Thursday 26th April

Following 35mm of rain (measured by North Hill weatherstation) yesterday, the airfield was amazingly dry, but the air was quite moist giving us low cloud initially. The south westerly wind was quite strong and got stronger and gustier during the afternoon. There were several showers all around but the airfield stayed reasonably dry, and some thermals appeared in the afternoon enabling Mark and Paul to enjoy an hour long flight.
It was good to see Paul back in the air.

Congratulations also to Nigel for signed off cross-country endorsement.

Sunday 22nd April

Flying was severely hampered by the heavy downpours bringing a very early close to proceedings. However the opportunity was taken to work on the water pump shed roof and a new history page for the weatherstation.
Congrats to Liam for getting all the necessary signatures to complete his Bronze.
The maintenance crew at the water pump shed after fitting a new roof - Dick S found a quick short- cut down to the shed carrying the roof panels, I am pleased to report that only his pride was hurt. -JSt

Portmoak 2012, Achievements

Trip attendees
Mark Courtney
Nigel Everett
Henry Ford
Nick Hine
James Hood
Ian Hunt
Dan Johns
Ron Johns
Geoff Lawrence
Simon Leeson
Andria Manantena
Simon Minson
Phil Morrison
Andrew Mugleston
Tom Sides
Mike Sloggett
Liam Vile

Pilots achievements
Liam Vile: Bronze half hour flight, Bronze XC hour flight and Silver Height.
Nigel Everett: Bronze XC two hour flight.

Other progress
Henry Ford, conversion to Discus.
Peter Smith, conversion to Discus.
Geoff Lawrence, first solo away from NH
Tom Sides, first solo away from NH

JZK, DG-505
KHA, SZD Junior

Days flown
Every day from Saturday, 14th to Tuesday, 17th April.

Saturday 21st April

Bright start and strong north-westerly wind soon clouded up with blustery hail showers. After lunch, the sky stabilised into strong streets up to 3500ft cloudbase. The wind strengthened and there was increased turbulence and sink in the circuit. Despite this, there were 8 private gliders and most of the club fleet enjoying the strong conditions. Pete St 230 Discus just beat Stu KMV LS3 for the longest flight 2hrs 7mins visiting MUD and not quite DUL. Welcome to new members Chris (ex-Met.Office) and Fred (our new oldest member). Congratulations to James for his first BI trial lesson.

Thursday 19th April

The bright start got the Thursday Thermallers to the club early and got the kit out, but as forecast, the sky clouded up with low cloud. After lunch, it brightened up and flying started, the ridge was working well in the strong west-north-westerly. After a couple of hours the occlusion returned and low cloud and the threat of rain stopped play.
The blackout blinds are now all installed, the shower door painting continues and the plastering is nearly complete.
Some of the 'Pilgrims' have started to return to base.

Portmoak - Sunday 15th to Wednesday 18th April

Northerly winds making Benarty work.
Liam, Tom and Nigel were cleared to fly the ridge.
Henry converted to the Discus.
Simon Minson completed a seven hour flight to Pitlochry.

Thermic no ridges working. Thermals to 5,000 ft allowed Liam to gain his silver height.

Bishop, thermic with hail showers.
Simon Leeson in the ASW 20 explored Dundee and Perth.
Andrew Mugleston completed a six hour flight.

Overcast, drizzly, cloud on the hill. We went to Perth by car and witnessed the aftermath of four accidents on the M90 after a heavy hail shower.
Henry, Andria and Liam went on a road trip around the mountains. Mark, Simon and James went to Dundee.

After dinner, at 2000, we had a talk by John Williams about his recent thermic and wave flights. Going into more detail about what is possible in the Scottish mountains.

Overcast, drizzly, cloud on the hill again! So to Edinburgh by Train.

With the weather for the next week not looking great, the stragglers will have breakfast at the club and start the trip home.

