Open Weekend, 29th/30th May

Saturday was a washout, however a handful of people turned up to see what was going on. In the evening, 20 members gathered for H's steak evening.
Sunday weather was much better, with a steady stream of interested visitors keeping the Instructors busy all day. The weather was ideal for trial lessons with the westerly wind providing some ridge lift and some thermals to extend the circuit.
Highlight of the day was when Pete drove through the gate he saw a white shape in the grass. It turned out to be a tiny new born lamb. Luckily one of the visitors was a Vet and after checking for a possible mother in the pen, organised the feeding of semi-skinned milk before we called the Farmer. It is still a mystery how it got on the field as there are no lambing ewes at North Hill.

A message from our Chairman:
A big thank you to all who worked so hard yesterday once we were able to get the Open Day under way, especially Trevor as the overall organiser and prime mover. The situation was substantially retrieved after the weather killed Saturday, and although it was never going to fully compensate for the lost day, over 60 visitors were flown, several membership enquiries received and a goodly sum raised. A sterling effort rewarded by many visitors including some from the press, all of whom appeared to greatly enjoy their visit. Larry the new born lamb put in a guest appearance and enthralled children and adults alike to add to the North Hill experience. Thanks to Pete CFI for the mission of mercy, we believe he (Larry) has now gone to a caring home.
Once again thank you everyone who helped.

Inter Club League, 22nd/23rd May

Round 1, at Upavon four weekends ago, was scrubbed before it started due to a bad weather forecast. Round 2, at The Park 22nd/23rd May, was much better.
Saturday started as a hot, blue day that didn't appear to promise much in the way of cross-country weather. Nevertheless, tasks were set, a grid was formed, and sniffers were dispatched in search of any glimmer of lift. By about 2pm things were starting to happen, but as time was pressing on, tasks went to fallback. Pundits were tasked Gloucester O/R, Intermediates Nympsfield O/R, and Novices Badminton O/R, with all three tasks being through the Bath Gap. North Hill pilots were Pete (230)(Pundit), Andrew (Cirrus)(Intermediate) and Joe (JD7)(Novice). The grid was launched, climbs around The Park were reasonable, and so everyone streamed off on task into the great blue yonder. Conditions further from The Park were less promising, and many of the field either turned tail and ran for home or landed out before reaching their turnpoints. All three North Hill pilots flew back, and the final results show that only three pilots out of a field of 14 made any turnpoints at all, with Shalbourne's Intermediate and Mendip's Pundit landing at or just after their turnpoint. Only The Park's Pundit made it round the task and back home again, completing the task at 65kph in a time of 2:27. This meant that The Park were the clear winners for the Pundits, with Shalbourne's Intermediate and Wyvern's Novice taking their respective top spots. North Hill were 3rd in the Pundit class, 4th in Intermediate, and 5th in Novice.
Sunday produced much better soaring conditions, but the North Hill Team were unable to find anybody to fly as an Intermediate, putting us at an immediate disadvantage. Joe (JD7) was Novice once again, with Simon (SM) flying Pundit. Both pilots put in an absolutely fantastic effort. Joe was the only Novice to complete their task, winning the day in his class. Simon was one of three Pundit finishers, taking 2nd place behind The Park and ahead of Wyvern.
The Park really pressed their home advantage in this round, taking the overall round win and leading the League as a result. The Park are first with 30 points, Wyvern are second with 25 points, North Hill share third with Mendip on 20 points, with Shalbourne bringing up the rear with 16 points. We're going to need a big push and a full team from North Hill to overturn The Park's lead, but it's our home round next and I'm confident we can do it, let's just hope the weather holds for us!
Well done and thanks to all pilots and crews who took part.

Friday 28th May

Final day of Ron's cross-country week, tasks were set with multiple turning points NHL- TIV/MUD - SHA/SHB -NHL, Jimbob (KHA) and Henry (CVV)headed off early for The Park, and Matt (477) declared NHL-WHD-SAS-NHL for a 300k. What actually happened was the weather didn't really co-operate! So the task was aborted and a few of us joined a sea-breeze front to the south near Honiton, Ron and Lisa (711), Daniel (611), Roly (523), Pete & Jill (OL),Pete (230).

The sea-breeze front was a classic, giving climbs to 4000ft. This group followed the front to Yeovil reservoir, on the return Pete landed out at Yarcombe, and Dan nearly. Pete & Jill completed another lap of the sea-breeze front to Ilminster and back, giving a total of 150kms in 75 minutes. JB(KJW) had a great flight in convergences from Tiverton to Shaftesbury. Henry landed at The Park, Jimbob landed at Smeatharpe. Matt completed the 300km task.
A good week for all with lots of flying and badges-
Thanks to Ron for organising it, and to Pete for tugging, and for Les, Nick, Robert and Heather for helping.

