Friday 31 January - the first frozen night this winter!

It's unofficially official, the first frozen night this winter at North Hill!
The weather station has recorded a low of -0.3 °C this morning at 03:00, chilly!
Previous lows in late 2013 never quite made it to freezing.
On 26 November around 05:00, the low was 0.2 °C, nine days later on 5 December around 04:20, the low was 0.4 °C.

January's temperature has been above average with a mean of 5.1 °C so far and a high in double figures on the 5th.
It will become 'warmer' and wetter over the next five days but not before the possibility of light snow showers in the early hours of Satuday morning.

The weather station measures outside temperature at approximately 7 meters above ground.
More stats at

Thursday 30th January

The forecast wasn't brilliant with a very slack north easterly gradient and a lot of humidity, but there was a faint glimmer of hope that there might be an improvement in the afternoon. So we occupied the time with a weather briefing describing what we could (or couldn't) see out the window  and why, and what was coming in the next few days. - More rain and wind.
Mike R re-stuck down the air band radio ground plane on the LPV which had come adrift in the gustiness of Saturday.
CFI Pete signed up a couple more applications for EASA Licence conversions that makes 11 so far.... Have you thought about doing yours yet?

Wednesday 29th January

The wet field meant no winch launches again - so aerotows only, we waited until the cloud base was high enough then Mike Fitz and Peter Sm took a launch. By the time we were ready for the next launch the cloud had come down again.
JSt started a talk on pre-flight checks and launch failures but after about 20 minutes, it seemed the weather had improved somewhat, but after JSt & Robert had taken another look at the cloud base it was decided an early lunch was called for.
After lunch the weather had not improved, so a team headed by Adrian de-rigged CCY ready for transportation to have a new canopy fitted. 
How many people does it take to derig a K13?
 Getting the glider into the trailer was not without problems, the previous trial fit hadn't shown up all the issues.
It doesn't quite fit!
 Whilst this was going on, it was decided to put all the kit away, guess what -  as soon as the hangar doors were closed, the low cloud lifted..... revealing a high cloud base......Ho hum.   - JSt.

Saturday 25th January

With another 12mm of rain falling yesterday on the airfield, there was again concern that the winch runs would cut up the field significantly so aerotow only again today. The morning started off with light winds, but Stu in the Tug reported increasing turbulence and by lunch time we were getting gusts to 25 knots at the launch point.
No coffee break for Stu today - busy tugging

The sky had cycled a few times with scraggy clouds and top cover, and then John P called up from the Eagle having got into wave right over the ridge. 

SF27 in wave at 3500ft over North Hill
Matthew W in SF27 H5 and Pete St in Discus 230 joined in the fun, and got to over 3000ft before an almost instant closing of the sky caused them to airbrake down to below cloudbase at 1500ft where it was a bit of a wild ride although there was lift everywhere. Pete's trace showed a wind of  50-56knots - no wonder the Eagle appeared to be stationary! By this time the rotor turbulence on the ground forced us to put the gliders away, John P and Pete landed after an hour - a 700' final turn not much behind the trees and 80kt approach speed were required to make the field safely. The graph shows the wind going from a balmy 5kts to 25kts with gusts peaking at 43kts in a short space of time - boistrous indeed!

Wind graph - Saturday 26th
 After instructing all morning...........

James busy instructing - selfie in a onesie
.........James had just rigged ASW20 ENW and towed it to the launch point - to turn round and tow it back to the trailer.
In the Clubhouse, a regional BGA seminar was held, for Full Cats from various clubs in the South west, being briefed on plans for the new Flight Examiner rating.

Thursday 23rd January

And another Thursday between two fronts... although not so bright and sunny. The northwesterly was a bit turbulent across the field so after the first aerotow a blue card day was declared. But the ridge was working to about 1000ft and there were thermals kicking off up to 2000ft cloudbase. 
Joe clearing the sheep poo, that's the launch point done - only another 100 acres to go
Mark C was kept busy on Tug duty until he managed to escape to relax in a Junior for an hour. 
Roly taking a Trial lesson, white gloves in evidence
There were 5 Club gliders in the air with an empty launch point most of the day.

Wednesday 22nd January

Wednesday started with a reasonable forecast, this led to a huge list and a lot of expectation.
The field was very wet but OK for aerotows, we soon had three two-seaters and a Junior out and ready to fly, we then waited for the cloud to lift but it was a bit slow in clearing - so an early lunch.
We got back on the field ready to fly and a shower went through, then more waiting, at about 2:30pm we took the first aerotow.
Then more rain and low cloud and more waiting, at last a clearance came through from the N/W  (and it got decidely chillier) and Dave C took an aerotow in theJunior.
One more two-seater flight then misting canopies meant we had to call it a day  - a dissapointing day but at least we gave it our best shot - (the first flyable Wednesday since early December).
Mike Fitz gave another lecture and Adrian fiddled about with his IS motorglider (after his epic 300kms O/R to take the K21 for fettling yesterday). - JSt.
And Congratulations to Muggles for his Gold height at Omarama, NZ earlier today.  
Wave bars  looking towards Lake Ohau

Sunday 19th January

A good forecast unsurprisingly saw a large number of optimistic club members turn up bright and early to make the most of the first flyable Sunday of 2014. With blue cloudless skies and light winds it was surprisingly warm for January.
Waiting for a tow
After a later than hoped for start due to misting canopies, flying was soon under way with aerotow only  to protect the wet field - It had rained most of the week with 20mm just on Saturday. By the end of the day's flying, a total of 23 launches had been completed allowing most of the members present to get off the ground.
It was good to see an empty hangar (could do with a second tug?)
Matt S and Rick were both signed up for solo aerotow. There were some weak thermals, and Liam had the longest flight from 2000ft of 34 minutes. Mark C and William in the DG505 went a little higher and managed to find some weak wave near Honiton. Three private gliders joined in the flying fun. Geoff L and Nigel E took delivery of their new toy.
A 'springy' cloud
What a lovely day after the deluge this week, let's hope it will turn into a nice early spring. - MS

