Thursday 31st May - Task week

On Day 4 of the 'North Hill Regionals', weather forecasts were variable but showed some potentially usable weather in a short afternoon window. Thursday club flying started while the North Hill Soaring Section continued to analyse the previous flights and had briefings on cross-country flying techniques and convergences.
At lunchtime the soarable weather window set up a launching frenzy, with cumulus and wave bars in evidence across the sky. The task was out and return to the west with no specific turnpoint. Even the ASH25 struggled to get past the M5, so most stayed local.
Matt decided "to gather turn points and with the wind veering from 250 to 290 degrees at about 18kts at 1000' above NHL I thought that East Hill should work so set off from Hembury ridge and flew down to Ladram Bay. Exeter Air Traffic were very accommodating."
 Matt's favorite seaside resort

As the thermals died down the ridge became more soarable, but with cloudbase reducing, the ridge became quite crowded and we expect some briefings on ridge etiquette tomorrow morning.

Wednesday 30th May - Task week

Most of the usual Wednesday regulars turned up to be greeted by a field full of rigged gliders ready for day three of Ron's task week, the forecast was not good and at the briefing it was decided to fallback to the Club 100km triangle if anyone wanted to attempt cross-country. However, the morning was spent with useful analysis, 'howidunnits' and maggot racing and also included the first public viewing of the thermal etiquette tuition video (see link yesterday)
 Tuesday's task
There was plenty of flying for the Wednesday club with some useful training, Richard managed one of his first solo soaring flights.
The weather was not as bad as forecast and during  the afternoon some local soaring was achieved around our nearby turnpoints.
 JB sends Max solo
At last the weather has cooperated, with all the right people present  - (the first time since his 16th birthday), for Max to go solo - many congratulations. (Max has been flying with DSGC for 3 years and has been actively managing his diabetes.)

 Martin showing Don the task
It was nice to see Don again visiting us looking a lot better. - JSt

Tuesday 29th May - Task week (updated)

It was a big day for the North Hill soaring group, after some thermalling etiquette tuition

 17 gliders set off on tasks of NHL- Dorchester - Shaftesbury - NHL 175 km and to The Park for Silver Distance. The day was made up of two groups the earlies and the late starters. For the first hour and half after launch, the working band was 1600-2200 ft above North Hill. The sea air had just got to Dorchester which meant some dirty dashes into the turnpoint from the north. There was another sticky patch around Shaftesbury, and several missed the turnpoint but managed to get back into the better air. Meanwhile the later starters had found that a convergence had set up from North Hill to Yeovil.
  • Wyn LS7 W7 Completed Silver distance to The Park and flew back, also completing 100km diploma
  • Nick Oly 463 BVN Nostalgic Silver distance landing at The Park.
  • Tim ASW19 877 Completed Silver distance by using the GPS rules he just made it, landing in a  nice field south of Yeovil
  • Lisa ASW20 LH Completed first closed circuit task.
  • Martin LS3 KMV, Matt  ASW20 M5, JB Ventus, Pete St Discus 230, Daniel ASW20 611, Chris Libelle CLM,  all completed the task.

There were valiant efforts from Ron & Tom ASH25 711, Pete & Jill Duo Discus OL, and Lisa who got back but didn't quite make all the turnpoints. Also from Phil M & Max DG505 JZK who landed near Sherborne, Tim ASW19 877 who landed south of Yeovil, Nick R Junior FZF who landed near Poundsbury.

Mark L Cirrus 477 completed his longest flight yet, 3 hours, Ian H also soared for an hour and a half - his longest flight. Roly had a good flight of 4 hours local soaring in his Kestrel 523. Chris W took the P2s flying who had been unlucky in the draw for cross-country flights. Matt took Mark E for a quick breeze round Tiverton - Chard in the K21 after getting back from his task.

A fun day out enjoyed by all - thanks to all the helpers Nick, Les & Robert.

