Wednesday 30th September

The high pressure and blue sky still dominate the weather, with today a 20kt wind to make the flying interesting. 
20 knot wind made flying interesting in the morning (John St)
We walked the DG505 and a K21 to the southwest corner, the first few launches were quite exciting but as the morning progressed the wind veered to the southeast and moderated so we changed sides and the thermals started to be managable with some good cloud streets setting up there were several soaring flights.
No private gliders were rigged today, we finished flying at 5.00 when everyone had flown on a day that was quite exhilarating. - JSt

Sunday 27 th September

'September Sunday Sunshine'

With a sunny day forecast, no surprise that the flying list was half way full before 9:00, and with a group of members including several returning temporary members keen to get flying, gliders were soon being taken out of the hangar.

With an evident North Easterly wind the launch point was set up in the South West corner of the field albeit with an expectation that as the forecast was for the wind to become more Southerly, at some stage a change of sides might well be likely.

Daily inspections were completed on the  K21s, the DG505 and the Junior which were soon being walked down to the launch point .

By lunchtime progress was being made with the flying list, both training flights and trial lesson flights, with Pete B completing his first official trial lesson in a K21.

Then with the wind having become more Southerly as forecast the launch point and winch were moved to the North West and South East corners respectively.

With some clear signs of thermal activity by around lunchtime the flights became more than just circuits with a cloud base of around 2000' allowing gliders to search further afield for the better lift available.

With Club gliders staying up several private gliders were rigged and launched PIK20, Lak19T, DG100 and Mosquito. Peter Sm having the longest flight with 2:23.
September sunshine and thermals (Mike Sl)
During the afternoon cloudbase improved to around 3000' and for a couple of hours great fun was had by all enjoying the September sunshine and good thermic conditions.

The 2 Falkes went off to play several times as well with various pilots,  
2*Falkes (Stu)

and Guy did his first official aerotow.

By just after 18:00 we had managed to get through the flying list, and the K21 HCX was derigged ready for Dick S to take it to Zulu  Glastek for the rear canopy to be sorted. - Mike Sl

Saturday 26th September

Easterly wind and no clouds over North Hill but some soarable air to the south and east initially  with a sort of streety convergence forming in the south west late afternoon.

When John P arrived for his instructing duty this morning at 9am he was looking somewhat befuddled.  Perhaps he hadn't had enough coffee, or perhaps it was the effect of finding the field already set up and the gliders out and in the process of inspection by the keen early-morning members.  The gliders were walked up to the south-west corner of the field all ready for a nice early start......which didn't materialise because the Skylaunch winch, like a school-child on a September morning, flatly refused to get going.  With the backup Supacat winch also having battery issues, a few pilots took reduced-price aerotows.  Others waited, putting their trust in the combined expertise of Alan T, Richard H, Dick S, Roy B and Mike W who worked hard to get both winches up and running so launching could begin in earnest.

While there was lift for most of the day, thermals around the club were often weak and broken, with plenty of sink in between, so that many pilots found themselves back on circuit rather more quickly than they had anticipated.  Mike in the Pik and Pete in his Discus both got away, proving to the rest of us that is could be done but leaving us unsure about how.  Meanwhile James F continued hi BI preparation with Stuart in the K13. - Ruth
Stu and Simon went on a trip to the North coast in VG. 
Stu & Simon in VG
Pete and Jill in Rotax Falke SC found some cloud streets to Okehampton and turned Bodmin for a sightseeing trip back over Dartmoor. 
Callngton Lake looking serene (Jill)

Inversion level over Dartmoor (Jill)
Clear on the South coast, but clouds hiding in the inversion over North Hill (Jill)
Pete Startup in 230 flew 170km  "A nice sightseeing trip along beautiful South coast with thermals over the sea and everything! Particularly enjoyed the views of Lyme Regis where the wife and I had lunch on the seafront yesterday.
Fed up of waiting for Cu to appear at NHL, launched into the blue and took several weak climbs to get to a line of clouds on the coast. Going East it got better with much more cloud and a higher cloudbase.
To Bridport and West Bay, then NE to see the 'big' fella at Cerne Abbas. Back down to Dorchester as I hadn't been there this year and back along the coast going West until the sea air messed it up a bit so came inland and home via CCX.
Just a really lovely end of season bimble. Exeter ATC helpful."

