Sat 19th October

A bright yet chilly day to start and a deficit of members on account of the Juniors Club trip to the Mynd and the Club Maintainers course at North Hill today. However by 10:30 more folk had arrived and in no time we were set up at the southeast launchpoint.

Initially, a low cloud base meant we had to launch in the gaps between the clouds, but as the day progressed the westerly wind allowed us to get up to 1400ft launches off the winch and even some soaring opportunities.
Lisa Humphries enjoying a soaring flight in the Junior (Lisa Humphries)
Phil Morrison and Glenn Turpin as Duty Instructors got through the flying list so efficiently that we went through it a second time, making the most of the good weather. 
Thanks to Gordon MacDonald for running the Club Maintainers course at North Hill today with 15 people crammed in the Briefing Room including 11 from DSGC. - Emma Kendall

October expeditions continue with  the Juniors trip to the Midlands Gliding Club.

We were all up early this morning ready to get Jacob Brook, Jack Raybould and Charlie Broderick their first flights at the Long Mynd! 
Up early (Ross Pratt)
Experienced Josh Funnell, Dan Hender and Charlie Stuckey clocked up lots of flights in the Juniors K6cr DRE on the ridge at 800ft.
DG505 (Mark Courtney)
With a fantastic first day to set the tone all the Juniors got flying and Ross Pratt was lucky enough to fly the local K8 with the help of the Mynd Instructors. An excellent opportunity to fly a well-loved glider that is becoming few and far between. Oscar Leeson got back gliding for the first time this year with a big smile! Josh and Andrew Broderick got an unexpected flight with the National Coach Mike Fox.

Andrew Logan FMS and Tom Sides DG1 helped out and got there fix of flying too. Mark and Simon found themselves jostling for pole position instructing on the ridge when the conditions were best. Dave and the Henders found themselves running the Midland launch point like pros and enjoying a busy day.
MGC Launchpoint (Mark Courtney)
It was a great welcome from Midland Gliding Club who were all pleased to see us up from Devon.  Ruth Comer enjoyed flying the the Mynd's Aircraft and scoring the ridge, and  Andy got the "best landing" Simon has ever seen.
Where's Charlie? (Ross Pratt)
After a long day we all mucked in to to carry out "Operation hanger pack" with military precision even managing to fit  DRE into the hangar with another 8 gliders.

 The "Where's Charlie" challenge can be played  amongst the maze of gliders.

All in all a great day with everyone in the air and leaving the field for an evening meal very happy! - Ross Pratt

Thurs 17th October

It was a rather showery start, but a calm wind in the shelter of the clubhouse, a few tasks were done before flying, including work on the tractor and some grass overseeding of the North East launch point. 

By the time all the kit was set up on a single line to avoid the wet bits,  there was a couple of good height launches before the skies opened again and it was decided to sit out the next trough line over an early lunch.

The Trial lesson visitor Martin Smith had been asked to arrive early as the wind was forecast to increase during the afternoon, and straight after lunch the skies improved significantly.

Chris Wool  flying Martin Smith on aerotow (Mike Horwood)
Flying continued with the southerly wind increasing all the time....
Short-lived flyable slots (Mike Sloggett) after all had flown, it was decided to call it a day, with the DG505 being derigged ready for the Juniors expedition to Long Mynd.
DG505 being derigged by the Thursday regulars (Mike Sloggett)
So we made the best of the day with Aston Key getting the longest flight 19 minutes on the South ridge, but was chased off by yet more rain. Thanks all - J&P

Wed 16th October

With a reasonable forecast for Wednesday, there was  a larger than usual gathering of pilots hoping to fly, with a long list of pre-solo flyers and check flights to get through it was obvious it was going to be a busy day for John Sillett, Glenn Turpin and John Street.

Apart from some early misting canopies that soon cleared we were ready to fly quite early we opted to fly on the N/W run because the S/W run was still quite wet. The choice of the N/W run turned out to the right choice as the wind veered towards the North, although the wind was quite light to start with the West ridge was providing some welcome extended flights.

