December in South Africa

With just 15km to run things got very black, the shower was growing in size, my wings were getting a bit wet and then to top it all, fork lightning.
This was my queue to bin the task and race for home which was still some 165km away, the journey back to base was very exciting as it seemed impossible to get away from the rapidly growing storm clouds, conditions back at Gariep were still good but the winds were increasing, with a 30kt tailwind the 165km leg home was flown in 50mins. Not the result I hoped for but 480km in just under 5hrs is not too bad

(Just a snippet from Ian's story of flying at Gariep Dam in South Africa - the rest of it and more photos can be found in the epic flights of DSGC website)

Thursday 29th December

Arrived in wind and rain to find Martin in full-flow talking on Polar curves and Speed to fly. Everybody then tried creating their own Polars from the club gliders flight manuals. - Good game!
Congratulations to Tom, who passed his Bronze exam, and Jonathan and Jill created some more RT training audio (will be available on the web site soon). Ian is back from South Africa - stories to follow...

Wednesday 28th December

At 9 a.m., on the web cam six figures loom in the murk in the clubhouse and the radar shows two heavy rain bands, along with the forecast looking worse than last night's, it's not looking good!

However, the actual weather conditions on the field were variable, with bright blue skies and a steady westerly wind down the field, interspersed with periods of squally showers and gusts to test the nerves of any approaching pilot, it was definitely a four or five tyre day.

Most of the 15 or so members contacted wave from the turbulent ridge. Wyn Davies gained over 2 hours in his LS7 for one of his Bronze flights and Henry with just over 1.5 hours in the Junior. Several flights got to over 1,500 ft with one flight to 2,700 ft. Wind speed at this height was over 40 knots, so an almost stationary climb could be achieved. At no time could you tell it was waving, there were no signs at all.

Any more achievements or news?


Saturday 24th December

The overnight rain cleared through as forecast leaving a pleasant, bright, sunny Christmas Eve with a fresh westerly breeze and bands of cloud cycling fairly frequently. The ridge was working but disturbed by phases of wave and thermal lift. VG went out to search for the wave but to no avail. Pete St had the longest flight in the Junior - 27 mins, William soloed in the Falke VG, and yet more Instructors tried out the K6.
Stu had to flight-test his new Raybans -

A very Happy Christmas and New Year to all our readers.
Don't forget the Bring and Share 'leftovers buffet' on Boxing Day after flying,

Thursday 22nd December

There was quite a good turn out for a cloudy sky and westerly wind. The K6 was in demand by Instructors who couldn't remember the last time they flew in wood. The ridge was working and Dylan had an hour in the LS7. Harry passed his Bronze exam, and Peter F and Carl flew touch and go's in VG. For a short while a small wave slot opened up but it was quickly followed by a lowering cloud base and drizzle which brought an early end to proceedings.
Flying is planned for Christmas Eve Saturday 24th, but note the kitchen will only be open from 11-1pm.
On Boxing Day Monday 26th, the kitchen will be closed but we're planning a Bring and Share 'Leftovers' Buffet for after flying - or lunchtime if no flying.

Wednesday 21st December

Today was the shortest day and thank goodness for that, after high hopes with a strong N/W wind (not that you could see the windsock) forecast the usual Wednesday people turned up and had to be content with putting the world to rights, still some of us had a good day on Sunday.
This is the last Wednesday blog before Christmas so I wish all blog readers a happy Christmas and happy landings for the new year. - JSt

Sunday 18th December

So, it’s the 18th of December, we have had constant depressions rushing in from the Atlantic for what seems like an eternity. Is it really worth going to the gliding club? YES!
The faithful few turned up early on what was a beautiful morning if a little cold (but not bitter); the journey to the club was tricky due to ice in the lanes but for those who braved the drive it was going to be quite a special winter’s day. With mostly blue skies, flying started around 1030.
Lisa must have had a fault with her alarm clock because she appeared before 0900 (You read it here first). Closely followed by Andrew M, their faces looked like they were waiting for root canal treatment, all was to be revealed!
Whilst the worker ants got the kit out and rigged the DG 505, Simon M drove across the field as if on a mission, and he was. It was to be the day that Lisa and Andrew were to be tested for their Assistant rating completion (no wonder they looked tense). They need not have worried though as they both passed with flying colours, the masses can now look forward to them running the field on their own (after Lisa has applied her lippy of course).
Meanwhile Rowan was encouraged by Mark C (new keen tuggy) to have an air tow to practice flying from the back whilst talking to a pretend “blogs” in the front, in this case young Will Bond. Will, who has not been able to come up for a while looked as pleased as a tramp with a tenner. Will and Liam were in for another treat later in the day when JB’s beautiful KA 6CR was towed to the launch point; they both flew the little six and loved it! It is really nice to see the younger members at our club enjoying the sport that we all love.

As soon as the members started to launch it was clear that despite the wind being fairly light (7 to 9 knots) the ridge was working to about 1400 ft and weak wave could be contacted allowing a couple of extended Junior flights of around one hour each. Those who ventured into the valley could also work long lines of lift. Roly flew some new members and soon the fleet was fully utilised.
Paul Summers and Dan J continued B.I. training with Mark C. Members had to be called down to ensure that everyone got a chance to fly, quite remarkable considering the conditions of late.
Lunch time saw the club house buzzing with enthusiasm with a really good number enjoying the excellent catering.
Flying stopped around 1545 with misting canopies, the gliders needed a really good wash down before being put to bed, but with a good number of “scrubbers” to hand it did not take long. With one of the K21s being de rigged and put into the workshop there was room in the hanger for JB’s beautiful K6.

On a lighter note, for those of you who did not know, John St is testing some new hearing aids that have been developed by NASA. His only complaint was that he could hear bar orders being taken at Dunkeswell. “Quite distracting“, he commented.
What a wonderful early Xmas treat for all those who attended.
MC and Henry

Saturday 17th December

A bright start with a strengthening north westerly wind provided ridge lift throughout the day with the odd shower passing through. A few members found thermals to 2300ft and Stu and Carl found some wave in VG. Tom collected his first Bronze half-hour until cold feet got the better of him. Pete and Cheryl had the longest flight of 55mins.

Thursday 15th December

The forecast promised intense depressions at midnight either side of Thursday, with a slight ridge to give a hopeful clear slot in between. And so it did, cloud and rain cleared away late morning and we got the kit out.
With not many people to fly and a wet airfield we elected to aerotow into the strong westerly wind. The ridge was working well, and there appeared to be low level wave above it. By mid afternoon the next system was showing itself and with rain in sight we packed up. Flights averaged over half an hour - it was well worth the effort on an interesting day.

