Saturday 29th December

More rain again today! The annual inspection on KEK is taking a lot of time. JB has been working long and hard.- Andrew L
JB poilishing
Top surface of the wing - you can see the lights in it

Wednesday 26th December - Boxing Day

Flying still not possible, but JB has been getting on with the hard waxing of KEK, and some of us gathered for the Boxing Day Bring and share leftovers do.

Sunday 23rd December

Well, with about 70 mm of rain in the last week, the field was rather soft and muddy, so following a call to action on Google groups, time was spent on the ground equipment hangar doors. Peter Sm. and team set about adjusting the top wheels to ensure a smoother run when opening and closing doors. There was a little reminiscing about the old green curtains and the rope to tie the curtains down, but all were agreed that the new doors were a great engineering improvement. Thanks Peter.
Not to be outdone, and with a ladder ready,  John St and Pete W set about lubricating the glider hangar doors.

Flying looks a little unlikely on Boxing Day (given another days rain tomorrow), but we will still be having the Bring and Share Leftovers Buffet starting at lunchtime - all invited.

Wednesday 19th December

With the rain lashing down outside, Richard F, Dave C, Tom S, Ian H, William P and JB spent a very successful day at the rubbing down the wings and Fuselage of the K21 KEK in preparation for Hard Waxing.  It's was a messy old business - water and gel residue all over the place! After about half an hour Richard was going around checking that all the heaters were turned off - "It's hot work this!"  he said.

Everyone worked really hard all day and by 5pm all that hard work was beginning to show and KEK was gleaming. It will be left for a few days to dry out completely while Ian M and Andrew L carry out maintenance work for the Annual Inspection, then it will get a final Hard-Wax and polish.

As the day shift knocked off Andrew L arrived for the night shift. First job to remove the wheel - caked in sheep's sh!t and smelling pretty ripe too! I tried telling him the old saying "Where there's muck there's money" but I could see that he wasn't convinced!
When I left he was preparing the wing tips for re-spraying - What a hero! He'd already done a day's work - got home, had tea and driven up to the club to get stuck in for the evening! What a guy! What a team! What a Club!

Happy Christmas and Roll on the Summer!

Sunday 16th December

Forecast was for a bright sunny day, fresh south westerly wind and an occasional shower, but the moisture in the ground delayed the start due to misting canopies. Eventually the sun's rays warmed up the airframes and we were able to launch.
But only for a while as the one and only shower developed earlier than expected causing an early lunch. After dinner, we continued with winch and aerotows on a rather soggy airfield.
Henry and Paul continued training for BI, Rick converted to the Junior, and Guy completed his 3 year Instructor check.
Rick converts to the Junior
 The launches were high and several gliders found some weak wave to extend their flights.
Wave clouds were shortlived

Saturday 15th December

After a week of cold frozen surfaces, the rain on Friday had turned the top 2" into a bit of a quagmire, but as usual the airfield had started draining quite well and it was pronounced an aerotow-only day. The first launch to 3000ft with Stu and Jack found some gentle wave after a couple of loops. We then had to stop for a fairly heavy rain shower and dark black clouds. After lunch, Chris C showed Phil some perfect loops (as you would expect from an ex-fast jet pilot). The third aerotow had to be abandoned as the canopies would not clear in the cooling humid air.

Thursday 13th December

Today, with the wind forecast and actual, a fresh easterly, we made the long walk to the western end, and yes it was cold - feels like temperature was below freezing. The cloud at 1500ft showed some occasional glimmers of sunshine, and then before lunch  suddenly all the cloud disappeared giving us a lovely sunny day, but still bitterly cold. Shortest circuit was Mark C in the Junior - 4 mins,  and longest was Ray D and John Si in K21 at 9 mins. 
Malcolm converts to Junior
Malcolm V converted to the Junior and liked it so much we couldn't get him out of it.
After lunch the wings had to all be cleared of ice from the cold soak. Not long after that, the expected bank of cloud suddenly appeared in the west and quickly moved in covering the sun. After that the canopies were misting up and we had to call it a day.

Wednesday 12th December

With a S/E wind forecast and bitterly cold wind we were looking for an excuse for not flying from the N/W corner, as luck would have it there was a brisk Southerly wind with a tiny bit of West in it which stayed with us all day.  
 The green romper-suit brigade was well in evidence except for Dave C who has a blue one, the South ridge was working after a fashion and several flights were getting on for 30min the top spot was taken by Joe S this week with Richard F & JSt who had a 400ft climb in a thermal a very close second,  not counting Mr & Mrs CFI who flew to Mendip and back in the Rotax Falke.

Last flight of the day
 Everyone flew and we washed the gliders......

Antiques still work if they are looked after..,Vince and K13 also in the picture..
 ....and put them to bed at 4.30pm leaving the ground nice and icy for the Thursday chaps. -  JSt.

