Sunday 30th March

Whether the influence of members celebrating Mother's Day with their nearest and dearest or the effect of a lost hour overnight there were few members at the start of the day but enough to take both K21s and a Junior down to the North West corner of the field.
First launch underway at around 10:00 and then a morning of extended circuits in a hazy blue sky with light south easterly wind. 

As the morning progressed there was the potential, yet unfulfilled, promise of some tangible lift off the South ridge but such potential remained just that.
A declared lunch break at just past 1 o'clock on the last Sunday of March indicates how quiet both the Club and the weather were - and an hour and three quarters later there was little enthusiasm for a return to the other end of the field.
However some members were eventually stirred into action for an afternoon of more extended circuits with some pleasant 'wafting about' in and around the South ridge.
Dave  tried out the Pilatus B4

Adrian finally gets to fly IS-28M2
Adrian was checked out to fly the motorglider and the IS-28M2 flew from North Hill for the first time.
Tim Peters had another solo in the K21 and also was cleared to fly the K13 solo. Liam continued to work on his BI patter and flying.

Statistics for the day
45 flights in total (29 dual,16 solo)
Total flight time of just over 5 hrs for the day with no flights over 30 minutes reflecting the lack of real lift during the day.

And by the time the hangar doors were shut for the day at around 6:30 everyone who had wanted to fly had done so. - Mike Sl

Saturday 29th March

Hazy, south easterly conditions meant limited opportunities for soaring, but John P posted the longest flight of 35 minutes by making use of the east face of Hembury Hill (low level) in DG505 with Matthew W. Robin W-F and Andria found a little bit of wave off the south west corner of the airfield. But apart from a few check flights, the day was spent mostly talking, eating and fettling.

Thursday 27th March

The dodgy forecast clearly put a few of the regulars off today, but in the words of Mark C "you certainly won't fly if you don't turn up".
So with just a handful of members it was a slowish start to set up at the west end, and although it was cold with the easterly wind, it was a promising start. By lunchtime the forecast showers had made progress from the south coast so time for an early lunch.
After lunch, John and Peter M in K21 and Dave and Aston  in Junior KHA managed a little soaring, but the flight of the day was in fact the last flight with Pete and Malcolm in K21 who launched straight into 6 knots

Developing cloud
and then cruised around under a huge black cloud out to the motorway and back twice -  highest 2600ft.
The cloud headed off downwind
A very unexpected pleasant day.

Wednesday 26th March

What a day! on arriving at the club you could be excused looking at the sky and thinking it was going to be a rubbish day, a north easterly wind, very cold and poor vis, but by 10:15, we had three gliders in the air and all soaring - all three had to air-brake down after long flights.
It was a day of two halves, - in the morning all the gliders had soaring flights with a 4,000ft cloudbase with most having to use the airbrakes to get down.
During the day there were times when there no gliders on the ground, we had four two-seaters in use and both Juniors.
Matt ASW24 M5, Pete St Discus 230, Tim and Joe ASW19 877, Robert Astir DKU and Eric ASG29 all flew their own gliders. Matt 84 km, Pete 63 km and Eric 70 km flew round some of the local turnpoints but in very poor visibility
During the afternoon the visibility improved, but the soaring diminished with an overcast sky.
Flying finished at about 5:30, thanks to the team who rigged CCY, now once again we have a full hangar.
We managed 51 flights today, several over two hours and many over an hour and two trial lessons. - JSt
And Chris H was kept busy all day...
When the going gets tough, there's no point messing about

Sunday 23rd March

Cold, cold, cold,  but clear, bright and soarable with a very strong north westerly wind(12 gusting up to 17kts on the ground and a steady 25 - 30kts at flying heights).
The bright forecast saw the flying list fill up early - but with 'many hands making light work' all the ground equipment was out and gliders ready to go quickly but safely with the first launch of the day in the air before 9:30am.

Lovely blue sky and fluffy white cumulus clouds
The early flights made good use of the conditions before a shower required a break in flying - allowing everyone to warm up in the clubhouse away from the cold fresh crosswind.
A short break later and flying started again but with a change of card colour from yellow to blue - reflective of the 'interesting' approach in the increasing wind strength.

For those who haven't seen the devastation of the wood from the air
It was then non-stop flying for the rest of the day with card checks in abundance taking advantage of the demanding weather conditions and some good flying to be had in the combination of ridge, thermal and wave  lift - with some club gliders being 'air-braked down' to allow other members to fly and enjoy the opportunity of trying to find lift. There were long periods with an empty launch point again.
By the time the last flight of the day had landed everyone who wanted to fly had done so and the hangar doors were shut just before 6:00pm.

