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.

Friday 9th September - Course week

Today, unfortunately, was not flyable so the morning was spent giving lectures on spinning and a fantastic introduction to operating the launch computer was demonstrated by Jonathan. - LH
Thanks to Lisa and Peter F for instructing and Cheryl, Jonathan and Les for helping on the ground.

Thursday 8th September - Course week

The forecast was dire, three warm fronts in quick succession to give low cloud and drizzle all day. However the morning produced low cloud, but no drizzle, time for the course to practise launch failures. Meanwhile CFI tried to sort out the lighting in the clubroom.
Tom before his first solo winch launch

Malcolm after his first solo in a glider

At lunchtime it brightened up, to enable full circuits and a little soaring under the 1500' cloudbase, visibility was spectacular. Course members 'Texas Tom'  and Malcolm soloed and Mark re-soloed after a few lean months. Roger, visiting from Rattlesden with his DG1000, was winch converted and took Tom for a flight, who was impressed by the upgrade from K21.
Jonathan flew his new toy for the first time, and likened the move from Junior to ASW19 to jumping from a Fiesta to a Mercedes.
Jonathan about to sample his new plaything

Wednesday 7th September - Course week

The forecast for Wednesday was good with what seemed the best weather prospect of the week, a strong westerly wind made some interesting long flights possible the only problem was the frequent showers with up to four gliders have to make a quick exit from the ridge.
The Wednesday club and Pete & Lisa's course intergrated well and everybody flew before rain stopped play at about 5.30pm.
JB, Matt & Rowan abandoned an expedition to Nympsfield at Taunton returning to N/H, JB & Matt rigged and soared our ridge for a while before returning because of a rain shower, JB made an interesting landing across the field caught out by some strong sink. -  JS.

Tuesday 6th September - Course week

Rain stopped play!

Monday 5th September - Course week

Despite the strong westerly winds giving us almost blue card conditions all of the course members enjoyed about 5 launches each. Mark was tested on cable breaks and Colin and Graham experienced their first flights along the ridge. Peter flew with Malcolm, Heather and Tom preparing them for their solos to follow later in the week -LH

Sunday 4th September

Sunday started bright and with a very early start the gliders were ready to launch just after 9.00am, after the first launch scattered, low cloud halted flying for a short while, after that the weather greatly improved during the morning providing booming thermals to over 4,000ft. The thermals lasted well into the afternoon but rain started about 5.00pm to halt flying, everybody flew and the tug was put to good use many long flights were recorded. - JSt
For those that set off along the cloud streets into the brisk south westerly wind, found flying quite challenging with a fair amount of turbulence behind Dartmoor and uncentreable thermals, but no locatable wave.  

Congratulations to Dylan for getting all the paperwork signed up for Bronze following his week course at Lee on Solent.

ICL - official result has been published by Long Mynd Blog  - Double scrub and the trophy retained by Hus Bos. But very well done to all the North Hill competitors and crew for getting us to the final and attempting to compete with fairly heavy mobs. Thanks to Andrew for the nail-biting team selections and organisation.

Saturday 3rd September - ICL final Dunstable

The morning started with optimism of a good day, the previous night's forecast being quite promising, although it has to be said that the view out of the tent first thing in the morning was...very grey. Gliders were duly rigged and the competition checked out, with two JS1 Revelations among them! Fewer teams turned up than expected, of the seven local leagues only five had said they were attending, of these only North Hill, Long Mynd and Husbands Bosworth actually turned up.

Briefing dampened enthusiasm a little, with the forecasts having changed considerably overnight. We were each issued with no less than six tasks, a clear indication that the competition director had no real idea what was going to happen! Primary tasks were set with no indication of what the backup would be. First launch was declared to be 1230, this was subsequently pushed back to 1300, and when nobody had launched by 1330 an on-grid rebrief was issued, task number seven was given to everyone and this was declared to be the final option. First launch now 1400. 1400 came and went and still nobody opted to launch, the sniffers having taken off and landed again, with only the EB28 staying airbourne, just about, and reporting local cloudbase to be 2300'. At 1445 the Novices were scrubbed and released to enjoy local circuits (soaring still being too optimistic a word). At 1455 Russell Cheetham decided to take a launch in his JS1, this caused a small rush to the grid comprising the second JS1, the Discus, our DG505 and me in the Cirrus. The Pundits were dragged well towards the remote start at Leighton Buzzard NE, I bailed out under a vaguely less bad-looking cloud closer to home, and attempted to thermal whilst keeping in line with Dunstable's incredibly complicated airspace arrangements. Soon after I saw one of the JS1s scuttling home, and it didn't take me long to hit circuit height and follow him in. No sooner had I landed than I got a call to say our DG505 had landed out at Leighton Buzzard, having been taken out of gliding range by the tug and not found any lift to get home again. It ended with no score for either the Intermediates or the Pundits.

Outlook for tomorrow - currently similar, but with more hail in the morning, clearing late afternoon. We'll see what the forecast says in the morning, and may even hang around for briefing, but it's quite likely we'll be home for lunch I think. - Muggles

Thursday 1st September

There was a blue sky to start and a south easterly wind, it looked as if it should have been soarable but it wasn't apart from a couple of flights around midday. The thursday regulars pounded the circuit, with the multitude of instructors available. In the evening, the Met Office group arranged the weather (at the third attempt) and were lucky enough for some of the flights to contact the south easterly wave, with the lenticulars decorating the sky.