Tues 7th July

An ad-hoc day suggested by the Chairman on the basis of good soaring weather promised on RASP. 

On the day there was significant high-level cloud which reduced the potential a little - but it was still a very productive day. 

Today was the first day of dual instructional flights following the recent changes in restrictions. CFI Stu conducted a trial following the new guidelines and risk assessment, ahead of the planned two-seater booking roster. First up was  Dave Perriam who has been one of the regular launchpoint helpers unable to fly in the last few weeks.

9 private gliders were flown alongside both K21s and a Junior, with most of the private gliders averaging 2 hours airborne. Andy Davey (Libelle) had the longest flight at 4 hours 20 minutes. Pilatus B4 CVV had 6 flights with all syndicate members flying. Pete Startup had a little struggle with poor thermals west of Tiverton but patiently  managed yet another low save. JB (Ventus) launched a bit later than the others and had an interesting flight - "Saved by the dragons breath"
"Phil said the task was Beaminster Langport and back and while there wasn’t much sun there were lots of little clouds giving gentle lift. 
Mini-Convergence (JB)
 Having tiptoed down to Beaminster, the sky north to Langport looked bleak but a scrappy cloud over Crewkerne saved the day and gradually led me to a mystery ‘mini convergence’ marked by little puffs of dragon’s breath! So I followed the Dragons up to Langport and back south a bit then they just disappeared - probably scampered off to join their mates in the sea breeze front over Chard! Not very public spirited these Somerset Dragons! So I headed west into a bleak sky with the option to divert south to the sea breeze over Chard if nothing else worked.
Dragon's Breath (JB)
 With the Oudie forecasting 500ft below glide to get home it was time to go south and play  in the Dragons breath (sea breeze front) at Chard. Once again the little puffs of Dragons’ breath ahead allowed me to slowly tip-toe west until the Oudie said I’d get back with 1000 ft to spare. Long live the Dragons! - JB"


Also good to see food and drink being served in the Club House albeit with significant changes to ensure social distancing.

Many thanks to Sally Hender who spent all day running Launch Control maintaining a solid flow of launches, 38 in total; not bad for an ad-hoc day. - James Smart

Sun 5th July

It was a very gusty day at the Club, disappointing for those who had hoped to fly, but various maintenance tasks were completed and the North Hill cafe was open for members in a "new normal".

In the evening, the regular Condor race was not upset by the weather, the task was NH2- Eggesford - Lapford - NH2 and a good grid of 6 pilots  in a variety of gliders set off.
Nice sky (Matt Howard)

Boy Racers - Dan Hender (Antares17) and Matt Howard (EB29R) set off promptly and breezed round the task, but Stewart Henshall (fully ballasted Discus2) made a late start but then benefitted from those along the route marking climbs. The first 3 places were very close, but on the final glide, Stewart was just able to get his speed up to beat the two superships on handicap.
The podium winners (Matt Howard)

 In their own race, Geoff Lawrence (Discus2), David Clements (Duo Discus) and John Davis (Discus2) competed at a more sedate pace.....

John Davis passing Forest Glade (Stewart Henshall)

.....with Geoff managing a good save at the EGG turning point, but all misjudged their final glide and had to have a miracle to get home. Good learning points for all. - J&P

Thurs 2nd July

A good number of Thursday regulars turned up to fly today including Dave Perriam and Rob Rand. Although they could not fly Dave spent all day in the winch earning rave reviews for his launching and Rob kept everything well under control in the Launch Point Vehicle, thank you both!

With a Westerly wind it was a relatively easy decision in terms of where to position the launch point and whilst the two K21s and a Junior were brought out of the hangar various private gliders were soon having their covers taken off.
Orderly launch point (Mike Horwood)
With a well-organised launch point by mid-morning gliders were soon being launched towards the West and as ever it was a question of trying to find elusive lift off the winch launch. With cloudbase not much more than 1500ft above the airfield and the ridge only working here and there, as well as the thermals being a tad tricky, no surprise that at times the skies to the West of the airfield were rather busy with a number of gliders. Most pilots had an element of success during the morning until under grey skies the lift mostly switched off meaning a steady stream of landings and retrieves.
Building skies (Mike Sloggett)
After a socially distanced lunch and with the skies looking a little more promising, the afternoon saw Club and private gliders being relaunched - but with the conditions still proving “interesting” and enough lift to ‘scratch around for quite a bit longer than an extended circuit. Andrew Logan in FMS had the longest flight of the day of 1hr43.
North Hill has 'greened up' after the rain (Mike Horwood)
By late afternoon everyone that could fly had done so and it was time to put gliders back under their covers or into the hangar.

