Wed 23rd May

A very slow start with hazy sunshine and a strong Easterly wind, the Wednesday regulars stayed in the clubhouse to listen to the morning briefing by Ron Johns & Jill Harmer for the Task week that is in progress. The forecast for the day was not too exciting with maybe some soaring late in the afternoon.
Chris Warnes preparing to fly (John Street)
We started flying about 11:30 with very little in the way of lift, the task week pilots waited for the better conditions that might arrive later in the afternoon.
The better soaring conditions did arrive in the afternoon  (but later than expected) but the lift was broken and difficult to centre in.
Some of the Wednesday club members managed to soar, Andy Williams having the longest Club flight 34 minutes (this was Andy's longest solo flight for some 30 years). - John Street.

Task Week
The trigger temperature was finally reached in the middle of the afternoon, and the task week pilots lined up on both winch and aerotow to make an attempt at the now overset tasks.

Chairman Nick being encouraging in the blue (Ray Dodd)
It proved tricky to get away from the winch but aerotows faired better. Sniffer Phil Morrison and Peter Smith in DD3 reported that there was some possible weak wave to the north, but they headed off to look for Peter's house. Ron and Ray in 711 and Pete Startup in 230 also managed some climbs up the front of the clouds and explored further. Everyone else stayed very local, just pleased to get airborne. -J&P

Mon 21st May - Task Week

Everybody gathered for the briefing at 10:00, and from RASP forecast there was some hope that a 100km task North Tawton, Knowstone or 200km task  Okehampton, Eaglescott, Dulverton, Lapford could be attempted albeit with a fairly late start.
Waiting for trigger temperature (Jill Harmer)
Most of the gliders were gridded at the west end of the airfield, waiting for the trigger temperature to be reached. North Hill felt cold with a chilly north easterly wind and thick patches of cirrus. By 14:30 Ron Johns decided to scrub the tasks and allow local soaring.  Some small cumulus formed mainly downwind, 7 gliders decided to take a launch and completed various small local tasks. - J&P

Sun 20th May

A busy day at the Club today from start to finish with Gordon Hutchinson as AM Duty Launch Marshal being very organised to the extent that the ground equipment was out and ready by just after 8am - as various Instructors and other members continued to arrive, gliders were soon being brought out of the hangar.

And then the discussion started about which way the wind was currently blowing and in which direction it might blow during the day....  And then with a very light wind “sort of coming from the West” the decision was made - to set up the Launch Point in the North East corner of the airfield with the winch in the South West corner.

All the Club two seater gliders and a Junior  had their daily inspections completed and were towed across to the Launch Point - and soon the day was underway with Josh Funnell and Charlie Stuckey being successfully checked out for solo flying. 
North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
And then just after a few flights with the wind settling down to a South Easterly direction the decision was made to change ends and set the Launch Point up in the North West corner of the airfield - gliders were towed down or landed at the other end and after a suitable delay flying started again.

And for a couple of hours progress was made with the flying list with Mike Rigby, Harry Rigby and Ross Pratt being put through their paces whilst various “Friends and Family” and Trial Lesson flights were completed by Peter Smith, Paul Summers and Mike Sloggett.

JB and Nick towed the Duo Discus (DD3) down and JB took to the air on an aerotow with a plan of testing the engine of the Duo Discus. Mark Courtney checked out Ellie Carter in the Falke on field landings.

And then the weather gods decided that too much progress was being made with the flying list and provided an opportunity to improve our previous “change ends time” from earlier in the day - with an evident wind direction of ‘somewhere from the South West to South’ it was clear that a move to the other end of the airfield was needed.
Sea Air (Mike Sloggett)
And once everything had been repositioned back to where it had been earlier in the day it was on with the flying list with Mike Thom and Emma Kendall continuing their training. Meanwhile the K6CR (DRE) was brought into use with Josh, Charlie and Ellie Carter sharing a Junior and the K6 between them. Various members had their first flights in the Perkoz during the afternoon and Ruth Comer demonstrated her skills in flying the DG505.

And then with the list completed and energy levels drained from a day in pleasant but warm sunshine on the airfield the final decision was made - to end flying for the day and put the gliders and ground equipment away.

There was just time for John Sillett to refresh his aerobatic skills in a K21 with Emma Kendall - “shame to waste the last cable” were John’s words...

A big thank you to everyone who worked hard through great teamwork to help others to get into the air today - in summary ‘A good day, no lift of any note but progress made by various members, some happy visitors and most importantly fun had by all’. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 19th May

It was a busy day at the Club.....
 