Sunday 9th December

Low cloud and sometimes heavy drizzle delayed the start, and with only a few members present following the very busy day yesterday, two K21s were launched into the scuddy orographic scene, but the ridge was working with a gusty north westerly wind. After lunch, some good looking (but unreachable) wave clouds appeared for a while.
Lenticulars to the north east
JB and Pete had a session with Simon M for Instructor revalidations.

Saturday 8th December

Another lovely sunny winter's day gliding, with a frosty start and a light north westerly wind.  Both Paul S and Pete St  flew the DG505 solo for the first time today having both been checked out to do so some while ago. Mark E passed his Bronze exam. We welcomed  a visitor from Needwood Forest Gliding Club - Dave Bowden who may be joining us next year. 
In the evening, there was a good turn out with 38 members  enjoying Maria's Carvery Supper prior to 65 members attending the AGM. 
Chairman Peter, Treasurer Peter and Secretary John retired from the Committee having served their term, to be replaced by Lisa, Texas Tom, and Jonathan respectively. Andrew becomes vice-chairman, and there are three new Committee members James, Tim and Jill. As always there were lots of speeches, thanking and clapping.

Trophies were awarded as follows:
The Rose Bowl for the Club ladder to Pete St.
The Kelsey Plate longest cross-country flight to Steve W.
Tim Parsons Trophy  for earliest 300kms to Mark C.
Norman Whyte Shield for best progress to Mark E.
Francis Bustard Trophy for best height gain to Liam.
Dave Fewings Trophy for  best 2-seater flight to Ron & Guy.
Ken Andrews Trophy for best flight in wooden glider to Nick H.
Wily Old Bird for no reason in particular to JB.
Brian Masters Trophy for Winner of Task week to Martin W.
Les' Tankard for best contribution by a Junior member to Liam.
Instructor of the Year voted online by members to Pete H.

After the formal proceedings, Matt skyped from Hong Kong to check that we were behaving ourselves, having been watching proceedings on the webcam.

Thursday 6th December

Today dawned cold but cloudy and the forecast was for rain later on an incoming warm front. The kit was readied and taken to the launch point but the overnight cold soak on the canopies produced continuous misting in the cold moist air. A coffee break was called whilst further warmth was applied to the canopies. During the coffee break a little exercise on estimating speed of movement of fronts from the geostrophic wind scale on a synoptic chart was undertaken. 
By mid-morning, we managed to get going  and found that despite calm conditions at the launch point there was a significant westerly wind above 200ft allowing good 1800ft launches to be achieved.
In the afternoon, it went all smooth over Broadhembury in reduced sink extending flight times to 15 minutes. The rain held off until the hangar doors were closed, although it did get rather grey just before dusk.

Guess who?
Ray, not wishing to be outdone by the green romper suit brigade sported a fetching blue suit which he tried to hide inside his DSGC anorak.
Note the local airspace map in the kneepad pocket.
Reminder to Club Members - AGM on Saturday 19:30pm.

Wednesday 5th December

A good forecast brought out plenty of members but the weather first thing was terrible with low cloud, rain, a freezing NNE wind, and a very wet field.
Three wise man in warm green suits
  It started to clear about 10.00am so the two K21s were pulled out and walked up to the S/W corner, the launches were difficult with the strong and backing crosswind.
 At lunch time the wind had backed enough for us to change ends, as soon as we did the launches improved and with the wind eventually ending westerly, the ridge started to work with the help of a little weak wave, the last six flights all had flights of around 30min.
 We stopped flying  about 4.15pm, when the gliders had ice on the wings, in the end we all had a really good day for early December. - JSt

Sunday 2nd December

A small but keen group of members enjoyed some flights in the sunshine and "pleasantly warmer than expected" weather. Club Chairman Peter Sm had some 'fun' in the back seat of a K21 working hard on his BI flying with Simon L. Some Quarterly Members took advantage of their membership and several Club members took the opportunity to maintain their flying currency in the very calm conditions.
After an enforced lunch break due to a heavy rain shower, a couple of flights later and that was it for the day as the forecast rain settled in for the rest of the day. - MS

Saturday 1st December

What a lovely winters day, pity the orographic cloud at 600ft above the west ridge slowed the launching down in the morning. There was also a brief gusty shower which enabled a timely break for lunch,  but apart from that, the sun was shining, there was a gentle north westerly breeze,  the ridge was working with some sort of weak wave in the valley.
Phil G in the B4 took the prize for the longest flight - just over half an hour. 
Flying continued after lunch but was brought to an early end when the sun dropped below the cloud and the extra moisture from the earlier shower started condensing out on the wings and canopies (inside and out).