A day when the conditions needed focus both to make the most of the lift available and also to maintain a good lookout for other gliders and aircraft - a good day all round. - Mike Sloggett

Wed 1st July

There was quite a bit of interest in flying considering the poor forecast, K21 HCX and a Junior were prepared for flying with just a bit of a delay due to the low cloud.
High launches (David Clements)
We were getting good high launches due to the fresh southwesterly wind. but there was little thermic activity and most of the flights had reasonably extended circuits up to 15min, there was a couple of breaks due to the rain showers.

Everyone who wanted to fly got in the air, then a longer spell of heavy rain put paid to any more flying so we had an early finish.

The Covid19 screen  fitted by George and Andrew in the K21 KEK was much admired by those who inspected and it will be interesting to see how it operates in practice. - John Street.

Sun 28th June

There were quite a few hopeful faces first thing, but the gliders only made it to the launchpoint for just before lunch, due to the forecast showers. However the DG505 was successfully rigged and returned to the hangar, ready for it’s final checks.

The first launch was taken at 12:00 by Mike Fairclough in FZF, followed by John Sillett in the K21. The next few flights all managed about 20mins, while dodging the showers!
During one of those showers the K6 DRE was derigged and packed away back in its trailer, thanks to all for letting the Juniors store it in the hangar in recent months.
The pot of gold - North Hill (Mark Courtney)
The instructors made good use of the club gliders, in the afternoon Tom Sides, Peter Warren, Mark Courtney, John Sillett, JB (JB), Rowan Smith (CLM) and Paul Summers, all grabbing the opportunity to fly in the blue card conditions. Pete Startup rigged his own glider and went off into the turbulent skies, we didn’t expect to see him again any time soon! (97mins in the end, longest flight of the day, no change there).
Pete Startup ready for launch (Mark Courtney)
It was lovely to see lot’s of members (unable to currently fly) turn up to socialise and chat, can’t wait for ‘normal’ times to return. - Sally Hender 
Matt and Dan landed at Eyres Field (Condor)

And in the evening the Condor race pilots were Dan Hender (Antares18), Matt Howard (EB29R) and John Davis (Discus2a)  with a downwind dash to Dorset Gliding Club. Dan and Matt were neck and neck but with Dan winning on handicap, with John getting a new experience of landing away from North Hill. -J&P

Thurs 25th June

Another sweltering hot day, but the Thursday regulars were there in force, even though some can still not fly. Unfortunately the promised lack of soaring was a reality today, with just a couple of extended circuits. 
First two junior flights of the day were Mike and Barbie Fairclough who managed to lay on a great formation landing for us.
Formation landing Juniors (David Clements)
 Most notable flight was Mike Horwood in a K21 who managed to find some small low bubbles on the south ridge (which must have been generally out of phase  with the southsoutheasterly wind the rest of the day.  
DG100 (David Clements)

Thanks also to Robert for standing in as tuggie although aerotows weren't required.
Winch launching under increasing AltoCu Castellanus (David Clements)

But 21 flights in all with solo members keeping currency, let's hope we get the go ahead for training to resume very soon. Thanks everyone - J&P
 

Wed 24th June

The day started hot and blue with little prospect of any decent soaring, both K21s and a Junior were walked to the Northwest corner, the first two managed to stay up for about 20min each, this energised some private gliders to be towed up the field as well.
Social distancing (David Clements)
After the first two flights it was circuits only, with little wind and it was very hot, this dampened enthusiasm somewhat.
About midday some thermals appeared and gliders started staying up and having reasonable soaring flights, at one stage we had eight gliders airborne.
It become fairly easy to stay up and it became how long you could stick the searing heat. Pete Startup, Jeff Taberham, Eric Alston, Gordon Hutchinson Wyn Davies and the K6 Trio Dan, Charlie and Josh all flew their own gliders, Robert was Tuggie. It was nice to see Dave Clements back flying again.

David Clements back flying (John Street)
A big thanks and well done to Tim Petty and his team for the painstaking and laboriously difficult work in finding the faults with LPV-Winch comms and fixing them. - John Street.

Sun 21st June

There was a lot of early enthusiasm and attendance, so the ground equipment was prepared early, unfortunately the low cloud was reluctant to lift and the occasional rain showers enforced some wide-spaced discussions and interactions.

Socially distanced briefing

The decision to push on and get aircraft out was made just before 11am with the first flights achieved by 1140. A small delay was required to move the winch a little further north to avoid  cables over the new grass, but soaring was possible from the start. The conditions cycled through hill and thermal but Rowan and Pete Startup achieved flights of more than 3 hrs, with club aircraft being shared to ensure reasonable flight lengths.

