Saturday 31st March

Not very inspiring weather and remarkably cold. Very few people, but flying got underway around midday with slightly extended circuits launching from the southwest end of the field. Jimbob and Matt completed the BI testing with Tony Parker, aerotowing to whatever cloud base we could get usually about 1500'. Rowan went off with Ian M in the Rotax Falke for some field landing practice in anticipation of a good XC season. Robin WF also completed his 3 yearly instructor checks with Ian M.
Syifaa, who admitted to now being being addicted to our wonderful sport, brought a friend from EU to come and have ago, with both students utilising Rowan's lift club for transport. Hangar landings ended the day with every one flown. - Matt

Thursday 29th March

A subtle move of the high pressure centre westward produced a change in wind direction, now from the north east, a bit clearer and a bit colder. But still rubbish in providing any thermals, although it was hazy blue skies all day and plenty more sunshine.
A bit of a slow start to get the winch starting consistently and to splice in a new length of launch rope. Meanwhile Tom took Mark C to The Park and back for his navigation exercise in the Rotax Falke, and he later completed his Bronze skill flight checks. Congratulations Tom.
Training circuits continued until well gone six o'clock, a long, pleasant but tiring day for all.
In the evening, the Club Instructors got together for their Spring meeting.

Wednesday 28th March

The weather is starting to get a bit repetitive now - could do with a change...

A large group of members past and present joined together with friends and family attending a Service of Remembrance for Joe Acreman, who died recently.

The lovely messages that Club members had made on Google groups were read out, and the tributes from the family continued in the same theme. We all left St George's Church in Edington to the sound of Those Magnificant Men in their Flying Machines.

Sunday 25th March

A similar day (weather-wise) but fewer people. All circuits again, but some of the other jobs were done.
The Pawnee was out again after its annual inspection - thanks to Ian, Robert and Mark.
The K13 was out for Tom's spin checks, after its annual inspection - thanks to Andrew and Carl.
John Street (assisted by Liam) cleared the pine needles out of the hangar gutters ready for the Swallows to arrive.

The weather station has been installed on the Hangar roof - thanks to Peter Sm for the heavy engineering which will hopefully mean it won't move in the wind.
And Andrew M continued the work in the shower block - now with walls and floor.
There were a couple of trial lessons - for Wendy who was nervous of flying again after a horrendous sky-diving accident - and for Fred a retired schoolmaster who last flew Wellington Bombers and Mosquitos 65 years ago.

Saturday 24th March

Nice and sunny for the tourists - but not so good for gliding - thick haze and crosswind, the morning was also plagued with some low-level turbulence at the west end of the field. Thanks to Alan and Les for refitting the repaired radiator on the Skylaunch winch.
Some visitors drove all the way from Penzance for their trial lessons which Rowan was able to provide (his first BI customers) once the wind had settled down a little.
Tim J flew to The Park and back with Stu in VG on a navigation exercise for cross-country endorsement.
Meanwhile, on the instrumentation front, Martin tests the new head up display.

Thursday 22nd March

Hazy sunlight and a fresh south easterly wind welcomed the usual Thursday crew - and then we found a hole in the radiator of the Skylaunch winch squirting out water....
After a little inspection by all, it was towed back to the workshop and the Supacat was fired up. Unfortunately the only Supacat winch drivers were the Instructors so thanks to Steve for winching in the morning and to John Si for the afternoon enabling all to fly on what turned out to be a pretty mediocre (short) circuit day. The wind picked up to a stronger south easterly with the south ridge not working and some very out of phase 'wave down' in circuit. Tom and John Si did manage 13 minutes from a rough gully thermal.
The Skylaunch radiator was removed and taken to Exeter for repair, and then following its annual the K13 was rigged ready for final control checking.
Thanks to everyone for mucking in.