Wed/Thurs at Parham

Pete St and JB headed for Parham on Tuesday afternoon and Peter Sm set off on Wednesday morning in anticipation of a nice day's ridge running on the South Downs. The wind was forecast to be 15 - 18kt Northerly with only the slight risk of an isolated shower towards the east. JB and Pete St planned to run between Butser Hill and Lewis, a 74km beat and just trickle along and enjoy the view while Peter Sm was hoping to get a ride in a K21 with one of the local Instructors and sample the South Downs for the first time.

Wednesday dawned with a 1400ft cloud base and an unexpected rather damp looking sky. Pete St and JB rigged and were on the grid ready to launch immediately after the 10am briefing. Pete St was about 5th to launch, but just after he launched it started to drizzle at Parham so he headed east to avoid getting wet. The gods were not smiling and when he was jumping across the Amberleigh gap he hit some prolonged sink and within 15 minutes of leaving Parham he had landed in the grounds of Seaford College. Peter Sm went to retrieve him as the drizzle stopped and JB launched.
Discus in school playing field (and LS7 nearby) at Parham
 It was still raining to the east so JB and Rob Thompson from Nympsfield teamed up and took some extra height before venturing across the Amberleigh gap to Bignor Hill and on past Seaford College where the two Petes were preparing to de-rig 230.The wind was not as strong as forecast and was about 15degrees west of North which was not ideal. But they had an uneventful run out to Butser and back down to Lewis.

Returning from Lewis they had a momentary shock when the smoke from a bonfire by Devils Dyke indicated the wind to be almost Westerly and along the line of the ridge. They thought they were doomed to a field, but it turned out to be a local phenomenon and pressing on to Truly Hill they soon climbed up to the 1300ft necessary to jump the Storrington gap and arrive on the west side level with the top of the ridge. On arriving back at Parham they decided to call it a day; 148k and a nice time was better than 175 and a wet field, so they ended the day with a few beats of the home ridge at 90kts trying to get below 800 ft before going in for tea!

 Peter Sm had a flight in Parham's K21 and although it was only a short flight he did get cleared to fly solo next time he visits.


Having visited his cousin in Southampton Hospital on Wednesday evening, JB stayed over at Parham and flew again on Thursday. Thursday's weather was what they should have had on Wednesday! It was glorious with not a drop of rain in sight, but the wind was a bit light at only 12 kts Northerly. Soon after launching JB stumbled into some weak wave and climbed to 2400.
A couple of pilots ventured forth but most stayed on the home ridge and enjoyed the peaceful conditions for a change. After an hour JB got lonely and spent the rest of the flight buzzing up and down the ridge until about 3pm when the wind died and everyone landed.
Wave at Parham
It was the most relaxing flight I've ever had at Parham and made a real change from the rough and tumble ridge-top thrashes we usually experience there! - JB

Thursday 29th November

A beautiful day but a slow start due to ice forming on the wings at the launch point. Conditions were quite strange, with  only a light northerly crosswind on the ground but above 200ft an increasing tailwind. This caused a few interesting circuits for the early solo pilots check flights. Tuggie Mark insisted that there would be wave at the Wellington monument and persuaded Ray to take a 3000ft tow, followed by Roly and Heather and Nigel, but to no avail the air was as flat as a pancake / still as a millpond. 
Geoff landing in the Junior
 There was an early finish when the ice returned on the wings and the canopies misted.
Pete St returned form the Soaring section visit to Parham with a lot of mud to pressure wash. The Southdowns did not perform well yesterday and Pete went 'back to school', landing in a very posh, large, muddy playing field.
Discus in school playing field (and LS7 nearby) at Parham

Wednesday 28th November

At last it has stopped raining - instead it is blowing a Northerly gale and very cold, still the Wednesday diehards wanted to fly so two K21's & the K13 were walked to the N/W corner with the temp at 3c with freezing wind chill it was uncomfortable, to warm members up we cleared the drains and mended the fence by the sheep pen.
 The launches and landings were interesting most members found inside jobs ie driving retrieve, logging, flying, - anything to get out of the wind. The longest flight of the day was Richard F & JSt with 22min on the North ridge.

Hats R Us

Last flight of the day
Everyone flew and we put the toys to bed at 4pm. - JSt

Sunday 25th November

Wet, wet, wet with a total of 132mm of rain falling on the airfield this week, the surface was too soft and muddy to fly anything other than models. There were quite a few members who ventured up the hill, and various fettling and small jobs were completed. What started as a 5 year Instructor check for JB with Pete and Simon M turned into a useful,  impromptu Instructors brainstorming session.

Sunday 18th November

Another 'Spring-like day', all the gliders out early with the first two flights managing reduced-price launches.
Early on few people wanted to fly, hoping it would become thermic later, but we were busy getting Dave T solo again, Andreas flew solo again for the first time since his course in September, both Juniors were kept busy most of the day.
 Several members took aerotows for various reasons, notably Lisa who wanted to soar in the reasonable looking sky (to try out her new camera), but only just managed to stay up longer than the tug by a few minutes.Some managed extended flights but nothing of note.
 All the club fleet was in use today incuding the K6. - JSt.

