Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 23rd February 2020

Where were you..? 

Today, a Wednesday wiseacre and a select band of Sunday Soarers were on hand waiting in the clubhouse to welcome you to the event of the week: the weak-link workshop!  A TEM sponsored occasion, the team braved inclement conditions (waders and lifejackets required at the east end between vehicle and launch-point caravan) to gather all known colours of strop and recover them to the clubhouse. 

“You Aren’t the Weakest Link (now we’ve cleaned you up) – Hello..!”
Whilst the rain beat down on the roof, under the forensic glare of the clubhouse lighting the strops were subjected to dismantling, inspection, a thorough clean, replacement of suspect components and final reassembly.  This resulted in four distorted brown weak-links being redesignated, plus two blue ones, whilst numerous bent bolts, rounded nuts and worn-out washers were consigned to the recycling bin.  A worthwhile way of spending a few hours on a Sunday morning, hopefully this will set us up for a weak-link worry free season in 2020. 

Thanks go to whoever thought up the idea of what should be a regular maintenance item and put it on the To Do List in the clubhouse.  Next stop, the drogue parachutes..!

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 19th February 2020

After storm Dennis wreaked havoc across the southwest and more rain forecast for today, It was an easy decision that there would be no flying today. However the small group of members set about various tasks around the club. A BT engineer arrived early and set about replacing the router and soon had internet access back at the club.

Following Martin and Richard’s efforts to clear the drainage pipe below the hangar, Mike and Phil set about removing the existing  and digging out a larger access to fit a bigger pipe that hopefully will not block.

The new pipe in place.
The green army were at the airfield to carry on with preparations for the electrical installations in the storage containers.

Roger and Barry discussing plans.
Boarding was secure around the top of the containers to support the lighting. Also additional boarding was installed to support sockets and switches. Next step will to install conduit to protect the cabling.

Awaiting the next step.
In another part of the club, the bus project progressed under the guidance of John Smith. The new tower panels were slowly positioned and fixed in place.

The tower taking shape.
All panels in place awaiting the roof
So although no flying, good progress was made on the various projects. Thank you to everybody who turned up to help with all the work. Hopefully some flying soon.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 15th February 2020

This week's storm goes by the name of Dennis. In contrast to storm Caira last weekend which was extremely windy, Dennis has brought an unbelievable amount of rain with ordinary (?) gales.

The forlorn view from the clubhouse
There was a little work going on with Rick and Scratch fettling the Supercat while in the clubhouse it was tea and stories time. I'm sure we fixed all the world's problems. Mike Bennett used his time in a slightly more productive way practicing his thermally skills on the simulator.

Patio turning itself in to a swimming pool
Mike soaring the simulator
As the day wore on, the rain just got heavier and heavier. The site drains were working overtime but the one on the west side of the main gate was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water coming down from the top field and following down boundary hedge line. Not helping this was the fact that the water had brought a large volume leaves and other organic detritus with it which eventually blocked the drain completely. The lack of waders made fixing this impossible on the day.

The water bypassing the western side of the main gate.

Hoping for an end to this bad weather soon.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 12th February 2020

Driving up to the field the weather didn’t look that great with low cloud but the forecast was optimistic. I wasn’t that hopeful that we would be flying though, as we have had so much rain recently I doubted the field would be good enough. Peter Howarth arrived at the same time as I did and surveyed the length of the field. With lots of standing water on what are normally the best bits it was an easy decision to make, there would be no flying today! The forecast turned out to be over optimistic and showers, heavy at times, came and went through out the day so it was never going to be a flyable day!

The Wednesday workers set about various jobs. The electrician responsible for our safety check arrived and gave us a clean bill of health so a huge thank you to all the members who have done all the electrical work recently and since the last check 5 years ago.

John working on the new launch point
John Smith was working away at converting the bus into the new launch point, ably helped by Phil with noticeable progress being made. Huge thanks to John for driving this project forward.

eanwhilePeter Howarth, Phil, Robin, Malcolm and John Allan helped me load my trailer with aluminium from the old caravan which I took to the scrap yard. It took 2 loads to get it all removed. Next up was a trip to Sparlings waste to get rid of all the rest of the caravan, such as the fibre glass, windows, panels etc, another full load. All that remains of the Caravan is the Chassis which is in good order and can be put to good use.

John Allan got the simulator up and running and various members took it in turns to have a few minutes in it between working on the various jobs.

Flying the Simulator. 
Thanks to everyone who came today, a very productive day.

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 8th February 2020

With the imminent arrival of Storm Ciara flying looked unlikely. However, arriving at the airfield the windsocks were limp in the almost still air. This was all the encouragement needed and K13 G-CHXP was readied for flight and the east end launch point set up.

HXP waiting to launch
... and then launches into the turbulent sky
By the time of the first launch the southerly breeze had already picked up which then strengthen as the day wore on providing "sporting approaches". With our East/West runway. crosswind approaches are not uncommon and this is a skill well practiced by all DGS pilots. There is a limit to this though and by 12:15 discretion became the better part of valour and HXP was returned to the hangar. Everyone who wanted to, flew with Instructor Mike Jardine who reported the flying conditions as turbulent. Thanks Mike.