Wednesday 21st March

The first day of spring started quite cloudy with a fresh easterly wind but by the time the gliders were walked up the field the sun started to break through the clouds and thermals started to form.
There was a long two-seater list and soon most of the gliders were soaring, Matt did his usual trick of launching early and vanishing for most of the day arriving back with his usual flourish. Tim & Joe had the ASW 19 rigged and flown, Eric flew the LS7 and Nick H paid a visit in the RF 5.
Everyone had plenty of flying and the lucky ones some soaring, we flew until sunset.
The shower block revamp is making good progress with Steve W. finishing of the building work. - JSt

Matt's sightseeing trip
Didn't expect much today with RASP pessimistic,and a grim overcast on the way to the club with a cool easterly breeze adding to the gloom. Decided to rig anyway and by lunch time there were a few little cu forming under the higher stratus which was starting to break. Declared the club 100 and spent an age scratching around off the launch. The vis was dire, but bumbled my way down to YEO and decided to bin the task and follow the clouds to have a look at the Cerne Abbas Giant and then stretched the return run by going out west.

Monday 19th March, Seize the Day

My second trip to Nympsfield in 2 days could not have been in sharper contrast to the first. Sundays disappointment was soon forgotten as the forecast for good conditions in the south on Monday seemed to be holding and by 10am the first Cu were popping in the gin clear sky.

I had managed to persuade JB to take up his ventus and give up his seat with Trevor Stuart, allowing me to join in the fun as the turbo option would likely be brought into play to get back to NYM. Trevor had set the 413km task of Nympsfield-Sturminster-Okehampton-Sturminster-NYM and challenged JB to do the same, turning North Hill rather than OKE for a 300km task.

Trevor contemplates his next move

We set off at 1130, tiptoeing south under the 2000' QFE cloud base with the thermals tantalising us with good surges but not really delivering lift all round the turn. Once down abeam The Park it really got going and climbs were reliable and strong. The westerly windflow was organising the clouds into fantastic streets and we were able to run from STU to NHL without turning. The visibility was brilliant, providing spectacular views of both the north and south coasts, Dartmoor, Exmoor and west into Cornwall.

Abeam North Hill at 3300' QFE

On the way back we passed JB just running in, to turn North Hill where Steve W was labouring in the new showers and Ian M was working on the tug's annual. In the distance a great convergence line was visible going east from Axeminster and this provided another long run without turning.

Going east past Honiton

Below JB near the Park looking north

The sea air by now had come up the Bristol channel and it was totally blue for the last 60 km north to NYM. We climbed in the last thermal just south of Westbury together with JB and set off into the blue towards Bath. Our instruments were calculating the wind at 270/17kts and we were counting on the ridge at Bath to work to get us home. From that distance though the legs of the Nimbus were only just long enough to let us get to Bath race course and JB elected to fire up his iron thermal short of Bath rather than risk getting very low over the town with no where to land and then trying to start it.

Scraping onto the ridge at Bath race course

JB and I both enjoyed a brilliant days soaring and an awesome learning experience. - Matt

....and jb's story
It was good! Matt went with Trevor Stuart in his Nimbus and I tagged along in Ventus JB. They did Nympsfield, Sturminster Newton, Okehampton, Sturminster Newton, Nympsfield and My mission - which I chose to accept - was the same except turning North Hill instead of Okehampton. I did think of Steve and Mitch down there slaving away when I turned NHL - and the feeling of guilt was almost unbearable! But I resolutely resisted the temptation to land and lend a hand and pressed on back to Axminster to address the urgent needs of the sea breeze front - well somebody had to!
Although conditions were pretty good we did have the odd scrape around in the weeds, but generally all went well until we got into the sea air approaching Bath on the way back. Trevor and Matt made it over Bath town to the racecourse and on to the the ridge for a 300ft ridge run home and I stoked up the iron thermal just south of Bath to avoid landing out. - jb