Saturday 11th January

The first flyable weekend day of 2014 saw a list as long as your arm, and all the available club gliders being launched by winch and aerotow. The sky was blue, the view was crystal clear, the wind was a light west north westerly. What more could we want - well  a few thermals or the ridge working would have been good. Although Martin in KMV did find something in the valley to lurk in for a while.
JB was air testing his new instrument fit, and found a little problem with a lack of total energy. The SF27 was thoroughly aired by Matthew and Paul L prior to it going in the workshop,
Lisa had a lovely flight today with Dad (Dave Brummitt) who gave up instructing about 10 years ago but still hasn't forgotten how to fly, His first flight with Lisa in 18 months and looking good! We'll be seeing more of him at the club hopefully helping out with club duties just like the old days!
Just like old times!
There were also 3 generations of Smiths on the airfield with Peter flying his son Charles.

Family Smith
Unfortunately with the slightly delayed start and premature end of flying to misting canopies, some members did miss out today.

Thursday 9th January

Another lucky Thursday between weather systems meant aerotow only due to the wet field again. The wind was a light west north-westerly giving some hope for ridge / wave lift. There was some low cloud which delayed the start until about 11:15, but the time was usefully spent offering up the K13 to the new trailer for fuselage fittings. Having ensured that the new fittings for the fuselage would work, "prudence" suggested that we should try it with the wings, which highlighted a small problem needing a slight redesign! 
As it turned out the ridge did work, but there was no wave to use, and every so often a street blew through crosswind. There were thermals and some convergence, which gave several flights of more than 30 minutes. 
Nice sky
 Longest flight went to Robert in Junior whilst everyone else had lunch. Adrian was chuffed to complete a short engine run on his new toy. 

Tom and Ron visited Nympsfield for short introductory runs with clever Trevor in the Nimbus 3DT, Conditions were only average, but it was the first Bath run of the year.

Saturday 4th January

The land where 4 waters meet
Now don't get me wrong, I, like most men like driving through big puddles in my van whilst simultaneously shouting "TAKE THAT"  - but today was a bit extreme!
Pursuing Paul S up  "Forest Glade hill" was a bit like following one of "The Maids of the Mist" boats at Niagara! I kid you not it was a river. Every now and again my steely attention diverted by leaping salmon returning to spawn, passing canoeist were shouting "my rapids" and there at the top was Adrian, never slow at making a quick buck was hiring inner tubes for float rides.
Get the picture? Yep it was wet.

Already at the clubhouse working hard was our new catering team, we took advantage of the early breakfast being offered before splitting off into various working parties.

North Hill cafe - the new 'H' taking a quick breather
The Tug hanger needed  a good sort out and early spring clean, so Paul S, Mike S and Mark C set about clearing out any "surplus" equipment. Ian M despite being desperate for a toilet intermission and a belated breakfast (his watch is still on British Mitchell time) could not bring himself to leave the working party in fear of something valuable (spare engine) being thrown out!

The K21 was removed from the workshop and put into the trailer ready to be dropped off for some gel work next week. The effort put in by JB and crew will mean that this will only be a small task rather that the much bigger job that was feared.

A working party led by Pete S headed for the main entrance where the damaged sign was refitted, both Mike S and Pete Sm both commented that they had a very relaxing trip hanging onto the Kubota whilst Paul S demonstrated how he used to drive Rickshaws in Mumbai.

That looks about level....

In the main hanger Jill and Pete with help from Pete Sm and Mike S took the K13 apart to allow Adrian to plan the K13 trailer fittings.
Later Pete St (captain grump) and JB put their respective gliders into the workshop ready for yet more fettling, as if they need it! Although Andrew L with the use of his electron microscope, did manage to find part of a toenail  of a "Daddy Longlegs" trapped in JB's D.V panel, some thought it might have been a grain of salt.

Pete H fitted a new screen in the briefing room, ready for a projector installation. 

Lots of jobs done today with great enthusiasm, but as we left the club with our life jackets pumped up (yes, yes I  know we should not inflate them until outside the vehicle) ready for the trip back down the rapids - the field was still awash, with more rain in the forecast I might have to Join Adrian!  - MC (ed: pretty good report for someone with man flu!)

Thursday 2nd January

Happy New Year to all our readers.
Thursday was a short lull between two storm fronts, and thanks to the well-drained field, we managed to make the most of the day.
The extended holiday allowed a large number of members to join the Thursday faithfuls, the flying lists were long and with aerotow only we nearly managed to get everybody flown. There had been a slight delay for the misting canopies but the freshening south westerly helped with this.The tug was refuelled 3 times and the Eagle was also out flying.

Colour coordination is a must for flying the Eagle, JB and his niece Chloe
Later in the day, the southerly ridge assisted with extending some flight times with the pre-frontal wave. 
We welcomed a couple of visitors, Peter Turner from Mendip GC flew with Lisa in DG505, and Martin Cooper who used to fly with Oxford Gliding Club and has moved to Wellington.
Wave in evidence downwind

Meanwhile Adrian was busy creating some K13 fittings for the new trailer, and KEK is nearly ready to be rigged, thanks to all who have helped.