Phil Hardwick looks happy to be flying from the back seat.
Looking south with a solitary patch of sun on the ground
Mike Bennett's  view over a dark countryside
( I'd recognise that hat anywhere ) 
Back at the generator shed, the Green Army ( father and son duo Barry and Roger Green ) completed the rewiring of the generators and by mid afternoon we were able to power the clubhouse with our choice of the two generators. This will allow Generator 1 to be taken offline for some much needed TLC to cure it's oil leak and later to allow both generators to run simultaneously with one powering the clubhouse and hangar and the second powering the Vehicle Hangar and workshops. Excellent work chaps - many thanks.

Roger and Barry outside the generator shed
So what to do now. Well luckily we were able to contact the other members of the Committee and we managed to start to planned meeting at 3.30. This still ran on until dark but we got a lot of work done.

Was that it? Not quite. Two of our instructs were at North Hill with our CFI Mark Courtney receiving further training on their road to Full Cat ratings.

  Here Rick (rear seat) gets underway with Mark in DSGC’s Perkoz.
We left the airfield with a gales already howling through the trees.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 5th February 2020

With the best day of the week forecast and storm Ciara due to arrive over the weekend, it was hardly surprising that more members than usual gradually turned up today. With eight members requiring check flights or training I made the not ideal decision to only do single flights to start, with hopefully time to go through the list a second time, The K8 would be utilised by 6 other members. It was also hoped that Colin would come to the airfield to complete the paperwork on HXP’s ARC and authorise the test flight so it can return to the fleet.

After flying with John Allen, John O’Connell, Ray Boundy and Robin Wilson, HXP was brought to the launch point by Colin. I swapped aircraft to give it a test flight.

HXP returning to the air.
After a successful flight and some minor tweaks it was given the all clear to continue flying. Having the second aircraft available, Hugh took the opportunity to fly with Roger Green to do some BI practice.
Hugh ready to fly with Roger.
Roger also flew with Akos Imets to enforce primary effects and general lookout.

I then returned to the training list and flew with David Westcott, and Dave Downton.

John O’Connell doing ABCD checks before flying.
During the afternoon Martin Cropper was able to come to the airfield to give some assistance with the training. He flew with Peter Mountford and Ray Boundy.

Peter and Martin ready to go.
The K8 returns.
A good day’s flying with a total of 26 flights. The longest flight of the day was by Malcolm in the K8. A good days flying with everybody managing to fly. Thank you to the winch drivers and retrieve drivers for providing a steady service. Also to everybody else for keeping the launch point moving as well.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News- Saturday 1st February 2020

The new month brings new hopes. Today these hopes were well founded. No rain in the forecast, the forecast cloudbases looked workable. The only slight negative was the wind strength, possibly 15 knots + and strengthening later with moderate gusting. So the airfield was no place for a K8 today; such a lightweight glider is best left in the hangar but K13 G-DDMX certainly man enough for the job. Pilots would need to pay attention to the wind when planning their circuits but the wind will be down the runway, promising good launch heights and sensible approaches.

Richard Roberts begins his launch ( Rick is in the back seat)
DMX just leaving the ground for it;s next launch
Another "high energy" approach
Flights started with well flown circuits culminating in high energy approaches but flight 4 ( Richard Roberts with instructor Rick Wiles ) managed to extend the circuit under what looked like a cloud street. Step up Scratch. His flight with Rick showed some real promise. He did not try to circle in the lift; the wind was very strong aloft. Instead he headed into wind under the cloud street in the lift only turning down wind and then back into the wind to repeat the process. The reached the cloudbase at 2400 feet above the airfield ( 3200 feet above sea level. Very enterprising.

Looking down on the launchpoint
Climbing at 6 knots at 2000 feet - impressive
By 2pm the wind had increased to the point that discretion was the better part of valour and the K13 was returned to the hangar while the pilots returned to the clubhouse to defrost and avail themselves of tea and medals and a tale of "derring do" or two.

The view over Tavistock with the Tamar Estuary shining in the sunlight at Saltash
While all this fun was going on, you would not be surprised to hear that there was a lot of work going on in and around the hangar. The Green army ( no not Plymouth Argyle but Barry and Roger ) were wiring up the generators to make power available to the existing facilities and the new Vehicle Hangar. Mike Bennet was on the roof of the new Hangar this time painting the roof of the northern container. In the hangar, Colin was finishing off the C of A work on K13 G-CHXP which ended the day ready to be rigged. Between the two John was quietly working on the Bus / Launchpoint project preparing to fit the new control tower to the top.

The  "sill" for the control tower on the roof of the bus.
Everyone who wanted to do so flew. Our thanks to everyone who helped. But special thanks today to Rick who flew in every single flight in the boisterous conditions.

Rick and Scratch look pleased with themselves

A good day