Sunday 18th March

The bright and sunny, if not a little colder than anticipated, weather saw a small group of Club members get ready for a day of what was hoped to be good gliding and perhaps even some soaring.
However the day saw the weather fronts come and go with a brisk Northerly crosswind becoming steadily a 'downwind', and, with the odd shower, resulting in regular stops to the morning's gliding activity, albeit mainly circuits, frustrating for those present.
Martin W decided to launch in KMV and worked hard to stay up in the odd thermals 'here and there' with Ron (611) and Mike S (ENW), who had both rigged in anticipation, deciding to 'wait out' the weather - Martin's decision to land back towards the launch point proving a good illustration of the wind direction
An early lunch ensued and after some deliberation, some committed and hardy members wanting to 'get in the air' managed to influence the Duty Instructors to continue flying - so a change of ends to the south-west corner took place for the rest of the day with Ron and Mike derigging under gloomy skies and with wistful thinking of what the day might have been like.

A pleasant if unspectacular afternoon of gliding followed with a hint of better days ahead by some thermals deciding to make themselves available for use.

Jimbob and Matt returned 'empty handed' from their trip to Nympsfield as the weather preventing them from completing their BI course.

Andrew continued to work away in the shower room, with progress clearly being made.
-Mike S

It is with great sadness that we have learnt that Joe Acreman passed away early this morning at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton. It was known that he had been unwell for some while, but on his last visit to the Club before Christmas he looked very well and had that unforgetable sparkle in his eye, a good way to remember him. He put so much into the Club over the years.

Saturday 17th March

Rain cleared through as forecast, there was a little orographic cloud to start with and cloudbase stayed low for most of the morning. Then there were a couple of hours with thermals up to cloudbase at 2600ft with a steady west south west breeze. James and Matt completed their first day of BI check flights with Tony Parker Regional Examiner.

But unfortunately with the Pawnee now on Annual Inspection, the second day of aerotows will be completed 'up-country'.

Thursday 15th March

The ides of March brought more fog to North Hill, although the Beech Trees did eventually appear out of the gloom, when it lifted into very low cloud. The day was very usefully spent with a ridge soaring briefing followed by more ticks on the Thursday thermallers Post-solo cards after briefings on Met forecasts, Notams and Flight manuals.

Wednesday 14th March

The day started foggy and cold, so to keep people warm it was decided that whilst we were waiting for the fog to clear we would fill in some pot-holes, as the fog didn't clear most of the holes have now been filled!
Muggles has spent all week on the shower room and was very pleased with the help he has received and is making rapid progress.
Mike is making good progress on the new Disco, the new wheels are on and the cable release fitted it should be up and running soon.
Needless to say the fog cleared and we all drove home in pleasant early afternoon sun.- JSt

Sunday 11th March

A morning of low cloud, preventing any gliding, saw many varied activities around the clubhouse including work on demolishing and clearing the shower block, hangar cleaning and other work by members, time well spent whilst the weather cleared.

Eventually the low cloud disappeared by early afternoon with the blue skies tempting the members still on site to set up the launch point in the South West corner of the field. The sunny afternoon saw a number of K21 and Junior flights, nothing spectacular but all very pleasant flying in the calm conditions.
The sun duly set on a good day all round - Mike S

Shower update:
Many thanks to Nick, Les, Mike S and Geoff for their fantastic efforts in helping today, things have really moved on! Also thanks to anyone who helped out yesterday when I wasn't there, it was great to see all the rubble from the demolition of the first wall cleared, as well as progress being made on stripping the wall and floor tiles. Thanks guys!!

The old interior walls have now been completely demolished, a bit of work is still needed to get the old concrete shower tray stands out, then the floor can be levelled and smoothed. I'll be around all week, if anybody feels like coming up to help you'll be most welcome and it will be very much appreciated! - Andrew M

Saturday 10th March

Low cloud and drizzle to start, then it dried up but the low cloud continued to hamper flying all day. Many circuits were flown, and Mark C ENW ASW20 sneaked an aerotow into a rapidly closing gap. James was finalising his BI patter ready for next weekend.

Work on refurbishing the showers has started with the demolition crew.

