Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 22nd December 2018

Watching the weather forecast this week has been a tense affair; all week a possible gap in the seemingly endless frontal systems promised a possible flying opportunity on Saturday. Normally the timing of such gaps tends to move but not this week so Saturday dawned with mostly 8/8ths cloud cover but at least high enough to fly. The wind was 12-15 knots westerly at runway level, stronger at altitude of course but flyable.

An uninspiring sky but flyable.
A K13 was got ready early to take advantage of the conditions. The K8s were left in the hangar, it was possibly a bit windy for them and as there was only a small (but beautifully formed) team the K13 would have enough capacity for our needs.

One Dat Course candidate Ben Followell
First up was Scratch who completed 2 good circuits with Instructor Rick Wiles to maintain his recency. We then welcomed visitor Ben Followell who was attending for a One Day Course. Ben was a solo glider pilot some 7 years ago when he was part of the Cadet Scheme at another airfield. After a couple of familiarisation flights with me he spent the rest of his course with Rick. By the end of the day he had flown his first ever winch launch and reacquainted himself with the pleasures of landing the aircraft. Well done Ben.

The K13 climbs into the sky once more
Everyone who wanted to fly did. By about 3pm the formation of moisture on the aircraft warned of  canopy misting problems to come so the glider was retrned to the hangar and put away after a thorough wash.

Rick's view from the front seat of the K13
looking towards Cornwall from cludbase.
Brentor Church is lower right
Not an epic day but it was good to fly once more.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 16th December 2018

Something strange was seen over Brentor Today. Yes, for a short time it was sunny so we actually got a K13 out of the hangar and flew. If you believe the old wives tale, were we doing the right thing?

Red sky in the morning, shepards warning
With a small crew gathering and if the weather forecast was going to be right giving a window of opportunity up to about midday it was action stations to get the airfield ready. We decided that it would be one flight each so that everybody would get a chance to fly.

K13 heading for a gloomy sky
First flight was at 10:12 with Mike Bennett and myself. The rain could already been seen approaching from the west  It was already raining in Cornwall. Three more flights were achieved with Andy Davey, Martin Cropper and Steve Fletcher. With the rain arriving it was now a quick dash to put the glider away (yes Colin it was dried off) and clear the airfield.

Back in the clubhouse it was time for teas and coffees to wash down the mince pirs supplied by Andy. The chairman set about updating the log books whilst we had our drinks.

The Chairman surrounded by aircraft paperwork
Only a few flights, but it was good to actually fly for once. Thank you to Richard for winching and everone else for the teamwork in running the airfield.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th December 2018

The weather has unfortunately settled into a winter pattern with low cloud interspersed with pulses of rain and high winds. So the last couple of weekends it just has not been possible to fly.

Does that me that the airfield has been quiet and deserted? Not a bit of it. The members have been getting on with their (mostly self appointed) tasks.

The sprucing up of the launch hut (mostly masterminded by Heather and Barry) has seen major improvements being made. The interior has had a completed paint job and the flooring replaced. It is looking much nicer. Scratch was drafted in to replace the log keepers seat with one he rescued from the Green Landrover. Outside, the steps have been refurbished and now sport some new non-slip treads. The exterior has been partly sanded ready for a new cost of paint. This will need to be a group effort as the paint of choice is a two pack paint which will harden very quickly once the catalyst is mixed. And the colour - Olive Green.

Barry adding non slip panels to the steps
The "new" log keepers chair
Rick and Scratch have been working on the vehicles. The Green Landrover has been stripped of any useful parts and then sent to the scrap yard. The bus has been started. A decision on it's future; new launch hut or sale?? will be made soon. The red tractor has had a leak in the cooling system repaired. I am sure I have missed some of what they did but you get the idea.

Rick and Scratch getting an old friend ready for it's final trip
Mike Bennett has been a one man whirl wind. The area behind the trailer park and clubhouse has been tidied including cutting back all the stray foliage. The defunct storage shed has been emptied and is now ready for disassembly. If that wasn't enough Mike has also been cutting up lots of wood for the burner to keep the clubhouse warm. Where does he get all that energy?

"Dartmoor chainsaw massacer?" Mike at work 
In the clubhouse the simulator has seen quite a bit of upgrading. The last few months has seen it upgrading to sport 6 screens. The large central one, 2 side monitors on each side to give a view that now goes from wing tip to wing tip ( great for circuit planning and winch launching ). The sixth screen is a small one in front of the front seat which displays the flight instruments. The software has not been ignored. The simulator now uses Condor 2. As if all that wasn't enough Rick has spent a lot of time at home developing the new local airspace files.

Rick working on the simulator
Steve working on learning the instructor patter with Rick using the simulator.
In the hangar, Zugvogel and K13 HXP have been de-rigged ready for their C of A and ARC. Colin, who now has ARC inspection added to his inspectors ticket,  has been to the airfield most days to move this project on. The K13 is not really due yet but we have decided to move it to the winter months when it's absence from the fleet is not as difficult to manage.

HXP and the Zugvogel inthe hangar for TLC
Colin at work on HXP's port wing
Hoping for some flying weather soon.