Monday 12th December

Weren't we lucky with the weather - we left in rain and returned in rain but enjoyed 5 hours of bright and sunny conditions. CFI Pete, Mark and Simon L set off early to visit Lasham today for some Falke flying. After various field landing practices and simulated aerotow rope breaks, Pete revalidated his MG Instructor Rating, Mark and Simon's MGIR were signed up for Instructing in the Falke.
Pete renewed acquaintances with many old friends, a big thank you to Andy for his time and patience today (and the Lasham facility).

Sunday 11th December

With the forecast being dire only a few souls arrived at the club today. Conditions were not as bad as forecast in the morning so MC and Dave W had a flight in the motor Falke followed by MC and Paul Summers. There were lectures on ridge soaring, controls and instruments for Julia whilst the others chatted over tea and bacon sandwiches. Not a day for much flying but nice to see members turning up for a chat even if Matt and Rowan did make us green with envy with their tales of crop dusting! - MC

Saturday 10th December

A pleasant but cold day with a light south westerly wind and the field had dried nicely after the rain. Lisa was practising for her Asst Cat completion course. Rowan was practising for his BI course. Wyn practised field landings in the Falke. Members of the Falke syndicate were refreshing their acquaintance with VG after its long absence. One EUGC student made his first three flights, he is a power pilot so should make rapid progress. Meanwhile several trainees had circuit practice and Roly flew a few Trial lessons.
In the afternoon, the reason why you shouldn't overfly a winch site became
clear when a pair of pigeons flew across the airfield, unfortunately one was
hit by the cable and is now in a pie.

Thursday 8th December - Summertime

Ian M. is on a three week visit to Gariep Dam, in the Free State Province of South Africa, to fly Steve's (from Dunkeswell) Ventus M. He has promised to keep us up to date with his exploits. First day - site check.

"Finally made it Gariep Dam, first day at airfield today, very hot 29c, had chat with camp instructor and a site check was arranged. You will not believe this but we took off at 1400hrs in a Nimbus4 and climbed to 16000ft which was still some way below cloudbase, we then set off on a sight seeing tour over vast areas of totally unlandable terrain but spectacular scenery, we landed some 5hrs later after flying a total of 508km which included a 100km final glide, it is hard to contemplate just how good conditions can get as nobody thought today was a particularly good day but it was one hell of a site check."

Thursday 8th December

Low cloud and patchy rain to start, building up to gale force winds and heavy downpours. Not a day to go gliding, so several of us sat down to talk our way through Bronze preparation. Discussions included the requirements for awarding a Bronze and how it fitted into DSGC post solo training and where it will fit in the new EASA licence. Then, because there was a lot of it outside, we talked about the weather - what makes a good soaring day, sea breezes etc.
Jonathan sat some volunteers down to record simulated RT conversations to be used as examples on our website training page, to be available soon.

Wednesday 7th December

Wednesday started with a large number of the usual members, considering the weather with very strong winds forecast.
Against the odds we decided to get the field set up and the two K21s ready, just in case. During the next hour the wind eased a little and this tempted Mike Fitz into the air. After that, with the wind speed easing all the time, gliders were soon soaring in the strong north west ridge lift.
A squall brought an early break for lunch after which, with the wind still easing, the K13 and a Junior were pulled out to join the two K21s on the ridge.
Everyone flew, most having 30min or so on the ridge, Clive continued his BI preparation by flying the K21 from the back seat.

Monday 05 December, Bothering Sheep

They say that gliding offers something for everyone; that you can find pleasure from various aspects of the sport depending on your temperament. Some enjoy local flying; to soar and relish the delights of flying high over the beautiful landscape. Others go for cross country, battling the weather and airways to gain mammoth distances. There are also those that enjoy the thrill of being in the strange orientations of aerobatics. And then there are the ridge runners; flying low and fast amongst the hill tops.
Today I found myself amongst the ridge runners in the stunning Cotswolds surrounding Nympsfield. Ridge running seems to defy everything I have been trained to do while gliding. Fast and low is their mantra and when the vario screams lift, go faster!
I understand the attraction of this genre, to be buzzing past the rocks at such low heights where you would normally only see gliders on landing circuit. Today was no exception. It would be fair to say that today was a marginal day for the ridge. Our Task was to fly from Nympsfield to Bath race course and back. The wind strength and direction said yes, but the vario said no. That did not deter Matt (M5) my assigned lead. Turning doesn't seem to be in his repertoire. Fast. low and always toward the turn point. This worked superbly for our first leg. We passed underneath JB (KJW) and Pete (230) whilst they were deliberating whether to go on. Seeing our steadfast determination they found courage to continue on with us. Onwards we pushed over the M4 and round to the race course
We arrived low at our turn point and the ridge looked more like sloping hills. The lift was patchy and there was no room for loosing out. To compound issues we were flying in a flock of around five gliders making tight 'S' turns all at similar heights and we were low; low enough to bother the sheep that scattered as if to clear a possible landing strip.
I managed to get above ridge height and saw an opportunity to land safely in a freshly cut field next to the race course. Undercarriage down! The others carried on and were rewarded with enough lift to start the trip back to Nympsfield.
Rowan in his field (top left of pic)
For me it was a nearby pub, where I awaited the retrieve. Fortunately it had wifi and beef sandwiches.

Rowan (CLM)

Rowan's first field landing!

A few hours later and still grinning!

As Rowan said we were low at Bath, and the ridge wasn't working very well so with about 200' above ridge height there was no point in hanging around. After watching Rowan land safely, Pete, JB and I set off north again. We were able to tip-toe our way back to Hawkesbury where we needed to climb to about 550' to enable the jump to the Wooton bowl and after about 10 minutes scratching at about 450' we decided to have a bash anyway. Luckily the bowl was working when we arrived and we soon able to make the leap to the NYM west ridge and climb to circuit height to land back. Diving into the ridge we passed CFI Pete H who was flying with Tim Macfadyen going out to the Wooton bowl for the second time and trying to get used to the idea of final gliding back to a place where you are a couple of km short of your field and below it!
- Matt
Pete crossing Wooton Under Edge going for the Wooton Bowl

Sunday 4th December

A lateish start due to apathy, cold weather and low cloud but after Peter, the Treasurer said we could have reduced price aerotows due to the wet field we were soon up and running.
We managed eight aerotows before the rain started, after we had washed the gliders and put them to bed, guess what, the clouds cleared to give us a clear blue sky.
We limited the flights to 20 min so everyone would have a chance to fly and all did except Paul S, -sorry Paul.
It was nice to see Robin St. at the club again after his illness.
The only private glider to fly was Wyn who managed nearly 1hr in the LS7 in strong ridge lift. - JSt

Saturday 3rd December

Day started with rain but that stopped by around 09:00 leading to sunny periods cycling with thicker cloud at 1500 ft.
The ridge worked in sections boosted by small rough thermals, it was possible to stay up for 40 minutes with extended flights to a respectable 20. One member from EUGC had three flights. BKVG was out flying. The flying ended as the temperature got colder, no canopy misting but the light was fading around 15:30.

