Monday 30 November - Ad-hoc Digging day

A lovely sunny thermal day arose above North Hill on Monday, just calling out for people to come soaring!
But in spite of this, Peter Sm, Matt W and Tom S decided, with the help of a contractor, to use their time digging a long lovely trench across the front of the clubhouse and up the trailer parking line. 
Digging the trench (Tom)
You wouldn’t be wrong to say it now looks like parts of France during the Great War. 
It's heading for 230 (Tom)
The worst part of the day was the digger finding and breaking water supply to the static caravans. The “good” part of the day, (and I emphasise that in quotations as I recall being covered in rain and mud), was finding and not breaking a number of other electrical, water and drainage lines.
New job for Matt - plumber? (Tom)
 A big thanks to William for coming to the rescue with parts to repair the water line. - Tom S

Saturday 28th November

With the forecast suggesting strong winds and rain it was no surprise that there were few members at the Club at the start of the day.

The surprise was that the weather at 9am was quite flyable, little or no wind and a generally bright sky.

With JB's "call to arms" for glider polishing having seen several members turn up for same the decision was made to start cleaning the wings and fuselage of HCX.
Polishing HCX (Mike Sl)
As the morning unfolded the arrival of a couple more members, together with a tug pilot, resulted in a decision to take the other K21 out of the hangar and set up the launch point in the South East corner of the field - meanwhile other members continued with the polishing of the other K21.

The first aerotow to 2000' was completed under a greying sky and a freshening wind but by the time the second aerotow of the day was under way it became clear that a rain front was moving in quickly - that the second flight (also to 2000') was only half the duration of the first flight tells you that a decision to land sooner rather than later, in view of the approaching rain, had clearly been taken.
Well at least we tried (Mike Sl)
So the glider and tug were put away and it was back to helping with the K21 polishing. Meanwhile Martin had been working away on the glider simulator room which is making good progress.
Rigging HCX
With the polishing of HCX completed the glider was rigged and final annual inspection checks completed after which the glider was put into the hangar bringing the Club fleet back up to 5 two seaters - thank you to Ian M for their work on the annual inspection for HCX.- Mike Sl

Late afternoon, a large number of members gathered for the AGM. There was no change to the Committee positions, but some lively discussion on some proposed changes to the Constitution. After the AGM, CFI Martin presented the Club trophies.
Some of the Trophy winners (Robert)
Congratulations to all our Trophy winners: - J&P
Trophy Awarded for Current Holder 2015
Brian Master's Trophy Winner of the Task Week Pete Startup
Dave Fewings Memorial Shield Best two-seater flight Ron Johns, James Hood
The Kennedy Trophy Best performance in a BGA rated competition Team Eagle
The Kelsey Plate Longest cross-country flight Matt Wright / Pete Startup
Tim Parsons Trophy Earliest declared and completed flight over 300kms Matt Wright
The Wily Old Bird personal presentation by the CFI for guile or cunning Liam Vile
The Rose Bowl Winner of the Club Ladder Matt Wright
The Ken Andrews Trophy Best flight in a wooden glider John Pursey, Nick Jones
Tim's Challenge Trophy First O/R to Lasham in a wooden glider not awarded
Francis Bustard Tankard Best gain of height Matt Williamson
Presidents Trophy
aka The Norman Whyte Shield
Best progress Pete Bennett
Instructor of the Year Member online vote Pete Harmer
Les' Tankard Best contribution to the Club by a Junior member Peter Bennett
The Dick Wolff Trophy Best contribution to the Club by helping others Pete Startup / William Pope
Des Champ Vachables Trophy The member who achieved the greatest retrieve epicness  Liam Vile
Le Magnifique Pissoir The most flights scoring less than 100pts on the ladder David Clements

Thursday 26th November

The airmass was very moist having travelled across the Atlantic round the High pressure, but fortunately there was a bit of high ground upwind that helped to dry it out. Disappointing that everyone arrived to find North Hill in low cloud, although it was more promising in the Exe valley.
Cups of tea to start (Jill)
So following a few jobs completed in the morning involving (amongst other things) fire and water, there was an early lunch and a pitch inspection. The ground was quite firm but would have cut up too much on the winch run, so aerotow only was set up.

Paul K tried out his first aerotow, a number of others had currency checks or flew the Junior. 

