Thursday 27th June

The forecast was for light rain approaching during the afternoon, and indeed it arrived about 4:00pm. It was soarable by 11:00 under thick top cover the cumulus formed quite readily in the light north westerly wind. Several members had soaring flights until it suddenly switched off, the wind picked up and some light rain fell out of the top cover. It was good to see Ray D on the airfield - mobile again with all the metalwork in his ankle.
 Ron rigged the ASH in readiness for Saturday. Some of the mob arrived back from France.
You need a lot of friends.....

Peter Sm continued his BI training with Mark.
A new view of the Club.

Just as we were packing up, R151 Cub and the Banbury Super Cub flew in by Mike and Barbie ready for the Competition Enterprise Tugging team.

Wednesday 26th June - La Motte du Caire

W7 is launched.
After 25 flights , which started in July 2011, I was signed off to make my first solo in the mountains.
Smooth winch launch to 1,200' and headed to the Blachere. Having been on this mountain many times in training, I half expected to be back in circuit within a couple of runs. However the lift was good and I climbed steadily for nearly 15 minutes, back and forth . Not having the courage to go as close as in training, lots of energy was wasted, but all was done at safe speeds with a big 'margin'. Pushed north a short way to climb the Jalinier (1,465m). Got a great thermal that made the leap of 5k SE to the Jouere possible. Played on the Jouere for a while getting used to closer mountain flying on my own and radioed down for clearance to go to the Gache. Arrived with so much height to spare, the mountain was hardly working in the gentle WNW breeze. At 7 pm the light was getting softer and the early haze was burnt off giving crystal clear views all around, with the high Alps in clear siloette. A gentle glide back to the Jouere for more ridge running. Going as low as I dared and then scratching back up. With the field of La Motte in close range, it was a joy. So grateful for all the training I have had and especially in the mountains for Christian's relentless encouragement to get this far.

Wednesday 26th June

Another early start with expectations of a good soaring day in the light N/W wind, all the gliders were out and the K13 rigged with the kind help of Pete St. The thermals were a bit patchy and a delicate touch was needed to stay up, at lunch time the cloud spread out and stopped the thermals for a while.
We had two visitors from Portmoak, Alan and Malcolm who mucked in and had a very enjoyable time, after check flights Malcolm flew the Junior.
Peter Sm. was practising for his BI course in three weeks time in the K13. There was a long list plus three Trial lessons flights to be done, flying continued untill we handed over to the Group evening - friends of Pete Callaghan.
Visitors for Competition Enterprise started arriving ready for Saturday. - JSt.

Monday 24th June

A large contingent of DSGC members joined with friends and family at Torquay Crematorium, celebrating the life of long-standing member Dick Wolff, who died earler this month. Our thoughts are with Anne and the family at this difficult time.

Sunday 23rd June - La Motte du Caire

At precisely 7.34am on one of the longest days of the year the sun clears the mountain and strikes our tent. Soon it is too hot to stay in bed so the morning ritual begins; a wash and shave followed by tea and discussion of the day’s plans in the shade of a tree.

Decision time
Yesterday (Sunday 23rd) we decided to have a lazy morning after the extended flights of the day before; 8hrs for Matt and 5hrs for JB and me, whose buttocks are not so resilient. Launching later in the afternoon when the wind was expected to turn to the NW should make getting away easier and open up the opportunity for some late evening wave soaring.

So it was to be; although getting away was still challenging for all, with the exception of JB who for the first time this visit launched straight into a thermal. Rather like banging your head against a brick wall there is a certain satisfaction, after it’s over, from climbing away from the rocky lower slopes. This completed, I set off for the Parcour where Matt and JB along with David from Nympsfield were already playing.

My usual cautious approach (take every climb you can) meant I was once again playing catch up. Whilst the main gaggle took a tortuous route toward a small hill (5,600ft) out in the valley to the north of Gap airfield I took a more direct route from the Northern end of the Parcour  arriving several thousand feet above them. Whilst they climbed back up from the “weeds” I investigated the edge of the large black cloud which had formed above us which had a whispery edge indicative of some wave action. Whilst this excursion gave tantalising hints of zero lift I failed to get a climb and losing a lot of height by pushing forward. I scampered back to the hills to the east of Gap for a top up.

