Wednesday 28th April

A clear sky, but lots of high top cover and a gentle WSW wind enticed a lot of people out. There was no lift of any kind, except noisy 25hp bits, to be found so circuits were order of the day. The launch rate was considerably slowed by frustrating problems with the new winch and its rope, which must be solved soon.
Ernie completed his Asst Cat acceptance checks with Pete, and Mike started his 5 year refresher.

Sunday 25th April

A slow start with 3 launches before breaking for lunch and waiting for the
rain to go away. Despite the promise of the weather improving, non die-hard members made a quick escape leaving a handful of hopefuls.
The weather improved and flying resumed. Roy, and Henry in the Junior both had ridge/thermic soaring flights of over 70 minutes. Rowan was put through some testing cable break practice. Simon and Paul returned from their field selection and landing exercise in the Falke.
The last flight landed with only two members remaining, thanks Graham and Cheryl! - HF

Saturday 24th April

Duty Instructor dilemma - which way to launch in the southerly cross-wind - as it turned out both ends proved to be wrong! Training continued in the poor visibility, soaring was largely restricted to higher aerotows and turbos, although there were thermals and weak wave around. There were 2 trial lessons and we welcome new member John from Booker++.

Thursday 22th April

Similar weather situation as Wednesday, with subtle changes: the wind was round to towards south east, less cirrus and weaker inversion. Thermals were evident from the word go, but were surrounded by very heavy sink. By lunchtime things settled down a bit, thin brief cumulus formed and once out of the circuit soaring was quite easy particularly when the sea breeze passed through, finding the first climb amongst the sink frustrated a few. The day ended prematurely when the sea air encroached, the wind went strongly south westerly and no-one had the enthusiasm to change ends.
National Ladder: not so many 500s as yesterday but still a lot of long flights, best 809kms.

Wednesday 21st April

The forecast promised much, private owners rigged before the launch point was set up, people took time off work, on the expectation that it would be better than yesterday.- But here in the South west peninsula there was not a cumulus in sight. Plenty of cirrus turned the blue sky to white haze and a substantial inversion at 2500ft QFE. During the afternoon there were some fairly good smooth, strong thermals if you bumped into them. Nobody ventured very far - the fallback tasks were scrubbed - even the buzzards weren't flying. Meanwhile, club training flights enjoyed the day.

Tuesday 20th April

Another great day for the second day of the EUGC mini-course. The day started very cold, and ragged cloud at about 1200' was visible before 10:00. Any lift was unusable, the clouds grew quickly and looked quite black and menacing, but it all broke up and cloud base rose very quickly to 4500' QFE with 6-8 knot thermals all afternoon. All the students had their fill, Rowan had 90 minutes in a K21 then climbed into a Junior and soared that as well, Ed converted to the Junior and soared that, Joao completed his Bronze checks (only the exams now) after 90 minutes in a Junior. Mark and Andrew progressed well through their training. Many thanks go to Les, Dick, Dave, Francis and Wendy for helping on the ground and with the winch, to Pete and Robin for instructing and H for preparing the lunches.
Dave was out in AM again and completed as many lengths of the Lyme Bay to Chivenor cloud street that he could in 4 hours at 75 knots. The Cirrus appreciation society spent the day in the workshop doing the annual on Joe D's recently aquired model.
Lisa took over the field at about five o'clock for an aerotow trial lesson evening, the course retired to the Keeper's.

Monday 19th April

First day of EUGC mini-course - weather similar to yesterday, blue in the morning, stonking thermals to 3600ft (but no convergence).
A lot of progress was made, Ed resoloed following checks, Joao completed his 50 solos and started Bronze checks, Rowan had his first solo soaring flight and then converted to Junior. Andrew, David and Mark E continued training flights.

Sunday 18th April

A slightly slow start as we had to change ends almost immediately. There was a long two-seater list and a shortage of instructors. The blue hazy sky didn't look too promising initially, but Cu started popping about 12:00, and the day became nicely soarable, but the cross country pilots reported that it was fairly localised. Pete St (230) struggled to get east several times and then decided to visit CFI's turnpoint at MUD. Dave(AM) took a tour of the three Devon gliding sites and a bit of Cornwall.
The sea air came in about 17:00 from both coasts forming a nice convergence over the site providing soaring 'til gone 18:00 to 3600ft. There were 2 trial lessons and we welcome new member Dave. There were 40 launches for 22 members, Henry (CVV), Paul (KHA) and Trevor (DG1) all flew for more than 2 hours.
The Official Observer has confirmed swallows have returned, and there were plenty of flies out today to greet them.

