Thursday 30th October

Another day of wall to wall hill fog across the airfield but the Thursday regulars turned up en-mass for some Bronze lectures. We started off with the weather (again) followed by Principles of flight using a tailless K21 model. Pete St has taken the model K21 away to repair the broken fuselage....... now how did that ground-loop happen in the Clubhouse?
After lunch, well done to Pete B who successfully completed his Bronze exam, and we did a 'glider fitting' for a potential new member, - can you see the problem that 6ft 7ins gives.....
No good in a K21......
But Tim fitted in the DG505 comfortably and is looking forward to his Trial lesson. 

Ian has started work on the Pawnee Airworthiness Directive (AD) and has made some progress already.
Rear fuselage and and fin structure exposed

Sunday 26th October - Denbigh Dreaming 6

I could almost use yesterdays report for today.

With more South in the wind, it was still forecast to be another good wave day. However....................

Phil , Ron and Chris H decided to decamp early as the showers seemed to be setting in again. David J and Pete S hung on in the hope of a last minute thrash and so it came to pass. Around 12 the showers stopped and we set off to the ridge which had the rotor making it a bumpy ride again and the wave also proved very elusive, the best height by me, me, me at 5,300'. The ridge eventually calmed down a bit but it was time to land, de-rig and go home.

So, 5 days of WSW winds and 5 days flying in ridge,wave, thermal and oh, a little bit of rotor!

Some great nights in Rhyl where most of us were billeted, with Ron supplying most of the entertainment. A great few days out.

Sunday 26th October

A fairly quiet day, and cloudy but a light west south westerly enabled some good height launches and some delayed descents from the south ridge later in the day. 
Good launches
Congratulations to Josef, who resoloed at North Hill after a layoff of a few years and previous flying in Poland. 
Simon congratulates Josef
Thanks to Simon M for instructing all day.

Saturday 25th October

Amid the ever-changing weather conditions – sunshine, lowering cloud base, rain showers, bits of ridge/thermal/wave lift/rotor – there was the constancy of the luminous, green hat! It threaded its way through every facet of the ground operations and even took to the air. Its cheerful, hard-working presence defined the day.  Club members, DLMs, instructors – John P and Ian M, helped by Stuart P, James H, Steve W and Paul S – and tug pilot Robin W-F worked tirelessly to ensure constant flying. Private gliders LS3 and ASW 29 were rigged and flew. The K6 HEB was taken over by the junior members, who between them managed to keep it airborne for most of the day. Their constant help at the launch point between flights was greatly appreciated. Congratulations to Luke who converted to the Junior after a check flight with Stuart. 
Luke landing in the Junior

In short a very busy, happy club flying day. Oh, and by the way, especial thanks to “the day glow hat” aka Richard D!!! - Wendy W-F                

Saturday 25th October - Denbigh Dreaming 5

For several days today has been forecast as the best day of the week with absolutely classic wind profile for wave, re-inforced by everything Kevin had seen on the latest weather charts and the morning brief reflected this optimism.

Sadly it wasn't to be with a constant stream of heavy showers until lunchtime. When they abated after lunch people started to launch on to the ridge. There were no visible signs of wave and nobody contacted any for a long time and even the 2 or 3 that did reported it as very messy. The highest was by a local to 10,000 feet and our Brent Tor colleague David J got to about 7,000 feet.

The rest of us having tried several times and failing fell back to the ridge which by now had some wave rotor sat right along it and it was like being in a tumble drier! Another day for exciting approaches and landings.

Forecast not great for tomorrow but we plan on flying before decamping back to North Hill.

Friday 24th October - Denbigh Dreaming 4

With no wind it was a long wait including a walk around the on-site wooden sculpture park and much tea drinking. Eventually the windsock fluttered after lunch and Pete S (230) was sent off as a sacrifice to the wind god to make it blow a bit harder.