Meanwhile the gaggle had contacted the wave a little further north of my search area. To be fair there were three of them plus an unidentified Frenchman in the search. Here the Flarm traces on the PDA are a great help as the relative positions and climb rates of gliders in the area are shown on the screen.

Whilst I could hear the “director” above me shepherding his cast for the next ‘epic’ video, I found a small but strong patch of wave in the lee of a sharp ridge and using a technique I had learnt from Brian Spreckly, many years ago in Spain, managed to climb up to join the boys. The technique known as “knitting” is useful when the wave is very narrow. It involves flying slowly straight into wind until the lift drops away then turning sharply allowing the wind to push you back and repeating the process. On this occasion this was shown to work spectacularly when subsequently viewing the 3D SeeYou trace.
By now, filming over, and beginning to feel the effects of altitude the pack dispersed to explore the area. Further areas of wave were found including one above a spectacular ridge with the cloud cap below streaming over and down like a giant waterfall only to melt away as if being eaten by acid.
Acid etched clouds
Where's Phil
Pushing forward from this bar, through horrendous sink, I bottled it and retreated to know territory. Matt continued to the next bar, lying NW of the Pic du Bure, recording some amazing footage as he swooped down over the clouds. Meanwhile I found a more sedate climb to take me right over the top of the Pic and take in the spectacular views in the clear air. We left there (35km from La Motte) with sufficient height to allow a required glide angle of  10:1. Flying at 75knots, the return was speckled with good air and lift as is often the case at the end of a flight and I was using the airbrakes to arrive back 6,000ft above the field! So it was a quick tour of the local ridges before returning to La Motte for a cool beer and the excited chatter of Matt, JB and David.

Gliding Home

Saturday 22nd June

Despite the poor weather forecast and the ICL scrub call on Friday, several teams turned up for the Saturday evening party, and they managed to get a few flights in the showers to boot.
The party went ahead with a good turn out with Steve on guitar and later a bit of Karaoke, thanks to all the chefs and Andrew M for organising it.

Some more good news: At last the parts have arrived for the K13 CCY AD inspection to be completed successfully. Thanks to Carl, Pete St and Andrew L for completing the task.

Friday 21st June - Davies a La Motte

Nearly 3hours with Christian. The conditions were ideal to climb and stay at 2,500m. But instead I spent the time on the local ridges. Getting to Blayeul and back twice with the assistance of heavy use of air brakes from the back seat. Lots of hints about better thermaling technique which I hope will pay off. Thoroughly wrung out at the end. But not without hope as I will now get my licence on Monday, and when /if Christian feels the weather is suitable I might get to fly W7 'local to La Motte'. Weather forecast is too windy so I may be unlucky!!

Thursday 20th June

Nearly the longest day, but we couldn't see the beech trees all day! Highlight of the day was the avgas delivery losing grip on the hairpin bend blocking the road for nearly two hours and Pete assisting the driver in getting a grip.

Wednesday 19th June

A very pleasant and early start to the day, the weather was warm with a light northerly wind, after the first few launches the wind veered to the N/E so a quick change of ends and soon the thermals were popping,  It was hard to get away at first but as the day progressed it became easier and many long flights were logged.
Clive flew his first trial lessons with a visitor from Germany and we had two visiting aircraft the Rotax from Mendip and Andy A in a Robin from Lasham called in.
Nick H, Tim J, Adrian and Pete S all flew their own aircraft and all had long flights, In the evening a group from Probus in Exeter enjoyed the warm summer evening flying followed by a nice buffet. - JSt

Tuesday 18th June - La Motte

SE wind forecast and hot. It's going to be difficult to get away.
Christian did the first scrape away and then I took the first thermal climb to 3000 m. We played around between 2800 and 3300 near Blayeul (20 k. ESE of site) trying to reach the wave but failed. Then off to the east of Gap to Mtgne de Ceuse to do some 'work' on the ridge. Airbrake down to tree height and given controls to climb the rock face. Steady at 110 kph and a few seconds later we are shooting over the top of the cliff face. Great fun. Calculate height required for safe return and check out some more land out fields on the way.
2 hours of concentration to return to tea and watch the NH trio M5 611 and JB launch for their afternoon foray.- Wyn