Bidford - Sunday 15th, Monday 16th April

Daring to leave North Hill when all about were rigging, 877 arrived at Bidford at lunchtime. Tim and Jonathan both went for check flights and aerotow practice. Tim enjoyed soaring in big wide thermals. On Monday - a good day, though not quite in Sunday's league - Tim went for some more dual soaring and checking and Jonathan went off in search of turnpoints. He thinks he reached Silver height (though must await the checking of the logger to be sure) and then set off round the Bidford club 100. Unfortunately - having travelled 130 miles to get away from sea breeze fronts, one chased him down and he was rewarded with his first field landing 10 miles from home.

Tim's reward for the retrieve is an ASW19 flight to a desitnation of his (and the weather's choice).

Tim and Jonathan report very friendly natives and welcoming thermals. - JS

Sunday 15th April, Another Seaside Adventure

Rowan, JB and I, unable to join the gang in Portmoak decided to enrole in Andy Davis' coaching week at Nympsfield to do some cross country soaring and hopefully improve our skills into the bargain.
At Sunday's briefing Andy put up a selection of tasks ranging from a silver distance to The Park  to a diamond distance going up and down the best area a couple of times and to crown it off a task taking in St Catherine's Point Light House and the South Downs for a distance of 523km.
Well it obvious which one we were going to choose.

Rowan, flying with Trevor in his Nimbus 3DT launched off the front of the grid and JB and I followed about 1:30min later somewhat closer to the back. The run down to Lasham was relatively uneventful and by the time JB and I made it to Butser Hill on the western end of the southdowns, Rowan and Trevor were diving onto the ridge to start their run to Eastbourne. 
Rowan said he had tears of joy from the sheer epicness of the ridge run. Trevor was really going for it and had the big Nimbus smoking along, right on the trees underneath most of the other ridge traffic.

JB and I were faced with the dilema of  abandoning the light house and and just going for the ridge instead. We couldn't resist the pull of the island and were soon heading south again. JB had a cracking 4knot thermal right in the middle of the solent and laughed all the way to 6000', I on the other hand took a climb over Portsmouth to about 4500' and set off in pursuit. JB whizzed round the light house into another stonking thermal and back to 6000'. The wind was now Northerly at 18kts and pushing into it was evil. It was almost like a switch had been flicked and the clouds weren't working. I was really struggling to connect with anything and after what seemed like an eternity managed to get back up to 5500' and make the turn point. JB meanwhile had lost 3500' in the 20km going north across the island with out finding any lift before picking up a thermal over Ryde to make it possible to attempt the jump back to the mainland.
JB going round St Catherine's Point

I wasn't so lucky and by now most of the island was in shadow of the spread out and I ended up landing at Sandown airfield were I was able the get the Parham tug to come and tow me to Lasham.

JB having made it back to home soil had another scratch away from low down over the white cliff just north of Portsmouth and pushed on north into a dead sky abandoning any thoughts of the Southdowns as it was getting too late. The iron thermal came out near Lasham and he was able to reconnect with the better conditions to the north west and was able to soar his way back to Nympsfield. Landing about half an hour after Trevor and Rowan who had completed the whole task in awesome style.

Portmoak - Saturday 14 April

Some of the troops turned up early after a stay Friday night in Carlisle. Simon Leeson was cleared for instructing. The ridge south of the loch 'Benarty' was working well and very busy at times.

Sunday 15th April

The forecast was stonking for North Hill, a cold bright north-easterly wind, with thermals a plenty - but most of the North Hill soaring group were away on expeditions at other sites!
All the kit was out, private gliders were rigged, but with a shortage of experienced members, club flying was slow to start. First soarable flight from the winch was at 1115, and the first couple of aerotows nearly beat the tug back as conditions were very broken. Once the streets started forming properly, it was 4 - 6 knot thermals to 3600ft QFE.

Mike DFK Pik20 went to Halesland and back, Pete St 230 Discus tried getting to Nympsfield. Martin, Lisa, Roly, Robert, Wyn and Dylan also aired their gliders. At lunchtime, we had a visitor Philip with Astir completing Silver distance from Brentor, he attempted a return trip but settled for a retrieve. Pete H held the fort with instructional soaring flights all day, until we completed the list at 19:00. Aerotowing proved quite difficult in the crosswind, and tuggie Peter W assisted with the 2-seater list in the afternoon.

Reports from Nympsfield - Rowan completed 523kms as P2 to Trevor with a trip along the South Downs and across to the Isle of Wight before heading off on a long retrieve to Lasham for Matt.

