Thursday 30th April

The cold front never cleared, rain and low cloud all day. Unfortunately the first Evening Group of the season had to be postponed.

Wednesday 29th April

Bright morning with fresh south westerly wind, but as the warm front approached the wind backed to the south and eventually cloud base came down enough to stop play.
The usual Wednesday crowd were on the field having returned from Portmoak, I have no report of what happened up there yet.
It was quite thermic in the morning up to 2000ft.The high upper cloud after lunch restricted the thermals but the south ridge worked well up to 1500ft.

Sunday 26th April

The third day of this weather - strong, gusting southerly, cloudy with the occasional rain.
However some enthusiastic hopefuls set up the field, and had a few winch launches. There were some thermals once the sun got round onto the west ridge, but never really above circuit height, longest by James Hood at 25 minutes.

Best flight of the day 693kms in 8 hours up and down the middle of the country from Lasham in a 15 metre LS6! hey-ho

Saturday 25th April

The strong gusty southerly from yesterday continued but this time with rather heavy showers as well - 3 launches was enough! Unfortunately a Visitor's birthday surprise had to be postponed, however the onlookers may well book an evening group session.

Friday 24th April

"Media Day"
The Club invited an MP, several other local dignitaries, representatives from Exeter airport ATC and sporting associations, and journalists from local newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The idea to show to the 'outside world' how gliding is affordable and achievable by all. The guests were welcomed by the Chairman - Mike Fairclough, a short presentation by Simon Leeson on the Club and gliding in general, and a safety brief from Mark Courtney. All over tea and biscuits supplied by H and Mandy.

We then moved outside to fly. The sky was hazy with a veil of upper cloud and a strong blustery southerly wind. This wind was a bit fickle, causing us to change ends twice and providing some interesting approaches. With the DG505 in Scotland, one K21 in Poland and conditions too rough for the K13 we were a bit short of two seaters, so Duo OL helped out flying the guests and Mark in the Falke flew photographers to take aerial shots.

The south ridge was just about working to help extend the circuits, with a little bit of wave to tantilise. The ITV crew were recording a feature on flying for the disabled. John Street flew with Sonia a 25 year old paraplegic, the ridge was a little rough for Sonia to take the controls, but luckily John managed to latch into the wave up to 3000'QFE which gave Sonia plenty of time to fly in the smooth air. This should be broadcast sometime next week. All guests were exhilarated by their experience, and the press coverage should give the Club and the sport of gliding good publicity.

H provided a lovely cold buffet for lunch. Flying lasted all day with a total of 15 flights. Thanks must go to all the Club members who turned up to run the field and for all the preparatory work in organising the day.

Anyone got any pictures?

Thursday 23rd April

St George's Day, that has nothing to do with it, but let's be patriotic!

Fourth day EUGC course and Club day. Hazy low cloud to start, but it soon cleared to give a bright warm day with a fresh southerly wind, a sheet of high cover appeared late afternoon to cut down some of the sun's warmth. There were no thermals at all throughout the day.
The EUGC students seem to be wilting in the heat, only four today. Note to prospective soloists - make sure you have your medical signed up early in training or you will not be able to go solo when that ideal day arrives.
It was a busy Club day, a couple of Thursday regulars returned from long winter holidays to get checked out and return to flying the Junior, others' training continued and welcome to new member Richard, one of Flybe's Dash 8 pilots.

Wednesday 22nd April

Third day of EUGC course, and Club day.
Slow start due to fog on the airfield, and not that many members, probably because several regulars are on the Portmoak expedition.
Fog cleared to a cloudy day with southerly breeze, some weak and not very high thermals. By late afternoon the sea air brought a clear sky and bright sunshine.
The EUGC students progressed well through the training card, Club members had check flights and solo progression.
Congratulations to Tim and Joe on their first flights in Astir 266.

Tuesday 21st April

Second day of EUGC course week.
Day started with fresh NWly breeze, haze and cloudbase at 700ft, so cable break demos used up the time until the cloud broke. There was no soaring during the morning, and everyone had their turn of three circuits. Soaring through the afternoon was in bubbles of lift, not really thermals, lucky if you bumped into one at the right time, otherwise the broken lift and sink made it difficult. All had their fill by the end of the day.

A family of holiday makers from the caravan site visited and had a trial lesson each.