Saturday 17th April

It was blue and soarable.....there were 55 launches with 25 members and 4 private gliders - anymore info please?

Friday 17th April 2010 Portmoak Tales

Thursday started with a north easterly wind, but with a strange local wind on the field from the west which gave rubbish launches and a couple of end changes before the strong easterly sea breeze set in. Those that did manage to get away enjoyed soaring flights with clouds bases reaching 5500'. Martin in the KJW and Ron and Phil in 711 all turned Pitlochry for a short XC.

Friday's promised westerlies arrived just before lunch time and Nick Harrison leaped into the Oly and completed his Silver 5 hr duration and height badges, climbing in the wave which set up later in the afternoon. Congratulations dude!

Thursday 15th April

A stiff North easterly breeze persists and welcomed the Thursday crowd. The usual leisurely start with launches to 1200ft broken cloudbase for the morning. Our new Skylaunch winch arrived in time for lunch, and following swapping ropes from the loaned Skylaunch to our new one, launching continued through the afternoon. Although there were some beautiful looking cumulus the wind broke up the thermals and cloudbase was only 2000ft. Thanks to Pete the Winch from Skylaunch for delivering our new winch with a 10 hour round trip.

Our new Skylaunch winch on the right, alongside its 'brother' kindly loaned by the company for the last few weeks.

And that well known and hardworking tuggie looks for a way to lengthen the aerotow queues.

Wednesday 14th April

A cold N/E wind and overcast sky kept all but the hardy away, the rest of the Wednesday crowd are at Portmoak sunning themselves, even so we had a very useful day.
We welcomed Joe back from NZ and he managed a soaring flight it was only 7500ft less than he managed down under but he didn't have his camera on him this time to record it!
Also we had three new members flying today Jeff, Chris and a member from Eaglescott.
The swallows that were around last Thursday have vanished we all looked out for them, a prize was even offered for the first sighting but to no avail.
Late in the afternoon the thermals arrived and all the flights after 4pm were soaring flights, Tim had the longest flight of 64min. - JSt

Wednesday 14 April 2010 Portmoak Tales

Another easterly day with a flat overcast sky. Lets climb another hill! Benarty this time. The daily kudos go to the other JB. Mr Bugbee, who was left behind on the lower slopes of Vane Hill, followed the group with the steely determination of The Terminator, and arrived at the trig point as the rest were about to head back. Not wanting to walk the same path twice, he then suggested continuing to the western end of the hill and finding a more challenging way down!

Nick H spotted the improving weather and after cajoling some helpers into action, got the 505 to the launch point and had a soaring flight with JB in the late afternoon sun, as did Peter G.

Tuesday 13 April 2010 Portmoak Tales

Tuesday did not hold much promise, but Peter W took some punters into the air in the 505 and explored the eastern flanks of Vane hill, where clive managed 40 min in the Oly and climbed to the base of the grey overcast at 2200'. Those that didn't fly, climbed Bishop or went out touristing.

Monday 12 April 2010 Portmoak Tales

On Monday morning Chris, the local pro instructor, had us scrabbling for the gliders when we saw that he had set up the field with the winch on the western edge of the field. However the early exploration of Bishop found nothing but sink. Later in the day, after the wind had veered to the east, the warm sunny conditions sparked some blue thermals which were enjoyed by most of the expeditionary force. Peter Gaywood and JB managed to climb to the dizzy heights of 2500' in the DG505.

Tales from North of the Haggis Curtain. 9th April

Portmoak Expedition April 2010

The group that made the strange decision to head north on Friday, subjecting themselves to horrendous traffic and many extra hours in the car were rewarded by a glorious afternoons flying in the light breeze that caressed the sun drenched western flanks of Bishop Hill.

The rest of the group arrived on saturday afternoon
and after a bit of minor panic when many realised that they had left copies of their medical certificates behind, Simon Leeson kindly came to the rescue and emailed copies for those that needed saving.

Sunday dawned with a bright sky and an easterly wind, which meant that gliders were rigged after a leisurely breakfast before committing aviation in the form of circuit bashing. Clive and Nick flew the Oly for the first time and the grins were indeed cheesy.

And just to rub it in.

Sunday 11th April

The north easterly wind was a little stronger today, and it was certainly cooler - no short sleeves out today! Strong blue thermals at times surrounded by vast areas of strong sink, but if you were lucky and caught one off the top of the launch, it was soarable throughout the day. Wave was in evidence all around but could not be contacted. Henry completed his Cross country endorsement flying with Simon to The Park. Welcome to a new member Jeff and his Mosquito from Eaglescott. A quieter day with 37 launches, 16 members and 5 private gliders flown.