Saturday 17th November

The rain cleared through earlier than forecast, but left some moist air with orographic cloud in the morning. Perhaps some members were put off by the forecast but there were very few people to enjoy the still, autumnal day. In the afternoon some interesting cloud formations developed, but it was only circuits as there was too much north in the wind for the ridge to work. 
Two different wave interference patterns
 We packed up early which was rather disappointing as we had a full complement of Instructors, Duty Launch Marshalls and Tug Pilot.

Thursday 15th November

As forecast, Wednesday was the better day this week, the Thursday faithful spent the entire day in mist and low cloud. Everyone is getting more familiar with the Synoptic charts and F215 as Jill led  another briefing and discussion session on weather.  Mike H replaced the limp microphones in the K21s. The new set of glider batteries are being wired up ready for use.
DSGC Calendar cover photo
  The very smart new DSGC 2013 calendars are now available for sale from the Club Shop.

Wednesday 14th November

The weather was more like spring, and with a not so good forecast for Thursday, the list was very long.
The early flights were short but about mid-day there was lift about, but you could not get above 1,400ft. Tim J had the longest flight of 45min in the ASW19 877, there were several flights of nearly 30mins.
An 'arty piccie' by Mark L while waiting for some cables
Congratulations to Vince who went solo with a 20min soaring flight and Malcolm V who resolod after a summer overhauling the Cub, Tom S practiced some loops from a 3,000ft A/T with John St.
Ernie congratulates Vince after his solo soaring flight

We flew till dusk and a very pleasant day it was too. - JSt.

Sunday 11th November

A second day of glorious easy flying conditions but few members were there to benefit. Mark and Gordon flew the Junior to their hearts content, Liam and Fred flew the K6, Chairman Peter did some back seat flying with Ron, Ollie continued his training towards solo with launch failures and a spinning sortie and also enjoyed an aerobatic flight with John Si.
A mini-convergence zone set up just off the end of the ridge at lunchtime but it only lasted about 30 mins with cloudbase at 1000ft.There were some higher cloudbases under streets further afield.
Robert in the Astir DKU got the prize for the longest flight with 71minutes.

Saturday 10th November

Bright and sunny with scattered heavy showers and a westerly wind.The whole club fleet, K6 and ENW were out. Many early solo pilots enjoyed rare white card conditions, Ruth and Mark E filling their boots, this was a perfect day for trainee pilots with easy conditions, those who turned up benefited from a 5-10 mph W/NW wind and gin clear conditions. I think many people were put off by a forecast that couldn't quite make up its mind, but with the old saying that you definitely won't fly at home but you might if you roll up - ringing true, many people missed an opportunity. In the afternoon the convection started to make its mark, there were huge anvil clouds in the distance and massive lines of black but productive clouds!
Paul S continues to practice his rear seat role - taking would be 'bloggs' for a ride (Dave W, Jonathan S and James).  Mark C tested the tug's bungee landing gear and declared it "functional " !
 Flying continued until dusk , with all "dirty bottoms" cleaned before being packed into the hanger in time for the evenings function.
From a personal point of view it was fantastic to see the club house buzzing , one comment from an older member "it is like an AGM only a whole lot more fun" . Many thanks to Jill for getting this side of DSGC going again - a great effort !  - Mark C

In the evening, about 50 members and family filled the Clubhouse and were engrossed by the 2nd of our winter talks, this month given by Jonathan, describing his world travels with the Foreign Office and the BBC. After the talk the clubhouse was rapidly changed  for dining with 38 sitting down to another fabulous carvery supper from Maria. If popularity continues to build we will need a bigger Clubhouse!

Thursday 8th November

At last another good forecast promised the midweekers two consecutive flyable days. BUT the orographic low cloud put paid to the morning flying, so there was comprehensive decoding of F215 and abbreviations to pass the time.
By lunchtime the orographic cloud disappeared and the upper cloud broke  occasionally to give brief rays of sun. There was some reduced sink around 1000ft to extend several circuits. With such pleasant conditions several of the recent solo pilots were able to get more solos in their logbooks. Congratulations to Gordon B for resoling after a long layoff.
Peter F checks out and sends Gordon solo
David C also converted to K13.

Wednesday 7th November

At last a good forecast and a good early start, gliders checked out and ready to go at just after 9.00am.
 A brisk westerly was forecast and was delivered, from the first flight the lift from the ridge/wave was good with lift everywere, the only snag was that cloudbase was stuck at 1200-1400ft it needed a good lookout as all the gliders were at the same height.
 At about 4.30pm we launched the last two gliders Matt with a Trial lesson in a K21 and William in a Junior, both stayed up untill dusk, the sheep let themselves out as they had decided it was time to stop flying.
Everyone had a good day and it was a good start to the winter flying - long may it continue! - JSt.

