Dartmoor Gliding News - Wednesday 5 June 2024

During the week, Wednesday was shaping up nicely in the forecasts; Skysight and RASP had it at "Boomtastic" or 6 stars.  On the day, it mellowed slightly to 5 stars, which is still fantastic for Dartmoor.

There was a hive of activity with club gliders out, being cleaned and polished, and privateers rigging.  I showed round a couple who walked in to see what was happening. She was very keen to fly there and then.  Unfortunately, our visitor schedule for the day was very busy with five visitors booked in for two flights each - Hugh Gascoyne's dance card, as the Introductory Flight Pilot, was full. I had offered to help with the flying load if he needed it.  On the strength of what she saw, her husband promised to book her on a One Day Course.

Mike Jardine, had a number of trainees to fly (Viktor, Neal, and Lorraine) and one who required check flights; Steve Lesson, who we welcome back.

First up for Hugh was Ann Shreeve from Western Australia, who was in UK for her annual visit to see her elderly mum, in Eggbuckland, Plymouth.  Ann thoroughly enjoyed her flights with Hugh, and after I had told her of the gliding clubs in WA near to Perth, she undertook to investigate and report back on the soaring next year.

The second and third visitor flights were taken by husband and wife, Joanna and David Clarke, who had travelled from Totnes to be with us.

Ann Shreeve ready for her trial flight with Hugh
Ann receives her certificate whilst the Duty Instructor looks on
Gliders ready at the launch point
An improving sky
Privateers and their gliders on the move to the launch point
Joanna Clarke puts on a brave face before flying with Hugh

Gavin gives Hugh a break and flies David Clarke.  Welcome back Martin Broadway who runs the wing.
David receives his certificate from Gavin after their extended soaring flight.
The privateers manoeuvre their steeds onto the flight line
Back at the hangar after an earlier flight, David Bourchier and Colin gathered the remaining scrap and old batteries and took it to Saunders' scrapyard and raised £109.

Phil and Peter achieved soaring flights of 2 hours 41 minutes and 2 hours 30 minutes respectively.

Sean wanted to do his five-hour duration flight.  But when quizzed by the Duty Instructor about his preps (Water, food, comfort breaks etc.) he decided to aim for two hours duration which would be his longest flight in his Libelle yet.  In the event, Sean came down after 1 hour 47 minutes as his battery went flat, as he has no mechanical or back up vario.  As a former military man, he should know the maxim "Prior Planning Prevents....."

The mighty Kestrel's view of Tavistock; with Peter operating the camera.
Burrator Reservoir, still at 93% capacity
Glider in the distance heading for a circuit
Steve Lesson back in the saddle sporting his black soaring hat
Mike's view when his trainee joins two other gliders, high above, in a thermal

Our fourth and fifth visitors; Tom Turl and Paul Calleja both enjoyed soaring flights.  After a spell on the winch I met Paul in the clubhouse who was clearly very pleased and said that he would be back.

Tom Turl, from Lifton ready to launch with Hugh
Paul Calleja gets ready for an extended soaring flight
What of John Allan? He had taken the positive weather forecasts to heart and had planned a cats cradle that would cover 309km: Brentor (BRT), Chard (CHA), Roadford (ROA), Dulverton (DUL), Brentor (BRT).  The declaration was made in the old-fashioned way, on paper, as he hasn't yet mastered declaring a task electronically to his Flarm and Open Vario system.  He took off at midday...

Passing North Hill airfield (middle) with Dunkeswell airfield, far right
Change of cloud base height, North of Exeter Airport.  It seemed like may be a convergence, but wasn't, and there wasn't really any lift up the side of the clouds, as you expect from a sea breeze front.

Home run from Okehampton looking down on Meldon Reservoir.  Now being careful to stay outside the Firing Range beyond Meldon which was active.

After over five hours in the air, John landed, having completed his 300km task.  Congratulations.

John's task and the route he flew in his Mini-Nimbus (as displayed on the BGA ladder)
Busy day for private gliders, this was derigging at the end of the day.

The day wore on with Mike cranking out training flights until well after 1800.  But that was not all. We had a group of six scouts and their scout leader booked in for some evening flying.  Unfortunately, their late arrival only allowed two flights a piece.  Despite that, when they left, they were positively "buzzing".

K13's lined up for the evening flying session with the Scouts.
Six happy scouts from the 27th Plymouth Scouts and their leader, Ali after their flying

All this fun meant a late finish for the those who had volunteered to stay to fly the scouts.  The hangar door were shut at 2110 with the winch put away shortly after that.  A great effort. The duty instructor commented, "Big thanks to everyone for making it a good days flying and for the scouts too."

So a very busy day for the Wednesday Wavers; 49 flights, training flights, several soaring flights of over two hours, five sets of trial flights, six scouts and one scout leader flown, and John Allan made a 300 km flight from Brentor.  How would one improve on that?

Next up is the "Women Go Gliding weekend" on 8 & 9 June. We have 24 ladies (adults and juniors) booked on each day, with a reserve list of eight.  In amongst the flying, there has been much activity made by our members to get ready for the event.

Before you go, an editorial footnote from today's blogger:

Despite the internet keyboard naysayers, there are many who enjoy reading my blogs.  Thank you for the amusing gift, following the photo of me in the clubhouse at Aston Down, and the cup of tea to christen it.

Gavin Short

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