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.