Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 26th June 2019

Another Wednesday started with low cloud and little prospect of flying before early afternoon if the forecast clearance occurred. Phil Hardwick set about the grass cutting on the south side of the airfield until a broken blade brought this to a temporary halt. Robin was despatched to the stockist to get a replacement. John Smith and Hugh Gasgoyne helped Colin with the ongoing C of A on K13 DMX. I spent some time in the clubhouse with John O’Connell briefing him on approach control. When Robin returned, Phil, John S and myself set about fitting the new blade and grease pipe that was also found to be broken. Following lunch it could be seen that some holes were appearing in the clouds so we started getting things ready to fly.

K13 waiting for cables under the clearing sky.
First launch was finally made at 14:23 with John O’Connell. Unfortunately, with heavy sink and a difficult approach, he was no able to fully put into practice the approach briefing. Next up was John Smith who also found the heavy sink, but coped with the approach for two good landings.

John Smith getting ready to fly.
We had two visitors today brought as friends and family by Martin Broadway. Having explained that conditions were no ideal for air experience flights, they were still keen to have a flight before moving on from the area to continue their European tour.

Michael Spellacy waiting to fly.

Regina Spellacy ready to fly.
Both enjoyed their short flights and found the launch a great thrill.

Next to jump into the front seat was Hugh Gasgoyne. All flights so far were in fairly heavy sink. We could all see a wave bar tantalisingly to the east of the airfield, just too far away to get to. Hugh’s flights followed a similar pattern. Last flight of the day for the K13 was Phil Hardwick with me. A fairly bumpy launch that was abandoned at 1000ft with the speed increasing we levelled out only to find we were in smooth rising air. A few exploratory turns soon resulted in us climbing at 4 to 6 knots.

Still climbing at 2400’.
 Thirty minutes later we landed after a very unexpected flight considering what had gone before. The K8 had been brought from the hangar and Malcolm jumped in after waiting for clearance to fly from me. He took off and returned after his usual hour and climbs to 4700ft.

Thank you to all who turned up today. Some who chose not to fly but winched and helped out. A surprising end to the day and very enjoyable.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoort Gliding News-Saturday 21st June 2019

Arriving at the airfield the sky was a brilliant blue , sunny with a moderate S/E breeze. Duty Instructor Rick Wiles confirmed at the mornings briefing that RASP indicated the prospect of a good soaring day, game on then!

The club K13 HXP and K8 GDK were readied and duly dispatched to the launch point. Shortly followed by the privateers Phil the farmer with Astir FCJ , Ged and Malcolm with the Twin Astir DSL and my ASW20 FRW.

First launch was at 10.30 am .Rick conducted a couple of training flights with Mike Bennett. Mike then launched the K8 into a sky with cumulus forming and went soaring. I soon followed in my ASW20 keen to try out the recently acquired LX NAV V7 vario. The vario worked well although adjustments are required. The stall warning indicated a stall as the glider rolled to a standstill on landing, but wouldn't indicate a stall in flight!

I flew with Gary Sprauge from Okehampton the first of todays trial lessons. Gary was taken with the amazing views in the excellent visibility the North Cornish coast and the Hamoze on the South coast were clearly visible. Gary is a keen cyclist and knows the area, so it was interesting for him to see the moor from a different perspective.

Visitor Gary Sprauge
Rick was kept busy with training and currency check flights with Steve Raine, Robin Wilson, Karen and Chris Matten and Angie Liversedge an ex DGS pilot from 20 years ago, I recently flew with Angie on 9th June . Good to see you back Angie.

I also flew with Jennie Gardinier from St Dennis Cornwall the second trial lesson today. Jenny is an HGV1 lorry driver.Jennie enjoyed her two flights .Hopefully she will come to fly with us again.

Visitor Jennie Gadinier
Todays notable flights were Ged and Malcolm in the Twin Astir 3 hours 7 mins, Phil the farmer 2 hours 6 mins, Joseff Knobs 1 hour 14 mins in the K8 and numerous other soaring flights. The second K8 was liberated from the hanger such was the demand for single seaters.

