Thursday 15th March

With 30mm of rain yesterday, low cloud and a strong southerly, it was no surprise to those who drove through the floods to get to North Hill today that there was little chance of flying this week. 
The Wednesday regulars had completed the preparatory work of loading the newly-built parachute cupboard onto the trailer and it arrived at the club on Thursday morning.
Peter Smith with team of helpers (Peter Smith)

Peter Smith had not only designed and built it single-handed, but also had  a cunning plan for installation in the hangar using ropes, tractors and pulleys. 
Installation plan (Mike Sloggett)

So without very much blood, sweat or tears, the parachute cupboard was  installed in position.

Good job, well done, thanks to all the helpers and especially to Peter Smith (now moving on to the next project.) - J&P

Thursday 8th March

The forecast was hopeful for a second decent day this week with a good cold front clearance over night and a fresh westerly in a bright clear airmass. 

To let the field drain this morning, we delayed the start of flying a little, with the first task to rig the DG505 after its Annual inspection. Thanks to Carl Tharme and Pete Startup for the fast turnround, and just like magic, the 505 has regrown the tips.
DG505 complete with tips again  and just look at that sky! (Mark Courtney)

The field was still showing signs of the recent snow around the edges, but the surface was quite sound for winching. 
Snow round the edges of North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
It was soarable from the first flight until the last one with some chunky 6 knot thermals to 3000ft above North Hill. But it was the lovely streets that made it so enjoyable with many gliders heading off over the motorway.
Admiring the streeting whilst waiting to launch (George Vojtisek)
The two-seater list kept ticking over with 3 gliders and 6 Instructors taking their turn. With the gusty approach, single seat flying was limited to the more experienced pilots (including 3 instructors getting the opportunity for some solo time.) There were 22 flights in total with the Club gliders averaging 50 min flights. 

Pete Startup 230 and Eric Alston G29 explored the local area a little further with Pete clocking his first 100km flight of the season up over Exmoor. "Bit of a wander following the energy today. Wind c.260/24 at height made for some great wave boosted climbs matched equally by the wave boosted sink and difficulty going into wind - the streets looked better than they were. Great viz and scenery though and still quite a bit of snow on Exmoor. Great March day even if it was only local soaring." 

Thanks to everyone for a very enjoyable day. - J&P

Wednesday 7th March

The Beast from the East has moved to the north leaving us with ideal soaring weather, still a little cold but compared with last week almost tropical! Still some snow around to remind us of last week.

Diggin' before riggin'!
 The flying got off to a good start with Mike Fitz and John Street first in the air in the K21, followed by Robert Lee in a Junior-  both having good soaring flights, the good conditions lasted all day with everyone having a good soaring flight. There were a lot of storms about in the local area, but they all just about missed us, ahead of the storms, there was very strong lift with climbs to 3,000ft.
The storms missed us - just! (John Street)
Eric Alston G29, Pete Startup 230 and Tim Johns 877 flew their own gliders, Eric airbraking it down after 99min needing a cup of tea. Our friends from Brentor were with us again, they all had some good flying, and with the tug on its annual there were no Trial lessons.
Mike Sloggett with a Brentor visitor (John Street)
Considering the weather we have had lately, the field was surprisingly dry and with a similarly good forecast for Thursday - let's hope this winter is now behind us. - John Street.

Sunday 4th March

Following the Beast from the East combining with Storm Emma there was some work to be done at North Hill.
Temperature plunges at North Hill (Weather Station)

Looking like a scene from a Christmas carol, or at least the aftermath, a few intrepid explorers arrived at the club with the aim of extricating our DG505 from the hanger to get it into the workshop for the Annual inspection. The task was made harder by the snow covering the concrete pan in front of the hanger, nothing that a little muscle couldn’t fix! 
Andrew Logan and Glenn Turpin get stuck in clearing the pan (James Flory)

