Dartmoor Glidng News-Wednesday 24th July 2019

With low cloud over the airfield there was to be no flying until late morning if the forecast improvement occurred. Anticipating this with a forecast southerly/ south-south westerly we set up the airfield accordingly. K13 HXP and K8 FXB were also prepared ready for flying. Phil Hardwick took the opportunity of no flying to jump into the tractor and mow parts of the airfield.

Phil at home in the tractor.
Eventually the cloudbase started to lift and it looked like we were going to be able to fly. But as the wind had not read the forecast, and with a definite easterly component, it was all hands to change ends ready to fly. The K13 and K8 were brought to the launch point.

Our one day course Peter Mountfield had arrived and was briefed by Richard. First to fly with me was John O’Connell who had a couple of circuits. The K8 was also flown by Martin Broadway and Phil Hardwick. The K13 achieved full launches of around 1100ft just below cloudbase.

Peter and Richard were next in the K13. Their first launch resulted in a launch failure, but by the time we had reset and were ready to fly again, it was obvious the cloudbase was already a lot lower. We decided to pack everthing away as the forecast was for conditions to further deteriorate. Peter will return for his full course at a later date. His wife Mary will also be booking some trial flights, hopefully on the same day.

Peter ready to fly.
Only five flights, but thank you to all who turned up helped but didn’t fly. Better weather soon please.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 21st July 2019

“Absolutely fine, no problem, get here by a quarter to twelve and we’ll have you in the air by midday…!” such confidence, fuelled by little arrows pointing to the top right on the Met Office Tavistock forecast, the spot wind F214 showing 210 at 20 kts and the RASP giving it 2.5 by 1130, was to prove short lived, as we took the gliders to the east end launch-point, where the windsock showed 10-15kts from the south ie. 90 degrees across the runway. Good job I didn’t give my name to the lady on the phone…

Warwyck Roberts Snr ready to launch with Roger Green
Roger Green landing HXP with Warwyck Roberts Snr.
So not a day for the K-8 which, even if flown expertly, could easily have succumbed to the gusts on the ground. But a day where unfulfilled promise was turned into moderate success by flying a total of nine visitors (not all pre-booked…).
Visitor David Coombes receives his certificate from Roger Green.
Mark Smith is presented with his certificate by Roger Green.
Roger Green blazed the trail to soaring flight by exploiting a narrow line of strong lift at the east end of the airfield, up over Blackdown, enabling him to deliver a 22 minute soaring flight to Warwick Roberts Snr (whilst son Warwick Jnr flew for 21 minutes with me – there’s airborne etiquette (and telepathy) for you..!)

Warwyck Roberts Jnr is congratulated by Martin Cropper.
The Roberts family en masse.
The lift, strong in parts and marked by Cu, was not reliable, however, and with glimpses of 4s and 6s on the vario averaging at only ½-1 up, the strength of the crosswind was the dominant factor, closely followed by degree of sink in the valley, that determined how far it was safe to venture (ie. not far…) before punching back towards the airfield.

Visitor Gerald Mudge is welcomed by Martin Cropper.
Roger Plumb looks happy to fly with Roger Green.
Thanks go to a very willing and welcoming band of helpers: Andy Davey, Dave Downton and Ed Borlase but most of all to Phil Hardwick who winched throughout, ably coping with some white-knuckle recoveries of the cable within the total of 13 launches.

Roger Green explains a point of detail to visitor Michael Fitzpatrick.
Alexander Brooke-Walker being introduced to the parachute
by Dave Downton with his grandparents looking on.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 20th July 2019

Westerly breeze under a low cloudbase
A small but beautifully formed sub set of the club membership got together today to test their soaring skills against today's conditions. Mostly overcast with a westerly breeze there was hope of the great launches of last week but with cattle in the top field we were back to launching off the shorter runway length leading to about 1150 feet launches for the K13's. RASP was not too hopeful suggesting that there might be a soarable window later in the afternoon.

Today's veiw of Brentor Church from the top of the launch
In the event, it was soarable from midday. But it was not easy. Very narrow elusive bubbles to carry gliders to the low 2000 feet cloudbase. Sometimes it was more productive to fly with the wings level and just pull through the bubbles which were tending to street in the strengthening breeze. But a few pilots could make it work.

One Day Course Candidate Robert Sutton.
Robert keeping a good lookout as we approach our next cloud.
I managed a couple of good soaring flights with today's One Day Course candidate Robert Sutton. Today's private grid consisted of the Astir CS, Discus BT, Twin Astir, SF27  and the rare K10. Richard recorded the best flight in the Discus flying for 1hr 13minutes on a local task which he abandoned after struggling with the inconsistent thermals and low cloudbases. Interestingly, Richard chose to fly the Discus without it's winglets today. I asked him the reason for this; " Because I can" was the answer. The Twin Astir had a couple of short soaring flights.

