Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 19th May 2018

Today's soaring forecast (as detailed by RASP) looks good. The weather forecast looks good. Hats, sunglasses and sun cream all required. Excellent. The light variable wind will move from slightly east to slightly west of south making runway choice a little awkward but the usual choice when it is like this is to fly from the east end so this is what we did.

Richard Roberts in the Discus after his epic flight.
Right from the start it was soarable and Richard Roberts was soon  encouraged into the air in his Discus after which he disappeared off on a 268 km cross country for a total flight time 3 hours and 35 minutes - a separate detailed report is available in this blog.

Sarah Cleadall sharing alittle pre flight banter.
One Day Course Candidate Richard Phipps
A few minutes later Richard was taking in the view.
 We welcome visitor Sarah Gleadall who completed her Air Experience flights soaring with Rick in K13 G-CHXP. Today's other visitor was Richard Phipps who completed his One Day Course flying with me. Richard and I shared some exceptional soaring allowing him plenty of time in the air to get to grips with flying the aircraft.

Looking down on the runway from 2000 feet
Dave Archer climbing through 2000 feet.
Trainee pilot Dave Archer took advantage of Rick, the K13 and the conditions to record a very respectable soaring flight. The club solo pilots were well represented with Martin Broadway recording a very respectable 1 hour and 8 minutes ( only returning the terra firma so someone else could have a play with the aircraft ). It was pleasing to see Mike and Barry's K6 making an appearance. The Twin Astir completed the privateers list for the day.

Library photo of Mike and K6 taken on a much less favorable day.
 Thanks to all those who helped making this day a success.

An excellent day with friends old and new.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Richard Goes Cross Country

What did you do last Saturday ( 19/06/2018 ). The weather was nice so perhaps you cut the grass, went shopping or even washed the car. For Dartmoor Gliding Chairman Richard Roberts these prospects sounded a bit tame so he planned  some cross country flying in his Discus, a beautiful standard class glider.

The planned route was to be Brentor ( BRT ) to Avebury ( AVE ) and back for a total distance of 368.8 km. So off to the airfield and with his father acting as crew ( and retrieve driver if things didn't work out ) the Discus was soon rigged and ready.

The direct route out over Dartmoor looks a little uncomfortable
but the sky looks great
After a patient wait for some cumulus cloud ( and the soaring K13 ) to indicate the day had indeed started Richard launched at 12pm. After a quick first climb and exporation of the local thermals, 30 minutes later it was off on task. To save time Richard decided to route directly across Dartmoor which always gets your attention; the landout options are not good. From the air Dartmoor looks like the straw coloured wilderness it really is. From the ground it always looks much greener.

On the southern edge of Bristol airspace
The flight progressed well until Richard approached the Bristol Airspace. On track was a large blue hole indicating an area with little or no lift. The only reliable looking cumulus were inside the airspace so would not be available. Avebury was still 50km away but, with no real way to get there ( and back ), Richard's decision was to modify the turnpoint to Wells to enable a fighting chance of getting home.

On final glide over Meldon reservoir.
The sky looks poor but he's 1500 feet above the glideslope

 The return flight went well and Richard landed at 15.35. So the flight was Brentor to Wells and back for a total distance of 253km with 3hours and 5 minutes on task ( total flight time 3 hours 35 minutes ). Great effort- well done.

Landing back at Brentor
Tired but happy. Richard  finishes putting the glider away.
What will you do next Saturday?


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 13th May 2018

Driving to the airfield in bright sunshine brought thoughts of a good days flying with good company and the usual banter. As I was the first to arrive, I unlocked the hangar and clubhouse. First task was to fire up the tractor and cut a couple of strips on the north side of the track.

A few members were arriving and we set about readying the aircraft and field for the days flying. With the quads low on fuel, Martin was dispatched to Tavistock with the jerry cans. Our one day course Francis Colling and shortly after Roger Lucas arrived. Roger is a pilot from Camp Hill who is down on holiday with his family and managed to get a day pass to come and fly with us. After briefing Francis and Roger, the field was ready and we started flying at 10:57.

Francis Colling ready to fly. Hope to see him again soon
Roger Lucas. Our visitor from Camp Hill.
I first flew with Francis, but unfortunately he had to leave unexpectedly. Hopefully he will return soon and complete his course. Next up was Roger who had a couple of check flights and familiarisation of the area. He then had a solo flight in the K13 and a flight later in the K8.

We had two other visitors today for trial flights. First was Junior Allen who flew with me. The next visitor was Peter Bourne who flew with Martin. Both left with smiles on their faces having had 11 and 14 minute flights respectively.