It was good to see Ex DGS member Alan Carter on the airfield today. Alan carried out a functional test on a blue weak link whilst launching the K8 and can confirm it worked perfectly !

Thanks to all who drove the winch and cable retrieve, pushed and pulled gliders etc and kept the airfield running.

A very enjoyable day.

Roger Green

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 19th June 2019

I’ll start this blog with the apologies and thanks. First I apologise for stopping flying before all had flown and leaving the airfield before all was packed up. Secondly the thanks to those who told me to leave and offered to pack everything away. This was to enable me to get home before the A386 across Roborough Down was closed for the ongoing nightly roadworks and avoid an up to 30 mile detour.

As for the day, yet another day started with low cloud and drizzle, so no flying although the forecast gave a clearance for early afternoon. After putting the world to right over early morning tea and coffee, Colin arrived to carry on working on DMX. Various members were set tasks from painting, polishing and assisting with repairs. Shortly after a late lunch the forecast clearance arrived, so it was all hands to ready the airfield to fly.

K13 HXP with improving sky behind.
 K13 HXP and K8 GDK were towed to the east end. With only Bob Sansom and Robin Wilson needing the K13, Bob got ready first whilst Robin chose to winch. Phil Hardwick was first in the K8. Bob had 3 circuits with one extended flight of 19 minutes. Phil was seen climbing well in the K8 and finally returned after 33 minutes. With only a small number of members today it was a case of continually swapping duties so we could keep flying and hopefully get all airborne.

Robin Ready to fly with me.
Bob looking cool after flying.
Next in the K13 was Robin who also had 3 flights with one extended flight of 13 minutes. Hugh Gasgoyne, Martin Broadway and Malcolm Wilton-Jones all took turns in the K8.

Only 10 flights, but at least we flew. Thanks again to all who turned up today. One more apology, to Allan Holland who did not fly due to packing up early to enable me to get home.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 15th 2019

Low pressure is in charge leading to unsettled weather, showers and sunny periods. Today's breeze was mostly southerly. It seems to be the club's holiday season with several of the Saturday regulars away on holiday leaving our numbers somewhat depleted. On the positive side we are launching from the west with the winch a long way into the top field so good launch heights are on the cards. In fact the K13 was averaging 1350 feet with a reported best of 1500 feet, and the K8 was doing even better with a reported best of 1750 feet.

The launch hut under an interesting sky
DMX is currently undergoing it's CofA so we fielding just K13 HXP and K8  GDK. Today's one Day Course was Hugo White. As we had a surfeit of instructors today we were able to provide Hugo with 3 different instructors to fly with today. The first 2 flights were with new BI ( but very experienced pilot ) Richard Roberts followed by 2 flights with me and the course was completed with 2 flights with Rick. By the end of the day Hugo was able to fly the aircraft around using all the controls and could even trim the aircraft effectively. I hope he decides to continue flying gliders.

Hugo with Richard. Both look happy with their efforts. 
Mike and Rick discussing the plan
What about the conditions. Was it soarable. Yes, indeed. The clouds were formed up into streets and these were giving some 6 knot climbs and strong runs with wings levels. The K8 pilots were operating to club rules and limited their flights to an an hour each.

The view towards Plymouth
Hugo turning right
A nice solid 6 knots
For most of the day we could see showers to the west over Cornwall which were sliding past the airfield just to the north. Curious about this I consulted a newly installed weather app on my phone which confidently predicted rain in 113 minute. The was at 1pm. At 2.50 it rained. The app now predicted that the rain would cease in 49 minutes. The rain actually stopped a little earlier at 3.30pm. Interesting.

Sheltering from the rain. Rick, Allan and Andy (who seems to be in disguise)
Martin and Malcom also sheltering from the rain
( or did they come down to complain about the noise.)
Unfortunately, the shower had killed off the thermals and there was very little of anything to disturb the now smooth air. This led to a suitably early finish which allowed us to put every thing away and the fence back before the committee members amongst us convened for our monthly meeting.