There were 6 private gliders out enjoying the first cross-country conditions of the year. Pete St in Discus 230 had the longest flight  (just) with over 3 hours, and went to check out the new turnpoint at Cadbury Cross  CCX which should be on the new BGA turnpoint  files, with a practice low save thrown in(escape assisted by 2 new silos with very shiny tops near Cullompton). Matt in ASW24 M5 whizzed round (in 3 hours plus) Tiverton and Hembury in wave boosted thermals and some wave boosted sink. Simon M in ASW20 SM achieved the height of the day with 5500ft in wave between the quarry and Tiverton, following his GFT in VG this morning. John P in Eagle BBB managed 2  (nearly) two hour flights first with Matthew W and then Nick H. 
OL enjoys an airing
 Pete & Jill in Duo Discus OL continued checking out the new instrument fit and found that baud rate is everything. - MSl  &  JH

'Number' highlights for the day
Total of 40 flights with nearly 30 hours total flying time
5 flights over 2 hours  (of which 2 were more than 3 hours)
9 flights over an hour
26 flights over half an hour

Saturday 22nd March

A quiet day today with only just enough members to operate. 
A cracking sky
Stuart rigged his LS3 and had 2 flights in the morning and Steve Westlake, Ernie and Simon Leeson (duty Tuggie) ensured everyone flew. There was some strong broken lift in places and some were able to climb to 3000ft. Robert has renewed his Blue card and flying stopped at 4.30 when the showers persisted.
Meanwhile Carl certified KHA so the Junior is now flyable again and was working on K13 CCY which is also now ready for rigging with the new sparkly canopy.
Roll on the warm weather and soaring season. - LH

Thursday 20th March

Rather a grim forecast for Thursday with possible low cloud in the morning and rain in the afternoon with an increasing south south westerly wind. But not to be daunted the Thursday regulars turned up, and the cloud wasn't as low as forecast, and the wind seemed acceptable so the launchpoint was set up promptly and launching began. 
The first launch broke the swivel on the cable and the parachute and strop ended up in what used to be the woodland! Second launch broke the weak link, despite that it was quite soarable and pleasant in the air, but as expected the approach proved to be rather exciting, with the increasing wind blowing up the gully.
After an Instructor's discussion, they decided to have another pair of launches to give some more experience of tricky conditions to the members. 
John took the next cable and whilst watching the launch proceed, Pete decided to call it a day with the wind gusting up to 30 knots. In the Clubhouse,  Pete gave an impromptu altimetry briefing.

Wednesday 19th March

Another good flyable Wednesday with a large contingent of the usual suspects all ready to go, to start with, it was very cold with a brisk westerly so it was wooly hats all round.
From the first launch there was a bit of low cloud but it didn't affect the flights, some found weak wave others found weak thermals boosted by the ridge lift.
As the day progressed the top cover burned off and it became reasonably warm, Tim J flew his ASW19 and Anthony flew his recently acquired ASW 20.
All the available two seaters were in use plus the two Juniors and the tug was kept busy most of the day, thanks to Tuggies Robert & Mark, VG was also in use in the afternoon.  -JSt.

Sunday 16th March

It ended as it began......
A bright forecast saw gliders out of the hangar and ground equipment being prepared ready for the low cloud to disappear, which it did...
...and following which a steadily increasing number of club gliders and private gliders stayed up longer and longer as the day progressed .
Busy launch point
As ever the day proved that gliding is like a box of chocolates - you never quite know what you are going to get - with some gliders managing to find the wave (some with the help of an aerotow) and others not being as fortunate. 
Gliders flying in the wave slots
The wave setup was very similar to yesterday with a southwest - northeast orientation off Exmoor. The 8/8 cloud upwind was steadily moving in, and by 14:30 the wave slot over the motorway was getting noticeably smaller. At 15:00 on the dot (as forecast) the cloud almost instantly filled in, and a useful radio call from the ground advised that the cloudbase over North Hill was 700ft. All the gliders enjoying the wave flying beat a hasty retreat through the diminishing holes in the cloud for a very orderly mass landing (more landings per minute than Heathrow) - with the rapidly increasing low cloud seeing gliders landing in all directions and on all parts of the airfield. 
Advancing cloud sheet
Apart from one weather check flight which turned into a practice launch failure that was it for the day with the low cloud well established over the field to the extent that even the birds decided to walk rather than fly the field.
Despite the early end to the flying the day had seen a number of members continue their training or renew their card rating and various private gliders had had a good airing.
Stats for the day were a total of 48 flights (41 winch and 8 aerotow) with total flying time of just under 25 hours. Lisa enjoyed her first flight with Ron as a syndicate member of the ASH 25 visiting Wimbleball lake and 5000ft, Eric in ASG29 and John P in Lak12 HOG also had 2 hour flights. 