Junior Allen ready for his flight with me.
Peter Bourne ready for his flight with Martin.
Our only trainee today was David Westcott who flew with me. Off the top of the launch we managed to find some lift. With some encouragement from me David managed to climb to 3500ft. Having briefed on the ground before flying there was only one way to use this height. A demonstration of a spin from a low slow final turn and recovery was repeated with David handling the recovery. We followed this with a demonstration of a spin off a failed winch launch. A couple of stall recoveries we were soon back on the ground after a 39 minute flight.

How about our solo pilots. Leith continued to add to the clubs funds with a longest flight of 8 minutes. Dave Downton consolidated re-soloing last week with a couple of flights in the K8. Ed Borlase had his first soaring flight of 33 minutes in the K8. Josef Nobbs took off in the Zugvogel at 12:30. He finally returned after 3 hours and 5 minutes with the excuse of he didn’t realise how time had flown by.

View from the winch. Let’s hope for more skies like this.
Thanks go to Dave Downton and Martin Cropper for winching, David Westcott and Ed Borlase for retrieving. Only 22 flights, but a good days flying.

Peter Howarth

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 12th May 2018

A small, but beautifully formed, crew were attracted by the very good soaring forecast. The wind was light and variable gradually moving from just east of south to eventually settle at just west of south. There was a lot of top cover which made the sky look more white than blue.

Mary Tavy looking  west
At first it seemed that the soaring forecast must be very optimistic but if you could find your first climb then there was indeed good soaring to be had. In fact there was 5 flights over an hour, the longest being Steve Fletcher with a flight of 1 hour and 39 minutes in his Open Cirrus. With there flights and a large handful of flights in the 30 to 40 minute range the average flight time, including all the training flights and circuits was still over 20 minutes. Perhaps the RASP forecast was right after all.

Ged is enjoying some 2 seater flying. Pictured here while soaring with Mike Jardine

A notable flight was the 1 hour and and 25minutes by Andy Davey celebrating his first flight on type in the Zugvogel 3B which he now owns a share in.

Andy waiting for his first flight on type
Towards the end of the day, the top cover and lack of other cloud made soaring look like a non starter but, just when the sensible would be heading for the hangar. I launched in my Zugvogel 3B followed by Rick in the K8. After about 20 minutes of grovelling around at circuit height trying just to stay airborne a convergence formed nearby and we were whisked up to 3500 feet in a very strong thermal core. This was followed by a magical romp along the convergence maintaining height and climbing easily without the need to stop and turn. As it was getting late we both decided to  land after about an hour or so to allow the crew to finish putting things away and my glider to be de-rigged.

While waiting to launch I thought I'd take a selfie.
20 minutes later I had this view of Tavistock from 3500 ft under the convergence
Today, we had 2 visitors, both of whom came for some Air Experience flying, Tim Johns who flew with Mike Jardine and Gloria OBrien  who enjoyed some soaring with me in K13 G-CHXP in the earlier boyant conditions.

Time and Mike
Gloria and me.
Also visiting today was a group from the 2nd Plymstock Cub Group who had an enjoyable time getting up close and personal with the aircraft and observing the airfield activities. As always on these occasions, the simulator was a firm favorite, with Rick making sure that everyone had a good fly in it. Many thanks to the members who selflessly, helped to make this visit successful when they could have been soaring.

An interesting "flying" photo of the Cubs.
The larger one on the right is club member Mike.
Adversity, brings out the best in people. Today, this was once again demonstrated when the K13 suddenly got a punctured main wheel. Several members arranged to re-inflate the tyre and then take the aircraft to the hangar where the wheel was changed go that the Sunday Soarers would have a 2 seater to fly.

Wheel surgery
Thanks to everyone today for making the day a success. Special mentions must go to Barry and Heather who provided the a lot of winching and cable towing all day without flying themselves. We will make this up to you.


Dartmoor Gliding News-Wednesday 9th May 2018

A lovely sunny day greeted the early risers. The RASP forecast seemed overly optimistic predicting some  reasonable soaring around mid morning but thermic conditions deteriorating over lunch time. The aviation forecast was for the wind to veer round to the SW and slowly strengthen during the day. An occluded front was due over the far west of Cornwall about 1200 and some showers ahead of that could be expected with cloud steadily increasing from about 11.00.

Needless to say it didn’t work out like that. By 9.30 it was overcast and the wind was already freshening but rigidly staying from the South. Grey clouds loomed but as usual this didn’t stop us. After helping the sorcerer and his apprentice (Colin and Dave) de- rig DMX the very small Wednesday crew of Steve Raine, Phil Hardwick, Mike Sloggett and myself set up the field and took HXP to the launch point.

Visitor Angela Mitchell waiting for her Air Experience Flight
We had two trial flights arrive. The first to fly was Angela Mitchell from Cornwall. As conditions weren’t great she had two flights which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Next up was Peter Prynne from Ivybridge who is slowly working his way through a list of things he wants to do. A recent balloon flight and today two glider flights. He now wants to do a parachute jump, good for you Peter, personally I see no reason to jump out of a perfectly healthy aeroplane.