Monday 28th May - Task week

First day of Ron's Task week, had a large gathering for briefing at 10:00.  There were three tasks set
  • NHL - Westbury - Shaftesbury - NHL 196 km
  • NHL - Shaftesbury - NHL 155 km
  • NHL - The Park 78 km
The weather looked fine and launching started just after 11:00. It soon became apparent that the cloudbase of the good looking sky was barely 1800 ft. The early launchers explored the local area for improvements - keen to get on track, but before long, several returned for relights, whilst others declined a launch. Martin KMV LS3 showed the best effort and landed at Martock, just short of Yeovilton.- Lovely big field and just look at the sky!
Martin's field
Wyn was attempting his Silver distance to the Park, but also found the conditions difficult and landed in a field at Ashill in an attempt to get back to North Hill. First field landing under his belt.
Wyn's field
After a stop for lunch, the sky started to look a little better, and the remaining gliders took to the sky. Conditions were a little better - 2100 ft and slightly more reliable lift for local soaring, but it was too late to attempt cross-country.
In the evening there was a small gathering at Keeper's Cottage.

Sunday 27th May ICL North Hill

There was a lot of pondering over RASP forecasts, we decided to set tasks on the assumption that the cold front would just clear through enough to get some tasks completed to the west. However the cold front got stuck across Devon and the ICL tasks were scrubbed at 1330. Local club and crew flying continued until quite late as the front did eventually clear through although it was never very soarable.
Thanks to Andrew for organising North Hill  ICL weekend, (pity about the weather) and (along with Henry) for getting the shower(s) ready for our visitors.
Matt modelled the new Super Natural High teeshirt that he designed, they will be available for the Open Weekend.

Saturday 26th May ICL North Hill

With a forecast of blue sky , hot sun and wind 20 gusting 40 from the east, hopes were not high for InterClub League tasks and it was scrubbed at briefing. However, club flying started and after five very rough approaches through severe curlover and general turbulence over the field, all the toys were put away. 
In the evening, Andrew put on the customary Inter Club party, with barbeque - thanks to Tom & Martin for cooking, and live music from Steve (and Gordon on base guitar).

Thursday 24th May

It was very hot and humid with a gentle north easterly wind. Visibility wasn't too good and a sheet of StratoCu between 700 and 1000ft could be seen about 1 mile to the east of the airfield. There were a few launches and launch failure practice before the StratoCu reached North Hill and caused a stop for early lunch. After lunch the cloud burnt off and vis improved a little and circuit training continued. Mark C took Mark L and then Liam for some field selection practice in the Rotax Falke. Guy brought in a group of work colleagues for a Trial lesson evening.

Wednesday 23rd May

Wednesday's forecast was a light N/W wind with wall-to-wall sun, all the club gliders were out early and the flying list was long. What we got was a moderate N/E wind so all the gliders were walked up to the S/W corner only to be flown down to the clubhouse end as the wind had backed to a light southerly.
Eventually the wind went westerly, the soaring was broken and difficult at times but most pilots had soaring flights many of over an hour, Tim flew his ASW19, Pete St the Discus and Nick the flew the Oly,  Congratulations to Mark L for converting to the Cirrus and soaring it. 
Pete & Jill had a long flight in OL - "RASP showed a convergence from Exmoor to Portland from mid-afternoon, and as we climbed under one of the few clouds near North Hill, a line began to appear as forecast. Cloudbase was higher over the Blackdowns, but either end, cloudbase got lower and the convergence line got quite messy. We flew 4 lengths of the convergence roughly Tiverton East to Axminster."
With the warm sun many white legs were to be seen given their first airing of the season, it was nice to see Ian King back after a long lay off.
A visitor with a Triumph made a good photo call with the Oly. - The car is a Triumph Renown, owned by a guy from Dunkeswell. His Triumph club members had been tasked to get pictures of their cars in an interesting surrounding - where better than DSGC, alongside another delectable British veteran, the Olympia 463, which was out for its 1st flights following annual CofA (Annex II), and very well she flew too.
The Wednesday club handed the gliders over to Simon M & Stu for one of the first Trial lesson evenings of the season. Some members attended the Olympic airspace briefing at Dunkeswell in the evening.- JSt & JH

Saturday 19th May

A strange sort of day with embedded lift at times in total cloud cover, some brighter spells. Some soared under 8/8, prize goes to Henry for an hour and half in the Junior.

Thursday 17th May

There was a lot of top cover and strong south easterly going southerly wind forecast. After a long walk to the top corner with all the kit, we started flying southerly circuits with the wind increasing,. There were some ragged broken thermals to extend circuit time and the odd light rain shower.  Unfortunately the rain became persistent before we got to the end of the flying list. The weather didn't show the best of gliding to a local journalist who will be writing a feature on the Open Weekend, but he enjoyed his day out.