With the Juniors Expedition to Long Mynd coming up next week, Charlie Stuckey, Josh Funnell and Ross Pratt decided to reacquaint themselves with the K6, and it was the ideal weather for young Dan to dash up to North Hill after school to get converted to K6 as well, having sorted out all the cushions and lead that was needed. Thanks to all the Club members for supporting the Juniors K6 DRE.
Well done to Dan Hender - converting to K6 (Sally Hender)
 It was nice to welcome back Glenn Turpin from his Greek exile and he had a busy day getting back into the swing of instructing. 
Welcome back Glenn (John Street)
Robert Lee flew the tug after after its recent magneto repair and then flew an aerotow with Chris Warnes in the Perkoz who nearly landed before him!
In the afternoon the the weather continued to improve and some longer soaring/ridge flights were achieved the longest of which was John Street and Jeff Taberham with 45 minutes.
Sandy back in the Junior (John Street)
Well done to Sandy  Harrup for re-soloing in the Junior. - John Street.

Expeditions - Denbigh
With a forecast of light west winds, the North Hill Nomads were looking forward to a bit of ridge bashing with a small possibility of wave. So did over 20 other gliders lined up to launch, so we needed no warning to keep a sharp lookout during the day. Glider Flarm warnings and alarms were the order of the day. Pete Startup found himself in a sticky situation looking at field landing spots after the ridge lift suddenly collapsed, but heroically managed to limp back to the field for a relight. To everyone’s surprise, cloud streets then began forming from the ridge off to the west. Wyn Davies had started the ridge task, but then diverted to explore the thermal streets before finishing his task later with an outstanding calculated speed of 30.6 km/hr.
Wyn exploring the cloud streets (Wyn Davies)
What a surprise that we ended up predominately with a mid-October thermic day. The cloud streets running to the west gave everyone time to explore the Conwy valley several times over. Ian and Phil took DD3 to view Mordor (the view looking towards Snowdon and no doubt some Welsh dragons), coming back after reaching Caple Curig. Nick Harrison’s and Tom’s sightseeing also took them into the Conwy valley, while Pete as usual pushed on westward until the rising earth and the end of the cloud street dictated a prudent return back to the ridge to complete a late afternoon task.
DD3 exploring Welsh dragons (Phil Morrison)
Wednesday turned out to be a really good day. Faced with mediocre ridge flying we were blessed to have a wonderful thermic day which gave some fantastic sightseeing opportunities. - Tom Sides

Well thankfully the rain cleared and we had a great time on the ridge at Portmoak 3 hours of ridge bashing 
Ridge bashing (Stu Procter)
and a very small amount of weak wave 
SM flying too (Stu Procter)
nothing staggering but good to be flying. - Stu Procter

Mon 14th October - Expeditions

First ever trip to Denbigh.......
Conwy estuary (Ian Mitchell)

After a rather uninspiring met briefing with no wave forecast most decided not to fly. However with the invitation of a site check with Phil Morrison in the Duo Discus it was worth flying even if it was just going to be a circuit, fortunately it turned into a nearly 2 hour tour of North Wales.  - Ian Mitchell

After a week of flying every day, some of the North Hill team at Denbigh were smugly OK with having a rest day on Monday. Those of us who so far have only been able to have a short flight on Sunday weren’t quite as pleased, but hey ho.
The weather gurus were spot on with Tuesday’s forecast of slack southerly winds and sunny skies, so those of us without engines in our gliders once again occupied ourselves with non-flying tasks. 
Sparkling clean (Ton Sides)
 230 Pete, Chairman Nick and Tom went to the local hand car wash in Denbigh and came away with gob-smackingly bright and clean cars 
Duo discus ready to launch (Tom Sides)
Ian Mitchell came up on his first ever expedition to Denbigh, so Phil took him on a local tour in DD3 (firing up the iron thermal a few times) and flew first down to Colwyn Bay and then up to Ruthin showing Ian both the Denbigh ridge and the “sweet spots” for wave. - Tom Sides

Sun 13th October

Expeditions - Denbigh
Sunday was a day of changes. JP and JB left and returned to Devon while Pete Startup drove down from Portmoak and joined the NH crew. Most of the day was spent looking at the dreary and rainy skies, plus southerly wind, but at a late 2pm briefing, we heard that the skies would clear and the wind would swing round to the west at 4pm.