Sunday 16th - Back in the Mountains

The second wave of North Hill hoards arrived in La Motte on Thursday after an eventful trip down, but that's another story. Friday was check flights and Saturday was gloomy brightened by the arrival of the Davies's en mass. Sunday, however, brought blue skies and the possibility of some soaring. The high pressure system sitting over region made getting away tricky for some. Matt needed 3 launches before finally climbing up to join Phil at the 2500m (8000') cloudbase and setting off for the Parcour where the taller peaks were deep in the clouds. We headed north east into the Barcelonette valley where the the air appeared to be drier.

JB was flying again with his friend Wolfgang in his Duo Discus and meet up with Phil and Matt on Tete de Siguret east of Barcelonnette. Cloud base in the valleys to the north was well bellow the mountain tops and were appearing to threaten rain so Phil and Matt headed back to the Parcour while JB and WO found some wave over the Col de Vars where they topped out at 5000m.
Phil and Matt going north on the Parcour
David Jesty, a fellow pilot who flies from Brentor and Nympsfield, enjoyed his first Solo in the mountains exploring the routes east out of La Motte. Wyn and Rod were given good work outs by Christian and Momo before we all retired to the club house for dinner and cheesy grins all round.

Saturday 15th June

This run of strong blustery wind interspersed with showers  is starting to annoy the members, with restrictions on who can fly solo again, but there was some good local soaring to be had.
Some members got a little bored waiting between showers.
Martin taking a quick nap
Stu completed a quick maintenance job on the Pawnee, and Pete H started preparing some new aerotow ropes. Henry continued work on the network extensions. Nick and Cheryl did a bit of gardening.

Friday 14th June - Course week

Another North Hill clamp to start the day. It appeared to be clearing late morning and the toys were taken out of the box. The first launch went into cloud at 700ft with some stratus below that.  We practised launch failures for a while and took lunch. The brisk southerly got worse with strong gusts. Guy and John made an inspection after lunch – and as we could barely stand at the launch point we called it a day.
Students were debriefed, ground helpers Nick H , Roy and Dick St thanked and we all went home (except Syiffa who wanted to use her tent one last time!) happy but disappointed with the weather. -J Si  (ed:And a big thank you to Guy and John Si.)

Thursday 13th June - Course week

The weather on Thursday got off to another disappointing start and the course members and a few Thursday thermallers were entertained (bored?) by John Si and Mark C. Luckily the weather became flyable after lunch with a brisk westerly. The ridge worked and there was thermal activity to about 2500ft. All had good soaring flights in what were blue card conditions. It was good to see Liam off in the Junior later when the wind eased a little – even if he did find time to point out on the radio that he was above me! A rare event for Liam!

Caption competition..........
The day ended with the usual course dinner at the Keepers Cottage.
In the evening, although the group flying had been cancelled due to weather, Henry and Andrew continued work preparing for Competition Enterprise, and Henry replaced the long standing water pump problem in the pump house.

Wednesday 12th June - Course week

Despite the gloomy forecast, Wednesday started bright but the cloud base soon came down. Cable breaks were practised until it started to rain and JSi decided he did not want to walk back in the wet. Coffee was taken and the cloud duly descended on to the hill, lunch was taken and we called it a day at about 14.00. - JSi

Tuesday 11th June - Course week

Tuesday morning dawned with a typical North Hill clamp with no sign of the beech trees from the clubhouse. The morning was spent on briefings and watching various gliding related videos (well mostly!). To everyone’s surprise the weather cleared after lunch, the kit appeared on the field and about 18 launches were achieved with the odd extended flight. The weather cleared to a beautiful evening as we put the kit away. - JSi