After a low arrival on the Tusk and a sloooow climb up he eventually disappeared off up the ridge to start the ridge task which was duly completed. This followed some hooning up and down the ridge in  line astern formation in company with Phil M (611), David Jesty (EZ) and a couple of the Nympsfield contingent.

Chris H (CLM) enjoyed some local soaring in wave boosted thermals although the wave proper never really got going.

JB and JP left for home today and JP's trailer trauma on the motorway will probably make the best story of the day!

Another good day which initially promised not a lot.

Thursday 23rd October - Denbigh Dreaming 3

 Pete & JP report from Denbigh
The BBC forecast showers on and off for much of the day. One look out of the window at the wave setting up and no weather to the West made you realise that was rubbish - how do they do it?

Gliders rigged and ready to go, the only problem was the rotor sat over the airfield and providing a nice tailwind at the launch point. Undeterred most people took launches and punched through the very rough rotor and connected with the wave over Denbigh, rough for the first 1500-2000 feet but then smoothing out to a nice 5kts to around 10,000 feet.

Some of the more clever/persistent/barking managed eventually to get into the primary wave with a couple of guys from Challock getting to FL195. I think from the NHL massive, JP and JB got the highest climbs to around 14k'. It was difficult to go very far though due to the cloud being largely filled in out to the West, although the Denbigh wave bar and associated gaps just sat there all day. The rotor stayed there too making for some exciting approaches and landings!
Fun, fun, fun. - Pete St 230

A day that had started with hangovers and the threat of rain turned into another epic Denbigh day. With the wave bar bang overhead the site the winch launches were challenging and straight into the rotor. Careful milking of which allowed the transition into the wave proper. Less careful or unlucky milking resulted in a bumpy return to the site.
Classic lenticulars

Great views and some classic lenticulars made it all worthwhile with climbs available to what ever height you fancied or felt comfortable with JB and JP went to 15,000ft but Pete S and Ron both soared high as well. 
Great views

The ridge spent the day unused by all except JB who with a last minute death wish tried it shortly before landing in an attempt to get his adrenaline levels up. The rotor around  the circuit was immense and everyone grateful when eventually their glider came to a halt. 
But day - what a day! .- JP HOG

Thursday 23rd October

The moist south westerly airstream was doing its thing again today with orographic cloud covering the hill for most of the day - before it turned into heavy drizzle!
Peter Sm and Chris W looked at the DG505 trailer and took the tailplane fixing away to  recarpet. Mark polished his new van. Jill & Rob worked on the website, preparing the voting pages for this year's trophies.
Congratulations to George, who spent some hours working on a Bronze exam paper, and eventually ventured out of the Briefing Room with a good Pass. 

Meanwhile at Denbigh - it looks like there was some good wave........ reports awaited.

Wed 22nd October - Denbigh Dreaming 2

H5 Matt was just behind JP rigging at 7:30am. After brief the guys were on line and ready to launch. The turbos launched first but were back not long after due to difficult conditions and impending showers. Tea, biscuits, segway and solo wheels were the order of the morning.

Despite the distractions the absence of rain reminded us why we'd driven 300 miles to Denbigh, so we wiped down the wings and took a slingshot launch toward the ridge. Difficult conditions and rain early only increased the satisfaction when things settled down to classic ridge and extreme rotor.

In the SF27, Matthew struggled low on the ridge after the launch, JB, JP and  M5 Matt circled overhead like vultures; offering advice, insults and support. Finally he scratched up to the top and got away with the rest of the guys.
Climbing away
Everyone got through the severe rotor and enjoyed the wave, JP topping out at 10,800 ft. A fantastic time was had by all. A radio discussion about sunset time reinforced the significance between understanding the difference between BST and GMT, the high flyers suddenly realised that they only had 20 minutes to land.
Nearly sunset
Everyone down safely and smiling, a thoroughly good day. Chris H and Ron  turned up to fly the rest of the week. -Matt H5