Wednesday 16th May

There was expectation on Monday for a good day as RASP was looking good, but yesterday RASP showed over-development and the North Hill soaring group were slow to rig. Although there was a lot of heavy looking cloud it was working spectacularly once cloudbase had risen.

Trial lessons, training and solo local soaring continued all day.
Peter Sm DG1 and Aston FZF flew for 2 hours and Dave A in K6 HEB  for more than 3 hours.
JB, Pete 230 and Matt M5 breezed round the Club 100 making use of a sea breeze front before lunchtime, and in the afternoon were joined by Pete & Jill OL exploring all points west.
 Eaglescott Airfield

At times the airfield got very dark under a convergence, so RASP wasn't far off in the end.

ICL at The Park - Sat 12 Sun 13 May

A great forecast presented us with the opportunity to attempt some epic tasks.  400km for the Pundits, 305km for the Intermediates and 150km for the Novices caused a certain amount of muttering in the earlier-than-usual 0930 briefing, but the tasks were set and we would do our best to complete them.  We launched into a promising-looking sky that yielded both heavy sink and awesome lift - 8kt average thermals were great fun.  There weren't really any big streets and the going was a bit scratchy at times, but most people from every Club completed the tasks.  Peter Sm, DG101 was our Novice, and came second in his class.  I flew Intermediate, Cirrus, with more than a little trepidation at attempting such a large task, but somehow managed to not only complete it, but win the day as well.  Steve,  Discus put in a great effort in dying conditions to make it home in third place for the Pundits.  Overall we were third in the League at the end of the day, but with only two points to make up to first place.

The forecast was slightly less promising today, with RASP showing signs of a narrowing band of lift into the afternoon.  Tasks were accordingly much shorter, with 300km for Pundit, 200km for Intermediate and 120km for Novice.  Good climbs south of the start line suggested that it might be another great day, and the rapid run down the first two turnpoints increased confidence, albeit with a tailwind.  However, the day started to die off rapidly, with a lot of spreadout and a sea air killing off most of the lift.  A few people completed but many abandoned on their way to the TPs West of The Park.  Henry, Junior flew Novice, but despite a great effort to get to the final TP at Glastonbury, only came fourth after a GPS issue meant that he missed the Devizes TP.  I had a great run to Westbury, and some good streets carried me up to Membury in good time, but a lack of lift around the TP put me in the weeds.  I battled back up and made it back to The Park, but conditions wouldn't allow me to get to the final TP at Langport, however with those around me struggling as well I still managed a respectable second place.  Simon M, ASW20 had similar issues getting to his last TP and also returned to The Park for a second place finish.

Thanks to all the pilots this weekend, an awesome job, roll on the home leg in two weeks time.
(Ed - Congratulations to the Team and a big thank you to Andrew for organising the weekend)

Sunday 13th May

The day started promising with small cu popping at 0930 but with a stiff westerly wind. Tasks were set and maps were marked, - downwind first.
Ron and Phil 711 ASH25 went to Salisbury again, Daniel 611 ASW20 completed the turn but without the longer wings only made it back to Yeovilton into the increasing headwind and decreasing lift.  Peter F and John S OL Duo Discus went to Sherborne and back. Pete St 230 Discus went to The Park and back. JB Ventus started late and was glad of the iron thermal. Meanwhile back at North Hill, the sea air came in early at lunchtime killing all the lift for a couple of hours, but it did start going again mid-afternoon.

Mark's trace from Saturday has been validated , so congratulations to Mark for achieving Gold Distance and Diamond Goal.

