30th May - Bank Holiday Monday

Cannot see the other side of the airfield, low cloud and drizzle. Thank goodness this did not happen for the two days of our open weekend - we were so lucky. A message to all from our chairman:
"The Open Weekend was a tremendous success. Cheryl’s organisation and arrangements with great support from her group of helpers meant that it ran flawlessly. Club members worked tirelessly with good humour throughout. It was great to see so many people at the club, they also co-operated by arriving in a steady stream from first thing on both days. It has generated a substantial sum towards club funds, a meaningful donation to the Devon Air Ambulance and a vast amount of goodwill for the club, as well as a number of new members and considerable interest from many others. Well done and thank you all who contributed and worked so hard."

Sunday 29th May - Open weekend

The day started bright but soon clouded over in a brisk south westerly, cloudbase went down and up, the morning was under total cloud cover and the afternoon was thermic. There were 90 flights today and 140 over the whole weekend with a donation to the Devon Air Ambulance. There were several new quarterly memberships signed up.

The winch performed flawlessly. The catering was superb. Thanks to Cheryl for overall organising the event. The Junior contingent worked very hard on both days. Thanks also to all the club members who contributed to the smooth running (too many to mention).

The evening continued with an impromptu cooperative supper and celebratory pi***up.

Saturday 28th May - Open weekend

After the lovely balmy sunny evening yesterday, Saturday dawned rather grey and with one eye on the rainfall radar image we set up the field for a strong westerly wind. Visitors for trial lessons started arriving just before 9:00am and a steady stream continued until 5:00pm. There were a couple of short breaks for lowering cloudbase and drizzle, but we flew 58 visitors with the ridge working all day. Several new members were signed up for quarterly membership. The happy but tired club members retired to the clubhouse to enjoy a carvery.

Friday 27th May - Task week

The morning forecast suggested a bit of flattish ridging, wind dropping slightly but would the cloudbase increase sufficiently? The task was set NHL-DOR-TIV-NHL, but RASP showed better conditions on Exmoor initially then later in Dorset - so Ron gave the option to do the task either way.
The late morning was spent trying to find the elusive wave. We all tried the normal trigger places for a north westerly but only Ron and Phil ASH25 711 and Rowan Libelle CLM managed the transition. Ron and Phil got up to the base of the airway.
Some turned Tiverton first and others went back to North Hill for a restart. The run down to Dorchester had a 14knots tailwind and cloudbase rose up to 4000ft QFE and the run back into wind was by now streeting and provided a 48km final glide for some.
The 158km task was completed by
Ron and Phil ASH25 711
Pete St Discus 230
Matt ASW20 M5
Pete and Jill Duo Discus OL
JB Ventus KJW

Chris W and James DG505 JZK glid out and landed at Tiverton (in the wave down), Nick R Junior KHA turned Dorchester and landed in the same field at Tiverton hours later, having completed a very creditable 136km.

Daniel ASW20 611 turned Dorchester but enjoyed a final glide to North Hill.

Two good days on the task week this year, thanks to Ron for organising / mentoring, and to Robert, Mike and Barbie for tugging.

Wednesday 25th May

The day didn't look too promising for a cross-country task, so the club members set up the Wednesday launch point as normal, meanwhile the soaring group discussed the previous day's flights with maggot-racing on the big screen. There were a couple of disappointments on tecnicalities for badge claims - so we need to brush up on the rules particularly for the 1.0km start line at the clubhouse (which is a lot shorter than you think from overhead at 3000ft.)
During the morning, the wind was picking up more from the south and there was a 'call from the cliffs'. Ron and Lisa took off in DG505 JZK for a closer look, but turned back as there was low cloud over the coast- not the same conditions in a southerly as the epic 8th May cliff run.
The south ridge was working for most of the day, but as always it made for tricky landing conditions.
There was general tidying up of the airfield - ready for our Open weekend.