Sunday 4th November

With a cold and wet and sometimes snowy start the weather didn't tempt many people out but a clearance was forecast so we got a K21 and a Junior out.
The clearance duly came but the field was too wet to consider winching so we decided aerotow only, whilst we waited for the surface water to drain several field jobs were started, the grass was removed from the reference point squares and several bald patches in the field were repaired, when the weather (if ever) is dry enough we will paint the squares.
About mid-day the field was dry enough to aerotow so we made a start, everybody flew, the last couple of flights were interesting with a low sun and misting canopies - JSt.

Saturday 3rd November

Winter cometh and JB’s comeback.
It was 2 °C this morning at the club, with the wind chill it left us feeling that summer was long gone! The forecast was spoton with showers developing both to the North and South of us, thankfully never actually arriving over site . After a slow start members arrived and enjoyed extended flights along the ridge although the massive shower  systems did pull the wind direction from SW to NW at times. 
Quarterly members Adrian (dad) and son, Mark, filled their boots with plenty of flights between them, when they were not  flying they worked  very hard around the launch point, the good news is that they have applied for full membership, - just the sort of members we need! welcome guys.
Stu was kept busy in the Pawnee
The cloudbase looked low at times but surprisingly the  tug was kept busy with tows to 3000ft easily achievable, Roly and Heather took advantage and had a long flight in the K21 together,  as did Mike S and his son Phil. Despite the cold, single seaters were rigged -Jonathan S ASW19, Andrew L K6 and Lisa ASW20. Lisa very kindly offered Martin W a flight in her 20, when he saw that Lisa had put her pink tips on his little eyes lit up,  judging by the way he floated up and down the ridge, I think the LS3 will have little pink tips soon! 
Thanks to Peter S and James for fitting a new PVC window in the workshop, those 30 year old windows don’t give in without a fight. 
JB picks on the Junior
 After the attack on the K21 failing, JB and minder John P decided to pick on a “Junior” for a change, look out Kabota they're gonna get you next! - Mark C

Thursday 1st November

The forecast was for bright sunny start with thundery showers later, - the bright start quickly turned to heavy cloud and the odd shower so there were opportune coffee and lunch breaks in between launches. But in the afternoon the showers disappeared and there was wave, thermal and ridge lift at times but not consistently. 
View to the north east
View to the south west
 Congratulations to Tom and Ian who both successfully converted to their new acquisition DG1 (DG100). 
Tom and Ian with DG1 and cheesy grins
 Ray D consolidated his first solo from a few weeks ago with 3 more solos.

Sunday 28th October

A grey damp start but the clubhouse was buzzing with members! There was a good atmosphere and with the occasional optimistic updates from the duty instructor Simon M people seemed content to have cups of tea and bacon sandwiches ! 
At about 12 there was a call to arms, the kit was readied and we set up for a NW run. Launches were to 1500 ft, by tracking up the ridge line you could maintain 1200ft the air seemed strangely buoyant , there might have been weak wave in sync with the ridge as the view to the west did have wave bars. Flying continued until the inevitable rain arrived , after a short break it was decided that it was in for the day so the toys were washed , dried and put to bed.
Washing party
 JB did head butt the K21's horizontal stabiliser trying to show how "tuff" he was , unfortunately they do build K21's very strong in this area , the result was a rather demoralised JB and a completely unscathed K21! 
JB nurses his head
 Later in the Clubhouse the over head projector was put to good use with Matt showing us his various ridge runs using SeeYou maggot racing.
There were several informal lectures taking place around the clubhouse and  people left feeling that the trip was worthwhile . - Mark C

Saturday 27th - Parham

A  text from Rowan on Friday morning said that Saturday's forecast made it obligatory for us to go to Parham and fly the Southdown ridges! This started a chain of events that had both happy and not so happy outcomes!

Having decided to go I thought it would good to spread the happiness a bit so I persuaded (pretty easily) Chris H and Peter Sm to take the 505 and found an Instructor at Parham to fly with Chris and show him the ropes so that he could then fly with Peter.  Happiness was assured - what could possibly go wrong?  A last look at the RASP wind map for south east England was purple - 30kts plus, so it was promising to be a wee bit lively. Then a call from Rowan saying he'd just damaged the wheel of his trailer so couldn't go - not a good start! The remaining trio were on the road early and got there by 9.30 in time for the briefing which was crowded. It was the first 'good ridge day' for some time and there were about 30 gliders on the grid, including some K6's!

Chris and Paul (our Parham instructor) launched at about 11 am and flew from Parham west to Butser Hill then east to Lewis and back to Parham - 142km - and the whole flight including the launch was only about an hour and a half. Much of the time they were down at ridge-top height screaming along at Va (max rough air speed)! Just before I launched someone said the wind was 50kts at 3000 ft! I thought 'the k6's had better not get too high or they'll end up in the English Channel!'
Approaching Butser Hill following Rob Thompson in Discus 722
I tagged along with Rob Thompson from Nympsfield for two beats until our way was blocked by a nasty looking wall of rain at Lewis that threatened to wash us down if we didn't run away sharpish! From then on conditions worsened as the wind backed more NW and rain showers increased.

