Friday 31st August

RASP had spotted a good soaring day from earlier in the week, with the promise of the first day of ridging from the Azores High (albeit with an incoming warm front during the afternoon). So the DSGC Google group had a call to action, and the North Hill soaring section turned out in force.

There was a 300km task set Whiddon Down - Salisbury, but after launching Rowan in Libelle CLM, the pundits decided to reverse the task going downwind first. Liam in KHA was next to launch attempting 5 hours locally. Phil and Ron ASH25 711  followed by Pete St Discus 230 and Peter Sm DG1 headed off to the east. Dylan LS7 W7 was also staying local. Jonathan ASW19 877 was going to attempt 100km out and return to Sherborne, but struggled to get away. Pete & Jill Duo Discus OL taking the last launch found that the local conditions had become quite difficult and took ages to regain launch height, but eventually headed off on the club 100. Phil & Ron and Pete St turned Salisbury and then found conditions difficult to the west of North Hill, aborting the task. Peter Sm turned Salisbury but got low and landed safely in a field near Crewkerne. Liam  managed to stay high until the effects of the warm front arriving caused him to land after about 4 hours.

Having stuck to the original task, by going west first, congratulations to Rowan for completing 300kms Gold Distance and Diamond Goal.
Rowan complete with cheesy grin
 Thanks to Robert for making a break in the patio laying to provide the aerotows.

Thursday 30th August

Another 'Wednesday washout' meant a busy Thursday for the club. There was a strong northerly crosswind creating a lot of turbulence below 700ft, so Pete, John Si and Chris were kept busy all day. Once through the excitement of the gusty launch, there were large areas of smooth lift in front of the ridge giving good soarable training flights. On a couple of occasions it was possible to transition into a low level gentle wave reaching 500ft above the cloudbase of 2500ft.

Sunday 26th August

The day promised much with a very favourable forecast on RASP, the North Hill Soaring section were rigging before 9am. The weather gods thought differently - with a lot of low cloud and spreadout until lunchtime.
Those who launched early, struggled after the first thermal, club flying continued apace with many Club members,Bank Holiday visitors, trial lessons and friends and family flights.
Queuing for aerotow

The sky eventually settled down into streets and Ron made a call that the sea breeze convergence at Honiton was working well.
Sea breeze front setting up at OtterySt Mary

Several gliders headed for the convergence and followed it to Yeovil area where it seemed to evaporate, providing some interesting glides back to North Hill.
Wyn LS7 W7 got onto the wrong side of the sea breeze as it marched quite quickly to the north, and landed safely in a nice looking but very soft and muddy grass field.
Ron and Phil ASH25 711, Simon M ASW20 SM,  followed the convergence (711 turned Henstridge), Pete St Discus 230  having got disheartened at Tiverton east and Pete & Jill Duo Discus OL enjoyed  their 3rd convergence day of the week.
Justin W Antares 1 visiting before returning home to New Zealand completed several cloud climbs and an out and return to Lasham.
Club flying continued until late, and in the evening there was a (belated birthday) party for Cheryl and Steph with a 70s theme.

Friday 24th August - Course week

After the best course week weather so far this year, Friday was wet. There was a lecture on circuit planning, and a presentation on the next steps in gliding for all the course members, followed by debrief and feedback from the whole week.

Thanks to JB and John for instructing and Nick, Les and William for running things on the ground.

Thursday 23rd August - Course week

Bright sunny morning soon clouded over, with a very light  breeze to start. Cloudbase just about allowed full height launches, and it was circuits all day for both Club and Course members.

Highlight of the day was when ex-Navy Pilot John  sent ex-Air Force Pilot Chris for his resolo in gliders after many years of flying at Her Majesty's expense.
John congratulates Chris (right)
In the evening, a group from Somerset Drainage Board flew trial lessons, and all the Course members, Helpers and Instructors and a lot of hangers-on had an enjoyable evening at the Keeper's Cottage.

Wednesday 22nd August - Course week

At last some good soaring weather! with the Wednesday club and the course - we had a very busy day, most pilots had over an hour in the fresh westerly wind.  The course continued their soaring, stalling, spinning, launch failure exercises,
Congratulations to Dylan on his 5hrs in the LS7 W7,- that makes the second Junior member to complete a silver leg this week.
Dylan with 45mins to go
 Jonathan, Tim & Joe made good use of the ASW19 877. Pete St in the Discus 230, Martin in LS3 KMV, Matt in ASW20 M5  Pete & Jill in the Duo OL all had good soaring flights running up and down the streets in the strong westerly wind. Matt also took some excursions to the Quantocks and his favourite South coast cliffs. Exeter Air Traffic were again very helpful today.
Matt starting his run out to sea at Exmouth
 It was nice to see all of the club gliders in use all day, in the evening another group from the Met Office enjoyed a trial lesson evening and barbeque organised by Henry.

