Wednesday 31st August

A rather cloudy day with a light S/E wind ideal for training and early solos, Dylan & Rhodri managed quite a few flights each, Dave C had a couple more flights in the Junior and his first solo attempt at a hangar flight (he certainly was determined not to overshoot).

We welcomed a new member Steve, who has returned to gliding after a break of 30 years, Pete D, spent most of the afternoon circuit bashing in his Skylark 4.

We handed over to John Si for the evening trial lesson group for Taunton Round Table just as the sun came out, John and the helpers were heroes as they managed to fly the whole group with two gliders and only one instructor - JSt

Bank Holiday Monday 29th August

Somebody forgot to tell the Met Office it was a Bank Holiday because the weather was perfect, a light N/W wind and very thermic with cloud streets as far as the eye could see and perfect visibility as well.
All the gliders were out early, a lot of club members turned up to fly and the two seater list was long, John S & John S managed to get through the list with help from Roly and Stu, the two Juniors also spent all day soaring.
Pete D flew his Skylark 4 for nearly 3 hrs for his second Cross Country Endorsement soaring flight and there was a long list of private gliders on various tasks. - JS.
The cross country pilots sat around for a long time waiting for the top cover to clear to allow some heating through, eventually around midday it did and quite rapidly abundant thermals to 3000'QFE were to be had. A 220km task to Okehampton and Dorchester was set and six gliders set off (Ron/Dan ASH25 711, Phil ASW20 611, Matt ASW20 M5, Rowan Libelle CLM, JB Ventus KJW and Pete/Jill Duo OL). The first leg was quite a battle with a strong into wind component and several reported "sticky" points. Once round the turn it just got better and better, except for those who insisted that there would be a sea breeze front and headed for the coast - it was a lot better to stay on track, a few miles inland.
The cliffs of Matt's epic video - from somewhat higher!

All made it round in about three hours, except Rowan who decided that one trip away from home was enough and headed for NHL half way down the second leg, and unfortunately missed his Silver height by 100'.
Bridport, Chesil Bank and Portland in the distance

Pete (Discus 230) must have worked doubly hard all morning, as he managed to get the afternoon off to run a quick 100km run to Eaglescott and back. He reported brilliant conditions out to our northwest and it looked good all the way into Cornwall, the 220km could easily have been extended to over 300km as the streets stretched over the NW horizon for a couple of hours after finishing. A brilliant day for what is probably the end of the season - but we can all hope for more. Interestingly only three Clubs posted cross countries on the National Ladder for today, Portmoak with some very long and fast wave flights, Lasham along the south coast into Kent and North Hill - well done us.

Sunday 28th August

It was hoped that there would be less showers today, and apart from a short break just before lunchtime, we managed 48 winch launches and 14 aerotows. Eric Duo Discus OL, Matt ASW20 M5 and Justin all flew for more than 2 hours once it became soarable although cloud bases took a while to rise to 2000ft. Pete Dugdale was signed off solo aerotow. Our first trial lessons with the new arrangements with Bovey Castle guests were enjoyed by all. Flying continued through the pleasant soarable evening sunshine.

Saturday 27th August

The large number of showers made soaring quite difficult, but Ian M borrowed LH for a 2 hour flight, and Justin made his annual visit flying his Antares round the Quantocks before landing near Taunton.

Thursday 25th August

The bright start soon clouded over in the light southerly wind and we had rain showers before mid-morning. After a short rain break we were able to continue for the rest of the day in increasingly strong and gusty southerly wind. Matt and JimBob were ready and waiting for another trip to the seaside, but showers and disappointingly low cloud base prevented any exploration. It was reasonably soarable in the low thermals on the south ridge. Longest flight about one hour. We handed over to the evening group from Exeter University.

Wednesday 24th August

Wednesday began sunny with a moderate S/W wind, all the gliders were out and ready at the launch point by 10.00 am, things started well enough with a little bit of ridge and thermal but as the morning went on the wind picked up and gave us some interesting landings.
At midday it started to rain so we all went for lunch, after lunch things did'nt look very promising so after a prolonged cloud burst we decided to put the kit away, then quess what, as soon as everything was put away it cleared up to give quite a pleasant afternoon.
The afternoon was not wasted though a team serviced one of the Land Rovers and fixed the door on the Disco and another team had a good clear up. JS.

