Thursday 31st October

A bright enough start to get five gliders to the launch point  by 10am but the air was sooooo damp that it was gone 11am before the canopies would stay clear.
It must be half term.....
From then on it was a very pleasant day with high (1800ft) launches from the Skylaunch (thanks to Adrian for fixing it this morning).
Mark took some more photos for the DSGC calendar
We thought it might be the end when a short spell of drizzle occurred mid afternoon, but it cleared through and we continued until dark. There was a suggestion of wave over Broadhembury which extended most circuits and longest flights were Gordon B in Junior for 17 mins and Peter B in K21 for 16 mins from 2000ft launch.  Liam even did a short cross country to Hembury Hill and back, enabling him to post his 6th flight on the BGA Ladder and so secure his Soaring Section Badge. Well done to all the winch drivers. Rick and Peter B were trained up as duty launch marshalls.
Hangar packing in the dark

Wednesday 30th October

The first day of the darker evenings is upon us so an early start, unfortunately the Skylaunch packed up on us so out came the trusty Supercat to give us launches up to 1,700ft in the strong S/W wind, most flights were extended due to a bit of wave and a bit of ridge, we packed up just as the rain started. - JSt

Mini-Comp Ent weekend - Denbigh

Nick, John and Matthew travelled to Denbigh with the Eagle, and took part in Comp Enterprise and outsoared white gliders for a while..only for a while! Very very rough great wave for some - 19000ft for one, but we stayed safe and low! The task was set as 'Quadrant Conundrum'  - With LLE as the centre you had to fly into each of the quadrants NE SE SW NW doing an O/R, score one point per km in quad 1 then 2 pts in quad 2, 3 in the third etc. 20 points per Thousand feet of height gain. Hope that makes sense! With 40kt + winds and rotor, Eagle was at a disadvantage vs the Arcus brigade
The Eagle soars Denbigh

Came 2nd to last but won respect! All good but too windy today so came home. 
Preparing for the journey - (must finish the trailer!)

- John P.

Winter Series Long Mynd - Sat 26th October

Friday evening: We arrived at The Long Mynd in torrential rain, where a warm welcome was received by the Team GB Juniors. Later in the evening, met up with the Mendip juniors and following a big meal we moved to the bar. In the meantime we had the weather and operations briefing, everything seemed rather optimistic. 
Saturday morning
Saturday: Majority of people were up early at 7:30am, keen to get the equipment out but unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side. We remained in the restaurant until late morning, when suddenly the cloud lifted and first glider was launched soon after. With only one rain gap, we flew for the whole day. Mike and Matt both flew with the local instructors, in K13 and K21 respectively - battling with the very strong and gusty wind. 
Mike in K13
Over 40 pilots have flown today, soon after 5 pm most people were derigged and ready for a hearty meal. The weather for Sunday does not look promising... But we shall see. - M&M

Thursday 24th October

Today's forecast had been changing all week, and after a very heavy dew, it dawned bright, but by the time we had got the kit to the far end for the south easterly wind, some low cloud started building up over the field. There was a morning of reduced height launches in the two seaters and by the time it got down to 700ft we stopped for lunch. The cloud lowered even more and the rain was not far away on the radar, so there was just time for a couple of hops back to the hangar. The solo pilots weren't too upset with not flying and walked the Juniors back to the hangar. We managed to get a trial flight in for Sue Cade who is writing an article for Devon Life on 'Trying something new'.
Wooly has created some DSGC keyrings which will be sold for donations to Ian Beckett fund.

Wednesday 23rd October

Today would have put some of the summer weather to shame, all the kit was out early and ready to go at 10.00am, with a good long list it was soarable from the word go, on the first flight the ridge was working well but we had to avoid the patchy low cloud. As the day progressed the cloud base rose and made things easier, soon we had three two-seaters soaring plus a Junior these were joined by Pete St in the Discus, Joe in the ASW 19. All the the flights were soarable and everyone had a soaring flight, Pete W flew the two trial lessons hotfoot with his new shiny EASA medical. - JSt