5 private aircraft joined in with at one point 2 K21's  2 Libelle's and one each of DG100, Discus and an ASW15 all airborne. With 24 flights and a total of more than 20 hours flight time. Pete Startup completed 100kms O/R to Eaglescott but managing a big save at the turning point having dropped off the Flarm map.
Good to see Nick Redfern back (Mark Courtney)

An interesting moderate-wind day well worth the delayed start. With flying of club and private gliders finishing about 6pm when all had flown.

Good progress also seems to have been made by Tim Petty on the "landline challenges" and the early delays allowed some necessary ground maintenance activities. - Gordon Hutchinson 

And in the evening the regular Condor race  was Hembury Hill - Cadbury Cross - Knowstone - Hembury Hill and was won by Dan Hender in Antares. -  Matt Howard preferred a cruise around at great height in the EB29, followed by a landing at Exeter. Geoff Lawrence opted for a Discus 2 with water, but forgot to set up the jettison key. 
Geoff in HES - it's so realistic (Matt Howard)

David Clements is really getting to enjoy the Duo Discus. And it was good to see Ray Dodd joining in spectating, hopefully fly next time. Another good cross-country learning experience for all. - J&P

Sun 14th June

With the continuing ‘lockdown rules’ preventing two-seater flying - this has understandably reduced the number of members turning up to fly at North Hill.

However, there were enough keen solo pilots arriving for the launch point vehicle to be taken down to the North West corner whilst a K21 and a Junior were taken out of the hangar. With a reasonable weather forecast but suggesting limited thermal activity there was little interest from private owners in towing their gliders down to the other end of the airfield, so much fettling could be seen to be going on in the glider paddock.

Meanwhile flying had started under a cloudbase of not much higher than circuit height and as ever it was a question of catching the first thermal off the winch launch otherwise it was simply an extended circuit as a reward for getting to the top of the launch.

Late morning the wind had developed more of a Westerly component so the decision was made to change ends. With an improving sky and a launch point closer to the glider paddock soon various private owners were towing out their gliders to see if the sky was as good as it had started to look. And with more members turning up to fly and a lengthening flying list, the Perkoz was brought out of the hangar for the rest of the day.
Perkoz was brought out (Mike Sloggett)

The afternoon saw much ‘scratching’ in the skies around the airfield which meant busy thermals due to cloudbase not being very high, but the most was made of what was available. Late afternoon with everyone having flown it was time to put the gliders and ground equipment away to end a pleasant if unspectacular day.
Private owners grid (Simon Minson)

Pete Startup (Discus 230), Simon Minson (ASW20 SM), Wyn Davies (LS7 W7), Mark Wallis (Open Cirrus CEC) and Jeff Taberham (Mosquito 380) enjoyed getting their gliders into the air.
Strange patterns on the levelled area (Simon Minson)

During the day James Flory and Guy Adams had separate flights in Falke VG. - Mike Sloggett

And in the evening, the Condor racers Matt Howard, David Clements, Geoff Lawrence and John Davis all completed their Silver distance race to The Park - well done all. - J&P

Sun 7th June

For the cross-country pilots the forecast was not fantastically encouraging, but appeared to offer a reasonable chance at some cross-country flying before a front moved in from the North. A familiar field discussion came up with Salisbury out and return and several private gliders were duly launched, not all bound on such an adventurous task.
Preparing for a great day flying
Preparing for a great day flying (Nick Jones)

For those on task, all went well until just short of Yeovil when the thermals definitely weakened and thickening top cover was seen further East. With several low saves, those headed in that direction abandoned the task and headed south toward what appeared to be a sea breeze front.
Beer Head
Beer Head (Phil Morrison)

This it turned out to be and a great romp home was had by those visiting it. Pete Startup, Phil Morrison and Simon Minson who was enjoying his first flight post lockdown. (Simon had recently had to stare enviously at some excellent skies whilst fitting some new instruments to his panel.)
Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis (Phil Morrison)
The forecast front seemed to disappear as it approached North Hill and soaring conditions remained pretty good locally at least. Several other private owners including Gordon Hutchinson and Geoff Lawrence  managed some local flights and are newbies on the BGA Ladder. - Phil Morrison
Condor Racing
Condor Racing (Stewart Henshall)

And in the evening the Condor racers  who had't been flying today completed another task  NH2 - TAU - CHA - NH2 with Stewart Henshall leading the way , Matt Howard 2nd, David Clements 3rd and Rob Hender 4th,  John Davis had a few penalties but is also making good progress with his flying. - Well done to all - J&P