Meanwhile the training operation continued all day plus three trial lesson visitors enjoyed their flights. - J&P

Thursday 24th September

Well it all sounded so good on the forecast  - clearing cold front, anticyclonic curvature, sunshine and a few clouds, westerly wind ridge/wave? but for some reason the ridge of high pressure didn't move in as fast as expected. So we got all the above but with cyclonic curvature which allowed small trough lines to form over the moors and move eastwards.

After an early start, the first stop for rain was at 11:00, then 12:00  and again at 15:00, although rain amounts weren't great, and the lower cloud was still soarable.

Longest flight of the day was Paul L in H5, with 59mins.

Rob converted to the Junior (Jill)
Congratulations to Rob who converted to the Junior, and to George who passed his field selection tests with Mark in Rotax Falke. It was a very enjoyable day gliding although slightly annoying when the showers kept blowing through. - J&P

Wednesday 23rd September

A reasonable forecast for today didn't seem to bring out many members, we had three two-seaters out and the Junior, the thermals started popping mid-morning and it was easy to make contact with the westerly cloud streets.
Mid-morning streets developing over the winch (John St)
Most people had good soaring flights-  the best of which was Chris W flying a K21 solo who had 1hr 20min whilst the rest of the club members went to lunch. 
Mike and Pete getting ready to fly K13 (John St)
Pete St Discus 230, Nick H DG202 and Joe S ASW19 877 all flew their own gliders, Mitch checked out Guy who is now our latest tuggie......
Guy passed his conversion to Pawnee (Ian M)
 .......and our newest member Ali made her first appearance on Wednesday.
It was a pleasant and useful day enjoyed by all. - JSt

Sunday 20th September

'A task for everyone and everyone with a task (including the Instructors).....'

Despite a reasonable weather forecast there were just a few Club members at the start of the day - all pre-solo apart from the instructors present, so whilst the K21s and the DG505 were taken out of the hangar and the launch point set up in the North East corner of the field, with it looking set to be a day of little soaring Mark C completed a briefing on circuit planning to provide suitable theory ahead of practicing same.

With the winch set up and cables pulled out to the launch point it was then realised that the only winch drivers available were instructors, and also that it was a similar situation with cable and glider retrieves and logging too!

Mark C kindly 'volunteered' to go and winch whilst other instructors took on other ground duties, luckily still leaving a couple available for go into the back seats of the K21s which provided the trainees an opportunity to put into practice what they had learnt in the briefing room.

Mid-morning the K13 was brought on line to allow more training flights to get underway, whilst the Junior, with no solo pilots available to fly it, stayed exactly where it had started the day, just outside the hangar.
K13 launches into a grey sky (Mike Sl)
As the morning continued a trial lesson was completed alongside a variety of circuit planning and eventuality practice flights .

With the sky not looking very exciting and with Mark C having completed a long morning's winching (providing some very nice launches) the decision was made to stop for lunch.
Mark winching! (Mark)
Lunch over the afternoon continued with similar weather to the morning providing the  right sort of conditions for practicing circuits and with Robert and Steve W kindly undertaking winching duties whilst other instructors again drove the cable/glider retrieve vehicles and logged - the afternoon saw the odd hint of sun and blue skies in amongst the mainly grey clouds during the afternoon but nothing to get excited about.
The sky didn't really improve (Mike Sl)
As the wind increased in strength and become more southerly towards the end of the afternoon so the South ridge started to provide some limited help to extending the circuits.

During the afternoon more trial lessons were completed in amongst the Club flying.

The Rotax Falke and Super Falke both went off on flights in various directions during the day with the Rotax Falke also being used in the afternoon for further circuit planning practice.

Late afternoon and it was time to put the gliders and ground equipment away for the day with the instructors having had some evident fun remembering how to do the various tasks over and above sitting in the back seat of a glider... - Mike Sl

Saturday 19th September

It was a misty start with very little wind, but the clouds started brewing up with 1600ft cloudbase, and the visibility was dire. After a few launches it was decided to change ends as the wind showed signs of picking up. Although it was highly soarable, the cloudbase and visibility didn't improve and for a while we had to limit to two gliders in the air at the same time.
Poor visibility  - anticyclonic gloom (Lisa)

During the afternoon, the sea air came through and the visibility improved significantly  so that everyone managed to fly.