Brilliant news after the results of the Inter Club League had been calculated. DSGC have won the local South West League, narrowly beating the team from The Park by one point. Well done to all those that have flown or helped in any way, and particularly Muggles who has driven it all along. Just need to find a team for the final at Dunstable in ten days time.

Sunday 21st August - ICL

Sunday dawned with more optimism, as the rain had gone through overnight, however the veil of high cloud was stubborn to move and let any heating through. Tasks were set to Shaftesbury and Tiverton, but following a delayed start and rebrief, they were reduced to Sherborne, Tiverton East 122km. Teams were similar with Simon M ASW20 SM in the pundit class replacing Ron who was Duty Instructor.
Well done to Simon for completing the task, in the patchy conditions. Martin & Rowan in DG505 landed within a few kilometers of completing the task, Jimbob Junior made a valiant attempt but landed at Chard. Full results to follow when all the logger traces have been verified.

Saturday 20th August

North Hill was hosting Inter-Club League at the second attempt this weekend, the team selection was Jimbob Junior Novice, Martin & Rowan DG505 Intermediate, Ron ASW20 Pundit. The weather didn't want to play ball, with rain on and off for most of the morning, at the second briefing the captains agreed to scrub. During the late afternoon, the weather improved enough to get some local club flying, but with a howling southerly cross-wind, circuits and approach was rather boisterous. It calmed down nicely for the evening group from Kingkerswell Pharmacy, a double barbeque followed.

Friday 19th August

What a difference a day makes.......
Thursday was rain and drizzle all day and Friday was sunshine, although not soarable until 4:30pm. The course made up for lost flying time, with all course members enjoying many circuits and launch failure practice. Once the wind picked up on the south ridge, some thermal into wave soaring was possible, and all experiencing the lift.
An enjoyable course, thanks to all the helpers Dick, Dick and Les, and the other unofficial helpers, and to JB, Muggles and Paul for instructing.

Wednesday 17th August- course week

It started off dry but cloudy with a chilly north east wind, a few flights for course and club flying were possible before the rain and lower cloud arrived. A bright slot after lunch enabled everything to be flown back from the other end of the field before the rain returned. JB gave presentations on stalling/spinning and use of flaps. The Devon Strut evening group was cancelled prior to the clearance arriving.

Tuesday 16th August - Course week

Happy 16th birthday Liam.
Dawned cloudy and drizzly with a circuit planning presentation by JB, before the cold front proper brought a clearance by lunchtime. After a photoshoot of the ground equipment for the new web this space....the course started flying.
Liam had a couple of check flights in the K13 before CFI Pete did up the straps in the back seat. There was a large gathering of family and friends to celebrate Liam's first solo. Liam joins the growing list of DSGC Juniors who have soloed on or close to their 16th birthday.

In the afternoon, cloudbase rose to the dizzy height of 2500ft and it was quite easily soarable locally and the course had plenty of flying. Liam enjoyed further solo flights including soaring 25 minutes.

Monday 15th August - Course week

A bright blue start had everybody excited about the day, but the forecast predicted rain arrived on schedule. The course briefing was kept to a minimum to make best use of the conditions. Those that flew before lunch had soaring flights.

Jonathan S was ready and briefed for his silver distance attempt, but failed to contact the street. Liam prepared for his 16th birthday tomorrow with launch failures with Pete. It rained from 2:30pm and JB gave a lecture on winch launches.

Up country, many 300-600km flights with best at 702kms, and 6-7000ft cloudbases.

Sunday 14th August

Everything was out early for a bright start, but it turned out to be a rather overcast until lunchtime. Pete Discus 230, Matt ASW20 M5, Simon M ASW20 SM completed the club 100 NHL-TIE-YEO-NHL. The afternoon just seemed to get better even with northwesterly 15knot wind and when the thermals stopped, the ridge kept going into the evening. All the club fleet and Mike S ASW20 ENW, Jeff Mosquito 380, Robin ASW27 JPT, Eric followed by Pete & Jill DuoDiscus OL enjoyed an afternoon of local soaring.