Following a few heavy showers the hanger was duly unpacked and James Flory, Pete Startup and Andrew Logan escorted the DG down to the workshop. Alan Turner and Phil Grant had also braved the conditions to complete the polishing of CYA following it’s annual. With CYA safely removed from the workshop, the DG was de-rigged and moved in and Andrew and Pete started the dismantling  ready for Carl Tharme to do the annual.  Meanwhile Stu Proctor and Ian Mitchell investigated the water leak above the showers in the Ground hangar. Stu found the culprit, a ruptured T junction. Sadly looks like some work will be needed to fix the showers ceiling and to allow the electrics to dry out. 
The Clubhouse still has a roof! (James Flory)

As we left the skies were blue with some inviting fluffy white clouds, but the field will take a good few days to recover. There was a river running down the main track, made a nice noise; perhaps we should have a permanent water features as part of the club house refurbishment?  Most of the field was either covered in snow or standing water, roll on the spring! 
Trailers all safe (James Flory)
Thanks to all who turned up and helped. - James F

Sunday 25th February - Escape to the hills

The fresh Easterly, Siberian blast, whilst not always good news at North Hill, can bring much excitement further up the M5 at Nympsfield where the cognoscente have been using Easterlies for years as a ticket to ride in the Welsh mountains. Whilst the Nympsfield maestro Trevor Stuart frequently performs by taking this downwind dash and ride with a magic wave climb to come home, the normal order of the day is a turbo slog to get back. 

Too many reflections - Wear a hat next time Phil (John Pursey)
With some cunning tactics, my Whatsapp correspondence with the turbo equipped but initially reticent Phil, broke down his negative thoughts about the cold and early mornings and got him to agree a Sunday trip to Nympsfield. The cunning had been to lure him in with thoughts of soaring the east facing cliffs from Dawlish to Babbacombe. Whilst initially attractive as a less early start and a previously untested location they became less attractive as the "untested location" part of the mix sank in. Perhaps Eric can brief us one day on the only apparently land-able field in the whole area and maybe the next windy easterly day...
Ridge soaring the hills (John Pursey)
Nick, the noble soul, readily agreed to provide transport and a 7:15am reveille at Hemyock meant a sensible 'on parade' time of around 10:30 on the BGGC grid.  The ever-friendly crew at Nympsfield soon had DD3 off on tow and since the marked inversion made visibility poor, caution meant a high tow and an engine test run such that arrival at the Malverns was high enough not to trouble the walkers. However, warming up to the ever beckoning slope lift and teasie thermals, a few low passes with lots of waving got the hill soaring spirit going. 
On the Malverns (John Pursey)
The Welsh hills were lost in the haze, but an Oudie driven departure track and engine run soon meant neither Malverns or Black Mountains could be seen. But, like magic, Hay Bluff and the run to Pandy appeared ahead and with the engine stowed the fun began. 

For those that haven't soared the eastern slopes of the Black Mountains then the only thing to say is you are "missing out"! As freshmen, Phil and I took a fairly cautious trip down towards the south from Hay Bluff, testing the line and the lie of the hills. I spoke with great authority with my entirely theoretical knowledge of the route gleaned from Trevor Stuart's SeeYou ladder trace replays and You Tube video from you know who. The maestro arrived as we headed south and duly showed us what can be done with balls of steel and years of experience. 

Phil may have the years but non-ferrous balls and with fears of monkeys in the cold was not to be lured and a more gentlemanly passage was made with alternate runs made by P1 and P2. A small foray up the valley from Abergavenny was about as brave as it got before the "iron topsail " was unfurled and we headed back, again reliant on an electronic track on a gadget. As a bright light test I can attest to the wonder of the Kobo compared to the Oudie in terms of readability. Not that it mattered because the Oudie simply said "map load error" for most of the day.

De-rig in daylight followed by a clubhouse beer and a catch up with Trevor and Dan Welch, brought a fine end to the day. For those who looked at Spot The Glider today (Monday) you would have seen Trevor, Dan and friends having yet more fun on the hills, this time with thermals to 5000' (and -10C outside air temp). Good old Russian air. - John Pursey

Sunday 25th February

In gliding one always has to be optimistic that the actual weather at the airfield is going to be better than the forecast. Despite the forecast wind strength and resultant predicted wind chill the Clubhouse, and in turn flying list, was rather full by 9:00am. After discussion about the current and forecast wind strength for the day, and no doubt encouraged by the reports of wave flying yesterday, the general consensus was that if it was flyable then we would do so. Ron Johns as Duty Instructor decided to go down to the East end of the airfield to assess the anticipated flying conditions and returned to the Clubhouse with a decision that we would set up the launch run for the South West to North East corner of the field and see what the actual flying conditions were.