Sunday 20th October

With a forecast of an improving day weather-wise a small, but keen group prepared the field for flying.
Mid-morning a weather check flight evidenced that the South Ridge was working reasonably well allowing some extended flights using the available lift to good effect.
With a careful eye being kept on the weather, flying continued until lunchtime when the darkening skies and 'flashes and rumbles' gave warning of time to stop flying, with prudence suggesting that the gliders would be best out of harm's way in the hangar. A good decision as the view from the hangar shows - a huge downpour of rain, with the Clubhouse weather station recording 230 mm per hour of rain in just a few minutes. 
9mm of rain today
With the 'safety' decision made, lunch was taken and optimism was in abundance around the weather clearing through for an afternoon of more flying. The optimism was sadly not supported by the weather which did eventually improve mid afternoon but all too late and with a water logged field the decision was made to call it a day....
Amazing how quickly the field drains
...and go home with a drive home in the sunshine which soon turned into more rain -so the decision to stop flying for the day turned out to be the right one. - Mike Sl

Saturday 19th October

Strong winds and low scudding cloud conspired to prevent flying today.

Time was well spent hoovering out glider cockpits and canopy polishing etc - many thanks to the many hands for doing that stuff. Can we make it a regular thing now we're in the season of mud, grass and baa lamb poo?

CFI Pete has made improvements to R37's total energy system so that the varios may, a. tell the truth, and b. tell the same story as each other! Some other maintenance bits were done too.

Did I mention I went solo in R37 back in 1985? It was all working then - or was I too inexperienced to know any different!

The clearance came through about 3pm by which time most people had drifted off and I suspect the field may have been too wet to use by then anyway.

Better luck to the Sunday crew.

Pete S

Thursday 17th October

The forecast was good and the call to go flying was quite strong.The usual suspects turned up, but the moist south westerly didn't want to play fair and shrouded the field in orographic cloud - just after the weather check flight, so back for coffee before we really got going. The air dried out and there was some very strong thermic lift and sink, with a small shower at lunch time. Harry had the longest flight in the Junior of an hour, and there was a competition between Mark L and Fred for the shortest flight of 4 minutes who both got caught in some really heavy sink.
The sun setting on a good autumnal day
 Congratulations to Dave C who completed his field selection and landing exercises in Rotax Falke for his cross-country endorsement. 
Pete St laboured all day with the DG505 release hooks (not yet finished), and thanks also to Adrian for replacing the front foot of the winch last week.

Wednesday 16th October

Wednesday started with very wet and windy weather as forecast and only a handful of members turned up - not enough to get the kit out.
About 11:00am the weather looked if it was clearing and another couple of people turned up so  after lunch we got just one K21 out, it was still very windy 15kts plus and gusting but the wind was due west, we launched into strong ridge lift and even stronger thermals - 6 to 8 kts at times.
Seven people wanted to fly so we kept the flights to 30mins each, Pete St flew his Discus for nearly 2 hours, a very interesting day and well worth the trouble in getting the kit out.
We started packing up at just before 5:00 pm, James turned up in readiness for the committee meeting and was disappointed that he was just to late to join in the fun. - JSt

Saturday 12th October

Persistence paid off for those who sat around in the drizzle and sometimes heavier rain, by lunchtime it had started to clear, and we were rewarded with a very pleasant afternoon, and longest flights being 10 mins.
Well done to Les and Alan who managed to recover 4 strops from the sheep pen area and down the hill, - that's saved the club £70 a go.
Antonio brought along some more new junior members from Bournemouth University currently on work placements at Westlands.
A surprise visitor arrived with the K13 trailer from Keevil, although roadworthy, will need a little fettling before use.
K13 trailer arrives
We welcomed  back the travellers returning from haggisland, congratulations to all on their various achievements.

Thurs 10th Oct Portmoak- The day after the day before

 Ho Hum! Another boring day having a bimble round the Scottish skies. Oh, there was a bit of wave about, so Chris H and Tom S. were able to log their first Gold Height claims and JB, Matt W,  Pete S, Wyn D,  Ron J  and Chris W  also easily surpassed Gold Height levels. Former North Hill member, Chris D (son of Dasher), knocked out a Diamond Height claim. Later in the day, Ruth, Nick H, Rowan and Ian H  played on the Benarty ridge.

Benarty in the evening sun

 Not content with just going for height,  Martin W, Pete St and Wyn explored the Scottish mountains proper. Ron  and Chris W in the ASH and Matt even had a Close Encounter of the Third Kind.
Loch Earn Lenticular
Pete found some lift near Killin
All in all, a day to remember: crystal clear with wave smooth as glass can only be described as proper epic and congratulatory drinks flowed from the Portmoak bar later. Looking forward to Friday's highs and lows....