There were 3 Trial lessons who all thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Lisa with Sam Smith (Lisa)

The day had begun well......
Tim, JP, Matthew, Liam with Michael Chequer and the other guests (Matthew)

........with DSGC members Liam, Matthew, Tim and JP all chatting live on Michael Chequer's BBC Radio Devon show in their Plymouth Studio. Listen again (3:42)  - J&P

Thursday 17th September

 It was a bright start with just a very light westerly wind, and a little orographic cloud at 1200ft which disappeared fairly readily as the sky warmed up.
It then became a little soarable on and off all day between the intervals of spreadout, and the showers that were visible all around but at North Hill, we managed to escape them until just before packing up. Longest flight of the day went to Pete and Will in the K21 with 52 minutes.
Last landing  with Pete and Ali (Mark L)
We welcomed Ali, Marc and Will fresh from last week's course, and completed the fully booked trial lessons by carefully picking slots between the clouds. - J&P

Sunday 13th September

"A day of ups and downs"

Today's forecast had indicated poor weather for much of the day but the actual weather was much better than predicted, an 'up' - however the forecast had clearly played its part in deterring members from coming to the Club, a 'down'.

But with the second day of aerobatics training scheduled, and with suitable keenness from all those present to fly, soon the K21s and the DG505 were being prepared for the day's flying with the launch point set up in the North West corner of the field.

Aerotow launches (Mike Sl)
It was then realised that with only a couple of winch drivers available it would be more appropriate to have an 'aerotow only day' which, with reduced price for Club flying, was a clear 'up' for relevant members albeit a 'down' for the Club Treasurer when he finds out about same.

The gliders were walked up to the launch point and flying was underway mid-morning with a variety of flights, including aerobatics (lots of ups and downs), Club flying and trial lessons completed as the day unfolded - we also had two visitors from Husband Bosworth who 'dropped in' to North Hill on their way back home from Cornwall.

Blue gaps (Mike Sl)
As the South Easterly wind freshened during the day the aerotows became more and more interesting in the initial 500ft of each flight - and with cloudbase only 2000ft as well as a few "blue gaps" to allow the aerobatics training to continue, around mid afternoon, as all those who wanted to fly had done so, the gliders were flown home and all the kit put away for the day.
Nick has an aerotow (Mike Sl)
By the end of flying 15 aerotows had been completed, all by Pete W.

Simon and Oscar had fun taking the Rotax Falke off to the South Coast for an hour.

A day of more ups than downs.....   - Mike Sl

Saturday 12th September

A 'better than it looks for Sunday' weather forecast saw a number of members turn up in expectation of some flying and it was good to see a mix of both experienced and newish members keen to get in to the air.

Whilst daily inspections were completed on various gliders the launch point was set up in the South East corner of the field with the plan for the busy day being to complete some aerobatics training alongside the club, private owner flying and trial lessons.

Unfortunately no-one had told the weather gods so the start of the morning's flying was slightly delayed by low(ish) cloud and a sharp shower of rain.

By mid-morning however, the blue skies had become more prevalent with some good definition cumulus encouraging private owners to start rigging and with club flying soon well under way.

With most flights managing to secure the all-important first climb the launch point soon became fairly deserted although the aerobatic flights did their best to work their way down from 4000' aerotows quicker than the Pawnee, by completing loop after loop after chandelle after loop...

And there was a bit of a family affair going on, with new BI  Pete B flying with his sister Erin for the first time, Mum Fiona hooking on the cable  and Dad Martin driving the winch.
Fiona hooking on (Chris H)

After a delayed start due to the weather ........

 A light shower came from the final street before the sunset (Mike)
........the sun set on a very good day's gliding.... - Mike Sl

Mon 7th - Fri 11th Course week

The last course of the season enjoyed the fine weather of an Indian summer and lots of flying. Alongside 2 existing members, we welcomed 4 new members to the Club, and look forward to seeing them again during their 3 months membership. 
We bathed and soared in the warm sunshine and achieved 140 launches and 20 hours flying over the week. Strong gusty SE winds on the last day thwarted aspirations of solo flight but training cards have lots of ticks and log books full of note worthy flights. 
Thanks  especially to the helpers Aston, Alan and William for their hard work and careful attention to safety. - Peter F

Thurs 10th Sept - UKMSC Aboyne

There must be an epic story on the way............

The forecast was for a strong south easterly with a low inversion, and a general high pressure ideal for wave!!
A 260km task was set and many people struggled to get away, the inversion wasn't as clear as hoped and the sky was messy with lots of rough thermals. After a few relights from people a call from John Williams indicated where the wave was and after getting above 3000ft it was child's play to climb high. 