Not planning to use that parachute are you Peter?
After our happy visitors departed and with the weather deteriorating Mike offered to be ballast whilst I, followed by Phil had a quick flight and practised our cross wind landings. We then packed up the airfield and were all done and dusted by 1500 ready for the rain, which was forecast but needless to say, never arrived.

Steve surveying the view while trying to emulate Mike
A big thank you to Mike Sloggett for being duty instructor and therefore allowing us to fly and to Phil and Steve Raine for winching.

Best flight of the day was 7mins by Mike, hovering with minimal control inputs which I tried and failed to emulate!

Steve Fletcher

Dartmoor Gliding News-Monday 7th May 2018

The sun was shining, an early start, 2x instructors , two k13s and 2 single seaters available, what’s not to like..... well, most members were balancing family commitments with flying.....as it turns out a good call. 

While waiting for enough members to start flying, Rick decided to spend his time efficiently mowing the runway..... until a belt broke on the mower, one to fix.

A low turnout ensured everyone played an important part in the days tasks enabling us to fly. Thanks all. 

No matter how much we tried to talk ourselves into the weather getting thermic it resisted.

It was thermic but a little too far away
With the solo pilots holding back to fly ,just in case it got ”better”  This meant we were able to fly Phil on a One Day Course, and trial lesson Stephen Talbot.
Phil and Peter after completing the one day course
Stephen Talbot and Rick
Both enjoyed the sunny flying and are welcome back anytime to continue the learning process.

When Rick had finished with the flying list for instructing he then started rolling the field between launches. It was however a little too vigorously for the ageing roller!

The wooden bearing just gave up
But as Rick is our very own “Mr fix it” it wasn’t long with the help of the assembled team and Ricks tool kit things were sorted. (Fix two)

You hold it I’ll hit it.. what could go wrong
Oh, in the interest of balance I may have forgotten to say that when moving the winch first thing in the morning I found the only soft ,wet area at the east end and got stuck with the tractor and winch. I was rescued by Rick and Phil with lots of skill, brute force and a tow rope. Sorry guys.

(Obviously I am not going to publish those photos on here )

All who wanted to fly ,flew, unheard of on a BANK HOLIDAY

Richard Roberts

Dartmoor gliding News-Sunday 6th May 2018

After a short altercation between BBC and AccuWeather resulted in the Shape Shifting Sunday Soarers once again agreeing to change ends, we had the airfield swapped around much quicker today to meet the a forecast gentle SE'ly, due in no small part to getting the tractor to start first time. And a good job we changed ends too, since the upper air was definitely SE throughout, even when at ground level the occasional afternoon zephyr went SW-wards. Our trainee also pointed out that RASP predicted 3.5 with 6-7 oktas in the afternoon, but that was not to be.

Travelling from Glastonbury to be with us, our One Day Course Student was Phil Butler, an Adventurous Training Instructor.
We also took the opportunity to give Phil’s wife, Shonagh, a view from the air of Dartmoor.
Our One Day Course student today was Phil Butler, an adventurous training instructor who, with his wife Shonagh, had travelled from Glastonbury to be with us. He rapidly settled into the routine, enjoying three launches in the morning before being invited to lunch with the winch team, following which a slightly wizened participant (there was the occasional simulated launch failure) returned to the west end to learn more about 'all three controls together' whilst questioning almost every aspect of our operation. At the end of the day we also flew his wife, Shonagh, in return for spending most of the day exercising their dog on Dartmoor.

Roger Applebom gets air under the wings of his K-6 as he launches in to cloudless sky.
Our trainees did well to make what they could from the conditions. As alluded to above, the 3.5 on RASP was a never to be, but thankfully the stable conditions did not prevent the occasional, nursery thermal from forming, nor did they obscure that all important horizon. Which was all to the good since, once all club members had flown (ie. Roger Appleboom (see photo), Dave Westcott, Jo Nobbs, Dave Downton, and Leith Whittington), and conditions stabilised further, it was possible not only for Ed Borlase for a re-solo in the K-13, but to (following a suitably embellished brief by Dave Downton) for him to convert to the K-8. Well Done, Ed!

Spot the Difference (1):  Ed Borlase re-soloes in the K-13...
Spot the Difference (2): ..and then type converts onto the K-8 (no we didn’t just cut and shut the rear cockpit..!)
So with Jo Nobbs claiming Flight of the Day with a princely 7 mins, our visitors Phil and Shonagh Butler returning to Glastonbury with well walked dog, and Ed having won his spurs in the K-8, what more could one wish for? Well 1,000km with 3,000 m height gain would be nice, but for the Sunday Soarers a nice day spent amongst friends would do even nicer.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 5th May 2018

Today started with an endless blue sky and light variable winds. Early in the morning the Tamar river valley was shrouded in the somewhat theatrically named "Radiation" fog; a sure sign of a good high pressure day.

