Sunday 30th January

With the field frozen solid and the winds blowing very freshly from the East, it was cold! Many people turned up with loads of clothes on, nobody knew who they were, but they did have matching suits.
We were launching from the South West corner.
The day remained blue. Some early flights found wave ... down wave. Nobody managed to contact any up wave.
Exeter University sent three members who enjoyed a few flights each. There were plenty of customers for Pete Warren with aerotows. Rowan Smith continues with his plan to take over the world with aerobatics.
Just under 60 flights total, 9 solos. Nobody managed to stay up apart from visiting pilot Oliver Ford (from some flat area of the country) who found one thermal and climbed from less than 1000 ft to less than 1000 ft in the Junior.
Congrats to Ian F after resoling after a long layoff and a return from New Zealand.
The day ended with hot cups of tea all round.

Saturday 29th January

The sun failed to appear apart from a small glint in the afternoon and the wind continued its relentless cold blow from the north east. A few club members braved the elements mainly for check flights. Stu put the recent training into practice by giving an excellent lecture on stalling.

Late in the afternoon a small gap opened in the clouds allowing two 2-seaters up in to the wave.

James and Heather planned to do a hangar landing, as they launched, a wave gap was opening. They turned down-wind towards the fish ponds and scratched away finding good wave lift.

Simon Leeson and Wyn then launched in the K13 and contacted wave joining James and Heather in the DG505. Roly sent last orders over the radio as the sun was setting. The 505 reached 3000 ft and Simon and Wyn were close behind.

Friday 28th January

Another bitterly cold day for the Full Cat prep mini-course, with lectures to start- but it's amazing how having a clear objective meant everyone enjoyed themselves despite the cold. Thanks to Simon L and Mark C for organising and leading the training, and to the helpers Roly, Heather and Nick, and the winch drivers and tug pilots.

Thursday 27th January

Brrr! that was cold - but not unexpected given where the air had come from. At the height of the day the temperature reached 0.2 °C but with 18 knots blowing from the north east it felt like -8 °C. However winch launches were good 1800 to 2000 ft was the order of the day, there were tantalising bits of lift but was this thermal, wave or rotor? There was of course the usual clutching hand on the approach. The usual Thursday crowd enjoyed a good cold day of extended circuits.
The Full Cat prep course had an entertaining morning in the briefing room followed by flying exercises after lunch.

Sat, Sun 22/23 January

Cold damp north-easterly wind blew all weekend giving fairly rough conditions over the field. Following Friday's successful recruitment campaign for Exeter Uni GC, four potential new members arrived on each day for trial flights, although the weather did not show gliding at its best. Low cloud brought Sunday to an early close with Junior KHA derigged for its annual. Mark & Simon M concluded the day with a briefing session for the budding BIs.

Friday 21st February

Pete and Roly joined Nathalie, Andrew and Harry of Exeter Uni GC at a Club promotion event on the Exeter campus. There were two video displays (thanks Matt) lots of new leaflets given out (thanks Simon) and lots of talking. This resulted in successful recruitment of Uni members and along with the new flying arrangements for the University should produce a viable EUGC for the coming season.

Thursday 20th January Blind Optimism at Parham.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, JB and I convinced ourselves that sheer willpower would prevail and that the actual conditions would be better than even the ever optimistic XC Weather had forecast, and so set of for Parham at 5am, dreaming about our first cross country of 2011. However, as we pulled into Southdowns Gliding Club in a little drizzle and equally little wind, those cross country dreams were dissolving fast, only to be revived partially by the arrival of Trevor Stuart from Nympsfield, the 3rd member of this desperate expedition, who hoped a Butser Hill - Lewes task would still be possible.We launched at around 11:30 onto the local ridge which was working well enough to maintain us at the meagre cloud base of about 900' and with the poor visibility we adopted the line astern formation with Trevor in his customary position at the head of the gaggle.

The wind varied between 9 and 14kts at flying height and with Trevor's guidance we managed to explore the 14km or so of ridge line between Amberly and Steyning. As the visibility improved and the cloud base rose, we took turns leading the group and all the time building our confidence in this exciting form of soaring.
Trevor and JB with their "Hot Ships" graciously did not attempt to cross the Steyning Gap onto Devils Dyke, as we couldn't get sufficient height for my Cirrus to comfortably make the leap, and the very soggy fields in the valley would have made for the mother of all retrieves if it all went wrong.

So not the spectacular trip we had dreamed about but very definitely well worth the effort.

A special THANK YOU to Will Greenwood who opened up the club, aero-towed us and then hung around to close up after we had de-rigged and left.

Golden Glow
JB preparing to scare the squirrels.

