Fri 22nd June - Course Week

The week finished on a high, the weather was glorious with blue skies a stable wind. We all got plenty of launches and some where lift was found and others where we came straight back and got practice on circuit planning and approach runs. 
Blue skies (Jim Binning)
The day finished back in the clubhouse with our tasks being signed off and we showed our appreciation for the excellent support from the ground staff and the excellent direction we had from our instructors. We had 3 instructors today which kept the flow of launches going very well.

After discussing our personal highlights through the week we left all looking forward to coming back and getting in the air as soon as possible. I had set a target for myself to achieve by the end of the week and I am pleased that I massively exceeded my expectation. My expectations for the course were high and they too were exceeded. The week has been great fun with a supportive group of people and is extremely good value for money. 

Thanks to John Sillett, James Flory and Peter Smith and the Course Helpers Ian Hunt, Tim Petty, Ian Hunt and William Pope. - Jim Binning  

Pete Bennett in DG1 (Martin Bennett)
 Pete Bennett tried out the DG100 for size and also Pete 230 and Jeff 380 took advantage of the launch availability today but the blue thermals to a solid 2,500' inversion restricted them to local flying.
Late sunset at the solstice (Lisa Humphries)

In the evening, groups from West Buckland Scool and Honeywell enjoyed the sunny conditions. 

Thursday 21st June

 Course Week
We started the day in the same way as the rest of the week. A cup of tea and a chat while the Instructors decided on the layout of the field. We had the added benefit of blue skies and the promise of good gliding weather, however, crosswinds proved to be quite challenging and we got no further experience in taking control on the climb. However, once in the air we all found some lift and got lots of experience on the stick and with thermalling. 
Early morning sky (Mark Courtney)
The day also brought with it a new instructor as James Flory was unable to reschedule this day from the original course and Peter Smith was our course instructor for the day.

I was fortunate enough to find a lot of lift and managed to stay up for an hour and a quarter concentrating on thermalling. It is quite tiring and as we still had quite a bit of height left Peter decided to keep me alert by doing some stalling practice, an introduction to spinning and some spiralling turns. All very exciting.
Clouds in the distance (Peter Smith)
Such is the supportive nature at the club that if an Instructor and a glider are free they will offer to take us course members up in the air. Consequently with the Club flying list sorted, Sue got to go up in the DG505 with Woolly, which she described as quite an experience!

We finished the day with the course meal at the Keepers' Cottage which James kindly organised. It was a good opportunity to find out a bit more about our Course Members and the Course Instructors and an enjoyable time was had listening to anecdotes around the table. - Jim Binning

Club Flying
The gusty crosswind from the north restricted some of the early solo pilots to flying the two-seaters, but the rapidly cycling sky meant that some had good soaring flights and others short circuits. 
Pete Harmer and George Sanderson in Perkoz (Jill Harmer)
RASP had forecast some slightly difficult areas and a late start but didn't actually predict that the 17kt Northerly wind would render the Levels an uncrossable blue desert, and even Ron with Sir Chris in 711 had to abandon plans to get out of the peninsula (to join in the fun of 1000km flights) for local soaring. However all was not lost as Phil Morrison and Nick Jones in DD3 explored Exmoor and found some wave that was usable at Bampton climbing to 5000ft.

In the evening, a group from Torbay Scouts enjoyed the summery weather as the wind had eventually dropped. - J&P

Wed 20th June

Besides being a course day Wednesday is a club day so we saw and introduced ourselves to some more club members. Again we started the day with a low cloud base. This gave our instructors a chance to to do some ground schooling in the club hut. Our group started with looking at launch failures at various points in the launch cycle. We had time to cover some basic airmanship before we could get out and help move the gliders into position. We all felt more confident about collision avoidance and the rules governing airspace, particularly around Dunkeswell.
Gliders ready (Mike Sloggett)
It was my time to fly first with James and we managed three flights before lunch. The repetition of tasks is really helping to embed the necessary control, almost to the point where some operations in flight are becoming second nature. My two colleagues helped out with ground tasks.
Clouds lowering (Mike Sloggett)
After lunch Tim got a flight but then the wind direction veered and we needed to move the launch line. While this was going on the cloud came down again followed by some light drizzle and no more flights were undertaken. Time for tea and a brief chat among ourselves before Mike Sloggett suggested we went into the briefing room and work out circuit planning between us. A very useful exercise. Mike gave us ten minutes and then took us through the different key points on the plan we drew and added some we had not thought of. He followed up with a discussion of pre-flight planning, getting us to recall information James had given us over the last couple of days. Again very useful.
- Jim Binning

