smooth.
David working of the simulator controls
David testing his handiwork

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 30th September 2018

After two Sundays with no flying, the big question was would we be able to fly today. Again a small band of Sunday soarers gathered and with the forecast giving a moderate northwesterly wind we set about getting the airfield ready for flying. The Gus winch was moved into the top field to maximise the launches. The club K8 and one K13 were readied and towed to th launch point.

Josh Ready to start his Course.
Our ODC Josh Penk arrived and after the usual safety briefing we made our way to the launch point. After his intruductory flight we had a change of front seat for the trial flight candidates Jen and Paul Wren. Both left happy after their flights that were slightly longer than usual due to the 1400’ launches. Next it was time to get Josh back into the front seat to start his hands on experience. At the top of the launch it was obvious that some rain was quickly approaching the airfield. Indeed when we landed the rain could be seen on the canopy. It was time to stand down.

Jen Wren ready for her flight.
Paul Wren looking forward to his flight.
After about one and a half hours the rain had cleared so it was time to head for the skies again. It was soon obvious that more rain was on the way and with the wind freshening it was decide to put the gliders safely away in the hangar and clear the airfield.

A not so friendly sky.
Thanks go to Colin for winching and Andy for retrieving without flying. The only other flights were Leith in the K8 and Ed in the K13 with me for the couple of flights after the break. Hopefully better weather next week.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 29th September 2018

Yesterday's trough with it's clouds is just is distant memory and today high pressure was once more in charge of the weather. The day started with an endless blue sky and, with the decidedly chilly overnight temperature and the promise a warm day, there was every chance of a good soaring day. The wind is forecast to be light from the east and that is what we got initially but that was to change

New club member John waiting for his first flight
The flying programme got off to an early start withCFI Mark Courtnay and I flying together to complete this year's revalidation of my instructors ticket with a couple of practice cable breaks. Mark then got on with the club flying with a short soaring flight with Karon while I turned my attention to the flying with new club member John O'Connell for his very first glider flight. During the 24 minute soaring flight John had the opportunity to start getting to grips with flying the aircraft. Welcome to DGS John.

Simon and Mike ready to go
Also on the airfield today as Simon Minson , Instructor Coach and Regional Examiner, who was here to fly with Mike Jardine to complete Mikes Instructor rating. By the end of the day, after several flights and briefings the job was done. Well done Mike and thank you Simon for your help.

A job well done Mike. And thank you Simon 
Sometimes gliding can be frustrating and today had some of this. A real cable break caused a tangle on the winch which delayed matters. About this time, our nice steady easterly breeze decided to go to the west causing us to change ends. These events delayed the flying programme by 1 1/2 hours. Thank you everyone for your patience.

Visiting pilot Henry Ford had this view during his 1 hour soaring flight in he K8.
It was certainly a bit hazy today. Typical of a high pressure day.
 The day proved to be quite soarable. Conditions low down were the usual challenge but the assemble pilots were up for it with 6 flights an hour or longer. Longest was Richard Roberts 2 hours 55 minutes in his Discus. Interesting was the Twin Astir; it completed 1 hour 44 minutes with Phil and Ged, only to launch again with Malcolm and Ged for another 1 hour and 35 minutes. Great stuff chaps.

This picture also from Henry. Climbing at 6 knots at 3000 feet in the K8

Our visitors today were Joe Lyons, Ed Mitchell, Roy Osbourne, Mike Strickland, who flew with me and Robert Steemson who flew with Mike. All enjoyed their soaring flights with us.

Visitor Joe Lyons enjoying the view
Visitor Ed Mitchell
Visitor Roy Osborne
Visitor Mike Strickland
Visitor Robert Steemson flew with Mike

A big thank you to all those who helped ( you know who you are).

The airfield is quiet once more
A great day with some frustrations ( that's gliding )

The fleet back safely in the hangar