Saturday 12th May

There was a brilliant forecast for today and the whole of the British gliding community were expectant of great things. There was a slight disappointment at North Hill, as the clouds seemed to be avoiding us early on. Ron and Guy 711 ASH25 got tired waiting with a planned 500 km and could see the clouds developing to both east and west an ASH25's glide away. The rest of the North Hill soaring group waited a little longer before launching.
Jimbob and Stu in relaxed waiting mode
Most headed off towards Yeovil and then Salisbury. On the return leg most of us overshot North Hill to extend the flight.
Congratulations to Mark C ENW ASW20 completed a 300 km triangle, but we await results of a logger tantrum. Congratulations to Wyn W7 LS7 for completing 5 hours and just getting silver height in the bag, and completing Cross-country endorsement.
Wyn - Tired but more than a little chuffed
Ron and Guy completed 413 km NHL-ROA-SAS-CRE-NHL,
Pete St 230 Discus completed 303 km NHL-SAS-WHD-NHL,
Mark C ENW ASW20 completed 303 km NHL-WHD-SAS-NHL
Pete and Jill OL Duo Discus completed 275 km NHL-SAS-WDG-NHL,
Stu & James JZK DG505 completed 100 km NHL-YEO-TIE-NHL,
Roly 523 Kestrel 19 completed 100 km NHL-YEO-TIE-NHL
Others flew locally and to celebrate our Junior Gliding Centre status, junior members kept the Instructors busy all day.
Inter Club League results at The Park to follow, but Muggles has completed 300 km for a Gold Distance, Steve has completed 400 km for a Gold Distance, and Peter Sm has completed 160 km - Well done to all.

Bank Holiday Monday 7th May

The DG505 went to Uffculme Show to advertise the Open Weekend.  Huge thanks to Liam, Will, Ollie, Cheryl and Graham for being there to help out.  The reaction of the show visitors to our presence was fantastic, we had a lot of interest all through the day including from a couple of former glider pilots.  Only time will tell, but I’m quite confident that our trip to the Show will produce increased numbers at Open Weekend.

Sunday 6th May

What a difference a bit of sun makes! It took a while for the top cover to burn back to the east, but cumulus started popping at 10:00. The wind was still from the east but much lighter. Most of the private owners were convinced it would over-develop and were in no rush to rig, although the RASP forecast was still going for a pretty good day.
For a time there was a lot of sink in the circuit and it was difficult to get away but the North Hill soaring group persisted and it proved to be quite good.
Pete St 230 Discus and Simon SM ASW20 flew the Club 100kms Tiverton - Yeovil. Ron and Daniel 711 ASH25 did Sherborne - Dulverton. Steve W FER Discus flew round the Taunton area. Lisa LH ASW20, Martin KMV LS3 and Mike S ENW ASW20 stayed local, and Pete & Jill OL Duo Discus flew to The Park - Tiverton.
 Best thermal of the day for OL over the flooded Somerset levels
Several gliders tried the 'good looking' sea breeze front that moved north of Honiton, but it wasn't working.

At the end of the day DG505 was derigged and towed to Uffculme ready for the Uffculme show tomorrow.

We are pleased to announce that DSGC has been awarded Junior Gliding Centre status.

Saturday 5th May

Another very cold north-easterly day, with very few members, but by late morning flying had started. Lisa and helpers transferred her glider to the new trailer. Ruth, being the only pupil, kept the Instructors busy.

Friday 4th May

Final course day and still the weather was being uncooperative. With low cloud base, some limited circuit planning exercises were flown in the Falke. But there were some achievements during the week - Mark resoloed and Harry completed his Bronze. Thanks to Peter F and Paul for back-seat flying and ground lectures and to the course ground crew - Les, Tom and William.

Thursday 3rd May

Low cloud and poor vis prevented any flying today, so the Thursday crew joined the Course members for a day of ground school with a focus on meteorology (by special request). At lunch time we were joined by a group of walkers and the lectures were changed to videos, this was followed by the 'How I dunnit' of the recent excellent soaring day on 15th March with the See You traces of Matt, Rowan & JB.

Wednesday 2nd May

The forecast was good, and everybody had seen the sky on Tuesday afternoon - the Club was as busy as we have seen it on a Wednesday. However, the morning low cloud and haziness didn't look like breaking and the kitchen sold out of bacon butties. The first blue holes developed about midday and swiftly developed into a blue sky with puffy clouds albeit a cold north easterly wind. The Course members were all offered aerotows initially to get more time in the air, and the Club members were well organised by Fred running the launch point. The winch launches were all rather short with a lot of sink in the circuit.
Many thanks to Peter Sm, Les and the rest of the team for creating bruises and spilling blood to get the Kuboto running again.
Congratulations to Mark L for completing his Bronze, and to Matt for passing his BI acceptance checks with CFI Pete.

Tuesday 1st May

A new month and at last some better weather - following the exceptional record April rainfall and 50 to 60 mph gusts of wind. The Course managed to get some flying today after a first day of ground school whilst the wind howled. The sky looked good although the clouds weren't very high, and the tight thermal cores were quite challenging.