Wednesday 22nd October

Not exactly as forecast, with no wind to start with and totally overcast, nevertheless it was ideal for early solos and Chris W made good use of the conditions and has enough solo flights now to fly the Junior.
We had two Juniors out and three two seaters in use, thanks to Peter Sm for standing in for John Si.
Good use was made of both Juniors
 After lunch the wind picked up a bit and the west ridge started to work giving some longer flights, it was a very pleasant day and everyone had all the flying they wanted. -JSt

Monday 20th October - Denbigh Delight

Having driven through the night from Mendip, H5 Matt was rearing to go at sunrise but had to while away the hours until the Denbigh morning briefing. Un-forecast showers chucked a further delay in proceedings which meant M5 Matt arrived just in time to join everyone rigging.
H5 Matt was a little anxious but M5 Matt said, "Go for it dude! It's definitely working" before launching first just to make sure.  Boy was it working! H5 Matt launched and hardly lost any height dropping back to the ridge. The nerves settled after 2 beats of the tusk and he set off to explore more of slopes with his grin getting wider all the time.
M5 encouraging H5
Wave Action in the SF27
There was lots of signs of wave in the sky and all the gliders found there way into it eventually but only up to about 5500' before approaching rain encouraged every one to go back and land but not before smoking the ridge a few more times. The rain didn't arrive!
Going up here and raining down there

Sunday 19th October

"You should have been here today"
A fairly quiet day at the Club, with a small but keen group of members getting the K21s, DG 505 and a Junior out of the hanger by 9:00am and flying underway from the North East side of the field at around 9.30.

The strong south westerly wind on the ground turned into northwesterly streets, and as forecast, provided good height launches (thank you to Eric who winched all morning and Mike W and Roly most of the afternoon.)

By late morning the thermals had started to develop just off the Westerly end of the field and with the temperature steadily increasing in the nice sunny weather soon several gliders were enjoying the opportunity to stay up in thermal lift, in mid October!
Lovely October sky

A short stop for lunch to let everyone 'refuel' for food and drink and then it was an afternoon of more 'fun in the sun' with club gliders only coming down from the thermals and ridge lift to allow others to fly.

Best flight of the day was Simon  in ASW20 (SM) of just over 3 hours climbing in wave up to 4000ft over the motorway.
Pete welcomes James and Will to the Club
After the recent run of poor weather cancelling many Trial lessons, it was good to complete the three that were booked today. - Mike Sl

Matthew flies over Cheddar Gorge
 Meanwhile, SF27 takes a trip to Mendip to fly the ridge at Cheddar gorge, Matthew flew out to Burnham on Sea before towing up to Denbigh. - MW

Wed 15th & Thurs 16th October

On the first rostered Wednesday with John Si in charge, the rain did not abate until late in the day. Better luck next week John.

Thursday looked more hopeful with a gap between two overnight troughs, so all the kit was readied  for a quick start. But our normal irritation with very moist south westerlies was the orographic cloud which persisted all day. Unfortunately we had to cancel the Trial lessons for a Dutch family who were on a short break in Exeter, but they were given a guided tour of the hangar. 
Many thanks to everyone who did odd jobs while we were hoping to fly and special thanks to Zoe who volunteered to clean the barbeque for winter storage after it had been left in quite a mess. 
Zoe cleans the barbeque
The model flyers have gone up to Long Mynd for a weekend.
Model flying at Long Mynd

Sunday 12th October

With most of the people present, whether full or temporary members, looking for training flights just the K21s and a K13 were walked down to the other end of the field. 
Launchpoint  - ready
With the Easterly wind 'straight down the field' winch launches were achieving a good height and the trainees were able to enjoy trying their skills to make the most of the typical autumnal weather - little lift around but not much 'sink' either.
Then with one of the trainees deciding to take an aerotow to allow more 'airtime', with the extra height available Ron and Joe were soon 'sniffing out' some wave to the West of the airfield followed quickly after by other gliders hoping to do the same.
After a morning of training flights, but with a limited number of winch drivers it was decided to stop for lunch.