Tuesday 24th May -Task week

Monday was a wind and low cloud wash out, - but the cold front cleared to give us a nice day on Tuesday......
With the strong westerly wind forecast to drop later, an out and return to Candover Church was set, plus a shorter run downwind for those trying silver distance. The head wind on the return leg proved quite challenging, but 7 gliders completed 307 km.
  • Ron and Phil ASH25 711
  • Chris W & Nick R DG505 JZK
  • Pete and Jill Duo Discus OL
  • Matt ASW20 M5
  • JB Ventus KJW
  • Pete St Discus 230
  • Martin LS3 KMV who achieved Diamond Goal.
Lisa ASW20 LH and Dan ASW20 611 made admirable attempts but landed at Wincanton and near Henstridge respectively. Meanwhile:
  • Trevor DG101 DG1 completed his Silver badge with a run to The Park
  • Rowan Junior KHA completed Silver distance landing at Compton Abbas.
Rowan hitched a lift back to North Hill in a Dimona and then retrieved himself. Back at North Hill:
  • James K21 HCX completed his Silver badge with 5 hours local soaring.
  • Roly Kestrel 523 flew in the convergences on the Devon Somerset border.
Thanks to Robert and Mike for towing, after which Mike and Dave R also enjoyed some good local soaring.

Congratulations to all the badge achievers.

Sunday 22nd May

After a cold front clearance with overnight rain, the low cloud and very strong westerly wind delayed the start. After a short shower, cloudbase lifted and flying started. The wind was very strong and gusty all day and restricted flying to blue card. Mike completed his BI tests with Adam. John P Junior KHA, Pete St Discus 230, Steve Discus FER, JB Ventus KJW all flew for more than 2 hours. Steve and JB battled upwind under a convergence to South Molton.
There was a group of professional photographers who were staying locally on a weekend workshop, they took thousands of photographs and interviewed club members, we have been invited to view the results on Tuesday evening.

Saturday 21st May

Low grey cloud and a strong southerly was enough to keep the south ridge ticking over initially. By mid afternoon, the cloud broke a little to allow some thermic activity. For a short while a wave gap opened up and all the gliders got up to 1700ft. Jonathan completed his Bronze flying tests, and Mike S was being checked out for BI rating. Nick R flew the Junior for more than 2 hours.

Thursday 19th May

A cold front cleared through yesterday afternoon leaving us in a nicely unstable north westerly airstream with pressure building. It proved to be soarable from almost first launch until the last - 7 hours of good soaring. Surprisingly very few private owners turned up to enjoy the conditions, - there were 4-6 knot thermals with cloudbase towards 4000ft QFE. From the BGA ladder, it proved to be a day when more than 800kms was flown and there were more than 40 flights greater than 300kms. Meanwhile at North Hill, training flights, trial lessons and local soaring kept the 2-seaters busy. There were 51 flights, 10 aerotows. Robert L Astir DKU, Phil M Ash25 711 and Pete S DG100 DG1 all flew for over 3 hours.
Thanks to Andrew and Karl for working on one of the Juniors and getting it serviceable by lunchtime. After flying, Pete H, Dave A and Dave C changed some of the rope on the second drum of the Skylaunch ready for the Open weekend.

Wednesday 18th May

Not a very inspiring day with low cloud to start and light rain forcast, we set the field up for a north westerly and had a few flights before an early lunch.
The day was not wasted though, Matt fitted the replacement lever in the drive selector on the Skylaunch, which is now servicable again and Mike Fitz and team fitted a new cable on the R/H drum of the Skylaunch. A punture was mended on the Disco and a skip was nearly filled with rubbish. Thanks to Matt for donating a logger to the club.
At about 3.30pm the sky cleared and we resumed flying, there was some nice ridge lift to be had we finished flying about 6.00pm. - JSt

Monday 16th May

John Bugbee, gone to soar the heavens.

Monday 16th May

About a dozen or so members gathered at Torbay Crematorium today to signal a final "All out!" to John Bugbee. We met and talked with family and friends to reminisce and celebrate John's life. He was truly a remarkable man.