Saturday 13th August

Low cloud and drizzle delayed the start until lunchtime,but Wyn took the opportunity to pass his Bronze exam. In the afternoon it was mainly circuits, Rhodri managed 28 minutes. Mark and Dave W flew a nav cross-country in Rotax Falke to Henstridge followed by Simon L and Jimbob to Dunster and back.

Thursday 11th August

Low cloud and drizzle prevented flying until after lunch, but it did give us some time to put new ropes on the winch - thanks to Les and all the helpers.
In the afternoon, the westerly wind kept the ridge working but most opted for winch failure practice. Towards the end of the afternoon, lowering cloudbase and drizzle returned. The evening group from the Met Office had cancelled early (with inside information).

Wednesday 10th August

All the club gliders were out by 9pm and about 20 members ready to fly. We soon got the field set up, although the sky looked good, and with a fresh westerly we had great hopes of the ridge working and thermals popping but we were greeted with strong sink for most of the morning.
By lunch the wave that was causing the sink gave way to some strong thermals to 3,000ft and you could step into the wave/rotor and have some good climbs.
Dave C added 3 more Junior flights to his total and had his white card re-signed, Heather also renewed her white card and had a solo flight before the conditions got too rough, Ernie was kept busy all day with new members helped out by Lisa.
Joe D, Pete & Jill, Eric, Martin, Jeff and Robin all flew their own gliders and there were many long flights through the afternoon in wave, rotor and thermal.
At about 6pm the club handed over the airfield to the the evening trial lesson group led by Mike S and Lisa, as Roly had a pain in the neck and wisely decided not to fly. - JS

Friday 5th August - Course week

Probably the best day of the week for both flying conditions and achievements. The low cloud didn't delay the start too much, with a gentle westerly wind which went round to north through the day but was so light it was 'no bovver'.
It was soarable from quite early on and Nigel took off to attempt his 2 hour soaring flight, unfortunately a patch of spreadout killed the thermals after an hour. Meanwhile Geoff was sent solo and consolidated this achievement with a further 6-7 during the day. It became soarable again and Bill, Ray B and Ray D had good long flights and had to airbrake down for lunch. In the afternoon, the sky was quite flat, Nigel took the opportunity to get signed off solo aerotow and yellow card. Paul who is working to resolo after 30 years had many circuits. At the end of the afternoon Dave C (one of the course helpers) converted to Junior with a soaring flight.

Congratulations to all, and thanks to Les, Ian and Dave for the seamless ground operation, and Eric & Pete and other Club Instructors for providing the encouragement during the week.

In the evening, a party from the Environment Agency had a variety of winch and aerotows and finished off with a barbeque.

Thursday 4th August - course week

Last night it rained, and continued well into the morning, it then took another few hours until the cloud was high enough to start flying. Meanwhile we talked through some circuit planning briefing and viewed some of Matt's videos. Early afternoon the westerly wind was blowing just enough to get the ridge to extend circuit times a bit, plus a few over 30 minutes.
All the Club fleet were in use by the course and Thursday club members, Joe flew Cirrus JD7 after completing the annual.
Congratulations to Rhodri for completing his second Bronze half hour in the Junior.
Langport Round Table visited for an evening of Trial Lessons.

Wednesday 3rd August - course week

A much better day, bright start, light south westerly wind and a buoyant feel to the air from the word go, but it took quite a time for the thermals to establish. Early afternoon then looked as if the sea air had encroached from the south, but it was still soarable. There had been evidence of wave all day, and this did extremely strange things to the soarability of the air.
Wednesday Club members were scarce, nobody wanted the two seaters and very few to fly the Junior. Private Ka6, DG100 and ASW27 came out to play. Thanks to the work of Pete and Carl, and many others as ballast, the K21 wheel brake has been fixed, and another thank you to Tim, Joe and Keith for driving to Gloustershire to pick up the Junior, the fleet is now back to full strength.
With no trainees, but plenty of instructors, the course had plenty of flying with four two seaters to play with, most had good soaring flights.
The evening group, a party of 20 ladies from a walking club, had a very enjoyable session with excellent visibility and extended circuits in the still soarable sky - they have promised to come back for another go.

Tuesday 2nd August - course week.