Monday 10th June - Course week

The first day of the course started with low cloud and less than full height launches. But an enthusiastic bunch of students and helpers had the kit out in good time for the flying to begin well before 10.00. Cloud base soon rose to about 2000ft. There was some fairly gentle thermal activity at times allowing extended flights but mostly the six students were doing circuits. The wind was light southerly sometimes, SSE sometimes and SSW sometimes. A total of about 35 launches were flown plus one for Tom in DG1 who did his usual circuit!!!
John Si

Sunday 9th June

There was a strong north easterly wind again, but it got soarable during the morning with a fairly low cloudbase. By lunchtime the conditions improved and a variety of private gliders joined the launch queue. There was quite a long list again - you don't realise how much you miss that extra two-seater.
Well done to Pete St for ditching the club 100 and with a new favourite turnpoint Melbury Bubb (ed nice name) for a 202km flight NHL- MBU - WEG - SHB - NHL
"Quite difficult today as the drunken spider trace and speed will confirm - took 2 launches to even get going. Windy(again), thermals never stonking and cloudbase never epic. 1st leg into wind leg took forever.
Pleased I got round really, nearly gave up at WEG.
After about 5pm conditions a lot better - very handy!"
Also well done to Wyn for yet another 6 hour local soaring flight.
There were several trial lessons and returning Open weekend visitors and welcome to new member Simon La who has joined us from Lasham (and a lapse of 10 years gliding).
Congratulations to our Instructors:- Rowan for completing all his Asst Cat Instructor  training and acceptance flights, Clive has also now been signed off  for Basic Instructor, Paul S has also completed everything for Basic Instructor but just awaits the rubber stamp on the paperwork. Meanwhile James and Mike Sl are hard at work on a Asst Cat Instructor training at Dunstable this week. We also welcome John P back to the Instructing rota after a break of about a year.
Soaring continued into the late evening.

Saturday 8th June

Dick Wolff
- The death of Dick will touch almost everyone in the Club – Dick was a member of the Club for many years, an Instructor, Chair of the committee, and even in retirement was a key figure in looking after records for the caravans and the private owners’ trailers…We will miss him. Our heartfelt condolences go to Anne and family. - LH

Saturday - Clear blue day, but a very strong north easterly wind produced considerable turbulence and curlover at the western end. Most of the flying until late afternoon consisted of very short circuits, but late in the afternoon those that stayed all day enjoyed an extended flight.
Clear blue sky
News from the Alps
Today I did not fly and it's raining now and tomorrow will also be wet. Its forecast to  get better by Wednesday and tres bon for Thursday and Friday - just in time for the Approaching Hoards! - JB

Friday 7th June - A short sightseeing trip in the Alps

More of the same - humid air from Italy with isolated heavy showers developing from early afternoon and possible thunder storms later. Today I went to Gap-Tallard and flew with Wolfgang in his Duo Discus WO.

Wolfgang Herzog and JB in WO
He has been flying in this region for the past 40 years so knows his way around! After a 13 minute aero-tow (£72!) we really struggled to get away and eventually started climbing from very low on the SW slope of Grand Ceuse. 

Low down on the SW slopes of Grand Ceuse

It seemed that we got to know these lower rocks and brown trees very well as WO clawed his way, rock by rock and tree by tree, up the slope. What a wizard!

Rock face of Grand Ceuse
After about 20 minutes we got up to the rock face and from there it was less than a minute to the top and then away to the higher mountains.
Next stop Tete de Clapp and a rocket thermal then on to Pic de Burre (with it's head in the clouds). The high mountains to the east were already cut off by rain so we went on a 120k sight seeing tour to the west and south taking in all the landing fields on the way. 
Lac Serre Poncon looking very low of water as the snow has not yet melted in the Ecrains

By now it was looking less wet to the NE so we headed north past Lac Serre Poncon to the snow covered mountains in the southern edges of the Ecrains.

