Wednesday 30th November

Once again Wednesday started with a lot of members turning up for an early start to make the most of the good forecast, all available gliders were out and those who flew early contacted weak wave in the fresh S/W wind, most flights were nearly 30 mins with ridge, a little thermal and bits of wave.

Nick H flew the Oly locally, Eric & Mark in OL and Matt in M5 paid a visit to the cliffs and all had good flights, Matt made it back to NH under his own steam, Eric & Mark with a little help from the "iron thermal."
We finished flying at 4.00pm due to poor light but by then everybody had flown. - JSt

Mark's story........

Eric A, Matt W, Tuggie Pete W and I sat in the clubhouse going through the Club's new procedures for trips to the cliffs, with everything ticked off there was nothing left but to have a go. With the wind looking distinctly SW (240deg) we did consider that today the cliffs might not want us to play with them. Exeter ATC were brilliant as usual allowing us a direct transit to Sidmouth, Eric decided to start the engine on OL to give us peace of mind for the trip home, after a few splutters the little "turbo" sprung to life. When we arrived at the cliffs we could see that the wind had more west in it than I had ever experienced on this new playground, feeling our way down we soon felt buoyant air at approx 1600 above sea level(QNH).
Moody sky from OL
Eric soon got the hang of hacking up and down the cliffs, I could see his smile in the refection of the front canopy! Matt W soon joined us and the real fun began. A large shower ran through so we hung around Sidmouth until it passed by at the other end of the cliffs, always keeping one eye on the horizon we could see another very large system looming in the distance. Matt climbed high, Eric and I climbed to 1800 ft and positioned ourselves in the best lift ready to spin up the Turbo, always mindful that engines are as predictable as snowfall, we had a backup plan - Branscombe airfield!
With the engine purring we set off home, a quick chat to Exeter ATC and we were soon on circuit back home, no sooner had we landed than Super Matt arrived with height to burn !!
Great White Shark seen from Sidmouth seafront today!
What a great trip 2 hrs of sheer delight, our knowledge of the cliffs gets better every time we visit, with another instructor cleared for cliff-running the fun will soon be shared by all!! - MC

And from our friendly spotter on the coast.......

Two were down here again today - and getting bolder.
It was blowing about 25 mph, south-west. I watched them from the beach at the Clifton (west) end for about twenty minutes. They left just as the rain appeared on the horizon.
Both crossed the Sidmouth gap from the east but only one went on to Peak Hill and Ladram Bay. I lost sight of him inland and was looking east when he reappeared low over the sea from behind me. He took me by surprise and was so quick I missed taking what could have been a fantastic photo. He crossed the gap and shot back up Salcombe cliffs. - John from Sidmouth

Sunday 27th November

Cold front cleared through early morning, with a bit of ridging behind to give us a clear, dry, blustery north-westerly. Initially just the ridge was working, then some thermals started popping in a street in the valley, up to 2500ft. Thermals lasted about an hour after which the gliders had to drop back onto the ridge until the wind dropped off towards the end of the afternoon. Pete St Discus 230 used all the usable day with a 4 hour flight. The DG505 was derigged ready for a trip to Gloucestershire for mandatory mods.

Some of the troops visited The Pilot Show at NEC.........
Three teams set off well before the birds were singing their dawn chorus and as per usual they all arrived way too early despite a leisurely breakfast!
The security guards stood firm as DSGC road trip crammed against the entrance doors not so patiently waiting to get in. With the team being led by Mad Max, Ice man Paul S and Mad Max mum they did not stand a chance, soon we barged in to be greeted by an incredible array of everything to do with light aviation.