Friday dawned with a low grey overcast and the dreaded easterly wind. Tom, Ian H, Nick H, Wyn and Marie went sight-seeing and every one else went home.  - Tom

Thursday 10th October

The warnings had gone out for a cold northerly blast in the bright sunshine, and a happy band of the Thursday faithful arrived suitably wrapped up against the elements.
Clouds started forming over the Blackdown hills but strangely enough they didn't seem to be moving in the north easterly wind - the wave had set up with the UP out of reach and the DOWN around the circuit. 
The sky looked fantastic and even lured out the Chairman from work, but most flights were 4 or 5 minutes with the occasional 9 minutes. 
Street to Cardiff
 Late in the afternoon, the wind dropped a little and suddenly the hangar flights were at 3000ft in a thermal street that ran from Cardiff to Jersey?
There was a lovely sunset ending a very pleasant day.
Short-lived sunset

Wed 9th - Gems, Precious Metal and chilli willi milli vanilli

The Roost
Some days are the day before the best day. If you'd let them pass you by they would have been the day you should have been here yesterday. Silver height Tom S., Silver height Ian H., Gold height Martin W.(completely gold), Gold height Rowan (also completely gold) , Diamond height Wyn. Congratulations all!
Martin way up high
Rowan even higher
"Roof" gained inside information from the local instructor, Chris, knowledge that she is hoping will be put to good use on what may be best day of the week, tomorrow.
Nick H. took the club's DG505 for a wave flight showing the local instructor how to handle the difficult conditions.
The club's pundits messed around in the wave trying to extend their territory but Matt falling down en route to Perth put paid to any more adventurous plans but he did win today's prize for the lowest pre-wave low point. Whilst Captain Slow shot up to 11 k feet and went east to Glenrothes before remembering he had a 50 kt headwind to get back.
The evening was punctuated with rough as old boots rotor and fruity landing.

Tuesday 8th October - Dodging Clouds, Rocks and Gliders

It was windy and bright over the airfield this morning which was nice but there was a street of cloud the same width as the Bishop and shrouding its top which was not so good. Eventually the cloud lifted off the hill long enough to get four gliders in the air before sliding down again promptly halting launching for about half an hour or so. Staying below the 1100 ft cloudbase was quite challenging with the strong wind, almost as challenging as trying to avoid the other gliders. As the cloud base slowly rose more and more gliders filled the gap and at about 4pm we finally managed to contact the wave over West Lomand clearing the traffic jam under the clag.

Martin took the prize for the highest flight with 8500 ft and being the last to land, about 20 min before official dark. Mega cheesy grins in the bar afterwards.
Rowan waving in the Junior
Time to go back

Wednesday 9th October

A misty start but a reasonable forecast, by the time the field had been set up the mist had cleared and we were getting full height launches. The wind was a brisk north-westerly so the ridge was working most of the day, there were many flights of around 30min duration.
Peter Sm flew all the Trial lessons with Robert flying the tug. 
Both K13s were flown all day plus the K21s and the Junior a good day was had by all.
It was nice to see Clive back again after a short break from gliding. - JSt

Monday 7th October - Lustrous Wave

With a southwesterly wind Benarty was churning up to the air which resulted in rough and turbulent approaches. Lots of low cloud added to the mix. Many opted for two seater flights initially. "Roof" greedily flew two types, with one new, the Bocian, a glider which Chris H earned a ban from flying after telling the owner what he thought of the aircraft.
As it progressed the day became easier and most of the private gliders took to the air. The air dried out a bit allowing JB, Matt and Rowan to make contact with the lustrous wave. Rowan took the height prize reaching 5000 feet.- Rowan
Still Climbing

Sunday 6th October - Silver Lined Orrible Orographic

The rain beating on the bunkroom windows when we woke up did not bode well for today's prospects. A leisurely breakfast, multiple cups of tea and reading a "Blog of the Year" story about Pooh Bear passed the time as we watched the cloud swirling up the sides of the Bishop, at least the wind was quite strong. By lunch time the cloud was clear of the hill by at least three feet and a flurry of activity saw the launch point fill and then empty into those three feet. Thirteen pairs of eyes were on stalks for the next hour or so.

If you were lucky and timed it right the gentle wave coincided with a gap in the clouds and you could climb up into a magical cloud-sculpted wonderland.
Eventually though, the extremely moist air mass won over and the gaps filled in, the cloud base lowered back down the side of the hill and drizzle set in to chase us out of the sky. Back to the club house for more tea and after loads of umming and ahhing speculating if it would clear, the kit was packed away just before the sky opened up again for the last hour before sunset.