Meanwhile, in the clubhouse a tree was decorated with lights and pink stuff by Cheryl.
Preparations for tonight's meal and the AGM are underway! - HF

...32 members sat down to a tasty beef or turkey carvery, (good count on the number of new chairs Peter!) For the AGM we needed the old chairs as well with a very healthy attendance of more than 70. The AGM followed the standard agenda with all the usual people getting thanked and congratulated. JB and Mike S stood down from the committee, with Stuart, Jonathan and Heather being elected from 6 nominations.
The trophies were awarded as follows: (more details will be on the website shortly)
Rosebowl - Matt
Kelsey Plate - JB
Tim Parsons Trophy - Phil & Ron
Norman Whyte Shield - Dylan
Francis Bustard Trophy - Matt
Dave Fewings Trophy - Woolly & Nick R
Ken Andrews Trophy - Andrew L
Wily Old Bird - Les
Brian Masters Trophy - Pete St
The new Instructor of the Year Trophy was unveiled by Martin who had designed and crafted a modern lenticular representation. It was awarded to CFI Pete, based on online members' votes.

The final event of the evening was Nick's Xmas draw that raised £200 for Diabetes Reseach.

Thursday 1st December

Successive forecasts were alternating, rain, no rain, rain. What were to get? As it turned out no rain, but cloudy with a gentle westerly wind. But the field was wet from the overnight rain, we picked an unused strip down the middle and started winching.
The Thursday faithful were ready to fly, but no trainees - so plenty of post solo training and check flights just to keep instructors Pete and John Si up to speed.
Conditions were very peaceful with slightly extended circuits for everyone. Congratulations to Geoff for his first flights in the Junior.
Geoff ready for his first Junior flight, just try to keep your head down a bit!

Wednesday 30th November

Once again Wednesday started with a lot of members turning up for an early start to make the most of the good forecast, all available gliders were out and those who flew early contacted weak wave in the fresh S/W wind, most flights were nearly 30 mins with ridge, a little thermal and bits of wave.

Nick H flew the Oly locally, Eric & Mark in OL and Matt in M5 paid a visit to the cliffs and all had good flights, Matt made it back to NH under his own steam, Eric & Mark with a little help from the "iron thermal."
We finished flying at 4.00pm due to poor light but by then everybody had flown. - JSt

Mark's story........

Eric A, Matt W, Tuggie Pete W and I sat in the clubhouse going through the Club's new procedures for trips to the cliffs, with everything ticked off there was nothing left but to have a go. With the wind looking distinctly SW (240deg) we did consider that today the cliffs might not want us to play with them. Exeter ATC were brilliant as usual allowing us a direct transit to Sidmouth, Eric decided to start the engine on OL to give us peace of mind for the trip home, after a few splutters the little "turbo" sprung to life. When we arrived at the cliffs we could see that the wind had more west in it than I had ever experienced on this new playground, feeling our way down we soon felt buoyant air at approx 1600 above sea level(QNH).
Moody sky from OL
Eric soon got the hang of hacking up and down the cliffs, I could see his smile in the refection of the front canopy! Matt W soon joined us and the real fun began. A large shower ran through so we hung around Sidmouth until it passed by at the other end of the cliffs, always keeping one eye on the horizon we could see another very large system looming in the distance. Matt climbed high, Eric and I climbed to 1800 ft and positioned ourselves in the best lift ready to spin up the Turbo, always mindful that engines are as predictable as snowfall, we had a backup plan - Branscombe airfield!
With the engine purring we set off home, a quick chat to Exeter ATC and we were soon on circuit back home, no sooner had we landed than Super Matt arrived with height to burn !!
Great White Shark seen from Sidmouth seafront today!
What a great trip 2 hrs of sheer delight, our knowledge of the cliffs gets better every time we visit, with another instructor cleared for cliff-running the fun will soon be shared by all!! - MC

And from our friendly spotter on the coast.......

Two were down here again today - and getting bolder.
It was blowing about 25 mph, south-west. I watched them from the beach at the Clifton (west) end for about twenty minutes. They left just as the rain appeared on the horizon.
Both crossed the Sidmouth gap from the east but only one went on to Peak Hill and Ladram Bay. I lost sight of him inland and was looking east when he reappeared low over the sea from behind me. He took me by surprise and was so quick I missed taking what could have been a fantastic photo. He crossed the gap and shot back up Salcombe cliffs. - John from Sidmouth

Sunday 27th November

Cold front cleared through early morning, with a bit of ridging behind to give us a clear, dry, blustery north-westerly. Initially just the ridge was working, then some thermals started popping in a street in the valley, up to 2500ft. Thermals lasted about an hour after which the gliders had to drop back onto the ridge until the wind dropped off towards the end of the afternoon. Pete St Discus 230 used all the usable day with a 4 hour flight. The DG505 was derigged ready for a trip to Gloucestershire for mandatory mods.

Some of the troops visited The Pilot Show at NEC.........
Three teams set off well before the birds were singing their dawn chorus and as per usual they all arrived way too early despite a leisurely breakfast!
The security guards stood firm as DSGC road trip crammed against the entrance doors not so patiently waiting to get in. With the team being led by Mad Max, Ice man Paul S and Mad Max mum they did not stand a chance, soon we barged in to be greeted by an incredible array of everything to do with light aviation.

There were gas turbine model helicopters, Gyrocopters, microlights gliders, small planes bigger planes etc etc and more electrical gismos than you would find in a looters swag bag, we were in flying heaven!
A long,long day but with good company a day to remember, roll on next year!! - MC

Saturday 26th November

A nice cold day at the club, not too many members but gliders kept busy all day. Some wave flights in the afternoon - very gently 2 up to cloud base 1800ft and then you could sit there enjoying the view before encountering the very gusty approaches. Mike W had the urge to loop down and is on a mission to finish his bronze now. VG was also busy all day with Stuart and Max in the morning, Ian M checking out William the latest addition to the syndicate and Carl later on. Rowan enjoyed some cable break and patter practise with Martin from the back seat. Fred also renewed his red card so a successful day all around. - LH

Thursday 24th November

Strong south-westerly wind with wave in the Broadhembury valley and the South ridge was working. Most people had extended circuits, James and Daniel continued BI training, and Eric completed his 5 year Instructor refresher checks. A fourth Falke was operating at North Hill in two days when Andy and Geoff visited from Lasham.