A selection of Junior members training today
After lunch training flights continued during the afternoon in the evidently deteriorating weather - with an increasing wind strength seeing the card colour change from Red to Yellow and providing the trainees with the opportunity to experience "the clutching hand" on the approach over the West end of the field. - Mike Sl

Saturday 11th October

Probably the quietest Saturday I have ever seen at the club, which was a shame because the conditions were perfect for training, and we had more instructors than pupils! Despite the forecast we only had a short light shower for 5 mins in the afternoon. The heavy stuff could be seen all around the horizon but we escaped. 
Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
There were two trial lessons, with a near non-existent flying list they were able to stay up for long flights, they had a fantastic time and seem keen to return.
Mark C gave a lecture on cross-country navigation and field landings to Paul M in preparation for his Cross-country endorsement Nav Ex.
Simon L and Oscar L did some aerobatic sorties and low passes to finish the day, at 4:30 everyone had their fill so the hanger was packed despite the conditions being good.
You won't fly if you stay at home people-- you might if you turn up!  - Mark C

Thursday 9th October

The day started wet and windy, but the kit was readied with the hope of an improvement in the weather. After an early lunch, the Thursday regulars took to the air. Both K21s with Chris & Aston and John Si & Mark managed to find a little wave for a short while climbing to nearly 2000 ft before it collapsed. Congratulations to Aston for getting signed up for a blue card following completion of his Silver in the summer.

There were some interesting cloudscapes from the surrounding skies

News reached us from the BGA that the EASA vote has deferred the transition to at least April 2018, more details are expected in due course.

Wednesday 8th October

A wet, grey and grim start to the day deterred all bar a few persistent regulars from making the journey to the Club.  The rain eventually relented and between the showers a K21 and all the kit was readied.  A very early lunch was programmed and then the field set up with the first couple of flights being interspersed with heavy showers. The sky then cleared and all those present and wishing to fly enjoyed extended and pleasant flights in a strong and gusty SW wind.  A few more hands would have permitted a second glider and more flying time! Particular thanks are due to Clive W for manning the winch all afternoon. 
A sunny spell
Peter W and Mike F were also seen enjoying a mutual flight and Graham B emerged from the kitchen and enjoyed the longest flight with Peter S.  All was safely put away in the last of the early evening sunshine whilst Malcolm V was carrying out trial exploratory works on field renovation. - PSm

Portmoak 1st-5th October - "You should have been here last year"

Due to an aborted visit to Denbigh, Matt and Ruth found themselves at a loose end. Noting predictions of Wednesday westerlies up North, they set off early to arrive on Tuesday evening at a pleasant warm and sunny Portmoak airfield.  Sadly the warm and sunny conditions didn't last, and on Wednesday morning they found it necessary to wear the entire contents of their suitcases.  Matt in M5 went hunting for wave but frustratingly never made it above 4500ft, while being taunted by one of the locals just above him in a Junior.  Ruth snuck in a quick flight with local instructor Chris to be reminded what a ridge looks like from the side and get the gen on the usual wave spots (which weren't currently working).