Rick Wiles hosted the well attended morning briefing during which it was decided to field the 2*K13's and the Zugvogel ( nobody present felt any need to fly the K8 ). It was also decided to leave the airfield set as it was launching to the west although at times the very light winds were drifting from the east. This proved to be a good choice with the wind gradually going around to the west and strengthening to about 5 knots.

One Day Course Candidate Nick (on the right ) with his family.
Right from the first flight there were some thermals to be exploited, marked sometimes by cloud, sometimes not. Low down the thermals were very tight bubbles which generally got more organised ( and easier to use ) as height was gained. The question throughout the day was "will the sea air cut off convection?". In the event a convergence arrived over the runway at around 14:45 which provided an hour or so of additional entertainment ( better thermals ) before leaving us struggling to stay airborne in the cooler, heavier sea air. Great fun.

Visitor Susannah
Visitor Alan
We were joined today by Nick Weldon who was attending for his One Day Course.Nick worked his was through the course syllabus and, by the end of the day, was happily piloting the glider around in the buoyant air. We also welcomed Susannah Mulcock and Alan Horton who both enjoyed some soaring during their Air Experience flights.

The K13's waiting for the Zugvogel before returning to the hangar
 Thanks to all the usual suspects ( you know who you are ) for all the work put in to make this another successful club flying day.

All quiet once more at the end of the day


Dartmoor Gliding News-Sunday 29th April 2018

Once gain today gave us the opportunity to change ends to meet the forecast NE'ly (050-060) wind which, in the event didn't move much more than 5 degrees east of north. The wind strength, whilst not excessive, gave a north-south orientation to line of energy (see photo) and was sufficient to challenge our solo pilots (who flew dual).

Today’s lines of energy were N-S, as evidenced by some interesting ‘galloping’ cumulus.
Our One Day Course students were Sandria Lee, who flew with Pete Howarth, and Will Dearle who flew with Martin Cropper.

Martin Cropper presents One Day Course student Will Dearle with his certificate for the day’s flights.
As previously mentioned, our club pilots, Dave Downton, Ed Borlase, Joe Nobbs, Dave Westcott, Phil Hardwick and Martin Broadway, some of whom were taking the opportunity to requalify following the winter lay-off, found the approach, with its curl over from the north, quite 'sporting'.

 Pete Howarth gives visitor Sandrine Lee her pre-flight briefing.
Flights of the day were early on, with Pete Howarth finding a thermal to south of the site for himself and Sandrine Lee for 11 minutes, whilst Martin Cropper and Will Dearle found a thermal to the north of the site for a total of 18 minutes – so yer pays yer money and takes yer choice!

Thanks go in particular to our winch drivers Dave Downton, Phil Hardwick and Roger Appleboom, especially for coping admirably with simulated cable breaks in the crosswind.

Martin Cropper

Dartmoor Gliding News-Saturday 28th April 2018

Setting out from Plymouth under a low 8/8th cloudbase with drizzle in the air did not bode well for the day. At the airfield a surprise awaited. The cloudbase was significantly higher with perhaps 7/8th cloud cover. The breeze was 5 knots from the NW so definitely a flying day. Today was pleasant enough but not exactly the balmy shorts and tee shirt weather of last weekend.  The RASP soaring forecast was indicating some possible thermal activity so with this in mind the club fielded 2 * K13, the K8 and the Zugvogel.

Looking NE towards Blackdown under a glowering sky
DMX landing behing HXP
First up today was Mike Bennett and Steve Fletcher who both managed some flying before heading off on their mini expedition to Aston Down where Mike was booked on a course and Steve was planning some cross country flying in his Open Cirrrus.

Tom ready for his first flight in HXP
Today's One Day Course Candidate was Thomas Bishop, who flew with me. The weather gods were kind to us and we covered the flying syllabus, did some soaring and generally had a good time. By the end of the day, Tom's basic flying control skills were improving considerably.

K13 G-CHXP soaring the north ridge.
Photo taken by Mike Jardine from K13 G-DDMX
The big news today was the appearance of the Zugvogel at the launchpoint. This glider seems to be often left in the hangar, but today a couple of our members, ( Andy Davey and Barry Green I think ) would not be denied and after a thorough wash and sorting out the tyre pressure it duly appeared. Andy wasted no time in converting to this aircraft and recorded his first flight on this type. Good effort chaps.

Andy looks pleased to be in the Zugvogel for his first flight on typre
 Throughout the day there was some soaring to be had. Not as good as promised by RASP but enough for Roger Green to record today's longest flight of 55 minutes in the K8. Several others recorded flights in gthe half hour range. Good stuff.

A nice flying day