Cross-countries
Ron Johns and Martin Woolner  ASH25 711, Pete Startup Discus 230, JB Ventus JB, Simon Minson ASW20 SM all completed Club 200 O/R to Salisbury Cathedral 212Kms. 
'Started early suspecting we were in for a short day - too early as the first hour out to Yeovil was 'tricky'. From then on good but always left playing catch up. Thought we'd underset again but got back to North Hill just as the sea air wiped out the site. ' Pete Startup
Turning Salisbury (Simon Minson)
Phil Morrison and Nick Jones  starting a bit later completed Blandford, The Park, Cullompton 204Kms.

Fri 18th May - Course Week

After finishing the briefing on thermalling first thing, it was time to get the gliders out to make the most of the predicted thermals, as cloud cover was expected around lunchtime. The majority of course members had good local soaring flights throughout the day despite the increasing cloud cover in the afternoon which was forecast.
North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
Private Owners took the opportunity of the winch being available in between course flights with Dave Clements 2hrs local soaring, with Wyn Davies and Pete Startup doing Tiverton east/Yeovil Club 100. 
"Never really low or difficult but spent most of the flight wondering if we were going to get home. A thick band of high cover really damped things down making for weak scruffy Cu. It seemed to follow us as we went East, in fact we largely relied on the sea air convergence to get back West to some sun. Never a classic 'running' convergence but the good bits produced some good climbs. Thanks to the Wynster for dragging me round." Pete Startup 230

Late afternoon the Perkoz was brought out for course members to experience a flight in the Perkoz of which everyone enjoyed flying very much.

Mike Sloggett and Rob Rand trying out the Perkoz (Mike Fawcett)
Notable achievements today were Dave Cowley with his 1hr flight duration (88mins) and Andy Davey achieving his Silver Height.

As the course members finished their week's course, James Flory and the helpers took over for the evening's Air Cadets trial lessons.

Air Cadets finally get some lovely evening flying weather (Mike Fawcett)
A great May Course Week, of which all on the Course Members made significant progress with their flying. Thanks to our Instructors Peter Smith and Mike Sloggett and all the helpers Richard Harris, Hans Jenssen, Robert Lee, Jonathan Erskine, Ian Hunt, Jill Harmer, Pete Bennett. -Mike Fawcett

Thur 17th May

With yesterday's weak front cleared through to the south and the High rebuilding we were expecting a reasonable day, although RASP was being a bit cagey about the conditions. Initially the northeasterly wind was still quite strong and gusty, so the first hour was spent with Pete Harmer talking about joining and recentreing in thermals for both Course members and Thursday regulars.

The wind abated as forecast and the gliders were readied, it took a while to get all the gliders to the west end as one of the ground vehicles was off line. But once we started the the Juniors were the first to show some extended circuits. With Peter Smith and Mike Sloggett running the course line and Pete Harmer and Chris Wool leading the Club line, the flying lists progressed steadily. 
Thick Cirrus at times (Mark Courtney)

However, RASP was correct and soaring conditions were rather sporadic and limited to small, strong, but short-lived thermals up to an inversion at 2500ft. For most of the day there was thick Cirrus mares tails around the sky, and several flights around half an hour. 
Perkoz and K21 landing (Mark Layton)


Both Aston Key and Tom Sides were finishing off their BI training and Aston enjoyed a simulated rope break in the Perkoz recorded by Mark Layton.
Simulated rope break (Mark Layton)

So with 45 winch launches and 5 aerotows, it was a busy but pleasant day. 

In the evening the Course  members helpers and extra enjoyed  Course Dinner at Keepers Cottage. - J&P



Wed 16th May

The ground equipment was already out and prepared by the time the May course and the few Wednesday diehards arrived at the Clubhouse this morning. Unfortunately the weather was 'sub optimal' for flying so the May course instructors used the poor conditions to provide a morning lecture series covering a number of gliding related topics. The pre-solo pilots benefited from having their cards signed off whilst  the existing solo pilots enjoyed the very useful refresher. 

Howling crosswind from the north (Mike Fawcett)
With no improvement in the weather the flying was formally cancelled after lunch and members started to drift homewards. However, undaunted by the weather, Mike Sloggett took the opportunity to convert to a new club type by first having a cockpit brief in the John Deere tractor. After some P2 instruction out on the field he was finally sent off into the great green expanse to mow solo, anxiously watched by his instructor Pete Smith!