Wednesday night was cold.  Very cold.  So Thursday was thermic.  Combined with the now strong south-westerly wind, this produced some good, boisterous lift on the south side of the Bishop, which was reliable enough to hold on waiting for the thermals to coincide and boost the lift to cloud-base.  Curl-over from Benarty made launches and circuits "interesting", so Ruth's check flight with Chris was abandoned in favour of a couple of training flights.  Meanwhile Matt in M5 made good use of the conditions and set off to play on the south side of the Och Hills, claiming a 100k task to Stirling and back.  Tom arrived at lunchtime and wasted no time in rigging DG1 to join in the fun.  Pete, Martin, Woolly and Ron arrived in the evening and we all went to the Balgedie Inn for the traditional arrival meal.
River Forth near Stirling
Friday: rain.  In the morning we chose the slightly less wet periods to walk to the Loch Leven RSPB hide and the café, which serves fantastic cake.  In the afternoon we returned to the clubhouse to be enthralled by a matinée showing of The Wind Rises in the bar.
Walking wet
Saturday: rain.  Martin sacrificed himself to the weather gods and began the long journey home.  The rest of us drank tea and watched the light patch of sky in the west, arguing whether it was the forecast clearance or a "sucker's gap".  The clearance arrived ahead of schedule, and Pete, Tom and Matt soon rigged 230, DG1 and M5 to commit aviation. Pete, having ventured out west to some promising looking clouds was dismayed to find they didn't work and announced he was about to land-out. Tom acknowledging Pete's predicament, air-braked down to land to await the retrieve instructions. A few minutes later a relieved sounding Pete relayed that he had just managed to climb away, a mere couple of seconds from putting his wheel down. Tom used his moment of altruism to grab some lunch before returning to the skies. Woolly and Ruth borrowed a K21 and enjoyed a couple of hours of soaring, with Woolly instructing Ruth in the use of various hand signals when in sight of other DSGC pilots.  Jill and Pete arrived in the evening and we all piled back into the Balgedie Inn.
A large shower drifts east behind Lomand Hill
Sunday morning dawned dry but not very inspiring.  The forecast for the rest of the week looked wet, easterly or both, so Pete, Tom, Ron and Woolly set off home.  Pete and Jill decided it wasn't a day for OL, so contented themselves drinking tea, helping out at the launch point, and learning about the club's new FLARM briefings.  Matt, never to be deterred, launched in M5 and turned some windmills not far west of the club.  The southerly wind was less fierce than forecast, so Ruth ran out of excuses not to fly solo.  After a couple of check flights with local instructor Colin, she flew Junior HRG all the way to the top of the launch (unlike last year) and soared the south end of the Bishop.

Monday: rain.  Matt and Ruth went home, leaving Jill and Pete to bring up the rear on Tuesday.

Sunday 5th October

'An unspectacular but pleasant day...'

A good forecast but with an expedition 'up North' no surprise that North Hill was relatively quiet for a Sunday. However as members arrived slowly but surely there was soon enough enthusiasm to start getting gliders out and kit readied. With just the 2 K21s and a K13 needed for training flights and with a Junior to keep solo pilots happy  flying was soon under way and although the sun shone bright the top cover cloud restricted the heat getting through to the ground so it was a morning of pleasant extended circuits. 
A colourful launchpoint
The Junior members continued to get 'stuck in' on both ground school skills and progressing their flying experience and a group from Exeter University, brought up by Liam to see for themselves what gliding is all about, also seemed to enjoy themselves in the air and on the ground.
As the day progressed it was evident that just like any other gliding day if one happened to launch at the right time then there were the odd thermal or two available for those who could make best use of same. During the afternoon the wind strengthened and became more Southerly so that the South ridge was useable in places not necessarily providing great lift but certainly, for those pilots skilful enough to make best use of the conditions, enough to delay the inevitable return to the landing area.

Ian M and James took the Falke off to Dunkeswell for some 'touch and go' landings and other 'fun stuff' as James continues to prepare for the next stage of his flying.

Paul M (DG100 HMS), Peter Sm. ( Lak19t 1 UP), John S. (Pilatus B4 CVV) and William/Mike R. (K6 DQS) all had suitable fun in their own gliders.

With an enforced lunch break due to the overall lack of numbers to keep the flying going no surprise that the end of day flying stats were not as high as previous weeks. Nevertheless by the end of the day everyone who wanted to fly had done so - with gliders needing to be washed before being put away a sign that the flying conditions are starting to change...

Stats for the day:-
Nearly 30 launches (winch and aerotow) for a total of just over 17 hours flying time. - Mike Sl

Saturday 4 October

Despite a lousy start to the day with the torrential rain, the cold front cleared, 6 degrees disappeared and we had a busy afternoon in the strong northerly crosswind!

Thanks to John Pursey, Stuart and JB for their help with the instructing. Everyone flew and there was some strong lift and nearly every flight I had needed to Airbrake down to keep the list going.