Monday 20th April

First day of the Exeter Uni.GC course week.
Quite a hazy start with gentle, cold north easterly wind. It soon warmed up and the visibility improved as haze burnt off to give good thermals to 4000'asl for a while, until the spreadout stopped convection. Late in the afternoon the spreadout broke as a convergence formed right over the winch to give very strong lift to cloudbase at 5000'asl.
Well done to Joao for his first flights in the Junior.

Sunday 19th April

A quiet day on the airfield today, as most of the Sunday regulars have gone to Portmoak for the week.
Those that stayed had a good soarable day, particularly after the strong north easterly wind of the morning moderated a little through the afternoon.
Cu's formed quickly after about 1400 and began to spread across the sky. Visibility was poor and cloudbase was only 2800 ft QFE. Climbs were easy to come by and the mushy grey cloud base could be reached quickly. The cu's cleared as quickly as they formed, at around 1730.
There were several friends and family flights and a couple of trial lessons.

Mike and Barbie arrived in their Cub late in the day, and the Caravan Committee met for most of the afternoon.

Thursday 16th April

A light southeasterly wind and low cloud, bought to us by a very slow moving cold front along the north coast, welcomed the few of the Thursday regulars who turned up. By lunch time there was still not enough to operate and the day was scrubbed. At three o'clock the front moved away north and it became a glorious late afternoon and evening.

Wednesday 15th April

No flying today wind N/E and Fog.

Work was done around the field, gliders de-rigged for trip to Portmoak.

For those interested in birds first swallows have arrived - a week earlier than usual.

Monday 13th April

Wind SSW, blue card, we did about 30 flights - hairy at times.

Sunday 12th April

Another day of spectacular, if local, soaring at North Hill.
There were areas where the viz and cloudbase were awful, and others where it was clear and stonking climbs to 4,500' were to be found plus the usual sea breeze interference in various places. Another Silver height today, this time for Paul Little - well done!
711 went to Roadford Res for the second day on the trot, this time having to cross a large area of dead sea air between South Molton and Okehampton to get there. Dave Reilly in AM started off in similar vein but threw in a circumnavigation of Dartmoor for good measure! 230 would like to have done the same but chickened out of crossing the sea air gap - curse my little wings! OL visited most of the farms and villages in Mid - Devon and our Chairman, Mike Fairclough decided to be different to everybody else and go East towards Yeovil - I think he found it different all right - he couldn't see a thing in the viz there!
Our visitors from Kestrel had another good day - they think it's like this here all the time! Their total for the weekend was three silver height claims and two Bronze C legs.

Saturday 11th April

The morning saw plenty of training flights and the K13 was rigged and is now back in service.
There were a few feeble blue thermals around midday but it didn't really get going until after 2pm, but boy when it went it was good!
711 went to Roadford resevoir, 140km. 230 did a triangle via Wimbleball resevoir, Eaglescott(again) for 120km and AM did one of his "jolly rambles" all round Devon for a few more kms.
As the afternoon wore on the thermals got stronger and the cloudbase higher - my best climb was a 4000' gain in less than 8 minutes with the averager peaking at over 8kts!
But tea and medals for the day go to Cheryl, who took a logger today, Pete Smith who did it twice, and Paul Summers for getting their Silver heights - all by some considerable margin!
Cheryl's account:
"The lift was amazing, thermals everywhere. I managed to do most of my climb in one single thermal just off the end of the field. A really strong one, I went up like a rocket!! How can a bit of warm air lift a glider that heavy??? Learnt a lesson to wrap up a bit warmer, it was pretty darn cold at 5,300 feet!! Had to airbrake down, but took the opportunity to practice some stalling and spinning. The Junior is so great to fly! There's no hope for me now! I'm totally hooked!!"

The guys visiting from the Kestrel GC from Odiham all had some great flying and Anthony Defour bagged a Silver height as well!
Bernd Vermeulen finally managed to fly the Kestrel Chipmunk in for Aerotows leaving the poor weather in the South East.
Everybody's off to the Keepers Cottage for beer and grub and to make those stories even taller!

Friday 10th April

Good Friday started cold, wet and miserable, light N/W and low cloud.

Cheryl has spent several evenings in the last couple of weeks refreshing the paintwork in the Clubhouse following the start made by H & Les.
Muggles made a start on the fence by the entrance gate and did an excellent job with some helpers - over half of the fence is now erected.
Pete Smith replaced the pedestrian door to the bottom hangar.
Well done to all the maintenance teams.

