Thurs 31st Jan - Tantrums, Teas and Tuggies

When we rolled up today the sky was blue but within minutes it was raining, not AGAIN! Cue tantrums!

Luckily it was a short lived shower, there was then a long and extensive pitch inspection.  At first we thought we could winch launch, but driving on the field with the Land Rover, even with its big fat wheels left brown lines. We retired to the clubhouse for numerous hot cups of tea whilst we allowed the field to "dry" a little more. It was decided that we could set up the field with the launch point a little in front of the club house and aerotow from the crest of the field.

Conditions were "lively" to say the least  with a 30 mph + WNW wind but the intrepid Tuggies were keen to save the day - (respect). Once you endured the rather entertaining aerotow to 1000ft you could climb all the way along the West ridge. Heights to 1600 ft were easily possible, there was a real mix of wave rotor, thermal and pure ridge lift. Gliders were called down after 30-ish min so that everyone could get a flight. It would seem that Pete S had his iPod earphones plugged in because he could not hear us calling him down for nearly an hour, only descending so he could  post the "first" x-country of the year from North Hill, NHL-CUL-NHL.

Top honours go to Treasurer Tom (formally Texas) and Matt with their 58 min flight. They only descended to allow Tom to eagerly charge people's accounts for flying, a task that he has not been able to undertake of late! 

Everyone learnt something new today (I hope), and with the flying list completed the dirty bottoms were washed by 5pm. A challenging but hugely enjoyable day,  made possible by the rather brave Tuggies Matt and Peter St, my assistant instructor Chris W and all the usual super keen Thursday bunch.
Roll on next Thursday especially as I have ordered NE wave to arrive by 10 am.
Mark C  
Dirty bottoms cleaned!

Weds 30th January

Wednesday forecast was for very strong west wind it was 20 kt gusting to 35 kt, apart from that the field was waterlogged, this didn't stop the usual Wednesday optimists from turning up.
Our road repair materials have arrived and for those who would prefer to mend the road rather than fly the is a huge backlog of work to be done! JS.

Thursday 31st January -DSGC down under

Another beach and another gliding club, Wellington Gliding Club at Kapiti Coast.The hot sunny high pressure has started to pull away and we had a fresh northerly wind which was blowing along the mountain range and not working, They had wave yesterday, but the views were great again. We both flew 3000ft sleigh rides with Vojtech from Czech Republic in a DG1000.
Across the Straits tomorrow ready to attack South Island - there's no cobwebs here!
- Jill and Pete
Kapiti Island


Mon 27th Jan - pics from somewhere it's not raining.

A couple of pics from Pete and Jill - looks nice doesn't it.
Tauranga 25th January

Lake Taupo 27th January. See how they photoshopped a bit of glider in this one just to make us think they're actually flying - very clever.

Sunday 27th January - DSGC down under

The second gliding club visit in NZ, Taupo, Central Plateau, North Island, 1500ft above sea level.The vintage kiwi rally was onthis week, and we popped in on Saturday afternoon, to find that there was no flying due to extreme easterly turbulence behind the nearby 3000ft mountain. Sunday morning after a quick stroll round the power boats on the lakeside, that were racing in the afternoon, we drove up to the gliding club at 10:00.

The cumulus were forming readily despite a dodgy forecast on nz rasp. We found them all a bit laid back, and just like the French didn't start launching until after lunch. Pete flew with a pommy Sid from Hus Bos who he had previously flown with at Dunstable. Jill flew with an aussie bloke called Tracey. The conditions were superb with 10 knot thermals to 6500ft, (had to stop there or make a call to Christchurch ATC.
We made a lot of new friends and invited several back to North Hill when visiting UK.

Jill and Pete

Sat 26th Jan - Fire, Mice, Men and a drop of water

North Hill water park

The deep end
Well as we thought the predicted thaw saw the field awash with water, so that was it, a wasted day ---- not a chance !
The main aim was to return the lecture room to its former glory with some minor improvements, more of that later.  We gathered our men. Firstly we had to clear a space at the rear of the old hanger for the expected influx of items  from the lecture room. No mean feat as most of the vehicles were reluctant to move after their forced hibernation. The old hanger floor was then brushed clean, a job overdue. By the time Andrew M's items were placed in his secret storage area, ( not quite so secret anymore) the rubbish was either burnt on a rather large bonfire, simply thrown in the bin or claimed by members resembling rubbish tip reclaimers, there was not a lot of new storage space needed!

The old storage cupboards were checked by our chief mouse retention officer (Jonathan S) and came through with a clean bill of health, it looks like the single culprit has now been eradicated.