We got to around 7000ft and pushed along an energy line on course... At about VNE. We then turned the first TP and we had a long glide flying across a big gap to then contact another energy line, we got to it about 5000ft a few turns got us to the strongest bit of it (around 12 up) at 7000'. We then flew the next leg along an energy line, at about 10knots below VNE. By the 2nd turnpoint which was downwind our average xc speed was up to 220kph... The return legs were just as easy, we had to jump a few bars to get into a really good 7/8 knot line. We then contacted 13knots at the last turn point, we were well over glide but S turned in it a little bit to go for the height gain trophy. The last glide was at VNE again with 6/7 gliders a few wingspans from each other - a proper racing task.
We completed it a 146kph (windycapped 159.61kph), John Williams flew it at about 190kph actual on his second attempt, and he still only just scraped fourth.... 
Liam and Roy in JE ASH25M

Without a shadow of a doubt the most exciting and enjoyable moments in my gliding career so far, I heard similar remarks from much more experienced pilots than I showing just how epic a day it was. - Liam
(Ed: Friday was scrubbed - too dangerous to launch with howling southerly)

Thursday 10th September

We were expecting a clear blue sky and an easterly wind for most of the day , and that is how it started. Ragged cumulus started to appear mid morning, but only produced sink, For about an hour over lunchtime, on the edge of the sea air a strange convergence set up over the field stretching into the haze both upwind and downwind.The sunny side of the cloud seemed to have the lift and several gliders zoomed up and down for a short while.  As it drifted to the north, a strong southerly wind picked up, with some quite turbulent air in the blue. 
The course and club members worked well together maximising the launches for all, and Pete St said - "I should have rigged".
Course members went off for their dinner at the Viceroy in the evening. - J&P

Wed 9th Sept - UKMSC Aboyne

Wednesday 9th September

With the September course in full swing and a poor weather forecast there was a low turnout for the Wednesday regulars.
In the morning there was a cold strong southeasterly wind which provided some interesting circuits. A good day for Tim J to complete his yellow card checks, in the late afternoon the murk cleared giving some good soaring in the cloud streets to nearly 3,000ft
Streets in abundance (John St)
 and we had all the two seaters soaring for a pleasant end to the day - JSt

Tues 8th Sept - UKMSC Aboyne

Yesterday and today were both scrubbed due to top cover and light winds - meaning limited soaring. 

However today, we flew anyway launching up to the north towards the good Cumulus. 

Wave effects (Liam)
There was evidently wave effects but we couldn't get into it, on the way home we had to start the engine over Balmoral (One of Queen Liz's many homes). 
Balmoral (Liam)
At this point the engine decided not to start... Our field was actually her back garden, as we were flying overhead, she was entering her helicopter to leave... She gave us a very perplexed look as we eventually found the fault and got the engine going overhead (we might receive an interesting call from the police...). 
Dee Valley (Liam)
 After that we ran the Dee valley ridge line home at VNE below the trees.- Liam

Sunday 6th September

With a bright forecast and a rapidly filling flying list reflecting a group of Club members keen to fly, the hangar doors were open well before 9:00 with the four available two-seaters, the Junior and K6CR soon out and the field being set up for the day.
Preparing the gliders (Mike Sl)
With the launch point in the South East corner it was a short walk with the gliders and then flying was soon underway for the day.

A good forecast meant that it was no surprise that a number of private gliders were soon being rigged albeit that the sky did not look as promising as the forecast perhaps suggested it might be.

However as the morning progressed, the sky steadily became more interesting so soon private gliders were starting to take launches into an improving sky.

During the day the flying list was steadily worked through with several trial lessons also completed including two 'mile high' flights.

Congratulations to Jess who converted to the K6......
Jess flies K6 (Graham H)
....... and to Matthew who converted to the Lak. 
Matthew flies Lak12
Most of the private gliders settled for local soaring as the 2300ft cloudbase, weak thermals and almost blue conditions weren't conducive to flying far, although John P in HOG turned Beaminster, and Pete St 230  and Phil in 611, went looking for the forecast convergence on the south coast which didn't make an appearance! Late in the afternoon, the clouds reappeared and bases rose to 3000ft.