Pic du Tourond with Chaillol ahead, with it's summit in the cloud
We could not cross into the St Crepin valley as it was still raining hard there so we played around Chaillol and Le Sirac staying well clear of the cloud that shrouded their summits before heading back to Tallard having enjoyed almost five hours of eppicness in the safe hands of Wolfgang!  - JB

Thursday 6th June

We thought it was going to be another bright warm day, but the shorts were soon packed away again as it was quite cold in the brisk north easterly wind. It was very hazy  and the inversion was at 1200ft throughout the morning and it wasn't really soarable although some people did manage some extended circuits. In the afternoon, CFI Pete flew in with Ian for a couple of practice landings on grass in the Dunks Citabria, in practice for borrowing a Scout for tugging during Competition Enterprise.

In the evening there was a good group of West Bay Coastguards for an evening out, (disappointing for some as Mark had been promising 'Baywatch type' Lifeguards!)

News from the Alps
A little local rain dodging.
Wet air from Italy and no valley breeze did not fill me with the confidence to go very far today but after three days on the ground I felt I should give it a go!

By 12.30 the Parcour was already being drenched, so after a good climb out of the valley of La Motte Du Caire I headed south east to Auribeau. It was not working at all so I went to Auton which provided a tres bon 6 kt thermal to cloud base. Everywhere to the east was being drenched with rain so I carried on south to St Auban, but the clouds beyond looked very scruffy and unhelpful  so I back tracked to La Motte Du Caire and went west along the Crete des Selles and Mtgne Aujour before running south again on the west side of the Durance valley to Montagne de Lure. 
The Durance valley looking north from Sisteron to Crete des Selles (Les igly-pigly ridge in the distance!)

The clouds were working well and it was just a matter of cloud hopping along until your way was blocked by rain. For me it was not a day to head boldly off into dragon country, so after a bit of pottering around I headed back east to Sisteron town and across to Jeuere to investigate a monster cloud curtain hanging over Le Monge which was dumping it's cargo of rain in a hurry! I skirted the shower in strong lift and headed back towards La Motte du Caire to put the glider to bed before the Monster reached La Motte Du Caire and soaked us all!  - JB
The Monster cloud over Le Monge!! (notice the little rolls of cloud low in the valleys beyond- maybe, due to the saturated air and cold down drafts from the cloud)

Wednesday 5th June

The good soaring weather continues without a break (touch wood) and today it was at last warm enough for be worn. Wednesday started with the gliders out early walked up to the S/W corner - flying started well before 10.00am.
The list was long and we missed the K13, we could have done with another two seater.
The thermals started before lunch and continued for the rest of the day. The wind was quite light and the flying continued untill after 7.00pm to try to get through the long list, thanks to Ernie and  Peter W.
Well done to Clive who completed his acceptance checks with CFI Pete for BI flying.- JSt

Monday 3rd June - Liam hogs it!

Another great soaring day forecast and the possibility of flying was again kick started by Matt.
Sadly there were virtually no takers, a great pity - another stunning soaring day missed.

Still, a day not wasted. Matt fettled new M5 ready for the trip to France, myself and Mike H fitted a new radio in KEK and Stu P fixed the Pawnee tailwheel.

Liam came to make a nuisance of himself. But hang on - there's an Instructor on site, Tuggies x2 on site and an OO on site. After very little persuasion Liam was told to get ready for a 5 hour attempt.

What's at the front of the hangar - HCX, that'll do, more comfortable than a Junior for 5 hours anyway.
After a false start when the tow rope broke, luckily just as 'all out' was given, he was away. So after 5 hours and 23 minutes he was back and grinning like a banshee.
After 5hrs 22min and 50 seconds

North Hill's latest Mr Silver
My sincere thanks to Mike H for fitting the radio to KEK under my 'guidance' (more tea Mike?). Seriously he did the bulk of the work and more taking the opportunity to tidy up the birds nest of wiring behind the panel at the same time - many thanks indeed.

So, a worthwhile day but why weren't there more people wanting to fly???

Pete S

Sunday 2nd June

It was a nice enough start but the clouds started building just a little too early, with overdevelopment and spreadout. However the AssCat training continued apace for Mike and James.
Surprisingly, after the crowds of yesterday the launch point was fairly quiet today, but there was a group of private owners who rigged their gliders in expectation. After a switch of ends as the wind couldn't really decide which side of north to blow from consistently, the North Hill soaring section took to the skies to attempt the Club 100. The conditions were a bit mixed with reasonable climbs, big gaps and spreadout with a fast cycling of the sky. Pete St Discus 230, Simon M ASW20 SM, Rowan Libelle CLM and Pete & Jill Duodiscus OL all completed the task (although OL had to use the turbo after the otherwise comfortable final glide hit a lot of sink).