Back in the lecture room Martin W, Dave W and myself wrestled the metal wipe board onto its new fixing brackets. It can be removed with care if needed in the main club room. With a slight amount of re arranging the room is now ready for lectures or instructor reviews (of which there are a few). Thanks to Mrs Mop (Heather C) for getting on her hands and knees to scrub the floor clean !

Ron supervised his team of elves re-weighing 611 - looks like diet time again! - and 711 made it out of the workshop like a leviathan space ship being relaunched.

In the main club room there was a great atmosphere with people chatting , reminiscing and planning for the coming season, with bacon sandwiches a plenty and hot tea who could wish to be anywhere else ?? Well apart from NZ like Jill and Pete oh and Jamaica where our Lisa H is sunning herself !
Thanks to all the helpers

Friday 25th January - DSGC down under

Our first gliding day in NZ, at Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, North Island. The very friendly club members opened up operations just for us. After a little delay fettling the Duo XLT for Pete and the Janus for Jill,we towed them tail first with rope and nobody on the glider, we towed them to the end of the strip .Jill launched first but the sky was all changing and there was just time for photos and a few odd bits of lift.

Pete had a better trip, once the streets restablished, with cloudbase at 4500ft.visiting both coasts over nearly 4 hours with just a few engine burns. Great hospitality from the locals in the evening with a fish supper.
Jill and Pete

Thurs 24th Jan - SNOW so WHITE and the 3 dwarfs

Well, getting to the club was ok today despite a large drift across the entrance to the lane. The whole site looked amazing under the bright winter sun, in fact the snow was the whitest smoothest I have ever seen (confirmed by Dave R). 

Ron J turned up to "work" on the ASH and soon had his 3 dwarfs grafting under his supervision. In no particular order , Grumpy , Pete S  , Sleepy Adrian P , (Turned up late) and Bashful,  Mark C. Later Ron's backup dwarfs arrived to finish the job ,Doc, Phil M and Sneezy Chris W (bad cold). The workshop was nice and warm despite the -1 deg C outside ,what a great club asset this facility is. 

With heavy rain forecast tomorrow and the big thaw we all agreed that the field might take some time to recover. On Sat we are hoping  that members will turn up anyway as there will be some lectures taking place, also it would be great if we can clear the lecture room of the accumulated items.

On the plus side its nearly the end of January so spring should be round the corner! 
( it's quite a way off I just added this to cheer up Grumpy). 

Mark C (aka The Disbeliever) Snow? - can't be true, we haven't seen a single flake in Plymouth!

Polar bear or frozen walker?
Snow so White!

Grumpy smiles but check out his mug!

Sunday 20th January

Despite no chance of flying a few intrepid members braved the hills to enjoy the snow-covered vista, a social chat and a nice hot cup of Tea.  The snowmen who appeared on Saturday were now dressed in their Sunday Best bow-ties and coloured buttons.

While the Elevenses Syndicate were polishing in the workshop, sounds of enthusiastic construction were emanating from the MT workshop.  Soon Henry and Liam emerged, ready to test drive their MK1 sledge.  Some low-level, high-speed passes ensued, to raucous laughter, cheesy grins and snow down the back of the neck.  Not wanting to be left out, Ruth had a go and inadvertently practised her spins.
"This can only end well!" - Liam

Covered in snow and just from filming

Thu 17 Jan - Predictions, promises and personal gain.

Driving to DSGC at 7:15 this morning I was trying to prepare my mind for a series of lectures that I was going to try and bumble through.

I had made the prediction that the day would be a wash out with low cloud and an unfavourable wind, mistake number one.

The Thursday crew were as usual rolling up with devoted predictability, included in this group was Adrian P. Adrian told us how he had managed 35 min on Wed, I bet him a pint that he could not repeat that feat today and promised to pay up, mistake number two!

And then there were the personal gains, Jonathon S had a 35 min flight just 7 min short for his 50 hours, it took another launch and an 8 min flight to secure his personal goal.

Paul M returned from a four month break to fly as if he never left, everyone was tested in the sometimes blustery southerly wind and they all coped well (that Pete H has been a good master).

There were many flights over 30 min with areas of zero sink or weak lift. As I left the club room for home Texas Tom our new treasurer was hoping that Adrian would somehow encounter a massive down-draft that would keep his own 37 min flight (the record at the time for the day) intact, sadly as I drove out the gate with darkness approaching I could see Adrian's teeth gleaming at 600 ft on the South ridge, OK OK I will buy you a pint!

