Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 16th November 2019

After what seems like weeks of rain, the forecast today was predicting a mostly dry day. The wind was light and variable between N and NE. The airfield was set up with the launchpoint at the west end and the Supercat winch at the east end.

The morning briefing was well attended and it was obvious as we were only fielding one K13 and one K8 we would need to stay efficient to ensure everyone had the flying that they wanted.

Te sky looked like this for most of the day
By 10:30 the early morning orographic low cloud had moved away and it was game on. The launch point stayed on track all day with no unexpected delays. Launching from the west always gives a lower launch rate than flying from the east as the launching aircraft are delayed by the landing ones. The top field is far too wet to touch down there other than in an emergency.

The first few flights were treated to the view of the lower clouds moving away to the north
Never the less by last launch at 4:30 we had achieved 31 launches including 6 launches with our One Day Course candidate Philip Dent and 3 launches with new member John Allan who returned today to commence his flying training after completing a successful One Day Course several weeks ago. Everyone who wanted to fly did so and the instructors even managed to give extra flights to our trainess as the worked down the flying list for a second time.

One Day Course candidate Philip Dent  
New member John Allan being briefed by today's instructor Mike Jardine
Excellent team work everyone. And was there any soaring? Well no, even though the sky looked like there were wave bars around, the longest flight of the day was a lowly 8 minutes. But trying was fun anyway.

Philip Dent watches the K8 after helping to launch it
The K8 launching into a mostly Blue sky

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 13th November 2019

The day started smoothly with a small band of members keen to set the field and fly before the forecast rain arrived sometime after midday. Although the forecast predicted south-westerly winds, the windsock indicated a definite easterly component. So we plummeted that the easterly component would stay whilst flying could be done and the winch was towed to the east end.

We were delayed in starting due to the delivery of the new shelter for the winch. The organised help to offload the pallet was not available so I had to go in search of Mr Stacy’s son to bring the forklift. This was soon done and flying could commence.

Pallet offloaded to await the next stage.
First up was John Smith. After a circuit and launch failure, he was allowed to add another solo flight to his total.

John returning to the airfield.
The solo pilots took turns to maintain recency with circuits in the K8. Steve Fletcher, Hugh Gasgoyne, Malcolm Wilton-Jones and Andy Davey managed flights of 4 to six minutes.

K8 returning past the K13.
We were joined by Robin’s friend and family, Mike Boyde. A power pilot who last flew in a glider 53 years ago. Steve Lewis took Mike for a flight ahead of the approaching rain.

Mike and Robin.
Thank you to Phil Hardwick and Hugh for winching and the couple of pilots who helped but were unable to fly due to the arrival of the rain. With the aircraft safely back in the hangar it was time for a warming cup of tea and coffee before traveling home. Only 8 flights, but most flew who wanted to.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 6th November 2019

With the jet stream sitting over the UK, depressions continue to track over the southwest. Although we got the airfield ready, we only managed two flights before the gaps between the clouds closed over. So another day with little or no flying. This has had an effect on some members, who could later be seen contemplating suicide from the top of the bus.

Is this high enough? The bus will eventually become the new launchpoint
Meanwhile in the clubhouse, Scratch and Phil were busy fitting the new wood burner. After packing away we were rewarded with a warm clubhouse.

The new wood burner up and running.
Before we left, outside the hangar was turned into a carwash. Richard was found giving the new vehicles a quick wash. He was helped by Martin and myself with the pressure washer.

The DGS carwash.
Thank you to all who turned up and helped with the various tasks. Lets hope the jet stream changes course and we are rewarded with some more settled weather so we can all fly again

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 2nd November 2019

Today we were visited by a storm with no name. This was no trivial band of rain but overnight there had been a snarling wind with gusts to 80 mph and rain best described as monsoon like. This seemingly endless bad weather is being driven by the Jetstream which remains stubbornly overhead. Maybe it will move soon. Thankfully there was no damage at the airfield and the field drains continue to work well.

The water is draining off the runway well
 There were only 3 members at the club today. Mike Jardine ( duty instructor ), Rick Wiles and myself. Rick was working on the simulator computer in between checking and adjusting the antifreeze in the vehicles and winches.