A better day today, although not spectacular. A bit of rain overnight left us in moist air giving low cloud over the field, but the sun came out and lifted the cloud to a usable height, and became sort of soarable in the light south westerly wind. Bill and Eric in the K21 and Ray D and Pete in the K13 climbed quite quickly to 2000' but then found little more. A training launch failure putting the rope in the trees prompted a change of launch point into the now north westerly, we should have really changed ends as within half an hour the wind was round to near easterly. We put up with the tailwind for a while, before packing up having flown everyone.
We welcomed Steve from Aston Down, who had the best flight of the day (in the Junior) whilst the course had lunch.

The Davies family do La Motte du Caire

10th to 17th July 2011
Made to feel very welcome by Christian and Momo, we put up the tents settled down for the first night.

Monday dawned bright and clear with a gentle westerly wind. We met the team and had the briefing under the tree by the club house. Forms filled out, and Rhodri was the first to launch in the K21. He returned after 2 hrs with Christian and spoke of amazing climbs and mountain views. Dylan followed with the same, and then by 4.30 it was my turn. Over 2 hours later we returned to the site. Having tasted my first experience of thermals of +5 meters per second (or 10 up in old money). The local mountain is the Blanchere, covered in evergreen trees with a small quarry which seemed to kick off some thermals. The routine was a launch to the south, fly fast to La Blanchere and then climb it like a ridge, until you pop off the top. Then nose down and head off to Le Malaup, which looks grey and forbidding. Christian started the climb within the “walls” of this mountain, and then handed to me. The lift seemed to only work close to the mountain, and flying for the first time next to this 1,561 m mountain was awesome. Again, after a few runs, we popped off the top into stronger lift and climbed before heading out to La Jouere 1,886m – a place we came to love, with its 3 horses on the ridge, leaning into the wind. This ridge is long and gentle, but that afternoon it worked so that you joined low at the North end, and flew along the ridge to the south and east, climbing steadily , pass the horses, do a couple of thermal turns before setting out for a 10k dash at 150kmh . There were gliders every where, all racing along at high spend, with the FLARM lit up green most of the time. Occasionally bleeping frantically and showing red, as a glider sped underneath us with a separation of a few wing spans. Headed NE to Dormilouse 2,505m and then cross Le Lac de Serre Poncon to pic de Morgon at 2,327.

Fabulous views of clear blue water with the mountains all around. Christian showed me some of his favorite “thermal generators”. This is where the wind funnels into a rocky crevice, and we dive into it, then being blown upwards at incredible speeds. He had my doing turns tighter than I felt comfortable with and so very,very steep !! nearly 3 hours later we retunred to La Motte, exhausted and hungry, but already looking forward to the next flight.

Mtgne de la Blanche – Wyn not quite sure about the next peak, as it is a bit close to the cloud

Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday we had a storm, with local flooding, and spent the day watching videos, and occasionally looking at the North Hill web cam, to see our home club enjoying some nice summer weather!.

Dylan in wave – near Seyne

By the end of the week, we had all flown in the 21, and to ease the training load, Momo and Jean Claude took Dylan up in the Twin Astir and then the Janus.
We all learnt a great deal, but most of all, it is a most beautiful place to fly and it is great fuuuuuuuuuuuun, and the feeling of 10 up, or Dylan’s little wave flight to 3,800m or 12,500’ will be remembered for a long time. . As for my flying, well, it is a little less imprecise than before I left. But I practiced fast entry into thermals from 150kmh, so from all the great training at NH, at least some of it stuck. The yaw string is still a bit of a problem though! - Wyn

Next year –
Christian has promised (tempted) us all long trips to Mont Blanc and Dylan has already signed himself up as the winch man for the holidays. We plan to join him for at least 2 weeks in July and perhaps another week in August!
Maybe a gang from NH would like to go? Can not recommend it enough!!
Wyn & Marie-Noelle, Rhodri and Dylan

Monday1st August - course week

Well I think that we made the most of the day. Low cloud through the morning allowed the 'meet and greet' and admin to be fairly leasurely. Three members of the course were new to the safe winch launching initiative, so Eric provided a presentation emphasising the correct times to pull and push. This put us in good stead as the cloud base rose to 1200' and we went out to theory into practise. Each course member got in three launches before the cloud came down again.
Unfortunately Lisa's evening group was postponed again.