Cloudbase varied as pulses of low cloud cycled through, but most aerotows got to 2000ft apart from when there was a little drizzle, but there were good gaps at times with even some patches of blue sky.
Aerotows managed to find some nice gaps (Peter Sm)
So we managed to squeeze 12 flights out of the day, with Dave C claiming the longest flight of 18 minutes, so not a day of long flights but everyone enjoyed getting airborne again after the nasty run of poor weather. - J&P

Sunday 22nd November

The lack of currency, for both members and the Club Treasurer, from limited flying days over past weeks, due to poor weather, has been clearly evident.

So it was good to see today that the weather was much in line with what had been forecast and that similarly a large number of members had decided to believe that the forecast might well be fairly accurate.

With a long flying list already established before 9am, as well as various trial lessons having been booked, all of the available Club gliders were taken out of the hangar whilst the launch point was set up in the South East corner of the field.

Sparkling clear sky this morning (Mike Sl)
After a need to wait for the canopies to stop misting, flying started mid morning but then stopped fairly soon afterwards following a problem with the SkyLaunch not wanting to start.

It was noticed that the Club Treasurer's mood changed slightly after seeing gliders being winched but then following a decision to aerotow at half price cost to members - however after a call out for William and his expertise the SkyLaunch was soon back in operation. 

Patchy cloud at times but lovely to see North Hill in the sun again (Mike Sl)
The rest of the day then progressed fairly smoothly with the flying list being worked through by the various Instructors present, with the Trial Lessons being completed and with various new members being taught ground skills and knowledge.

By mid-afternoon the wind, which had started off with a bit of West in it's direction, now had more than a bit of East in it, so take-offs became a little more interesting and some landings were completed from the West back towards the launch point.

The North Hill sunset that we have missed for a few weeks (Mike Sl)
 As the canopies started to mist and with the wind direction as it was whilst two members had not flown the decision was made to stop flying for the day.

A good day when everyone helped each other to get into the air and as only the second Sunday in a number of weeks where the weather was good enough to fly, both those members present and the Club Treasurer were left suitably happy with the outcome of the day.

A big thank you to Gordon H one of those two members above who had winched for a major part of the day but did not fly himself .

Flying stats for the day - 35 winch launches and 10 aerotow - Mike Sl

Saturday 21st November

With a cold, howling gusty northerly crosswind, it was not surprising that there was no flying at North Hill, 
Jill, Andrew and Lisa at BGA Management Conference (Lisa)
but Chairman Lisa, Secretary Jill and Technical Officer Andrew attended the BGA  Management Conference at Warwick where there was snow overnight. - J&P

Thursday 19th November

The normal crowd met up as usual, but the promised clearance for the afternoon once again didn't materialise, but a few jobs were done, and a hardy band got soaked derigging a Pegase. - J&P

Sunday 15th November

Despite the offer of free food, and as many logs as you could fit into a family saloon, leaving room for your wife, there was only a small turnout of members today. Disappointingly only 10 or so members of our 160+ membership turned out to fell/burn the trees on the left of our East end approach, this is stage one of our major hedge trimming project.

Many thanks to the expert help of professional team Linee for providing their skills FOC.

On our side we had our own specialist team Paul(Chopper) Kane,  Simon(Firestarter) Leeson,  Graham(Poker) Bardon,  Hans(Trimmer) Jennson  James(Captain Safety) Flory, these members had specific skill sets.

Simon(Firestarter) Leeson had apparently recently watched  Ray Mears starting a fire in a damp forest, using only a single damp match and dried caterpillars beards.

He emulated his hero magnificently, starting the fire with only 4 boxes of matches 42 ltr of diesel, 20 ltrs of old chip oil, all of Dick(Crop Circles)Stevens interior from his old caravan, including flammable cushions, curtains and an old faded picture of the Beatles.
Yep if you are ever in a survival situation Simon is the guy to have around.

The haulage/dogsbody team was Paul(Dayglow) Summers , new member James(not Hood he was sleepy ;) me ie Mark(The Delegator) Courtney, new member Will (I am younger than you), and Sam(equally safe)Flory,

We broke for our free lunch, everyone was exhausted and dropped off to sleep, only to be woken by the sound of a large whip being cracked, now who cracked it?? ( answers on a postcard)
Later in the afternoon we had a boost from John(better late than never) Burrows, Malcolm(Why the Rush) Vest, and Nick(Cool Cat) Jones with his grandson.