- Mike Sl

Saturday 15th - the Ides of March

The Ides of March - was clearly a day some members were being beware of. There wasn't a huge number of people around - perhaps put off by the misty conditions elsewhere in the county (as close as Exeter Airport when we started the day).

It all started well enough - a nice long flight early on for John P and student. Then the times started to fall again - by lunchtime some owners who had rigged were wondering whether they'd made a mistake, and  others were having second thoughts about rigging at all!

Eric A rigged and flew his ASG29 - "testing" his engine soon after launch, which helped him climb into wave  - and staying aloft for over 3 hours. Pete St, having marshalled the launch line all morning, rigged with a "why am I doing this" expression, and then stayed up for more than 2 hours.

As the day wore on, it got better and better. The wave bar which had been sitting just at the western edge of the airfield moved slowly westwards, somehow making it easier to find and get into off a winch launch. Flight times rose, as pilots enjoyed playing in the wave.

The SF showed up the plastic gliders, that didn't have internal combustion assistance, in wave at 2500 above NHL.
Wave clouds in evidence all day
To make the day feel even better, Ian M brought the tug back from Bodmin - where Stu P had dropped him off under a cloudbase at a mere 300'. He was back in time for the tug to clock up 4 tows. There was a flurry of late launches which got around an hour each at the end of the day.

All in all - 12 private gliders, more than 60 launches, and over 33 hours in the air. Roll on the soaring season! - Jonathan

Thursday 13th March

What a lovely day! - everybody commented on the blue sky, light easterly winds and the warm sunshine. The first three flights benefited from some gentle wave-like lift in a very small area just to the south of the Clubhouse between 900ft and 1300ft. From then on it was just circuits, but useful practice for those at that stage of training. 
Ray resoloes
Ray D re-soloed after his broken ankle last year, and we welcomed George back from his skiing in France.  52 flights altogether including Mark L (477) and Joe (877) airing their gliders.
It was even warm enough to eat outside

Wednesday 12th March

Another flyable Wednesday with a long list, we started with a light northeasterly wind with a delay to start because of the poor visibility
Mike Fitz & Ernie took a met flight to assess the conditions and decided it would be OK if we only had one glider in the air at a time.
After a few flights the wind veered to to the southeast so we changed sides, there were a couple of soaring flights to be had at midday, Nick H had the longest.
We managed 38 flights and everyone flew, Jill & Pete and Chris H were working on their caravan sites in readiness to take delivery of their new vans. -JSt.

Sunday 9th March

A very good forecast including lots of sunshine and little likelihood of rain, saw the early arrival of an enthusiastic group of members all keen to get back to flying currency and to renew card ratings after the 'interesting' weather of recent weeks.

With the hangar doors open, gliders out and daily inspections underway by before 8:30, it was no surprise that the first launch of the day was in the air before 9:30.

During the morning and through to the end of the day there were small pockets of lift in which the skillful pilots such as John Si, Pilatus B4 CVV and John P Lak 12 HOG) were able to enjoy long flights.

The Duty Instructors were kept busy throughout the day progressing ab initio training and completing card checks. All the club gliders were in use for most of the day and by the time the hangar doors were closed at just after 6:00 everyone who wanted to fly had done so and there were lots of tired, but happy, members wending their way home.
Blue sky thinking
Thank you to the small but very valuable group of members who drove the winch (in one case for several hours without a break) to keep the 82 launches going. (Ed - If you are solo and not yet cleared to drive the winch, please do work on getting cleared to do so as soon as possible - more winch drivers will be needed as the launch line becomes busier over the coming weeks)

Highlights today included:
15 year old Peter and Matthew flying the K6  for the first time.
The day after Peter's 15th Birthday, he converts to K6
 Luke (who has joined us from Keevil) completing his first solo at North Hill.
Simon congratulates new Junior member Luke on solo at North Hill
The sun has brought out many visitors to the airfield this weekend and some have enjoyed trial lessons.
Elizabeth plans to take up gliding on a regular basis - and is aiming at being ready to go solo on her 14th Birthday in July
Adrian was cleared to fly in the back seat of the DG505 as part of his ongoing BI training.
Henry returned from an O/R to Hus Bos collecting the K13 CCY after its canopy replacement. 
Ron completed his 5 year Instructor revalidation checks with Simon M.
- Mike Sl

Saturday 8th March

The day started bright and sunny with a stiff SSE wind. We started launching from the west end of the field, but after a short while the wind veered to South and then SSW which meant we had to change ends.
Ruth and Erin getting a ride down the field in the strong wind
With a stiff SSW wind it was deemed to be Blue Card conditions and the landing approaches were quite turbulent! With two K21s a K13, the DG505 and two Juniors the launch line was busy. The field was drying up nicely and it made a pleasant change to be able to push the gliders around without slipping in the mud!