A pleasant day with a few friends and a nice visiting family.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 12th June 2019

With low cloud over the airfield and drizzle in the air which was forecast to hang around until late afternoon, it was a day to muck in with the outstanding jobs. First up was the damaged fence to the south of the hangar. Mike, Hugh and myself set about replacing damaged fence poles and securing the fencing to them. We were joined part way through the task by John.

Hugh and Mike tackling the fence.
The finished fence.
Meanwhile in the hangar Colin progressed the C of A on DMX. After refitting and testing the instruments attention switched to the tail wheel. Hugh and Malcolm went about removing the wheel, cleaning and greasing and then refitting with the correct spacers to ensure good clearance all around.

Hugh and Malcolm working on the tail wheel.
Meanwhile I gave the two seats a coat of paint to help improve the look of the cockpit.

Freshly painted seats.
Allan Holland set about sorting the bushes for the control columns ready for refitting.

Allan Holland hard at work.
Steve Fletcher and Richard Roberts continued tidying up the clubhouse, particularly the office. Phil Hardwick spent most of the morning mowing the airfield. Thank you to all who turned up and tackled some of the many tasks at the club.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 9th June 2019

Useless. Utterly useless. The Met Office forecast for General Aviation users below 10,000ft included an area encompassing most of the western approaches in which the viz could be expected to be 30 km with no weather, and where cloud would be isolated, but occasionally scattered or broken over fronts and troughs to the NW of Scotland.

“...An ominous looking cloud appeared from the south..”
So it was with some trepidation that we viewed the early approach of a large grey cloud from the south (see photo) as we sought to get some club launches away prior to arrival of the first Trial Lesson visitor at 1100. Fortunately, the cloud diverted from its course to intercept onto a more easterly heading, just clipping the south side of the airfield boundary. Obviously, its presence so soon in the day was indicative of an unstable airmass, and so it turned out to be, with plenty of vertical energy to be exploited.

Visitor Alan Tremblett was BI Roger Green’s first trial lesson.
The first to do so was newly qualified BI Roger Green who, flying with visitor Alan Tremblett, spotted a neat little cloud marking a thermal to the north which kept them airborne for 15 mins. This sparked the flint for our returning visitor from Kent, Brian Tansley, who in the K-8, found strong lift to 3,000ft or more directly over the site. Solo pilots Roger Appleboom, Steve Fletcher, Leith Whittington and Martin Broadway tried their best to better him, but it was not until the afternoon when he was eventually toppled by some very courageous flying by Pete Howarth and Allan Holland who both, under a slate grey afternoon skies, managed to achieve 30 minutes apiece.

Visitor David Rowe and...
 ...Alan Jones are members of a local social club.
Our visitors, as is so often the case, provided a rich mix of diversity and interest. They were Alan Tremblett (aforementioned), David Rowe with Alan James who arrived with a very colourful and entertaining entourage from a local social club, and Angie Liversedge. Angie, who hails from Truro, first flew with us 30 years ago. She was then trained, and sent solo, by Allan Holland, and so was delighted to see that Allan was still an active member of the club, as our photo shows. In view of her previous training, Angie was given a second launch, this time with Asst Cat Pete Howarth as PIC who was able to give her control during much of the flight, following which Angie declared that she may well be back..! Let's hope so.

Visitor Angie Liversedge first flew with us 30 years ago...
...and was delighted to be reunited with Allan Holland, who sent her solo.
Thanks go to Steve Fletcher for winching, to Leith Whittington for driving the retrieve, to Ed Borlase and Dave Westcott for turning up and disappearing early, to Hugh Gascoyne for turning up late with his daughter and helping us to pack away, to Brian Tansley (our visitor from Challock) for remaining to generally help out, and most of all to Roger Green, for being a perfect ambassador for the club in his first day as a newly qualified Basic Instructor.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th June 2019

After yesterday's torrential rain the airfield was surprisingly dry. Today's forecast was for a typical summer, low pressure day; Showers and strong, blustery winds. The forecast wind strength meant that, reluctantly, we had to cancel our visitor flying today. The good news, was that although strong the westerly wind was straight down the runway, so, with care, some flying would be possible. The only sensible decision in these conditions was to field a single K13 to ensure safe ground handling. The K8s and Zugvogel were left in the cozy hangar.