News from Keevil ICL
Muggles and Henry completed their respective tasks and Liam landed in a nice field of buttercups (but still managed to score some points) after struggling to get away from the start. Well done North Hill team, thanks to Mike F and Ollie for being excellent crew - points update to come.

News from the Alps
Good journey down. Rained much of the second day but cleared as I got to Aspre sur Buech and found the Mistral blasting through the small valley at about 40kts! South of that the wave bars were stacked high over the mountains around Sisteron. 

Check flight on Saturday in K21 with Christian - Mistral still going but all very weird. Renier and Camel rocks not working, Gash not strong and across on the valley the ridges that should have worked were yielding nothing but turbulence. We finally worked up in a thermal and came home finishing with a couple of loops and a roll.

Today I flew the Ventus but it was not much fun flying alone without my mates. Everybody was struggling and at times the ridge was like being on the dodgems. Nothing seemed to work very well and I eventually resorted to the iron thermal to get out of the valley. (I thought it would be good to give it a test run) 
Sunday looking north from the top of Blachere (the home ridge of La Motte du Caire)
Good lift once away and above the tops but Thunder storms over Blayeul meant that I couldn't go far. Went on a bit of a tour but it was still very unpredictable and I got low a long way up the Sasse valley on the way back with 5+ M/s sink everywhere so ran for home and put it in the trailer. There is a risk of thunder storms so its best inside and out of reach of the hail stones. The Parcour is all snow covered down to about 1900 metres and extending down to the south past Cheval Blanc. Looks fantastic but couldn't get there because of the storms. Pic de Bure is also white and was shrouded in cloud for much of the time. 

Tomorrow's not looking much better so I may not fly. They say it might get better at the end of the week. Funny old thing this weather stuff - xx jb

Saturday 1st June

There were some nice white puffy clouds from early on, but a stronger than expected northerly wind  seemed to blow apart any thermals until after lunch. An empty launch point over dinner was soon filled with all the private owners keen to get going. However although they all got away from the winch they struggled to go very far with the wave interference. But most enjoyed a spot of local soaring with Wyn flying for more than 4 hours.
We welcomed Andre and Blake who had both been introduced to gliding at our Open Weekend and have already become hooked on the sport.
There were also a large number of trial lessons and friends and family flights competing for the use of the two-seaters.
Congratulations to Paul S who successfully completed his CFI acceptance checks and is welcomed into the BI team.
In the evening the wave bars set up in a more obvious form.
Wave to the east
Waiting to hear how the North Hill team made out at Keevil in Interclub league -
Hot off the press from Henry (still on retrieve)
I was the only one in our group to complete. Pundit, Muggles in Cirrus 110 km of 220 km completed, landed out in Worcester, still on retrieve as I write this. Henry in Cirrus intermediate 156 km, completed in 3 hrs. Novice, Gordon in Junior ran for home after finding weak conditions. Wind 340 deg 15 knot. Blue until after 1200 then strong but sparse thermals to 4500 ft. - Well done to the North Hill Team.

Thursday 30th May

Thursday saw a brightish start but with a very brisk northerly. The kit was out and the first launch just before 10:00 with a reduced price launch for Chris M –  his reward for being early. The crosswind made for challenging conditions with a blue flag flying virtually all day. The wind veered a little just after lunch as the decaying front passed through so we changed ends and got better launches but it was still virtually unsoarable – only Pete Stap managed anything of significance with about 50 minutes, but for most it was a quick up and a very quick down. With the support of Woolly and Mark C everybody who wanted to fly did and  Liam and Gordon took advantage of the conditions to update card checks. Work continues on the Eagle and it is finally taking shape.
Many thanks to the workers for getting the Skylaunch back on line.- JSi