News from Hal Newberry via JB - one of our 16year old first solos from a few years ago, and Exeter Uni member, recent recipient of GAPAN Scholarship:

"Luke has told me you two bumped into each other at Nympsfield the other day, ironically it was the day before my commercial pilots license skills test!
Thankfully I nailed it the first time around on a Piper Seneca. So finally after just over a year of ground school and 130 hours of flying I'm now a commercial pilot:) I just have the instrument rating to go and a Jet orientation course on the B737 sim, should only take 2 more months and then I'll be back!
I've been missing gliding dearly, but as soon as I've sorted myself out with a job it'll be back to the good old days.
Here's a pic you can put up to show just how much DSGC has helped me" - Hal

Thursday 8th March

The day started early with the first launch before 10:00am. There was a fresh north westerly wind (cold when the sun was in) and the ridge wasn't very helpful to start with. Once the thermals started kicking off, some good streets set up and everyone got away. The two-seater list was one of the longest we have seen, but thanks to Pete and John and help from Mark and Eric, everybody got their flights in.
Both Juniors were out and also kept busy all day.
The queue was long
Daniel (and Ron) renewed their relationship with 611, and Eric 194 LS7 and Joe Sc 877 ASW19 had good flights.
Pete St 230 Discus enjoyed local sightseeing of Witheridge, Crediton, Wellington for over 3 hours.
'A pleasant enough day' - as forecast!

Wednesday 7th March

After a foggy and wet start, the weather started to clear from the West. More in hope than expectation we got all the kit & gliders out, after an early lunch we assessed the conditions again, only to find the wind had veered to due North and there was now a 20kt and very gusty crosswind - we decided to pack the kit away.
Jill has now got a range of DSGC Polo shirts and sweatshirts for sale. - JSt.

Up the road, JB had an early start for a planned trip to Nympsfield. After a long wait, the Nympsfield ridge proved to be a classic day and JB enjoyed at close hand the 'Trevor Stuart experience' - 305kms.

Sunday 4th March

Having returned home through heavy rain and wet snow, Matt adds some artistic design to a magnificent trophy and achievement.

Saturday 3rd March

An average start around 9am. Blustery conditions with the card changing from yellow to blue and back again. A heavy hail shower passed through around lunchtime and luckily no more passed over the airfield as forecast.
The afternoon saw long cloud streets form with climbs of well over 6 knots.
Mark flew with Jimbob out to Crediton, Rowan and Chris rigged the Libelle and Henry flew the Junior for nearly 2h30m. There were several flights near the hour mark.
The field was packed up early and the airborne stragglers landed, washed the gliders and left with some daylight left. A very good soaring day in early March. - HF

Meanwhile, in Nottingham, a contingent from the Club were at the BGA CFI/Chairman and Sporting Conference. There were plenty of speakers, exhibitors and old friends to catch up with. The best part of the day was late afternoon with the set of 3 presentations about flying in the Lakes, the Black Mountains and at the Seaside. We were there to support / heckle Matt, but his presentation was very slick and the whole audience were in awe of the video footage. Even the 'great and good' came up to congratulate Matt on an epic flight.
Matt with the cheesy grin
In the evening, at the dinner and awards ceremony, Matt was presented with the Phillip Wills National Enterprise award. Justin Wills' comment was
“A nice blend of all the features of the spirit of Enterprise: a comparatively low performance glider (no turbo), imagination coupled with intelligent observation, planning, beauty and the foresight to have the recording equipment so that we can all share the enjoyment via photographs and video plus an excellent article in S & G. The flight I would most like to have done.”
Fancy dress was not obligatory

Thursday 1st March

It was a foggy start which took quite a while to clear, and just as we thought it was improving the wind stirred up the fog in the valley and it rolled back over the airfield.

The morning was spent on a demonstration of the principles of derigging and rigging a glider for the budding cross-country pilots using one of the Juniors. After an early lunch, the first launches took place and after a further change of ends it turned into a very pleasant afternoon, marginally soarable but still with very poor visibility.

Congratulations to Rowan for passing his BI acceptance checks (the beard is on the way out now) with CFI Pete.