When I landed I discovered that Peter hadn't flown. Chris and Paul had landed as planned for Chris to take Peter but shortly after they landed the tug pilots stopped aerotowing because conditions were too rough. So after all that rushing around and driving 140 miles at some ungodly hours in the morning poor old Peter never got to taste the delights of the Southdowns. So what with Rowan and Peter the happiness score was only 50% - but there's always another day!

PS. I was amused by one bit of radio chatter; Someone commented that he was having to watch out for the birds when flying low down; to which someone else commented that he didn't think the birds seem to be that much bothered. Within a couple of seconds someone else replied 'thats what happens when you get old! - JB

Saturday 27th October

Beautiful, bright, sunny winters day but with that biting 18kt (gusting 30kt slightly east of northerly wind), it was with some trepidation that the launch point was set up in the south west corner.
The first few launches found that it wasn't too gusty to fly and gave some valuable two-seater experience in tricky crosswind conditions. The wind then started backing at height making the winch launches difficult for the winch driver. John P took a launch just before lunch  soaring in thermals off the north ridge for 89 minutes. Lisa had a couple of gos in the Junior but couldn't beat that.
Instructors were kept busy all day in the brisk northerly wind with interesting circuits, everyone had a challenging but enjoyable day, although it was deemed too uncomfortable for the trial lessons that had been booked in.

Thursday 25th October

After yet another disappointing Wednesday weather, Thursday wasn't much better, but the Thursday Tea Club turned up in force and discussed how wings work, how a glider flies and the usual weather analysis.
Congratulations to Ian H signed up for Bronze after giving the group a briefing of todays F215 / F214. Thanks also to Mike H who has sorted the radio problems in KEK & KHA. After lunch a smaller group discussed rules of the air, soaring etiquette and local airspace. Jonathan enlisted a variety of club member voices for recording some RT examples which will soon be available on the DSGC website.

Sunday 21st October

A small but enthusiastic band of optimists got the field set up and a towed a K21 and Junior up to the west end of the field in the mist so as to be ready for when the low cloud lifted. They then returned to the warm clubroom and with great devotion sacrificed Tea throughout the morning in an attempt to entice the cloud to lift. 

This was clearly successful because shortly after lunch the cloud began to break and although cloud base looked pretty low we were able to take a launch. The first launch into the fresh easterly wind was abandoned at 600ft due to a rebellious patch of low cloud, but at least we were flying! So, rather than have people standing around worrying that it was not worth the cost of a winch launch for such a short flight, or even packing up and going home, It was decided to do a Tesco Special - 'Two for the price of one' if they had a really short flight because of the low cloud. So we kept flying and soon the cloud lifted. 

Gordon and Liam flew the Junior while Ray H, Mark E, Mike Fa and Harry kept JB captive in the back of the K21until it was almost dark! 

Congratulations to Harry for successfully completing his Yellow card and well done to everyone for such excellent teamwork! Once again, living proof that staying on site and drinking tea can be good for your flying!
jb :-)

Talgarth - Day 3 - Time to wave goodbye

Day three started with the same cautious optimism as the previous two days, we were again greeted by low cloud and very little wind but talk of possible Easterly wave kept us interested.
The hill was clear but the valley was shrouded in cloud which kept pouring up across the airfield making for some good photo opportunities if nothing else.

By just after 1 pm the club K13 launched towards the hill but the tuggie soon elected to launch to the NW as he did not want a repeat of a very interesting departure!
Second to go was Simon L in FER and towed to 2000ft to contact wave, next up was me in ENW, the only way I can describe the tow would be - imagine getting on a frisky black stallion that had never been ridden and just as you lower your self gently onto its bear back someone kindly shoots it in the rear with a red hot dart!
After my release the turbulence continued with periods of 15 kt climbs followed by violent kicks of rotor. Over the radio came the call that no pilot with less than silver and 250 hrs were to fly solo!
Eventually Ian M came up to join the fun and as conditions calmed down the tuggie resumed normal operations which allowed Paul S to get into the wave . 