By the end of the day when the hangar doors were closed at just after 18:30, the flying stats for the day reflected what a good day it had been with 52 launches completed-
(37 winch and 15 aerotow) for total flying time of just under 47 hours and with 9 flights over 2 hours

A particular thank you to the small number of members who completed long(er) stints on the winch than might normally be expected due to the limited available number of approved winch drivers and also to Peter St who stood in for Robert at short notice and completed 15 aerotows during the day. - Mike Sl

News from Mountain Soaring Competition, Aboyne

Today was the first proper comp day, a 205k task was set down towards Portmoak. We started with a reasonable climb but had to stop climbing because of a low min start height. We set off south having to go way off course to get to the wave, even with 60:1 glide ratio we struggled to get there arriving a thousand feet above the gnarly mountains, a bit of flying around in some really rough rotor thermals allowed us to contact a steady 1.5 knots to about 12,000'. 
A bit close to the gnarly mountains (Liam)
We pushed on and managed to climb up to 15,000' at the TP which put us way over glide. Heading home we contacted some ridiculous rotor and some off the clock climbs, but yet there were still people on the ridges scratching in the weeds, which is somewhere we didn't want to be (the field landing options are non-existent). We came 11th overall for the day.- Liam

Saturday 5th September

A quiet day at North Hill, but Steve W was  kept busy standing in for Mark, Eric flew some trial lessons and Stuart flew the tug and carried out the BI training with James F. 
Dad, Pete St and Andrew L managed to figure out how the K13 fitted in the trailer. 
3 wise monkeys (Lisa)
Tomorrow looks good, I'm sure the private owners are saving themselves.... Lisa

News from Aboyne Mountain Soaring Competition (MSC)

Today turned out not to be a comp day, as it doesn't start til tomorrow... Anyway in the morning I met up with Roy, the person who so kindly has given up the back seat of his ASH 25MI to me for the week, who walked into the clubhouse optimistic of epic flying whilst everyone else was sat around moaning about the low cloud... Sound familiar? 
Cold up here (Liam)

Anyway he was adamant it was waving so we launched at about 10:30 and climbed through a gap in the low cloud (about 30km from site). We managed to get established in the lower system up to about 10,000ft and then kept pushing west as we went on a tour of Scotland and managed to transition to the higher system which took us to the base of the airspace. 
Lennies (Liam)
 Continued to turn Ben Nevis then a straight 140km glide home for 340ish km, landed at 2:30 by which time everyone else was about to launch, what a great intro to proper wave flying!! - Liam

Thursday 3rd September

Allegedly, it was the same air mass as Wednesday, however there was almost total high cloud cover and rapidly changing amounts of low cloud at 1200ft, in the gentle north westerly wind.
Not long after we got started, some showers developed streeting in the wind, and it felt rather cold.

Chris and Jonathan, the Mile High Trial lessons in the morning were happy to wait for better conditions, and following an early lunch due to  a heavy rain shower, an increasing number of small gaps in the lower cloud started appearing, and it got slightly soarable.
James H  and Chris found a short gap to reach a mile high (James)

James H enjoyed taking Chris for his Mile High flight, but Jonathan got two flights for the price of one instead. We welcomed James S and Steve M to join the Thursday crowd returning after their Trial lessons.

Congratulations to Ray B for having his first flights in the Cirrus KEB (including a short soaring flight). - J&P

For our last trial lesson evening tonight flying the Devon Air Ambulance staff, we made an early start and despite the threat of rain we flew 11 people. Everyone really enjoyed it and promise to return again next year for another evening or two. Thanks to the helpers Alan, Ruth, John, Aston and Richard who ran the whole evening effortlessly. Also thanks to Stuart and John for helping with the flying. Roll on the spring and more nice evenings like this! - Lisa

Wednesday 2nd September

Not the best of forecasts but with some sunny spells promised it looked if it might be a reasonable day if we dodged the showers.
The forecast  was northwesterly wind, but what we got was a Northerly with an occasional tailwind - this caused some low launches and made it difficult to reach the potential thermals, some managed to get to the forming cloud streets, this caused the private gliders to start rigging led by Pete St and the Discus. 
Getting ready for the first launch (John St)
As the day progressed  the wind backed and picked up to a pleasant northwesterly, so soon all the gliders were soaring.
Peter F was the tuggie today and was kept reasonably busy, Eric, Jill & Pete, Pete S, Mark L, and Jeff T all rigged and flew their gliders.
Four two-seaters and the Junior were kept busy once the day had sorted itself out, all who flew had a soaring flight and everyone flew, the thermals were still strong and Malcolm V had to be called down at 6.00pm so we could pack the hanger.
The rain showers didn't materialise so a very good day. - JSt