By 15:45 we were exhausted, smelling like jacket potatoes which had been left in the fire too long we trudged back to the clubhouse for tea and cheese scones.

Phase 2 soon, am I painting a inviting picture ?

Ps please excuse any spelling mistakes as I can hardly move my fingers or see clearly due to fatigue.- Mark C

Saturday 14th November

It was ex-Hurricane Kate that had some impact today, the moist tropical air kept it raining most of the day. 
In the vehicle workshop, Paul K and John B were working hard and getting very dirty, but the LPV is now fuel-tight, please use the fuel-filler cap again now instead of the modification under the bonnet! 

In the evening, we were entertained by Chris C with a talk on The Cold War followed by another lovely dinner from North Hill Cafe.  - J&P

Andrew L had a break from looking after the club aircraft to get his Ka6 out of the workshop and back in its trailer following a successful annual and glue check.  Pete St finished an epic workshop stint, completing the metric-to-imperial conversion for our new Junior "Claude". I thought I heard him muttering something about it being the second time he had put it back together that week but it might have just been the wind.

Meanwhile William was spotted with a spade, playing in the car park puddles and  Pete H donned his cold weather gear to bravely venture into the ladies' loo to fit a new heater. - Matt

Thursday 12th November

This run of poor gliding weather has gone beyond tedious! but the Thursday regulars enjoyed a briefing from Pete on airspace in the south west.This was followed by some discussions on low pressure systems engagement with left exits of jetstreams, with help from "Abigail and Kate". 

Mark and Paul did some more cabling ready for the new webcam system, Tom did some more measuring by the trailers and Pete St inspected the wings of the new Junior in the workshop.

A quick reminder that Chris C is giving a talk on Saturday 14th on The Cold War - J&P

Sunday 8th November

Yet another poor weather Sunday,  saw many cups of teas and coffees drunk during the morning by the small group of keen members optimistically hoping that the weather would not be as bad as forecast (in fact it was even worse).

In amongst the tea and coffee drinking, and much gazing out of the clubhouse windows trying to see the far side of the field, the K21 trailer was given a long overdue clean.
Before...... (Mike Sl)
.........and After (Mike Sl)
There was  a briefing on ridge rules/flying given to some of the members present by Mike Sl and Liam.

With the forecast suggesting little improvement in the weather likely to be seen during the rest of the day a decision was made at lunchtime to call it a day and go off to make some use of the afternoon.

Another Sunday with poor weather (the sixth out of seven Sundays to be unflyable...) - Mike Sl

Saturday 7th November

North Hill Basks in the Evening Sun
The morning's low cloud and rain were swept away by the clearing cold front which then rewarded the die-hard handful of hopefuls with some ridge soaring fun. Loads of wind and copious areas of lift meant that pilots only came down to let the next person have a go. All in all 6 aero-tow soaring flights and 9 cheesy grins including of course Simon the tuggy. Captain Slow who was muttering about going home after his n-th cup of tea even hung around to take FZF for a burn and despite wet feet from helping wash weeks of neglected mud off the 3 gliders was heard humming to himself as he skipped off to his car at the end of the day!
Junior on Tow
Simon tows Karen and Jimbob on the last flight of the day

Thursday 5th November

One good day on Saturday and then rubbish weather on Sunday, Wednesday and today - not good!
.....but the Thursday regulars enjoyed a briefing on ridge flying and stall/spin awareness given by Pete. 

Pete explains the rules of the ridge to some of the Thursday regulars (Jill)
The DSGC 2016 calendar samples have arrived, so please sign up on the noticeboard to place your orders.

Mark and Paul were busy wiring up the simulator room, and Pete St has made real progress this week with fine-tuning the instrument fit on the new Junior LRD.

And Gordon B, Ray B and Chris M returned from their trip to Germany with Ian with a new acquisition of a DG100 with a very logo'd trailer.
The new DG100 syndicate (IanM)
Late afternoon, Dick appeared out of the fog with HCX back from Zulu Glasstek, but it was too wet to inspect the new rear canopy. - J&P