Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 15 March 2023

Today should have been Tuesday and we would have enjoyed a nice thermic day from 0930 to 1630 with climbs up to the cloud base of 2,850ft AGL at the best part of the day.  Wind would have been from the Northwest to West heralded by pretty, fair weather, cumulus clouds. Just what DGS members needed after this run of poor weather.

But today was Wednesday.  www.yr.no forecast a humid wind from the Southeast and South bearing (Ed: No pun intended this time Steve Lewis) rain throughout the day.  It hardly seemed worth the effort to consult the more aviation-based forecasts but for completeness Skysight and RASP had the cloud base descending early on to airfield height, no thermal activity, and continuous rain (Ed: Well that was a waste of a few electrons checking those forecasts then).
As if to seal the fate of the day, whilst looking out of an east facing window at home, towards the moors early this morning, gave a wonderful transitory display of a blood red sky "Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning".  The rhyme means that a red sky appears due to the high-pressure weather system having already moved east meaning the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low-pressure system. (Ed: That's great but why no photo? Your dressing gown has pockets. Use them. Buck up!).

Later, at the clubhouse, after tea and biscuits (Ed: Thanks to an emergency run to B&M by Mrs S on Sunday) we were able to contemplate  some ground-based projects (Ed:  For the more refined inhabitants of Tavistock and Grenofen B&M is a store that offers "Big savings on Big names").
No posh biscuits here for the residents of Tavistock or Grenofen (Ed: Hands off the Bourbon Creams they are reserved for Colin)
The Duty instructor was Mike Jardine with Hugh as the Duty Introductory Flight Pilot. Regrettably, Hugh had to tell our trial flight visitor that he would have to rebook due to the inclement weather.  There was a digital rumour that our CFI was back in the country but that he had cried off coming to the club due the pressure of work.  The clubhouse consensus, over tea of course, that this was a subterfuge, or slight of hand, and he was still sunning himself on Bondi beach (Ed: I still can't get that image of Rick in a pair of 'Budgie smugglers" out of my head).

So to the jobs, or so I thought. However, tea has wonderful restorative and invigorating powers (Ed: Even Hugh's decaf version?).  Looking out the window the rain had stopped. The sky was brightening and a closer inspection of RASP had the rain setting in at 1100. There was K-8, FXB waiting in the hangar for a test flight after its annual inspection.  So once we got the tractor and winch running we deployed a bare minimum of flying kit ready to launch from the west end.  What could we achieve with five people on the field before the rain set in?
Looking out of the window gave a more promising, in real-life, forecast
A singular view from the launch point today
A happy retrieve team arrive with the first set of cables
This is why the retrieve team are looking so happy.  New, smart, and snazzy waterproof seat covers.  Ideal for those "Dartmoor days" (Ed: And sporting Ukrainian colours too)
The Duty Instructor prepares for FXB's test flight following its annual maintenance and inspection
A test flight by the Duty Instructor just after 1000 was followed by flights by John Allan, Gavin, Steve Fletcher, and late-arrival Scratch (Ed: I thought Scratch never flew on Wednesdays on principle). The rain arrived at 1100 as forecast. After the first shower, the rain set in fully, Hugh rightly declined to fly. So we packed up and returned FXB to the hangar.  The wheel box was cleaned of mud and the glider was dried off.  Although we flew the forecast was correct in that it wasn't suitable weather to fly visitors.
Following the initial rain shower the DGS Synchronised Squeegee Team leaps in to action as Scratch runs through his pre-flight cockpit checks
Scratch returns to earth from what turned out to be the last flight of the day
So on a non-flying day we flew five flights and FXB enjoyed 31 minutes aloft (Ed: Which just proves that all your pontificating about the weather is for naught.  So the DGS mantra should be "Turn up, fly if you can!"  Don't be scared off by the weather forecasts, or the weather pontificators and pundits, as Dartmoor can confound them all).

While bringing the winch back to the MT hangar two Unidentified Flying Objects were recovered from the field and secured in the clubhouse.  Richard has been informed of the whereabouts of his errant water ballast barrels (Ed: Sadly we cannot vouch for the safety of his other two water barrels which were not found.  We await a press release from President Biden or the USAAF presently)

The hangar at midday.  Who would have thought that we had been flying.

All packed away by 1145. Lunch consumed, accompanied by more tea of course, all departed by 1300 into the murk.

Gavin Short

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