Thursday 20th January

The high pressure persists, giving us clear blue skies but cold north easterly winds. The downside was that ice was still forming on the wings until near 1100, so a late start. Pete declared himself unfit to fly, so all the instructing pressure went on John. Fortunately Simon and Mark were on site, to do a warm up for next week's instructor training, and were able to take some of the load. But we only just cleared the two seat flying list, with the last few only getting a much shortened session. The Junior was well used by the solo pilots.

Wednesday 19th January

"The moon's a balloon"

Today saw a back to the dreadful weather of late with bright and warm(ish) sunshine, we had a light Easterly wind, ideal weather for the first solo of 2011.
Well done to Heather a well deserved first solo, and never mind the matching romper suits!

Also well done to Nigel for his first flight in the Junior.
We managed about 40 flights and finished only when dusk stopped play.

Sunday 16th January

There was no flying on Saturday or Sunday. Both days were very windy and Sunday also very wet.
The Junior ... inverted ... with no wings ... in the workshop.

Due to a build up of mud, ice and sheep shite, the Junior's wheel box has become damaged. Pete Startup has worked hard to completed the Annual CofA over the weekend and Sunday saw some helpers turn up to fix the Wheel box. Mark Courtney, Dave Weeks, James Hood, Will Bond and others.

In the other workshop, could be found Pete Warren and Paul Summers, who worked tirelessly to refurb the DG505 brakes. A big thanks to them!

Pete Startup said:
During the annual inspection on FZF, a gash about 8" long by 1/2" wide had been cut in the top of the wheelbox requiring a tedious glass fibre repair. This was undoubtedly caused by mud/water/ice/snow build up in the wheelbox which built up to a point where it ruptured the skin..

By dint of good fortune a piece of "speed tape" was left on top of the wheel box after a similar repair a couple of years ago which has prevented all the aformentioned c**p having filled the fuselage over several weeks.

The clearance around the wheel in the Junior is only about 5-6 mm so it doesn't take much mud to fill the gap.

Please use common sense when the field is like a rice paddy and at the very least ensure that the gliders are thoroughly washed at cease flying including the wheelboxes EVERY time they are flown.

Pete S

Andrew logan said:

Just a note to thank all those who helped in the workshop during the Annual Check on the Junior FZF

The wings have come up polished better than I have achieved for the last two years and the aircraft is now back in the hangar this evening. Although it is not servicable due to two issues which will be sorted by the weekend.

For those who do not know much about a glider under the skin and who hope to own a share in a glider it can be a rewarding experiance

Two aspects to note:

The wheel box had been damaged sometime recently by debris/stone getting up inside.

We are trialling some special PTFE tape under the front cockpit. The area has just been repainted, Pete has completely cleaned up the brake system but it still remains a poorly engineered arrangement. We hope to avoid the usual scratches. But heavier pilots can be excused braking heavily as a matter of routine

KHA next week! Best Regards ANDREW LOGAN

Sunday 9th January

A clear blue start and the promise of another good winter's day flying brought out the members. Only extended circuits today though with slight thermal activity being kicked off on the sunny ridge. Henry managed 28 minutes on the ridge. There were 8 aerotows and 52 winch launches. Will soloed in the K21 (previously soloed in K13). Rowan completed some more aerobatic training with Simon Minson, consisting of chandelles and inverted flying.
Rowan Smith and Simon Minson

Saturday 8th January

It was quite a slow start with the low cloud lifting and breaking into north-westerly streets, and gusty at times - but soarable. The ridge was working and the streets cloudbase at 1800ft kept everybody happy.
Andrew(GDE) and Roly(FZF) were up for just over an hour, Matt and Pete St flew JZK to Tiverton and back, and Stuart(KMV) takes the prize for just short of two hours. - Not bad for January. There was 1 trial lesson.
Matt and Pete at Tiverton
The ground was still wet though and the canopies started misting up quite early as the temperature dropped, forcing an early bath (wash and brush-up of the mud underneath the gliders before putting them to bed).
Approaching rain front

Sunday 2nd January

The day started damp with low cloud with a light Easterly, we started getting the gear out late morning and started flying about 12:30pm.
The two K21s and a Junior were kept at work all day, we had no exciting launch failures to amuse us - just the odd snow shower. We finished flying about 4:15pm and everyone had a couple of flights we had 30 flights in all. - J St

Saturday 1st Jan 2011

Happy New Year to all our readers. The snow has gone, the field has dried and 16 members enjoyed 46 winch launches on New Years Day.
It was a very still hazy day with a slight north-westerly drift.
Dylan and Wyn consolidated their solo flying whilst Rhodri (not to be outdone and following his successful driving test just before Christmas) had an 'learning experience' with CFI Pete. The K21 in a simulated launch failure used every inch (plus a bit) of the airfield.
Mark and Simon spent most of the day refreshing each other in the K13 in readiness for running the Full cat prep course planned for the end of January.
Eric was cleared for winch driving. KEK was rigged and weighed- thanks to all the helpers.

The day ended with mature, hot mince pies with thanks to Graham and Cheryl.