A busy but untidy launcpoint.
Richard's Discus without winglets
It was great to see Rita Smith back again continuing her flying training. Rita is also getting to grips with the work around the launchpoint when not flying.

The very rare K10.
Our thanks to the winchdrivers, all those who helped and of course, once again to Heather for her endless cable retrieve duties


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 17th Jult 2019

The weather forecast for today was not inspiring. Light southwesterly winds. Rasp seemed to confirm this with only a slim chance of soaring during the afternoon. I arrived at the airfield to find Phil Hardwick was already changing ends. We thought we might be able to use the top field until cattle were spotted hiding under the trees along the north edge of the field.

As members turned up the aircraft were readied and towed to the east end.

Towing the gliders to the launch point at 9:30
We welcomed our one day course student, Alan Finch today. After a briefing from BI Richard Roberts they were soon off into their first flight. By the end of the day Alan was using all three controls and performing coordinated turns. Hopefully we may see him back for some more flying.

Alan and Richard ready to fly.
We also had a visitor from Mendip GC, Peter Turner. Peter has recently bought a holiday property down here and is hoping to be able to visit us regularly when he is down this way. Having flown with us before, I gave him a refamiliarisation flight, before he flew the K8.

Peter with the K8
Richard also flew with trial flight visitor, James Cargin. You can read his thoughts here .

James Cargin with Richard

James Cargin with Richard was kept busy flying with Barry Green, John O’Connell and Dave Downton. After a simulated power failure on the first flight of the day and a subsequent practice break, Barry was cleared to fly the K8. Good to see you back solo Barry. John had a couple of flights with the ASI covered to try and get over his reliance on the instrument. His upper air flying is improving and approaches and landings are also improving. Keep up the good work John. Dave had a couple of good circuits and a cable break practice. He will also be re-soloing shortly.

Returning member Angie Liversedge had three flights with Martin. Her skills are returning and is now doing all the flying

Angie happy to be back in the front seat.
The K8 was flown by Barry, Malcolm, Bob, Allan and Martin. Bob and Martin had extended circuits of 14 and 17 minutes. Malcolm failed on his usual hour after returning having been airborne for 58 minutes to claim flight of the day.

The twin astir made a brief appearance and was flown by Phil Hardwick and Martin Broadway.
We managed a surprising 35 flights. Thanks must go to Heather for retrieving all day again and the various winch drivers who kept things moving. After all was packed away we celebrated the belated birthday of Barry last week and his re-solo with a quick beer before heading home.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 14th July 2019

Martin and Irene getting airborne in K-13 HXP.
“For the first time ever I’ve had 10 up all the way around the circle – incredible!” Those were the words of Peter Howarth who, returning from yet another 30 mins plus flight, declared that he had never know lift like he experienced today. And why? Well, an almost slack easterly airflow delivered a sky of two halves – to the east the panorama was blue, indicating sinking air, whilst overhead at the west end was a broad but ragged carpet of grey cloud, indicating convection, possibly assisted by wave. Thus it was that Peter, flying with trial flight visitors Steve Tedley and Patricia Mawer, and Martin Cropper with Irene Chapman, were able to give all of them soaring flights.

Visitor Irene Chapman is presented with her certificate by Martin Cropper
Peter Howarth discussing the finer points of gliding flight with visitor Patricia Mawer.
Visitor Steve Tedley is presented with his certificate by Peter Howarth.
Returning solo pilot Dave Downton about to be connected by Joe Nobbs.
Privateer Roger Green (ASW-20 FRW) launched at 1150 to explore the local area, returning with photos from as far afield as Plymouth, Roadford and New Bridge over the River Tamar at Gunnislake (see photos), reporting a max height of 3,600ft and easy 3-6 kt thermals all round.

Gunnislake in the upper half of the photo.
Roger Green’s view of HMP Dartmoor during his aerial tour of West Devon.
Other solo flights were made by Ed Borlase (K-6 EWO) and Steve Fletcher, Phil Hardwick and Martin Cropper in the club K-8, with Joe Nobbs completing the ‘stakeholder engagement’ team. Although there was no incursion by sea-breeze, conditions gradually became flatter as the afternoon progressed and, satisfied that all who wanted to had done so, we returned the gliders to the hangar at around 1700.

Ed Borlase about to get airborne in his K-6CR.
Thanks go to winch drivers Steve Fletcher and Phil Hardwick for consistently delivering launches to 1,200ft plus, a considerable achievement on the short, east run given the light wind conditions. And especial thanks go to Peter Howarth who, up with the lark as ever, arrived at the airfield well before anyone else in order to make the Sunday team’s contribution to the grass cutting effort.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 13th July 2019

At the coast this morning the sky was blue and another balmy summer day seemed to be on the way. However, only a couple of miles inland there was a cloud sheet with a very smooth, straight looking edge which seemed to go on forever. Was this a "roll" cloud? Later conjecture suggested that this was probably the edge of a wave induced cap cloud sitting over Dartmoor from a wave system set off by the northern tors. Certainly the brisk wind was from the north.