Sunday 15th May

Bright start but with a rather strong northwesterly wind, by lunchtime it had clouded over and didn't look too inspiring. Despite this it was highly soarable with 4-6 knot thermals to 3000ft all day. John P in Junior KHA and Matt ASW20 M5 made the most of the day with 2-3 hour flights. There was clear wave interference which sometimes helped the thermals off the ridge. Launches from the Supacat were quite spritely.
Alex Walton from Mid-week Herald, Exeter Journal, Sidmouth Herald had an aerotow and winch launch filming publicity for the open weekend. - Look out for the articles next week.
At Upavon, conditions were more difficult but the DG505 with Simon M and Max enjoyed a field landing. All gliders back safe and sound.

Saturday 14th May

At the club it was a bit thin on the ground as a large contingent had trailed to Upavon for the Inter-Club league.

Reports from ICL - Congrats to Henry Pilatus B4 CVV for winning the Novice task - O/R to Lasham and he made it back to near Popham where the strong headwind proved too great. Pete St Discus 230 in the Pundit class completed 160km at a very respectable nearly 60kph considering the spreadout and tricky headwind. (2nd subject to confirmation). Martin and Paul in DG505 were reported to have struggled with the navigation around Berkshire.

Friday 13th May - Course week

An early start with the weather looking good for the solo pilots, they were all checked out promptly and raring to go.
The weather looked totally overcast but it was still very thermic, a sea breeze set up giving some interesting easy soaring conditions, all 4 solo pilots had good long soaring flights,we used all the club gliders to maximise the solo soaring, Roy LS7 and Matt ASW20 M5 flew their own gliders.
The course flew 50 flights with 12.19 hrs soaring.
Achievements for the week:-
Nigel - Bronze badge completed, off checks, good soaring flights
Ian - 25 solos, signed off checks, good soaring flights in the Junior, completed bronze soaring flights.
Robin - Re-solo'ed, 6 solo flights.
Mark - converted to Junior, 71 min bronze soaring flight.
Andy - Long soaring flights (Although he has a rating in the US he did not have a medical, so he could not solo).
Richard - 29 flights, over 6hrs soaring, Richard has a PPL and this was an introduction to gliding.
All pilots flew to a good standard all week and the course was free from hic-ups, it was a pleasant week, thank you to all the helpers, and all the members were a pleasure to fly with.
Totals for week 153 flights and 38hrs soaring. - JSt

And a big thank you to John St for his sterling efforts for the Club, who has now completed his last Course, - but John plans to continue instructing after his xx birthday in the restricted format.

DG505 has been packed up and towed along with the rest of the team to Upavon for the InterClub League - watch this space for results and 'How I dunnits'.

Thursday 12th May - Course week

We set up for a north westerly wind but it was grey and drizzly to start with, restricting us to circuits, although the ridge was working to a fashion. The sky got darker towards lunchtime but Pete St Discus 230 & Matt ASW20 M5 sat on the ridge at low level hoping for a clearance. As if by magic, the sun came out and there were white puffy cumulus at 3000ft QFE and it made for a glorious afternoon. Soaring continued til 1800. There were 26 flights with 7.16 hrs soaring. The course took an early bath, dressed respectably and went to The Keepers for the course dinner.
Congratulations to Nigel E who completed his Bronze Badge and to Rowan for conversion and his first flight in his new Libelle (CLM).

Wednesday 11th May - Course week

Another rewarding day, started flying at 9.05am to a rather overcast sky but it was good conditions for launch failure practice, Nigel, Mark and Ian all went solo and had soaring flights, on his second flight Mark had a flight of 71min. for his first bronze leg. Nigel had bronze flight checks with Mike Fitz.

We had 7.41 hrs soaring and 29 flights.