By noon it became flyable and the afternoon was spent giving site checks to Kestrel GC members who are visiting us from Odiham for Easter.

We managed to get the gliders in the hanger just in time to avoid a downpour at 5pm.

Wednesday 8th April

What's happening? This is the third consecutive soarable flying day with a good forecast and very few members. School holidays maybe?

Cold front clearance overnight and Mike Fitz soared well over an hour on the first flight at 10am, north-westerly 12knot wind, by noon, cloudbase was rising and streets forming. The entire club fleet and Discus *2, K6, DG100 and Duo enjoyed easy local soaring to 5000ft AMSL. There was unlimited flying in the Juniors with Tim Johns doing nearly 3 hrs. Pete Smith flew another 2hrs+ in the DG100 and Rich Barden over 3hrs in the K6. Duo Discus managed a sedate 125Km, NHL - Eggesford - Taunton - NHL with Pete H and Ian.

Two trial lessons enjoyed Devon soaring at its best.

At about 1630, there was a fairly classic convergence giving spectacular late afternoon soaring.

Sunday 5th April

Light south / south westerly and signs of high cover did not bode well for decent soaring conditions but by 11am Cu were forming and by 12.30 the sky was looking quite good.

It turned into a brilliant day, all students had an hour or more soaring, Mike resoloed the Junior and Pete flew DG1 for over two hours. It was good to see Chris and Stewart back, getting a good flight in the K21 and DG505 respectively.

711, SM and KJW went off on the day's task of a 157kms out and return to Shaftsbury in fairly good conditions.

JB reported that "at times it was very good with cloudbase about 4500 QNH and 4 to 5kts on the averager – we used an area of convergence as we passed Yeovilton where the cloud base dropped down to about 3800 QNH for a while. There was a big cloud just north of Henstridge which gave us a top up before 5 km dash out Shaftsbury in a pretty empty sky. We turned Shaftsbury and went for a scrappy bit just north of the town and then it got a bit slow – I found 2 kts and lost it and we struggled a bit while we worked our way west again to try and pick up the bigger cloud NE of Henstridge. We needed to get higher to ensure that we connected to the lift once we got under the cloud but at the same time didn’t want to waste time in this scrappy lift. SM got to the cloud first and marked the strongest lift of the day which quickly whipped us back to cloud base. West of Yeovil the sea air looked like it was going to make life difficult around Chard so we stayed well north to avoid it, this slowed us down a bit as we needed to get another climb south of Taunton to make it home safely."

Dave Reilly in AM set a task O/R to Popham -302Km,
"Sunday started with mist in the valley and still in the Bristol channel
at T/O 1140 local. I grovelled about west of WEG till about 40 minutes,
then headed E reaching YEO at 1155. Wind 160/7.Then continued E over
Compton Abbas to SAS at 1235.
I then headed NE towards MEM but ahead looked very gloomy so continued
via Boscombe, Andover, and BUL. Got a bit low there but climbed up and
POP looked close so turned at 1323.
LAS also looked gloom smitten so set off back for NHL.
Big climb 20 mins later to 6320' at true 5 kt average. The Park passed
at 1410 And as usual it got a bit slower to TAU at 1448.
Finished NHL at 1508 after taking an extra 1500 feet near the Monument.
Even so the return was at nearly 90 kph."

Saturday 4th April

A cold front cleared through in the early hours providing a bright sunny day. The cold w/nw wind gave plenty of streeting with cloudbase about 3000' above North Hill and plenty of soaring. But all reported that lift was inconsistent, with lots of "good looking" cu producing no lift, resulting in one or two uncomfortable moments.

Thursday 2nd April

Early morning mist and low cloud took a dissappointingly long time to burn off, and when it did, after lunch, visability was not a lot better. Dave and Colin took off in the Falke and soared to 1000' overhead the field, pleased with the thought that they might be the only people up there. However they were tempted to file an Airprox incident with a very large buzzard.

Wednesday 1st April

An area of high pressure was drifting across the north North Sea, bringing it's typical anticyclonic haze and gloom across us in a chilly, fresh north easterly wind. But it was soarable, some learning that speed control without a horizon was tricky, others wondering where the world had gone.
Tim and Joe went out with Simon in the Falke to perfect their field landing techniques, and Tim got his Bronze exam signed off. Well done to both of you.