Sunday 27th December

First we had to clear the sheet ice from in front of the hangars!
The day started with squally showers with the attendant very gusty winds but around 13:00 a slight change in wind direction to 280/15 saw the worst of the showers passing down the South side of the field.
We were left in good clear air with plenty of ridge lift and weak wave in places to about 2,500', wind at flying heights being 30kts+.
Out playing were Pete in Discus 230,Martin W in Ventus G-KCHG,a couple in the Junior and some 2 seater work with Si Minson and John Street back seating.
JB flew with his son who enjoyed the flying very much.
Streety had eaten enough carrots over Xmas to be able to land in the dark - well,almost!
Many thanks to those who brought up their Xmas leftover biccies and buns for snacks.

Boxing Day Saturday 26th December

A glorious sunny day with a gentle south westerly wind - unfortunately the overnight rain had frozen to cover most of the field and all the hardstandings with sheet ice. Gradually the sun had some effect in melting the southern facing surfaces but not enough to enable the winch, tug or gliders out! The SuperFalke with Stu flew a few trips 'round the bay'. Seven of us sat down to a 'Christmas leftovers bring and share' buffet.

Wednesday 23rd December

A few stalwarts struggled through the road conditions to get to the Club.
Mike Fitz,John Street and John Sillett wandered round the field looking at the sky and Mikes barely twitching hankie,then just as they decided to do a few small jobs around the place while waiting for any improvement, the Heavens opened and it rained,sleeted and snowed.
The rapid thaw combined with the significant rain saw water running off the field in rivers!
Never mind, H's bacon butties were as good as ever - DON'T FORGET - H is not back until the 2nd Jan 2010, so any body flying twixt Xmas and New Year will have to take butties and tea making kit.

Photo is of the first 2 glders to make use of the new glider workshop,ASK21 KEK and Petes Discus 230.
Merry Xmas and a stonkingly soarable 2010.

Sunday 20th December

After a night of rain/snow/frost the surface of the airfield was similar to an ice rink, a cold, unstable westnorthwesterly at 5knots gave a couple of soaring flights amongst the nice smooth circuits.

Rowan, Will and Heather are all making good progress, Henry completed his bronze after cable brakes with JB.

Very good day in the cold, but be careful where you stand when it's icy!

Saturday 19th December

A bright cold flyable day, reports of premature end in the middle of the afternoon with a little trough line.

Thursday 17th December

What a glorious day - perhaps a liile cold and blustery, but with only 4 stalwarts we never reached critical mass to operate!

Wednesday 16th December

A promising start with 2 winch launches but then fog / low cloud engulfed the airfield for the rest of the day. The afternoon was spent in the classroom discussing safe winch launcing.

Thursday 10th December

The air was much drier today so the fog cleared earlier to a glorious calm sunny day. Aerotows only again, the tug was refuelled at lunchtime - this is a first for a Thursday! High cloud covered the sun mid-afternoon and with a dramatic cooling the canopies instantly misted up. Pete & JB enjoyed spinning the K13 in as many different ways as possible. The Glider workshop is finished and the benches are being moved back in ready for K21 ARC inspection next week. Well done to all the workers ably led by Peter the Chair.

Wednesday 9th December

The day started with fog in the Exe valley and unfortunately it crept up the ridge to engulf the site until lunchtime. Misting canopies restricted us to 4 aerotows in the short afternoon (the ground is still too wet to winch but the price of aerotows are reduced).

Sunday 6th December

Very heavy rain over night meant a waterlogged field so no winching took place. Instead our lovely Treasurer, Pete C, agreed to cheaper aerotows!
The Pawnee was flown by Robert and Peter W. The blustery south westerly wind made the aerotows very challenging for both glider and tug.

Henry has completing his final bronze flights with Simon L. Martin W and Peter W completed their 3-year instructor standardisation checks. Well done everyone.
Simon M and Jimbob took a 4000ft aerotow and did a good show, including loops, rolls and flying inverted above the airfield! Great fun!!!!

The gliders were cleaned and put to bed ready for the next session.

Saturday 5th December

The waterlogged airfield prohibited the use of the cable retrieve vehicle, so there was no winching. But the Pawnee was put to good use, before the rain set in just before lunch. Two Trial Lessons and several members enjoyed the turbulence over the far end of the field, on the climb out, in the blustery south westerly wind.
The afternoon was then spent in the Clubhouse talking through the BGA safe winch launching briefing.

After an excellent evening meal from 'H' for 25 or so members, the Club gathered for the AGM. At least three quarters of the membership attended to hear that the Club had a healthy fleet, infrastructure and bank account but was suffering from an alarming drop in numbers. Something to think about for the new Committee, which has a change of Chairman, Secretary, CFI and several new members elected.
Annual trophies were presented to the usual culprits. The President invited the retiring Chairman to join him at the 'top table' as Vice President. Mike Fitz was thanked by the massed ranks for his generous and dedicated work for the Club, having completed 50 years instructing with us. He was presented with a gift from the members and a framed 'Matt' cartoon.

News form Kenya

Keen to make the most of a business trip to Kenya, for a one person flying expedition, Jonathan Stoneman googled the one and only club there - the Rift Valley Gliding Club (membership - 7). About 100 miles NNE of Nairobi, near Lake Elementeita, the airfield sits 6100' amsl.
Being pre-solo, Jonathan was delighted to find an instructor from Lasham on a visit. He was taken to the airfield by private plane - a 35' flight over a couple of extinct volcanoes. The club has a nice collection of planes - a DG400, A Cirrus, a K13, and a couple more privately owned ones. There's no winch, but a tug flown by a Lufthansa pilot was taking people up on his day off - these were short launches, with someone pulling the bung more or less as soon as a reasonable thermal was encountered. Thermals were springing up all over the ground, and could be easily spotted by the little dust spouts they set off as they lifted off. And instead of buzzards guiding the pilots into the thermals, the bird to look out for turned out to be a vulture.
The other major difference from North Hill was the need to beware of zebras rather than sheep on landing. And imphala. They are wont to cross the runway without warning. Warthogs are a no-no: they don't move for anyone!
Jonathan relates, with some embarrassment, that after spending most of his 45 minute flight circling in thermals (about 44' more than he's used to) - and reaching 8700 QNH, he felt slightly sick, and decided to come down. Christian, the ex-Swissair pilot who's one of the RVGC's leading lights disappeared off for 90 mins in his Cirrus.
Still - it was a nice change from the wet Devon weather. An unforgettable day.

Wednesday 2nd December

Another blustery, low cloud, showery day. But it did mean that the Wednesday club got stuck in working on the glider workshop. Floor topcoat was smoothed, perimeter floor paint first coated and skirting trim fixed. Gutter leaks meant removal of that for replacement and the gaps left behind filled. All completed while the suspended ceiling installers worked away on mobile scaffold towers. They finished their task by close of play. Electricians should be back on Thursday to complete the wiring of the lights.
Floor painting is on for Saturday and Sunday together with fixing steelwork and replacement guttering. We should then be able to see it in use straight away for the K21 C of A.
Ian and Joe made a good job of replacing the repaired starter motor in the Pawnee.
The skies cleared, the sun came out and the Pawnee put to use doing half a dozen or so aerotows, until misting canopies stopped play.