Wednesday 23rd November

After three duff Wednesdays at last some good weather! all the two seaters were flying, thanks to Pete St and William for fixing the canopy on HCX, also both Juniors were in use, well done to Richard F on his first solo, We also had three Falkes in use, Ian M giving field landing practice to two members of Dartmoor GC, Victor Golf was doing circuits and bumps with William, the other Falke was a visitor from Mendip GC for checks with Ian M, Tim J was getting used to his new ASW19.

We welcomed Vincent, a new member to the club, it was also nice to see John J return to the club after a long break. - JSt

Sunday 20th November

The forecast promised brightness after the fog clearance so the field was set up for a south easterly wind in the clag. By lunchtime, it started looking much better and launching commenced. James was given a simulated wave-off aerotow, followed by a spinning sortie as part of his BI training. Meanwhile the rest of the club flying enjoyed gentle southerly breezes with the south ridge giving ridge to wave transitions. Towards the end of the afternoon, the air chilled and orographic cloud started to form and canopies misted, calling an end to flying.

Saturday 19th November

Yet another southerly wind but just bringing the low cloud and drizzle up the Culm valley. The opportunity was taken to refresh the winch cables -thanks to all the helpers. Various briefings were given on field selection and landing, Flarms and Oudies. CFI Pete signed off Rowan's Blue card and Wyn's Yellow card. It was good to see Joe A back at the club - fit and well.

Thursday 17th November

What a difference a day makes - clear bright blue sky and gentle south-westerly wind to start - although short-lived. The morning soon clouded over but became thermic with an increasing southerly wind (probably not strong enough for the cliffs). As the thermals died down, the south ridge became soarable. Tom had a high tow, spinning all the way down. Pete W completed his Instructor 5 year refresher. CFI Pete took Cachel for a birthday trip in the Rotax Falke. Following Stuart's test flight at the weekend in the Falke -Victor Golf after its 15 month rebuild, Peter F and Carl made the most of the nice weather.

Wednesday 16th November

The day was a bit of a washout, with low cloud in the morning and rain in the afternoon. However, CFI Pete, visited SATCO at Exeter Airport to discuss our cliff-soaring expeditions and agree some protocols for mutual operations in free airspace.
In the evening, the final group of members visited the Control Tower to see the Air Traffic operation. Our thanks to Exeter Air Traffic staff for hosting our visits over the last three months, inspired by the CAA Airspace and Safety initiative "Visit ATC", more than 50 members took the opportunity.

Thursday 10th November

A few of the Thursday faithful arrived on site to unforecast brightness, blue skies and sun, as opposed to torrential rain. With one K21 and the Pawnee out low orographic cloud moved in from the south east.
Oh well, back to the Clubroom, cup of tea, and lectures on aerotow launches, obtaining weather reports and thermals. It started to look brighter, so early bacon butties and the sky cleared.
Move everything out to the north west corner and just enough time for four aerotows before flying it all home again for a wash and put away to bed.
A good day really, having expected the worst.

Aerobatic Weekend, as experienced by Max & Liam

With the forecast blue and a chilly north easterly wind, we had arranged to meet Guy at the Club for 8.00am. However when we arrived we were met by thick fog and bitterly cold winds. Though with the fog burning off, the Fox was rigged by 8.30, and a briefing started, where plans were made and we discussed the day ahead.When the weather actually became as forecast, the tug was pulled out and the Fox was towed up to the launch point.

My turn came and the roll on tow is quite an experience! Some other club members took up the opportunity to experience the Fox’s aerobatic capability, followed by some well needed lunch for Guy, then further aerobatic training flights were enjoyed throughout the afternoon.

With the bonfire and BBQ planned for the evening, Guy had brought along his wing tip pyrotechnic rigs to give a fantastic display flight just after sunset. I was lucky enough to join him! A great evening went ahead, with lots of fireworks providing Guy with some inspiration for future pyrotechnic displays!
Guy turns on the pyrotechnics and Max says, “Oh wow!”
Guy “What do you reckon then?”
Max: “That’s incredible, absolutely fantastic!”

What a day! The Fox is an amazing a bit of kit! It's not hard to appreciate the difference in doing aerobatics in something that was designed purely for that purpose!


Guy and Max light up the sky

A few months ago Will and l were at Yeovilton air show watching display after display of aircraft flying by and every time the crowd would cheer but nothing really caught my eye and made me go “Wow!”. Then the GliderFX team came on. Will and I went mad as the glider started rolling on tow but everyone around us was wondering what all the fuss was about. It didn't matter as it was just out of this world! I never thought I would ever see the likes of it again, I never thought that I would soon be experiencing it first hand.

Early Sunday morning my alarm sounded which was soon followed by the snooze button.... And then the "oh damn I've overslept" feeling. 5 minutes later I was on the road. The cold northeasterly hit me hard on my little 50 and I was doubting if this was really worth the pain. The briefing was at 9 and Guy gave us a lecture on flight envelopes and reviewing how to do certain figures. At the end Guy asked if anyone wanted to do anything in particular. I shouted out "Inverted spin!!" and was delighted when he said it wasn't a problem. From thereon the smile only got bigger.

The Fox was dragged out the hangar with John first to have a go with a down wind launch to the east end of the field. Once the Fox landed we all rushed to help push the glider back to the launch point with John smiling for once! Then in order everyone went flying with some low figures and even more smiley faces.

Then it was my go. I don't easily get nervous, well I like to think I don't, but I was. The cable went tense and we started moving I began to wonder what all the fuss was about. He began to explain to me that this was the normal tow position, it was like any other tow, but then we went upside down! “This is the inverted tow position” he laughed. “Its crazy isn't it!”. I didn't have time to relax, I was too busy swearing at the straps not to let go. To my relief we rolled back up. It was good to see the tow plane the right way up.

4500 feet and the fun began. We did a few loops and rolls. Then he asked if I wanted to do a flick roll. For some reason I said yes. Next thing I know he was giving me instructions on how to do it then the world was spinning around me and my smile became even bigger after another flick some inverted spins took place. Awesome was the only way to describe it. At about 1500 feet Guy took control and did a mixture of figures. We then landed after the best 20 minutes I've had for a long time.

A few more second flights were had, and eventually late as usual Will pulled up to the launch point. Only just squeezing in a flight whilst the sun was setting as Guy and Matt braved the misting.

A big thanks to Guy for coming up and a bigger thanks to Rowan for organising it and everyone else who helped make it happen. It must have been worth it, I was still buzzing in college the next day! I urge anyone who can to give it a chance.

As a final note Will would like to add, "Inverted aerotowing - EPIC! that is all."