Straight cloud edge Cap or Roll cloud?
At the airfield the only sign of this dramatic skyscape was the 8/8ths cloud cover and the NNW wind . RASP was not looking very optimistic with maybe a little local soaring if we were lucky. In fact this led to Rick, today's instructor in charge, joking at the morning briefing that the lack of lift wouldn't stop Malcom or myself from soaring. We'll see.

One Day Course candidate Ian Loades
We welcomed  some visitors today. Ian Loades was our One Day Course candidate. Ian flew with me and together we enjoyed the heady mix of teach Ian to fly the aircraft while expolring the local area for any sources of lift. Richard and Christine Dumbleton late morning for Air Experience flights. Richard flew with Rick in DMX with I flew with Christine in HXP.

Visitor Christine
Returning to see us today was Rita Smith who completed her One Day Course last week and continued her flying training today. Welcome to gliding Rita.

Todays uninspiring sky
What of the soaring? With the winch in the top field launches were great. The k13s averaged 1350 and the K8 1500+. Early on there was a little lift available on the north ridge which enabled circuits to be extended. By 1pm there seemed to be a little definition in the cloud with some slightly darker patches. This drew the gliders like moths to a flame and some were rewarded with a little soaring. Longest flight was Malcolm in the K8 who managed 33 minutes followed by me in the K13 with visitor Ian.

Malcolm's view of his flight follows

"My flight from Brentor today. At briefing Rick had stated that there would be little if any usable lift, and that mostly late afternoon, but I might find it. I was about to go to the winch but someone had already just gone there so when Mike landed and said he had found some lift he suggested I try to make something out of it so I took up the challenge. A good launch to 1500' and I headed for a darker patch of cloud to the north and after losing a couple of hundred it started to get bubbly and I started climbing slowly and drifting to the south-west, so clearly the N wind had some E in it. Soon got to cloudbase at 1700' and headed for a large dark patch a couple of miles N of the airfield. At cloudbase I again headed North while increasing speed to stay below the cloud and once clear burnt off the speed, climbing to just over 1800' at which point I could see nothing more within reach so turned east towards some darker clouds in the distance. I arrived at these at about 1000' over Blackdown but found nothing of any use so tried the north slope of the airfield but again nothing until at 600' the vario squeaked but a quick turn did not produce a gain of more than a few feet so it was into the circuit and landed after 33 minutes."

Looking SSE over Brentor church to the airfield
Cloudbase in the K8
Our thanks to all the helpers especially the winch drivers. Special mention for Heather who drove the retrieve all day..

A challenging day.


Dartmoor Gliding News- ICL 2019 The Park

13th & 14th  July 2019

The weather forecast was showing a mixed bag, but Sunday was always going to be the better day. As DGS pilots are such a hardy bunch we (Roger Appleboom In Club Libelle ,Andy Davey in std Libelle and myself in Discus w ) all arrived before 930am for the Saturday club briefing.

We then proceeded to rig our gliders and generally fiddle with our gliders. (And put up tents/mansions to sleep in )

The task briefing was carried out by local club pundit at the park Phil. The weather was presented and we were given a window of flying opportunity at about 4-5pm. In the end it was a challenge just to stay airborne never mind go on a task. The Day was scrubbed, but not until we exhausted the last opportunity it might be a good Saturday for local flying.

That night the gliders put to bed , some with swanky new covers(Andy) ,some left out rigged to catch a possible shiver from the night air!(me). We all adjourned to the pub in Mere for tea,where we were joined by Henry from Mendip GC. The usual good food , poor banter and small amount of alcohol followed!


All set again , bad news was the forecast gave possible morning showers , good news,they never materialised so the heating process happened quicker than Saturday giving a soaring window between 1pm and about 5pm

Cloud base was still low. 3000ft at best, and making the flying a little defensive was the added issue that DGS members aren’t used to ..... crop fields EVERYWHERE. For some reason not many were cut, good land-out options were limited to small airfields or large runways if air traffic control was feeling welcoming on the radio.

Andy waiting to take to the sky 
In the event Andy was set a 54km triangle on the novice task.The task setting kept them close to the park and Andy did a sterling job of getting around it on his first attempt ,at a very respectable 60min

By the looks of this Andy likes the ICL weekends
The Pundits were set 101km Park-Salisbury south-Blandford-Park

It was interesting flying with cloud bases varying 1000ft. Funny thing , it always seemed to be 2000ft over the task turn points.I completed in 1h20.

But what of the 3rd musketeer I hear you ask, in the intermediate class ?