The course and normal wednesday club flying integrated well with no problems. All the club gliders were in use all day, pity FZF was u/s as that would have been airborne all day too. Pete W. was kept busy in the tug. Private gliders out were Pete & Jill Duo Discus OL, Robert Astir, William K6 DQS, Pete St Discus 230, Jeff Mosquito 380, Trevor DG100 DG1 and Andrew L K6 DRE. All is at peace again in the 230 household, Pete flew his first cross country of the year - a little jaunt out west, while OL's attempt to go east was thwarted by some very low cloudbases, they then flew along some sort of convergence towards the north coast. - JSt

Tuesday 10th May - Course week

We started flying at 9am and the day was good from the start we managed 31 flights and 8hrs 22min of soaring, Ian H was so thrilled by his first flight in a sea breeze front he decided to soar another that set up in the afternoon.
Matt W and Robert L also flew and had good soaring flights.
We were lucky with the weather as a few miles to the North of the field it looked very dark and rain was falling for most of the afternoon. - JSt

Monday 9th May - Course week

The first summer course of the season, and a very windy start, delayed due to low cloud, all course members turned up and all had several flights the longest one of 23min.

Thanks to Roly for giving us a hand. - JSt

Sunday 8th May Down at the Beach

Just a quick thank you to Simon J who braved the 'sporting conditions' at the club to tow the fortunate few down to the Sidmouth cliffs and also to the energetic wing runners, volunteer retrieve drivers etc without whom we could not have enjoyed this awesome new experience.

A couple of pictures and a video to tempt the next batch of adventurers!

Beer Head Cliffs
Approaching Sidmouth

Sunday 8th May

The briefing was - let's go to the seaside, so with a howling southerly wind and a very gusty airfield, there was the opportunity for advanced training on the south coast cliffs. Simon L did a recce in the Rotax Falke and found it difficult to get down to the cliff level due to the strong lift. The trailers were prepared and left ready to go at the gate.
Simon L and JimBob in JZK DG505, Simon M and Paul S in HCX K21, Ron and Daniel in 711 ASH25, Phil M in 611 ASW20 and finally Matt in M5 ASW20 . The crosswind takeoff and the long aerotows to the Branscombe cliffs were quite exciting. After a few beats along the cliffs, the strong ridge/wave lift carried them up to 2500ft and it was left to Matt who had spotted Gerard on the footpath to beat along at low level thinking about reaching Chesil Beach. All returned safely most landing across the field to the superb exclamations mainly - wow! We await the photos and video......

Meanwhile JB and Rowan in the K13 were seen to be stationary above the south ridge as the wind on the ground gusted to 40knots and launching was temporarily suspended.

Thursday 5th May

Same southerly crosswind, so we set up on the southwesterly run to give an into-wind component, but before we could start launching low cloud at 300ft and unexpected rain put paid to that. Back to the classroom for talks on winch launches and circuit planning, Having fed and watered 40 ramblers, Cachel prepared our lunch hoping that the weather would clear. It finally improved late afternoon and the Mini Owners / Mad Womens clubs from Seaton were our first evening group of the year.

Wednesday 4th May

Another day of strong winds, Mike Fitz & John St tried their hand but found the conditions a little too exciting and stopped for an early lunch, Peter F visited in the Cub but thought better of it and departed without landing.

Pete St rigged his Discus 230, more in desperation than expectation, thanks to all the team who helped tidying the site ready for the Open Weekend at the end of the month, and Pete W for bringing the entrance road up to 'motorway standard'(Ed. - but that doesn't mean 70mph!).

It was nice to see Don back at the club looking very well and Mike R overseeing the repair of the Landrover. - JSt

Sunday 1st May

A better day with 3-4 short thermal flights. John St and Pete W fixed the roller door on the tunnel so beware when operating it as it now moves freely!

Saturday 30th April

The Inter-Club League at North Hill was postponed due to the very poor cross-country forecast. It is hoped to reschedule for the reserve weekend.

Cloudbase was at about 600ft in places with a few small gaps, there was a howling easterly blustery wind.

In the morning Martin W explained polar curves and speed-to-fly, in the afternoon he continued with a lecture on cross-country flying and just at the point when he got to field selection, there was an unexpected arrival by 5 parachutists from Dunkeswell - they had got caught out by the low cloud and drifted too far downwind.
The afternoon was also spent clearing the drains before the thunderstorms arrived as forecast.

The DSGC dog Stinky caught a rabbit (last seen being left under Mark C's caravan).