There were gas turbine model helicopters, Gyrocopters, microlights gliders, small planes bigger planes etc etc and more electrical gismos than you would find in a looters swag bag, we were in flying heaven!
A long,long day but with good company a day to remember, roll on next year!! - MC

Saturday 26th November

A nice cold day at the club, not too many members but gliders kept busy all day. Some wave flights in the afternoon - very gently 2 up to cloud base 1800ft and then you could sit there enjoying the view before encountering the very gusty approaches. Mike W had the urge to loop down and is on a mission to finish his bronze now. VG was also busy all day with Stuart and Max in the morning, Ian M checking out William the latest addition to the syndicate and Carl later on. Rowan enjoyed some cable break and patter practise with Martin from the back seat. Fred also renewed his red card so a successful day all around. - LH

Thursday 24th November

Strong south-westerly wind with wave in the Broadhembury valley and the South ridge was working. Most people had extended circuits, James and Daniel continued BI training, and Eric completed his 5 year Instructor refresher checks. A fourth Falke was operating at North Hill in two days when Andy and Geoff visited from Lasham.

Wednesday 23rd November

After three duff Wednesdays at last some good weather! all the two seaters were flying, thanks to Pete St and William for fixing the canopy on HCX, also both Juniors were in use, well done to Richard F on his first solo, We also had three Falkes in use, Ian M giving field landing practice to two members of Dartmoor GC, Victor Golf was doing circuits and bumps with William, the other Falke was a visitor from Mendip GC for checks with Ian M, Tim J was getting used to his new ASW19.

We welcomed Vincent, a new member to the club, it was also nice to see John J return to the club after a long break. - JSt

Sunday 20th November

The forecast promised brightness after the fog clearance so the field was set up for a south easterly wind in the clag. By lunchtime, it started looking much better and launching commenced. James was given a simulated wave-off aerotow, followed by a spinning sortie as part of his BI training. Meanwhile the rest of the club flying enjoyed gentle southerly breezes with the south ridge giving ridge to wave transitions. Towards the end of the afternoon, the air chilled and orographic cloud started to form and canopies misted, calling an end to flying.

Saturday 19th November

Yet another southerly wind but just bringing the low cloud and drizzle up the Culm valley. The opportunity was taken to refresh the winch cables -thanks to all the helpers. Various briefings were given on field selection and landing, Flarms and Oudies. CFI Pete signed off Rowan's Blue card and Wyn's Yellow card. It was good to see Joe A back at the club - fit and well.

Thursday 17th November

What a difference a day makes - clear bright blue sky and gentle south-westerly wind to start - although short-lived. The morning soon clouded over but became thermic with an increasing southerly wind (probably not strong enough for the cliffs). As the thermals died down, the south ridge became soarable. Tom had a high tow, spinning all the way down. Pete W completed his Instructor 5 year refresher. CFI Pete took Cachel for a birthday trip in the Rotax Falke. Following Stuart's test flight at the weekend in the Falke -Victor Golf after its 15 month rebuild, Peter F and Carl made the most of the nice weather.

Wednesday 16th November

The day was a bit of a washout, with low cloud in the morning and rain in the afternoon. However, CFI Pete, visited SATCO at Exeter Airport to discuss our cliff-soaring expeditions and agree some protocols for mutual operations in free airspace.
In the evening, the final group of members visited the Control Tower to see the Air Traffic operation. Our thanks to Exeter Air Traffic staff for hosting our visits over the last three months, inspired by the CAA Airspace and Safety initiative "Visit ATC", more than 50 members took the opportunity.

Thursday 10th November

A few of the Thursday faithful arrived on site to unforecast brightness, blue skies and sun, as opposed to torrential rain. With one K21 and the Pawnee out low orographic cloud moved in from the south east.
Oh well, back to the Clubroom, cup of tea, and lectures on aerotow launches, obtaining weather reports and thermals. It started to look brighter, so early bacon butties and the sky cleared.
Move everything out to the north west corner and just enough time for four aerotows before flying it all home again for a wash and put away to bed.
A good day really, having expected the worst.

Aerobatic Weekend, as experienced by Max & Liam

With the forecast blue and a chilly north easterly wind, we had arranged to meet Guy at the Club for 8.00am. However when we arrived we were met by thick fog and bitterly cold winds. Though with the fog burning off, the Fox was rigged by 8.30, and a briefing started, where plans were made and we discussed the day ahead.When the weather actually became as forecast, the tug was pulled out and the Fox was towed up to the launch point.