The view over Tavisotck to the Tamar Estuaries from 2000 feet
First up was returning visitor Steve Hassall who is keen to start learning to fly. After a delayed start due to the first shower of the day, instructor Mike Jardine flew with Steve for 3 circuits in the buoyant conditions.

Mike was happy with his soaring flight
The next up was Mike Bennett. Luckily there  was a black looking cloud street directly overhead. Aided by a 1450 feet launch they hooked into some very strong lift and whisked up to cloudbase. After 24 minutes the cloud had moved away so it was back to the airfield.

^6 knots at 2000 feet wings level - amazing
Steve Hassall took another flight with Mike and this time they were rewarded with the flight of the day, 43 minutes at cloudbase giving Steve lots of time on the controls. Great stuff.

Steve Hassall with Mike Jardine
Only 2 more flights, a circuit by Phil Harwick and an extended circuit followed by a 29 minute romp with Scratch and Rick before the K13 was returned to the hangar ahead of the next showers.
Scratch and Rick looking serious.
So an interesting day punctuated by a few showers to give us practice at drying the glider and a wind that was strong enough to refresh the pilots skills in dealing with this.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 5th June 2019

I arrived at the airfield and Hugh & Mike were already hard at work changing ends ready to fly. The weather forecast was for moderate westerly winds and turning to possible showers as the day progressed. After the morning briefing Colin Boyd arrived, so it was decided to derig DMX so he could start the C of A.

Robin Wilson was first in the K13. The first flight was a simulated cable break followed by a second real cable break. Both were well flown and Robin should soon be back solo. Next up was returning member Ian Woolley who continued to polish up his general flying skills.

K8 being brought back to the launch point.
Flying was interrupted by a passing shower where we sheltered in the launch hut and had lunch.

A crowded launch hut waiting for the rain to pass
Between showers Bob Sansom flew the K13 with me for 17 minutes. Also Steve Fletcher took a break from his filing in the clubhouse and flew the K8 for the longest flight of the day of 22 minutes.

Bob Sansom soaring at 2000ft.
Hugh Gasgoyne also flew the K8. The last flight before more rain arrived was Dave Downton who continued to hopefully regain his solo wings.

Thanks must go to John Smith who spent time in the hangar helping Colin, but did not fly due to the rain arriving. Also to Mike & Phil for winching, Malcom for retrieving and not flying. Hopefully better weather at the weekend and next Wednesday.

Peter Howarth

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 1st June 2019

An expectant launch point
A warm front is on the way but with luck will not spoil the flying today but tomorrow is not looking good. The high pressure may well put a lid on today's soaring. RASP gives a short soaring window in the afternoon. Looking at the atmospheric sounding thing's ate not hopeful. The picture is one of a stable airmass with a very low inversion. The breeze is from the SE.

Steve Fletcher launches the Open Cirrus
So what did we find. Right from the first flight ( at a somewhat tardy 11am ) it was possible to extend circuit times in air that felt frothy but no more. Careful centering did not help much as this was almost certainly the low inversion at about 1100 feet. But it was entertaining. A little later Ged and Phil found a solitary thermal that had punched through the inversion and this wafted them to a dizzying 2700 feet. By mid afternoon there were more thermals to be had giving Malcom Wilton-Jones a flight of just over an hour in the K8 and Steve Fletcher 1 hour and 42 minutes in his Open Cirrus. Towards the end of the afternoon the thermal activity had all but disappeared when Mike Jardine and Karon Matten in the K13 found a patch of wave which gave them a smooth 8 knot climb to a little over 2000ft at which point the wave vanished as suddenly as it had started. Interesting.

Mike Jardine's view of the airfield from the backseat of HXP
And Steve Fletcher's view from the Open Cirrus
Today we had a couple of new faces on the airfield. Paul Hayward was today's One Day Course candidate. He made a good start at learning to operate the glider controls during his flights throughout the day. The other "new face" was ex member Ian Wooley who returned today after an absence of 12 years? to begin the process of restoring his solo status. Welcome back Ian.

Ian sharing a joke with Rick.
Paul Hayward waiting for his first flight with me in HXP
A good club day.