Despite no flying being possible the day proved useful to brush up on the theoretical aspects of our shared passion for all those attending today.........and the grass is shorter. -David Cowley

Tue 15th May - Course Week

Day two of the course promised to be similar weather to Monday, but with experience of the thermals on Monday, we hoped again for some good soaring flights.  Our valuable helpers Richard and Hans were joined by Jonathan Erskine and had everything lined up early ready to go.
Ready to go (Mike Sloggett)
A review of  NOTAMS injected a curved ball to our game, a temporary Class D airspace was in place for a Devon Royal visit.  We discussed our plan and decided to have two breaks for the inbound/outbound control periods. 
Waiting for the all clear (Mike Sloggett)
The morning one was used for briefing and safety reviews and the afternoon for relaxing in the sun, taking around 2 to 3 hrs out of our flying day.
Relaxing in the sun  waiting patiently (Mike Sloggett)
Around these we managed 22 flights, Mark, Nick and Michael continued their training while Dave and Andy took turns flying the Junior and Rob flew the K21 solo followed by a flight in the Junior.
Andy achieved his two hour soaring flight towards cross-country endorsement and climbed to over 3700ft, while Rob took advantage of the post-lunch briefing to steal the K21 for a 33 minute 3500ft flight.
Andy chilling after his 2 hour flight (Mike Sloggett)
We finished up a little late in the day to make up for our Royal interruption.  
End of another good day (Mike Sloggett)
 Thanks to Pete and Mike for continuing their excellent instruction throughout the day. - Rob Rand

Mon 14th May - Course Week

Monday started clear and bright; the first day of our week long gliding course with 5 current members and Nick Bromley new to the club, welcome Nick. The helpers for the day Richard Harris, Hans Jenssen and Robert Lee had the kit out and ready for us by the time we arrived. We then helped get the gliders out of the hanger before retiring to the Clubhouse for tea and a briefing. 
Blue thermals (Mike Sloggett)
 The forecast was for a strong inversion at just over 1000ft. How wrong a forecast can be with one of the early flights initially climbing to 2500ft and then to 2950ft in some nice tight blue thermals.  Dave Cowley and Andy Davey were flying the Junior and both had good soaring flights. 

This left Rob Rand, Michael Fawcett, Mark Worsford and Nick Bromley  flying the two K21s with Mike Sloggett and Pete Smith instructing. Their flying consisted of some good soaring and a fare few simulated launch failures.  All in all, a very good days flying with a total of 27 launches. A big thanks to everyone for making day one such a success. - Andy Davey (first time blogger)

Sun 13th May

Another Red RASP day which included the South West Peninsula! The kit was readied early and training flights started. A slight shortage of members found Jules Minson remembering how to run the  LPV (used to be called the Bubble). Soaring soon got underway in earnest with the Club gliders leading the way.   
Cu forming nicely (Wyn Davies)
Wyn Davies W7, Pete Startup 230, Simon Minson SM and Ron & Daniel Johns  711 set off for Whiddon Down and Dorchester 206Kms. Pete  and Jill in OL's first outing of the year set off a bit later following the energy over Exmoor. Robert Lee DKU, Jeff Taberham 380, James Flory 877 and Tom Sides in DG1 also enjoyed local flights.
Energy over Exmoor (Jill Harmer)
The FI (S) Refresher course  with DSGC and Visitor Instructors completed early afternoon,  And Peter Smith, Lisa Humphries and Mike Sloggett were soon walking briskly to the Launch Point to find a glider and someone to fly with - with an evidently thermic sky there was no shortage of members wishing to take to the air, some for their first flights of the day and some taking advantage of a relatively short flying list to complete some flights.

Meanwhile John Burrow and Mike Fox (National Training Manager for the BGA) took the Perkoz for a flight - with maps in hand there was clearly a plan to put the glider through it’s paces, after an hour they landed having flown to past Yeovil and back to North Hill. 
Sea breeze convergence (Simon Minson)
With the cross-country task clearly underset, the Pundits all added more Kms to their flights with Club 100s etc and making use of the south coast sea breeze convergence.
Great skies even late on (Mike Sloggett)
Late afternoon John Burrow flew with Ross Pratt to complete spinning refresher flights as part of which they took advantage of the late afternoon thermals to take the Perkoz to over 3000ft competing with Mike Sloggett and David Cowley who were also having fun taking a K21 to similar heights in the late afternoon thermals.

During the day Paul Summers flew the 3 trial lesson visitors who all enjoyed the wonderful Devon clear visibility and soaring conditions. 

With over 40 flights, it was another really good Devon day (although no comparison with the great distances flown up country and into Wales). - J&P & Mike Sloggett