The top of the wave was about 7600ft MSL , IM and myself sat at this height and despite quite long range searching we could not get higher. The weather front that had been forecast for Sun evening could be seen in the distance marching towards us, we timed our descents between us so as not to have a conflict on the ground. One by one we landed into now a quite strong easterly breeze which gave considerable sink on the approach!
This last day was the icing on the cake for us all after three days of hugely varied flying, roll on next time ! - Mark

Saturday 20th October

There was lots of fog in the valley but it was sunny on the members DI-ing the gliders and kit early in the morning before setting up to fly from the North East corner. A white flag was raised and the weather obliged with a truce  allowing Ruth and Mark E to be put through their paces by Mike F and Stuart respectively before notching up a couple of more solo's in the K21's. Rowan took 2 trial lesson souls for their first taste of epicness in the DG while the rest of the members kept the launches ticking over, taking their turns at exploring the weak thermals that had started producing some low cumulus despite the thick high altitude Cirrus. The middle of the day produced some short soaring flights and the launch point bustle was replaced by idle banter as earth bound members waited for gliders to return to terra firma.

The flying list eventually had everybody successfully flown with Mike F, Chris H and Lisa helping out the duty dogs Stuart and Phil M. So those who wanted to were able to fill their boots with further flights which continued on to near sunset.
Martin briefs Ruth for epicness
Mark ready for his turn
The quiet conditions lasted all day and Martin was on hand in the afternoon to send Ruth and Mark E for their first flights in the Junior. Both pulling off text book flights to rounds of applause from the bubble gallery. Mark's second go in the Junior was called off due to the low sun which later put on a dazzling display for the tea club, who were sitting outside on the veranda enjoying the end of a very pleasant day at North Hill.
Tea Club weather
Not a bad end to the day

Fri 19th / Sat 20th October - Talgarth

"The Day that Should not have been " 
Friday morning the remaining three of six set off for Talgarth at 6:30am.
Early morning mist and nil winds did not bode well for a good day , how wrong we were !
Nobody launched until 12.30 just as weak thermals were popping off the sunny sides of the mountains. By following the contours of the hills you could tip-toe all the way to Talybont reservoir and back. Paul S got cleared for solo and had a long flight in his Cirrus, Mark C and Simon L had flights well over two and a half hours . Everyone landed by 4.30pm enabling an early shower and catnap before dinner and tales of a day that should not have been .
Foot note : Ian M was due on Friday morning but as his clock is set to British standard Mitchell time (5 hrs behind UTC ) he arrived in time for supper.

Day two Saturday : "Iron thermals and sheep shearing ".
The wind was light from the SE , not a good direction for Talgarth , early launches were into the South bowl and it did produce sustainable lift , this enabled searches to Langorse lake where there was weak wave . Lunch called so most people landed in expectation of a better afternoon . By 2:00pm the sky was looking better Ian M launched , fired up the engine and climbed to 3000ft before contacting wave to 6000ft he landed hours later when the whole airfield was deserted ! Paul S had a wave searching flight but ended up using thermals for a flight over an hour , Simon L in Steve's Discus and Mark C in his ASW20 spent two hours between 10 and 50ft above the ridge top in the South bowl before finding weak wave in the valley much to the relief of the sheep ! A fantastic day when once again expectation was so low ! - MC

Thursday 18th October

I arrived a bit late (09:10) thinking the Thursday crew would not be there early,  how wrong I was!! Adrian had DI'd two gliders and all the rest of the kit had been fuelled and readied for the  day ahead . 
The wind was very strong - 20 gusting 35 due south so we retired to the Clubhouse for a cup of tea and a closer look at the Met. The overhead projector was put to good use as I talked to people about the Met Office forms 214/215 . After a quick refresher about strong wind circuits and ground handling in strong winds we proceeded to the launch point.
Parking in strong winds
  I took a launch with Chris M, much to our surprise there was lift everywhere! After 30 mins or so we decided to land to let others have a go. Super Matt launched 30 min before lunch with Glyn  and decided to stay airborne until we came out from an extended lunch an hour or so later ! 
Drying the wings after a shower
 The conditions remained fiesty all day thankfully, Paul C helped out to ease pressure on the instructing, after several showers  pulsing through we decided to call it a day at about 3:45 with rain falling as we packed the hanger. Most people flew and we made the best of a boisterous day. Thanks to all the Thursday crew for working so hard in difficult conditions . -MC (Ed  - and a big thank you to Mark for holding the fort.)

Sunday 14th October

Clear blue sky and light north easterly wind, and yet again not many members, but plenty of visitors. Cumulus clouds bubbled up, but soaring was difficult. At 4pm, there was a sharp reversal in wind direction, and lack of experienced members to change ends brought an early end to proceedings.

Portmoak - waiting for the clearance

After 24 hours of torrential rain a clearance was forecast for Friday with the possibility of some ridge and maybe even wave. Unfortunately the rain was so torrential(53mm in just over 12 hours), that the field resembled a boating lake rather than an airfield so we couldn't have launched anyway, even if the clearance had arrived.
So the decision was made to make the trip home and of course there was lovely wave everywhere South.
Where the hell is everybody - I want to put my wings on.

Here's to next year!