Considering that sundown was 6:30, there was some hesitancy and muttering about a lot of work for a short flight, but we soon put that aside with the realisation that the local weather over the next couple of days is expected to be worse.
DD3 on the runway

We were instructed to be on the runway and ready to launch at 4pm, and pretty much on the dot, we were aerotowing into a small bit of clear sky amongst the overcast. Was it worth it?
Up above the clouds (Tom Sides)

Well, the Denbigh ridge started working plus all of the intrepid aviators also got to enjoy a bit of wave flying. What an unexpected (and welcome) change for the day. - Tom Sides

Back at North Hill - As the duty instructor and the majority of the members had wisely decided to stay at home Cheryl, with assistance from Graham spent the day deepcleaning the kitchen. Graham Barden

Sat 12th October

The rostered duty team of John Sillett - DI, Tim Johns - DLM and Pete Harmer - Tuggie and a few others were sitting in the Clubhouse in the foggy drizzle, a few small jobs were done and Ashley Thomas enjoyed a personal lecture on basic Air Law and local airspace rules.

Unfortunately, the weather never looked like improving sufficiently to fly, but a big thank you to Ian Mitchell for fitting the new magneto to the Pawnee. 

At the expedition sites it was changeover day with some Portmoakers heading off to Denbigh and  some newcomers arriving at both Portmoak and Denbigh. 
Stu and Simon in K21 at Portmoak (Simon Minson)
After a long road trip, CFI Stu and RE Simon enjoyed a late afternoon trip on the Bishop.

Denbigh Business Development were for once underselling at the briefing, a lower wind speed now forecast than previously thought. Despite that a Libelle took an early tow and was in wave straight away. Whilst he was soon at 10,000ft, the rest of the pack were slow in getting away and the lower wave gave out. The Duo with Nick and JP  and JB in the Ventus criss-crossed the “right area” but found no more than reduced sink so - Back to the ridge... The wind softened and light rain made dodging the paraplungers all the more challenging. One by one the launched gliders landed, DD3 the last, only because the iron thermal allowed a final tease in the reduced sink beyond Denbigh. 
JP paella party (John Pursey)

Team DSGC was swelled by Tom Sides and Nick Harrison's arrival. The JP paella pan was put to use in the evening, new pal Tom Edwards (epic K8 pilot) and Team DSGC  chasing down the last of the Otter. 
Tom Edwards K8 from Lasham joins the party (John Pursey)
The out of hours Otter help line have been contacted by Stirling Melhuish who has remotely taken a keen interest in the expedition beer stocks! A less optimistic forecast wind for Sunday but Portmoak travellers expected to arrive. The week ahead has a feel of the previous week, good from mid week on..
Van envy (John Pursey)
Nick Jones has serious van envy after seeing the “camper” that has arrived. Team Eagle’s new HQ? - John Pursey

Fri 11th October - Expeditions

Denbigh Business Development were on point selling the forecast at briefing but as ever on the money. A damp morning as the front cleared but for those eating lunch at 12 the need to speed up was obvious! The wind and sky were perfect by 1pm and launch soon followed. DD3 with Nick and JP    (Phil on brief babysit duty) were quickly followed by JB on to the ridge with 2 clear cloud streets out to the west. 

Trips to DRS secured low points, then concentration turned on using the collapsing streets to get up wind. Over Ruthin the wave started collecting its punters, and the Clwyd Valley soon had Team Essex talking their way to glory.
Nick Jones and John Pursey in DD3 (John Pursey)
DD3 got lucky and parked itself near Ruthin tiptoeing up to 14,000ft with JB chasing Team Essex up through the levels. A radio report revealed that the ever canny Mike Armstrong (of Enterprise and Pocklington fame) had thermal’d his way to Betsy-C’d and had contacted the Conwy wave and was now through 16,000ft. 