Roger - cable on - one for all and all for one
Roger took three winch launches and connected on the third. By this time he decided to enjoy the flying in a beautiful part of the country and ‘wandered’ down the first leg towards Sailbury South a little way ,before assessing the chance of a land out was getting high at this time of day. It therefore turned the flight into one of his legendary ‘I went for a wander’ around Wiltshire.

Congratulations go to Andy on his first cross country, and his first inter club league. It’s fair to say his was a little nervous about what he was letting himself in for. By close of play Sunday he was sighed up to enjoy the next ICL in August! If you are in any doubt and want to come along but have any trepidation, just talk to Andy when you see him next.

We all landed within an hour of each other and helped everyone de-rig . We were all on the road home by 5pm.

What is amazing ,is what you can pack into a weekend off. Mixed with time to relax , time to socialise, talk gliding , eat food and drink. Oh and we had a few x countries, and a few local soaring hours. What’s not to like.

How FAR will it be next time ?

And will you be there?

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 7th July 2019

Just Enough, Just in Time? You betcha. Today’s lean manned team not only managed to deliver soaring flights for all our members, but also aviation to a variety of visitors.

Roger Green and Neil Rogers take to the skies in the K-13.
Instructor Peter Howarth launching for a 45 minute flight in the K-8.
A gentle north-westerly provided benign conditions, but a slate grey pavement of cloud prevented the sun from providing consistent heat to the ground and hence soaring could not be guaranteed. When the sun did break through, however, its heat was rapidly put to effect, enabling Roger Appleboom to bag flight of the day in mid-afternoon with a 1 hr 10 min flight to 3,300ft. But let’s rewind to the morning, when visitor Jacqueline Wilding-White delivered surprise of the day by producing her Log Book, which showed her to be a Silver ‘C’ holder from 1994. A swift climb to 1,500ft was sufficient to allow her to demonstrate that she hadn’t lost her touch, despite the 25-year gap – who says those skills are perishable..?!

Visitor Jacqueline Wilding-White, from Newton Abbott.
BI Roger Green later flew with visiting pair Alan Britton and Martin Yeo, whilst privateer Leith Whittington gave his Dart 17R its final few soaring flights before ARC (it being rumoured that this superb piece of English engineering might soon be available on the market…)

Visitor Alan Britton is shown the controls by BI Roger Green.
Visitors Alan Britton and Martin Yeo from Bude are presented with their certificates by Roger Green.
Highlight of the day had to be when it appeared that the streets of Plymouth had been emptied with the arrival of visitor Grandad Neil Rogers, accompanied by his (two Range Rover Discoveries filling) entire family. To make the event even more memorable, he was treated to a cable break on his second launch, adeptly handled by Roger.

The Rogers family take a keen interest whilst Grandad Neil is briefed for his flight.
The Rogers family, from Plymouth, in full.
To round off the day, we sent Ed Borlase aloft in the K-8 for a 30-minute (minus one) flight, reaching almost 3,000ft.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 10th July 2019

Early arrivals were hard at work removing the fence and moving the winch into the top field. As others arrived the gliders were taken out of the hangar and readied to tow to the east end. With the forecast of light W/WSW winds and RASP giving 3.5 stars for early afternoon we took both K13’s and two K8’s to the launch point.

First flight was a test flight of DMX following completion of the recent ARC. All went well and it was cleared for service
Both K13’s at the launch point.
We welcomed one day course student Chris Down. After a briefing in the clubhouse by Roger Green it was time to get acquainted with HXP.

Chris and Roger ready to fly.
Early flights by Roger/Chris and Martin Cropper in the K8 showed that there was lift available despite the high cloud cover. Chris enjoyed 5 flights, 1:37 and had plenty of hands on the control time.

Our other visitor was 85 year old Basil Hulatt who had been given the trial flights for a birthday present.

Basil getting ready to fly with me.
The grid became rather crowded with the arrival of private aircraft. Steve Fletcher (Open Cirrus), Andy Davey (Zugvogel) and Phil Hardwick (Astir).

Our other trainees John Smith and David Archer flew with Martin and myself improving their skills ready to solo in the near future. Also occupying the front seat was Barry Green. Some power failures and launch failures gave him chance to sharpen his flying ready to go solo soon.

After recently being cleared to fly solo, both Bob Sansom and Robin Wilson were allowed to fly the K8. Both achieved extended flights of 23 and 21 minutes respectively. Bob’s first flight was a cable break which was well flown.

Bob back in the K8 (sorry no photo of Robin)
The airfield and Black Down
Other notable flights were Steve 2:11, Andy 1:33, Malcolm 1:03, Hugh 1:00 and Martin 0:36.

Thank you to Heather who retrieved all day. Also thanks to winch drivers and all helpers for a good day flying.

Peter Howarth