Mark C

Wed 16 Jan

For once the weather did what it said on the tin, although quite cold the conditions stayed good all day we even had some extended flights on the South ridge.

Due to the weather and Christmas many pilots hadn't flown for over a month and there was a lot of happy faces at the end of the day, the field is drying out nicely in most places, but there are still areas we need to avoid, care is required when setting up the winch.

                                           Captain Slow and JS survey the scene
Adrian had the longest flight with Joe S a close second Pete & Matt tried to soar Hembury Fort in the K13 with the usual result - a quick run for home! JS.

Sunday 13th January

Yee Haa! - Flying again. The field is still a bit soggy in places, but with a light northeasterly wind we were able to aerotow from the top end. There were a lot of members present and all four two-seaters were in action all day. 
What is the collective noun for Cirrus?
 Additionally a pair of Cirri ?  with Andrew and Henry did some formation flying. JB completed his 5 year Refresher with Simon M. There were 24 aerotows all told - well done Simon J for keeping going all day with just a little help from Robert over lunchtime.

There was a competition for the best sunset photo.
Setting sun by Ruth

And by James

Saturday 12th January

Another wet and windy day and the Duty Instructors called for an early bath, - well the cloudbase was meeting the water table!
In the evening, John Si gave a very entertaining talk on his life in Naval flying including ditching a Gannet, followed by another excellent carvery supper from Maria.

Wednesday 10th January

We marched them up to the top of the hill........ and we marched them down again....... Not quite 10,000 members but a good number who were all desperate to fly. The field had drained, the sun had come out and there was a light north easterly wind. The gliders were all positioned at the far end and then there was a quick lunch stop but unfortunately, the sun's small amount of heating just had the effect of stirring up the near 100% humid air, causing cycling of low cloud at field top height throughout the day.

Sunday 6th January

AHHRRRRRRR - 'Twas a dirty, dank and  drizzly day an' the fog rolled across the bleak and barren wastes of North Hill - makin the sheep look like ghosts lurking on the edge of time. A sense of Dooooom filled the air as a distant Jackel cut the silence with ……
No, we couldn't fly, so JB had a classroom session with Si before lunch and after lunch Si and JB did a 'Standardisation session' on Circuits with a group of Instructors -  Lisa, Andrew, Stu and Pete W. Useful day. - JB

Saturday 5th January

The field continues to drain, but it's still very soft and squidgy with no chance of winch launching yet (although it's improving every day), unfortunately the cloud was too low for aerotows as well. Both Falkes took advantage of a clearing sky late afternoon to get airborne.
VG  with Carl and Dave  from SC with Mark C & Mike S
 Adrian gave a briefing on map reading to a small interested group. Thanks also to Pete C for checking out some parachutes that had been in the naughty cupboard with some rodents.
In the evening, the Clubhouse was full with 40+ members and Karon - BGA Child Protection Officer presented a seminar and led discussions on child protection. Notes from the seminar will be available in members area of DSGC web site. Following the seminar, with the Clubhouse quickly rearranged, 30 members enjoyed Cheryl & Steph's hearty stew and pud.

Wed & Thurs 2nd/3rd January

The K21 was rigged on Wednesday after the 3000hour and annual check -thanks to Andrew L and the team.
The weather has changed but we still can't fly due to low cloud. Having stored the christmas decorations for another year, John Si gave the Thursday tea club a lecture on spinning.
William and Pete reinstated the running water in the Clubhouse and Pete had some success discovering the cause of the excavation by the caravans.

Tuesday 1st January - New Year's Day

New Year - New weather - let's hope!
The rain has stopped and the airfield started draining as usual, some sunshine and a fresh north westerly wind helped the process. And with a lateish start a dry line was identified on the high ground to enable aerotow only launches. There was a good (desperate?) group of members after nearly three weeks with no flying.
Mike Fitz took the honours (56 mins) with the first flight of 2013 in the Junior with the ridge working well and occasional thermals.
The Fitz

Stu and Martin went to check out the south coast in VG.
K21, Junior and Ka6 all soared on the ridge although at times it got a bit tricky with more north in the wind, most got over 20 minutes of soaring. Ruth flew her first training aerotows, John Si raced the tug back in his usual 'upside-down' way. Henry had the longest flight (59mins) mid-afternoon all at low level on the ridge.
All the tuggies got back in check sharing a total of 15 aerotows, and a good time was had by all. The longest flight was one minute short of an hour!
There was a good deal of washing at the end of the day.
Muddy patterns
Happy New Year to all our readers.