Mike was introduced to the spinning in the K13 experience with JB and Richard had a great flight with the ASI and Altimeter covered up which he coped with very well.

Lets hope every Saturday is as rewarding throughout the winter months
K21 in the gorgeous blue sky

Thursday 2nd October

First thing we were bathed in sunshine with a beautiful scene to the south of early morning mist clinging to the valley floor. John Si soon put pay to any thoughts of an early start by predicting that the mist would creep up the hill, we all looked doubtful, sadly he was right ! thanks John!  we were soon sitting under a blanket of thick fog.

Mark set a task for the Thursday crew, to form a group and present a lecture on glider instruments.

I'm not saying they were slow to task but no sooner they were underway the sky started to change- for the better!

The airfield was readied and soon John Si took up his familiar role in the back of the K21, there he sat all day. It was quiet for a Thursday, at times it was difficult to keep the place going. By now there were big gaps in the clouds allowing  4000ft tows for spinning, George V and Josef  enjoying themselves.

Ian H and Mark C went off in the Falke for a Nav Ex, well done to Ian for passing the test -completing his cross-country endorsement!

Malcolm V did his first aerotow in the K21, Geoff L continued to impress in his Pegasus with some sweet landings and dare I say there is a small smile coming back on his face!

By 4 pm "Iron man " John Si needed a break so Mark C finished the list and by 5:45 everyone had flown.

Next week John Si has predicted that we will have snow, who am I to doubt his predictions! - Mark C

Milfield Expedition - Borders Gliding Club

After a painless, but fairly tedious 400mile drive, OL and crew arrived at Borders Gliding Club at Milfield on Saturday afternoon , joining in with a flying week with visitors from Saltby.
Weather was not very inspiring on Sunday, but following a daily briefing, Pete had a site check with Andy with wave assisted thermals and wave broken thermals but no wave.
Site check in the Duo
On Monday, there were thermals over the Cheviot hills but after 45 mins we dropped out the bottom.
Tuesday's forecast was much better with RASP forecasting wave in the valley. We found the wave straight off tow and climbed to 6000ft, but it didn't go any higher, we could have stayed there all day, in the cumulus congestus, later in the day, proper lenticulars formed but again only to 6000ft. 
Cumulus wave
Wednesday produced some wave in the morning but a few locals (brave people) got to 8000ft before getting cut off with low cloud  with some exciting final glides from 15km downwind under 2000ft base. Cloud cleared after lunch and there were launches to go ridge soaring but it wasn't really doing that either.
Thursday was the best day of the week, with a busy launch point from early on, with strong thermals in the valley, which turned out to be wave induced. After a good low point of 1500ft, they went smooth at 3000ft and we climbed to 6000ft just above cloud tops, after  exploring a little, we managed to drop out the bottom and then had to spend some time in the broken themals climbing up again. By then the wave had established nicely in the blue and after climbing to 7000ft we pushed forward  into the Primary over The Cheviot and carried on climbing to just over 10000ft. We ended the flight with a sightseeing trip to the seaside over Lindisfarne passing three blue bars on the way back.
Holy Island
Friday was forecast with strong winds and rain so derigged OL ready for the trip on to Portmoak.
Borders Gliding Club - Milfield
Thanks to Borders GC - A nice friendly Club with excellent facilities and weather, worthy of a a DSGC expedition proper. - Jill & Pete

Wednesday 1st October

A mild, easy day was forecast without much prospect of any kind of lift, and so it turned out to be - but it gave the early early solo pilots a good opportunity to increase their solo flying. 
Ready for the off

Dave T converted to the Junior, Andreas increased his Junior flying hours whenever it was available so it was well used all day, Vince demonstrated landing in an unusual part of the airfield whilst running out of height in a circuit (with an instructor in the back seat) - a good lesson learnt.
Ray B added to his solo aerotow experience and Nigel and Geoff flew the Pegase.
It was a pleasant easy day and very enjoyable at that - JSt