Sunday 6th November

The Sun Gods continued to shine on us favourably with a perfectly clear blue sky all day, although with the north easterly crosswind it was bitterly cold. The second day of the aerobatic training course saw some more cheesy grins especially those who got upside-down on aerotow.

The 5-year refresher checks were successfully completed, and Ron and Daniel went looking for wave at Wellington monument - but to no avail. Pete St broke his record for shortest circuit from a normal winch launch- 3 mins.

Saturday 5th November

A busy day for the club - Rowan had organised an aerobatic training weekend, and Guy Westgate from GliderFX arrived with his Fox. The weather had been ordered and decided to play ball and there were 10 aerobatic sorties culminating in a pyrotechnic display from the Fox with Guy and Max on board.
Alongside, some Full Cat Instructors were taking part in some very constructive 5-year renewal checks watched on by our Elders....

The evening continued with a barbeque, and fireworks organised by Cheryl with Steve providing the musical entertainment.

Sunday 30th October

A late start with very few members but at around 1230 the first launch was
taking place. The cloud had cleared from 8/8 on the deck to 2/8 within half
an hour. There were signs of wave but at very high altitude. Longest flight
was only 12 minutes but with the sun shining the field was relatively warm.
Play was closed at 1530 with a line of drizzle rolling in. - HF

Saturday 29th October

What a fantastic day, the forecast was for a strong, southerly wind so Mark and I arranged to meet at the club nice and early for a trip to the seaside. We experienced a very intense aerotow in the DG 505 avoiding the clouds, arriving East of Sidmouth courtesy of Robin. I soon realised that the cliffs do work very well and we had 3 + hours travelling at various speeds between Sidmouth and Beer. Simon followed our progress from the ground and with the help of his 2 boys retrieved us from Farway Common, A great experience for me and one I would like to repeat should anyone like to come with me! Thanks Mark! - LH

Wednesday 26th October

Another good Wednesday, a long list and an early start, and all the club gliders out and soon airborne, early flights contacted weak wave in the moderate S/W wind.

As usual the wave stopped as soon as it became thermic, the thermals topped out at 2,500ft with some good cloud streets, Nick H made best use of the conditions in the Oly, most other members had reasonable soaring flights.

Wyn & Dylan LS7 480, Pete S Discus 230 and Matt ASW20 M5, all flew their own gliders, Carl & Colin are threatening to finish work on the Falke. - JSt

Saturday 22nd October

The south wind blew and the cliffs at Sidmouth beckoned...First up was Steve W Discus FER, followed swiftly by Ian M Discus JZG and then Phil M and Rowan in DG505. The cliffs were working to about 2100ft AMSL and for a time cloud cleared to blue sky before some south westerly wave clouds set up. Steve and Ian (turbo) got back. Phil & Rowan landed halfway back at Farway Common.
The cliffs Sidmouth to Beer

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, training and check flights continued in the strong southerly crosswind. There were two trial lessons from our association with Bovey Castle Hotel.

Date for the member's diaries: Saturday 5th November Bonfire party and barbeque on the airfield.

Thursday 20th October

Many people saw the good forecast and turned up early to start flying in a gentle westerly wind and clear blue sky. Cumulus started popping at 800ft but was not useable. The sky filled in with strato- cu, although early afternoon it did provide a few thermals. Three two-seaters were kept busy with training and check flights, solo pilots were flying the Junior and there were 4 private gliders out - Dylan LS7 480, Eric LS7 194, Martin LS3 KMV and Joe ASW19 877. Congrats to Tom and Anthony, who both converted to the Junior. We welcomed Steve from Walking on Air at Portmoak to have a short flight in our hand-operated K21 HCX.

Wednesday 19th October

A good bright sunny start today for a change, it was soarable from the first launch in the northwesterly wind and soon all the club gliders were soaring, by mid-day the thermals were reaching 3,500ft and everyone had a soaring flight.
JB Ventus KJW, Tim ASW19 ,Trevor DG100 DG1, Eric LS7 194 and John Si B4 CVV all flew their own gliders, well done to Dave C for nearly an hour in the Junior. - JSt

Tuesday 18th October, Talgarth revisited.

On Sunday the forecast for Tuesday looked pretty good for some more fun at Talgarth, so plans were made and Pete S (Discus 230), JB (Ventus KJW) and Matt (ASW20 M5) braved the week day traffic on the M5 with the aim to get to Talgarth with enough time to rig before the 10am briefing.

The cheesy grin says it all!

The wind was a very strong westerly at 20 kts increasing to 45kts at 5500', which made the ridges incredibly rough and the unstable airmass meant that the thermal convection played havoc with the wave that was trying to set up.

The aero-tows dropped us on Y Das and after trying to fly south skimming the ridge on the eastern side of the Cwmdu valley, we managed to find some wave and take refuge from the bone jarring ride low down.

JB cruising in wave

Pete and JB managed to get to 5500' in the wave and Matt followed a cloud street west over Brecon village (bit bigger than a village Matt was corrected by a local) and jumped across on to Pen Y Fan the highest point of the beacons to check out some hill walkers. Pete and JB pushed out west but a small shower scuppered their plans to follow and they retreated back to the catch net of Langors ridge.

We enjoyed, ridge, wave and thermal lift, keeping us airborne for over 5 hours and were forced to land eventually by the lowering sun and even lower temperature. Winter is definitely on its way!

Pen Y Fan

Sunday 16th October

Not a very inspiring start to Sunday with hill fog followed by low cloud, by 10.00am very few members had turned up so the gliders stayed in the hanger.
By 11.00am a few more members turned up and the weather looked as if it might clear so we got the kit out, after a met flight we decided on an early lunch.
By 1.30pm the the cloud base had risen to 1,500ft so we made a start, as the afternoon progressed the flights became longer and by 3.00pm it was booming with cloud streets, thermals to 2,500ft and traces of wave.
Liam had several more flights in the Junior and Geoff added a couple more solo flights to his score, Robin, Andrew and Wyn flew their own gliders. - JS

Sunday 16th, October. Talgarth Last

Talgarth Airfield basking in the evening sun

At about 22:30 last night I saw a post by Simon M on a popular social networking site, enquiring about the possibility of a quick trip to Talgarth. A few text messages later and the adventure was organised. 6am departures to meet up on the road to Wales, quick brekkie at a cafe a few miles before the Black Mountains Gliding Club, rig and be ready for the 10am briefing.

The forecast low cloud and hill fog was due to clear mid morning, and for once things seemed to be going to plan weather wise, the 8-12kt westerly wind had even started blowing. Simon in SM (ASW20CL) and Matt in M5 (cooler ASW20L) were 2nd and 3rd in the aerotow queue and were soon deposited on the spine of the south bowl of Y Das, which was working well in the westerly wind.