Tuesday 21st August - Course week

Low cloud at first provided plenty of opportunities for launch failure training. Eventually full height launches were possible, but then showers provided time for some ground school.  At lunchtime, Liam gave a 'How I dunnit' to the SeeYou replay of his Silver Distance flight yesterday. It eventually got soarable at 6pm, and flying continued late into the evening, thanks to those who were willing to delay their dinner.

Monday 20th August - Course week

The sky looked good although the clouds were a little low to start with, it was difficult to get away from below 2000ft with all the recent moisture in the lowest layers. During the afternoon conditions improved although it was still tricky to get away from the winch.

The course had a good first day with everyone getting plenty of flying and continuing on into the evening.

Liam set off to The Park in the Junior, he landed in a large cut field near The Park which qualified for Silver Distance - Congratulations Liam.
Liam's field near The Park

Congrats to Andrew L who flew VG with Stu, getting signed up for Cross Country endorsement.

With a light west north westerly wind, a good looking sea breeze convergence started setting up from Exeter to Honiton. Pete St Discus 230 and Pete & Jill DuoDiscus OL investigated, talking to Exeter as 'glider formation' but the lift wasn't working very well and after 10 minutes Exeter asked us to move north to clear the approach. After some exploring towards Tiverton, the convergence reinvigorated and extended well to the East. OL and then Matt in 230 followed the energy to east of Merryfield. OL continued back across Exeter and then followed another convergence line up the motorway to Wellington. - A super day of convergences.
Sea breeze convergence over the Exe estuary

Thursday 16th August

After yesterday's wind and washout, it was a little better on Thursday - but still unflyable with a gusty southerly wind and low orographic cloud on the hill again. John Si gave a lecture on launching and circuits, then we rigged the K13 and rescued Liam's tent from a walkaround.
Dave C has now got his Bronze paperwork signed up.

Tuesday 14th August - Club week

Tuesday was a much better day, we started with pre-bronze pilots doing DIs under supervision, we were soon flying in the S to SW wind.
Dave C spent all morning completing his tasks for yellow card, well done Dave and well flown, Jonathan renewed his yellow card.
There were several soaring flights, everyone worked hard and we all had a super day helped by the weather and everybody's enthusiasm, but the highlight  was the last flight of the day with Heather and her P1 (ed: the one with the white hat) having an impromptu field landing, much to the amusement of all present.
Large crew helped, the little Diana towed the knackered K13 trailer down to the field. The entrance to the field was sodden so we had to derig and carry the bits into the next field.

I have never seen so many people around to welcome back an out-landed glider!   -  JSt

Monday 13th August - Club week

Monday started with low cloud, the trees quickly disappeared from view  followed by the trailers, not daunted Jonathan soon had us all going through the Bronze Questions, scoring 20 out of 20 (with a little help & discussions)! After this Mark C put us through our paces  with Weather Forecast 214 /215.  Then it looked as if the cloud was lifting so full of optimism we got set up for flying, only to have orographic  cloud on & off for the next couple of hours, optimistic as ever we waited & eventually started flying at 5.30 having 2 launches each with plenty of practice pulling off at varying heights under low cloud, we all learnt a lot from this & eventually had to stop flying at 8.15 as the canopy’s were misting. A great day making the most of the conditions. - HC

Sunday 12th August

After a slow start due to low cloud we started flying after an early lunch, after the first couple of flights the weather improved giving us very interesting flying with a sea breeze front for most of the afternoon, at one stage all the club gliders were flying in the sea breeze making the flying quite interesting at times. Most of flights were over an hour with Wyn managing over two hours in his LS7.
Luke Roberts paid us a visit to catch up on all the news at NH, he is now gliding at Bicester. - JSt

Saturday 11th August

For once the weather forecast for sunshine turned out to be correct - albeit that the wind strength was higher than predicted. Undeterred, a small but enthusiastic group of Club members set up the launch point at the NW corner of the field and after some group discussion about the wind strength and direction a decision was made to complete a 'Met flight' - outcome sadly was to 'picket down' of the gliders and return to the Clubhouse to await a hoped for reduction on wind strength whilst having an early lunch.