JB rigged his Ventus Ct, took a launch and fired up his turbo to head off to the south coast cliffs. His new instruments were not showing any wind info but with the strong SSW wind he felt the Cliffs should be obliged to work. However on arrival at about 1500 ft above the top of the cliffs he noticed that the surface of the sea was unusually smooth and not showing any of the normal tell tale signs of a good wind. Even the seagulls were walking so he felt it was probably not the day for diving down, negative flaps and stick to the front!

He gently floated along the cliffs enjoying the view, periodically turning into wind to compare his air speed with ground speed to estimate the wind strength - 12 kt at 1000 ft above the top and sinking… 10 kt at 500 ft and still loosing out very slowly. Time to pick a safety field on the cliff top, fire up the turbo and head for home. On returning to North Hill at about 1500 ft QFE the wind was showing to be about 20 kt SSW again! Quite bizarre, but possibly due to some kind of wind shear towards the coast. Several gliders were soaring and some were quite high. No thermals so it must be wave :)
Above the inversion in weak wave
Many pilots enjoyed flights of half an hour or more in weak wave over the Broadhembury valley and Rowan managed to climb to 2300 ft in the Junior. Later in the day the wave lift became quite consistent and by late afternoon we had six gliders soaring gently at about 1000 ft in the evening sunshine. Adrian in the Junior had the longest flight at 1 hour 19 minutes. Spring has sprung at last! - JB

Thursday 6th March

The forecast for a moist airstream was correct with orographic drizzle all day, but the Thursday regulars turned up in their droves and were treated to lectures on winch launch failures and altimetry from Paul S and Peter Sm who are practising after a weekend of Flight Instructor (Sailplanes) (FIS) training at Gransden. There was a only a little barracking from "blogs" -aka Mark C.

Wednesday 5th March

A reasonable forecast for today, plus an indifferent one for Thursday saw a huge number on the flying list at 9.00am.
After an inspection of the field, we set up the field for Northwesterly circuits mainly to give the Southwesterly run a bit of a rest - but after a while the wind backed so we had to change sides.
There was a light wind and no lift about except for a hour or so at lunchtime which Vince and Dave T made the most of  - well done to both after re-soloing - Vince had the longest flight of the day with 25min closely followed by Dave.
We welcomed 2 new Junior members to the Club, Luke is a solo pilot from Keevil and having moved to Sidmouth a few months ago, just needs to learn about the vagaries of a hill-top site, and Joe who will start learning a new sport. 
Yet another picturesque sunset
Checking out of the Motor Falke pilots continues with William the latest to fly P1 again.
Due to (Treasurer) Texas Tom's exceptional generosity we had some quarry scalpings delivered, so a team filled some of the worst holes, so many people wanted to help with the hole filling I had to request for them to return to the launch point so we could continue flying! - we managed 50 flights today, thanks to all for great teamwork. - JSt

Saturday 1st March

With no tug pilot and the Pawnee due to go away, the morning started with a careful search of the field for a suitable cable run. Members drank tea and looked on in hope as Martin and Mike F drove the length of North Hill scouring for dry(ish) patches. They eventually declared a single file launch queue in the south east corner, and flying began.

Solo pilots were hanging back because conditions only allowed circuits for the first hour or so. Then, just before lunch, Mike F and Eric queued up with the two Juniors. For some of us this was a big fat clue that we should have been paying better attention! Mike and Eric scored the longest flights of the day at 50 and 48 minutes respectively.

There were very few trainees, so Mike K and Douglas grabbed the opportunity to get some extra practice in. The motor Falke syndicate buzzed around in their recently re-aquired toy, and Ian flew the Pawnee to Bodmin for its Annual inspection.  
Suns? setting behing the Beech trees
 All in all a pleasant and productive sunny day. - Ruth

And meanwhile at the BGA Sporting Conference in Nottingham, our very own Chairman Lisa was elected on to the BGA Executive. - Congratulations Lisa.