SM turning north in the Cwmdu Valley

The wind strength and direction allowed us to run between Hay Bluff in the north and Pen Allt-Mawr at the southern end of the Cwmdu Valley, a straight line distance of about 14km which also gave the hill walkers time to recuperate between flypasts. Later after some forays onto Langors Hill and as the air dried out some weak wave set up in the Cwmdu Valley in which SM climbed to almost 3000' using some wave boosted thermal to make the transition.

After 5 hours of flying it was time to put the gliders to bed, before pub dinner and the couple of hours drive home. (Well it would have been if we hadn't missed the turning!)

Saturday 15th October

The day started with blue sky which didn't last long as it soon filled in with Statocumulus in the light southeasterly wind. All the wanderers have returned safely from far-off places and the how-I-dunnits were flowing at the clubhouse. Mark was kept busy in the Pawnee on his first rostered tuggie duty.
Arthur Clapp and family called in - member from 1960-70s. Ian M in the Rotax Falke conducted cross-country endorsement flights for some Brentor members.

Thursday 13th October

We all hoped that the change in wind direction, behind the overnight front, might clear this persistent low cloud and drizzle of the last few days. Early on it looked as if it might break and the sun peeked through, so we got all the kit out and waited a bit before walking it all to the far end of the field. Then a little drizzle sent us back into the Clubhouse for a cup of tea, and there we stayed until mid afternoon when we decided to put everything away.
Time was not wasted, however, Pete gave a couple of briefings on local airspace and altimetry, Mark L successfully completed his Bronze exams, and we drank more tea.
The Falke appeared out of its hangar and aired its new engine whilst taxying around the field testing the rudder/tailwheel springs.
As might be expected on driving off the hill it was quite obvious that we had been sitting in the orographic cloud all day, elsewhere it had been quite a sunny and warm day.

Wednesday 12th October

The day started misty, it soon cleared but leaving a rather a low cloud base so we all had an early lunch.
At 1.00pm the afternoon started with the departure of the Falconar that had a dead-stick landing last week. The cloud was still rather low so we had to be content with launch failure checks and check flights.
It was nice to see Peter Stoker at the club again after his recent illness.
Light rain put an end to flying at 5.00 but all who wanted to fly had done so by then. - JSt.

In the evening the second group of members visited the controllers at Exeter airport tower, as part of the national 'visit ATC' safety initiative.

Portmoak, Tuesday 11th October

More damp air and westerly winds greeted the gang this morning, however the showers conspired to miss us, until lunch time when the big one came through and the airfield soon resembled Arnhem. Second launches followed lunches and there was the added bonus of some wave, in which Pete S (230) managed to climb to 11000 feet over West Lomond. The wind up there was 50kts. The ridge worked all day and again the setting sun signalled it was time to head back to put the gliders to bed. Tomorrow's forcast, easterlies and rain, so a rest day by the looks of it.

Are you alright Wooly?

Portmoak, Monday 10th October

Another damp start with a westerly wind but the rain cleared much earlier than yesterday, so gliders were prepped and Chris H in CLM was the first onto what soon became a very busy Bishop ridge. Fingers were crossed that yesterdays wave would set up again with Wooly (611), Martin (KMV) and Rowan (CLM) hoping to bag some more height badges.

Unfortunately the airmass was very damp and unstable with showers to the north and south which eventually merged and chased us all down for tea and scones. The rain cleared again and the gang were soon all blasting around on the ridge and hunting for the elusive wave. More rained threatened, prompting a few to land, but the shower passed to the north and as the sun lowered and the thermals died down the wave finally made an appearance. Dave J (EZ Brentor), Pete (230) and Matt (M5) climbed to about 6500 before having to race the oncoming darkness back to the field.

Portmoak Sunday 9th October

After a very wet Saturday, today dawned overcast and moist . However, by lunchtime the crud was blowing away to leave us a good afternoon of excellent ridge flying and local-ish wave flying. Best heights were around the 12,000' mark but because of the cloud amounts and 5okts+ wind at flying height, we weren't brave enough to venture too far, Perth being the hotspot today with short lived climbs of 4kts.

Rowan bagged Silver height (only just in at 8,000') and Paul C took his new toy for a trip and had a good flight climbing to 8,000' which gave plenty of time to get used to the handling.

Saturday 8th, Talgarth

We all arrived at the club early after a huge breakfast at the Bell, cloud was sat halfway up the hill and the wind was 10 mph 270 deg. Being an adventurous sort we headed for the hills by car to explore the landing options of the three commons.
The group then decided to have model combat, Steve W, feeling aggrieved at being picked on, resorted to his SAS training and proceeded to try and shoot down Simon L model when he ran out of pellets, he simply used his bouncer training to beat Simons model into submission.
Our sides were hurting from laughing. We headed off to Hay-on-Wye for coffee and cakes, Simon soon chose an appropriate book "how to avoid the snipers gaze"
Model flying cheesy grin-ometer 9.
Full-size cheesy grin-ometer 0 (that is a fat nil out of ten)
Better forecast tomorrow so hopes high! - MC

Friday 7th, Talgarth

Simon L, Steve W, Mark C, and Jimbob had wheels rolling at exactly at NHL (Ian M was still running on British Mitchell time and failed to arrive for the planned group departure). As day break arrived somewhere near Bristol we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise, It was going to be "epic" yees!!

After a quick stop at Magor services for a bargain breakfast (£19 for two!) we trundled along looking at wave clouds all around yeeeees!!! As we got closer to our destination the weather had completely changed to low cloud and drizzle noooooooooo! . The number of times I have turned into the gate looking at the hill shrouded in cloud feeling depressed is far too many.
We rigged all gliders quickly before the met brief at 10, then attended with eager anticipation, there was talk of wave and strong ridge lift, surely not?? The brief was indeed brief from "Bo" a very relaxed guy, to our surprise we left the room and glanced at the hill to see the cloud had gone!
Usain Bolt would of been proud of the speed that we pushed the DG and the ASW20 ENW to the launch point passing hoards of frantic men with white hats rushing to rig, boy does it pay to be early!
Bo launched the Talgarth K13 onto the hill with a 1000ft lob soon to be followed by the DG. Looking down you could see Ian and "Pilchard" from Cornwall shaking their fists!
I followed behind in ENW, the ridge was booming. We hurtled up and down waiting for Steve W FER to catch up before we set off on series of wave hunting runs into the valley. This carried on for 2 hrs with the wave teasing us all the time, we kept going further out every time knowing that the ridge was giving 6kts to give a top up. This was going well until one of the runs back to the ridge was interrupted by a short 30 sec of rain.