The winch was set up in the North East corner of the field whilst the K21 and DG505 were taken out and daily inspections started, with the Juniors and K13 left in the hangar. Ron Johns and Nick Redfern completed a ‘met flight’ and after safely landing the decision was made to not complete any further flying for a while - after discussion it was decided that the gliders would be safer being parked nearer the hangar so both two seaters were towed back down to the other end of the field.
Just a bit too windy (Mike Sloggett)
And then it became a question of seeing how many cups of coffee and tea could be drunk and how much hot food could be consumed whilst patiently waiting for a potential reduction in the wind speed, particularly the gusts which were the main worry.

James Flory completed some ground briefings with various members whilst others kept checking the anemometer (and trees) to see if there was any sign of the wind strength reducing. By shortly after midday it was evident that the wind was not going to reduce so a decision was made that the gliders and ground equipment would be put away on the basis that it is ‘better to be on the ground wishing we had flown than being in the air asking why we had!’

Meanwhile Kris Pratt, Ross Pratt and Simon Leeson continued the work on the simulator.
Kris and Ross Pratt continuing the revamp of the simulator (Simon Leeson)
Thank you to all for the teamwork today, better days ahead, hopefully... Mike Sloggett
And in snowy  Poland ....a DSGC trip to the museum


Saturday 24th February

Great news from snowy Poland, where Ian Mitchell and Stu Procter are checking out our shiny new Perkoz.
Not long now... (Stu Procter)
To say that it was cold at North Hill today would be something of an understatement.  The dozen or so members who arrived to fly in the morning were heard to be questioning their own sanity.  Nevertheless this hardy bunch dragged a K21 and a Junior to the south west corner of the airfield, and anyone who wasn't inside an aircraft or a vehicle huddled in the shelter of the LPV.  At least it was sunny.
Simon and Oscar Leeson in wave (Simon Leeson)
Winch launches offered extended circuits with tantalizing hints of wave.  Roly in the Junior, having achieved the longest flight off the winch with 24 minutes, decided he hadn't quite had his fill and took an aerotow.  Martin Woolner with Ruth Comer,  followed by Simon Leeson with Oscar in the K21 followed suit.  The wave had indeed set up to the north west of the club, but kept repositioning itself so the search had to repeated over and over.  Good for practising and actually quite pleasantly warm with the sun shining through the canopy.  It's going to get even colder next week.... Ruth Comer
North Hill sunset (Simon Leeson)
We welcomed Daniel to the Club - two years after his initial introduction to gliding at Open Weekend, having grown tall enough to reach the rudder pedals and start his training.  Thanks to those who stayed to help fix the puncture from the K21 hangar flight.

RT Training (Jill Harmer)
In the Clubhouse, there was another session of RT training for a group of members given by Simon Baily. And Nick Jones and James Flory attended the regional CFI / Safety session at Yeovilton.

Thursday 22nd February

Another cold day was forecast, with an uncertain amount of cloud with the light easterly wind. The Thursday regulars arrived early with the prospect of winching again after weeks of rain and aerotow-only days. There was a slight hesitation over which side of the field to launch from with quite a bit of shear between ground and launch height, and a delay with some low cloud. The sun came out at 11:00 and flying started.

K13 with some crepuscular rays (Mark Courtney)
With so many currency checks and simulated launch failures, the launch rate was fairly slow. Several flights found some lift under the streets or was there some wave? and managed 20mins ish.