Tue 19th June - Course Week

Tuesday started with a low cloud base so we split into our two groups and James took us through Circuit planning and the theory of the launch. An early lunch and we were able to fly. We reinforced the skills learnt yesterday and had new ones introduced to us. The group has bonded very well, sharing experience and knowledge, and everyone at the club has been friendly and helpful. 
K21 (Jim Binning)
 In the evening, Yeovil Rotary Club enjoyed 18 extended circuits  in the pleasant evening skies.

Mon 18th June - Course Week

Our course, C1(B) rescheduled from early April, got off to a good start on Monday. Five of us had met on the postponed course and Tim Powell joined us from the waiting list. James Smart joined us a little late after an interesting landing the previous day that needed completion. After an initial overview of the course by the two instructors we were split into two groups. James Flory took my group through an Introduction to Gliding and by 11:00am the weather was suitable for flying. 
K21 (Jim Binning)
Our group managed four flights each and a common theme from us all was:
  •    excellent instruction
  •     paced to test us
  •     consecutive flights helped us progress quickly
  •     suberb support from ground crew who were always ready to guide us in assisting to  launch and glider retrieval
  •     great fun, leaving on a high of excitement and enthusiasm.
Jim Binning (First-time Blogger)

Fri 15th June

Today was a specially arranged Trial lesson Voucher day, to help with the building backlog of Trial lesson flights due to weather cancellations.
Nearly all the available slots were taken and even the weather cooperated today, with the isolated showers staying away from the airfield and the clouds opened up just at the right time for the Mile High flights. In fact everything ran very smoothly once we had got the Pawnee started!
Mike, John and Tom Reed and family with Instructors Pete Bennett and Mike Sloggett (Jill Harmer)

Brothers John and Mike Reed  arrived for their flights with a large family gathering, and enjoyed their flights in the air at the same time, and son Tom Reed from Exeter University decided to join in the fun too. 

We look forward to seeing some of our Visitors back to fly with us during their 3 months temporary membership.

Thanks to all the Instructors, Tug Pilot and Helpers. We have another special Trial lesson Voucher day arranged for Friday 29th June which is booking up fast. - J&P

Thurs 14th June

We were expecting to have to wait patiently during the morning as the cold front cleared through, but it had very little rain, just an increasing gusty wind from Storm Hector. An early lunch was called and Pete Startup 230 and Martin Woolner KMV were keen to get going in the still gusty, but improving soarable  conditions.
Northwesterly streets (Jill Harmer)
The northwesterly streets set up nicely over the airfield  enabling an easy get away from the winch for all. With all four two-seaters going all afternoon, and being called down for crew changes it was the best Thursday soaring for a while. 
Clear air now the wind has changed (Mike Sloggett)
It was a day for following the energy and Pete in 230 turned Tiverton, Culmhead, Molton etc on his 3 hour flight. Martin and Stu were both keen to check out the recently returned LS3-17. Ron went searching for the wave in DG505 with first Ray Dodd and then Paul Medlock, but it was not useable - just nuisance value in the streets.

Fortunately, by 18:00 everyone had flown, and we handed over the gliders to the evening group from the Air Cadets Devon and Somerset Wing, some of whom had helped at Competition Enterprise last summer and had suffered up to 6 aborted evening attempts to fly due to the weather!
Air Cadets from Devon and Somerset Wing with James Flory (Mark Courtney)
21 launches before 18:00 and another 22 launches after 18:00 - Thanks everyone - J&P

Wed 13th June

Not a brilliant forecast for Wednesday but we had reasonable start with difficult weather promised for afternoon, so we worked through the list as quickly as possible. 