Portmoak - filling in some of the gaps

Monday 8th turned out to be another ridge/thermal soaring day - where are they coming from?
Most of us enjoyed a day of local soaring in the warm Autumn sunshine with flights of around 3 hours venturing as far as Perth.
The wind shifted during the afternoon which enabled us to start with soaring the Bishop and ending our flights soaring Benarty, so a bit of everything.
Of note today was Captain Slow passing the 1,000 hour mark in 230 - that's 1,000 hours IN 230, not total!
 Captain Slow and 230 cruising to 1,000 hours passing Perth

Tuesday - another lovely warm day with blue skies but no wind so a day of walking and just laying around looking cool ensued. Some tomfoolery was also observed among the mentally youthful of our group.
  Buffoon from Exmouth-note the glass like surface of the loch.

Saturday 13th October

Cold blustery north westerly, with streets turning into large cbs with anvils and showers. Nonetheless, Pete St Discus 230 just back from Portmoak managed nearly 2 hours. Flying was brought to an early end when the showers became more continuous.
After replacement of the pressure transducer under warranty, the weather station is up and running again.

Thursday 11th October

Wet, wet, wet - A few Thursday regulars braved the flooded roads to meet up for a bacon sandwich and discussions on new Laws and Rules, igc files, official observers, synoptic chart analysis and RASP forecasts. By the end of the afternoon, the airfield had started draining quite well in a foggy white out.

Sunday 7th October - The Ochill Tour

Another day of ridge and late season thermal - initially the windsock was doing it's best impression of a gravity indicator but then slowly started twitching in the gentle westerly drift and weak becoming increasingly stronger thermals appeared.

To start with the light wind onto the hill also meant that it was perfect for the paragliders and a couple of hours of 'duvet dodging' ensued. The disparate performance between them and us made for some interesting flying, especially as they 'park' in the best and sometimes only area of lift.

JB and Pete thermalling over the loch
The thermals started as vague wisps but better looking clouds ran along the line of the Ochills out to the West. A slow tiptoe across the loch enabled Matt and Pete S to connect with the better clouds, Pete only managing to reach Dollar before getting in a bit of a spot and chickening out but Matt made it to Dunblane - a top effort! JB turbo'ed out to join in the fun.

Tom did 2 and 1/2 hours local soaring. Martin, Ron, Chris and Rowan having survived the ridge traffic all took a breather in the thermals enjoying the stunning visibility.
More traffic joining in the fun

Saturday 6th Oct - Good Crieff!!!

After working a soft Bishop ridge for some time, weak thermals started to kick off. The first excursion to Perth ended up with most running back to the ridge for a relight. Second trip out went towards Glenfarg and then onwards to Crieff where the wave is usually around. Only Martin in LS3-17(KMV) managed to connect with a respectable climb to 7,500' and even though Matt, Pete S and JB were in exactly the same place , failed miserably in contacting the wave. However, the real highlight was an epic 4-ship formation glide home(35km) without stopping at all which had us all laughing and Matt's 'camera on a stick' in full swing.
4 Musketeers set off from Crieff
Tom S(the next President of the USA) had some time on the ridge in a club Junior and Ron enjoyed a few hours too.
A fine day of soaring - and the Portmoak infrastructure hasn't collapsed as feared, just changed. The rooms are still good, the catering 90% there and bar plans are in motion. The SGU are using this opportunity to maximum advantage.

Sunday 7th October

The forecast had changed to be quite a reasonable day, but somehow the members must have missed it. With no trainees, two solo pilots, 8 Instructors (at times) incorporating  3 tuggies  -  a reduced price aerotow day was declared and we enjoyed half a dozen shared aerotows in the very smooth air. Both Falkes were out, VG visited Halesland and SC went to the south coast.

Saturday 6th October

After a lot of rain yesterday, the sky was gin clear and a north easterly wind with the usual down wave.

Some low level cumulus did form and there was some gentle soaring.

In the evening, the first of our winter talk series was given by Chris C and with a good turnout was enjoyed by all. The talk was followed by a  nice carvery from Maria & Co.

Friday 5th - Portmoak Hints of Wave

Jb, I arrived at Portmoak early afternoon on Thursday and had an short flight on Bishop before being chased down by a rain shower. Ron arrived just after sundown towing 611 and we retired to the pub for dinner.

Friday morning started gloomily with fog on the airfield which dissipated as quickly as it formed revealing hints of wave to the north. We set a wave task, hoping to utilise the usual wave hot spots. The wind was a light north westerly and Bishop was working well and gliders were contacting week wave off West Lomond but as the sun climbed the thermals started interfering and contact was lost. 

Gin clear air
JB and Ron persevered making multiple forays over the loch and towards Glenfarg trying to reestablish but with out real success.
Gnarly valleys on the way to Loch Tay

Loch Tay
Frustrated with the hunt for wave I gave up and decided to go out west in thermal, managing to make it into the mountains near Loch Tay. The visibility was incredible and the views were magnificent. A great days flying despite not going quite as planned.