Rick working on one of the tractors with Mike in attendance
Hoping for better weather.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 27th October 2019

Following yesterday’s rain and wind it was widely predicted that today would be sunny and dry with a moderate wind from the north-east. Which had the desired effect in encouraging a good turn out of club members, having already put their clocks back to what used to be called Greenwich Mean Time (now UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time).

K-13 DMX in full climb.
The changing of the clocks did not go down well with the grass gremlins, however, which had crept up into the K-13 wheelbox and could clearly be heard moaning about the disturbance to their extra hour’s sleep as we pushed the glider into the sunshine. Giving them a shake or prod with a screwdriver proved to no avail and so Pete Howarth resorted to the pressure washer, with similar lack of effect (except to his trousers..!) Eventually, we had to jack up the K-13 on its keel, drop the wheel out and remove the slumbering gremlins by hand, at which point Farmer Phil remarked that not all the deposit looked like grass..! A thorough washing of hands ensued.

Steve Fletcher takes club K-8 GDK into a brilliantly clear sky.
Despite this delay we were still ready to launch before our first trial lesson arrived, with one K-13 (and K-8 for club members) available, at the west end. Conditions were ideal for trial flights but, frustratingly, the wind refused to veer to the north-east, remaining stubbornly in the north thus preventing club members from investigating any possible wave. Flight times were, therefore, quite short (although Pete Howarth’s was, even more frustratingly, the longest…)

Seventy-year old visitor Sarah Potterton seems to have enjoyed her flight..!
First into the front cockpit was Sarah Potterton who, as a sprightly seventy-year old, appeared with her husband and daughter to tick off gliding on her bucket list. And I think we did quite well, especially with the landings, which were much smoother than her experience in a sixteen-seater balloon, which resembled a rugby scrum more than a landing…

Sarah Potterton is presented with her certificate by Instructors Peter Howarth and Martin Cropper.
Next was Hazel Wood, who flew with Pete Howarth, and was followed by Eddie and Liz Morris, from Torquay. Eddie was a dinghy sailor (well, 46ft yacht actually) who found our vocabulary reassuringly familiar (you can take that however you wish) and Liz who felt very comfortable in the air. Last on the scene (but of whom sadly we have no photos) was avid angler Dave Payne and family, emigres from Cardiff who regularly holiday at Shaldon near Exeter for the fishing. He was thrilled by today’s spectacular visibility (above water).

Visitor Hazel Wood is present with her certificate by Peter Howarth.
Visitor Eddie Morris shares a joke with Martin Cropper.
Visitors Eddie and Liz Morris are presented with their certificates by 
Club members John O’Connell, Steve Fletcher, Phil Hardwick, Ed Borlase, Dave Westcott and, returning after 23 years or so, ex-Chairman Ray Boundy enjoyed their training/currency flights before (the first occasion this year) misting of the canopy called a close to proceedings at about a quarter to five.

Thanks go to the winching team of Phil Hardwick and Steve Fletcher, to those who improved the drainage on the airfield two years ago, and to everyone who recovered the gliders down the track, thus preserving the surface of the west end landing area.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 26th October 2019

With the yellow warning for rain and flooding in place until this afternoon, this was always going to be a non flying day. It rained steadily throughout the day discouraging any outdoor work. The good news is that the main drain fitted a couple of years ago is doing it's work and the cross track which used to get washed out every year is still looking like new. A definite step forward.
What's in here then?
Opening the Skylark trailer 
Was the airfield deserted? No, member Shaun Parrimore was here with a delegation from Rattlesden Gliding Club ( Suffolk ). They came to inspect Shaun's Skylark 3 which they promptly bought. I hope you enjoy flying this venerable, British aircraft.

Skylark 3 fuselage
Inspecting the wing centre section
In the clubhouse, David Archer was with instructor Mike Jardine discussing winch launching and other flying subjects. Good use of the time David. 

Mike Bennet put in an appearance to deliver the refurbished ground radios and to check out the contractors work on the leveled pad for the new MT store / workshop.

Hoping for better weather