DD3 burnt 7,000ft getting there and we wondered why when it all seemed very dark and the lift broken. Mike was by now above 18,000ft, above cloud and mentioning -26degC plus 80 kt winds.

A veil of cloud around 14,000ft made DD3’s last 3k “interesting” with the sun the best reference for attitude and cobblestone lift of up to 6 kts + and - very curious. 
Navigating by the sun (John Pursey)
The near 80kt wind and shear probably helped... 

66 knots and grey outside (John Pursey)
A sensible retreat to blast down to Bala and back to join JB on the ground, blinded by glowing instruments highlighted the late hour.  Glider bedding by headlight and full Disco heater settings to defrost Nick’s feet before the gin and tonic testing - 
Otter stocks are running critically low (John Pursey)
  Another reasonable forecast for Saturday and the pub awaits. - John Pursey

And in Scotland it was sunshine and showers with some little waves..........
Loch Leven (Wyn Davies)

Thurs 10th October

Expeditions - Denbigh
Sky Sight was very optimistic at the morning brief and Chris Gill as Denbigh’s 'Business Development in Chief' was soon talking up the forecast and talking wave. Early launches and the Eagle was away with a visitor in the back and JP in the front. 

 A trip round DRS highlighted the Eagle  / DuoDiscus difference to John who having smoked it in the Duo the day before realised that 45kts vs 80 kts makes a big difference when crossing sink. The cloud meant there wasn’t the thermal on the ridge to reach the obvious wave out in the valley. But all good things... A moment of blue skies and rotor thermal got people to the cloud base and one after the other pushed forward into wave. 

DD3 and JB had followed the early starters after twigging the Denbigh phenomena of showers that appeared upwind, but never reached the airfield, as they dumped their load on the moors. With a 40kt wind a classic examination of glider polars ensued, with the Ventus through no skill of its pilot ruling the roost...! (apologies to JB who did a great job of maxing out the local conditions to 6000ft) 

 Ever present cloud up wind with a changing cloudscape meant hands were never far from the air brake. After 3 hours the Eagle was the last to leave the ridge after the last gap filled and the air got very moist. The clear vision panels were both open and a straight in approach from the Tusk demonstrated both the strength of the wind and The Blunt Nail high speed performance of the Eagle.

All gliders tucked away the Otter barrel was about to be broached when the 'Denbigh BD guy' announced there is wave to be had and pushed the club LS7 on to the flightline to prove the point. A howling rotor-like nature to the surface wind stopped the team from readying DD3 but didn’t stop them from launching Chris G and Team Essex. 

Wild tows and reports of 50kt winds made the putting to bed of DD3 all the more a sensible move. The young boys got to nearly 10.000ft while the older boys got to the Otter. More to come we hope, with more SW forecast. - John Pursey#

Saw the sun today for a while. Great fun Bishop out and return many times.

However still plagued with showers stopping flying. - Wyn Davies

North Hill
A weak warm front was expected at some time during the day, with some rain for late afternoon and a brisk southwesterly wind.
There's Woolly (Mark Courtney)
With good height launches and extended circuits, Chris Wool and Mark Courtney got the best flight of the day with 42 mins at lunchtime just before the warm front showed its hand.
Best part of the day (Mark Courtney)
19 flights in all making the best of the available weather, we packed up just in time for the rain setting in. Thanks all, with special thanks to Aston Key, Tim Petty and John Borland for completing the rope change at lunchtime. - J&P

Wed 9th October

Expeditions -  Denbigh, Wales
It all started on Tuesday night when JP suggested that we should be up at crack of sparrows and get the Eagle (which was roosting in the hanger) down to the launch point to get an early launch. I couldn’t quite understand why we couldn’t just chuck a towel on to the front of queue and have a lay-in but he was a bit insistent so we agreed! - Turns out it was raining in the morning so the towel came in handy! 