Thursday 27th May

Day 4 of Ron's cross country week.
Front cleared overnight leaving us in a strong unstable northerly, cumulus clouds started popping fairly early, but not in the direction of the task area. Launching started at 1200 for NHL-TIV-DOR-SHA-NHL 209Kms. Matt(477), Joe(JD7), Pete(230), Roly (523), Daniel (611), Ron with P2 Wyn (711), John (M5), JB (KJW), Pete & Jill(OL) all completed the task (with Daniel claiming 100km part 1), with mostly good strong streeting thermals and plenty of sink, and sticky bits when some sea-air influence temporarily invaded Yeovil-Merryfield area.

Meanwhile Chairman Pete (DG1) completed part 1 of 100km diploma NHL-TIV-BEA-NHL, and Jimbob (Junior) struggled on a 50km attempt to The Park landing safely near Chard. It was strongly soarable in the blue til gone 1900.
Perhaps we should have gone to Ivybridge? -see National Ladder

Wednesday 26th May

Day 3 of Ron's cross country week
Didn't look too promising to start with as there was a lot of top cover, by lunchtime a few ragged cumulus started popping underneath, there was then some frantic activity that launched Ron & Chris (711), Daniel (611) and Matt (477) into a soarable sky and then the wind changed requiring a change of ends and in that time the sea air engulfed the field and pushed any usable clouds well to the north. Peter (DG1) followed by Pete (230), John (M5) took aerotows and JB (KJW) took a winch launch and turboed to the clouds. 230 expressed conditions as dire and returned quickly followed by M5. Meanwhile Roly (523) and Pete & Jill (OL) declined launches - hoping for better tomorrow! The early launchers completed the 100Km task, Peter landed near Ilminster, JB followed a convergence zone to Shepton Mallet and motored back from Taunton. Club flying continued with circuits followed by an evening group. Very good flying in the evening with most visitors having second flights. It was very still with no signs of lift and the group enjoyed the flying promising to come back for another session.

Tuesday 25th May

Second day of Ron's Cross-country week was scrubbed due to low cloudbases and incredibly poor visibility. However the day was not lost as the airfield was kept busy all day with a film crew.
Atlantic Productions working for Sky 3D and IMAX were making a film called Flying Monsters starring Sir David Attenborough and several Pterosaurs. The production team brought in a DG1000 from Lasham, a Husky tug from Nympsfield and a Twin Squirrel camera platform from Denham. G Dale from Lasham flew Sir David and his stunt double (Pete Stapleton) in the DG1000, whilst ground shots took place in our DG505. Air-to- air filming was possible in the clearer sky above the inversion. It was a very long day starting at 6am and eventually packing the hangar at 9pm, thanks to all the helpers.

Monday 24th May

First day of Ron's Cross-country week. Bright blue skies, no wind and hot and that's the way it stayed all day.
The morning showed little sign of it being cross-countryable, but desperation after lunch tasked the Club 100kms to Tiverton and Yeovil. Conditions locally were brilliant, 4kts to 4000'QFE, but half way down the eastward leg it started to get tricky - broken climbs to not very high. Eight took off for the task, of the three who flew beyond the sanctuary of the Blackdown Hills, two landed out, one motored home.

The Chairman's first field landing, adjacent to his back garden and an easy walk to a refreshing cup of tea. Later scrutiny of the trace showed turning of Tiverton East and Yeovil for a completed silver distance (subject to height confirmation) - Well done Peter.

Sunday 23rd May

Far too hot and sticky to do anything useful, and without the assistance from a sea breeze front today. Aerotows were again popular but only 3 private gliders out and there were 3 trial lessons today.
The Skylaunch was returned with an overhauled gearbox, and now we need to investigate the relative wear of rope versus steel cable on our hard-baked flinty cable runs.
Awaiting news from Interclub league weekend at the Park...... preliminary reports suggest it was better than at NHL.

Saturday 22nd May

The first really hot day of the season with a fresh easterly wind - it wasn't particularly soarable until some small ragged clouds (formed in the sea breeze) became reachable to the south. It remained soarable as the sea breeze front moved very slowly across the site late afternoon. Launching continued until 7:30pm. Aerotows were popular and 9 private gliders enjoyed the soaring, Robin (JPT) and Steve (FER) up for over 2 hours locally.

Friday 21st May

The K21 went shopping today - Here it is in the centre of Taunton promoting our Open Weekend. Well done to Guy and all the helpers and to Mark and Heather in the Falke for the aerial survey.

Thursday 20th May

Bit of a late start due to lack of numbers, we started with circuits, and then during the afternoon two sea-breeze fronts came through giving short soaring flights. Late afternoon the high cloud broke and the sun came out (as forecast) giving pleasant conditions for the Evening group.

Wednesday 19th May

Following the workparty repairing the drive and tidying-up the site, the enthusiastic few took a few launches up to the (low) cloudbase.