A further Met flight took place early afternoon after which flying continued, with the 'interesting' wind strength and direction providing the opportunity for Blue Card checks/training for those Members keen enough to do so.

Late afternoon the wind strength eased off enough to allow some aerotow Trial Lessons, good reward for our visitors' patience, and for Club Member to complete winch launches/flying in the less demanding conditions.

An initially frustrating, but in the end good day overall, with various 'flying currency banks topped up'...let's hope the weather stays fine for Sunday! - Mike S

Thursday 9th August

The day promised much following a really duff Wednesday. - The sun was out and there were white puffy clouds early on, the pressure had risen and there was hardly any wind - just a slight easterly breeze. The flying list got longer and longer. Under such a lovely looking sky it was quite surprising that soaring proved quite difficult (even to the pundits). There were just a couple of short soaring flights. Star of the day was Mike F in Pik20 DFK who flew to Crediton and Tiverton under the 2000ft cloudbase.
The two-seater training list was quite long and there were trial lessons, including Robin who had suffered a push-bike accident six years ago and is paralysed from the neck down. He really enjoyed his flight with aerial views of Devon.
Robin preparing for his flight
Congratulations to Liam for completing his cross-country endorsement,  with a flight to The Park with CFI Pete in Rotax Falke. - Nearly a year to the day from his 16th birthday and first solo.

In the evening, The Met Office group had a better time than yesterday and flew through to a very beautiful sunset followed by a barbeque.

Wednesday 8th August

A weak waving front gave us low cloud and drizzle - which never really cleared. There was some optimism for a clearance in time for a Met Office group evening and all the kit was prepared in readiness for the cloud to lift. After a couple of weather checks the low cloud closed in again on the ridge and to the south, although the sky towards Wellington and Taunton looked super. Try again tomorrow evening....

Monday 6th August

After a pretty duff weekend, we had a one day course for 3rd Exeter Air Scouts. Again the rain showers and orographic cloud proved challenging. But by the end of the afternoon, all 13 young people had flown two trial lessons some of which were extended circuits using ridge lift and thermals.

Friday 3rd August - Course week

After the early orographic cloud lifted we were hopeful for a shower free final day - and for the most part it was. Almost immediately it was soarable to the 1500 cloudbase and later to 2000ft and occasionally the south westerly wind picked up to its normal boisterous self.

After  one final check flight our new member Gordon ( lapsed 200 hour cross-country pilot), had several flights in the Junior - feeling at home again after 9 years missing gliding.
Ian H has progressed well towards completing his Bronze - he particularly enjoyed landing in new parts of the airfield.
Graham and Paul continued their pre-solo training - and new to gliding James and George were learning very quickly.
After a lunchtime tutorial, we now have some more expert rope splicers.
A brilliant course week making the most of every possible flying time, Thanks to Instructors Pete H and Wooly, and helpers Dave C, Liam and Jill.

In the evening a group of colleagues from Honeywell flew and barbequed.

Thursday 2nd August - Course week

The morning was plagued with orographic cloud continuously reforming at 200ft in the moist south south westerly wind. After some crop recognition photos, just before lunch the air dried out giving us enough height for launching.

There was some soaring in the turbulent gusty airstream, with a few showers blowing through. The strong wind blowing up the gully proved a good example of the trickier conditions that North Hill can provide.

John Si held the fort  flying with the Thursday Club members.
John's spot landing being rated by members

The evening group was  20 young people from Ipplepen Scouts, who had to put up with the odd rain delay, but - "Gliding is awesome, 100 out of 10, I can't even describe how good it is" - 11 year old scout.

 The Course Members, Instructors and Helpers enjoyed the traditional evening at The Keeper's Cottage.

Wednesday 1st August - Course week

Warm sector fog and drizzle persisted all morning with the promise that it would clear through by 2pm, so the morning was spent with lectures on circuit planning, loggers and Bronze local soaring tasks. After lunch it was clear that 2pm was a little optimistic, and the fog became thicker for a time. A clearance was promised for 4pm, and in the event, it came through very quickly. First launch was at 16:05 and all course members had 2 launches in the soarable gusty south south westerly conditions.
Ian practised field landing exercises, Gordon practised launch failures.
Justin and Gillian called in (by road) on their summer tour.
The evening group had been cancelled due to the forecast weather and very soon after packing the hangar the deluge started.