Thursday 31st March

Low cloud and drizzle welcomed the Thursday lunch club, this depressing weather inspired discussion and a presentation on airmasses and fronts. After lunch, a Junior and DG505 were derigged into their trailers ready for tomorrow's trip north.

Sunday 27th March

High pressure persisting with the associated ever thicker haze. Flights in the morning were limited to one in the sky at a time or launch failure training on a junior benefit day. There was a lot of fettling going on - in preparation for the Portmoak trip.

Saturday 26th March

There was very little wind but thick haze, with a forecast that may have deterred some people, but the few that did turn up enjoyed a nice warm day of circuits. Matt tried out his new toy - M5, and Cheryl flew the B4. Fred was back and nearly running on his crutches and it was good to see him flying again. The K13 was rigged after annual inspection, and the Rotax Falke was out after its winter rest.

Thursday 24th March

The same Easterly conditions persisting with the high pressure building further. Generally just circuits all day, but blue thermals did give a couple of half-hour flights around mid-day. During the afternoon the haze thickened so much that the early solos had to fly two-up.

Wednesday 23rd March

A warm day in prospect brought out the usual Wednesday suspects, the vis at the start of flying was very poor so flying was limited to one glider at a time until the conditions improved.
At about 11.30am it became thermic and the vis improved and soon all the gliders were airborne, most enjoyed some soaring with several flights of nearly 1hr.
In the mid-afternoon the conditions improved further enabling all our early solo's to fly on their own, well done to Dave, Peter S and Heather.

Thanks also to Carl and the team working on the annual inspection of K13 which has now been completed. - J St

Sunday 20th March

A fine sunny spring day brought out surprisingly few members, those that did come enjoyed mostly circuits – some slightly extended. Rhodri found the only thermal of the day and had the longest flight (19 minutes). Lots went on. Wyn converted to the Junior – well done, Dylan consolidated his flying in the Junior. Cheryl continued her come back. It was good to see three members of EUGC there working hard and hopefully enjoying their flying.
Thanks to Mugles, Pete W, and Graham for spending most of the day servicing the Skylaunch – it is appreciated. The Supercat winch was in use all day and gave most of us some real cable break practice!
Towards the end of the day the K13 was de-rigged and put in the workshop for its annual inspection.
At the end of the day it was still warm enough to sit outside with our tea and biscuits. Those of you who didn’t turn up missed a good opportunity to get back into practice after the winter.
Lastly congratulations to John and Mandy on their 50th wedding anniversary. - JSi

Saturday 19th March

Frost overnight gave a cold, crisp and sunny start, but belief in the forecast meant that we were set up at the wrong end of the field. The clear skies made it ideal conditions for our aerobatic training weekend. Our thanks to Jonathan Ross Advanced Aerobatic Instructor from Lasham for the coaching. Rowan, JB, John Si, and Muggles practiced basic and sports manoeuvres. Paul and Gerard continued getting used to the Cirrus. The gentle conditions provided an ideal opportunity for all our early solo pilots to fly on their own again. At lunchtime, Mike Fitz was presented with the BGA Diploma for Services to gliding (51 years of instructing and still counting).

Thursday 17th March

The bright, cold start with north westerly wind had all the early people getting the kit out. Unfortunately hardly anyone else turned up later and at times there were barely enough people to operate. However, it was a good local soarable day. Eric topped the list with over 2 hours in 194. The Pawnee was tried out with the new retractable rope. Congratulations to David C on his first solo.

Wednesday 16th March

Wednesday started with great expectations but a bit misty with low cloud, whilst we were waiting for the mist to clear we decided to renew the winch cables.
A team got the field set up and the gliders DI'd spurred by an obvious wave bar behind the west ridge. JSt and Nigel took the first cable followed by a dash down wind to the wave bar, soon to be climbing nicely in the wave through the low murk into the clear warm blue sky, Mike Fitz and Pete S soon followed.
After about 30min the wave slot started to close so two quick airbreak exits were required.
After lunch the cloud base was still 600ft and vis very poor so we walked the gliders back to the hanger and continued renewing the cables.
Thanks to Ian and all the helpers for completing the Pawnee annual with the addition of the new rope retracting winch. - JSt

Sunday 13th March

Cold front cleared through overnight giving a clear cold start. The initial soarable streets soon disappeared leaving completely blue conditions and a good house thermal over the site to 2500ft. There were 65 winch launches, 2 trial flights, 8 private gliders, Martin (KMV) had the longest flight - just over 2 hours. Paul and Gerard flew their new Cirrus (477). RASP showed an early cut-off to thermals at 4:00pm which was spot on. After flying, Max celebrated his 15th birthday with choccy cake all round. Congratulations to Peter F for completing his Full Cat and MGIR. It was good to see Mike R at the club after his recent foot operation.

Saturday 12th March

Conditions were a bit odd, low cloudbase, crosswind and a change of ends didn't improve the situation. There were 30 flights, 3 trial flights for Exeter University students. In the evening, some members visited the Dunkeswell Curry House to celebrate Graham's birthday.