My turn came and the roll on tow is quite an experience! Some other club members took up the opportunity to experience the Fox’s aerobatic capability, followed by some well needed lunch for Guy, then further aerobatic training flights were enjoyed throughout the afternoon.

With the bonfire and BBQ planned for the evening, Guy had brought along his wing tip pyrotechnic rigs to give a fantastic display flight just after sunset. I was lucky enough to join him! A great evening went ahead, with lots of fireworks providing Guy with some inspiration for future pyrotechnic displays!
Guy turns on the pyrotechnics and Max says, “Oh wow!”
Guy “What do you reckon then?”
Max: “That’s incredible, absolutely fantastic!”

What a day! The Fox is an amazing a bit of kit! It's not hard to appreciate the difference in doing aerobatics in something that was designed purely for that purpose!


Guy and Max light up the sky

A few months ago Will and l were at Yeovilton air show watching display after display of aircraft flying by and every time the crowd would cheer but nothing really caught my eye and made me go “Wow!”. Then the GliderFX team came on. Will and I went mad as the glider started rolling on tow but everyone around us was wondering what all the fuss was about. It didn't matter as it was just out of this world! I never thought I would ever see the likes of it again, I never thought that I would soon be experiencing it first hand.

Early Sunday morning my alarm sounded which was soon followed by the snooze button.... And then the "oh damn I've overslept" feeling. 5 minutes later I was on the road. The cold northeasterly hit me hard on my little 50 and I was doubting if this was really worth the pain. The briefing was at 9 and Guy gave us a lecture on flight envelopes and reviewing how to do certain figures. At the end Guy asked if anyone wanted to do anything in particular. I shouted out "Inverted spin!!" and was delighted when he said it wasn't a problem. From thereon the smile only got bigger.

The Fox was dragged out the hangar with John first to have a go with a down wind launch to the east end of the field. Once the Fox landed we all rushed to help push the glider back to the launch point with John smiling for once! Then in order everyone went flying with some low figures and even more smiley faces.

Then it was my go. I don't easily get nervous, well I like to think I don't, but I was. The cable went tense and we started moving I began to wonder what all the fuss was about. He began to explain to me that this was the normal tow position, it was like any other tow, but then we went upside down! “This is the inverted tow position” he laughed. “Its crazy isn't it!”. I didn't have time to relax, I was too busy swearing at the straps not to let go. To my relief we rolled back up. It was good to see the tow plane the right way up.

4500 feet and the fun began. We did a few loops and rolls. Then he asked if I wanted to do a flick roll. For some reason I said yes. Next thing I know he was giving me instructions on how to do it then the world was spinning around me and my smile became even bigger after another flick some inverted spins took place. Awesome was the only way to describe it. At about 1500 feet Guy took control and did a mixture of figures. We then landed after the best 20 minutes I've had for a long time.

A few more second flights were had, and eventually late as usual Will pulled up to the launch point. Only just squeezing in a flight whilst the sun was setting as Guy and Matt braved the misting.

A big thanks to Guy for coming up and a bigger thanks to Rowan for organising it and everyone else who helped make it happen. It must have been worth it, I was still buzzing in college the next day! I urge anyone who can to give it a chance.

As a final note Will would like to add, "Inverted aerotowing - EPIC! that is all."


Sunday 6th November

The Sun Gods continued to shine on us favourably with a perfectly clear blue sky all day, although with the north easterly crosswind it was bitterly cold. The second day of the aerobatic training course saw some more cheesy grins especially those who got upside-down on aerotow.

The 5-year refresher checks were successfully completed, and Ron and Daniel went looking for wave at Wellington monument - but to no avail. Pete St broke his record for shortest circuit from a normal winch launch- 3 mins.

Saturday 5th November

A busy day for the club - Rowan had organised an aerobatic training weekend, and Guy Westgate from GliderFX arrived with his Fox. The weather had been ordered and decided to play ball and there were 10 aerobatic sorties culminating in a pyrotechnic display from the Fox with Guy and Max on board.
Alongside, some Full Cat Instructors were taking part in some very constructive 5-year renewal checks watched on by our Elders....

The evening continued with a barbeque, and fireworks organised by Cheryl with Steve providing the musical entertainment.