Sunday 16th May

Wet weather until 16:00 saw many members disappear home. But then the sheep were herded into the pen and the winch was dragged out for a pleasant evening's flying.
Cloud base never lifted above 1400ft. However, several flights over 30 minutes were had on the ridge as the breeze was just enough along with the odd 4 kt shower cloud.
Mark and Mike tried out their new toy 'ENW' an ASW20. Between them they had 4 aerotows and over 1:30 of flying. You couldn't wipe the grins off their faces!
Packed up shortly before 19:00. - HRF

Saturday 15th May

The front cleared overnight leaving us in a gentle unstable north westerly. Soaring started early and lasted all day, although there were some periods when it seemed difficult to get away from winch height.
14 private gliders were out, but cross countries didn't get very far east due to catching up the poorer frontal air, favourite routes were Barnstaple, Chard, Yeovil. 9 flights over 2 hours, with Steve (FER), Claire/Andy (JZK) and Robert (DKU)(who stopped for lunch) flying for 4 hours.

John Si completed his Asst Cat acceptance checks. Kaye achieved Silver height. Paul completed his Bronze and cross-country endorsement during the week. Congratulations to all.

A surprisingly few ab-initio pilots meant that only nine training flights finished early on a very good soarable day.

Peter the Chairman reported in from 3800 metres over Cerdanya, in the eastern Pyrenees.

Thursday 13th May

Tried to get an early start today, as we we not sure how long the day would last. Best laid plans, etc....
Not enough people, set up airfield on bare minimum for first launch at 11:15, then more bodies turned up. Straight into 5kts off the top of the wire, this and the next four launches had the best bit of an hour each, then the overdevelopment reached us. The afternoon was spent dodging the showers and drying the gliders, packed up during one dry spell, after everyone had flown.

Wednesday 12th May

A cold bright start with light and variable winds welcomed the determined few. It was soarable by late morning, but soon overdevelopment and showers could be seen around. Matt in 477 escaped early to go east first, before it rained, and then back to Dartmoor for 240kms. Pete and Jill, in OL, left somewhat later and could not go east but had a 100km run along Exmoor to Barnstaple. Both had stories of the return trip between cascades of rain and snow build up on the leading edges, well it was -6C at 6000'amsl. Meanwhile the site had been washed out by a couple of heavy showers.

Wednesday 5th May

The actual turned out to be a lot better than the forecast. A gentle north easterly and clear skies welcomed the few. Slowly the cumulus started to appear and it got quite soarable from midday onwards, although strengths dropped as the high cover encroached.
Mark first soloed, Ernie had his first 'proper job' from the back seat, Mike completed his 5-year refresher and John Si, just back from his Asst. Cat. course, started his acceptamce checks only to be thwarted by the Pawnee's alternator going off-line. Congratulations to all.

Mark being briefed by a little gnome just prior to his first solo.

Parham, Monday 3rd May.

On Sunday afternoon somebody suggested a trip to Parham on Monday might be worthwhile as with the fresh Northerley wind forecast the South Downs should be working well.

Si Min, Pete S, JB and Mad Matt bit the bullet and after a long drive down - don't let SM's satnav tell you it knows it's way round Chichester, we finally arrived at Parham just after midnight and with no pre-arranged accomodation it meant cars , vans or tents for the night.

Was it worth it! - you bet, the ridge was romping and even the frequent showers didn't spoil the fun. Between the 4 of us we flew about 1,600kms running between Butser Hill in the West down to Lewes in the East. Lasham and Ringmer gliders can reach the ridge in addition to Parham locals plus visitors, and there must have been around 30-40 gliders on that ridge yesterday but it's so long, 75kms+, that it wasn't a problem,especially as the local Pundits were below everyone else at tree top height!

Here's a photo of the very happy band after landing -looking forward to the 4 hour drive home:(

If you get the chance to go you have to do it.

Monday 3rd May

Enough members turned up today and we soon had the two 21s out. They were greeted by a strong North Easterly wind 12 knots gusting to 25 knots. Thermals to 2500, 8 kt climbs but with 6 to 10 knots sink in between.
Two 29 minute flights were the longest of the day, but mostly circuits if you didn't manage to get away.
Mike (ex chairman)had check flights with Mike F.

Investigations at the end of last week suggested that the gearbox of the new winch was not working correctly. Today Skylaunch collected the winch for repair of the gearbox and other minor niggles. The old Supercat coped with the conditions without any problems.

Sunday 2nd May

No flying today, due to bad weather.
The Inter Club League opening weekend at Upavon was also a victim of the weather. The weekend was scrubbed before it started, on Friday evening.

Saturday 1st May

Only 14 members turned up for flying on a not very spectacular day, but congratulations go to Jonathan on his first solo. - Any photos?