As anyone who has flown the DG in rain will know it shudders and shakes and does not climb at all well. The DG joined the ridge at Hay Bluff and with Steve, Simon and myself trying to thread in between at least 6 other gliders, the stress level was well elevated. Steve opted to jump the gap to the main ridge (very brave) and headed for home climbing as he went, I pulled the speed off and stepped down the flap settings giving me an extra 100ft enough to hit the sweet spot on the now soft ridge. The DG could not maintain and Simon made the right choice to abandon the ridge and head for the valley, minutes later he was sat in a field owned by a lovely farmer.
The retrieve through the farm yard was very difficult and if it were not for the farmers co-operation the DG would have been there forever.
Steve and I and about 8 other gliders took in turns to head home and land with about 5 minute intervals trying to avoid the showers that were now joining hands quicker than the children at a birthday party.
The DG returned to the airfield to find it pretty well deserted, they were all up having fun. The decision was made to rig and fly again. Gerard M and Mark C jumped in and had a fantastic evening flight with wave to 4000ft, Ian M got to 6500ft (without his engine he says mmmm). Steve did well and had another 2 hrs, "Pilchard" flew everywhere including in wave over Langorse lake presumably looking for shoals of fish! And SL finished the day with a flight in the ASW20.
What a day ! Cheesy grinometer score 9!
Tomorrow's forecast not so good but with a large amount of hours flown today we are not so worried, what a site !!! - MC

Friday 7th, Portmoak

As Kung Fu Panda says, "There's no charge for awesomeness!". Epicness however requires a little sacrifice. After the retrieve saga, the long drive north and about 4 hours sleep in our cars, Pete (Discus 230) and Matt (ASW20 M5), felt like the price might be a bit too high.

Snug as a bug!???
The morning sky however was showing signs that epicness was definitely on the cards. By the time the admin bits were sorted out and the gliders rigged, there were at least 15 gliders on Bishop with a gaggle still in the queue to launch. The wind on the ground was a steady 310°/18kts, increasing to 50 odd kts at 18000', .......technically perfect. (Ed: Congratulations to Matt for Diamond Height - you're far too modest!!)

We connected with the wave by thermalling up to the 4000' cloud base and pushing out to the upwind side of the cloud bar which was forming over Benarty on the south side of club. To the north west the wave bars were lining up and lenticulars were forming over the usual hot spots at Crieff and Loch Tay. Moving out to the west into the mountains was relatively straight forward, certainly compared to previous attempts and the views were spectacular.

Loch Tay with space ships ready to beam us up.

The adrenaline highs took about five hours to wear off and our lack of sleep coupled with the cold had us heading for home, that and the fear of being late for dinner. So we final glid the 75 odd km back from Pitlochry to end an epic day's flying. The price was well worth it!

Cruising with Flying Saucers

Thursday 6th Nympsfield

As a precursor to Portmoak, and its on the way, Pete 230, JB KJW and Matt M5 headed up the motorway to NYM expecting a couple of trips down the ridge to Bath race course BAT and back. A quick de-rig, cup of tea and continue north to Scotland. Simples! Pete threw a spanner in the works by saying, "The last thing we need to happen is for one of us to land out!"

Trevor Stuart said there was enough north in the wind to include the ridge north to Lower Clopton, LCL, but we would need thermal assistance to get round the turn point. So the 3 North Hillers and 4 dudes from NYM set off north in crystal clear air with good wind and strong thermals in attendance. It all went pear-shaped at LCL. The group became separated and "Every man for himself" was the call over the radio, which got a few nervous laughs in response. The route back into wind included many low scrapes and parking on a little ridge waiting for that ever more elusive thermal. The final straw was a massive shower that moved over NYM and effectively killed the thermals in an even bigger radius and backed the wind so that the ridges became useless.

Steve Eyles (Nym LS4), JB and Matt scratched their way to the ridge just north of NYM but only Matt was high enough to jump the gap to the west ridge at NYM, arriving level with the people at the view point and had to climb in the bowl to then be able to fly a circuit to land.

Matt, Pete, Steve, Gregg, JB and Fred

Here's a question, How do you retrieve 6 gliders with one retriever. Get JB's van and go and fetch the pilots, come back and set off again with with trailers in tow. The upshot being that it was 730pm before Pete and Matt closed the farm gate and started the 8 hour drive north.

De-rigging in the dark

Thursday 6th October

Where were you all? the forecast wasn't that bad!!!
Eventually we got a quorum of 5 members to fly, between dodging rain showers we had 4-6 knot thermals to 2500ft. After the rain, the wind picked up (K21 stationary and unstalled at 1500ft) and the ridge was working really well to 1600ft.

Sunday 2nd October

No report of conditions at North Hill, but rumour has it the Liam converted to flying the Junior, and Wyn and Dylan have flown their LS7 for the first time. Well done everyone.

News from Talgarth
Again the day did not look promising. The front sat over the north had moved south into Wales. The wind was very light southerly, up to 5knts. The sky was overcast to the north and just after the briefing it started to rain. The rain quickly stopped with sun to the south. We decided to launch early in case the conditions deteriorated. The Talgarth K21 towed to Castle Dinas and the back bowl on the ridge but I decided to go for Langorse Lake with the option to come back to the ridge if there was no lift over Langorse. After a very slow climb on tow we released over Langorse. We scratched about and found weak wave which took us to 4100ft over Langorse Lake. Everyone had a similar flight including some ridging in the back bowl. Another good day's flying.

Saturday 1st October

Hot, hot, hot, and a gentle south easterly wind, Andrew L K6 managed to stay up on the South ridge for 21 minutes. The beach weather meant there were no pupils and very few members, the slack was taken up by trial lessons. Congratulations to Wyn for being cleared solo on aerotow, and moving into private ownership with the family glider LS7 480.

News from Talgarth
Briefing at 10am. Oh dear it does not look good. Wind Is south to south east still to 10knots. The worst conditions you can have at Talgarth. The duty instructor confirms that no heavy gliders are flying and that includes the Talgarth K21. We wait! The first launch finds weak wave but is back quickly. Gradually conditions improve but the tuggie is still not happy to tow out the DG or the K21. By now gliders are reporting wave over Langorse Lake to 4000ft. We wait and after lunch persuade tuggie to give it a go! Myself and Gerard McQuire strap in ready to go. Not the lightest of crews!! We bounce into the air taking off to the west. We miss the trees on tow out - just, and its a very slow climb behind the Pawnee to 3000ft over Langorse lake. We release in wave and 15 minutes later we are at 7800ft!
Looking for that last few hundred feet to make 8k'

The next 3 hours are spent wandering around the Brecons. A great flight. Mark Wallis has a similar flight with Talgarth pundit Robbie Robertson in the K13. A good days flying from a gloomy start. - GA

Thursday 29th September

Bright sky and light and variable (mainly southerly) wind had us setting up on the south west run. There were not many people to start off with, but through the morning numbers swelled and all 4 two-seaters and a Junior were out. The completely blue sky meant no soaring, but allowed high tows for spin training and aerobatics.

