Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 27th March 2019

With high pressure still in charge over the south of England, hopefully the hardest decision was which end to fly. The forecast was for light northerly wind backing NNW later in the day. So we left the airfield set to fly from the east end. The K8 and K13 were readied and towed down the airfield for first launch at 10:39. Two private gliders were also rigged, Steve Fletcher’s Open Cirrus and Phil Hardwick’s Astir.

Aircraft waiting under clear blue sky to launch.
First to fly with me was Robin Wilson. The launch was eventful with the speed varying and as it dropped off, Robin rightfully abandoned the launch and treated it as an eventuality. After talking to the winch driver, we tried another launch. Although better we achieved a full launch, but slightly lower than would be usual for the conditions. When we landed it was decided to swap winches. After a short delay, Joe Nobbs was next in the K13 with me to carry on working to get himself current again.

Meanwhile Steve Fletcher and Phil Hardwick had also launched. Steve managed to find some lift and disappeared for 1 hour 43 minutes. Also after re-soloing on Saturday Malcolm Wilton-Jones converted to the K8 and dutifully disappeared for 1 hour 24 minutes. Well done Malcolm.

Steve climbing at 2400
Next in the K13 was John Smith. His second flight was a soaring flight. So we made use of the height to do some spin recoveries and a demonstration of a spin from a failed winch launch.

John climbing through 2300’
Returning ex member Hugh Gascoyne was next. After 9 years away from flying, he was very keen to get back into the saddle. He had four flights including a power failure and by the end was realising what he had missed.

Hugh Gascoyne ready for his first flight.
The last pilot for the K13 was Bob Sansom. Two circuits and a cable break well handled, Bob is on his way hopefully to re-solo ready for the soaring season in the near future.

Thank you to everybody who turned up today to make a good day flying including Mike Bennett and Alan Holland who helped with winching and have not been mentioned above.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 24th March 2019

"With the K6 out of the trailer for her first breath of fresh air this year, there was limited expectation of extended flight, but by flying north to developing cloud over Blackdown, and nursing fragmented lift below 1500 feet, a climb to an eventual 3,000ft cloud base made an entertaining Sunday lunchtime posible.” With those words of account from Roger Appleboom need you read further? Well of course, because that was only one of the 34 lauches that took place today. Now, are you sitting comfortably..?

After yesterday's moist easterly today's dry north-westerly clearly (ahem!) called for a change of ends – thanks to those earlybirds who put this into effect before them who unreasonably demand breakfast first had even arrived at the airfield! By 9am the gliders were ready to roll and by 10am we were up and running, which was 'key', as RASP predicted only a narrow soaring window, between approx 1130 and 1:30pm (cf. Roger's report above...) However, in the event, RASP was wrong.

Ed Borlase latching onto a thermal off the NE corner of the airfield.
We welcomed two visitors today for trial flights, plus a returning Temporary Member: George Beale, an engineer who works at Broadley Business Park, Graham Milton, an ex-PPL holder, and Gail Barr, who first flew with us in January and was keen to build on those early flights.

Visitor George Beale receives his pre-flight brief from Peter Howarth.
Visitor Graham Milton is ready to fly with Peter Howarth.
Returning Trial Lesson student Gail Barr.
Whilst those who launched early got the best of the day, the northerly airflow appeared to flow around the E-W ridge of the airfield and, spilling around its NE corner, set up a stream of thermals that, towards the end of the afternoon, sent Ed Borlase (with Pete Howarth) and Steve Fletcher (with Martin Cropper) spiralling up to 1,700ft for 17 mins over the point-to-point races taking palse today at Cherrybrook.

Ed Borlases’ view of fields to the south, including the point-to-point races
 (the airfield is in the top right of the picture).
So, has Spring finally arrived? With the weather set fair for the forthcoming week, let's hope so.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 23rd March 2019

Finally, a break in the weather. Gone are the endless low pressure systems with their associated storms and fronts. Instead, today, we have high pressure in charge with a light NE breeze. The cloudbase over the airfield was initially relatively low with clear areas to the east. There was indications of wave activity with rotors, wave bars and a cap cloud to the east.

The K13 ready to launch
So the conditions looked promising. First up was Rick Wiles taking advantage of a day off from his instructing duties ( Mike Jardine was in charge today ). Rick launched in K8 G-CGDK heading back down the airfield until he hooked a low wave bar directly north of the of the launchpoint at the west end. That was the last we saw of him for 34 minutes finally reappearing from a much changed sky. The wave bars had gone but the wave influence was evident all day. It gave the air a very buoyant feel with laarg(ish) areas of zero.

Rick's view from his 2100 feet viewpoint
The wave in fact augmented the other lift sources which would normally be too weak to use. The north ridge was giving lift; interesting given that the northerly component of the wind was less than 5 knots. The top end of the valley between the launchpoint and  Brentor church was giving very gentle thermal bubbles even though there was no sun on the ground to be seen. Scratch managed to soaring a short beat on the north side of Brent Tor. I did in fact find a wave bar to the east of the airfield but was unable to work it for very long as it was quickly engulfed in cloud so I headed west to exploit the thermal bubbles instead. All of this provided great fun.