Phil and JP launched 2nd and JB was 3rd. As JP said, anything less than 5 hrs isn’t worth getting out of bed for!
We bimbled up and down the ridge for a while then it all went smoooooth and with a bit of Jigery-pokery we climbed to 4000ft, and confident that we had connected with the wave we relaxed.... and it was gorn! 
Phil and JP fired up the iron thermal for about an hour and a ‘arf and finally got into the wave over Abergele and swiftly climbed to 8800ft the like of which was never seen again! 
Hey ho, that’s gliding for you! 

Meanwhile, JB decided to play on the ridge and carry out some scientific experiments! Does it make much difference if you fly fast or slow if the ridge is working? - Well, not a lot!
If you bumble along at between 50 and 60kts you stay between 1900 and 2300 and if you go -ve 2 and stick to the front- you going like a robbers dog and fly the lot at about 1500! It’s a lot faster and a bit more scary but it works - most of the time anyway! But it is a bit rough!
Anyway, a great time was had by all and topped off by a G&T or two in Nick's Palace before heading off to the Y Ceffyl Glyn which apparently is The White Horse!- JB (photos JP)

North Hill
The forecast was not very inspiring  with high wind and the likelihood of frequent showers, this accounted for a lower than usual turnout.
Fairy circles (Tom Sides)
We took only one K21 and a Junior out of the hangar, the wind was due West gusting to twenty knots at times, although the West ridge looked as if it should have been working there were only extended circuits to be had and we stopped flying a few times due to the frequent showers.
The rain arrived from the west (John Street)
Everyone who wanted to fly flew, we packed up about 4pm due to heavy rain approaching from the West.  - John Street

Tues 8th October - Expeditions

Denbigh,  Wales
The much awaited day arrived and did not disappoint. With 20 gliders at Lleweni Parc it took a while to get everyone in the air, especially an aerotow behind a 115hp EuroFox!
View across the Wirral to Liverpool on the way down (Phil Morrison)
Phil Morrison and Nick Jones in DD3 opted for the aerotow to the west which meant the rate of climb got them some way upwind before reaching 2000ft. JP and JB in the Eagle opted for the ridge. 
Long queues ( John Pursey)
Both achieved wave climbs but the Eagle lost out due to lack of penetration having successfully climbed to 6,500ft and pushed forward in a valiant effort to attain the next bar. Unfortunately they fell out and returned to the ridge where they were still to be found when DD3 eventually returned after a tour of North Wales from FL194 achieved over the Conwy valley. Though they did cheat a little with a quick burn to check the engine.  But they were rewarded with amazing views of the hills they had explored the day before in an effort to find the bungy launching site for an historic ridge flight along the NW coast by a close friend of Nick’s business partner.
14k at Conwy (Phil Morrison)
 Amazing flights, amazing scenery and b****y cold, -25degC at 19kft. Back down through the Denbigh rotor to a nice warm caravan and a pint of Otter, smuggled through customs by Nick. - Phil Morrison

Eagle n Dinybch
After weather reports of an unsettled run of weather for the week, taking Enterprise’s favorite 'Blunt Nail' to North Wales seemed foolish but at the last hour the weather gods sorted things out. 
BBB made contact (JP)
Excitement about wave meant BBB was lugging JB’s oxygen  around, - shame it wasn’t turned on... Bouncy ridge ride and sight of and reports of  'plastic' in wave spurred on the cycle of climb and push out with fingers crossed. Locally things were challenging for the transition with the main climbs up towards the Conwy. Eventually BBB broke into a climb near Ruthin and at 6,500ft headed off to Denbigh. 

Eagle  halo on the shadow (JP)

Poorly defined clouds and blunt nail performance meant 45 mins later we were back in the rinse and repeat cycle near the ridge. Well done to DD3 who went with the grown ups to the Conwy Valley! - John Pursey

Portmoak, Scotland

Denbigh looks grand. Portmoak was too cloudy to go up in the wave, so no record height gains here today.
A sunny gap on the Bishop (Wyn Davies)
 Bishop, push over the lake, climb, repeat, with various gaps opening to show the sun, but not long enough to squeeze through. - Wyn Davies