Thursday 10th March

The wind was strong but straight down the strip, max gust at the launch point was 30knots and at the top of the launch the mean speed was close to 40knots. Takeoffs and landings were surprisingly uneventful. Cloudbase looked low, but in fact turned out to be 1600', the ridge was working but with 6+knot thermals about it was not used. We thought that these "good" conditions would not last long so restricted flights to 20 minutes so that everyone could sample vertical landings. Around lunchtime the cold frontal surface passed through making it very rough in the air and on the ground for about 15 minutes, with a noticeable drop in temperature. Then there was a rain shower. The afternoon was a little better, the wind dropped a little and cloudbase went up a few hundred feet, good cloud streets formed, and very entertaining hour long flights were had.
Simon M did some instructor checks in the DG throughout the afternoon.
Two new members joined the Club today, welcome Malcolm and David.

Wednesday 10th - the DG goes to Nympsfield

Fired up by the forecast wind of 290/20 and an EPIC Nympsfield ridge running day, Pete(230), JB(KJW) and Matt and Rowan with the DG set off early.

It proved to be a difficult ridge day especially South of the M4 where 3 Nympsfield locals landed out! It was a day of low scrapes, very tight ridge hugging and having faith, the difficulties being caused by wave interference and the wind backing more than forecast, but the flying was still great fun and I think Rowan definitely saw a different view of gliding and what is possible.
Attached are a couple of pics to give a flavour of the flying.

The other glider in the first picture(can you see it?) went into a field shortly after this was taken - and yes, THAT is the "ridge" behind!

Second picture shows Nympsfield ridge guru Trevor Stuart heading off down the ridge which is the waving tree line running up the centre of the picture.

Matt and Rowan climbing over the M4.

Thanks to all at Nympsfield.

Wednesday 9th March

With a good forcast the club was off to an early start with plenty of members to help get set up.
From the first flight we started soaring in the brisk W to N/W wind, all the club gliders were airborne all day plus the Duo with CFI & Clive who were airborne for over 3 hrs, Eric did about the same in the LS7.
Everybody had a soaring flight, last to land was Nick in the Junior, we had to let the sheep out to remind him it was time to go home.

"Stinky" goes flying (the dog don't think much of it though!)

What a day! we had ridge lift, cloud streets, thermals to over 3,000ft and the last couple of hours wave to 2,000ft, in all we did 42 launches and over 25 hrs of soaring. - JS.

Sunday 6th March - DG-505 to Brentor

As Jimbob and I set off from NH early Sunday morning, the words were still ringing in our ears from Si Leeson: “forecast looks poor, drizzle down there”. I was a little apprehensive to say the least. As we reached Okehampton there it was, DRIZZLE. With hearts down in our boots we fantasized about just being able to do two or three circuits and at that stage we would have been happy with that!

We arrived at Brentor about 0900, the club was already busy (how the place has changed!) we were greeted by the locals and offered a nice cup of tea to cheer us up.
Don (CFI) was his usual optimistic self and confident that things would get better and how right he was.

 We rigged the DG with help from the locals and soon we were online. From the very first flight you could feel weak wave/thermals. Jimbob and I had two flights before Henry jumped in. Our flight was the best for the NH crowd for the day, a mixture of wave and energy lines.

The local pundits Dave Jesty and Trevor Taylor really showed us the way to go, both enjoying over 3.5 hours and getting to 6,500 ft above site. Trevor flew to within 30 km of NH above cloud when he turned for home and prepared the glider for a cloud descent. To his horror his artificial horizon misted up forcing him to go the long way around Okehampton. Dave and Trev only coming down to de-rig before the temperature dropped.

Dave Weeks dropped in with his new lady but did not fly. A great day and a big thank you to Brentor for providing the lift and cups of tea.

10,000 ft next time ??


Sunday 6th March

A bright blue sky and fresh south easterly wind greeted everyone, and after the exciting wave flights mid week we were all looking for more of the same. But it wasn't to be, there was pleanty of lift about but it was only thermal, there were several flights of over 30min, Matt having the longest flight. All in all a cold but pleasant day.

Thursday 3rd March

The synoptic chart was much the same as yesterday, and stories of wave flights had all excited. A bright blue sky, a strong north easterly and a little cap of cloud just downwind of the ridge promised much.
Soon both K21s, a Junior and the DG were dashing downwind from the launch, and climbed away steadily at 2kts, they were soon joined by the K13. Most climbs were to over 4500' QFE, but the best climb was Mark L and Pete H in the DG to FL71 (6700' QFE), directly over the site just clear of the airway. Most flights were over an hour, having to be forced down each time.

Photo from Lisa.
Visibility below the 2000' cloud tops decreased steadily throughout the day. A strange fact that this lift was in exactly the same place as last Thursday, only the wind was 180 degrees the other way.
These conditions continued until mid afternoon, when the wave shifted putting the launch in the sink, cutting the launch height at 1000' due to cloud and the entire circuit in 8kts down.
We decided to call it quits, packed up the kit and retired to the Clubhouse for a warming hot chocolate, thanks Lisa.
All in all a good day, bitterly cold but everyone smiled.

Wednesday 2nd March

After a run of terrible weather this year so far, Wednesday changed for the better at last.
The day started very cold and gloomy with a strong N/E wind, low cloud made the first couple of launches very short. But then wave gaps appeared in the low cloud and by dashing downwind to the gaps JSt and Nick were soon sitting above the cloud in warm smooth and strong wave we were soon joined by Mike Fitz and Joe S. About lunch time the sky went blue and the wind picked up and the wave became stronger,there were many wave flights our new member Ian had over one hour. The last flight of the day Jonathan and JSt on a hangar flight contacted wave at 1200ft and climbed to over 4500ft.
Lets hope the run of bad weather is now behind us. - JSt