Steve Raine in the K13 surveys the view
Looking down over Blackdown.
With a magnifying glass it is possible to see the helicopter in the field.
The big news today was that Malcom Wilton-Jones and exeprienced pilot who joined the club recently completed his conversion to winch launching and was sent solo today. His first solo flight was completed flawlessly. His second became a 14 minute soaring flight using thermal bubbles still coming of the north ridge at 4pm. Great effort Malcom.

Malcom waiting for his solo winch launch
Malcom and K13 on the way
At the end of the afternoon an area of drizzle threatened from the east so we put everything away to allow the committee members to prepare for their evening meeting ahead of next week's AGM.

Today I was reminded why I fly gliders. An Excellent day


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 20th March 2019

With the airfield draped in low cloud, but a mildly optimistic forecast, Phil Hardwick and myself set about changing ends ready for the clearance to arrive.

Launch Point at east end.
Winch at West end.
Colin Boyd arrived to carry on with the C of A on the Zug. Under his supervision various members were given tasks to speed things along. John Smith fitted the seat into the cockpit. Bob Samson and I refitted the aileron hinge and later fitted the rudder after John O’Connell had rubbed down, doped and painted the repair on the bottom of it.

Rudder back in place on the Zug
During lunch the simulator was fired up and John practiced flying straight and level and turns ready to get back into the air.

After lunch Phil set about placing some scalpings near to the sump to try and divert excess water into the sump rather than running down the cross track. Bob joined him to use the wacker ( plate compactor ) to firm up the surface.

Bob using the wacker
Hopefully this continuous run of bad weather will come to an end and we can actually do some flying.

Thank you to everybody who turned up and helped with all the tasks undertaken.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor gliding News-Saturday 16th March 2019

The tail end of storm Gareth Has left us with a very strong southerly wind accompanied by lowering cloudbases, frequent showers and some drizzle. Today the runway was not a nice place to be although some efforts were made to work on the water flow around the sump area.

Colin at work on the Zugvogel
In the hangar Colin continued work on the Zugvogel C of A with some wood repairs to one of the wingtips; exacting, delicate work requiring not a little skill.

If I had spent £2500+ on a computer I'd want it in a see through case as well
In the club house we were in for a treat. Scratch had brought his mighty computer (£2500+) to demonstrate a photorealistic glider simulation viewed using a 3D Occulous Rift headset. The effect was amazing, you could even look over the side of the aircraft at the ground or look around towards the tail. Thanks for that Scratch.

Mike trying out the headset.
It is amusing to watch the pilot looking around
and sometimes pointing to things that we cannot see
lppoks unexciting from here
As most of the day we were in the clubhouse it was decided that we needed another treat. This was one of the diet busting variety.

Our diet busting treat. ( Jam first of course )
Cannot have a cream tea without the tea

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 9th March 2019

The weather over the last 2 weeks has thwarted all attempts at flying. Hopefully, this cannot last much lomger. On a brighter note the evenings are drawing out and the thermal soaring season is not far away.

Does the airfield resemble a ghost town? Tumbleweeds racing down the runway in the gale force winds?  No, not at all. The resilient Dartmoor soarers have been getting on with their projects.

Assembling the mower ready for the season
Honing skills ion the simulator
Always time for some soacialising
The bus being washed in preparation for it;'s conversion to a launchpoint
Looks like the aftermath of a school coach trip.
Have barrow, will travel
Phil compacting the new entrance road surface
The Zugvogel getting it's C of A.
Hoping for better weather soon.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 27th February 2019

Another fine day with light SSE’ly winds greeted the group of enthusiastic Wednesday soarers. The first task of the day was to prepare the airfield for the arrival of a visiting Cessna to use our field as a base whilst the pilot attended to some business in the local area. The windsock was put up and the hurdle fence removed ready for the arrival. We then set about readying the aircraft and equipment for the days flying. Flying started at 10:30 and our visitor arrived slightly later at 10:50.

Visiting Cessna parked.
Two private gliders were rigged, Phil Hardwick’s Astir (FCJ) and Steve Fletcher’s Open Cirrus (CGY). Robin Wilson was first to fly with me to blow away the cobwebs and try to get current again. John O’Connell carried on with his training. John Smith and Malcolm Wilton-Jones continued with their progress to hopefully re-solo soon at DGS.

Robin getting ready
RobiBob Sansom was last to fly with me, again moving towards regaining currency after his short break from flying. The K8 was flown by David Westcott, Michael Bennett, Allan Holland and Colin Boyd. Most flights today were only 4 to 6 minutes with the exception of Steve Fletcher in his Cirrus who managed a whole 8 minutes.
Our visitor departing at 13:15
Thank you to everybody who turned up today, winch drivers, retrieve drivers and general helpers.

Sorry That there are not many photos today, I must take more or ask for anybody who takes some to send them to me.

Peter Howarth