Reports from Portmoak awaited, but it sounds like someone has stolen the wind.

Saturday 14th April

North-easterly wind with very poor visibility all morning. By 1400, visibility had improved and the cloudbase was now visible and to everyone's surprise the first launch went to full height. Only a few flights for a few members. We have made a start on fitting the new blackout blinds in the clubhouse.
The troops are complaining about snow in Scotland!

Thursday 12th April

Low cloud in the morning with some heavy hail showers building by lunchtime in the north westerly wind. A better afternoon with 'our street' being one of the few that wasn't overdoing it. Honiton and south got a good watering and there was a massive anvil over the Severn Estuary most of the afternoon.
Late afternoon, it got incredibly soarable and we had to call the gliders down for the last landing at 19:00.
Aston FZF had his best soaring flight from North Hill so far - 1hr 45 trying out the local turnpoints, and Will KHA, Robert DKU Astir, Dave KHA and Keith HCX all soared for over an hour.
Congratulations to Liam for successfully passing the Bronze paper, but unfortunately missed out on a Bronze half-hour by being shot down by one of the passing showers from 3000ft.
DG505 and Junior have been packed up ready for the long haul to Portmoak.
The weatherstation is now up and running on the DSGC website.

Wednesday 11th April

With an unininspiring forecast, hopes were not set to high, but what a day it turned out to be, all six club gliders were flying all day plus HEB K6. It was interesting re-packing the hangar from scratch with Fred still in the air we had to call him down as the K6 is first in.

The 6 to 8 kt thermals stayed with us all day, with Roly starting the soaring with a birthday present Trial lesson, a 90 year old gent with all his family with him, they were all well looked after by Heather & Roly and went home very happy.

The Pawnee was in use most of the day flown by Peter F and Pete W. Eric with son Al was flying the Duo Discus, Tim, Joe and Jonathan in the ASW19,and Pete St in his Discus completed the Club 100 in near record time (for Captain Slow). The EB28 from Dunstable turned Hembury Hill on a 500 km flight.

Everyone had long soaring flights, some climbing to over 4,000 ft QFE. - JSt

Easter Sunday 8th April

The wind has gone round to the west at last, low cloudbase delayed the start of flying until lunchtime. Some thermals and ridge lift. Liam completed his Bronze flying test following his week on a course at Merryfield.

Saturday 7th April

Low cloud this morning meant that the drains got cleared. After lunch, cloud base improved but still with a hefty northerly crosswind we agreed that winching was not possible and 6 members had aerotows.

Good Friday 6th April

Cold start, blue sky and few members. Early low level cumulus quickly moved off downwind, but the real stuff started popping at lunchtime leading to soaring flights for those who took an early lunch. Congratulations to James who completed his BI acceptance checks with CFI Pete. Rhodri soared round the local turnpoints with Pete. Wyn had the longest flight in LS7 of just over 2 hours. During the afternoon the top cover cut off the heating and the cu spread out. There was some general trailer fettling in readiness for the trip to Portmoak next weekend.

Thursday 5th April

Whilst we sat in the low cloud, discussing local short tasks for early solo pilots and forecasting soaring weather, Captain Slow (Pete St) had sneaked up to Nympsfield cadging a lift with the ridge guru Trevor in Nimbus 3DT - exploring the north easterly runs into Wales - 166kms.

Sunday 1st April

Bright blue sky and cold north-easterly wind welcomed the early birds and popping cumulus got everybody excited with a 300 km task set. This fell back to 200 km then 100 km then survival mode. - but nobody told Simon M and Stuart P who headed off to Sherborne (whilst there were still some clouds around) and return in DG505. - RESPECT from all the remaining North Hill soaring group who bumbled around on the Blackdowns in the blue. There were a few visitors overhead, but they didn't think much of our blue conditions either.
In the afternoon, it did pep-up locally with everybody soaring until late, with the last landing after 1800.
It was good to see Paul S visiting looking very fit, being driven up to the Club by his son.

Andrew continued to put the joists up in the shower room. There will be more work carried out on Tuesday evening with electrical services being started - HF