All ready for the first flight (John Street)
There were two Mile High trial  lessons booked for the morning but patches of low cloud were threatening making the flights potentially unsafe so Tom, John Sillett, and Robert decided to delay the flight to see if the weather would improve, Tom entertained the visitors while waiting to see if the weather improved.

The weather front arrived at 12:00, which saw the Falke return with some haste so we decided to stop for an early lunch with a temporary clearance promised for the afternoon. 
Nigel Everett looking for thermals (John Street)
 It was flyable again after lunch, Tom managed to fly his first trial lesson visitor with two winch launches.
The weather improved a bit in the afternoon allowing several short soaring flights on the South ridge but the low cloud returned so we called it a day.

The Perkoz was re-rigged after its initial 50hr inspection, thanks to George sanderson for the speedy turnround and to all those who helped to rig it. - John Street.

Sun 10th June

A keen group of members had most of the Club gliders out of the hangar before 9am and with a forecast of a North Easterly wind the launch point and winch were set up for launches from the South West corner of the airfield. Both K21s, the Perkoz and the Juniors were soon being walked down to the other end of the field. With the weather forecast suggesting that cloudbase would not be high enough for Trial Lessons the tug was left in the hangar in the hope that the actual weather for the day might be better than the forecast. 
Dave Cowley tries out the Perkoz (Mike Sloggett)
And then it was on with the flying list, the cloudbase being just high enough to allow full height launches - for those members wishing to practice winch launches, circuit planning and landings the weather was ideal. With James Flory, Glenn Turpin, Stu Proctor and Mike Sloggett working their way through the flying list everyone had flown at least once during the morning so with the skies getting greyer and greyer a decision was made to stop for lunch. 
And John Street in the back seat (Mike Sloggett)
After lunch everyone who wanted to fly again was able to do so with various members flying  the Perkoz for the first time. There were hints of blue here and there during the afternoon amongst a brightening sky and with cloudbase slightly higher than in the morning but the afternoon was simply more circuits - for those who needed to practice same it continued to be ideal weather!
Perkoz derigged for 50hr inspection (Mike Sloggett)
Late afternoon hangar flights were completed and the Perkoz was taken down to the workshop ahead of being de-rigged for some standard checks following the glider’s introduction to the Club fleet.

During the day Stu Proctor flew with Tom Sides in the Perkoz to complete Tom’s acceptance checks, Well Done Tom on joining the Instructor team. A particular thank you to Rob, Sally and Lorna, Neil and Caelin for their help with various ground duties which was much appreciated, particularly as none of them are flying members. - Mike Sloggett

Fri 8th June - Course week

Yesterday, Jill's blog started, "It was always going to be cloudier today-but there was some doubt about the possibility of rain". - Sounds similar to today!

After the course dinner at the Keepers Cottage last night (thanks Jim for organising) we all turned up on time in anticipation for the last day of the course,but again were met with low cloud and spots of drizzle. Further briefings commenced,this time on circuit planning, theory of flight and Instruments. All interesting stuff and all of us learned something.

June Course (Robert Lee)

Just before lunch, John and Guy had one final weather check and although it was slightly brighter the cloud was still only about 400ft, so after consultation with course members it was decided to scrub the day. However despite finishing on a low it had been a great course. We had barely 3 days flying but still managed some 93 launches in total.

Great progress was made by existing members Simon, Jim, Andy and Mark and also new members Jon and Alex. Its a great shame that Alex lives too far away to continue to be a regular member, but we hope he continues to enjoy his training at lasham. Good luck Alex !

Many, many thanks to John Sillett and GuyAdams for their excellent instruction and long days that they put in when we did fly and also many thanks to helpers Tim Petty, Robert Lee, James Smart, George Sanderson, Jill Harmer and Graham Barden. All in all a very enjoyable week. - Andy Williams