Mainly cloudy skies over North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
Steve Westlake had some flights with Mark Courtney in DG505 and resoloed after a long break.
Steve back in the saddle (Mark Courtney)
Late in the afternoon, it became noticeably cooler, and the clouds melted away for some late sunshine. 
North Hill sunset (Wyn Davies)
 It was a good day with 34 launches and the flying list completed. Thanks to everyone for enduring the cold (but it is going to get colder...)  - J&P

Wednesday 21st February

A nice sunny start to the day although the forecast was for overcast conditions, the wind was from the East and was quite fresh so plenty of warm clothes was the order of the day.
All available gliders were walked up to the S/W corner, we had Mike Sloggett helping us, because we had three Brentor members with us again. Mike and John Sillett looked after them and John Street and Glenn Turpin looked after the rest.
Jeff Taberham getting ready to fly (John Street)
Both Juniors were in use all day, everyone flew as much as they wanted and the tug was kept busy with Robert and Pete Warren taking turns with the aerotows.
There was little in the way of lift, although a little bit of wave was encountered to the North of the airfield, after lunch it was a bit thermic with a few flights managing a bit of soaring, John Street had the longest flight of 32min in a Junior.
New shiny mower (Robert Lee)
The new shiny mower was delivered ready for the grass to grow. Trimax representatives will return to brief those who do the mowing on daily servicing and operation in the field.

All in all a good day and not quite so cold as some had been expecting. - John Street.

Saturday 17th February

It’s been at least 5 weeks since we’ve flown on a Saturday, so a promising forecast brought members out in their droves. By 9:00am, there were cars parked everywhere, the flying list was already as long as your arm and all the kit was being marshalled on to the field. There was however one problem; low cloud and drizzle! After some gnashing of teeth Peter Smith (who was helping to cover for Mark Courtney as Duty Instructor whilst Mark continued to help our friends from Brentor with their instructor training) decided the best thing to do was to retreat to the clubhouse and drink tea. A few minutes latter the clubhouse looked like a scene from an AGM with members everywhere. In the middle of this, Tom Sides had to fend off numerous comments of “what’s that then” as he skilfully built the new clubroom honesty bar, under close supervision from our Chair Nick Jones. Meanwhile strange stirrings could be heard from the hanger and reports of a small black and yellow craft emerging into the improving weather were confirmed as “Fred’s” first outing for 2018. William Pope and our CFI Stu Procter then proceeded to try and coax Fred into life. After several attempts it fired up and William had the chance to do some taxi practice, Fred style. 
Stu coaxing Fred before taxi checks (James Flory)
By now the weather had finally got the message, and the low cloud and drizzle was quickly replaced by white fluffy cumulus and blue skies; forgotten what that looked like!  The launch grid was quickly established with Peter taking Alan Turner up for a currency flight and weather check in the K21. James Flory then jumped into the DG505 with Reuben Buss and followed suit. Alan was soon off solo in the Junior; great to see someone who does so much for the club - keeping the ground kit running -finally getting to fly after 6 weeks grounded by weather. Mark Courtney took the K13 with a Brentor instructor for a spin or two or possibly several, with Stu doing the honours in the tug. 
Stu now tugging (Stuart Procter)
  The two Juniors were well utilised as everyone took the chance to get airborne.  By early afternoon several private owners KMV, G29, V5, 230 joined the grid to take advantage of the soarable conditions. Although we had no Trial lesson flights, there were a couple of friends and family flights with James Hood and Stu sharing the tugging. 
A busy day at North Hill (Stuart Procter)
Lisa Humphries then took over as Duty Instructor in the afternoon and continued to do a stirling job of working through the list. Both Falkes were also very active. James Flory started his towplane rating training with Ian Mitchell in G-CDSC, with  Martin Woolner bravely agreeing to be the guinea pig in the Junior at the end of the the rope. As the sun began to lower and the canopies started to mist Dave Albasiny enjoyed the last flight of the day. The kit was then all safely returned with the gliders getting a good wash under the ever attentive supervision of Mark. 
Puffy white clouds again (Lisa Humphries)
As always none of this would have been possible without great team work. 41 flights in total, so thanks to everyone who turned up and helped, a great day at North Hill. Watch this space lots more to come this season! - James F
Team Fox arriving at Nottingham Belfry (BGA)
Meanwhile at the BGA Conference, Pete and Jill Harmer enjoyed  the varied programme of Speakers including our very own Sir Chris, meeting up with old friends, and looking round the new toys on show.