Pessimism - Long Mynd - Sunday 6 Oct

The day started foggy and quickly cleared to a crisp blue sky. After a less-than pessimistic flying brief, the group was deciding how much longer to stay, a quick visit to Church Stretton for the compulsory coffee ensured the day wasn't completely wasted. Meanwhile, Oliver (German version of Henry) was getting cleared for solo ridging.

Later, Mark, James, Ian and Micheal left early to get back to the grind stone. The skies clouded over slightly but the wind was threatening to make the ridge work.

Henry, Oliver, Paul, Andrew and "random arrival" Andria had plans to fly with Henry bagging the longest flight at over an hour in marginal conditions.
Oliford in half-K21 (K23)

In the evening, we chowed down on a home-cooked roast.

A great trip away which felt like a continuation of the Summer visit.


Sunday 6th October

A very similar day to yesterday but far fewer members to fly. Warm October sunshine and light winds and barely soarable.
There was a steady flow of launches with trainees in the K21s whilst the K13s were used for Trial lessons, Instructor checks and a visitor from Nympsfield doing Full Cat checks with Simon M.

Congratulations to Peter B for converting to the Junior (after yesterday's clearance to drive the winch).
- It's great to have another 'family affair' with gliding.
Another signature in Peter's logbook

Portmoak - Saturday

 And from the Portmoak camp:-
Long drive north , sleep in the van , woke to a bright sunny morning.
After a check flight and site briefing I had a launch in W7 to 1400ft and headed to Bishop Hill. Arrived at the top of the ridge and spent the next 4 hours back and forth - with an occasional foray across Loch Levan trying to contact the elusive wave.
Loch Leven
Great introduction to flying at Portmoak, and the weather forecast suggests it may be flyable for a day or two to come.  - Wyn 
Congratulations to Ian H for soaring DG1 up the Bishop and over the loch to complete his 2 hours towards his cross country endorsement, before selflessly returning to the field to let Texas Tom have a go in their syndicate machine. Ruth was cleared to fly the Junior but only succeeded in depositing it at the other end of the field after a low launch failure. Nick took control of the launch point to ensure smooth and efficient integration of the southern invaders. The rest of the gang again enjoyed the spectacular views, the challenge of searching for the elusive wave and the odd whiz along the ridge.
The last of our tribe arrived in the evening with CLM in tow, and we converged en masse for tasty lasagne in the clubhouse. We may even get a chance to fly tomorrow. - Matt & Ruth

Duvets and Donuts at Long Mynd - Saturday

Today started with coffee and doughnuts at Church Stretton, when we returned to the club the sky was full of flying "Duvets" (approx 50!). The club operation was very slow due to broken equipment (they need an Adrian and a Mike R!)
Oli Ford (very clever) and Mark C (not so clever, but useful)  dismantled the electrics on the retrieve winch and soon had it up and running.
The wind was due West but not that strong,10 mph, despite this gliders were staying airborne and dodging the duvets.
Michael F flew with the local instructor and seemed to impress him, Oli Ford flew with Mark C, Oli commented that at 300 ft at his club he really should be on final not climbing gently along a ridge!
A few members walked across to chat to the duvet boys, Ian M was tempted to take a tandem, maybe tomorrow!
James H in ASW20 ENW and Ian M in Kestrel 523 somehow managed to squeeze nearly 3 hours on the ridge at no more than 400 ft, very rewarding!
James in ASW20
All in all a great day when accurate flying was all important.
In the evening the clubhouse was buzzing, everyone was treated to top class food, washed down with some
rather nice wine, perfect end to a great day. 

Saturday 5th October

The cloud was on the hill when the first members turned up this morning, but it soon cleared into a pleasant warm, sunny October day.  After the recent poor visibility / rainy days the two-seater list was huge and despite having four two-seaters, we still didn't complete the training list until 1830. - Thanks to all the Instructors who shared the load - 76 launches in total.
There were lots of circuits and very little soaring, some Trial lessons and 6 private owners (- yes there were some left in Devon!) joined in.
Congratulations to Matthew W and Martin B for soloing at North Hill after their respective solos on courses at Lasham and Bicester.
Matthew solos at North Hill
Martin solos at North Hill
One of our visitors has sent this message of thanks:

'I'm writing to thank you for your smiling reception when I came to DSGC for my birthday flight.  The flight was brilliant, and I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and kindness and patience of everyone.  You have a great team.'
Kenneth Dent 92 years.
Peter flies 92 year old Kenneth on his birthday

A big thank you to Mike F who marked the day with his last Instructing flights before changing to a Ground Instructor.
Mike completes nearly 54 years instructing

Friday 4th October - Patience is a virtue

First day of the Long Mynd mini trip.
The low cloud and drizzle that waits for us at Church Stretton greeted us like a dog that had not seen its owner since July. Visibility was zero on the top of the Mynd as we turned into the car park.
A first for the group was seeing Ian M's  little face light up as we arrived, - (it is rather unusual for Ian to be at a venue before us.) He does of course work to 'British standard Mitchell time', any one who knows him will recall that the pre-arranged time can vary by as much as a week!

The low cloud was still lurking first thing so mass rigging ensued followed by the regular coffee shop scramble down at Church Stretton.
Ready and waiting.....
Everyone watched the rain showers develop on the horizon, bets were placed on their arrival time. Eventually the clearance that was forecast for midday arrived at 4pm, soon six gliders were launched into the WSW wind, low cloud still hampered visibility on the ridge.
Ian M Kestrel 19 523 and Mark C  ASW20 ENW stretched their 700ft to the limit out in the valley searching for wave, it was there but they could not quite step into it from such a low height, Andrew L  K6 GDE enjoyed the views of his old stomping ground, usually from the top of the stack! 
The ridge was soft all evening despite a brisk wind, most beats were between 400ft and 600ft this was probably due to wave. Flights of around 2 hrs was about the max due to the light fading.
Long shadows at Long Mynd
Forecast for tomorrow looks very promising---- watch this space! - MC

Also Friday but North of the Fourth.

The  advance party of the Portmoak expedition having arrived on site late on Thursday were greeted with similar gloom to that of the Mynd gang, a leaden over cast hung over the field and mist crept up the flanks of the Bishop while the windsock was doing it's best impression of a gravity indicator. Not the most inspiring start but there was a clearance forecast to come through after lunch. It must have been running to British Standard Mitchell time because by 2pm it was still very grey but at least we could see the bottom of the Bishop and there was a hint of blue to the west.
The Bishop has a cloud hat
Having helped get the club gliders out, Ruth had a site check flight with the duty instructor soaring the edge of the orographic cloud which was sitting on the Bishop followed by a simulated cable break and then was let loose solo in the K21 to soar for an hour in the now beautiful afternoon conditions. 

JB had been nabbed by the Scottish vintage lot to reminisce about the eagle and was then treated to the front seat of their T31 while another of their group flew their magnificent Slingsby Kite (1 of only 4 in the world) Flying around with them is almost as bad as trying to dodge paragliders.
Glorious afternoon light on the Bishop
 Ron and Wooly in ASH 711, Pete St in Discus 230, Matt in ASW24 M5, Ian and Tom in DG1, hundred, all filled their boots cruising up and down the ridge and trying every thing to contact the wave that looked like should be there but to no avail.  - Matt
Pete enjoys the view

Wed 2nd October - Tales from the Hundred Acre Airfield.

When Tigger and Piglet found Winnie the Pooh standing in the middle of the field looking sad they asked him what the matter was.
"look at my hanky" said Pooh sadly. "There's no wind and the drizzle has made it go all limp"

Piglet poked at the hanky with his stick. " That's your best Hanky too, isn't it Pooh" he said, trying to cheer Pooh up.

"I know!" said Tigger excitedly "I'll run around and around and drive the mist  away, 'cos that's what Tiggers do" And with that he disappeared leaving Piglet and Pooh watching Pooh's hanky still looking as limp as a limp thing which has got wet.

"Have you seen Eeyore" asked Pooh, trying to keep keep Piglet's attention.

"oh yes, I have" said Piglet. " I didn't really understand what he was talking about though Pooh"

"why, what did he say Piglet?"

Piglet furrowed his brow trying to remember exactly what Eeyore had said. "I think he said,' Well they won't need a tug pilot today and whose been playing with the log, I wish people wouldn't fiddle with things they don't understand. What miserable weather, I'm going home' or something like that; he didn't seem happy".

"well that's Eeyore" said Pooh with a shrug. "I don't know why he's worried about a log, there's a whole Beech tree has disappeared from up by the trailers.

"no flying to day then " said Piglet.

No flying today" affirmed Pooh.
- Tim