The DG505 was derigged into its trailer for a ten day holiday at Talgarth, and a group of private owners are preparing for the long haul to Portmoak.

Wednesday 28th September

With a forcast of hot weather we again had an early start, and again all the two seaters were in use all day, Roy LS7, Tim & Joe ASW19 were also flying, today we had a batch of 5 Exeter Uni students and one trial lesson.
The morning conditions were difficult with a fresh S/E wind with only circuits flown but with some usefull cross wind T/O & landing practices.
The afternoon was better with weak wave and good ridge soaring on the south ridge with longer and longer flights, the last glider landed just before 7.00pm. - JSt

Sunday 25th September

Two days ago I was very confident that it was going to be a classic “Day at the seaside” revisit.
When Jimbob was revving his engine outside my house at 6.45 am (yes Henry there is such a time ) it was lashing it down with rain and my confidence was following the water down the drain. Turning into the lane at North Hill I wondered if I would be able to see the beech trees, I couldn’t!
As the clubroom filled with people I could almost read their minds “that’s him over there , looking at the met” and I was . To help ease their pain Simon L and myself gave lectures on Met (inc forms 215 and 214 ), followed by chart reading and prayers to the weather god . The last one must of worked because the sky looked much better.
Soon Simon and I headed to the coast in the Falke , the wind was about 210 deg (ssw) and aprox 15 mph but the cliffs were working well the only concern was the orographic cloud that was forming and drifting inland.
We shot back to NHL just as flying was about to commence, the DG sat in the hanger and it begged us to fly it - what were we to do.
At about 2.45 we pulled to the airtow line and were soon following the tug towards the cliffs , as we climbed out and prepared to cross Exeter’s ILS Simon J opened dialog with Exeter ATC, to say that the next few minutes were manic is a little understated, it would appear that the entire fleet of Flybe aircraft decided that this would be a good time to land. We soon climbed to 4000ft, released from tow and did a straight glide to the cliff face near Branscome, as we descended we gradually felt our way along the ridge wondering as you do if the lift is going to be there and how strong it will be. We need not have worried it was strong and constant enabling us to loose control of our airspeed, sometimes the speed bled up to 130 kts as we raced along below the tops of the cliffs, onlookers peering down precariously balancing on wooden fence posts cameras in hand . The air off the sea is as smooth as silk nothing like you will ever experience unless you are in wave.

DG 505 over Sidmouth Esplanade, courtesy of John Jones of Sidmouth

Simon and I flew in between seagulls and crows along the length of cliffs between Sidmouth and Beer, they seemed to be having as much fun as us (if that was possible, I swear a crow had a big cheesy grin though).
We did consider following Captain Matt’s example of venturing almost to Portland (well almost) but with the amount of west in the wind we knew that it would be a one way ticket, with our trusted team (Jimbob, Henry and Andrea) sat on the beach at Seaton eating ice cream waiting for our call it did not seem fair. Besides they were having such fun talking to the locals explaining that there were real humans in that there plane and it really was not being controlled by the man at the top of the hill!
As the forecast front started to creep towards us, the suns welcome rays were becoming fainter, the cloud started to form along the cliffs - time for us to go.
A quick climb and we were soon on circuit into a field next to the donkey sanctuary, our crew were soon to arrive, my god they have got huge ears, the donkeys not our crew ! The end of two fantastic hours flying and another reminder of the local potential of North Hill gliding site, I used to hate south winds, they are my new best friend (apart from Marther the donkey). - MC

Thursday 22nd September

The cloudy damp start soon gave way to blue skies and warm sunshine with a gentle westerly breeze, even though there were bands of spread-out during the day. Some members enjoyed decent soaring flights whilst others struggled to get away.

Wednesday 21st September

A reasonable forecast saw a large number of members on site early, we were ready to fly at 10.00am and soon all four two seaters plus the Junior were in the air.
Right from the first flight the ridge and thermals were working in the brisk westerly, later cloud streets added to the fun with a cloud base at over 3,000ft.
With a large influx of new members all four two seaters were in the air all day, thanks to Roly and John for helping out, without their help would not have got through the list, John arrived to fly the B4 and was kind enough to help after he had flown.
Tim and Jonathan were making good use of their new toy and Pete S had a long flight in the Discus, we had to encourage Keith in the last glider airborne to return after over an hour by letting the sheep out.
Karl is still fiddling about with the Falke and even had the new engine working, it was suggested to him that it would fly better if the wings were on. - JS.

Thursday 15th September

We were promised a bright, dry, warm day with a light south easterly wind. So we set up for a south westerly and got away with it.
It was sort of soarable from the word go, but did not really get going until lunch time when some of the private owners came out. That rare bird of prey, the Kestrel, was seen in the air over North Hill again. Jonathan had a play in his 'new' ASW19 again and Joe, who has just joined the syndicate, had a couple of winch launches - the second getting significantly higher than the first, memo to brain - must remember to lock the airbrakes next time!
Early soloists, Geoff, Tom and Malcolm con
solidated their achievement with more flights alone, Rhodri completed his 50th solo - not bad in five months, he now leaves us to go to Uni in north Wales.

Wednesday 14th September

A promising forcast of a sunny day with a moderate N/W wind brought everyone out early, only to be greeted by low cloud and rain.But, having a little faith, we set the field up and as soon as the weather started to clear we were ready to fly.
Justin, a silver C pilot from Rufforth joined the club and started with some site checks & launch failures. As the day progressed the weather also improved and by mid afternoon the conditions were booming, most pilots had long soaring flights with the cloud streets extending to North Devon with a cloud base of over 3,000ft (just).
John Si, Pete & Jill, Matt and Roger & Sheila in their visiting DG 1000, all had long flights in their own gliders over 50 flights were logged not bad for a late start. - JS.
The streets looked too inviting to ignore. Matt, in ASW20 M5, followed 'Ron's Rule' - always go down wind first, then at least you have gone. Pete & Jill, in Duo OL, opted for the more conventional go up wind first, then you can always get home. Both got a bit over 55km away before turning back, M5 to Beaminster and OL to Barnstaple.

In the evening, the first of four visits to Exeter ATC took place inspired by the CAA Airspace and Safety initiative "Visit ATC". Everyone found it very informative.