Any news from up North?

Saturday 10th April

A gentle north easterly and anticyclonic haze greeted the masses who had seen the previous two days good conditions. Not to be, only sparse soaring through the morning but a good session for check flights and circuit training. At around lunchtime a wind shift to south easterly heralded the incoming sea breeze which provided a couple of hours of soaring for those who could stay with its relentless march northwards, the visibility within the frontal air was awful. The air behind it was completely dead. Training continued until quite late. 73 flights, 31 members, 8 private gliders flew.

Thursday 8th April

Well that's what a spring day used to be like!

Yesterday's cold front cleared away and following a coldish night leaving fog in the Exe Valley, there was a bright start and eventually thermals reached 4000ft above site in the light NNE wind. The bright morning brought an early start to proceedings with the hangar being emptied early and 10 private gliders being rigged. Flying started about 11:00am, with serious soaring almost immediately. Tasks were set throughout Devon and Dorset, however the sea air blew in across Somerset effectively cutting us off from the rest of the world.
JB (KJW) flew along the sea-breeze front to Dorchester and back with completely blue sky either side. Joe A (JZG) had a scenic tour of Exmoor.
Welcome to new members Dave, and Dave from trial lessons and Chris from Air Cadets at Chivenor. Is it a Thursday record with 26 members flying?
The Buzzards were out in force enjoying the day and the first pair of Swallows are back (a week early).

Wednesday 7th April

After a cloudy start the day started well with the first two flights in the K21s staying up in thermals, during the morning the NNW wind picked up and made it harder to contact the lift due to the severe turbulence from the curlover.
After lunch gliders started reaching the lift again and some good thermic flights followed with cloud base reaching 3000ft.
Ernie continued his half cat training with Pete H and Pete W was getting the DG 505 and the Junior ready for the trip this weekend to Portmoak. - J St

Easter Sunday 4th April

Frontal clearance overnight with a developing ridge behind gave a fine start, the wind was stronger than expected giving a particularly cold feel on the field. The ridge was kicking off thermals with tantalising wave bars at times. The task of the day was Tiverton - Yeovil Res (with some exploration to find wave before they set off. Pete (230), Simon (SM) and John P (H5) completed the task, Joe D (703) made a valiant attempt leaving after the others but landed near TP2. Meanwhile local conditions got better and better with gusty strong climbs to 3300ft QFE lasting until after 6:00pm. Jimbob (KHA) and John B (M5)also had long flights staying local. Most training flights were ~1 hour in the afternoon, and there was 1 trial lesson. 28 members flew and there were 8 private gliders and 5 club gliders.

Saturday 3rd April

The day started with heavy rain, in the club house the Splice girls were in action! Cheryl and H turned their hand to splicing the winch rope as did lots of other members thanks to their teachers! Then guess what? - out came the sun again - the members who turned up enjoyed aerotows until about 5.30pm, Cheryl did aerobatics with Mark, Martin did his own in the Junior. Richard's caravan is at last dead! Thanks to all those who turned out again.- MC

Good Friday 2nd April

The day started wet and blustery as expected, and Bronze lectures on airspace, altimetry and navigation were enjoyed by Cheryl, Paul S and Jimbob. At 2:00pm the sun came out and although the field was very wet, aerotowing by Ian was possible, Mark, Mike, John and Steve instructed. The Davies family doubled the number of pupils, and Robin St returned for his first flight this year. Extended flights were had by all in thermals to 3000ft, a bit of ridge lift and some weak wave. Paul did some Bronze C checks with Mark in DG505.
Richard continued to re-design his caravan and Lisa was giving guided tours of her new ASW 20.
PS Have you checked out the new DSGC Google group yet? - subscribe via the DSGC website members page.

Thursday 1st April

No Fools here!
A lovely sunny start and the first possible flying day for the Instructors' preparation training this week and it was a soarable Thursday! Soaring in thermals from the first launch and then later the cloud became more overcast the wind increased and backed southerly and it became quite gusty. John and Ernie had 2 aerotows each for their spin/stall training with JB, and the Thursday regulars were joined by Max, Will, Dylan and Rhodri - junior members on Easter hols. Conditions got fairly rough with +/- 10 knots at times to 3300ft above site but the South ridge started working late on. Robin in JPT enjoyed 2 hours flying.
As a measure of just how bad this winter weather has been, this Thursday was only the ninth flying Thursday in the six months since 1st October. However don't give up hope - Robert's stats in the Clubhouse show that in any given year since 2002 there has always been one good month in the summer.