Sunday 31st January

Unfortunately the run of poor weather Sundays continues with the actual weather at the airfield much as forecast and with most members having clearly decided that there was little point in travelling to North Hill.

It is said that one of the most popular sports in the country is one that can be enjoyed in most weathers so only one thing to be done in this weather.......-  Mike Sl

Hoping for better February weather! (Mike Sl)

Saturday 30th January

The sort of weather pattern to deter all but the most hardy was, indeed, reflected by the turnout. The Met Office forecast for “5 degrees, feels like 0 degrees” was generally felt to be a wild overestimate – “feels like minus 10 degrees” more like it! 
The field was again declared too wet for winching, and the tug brought out of the hangar. 

Those members who had braved the cold, though, were rewarded with some good flying: a brisk wind straight down the strip meant that the west ridge was working all day, although the cloudbase was never much above 2000 ft. 

Rowan and Ray had the longest flight of the day – 57 minutes; closely followed by Stuart and Paul with 52, Eric Alston in the Junior with 42; then Phil and Charlie and Phil and Steve with 37 minutes each flight. Other flights were slightly shorter. Robin had the last tow of the day, and was all set to challenge the record, but was foiled by a vicious hail shower which forced him earthwards after about 20 mins. 

The most popular place on the airfield was the clubhouse, and standing room only would have been the call if there had been enough members present. Despite the slow start there were 11 aerotows; tugging shared between Stuart, Guy and Matt. Thanks to the Duty Instructors and Duty Launch Marshals for keeping the operation going in the near arctic conditions.  - W W-F 

Meanwhile, CFI Martin and RE Simon M attended the South-west region Regional Examiners and CFI's meeting at Yeovilton and Chairman Lisa was attending an FI(S) refresher seminar at BGA headquarters in Leicester.

Thursday 28th January

Well - the third soarable Thursday in January! in between the low cloud, rain and strong wind days.
The morning started off cold and bright with a fresh south westerly wind, after a pitch inspection it was clear that the wet soggy patches would still restrict flying to aerotows only.  The 2 K21s, 2 Juniors and K13 were in use all day with a total of 31 aerotows, thanks to Tuggies Mark, Stu  and welcome back Peter F.
Wave clouds appearing (Jill)

To the south west of the airfield there was a large area of reduced sink, and by lunchtime some clouds formed and there were  a few short-lived thermals cut off by incoming top cover. The wind picked up a little and then the sky cleared again and there were more visible signs of wave at medium levels.
A busy day (Jill)

Most flights were between 17 and 30 minutes with Gordon B having the longest flight (41 mins) in the new Junior CLRD.
Thanks to Martin for helping Pete & Chris with the Instructing. A really nice day out. - J&P

Saturday 23rd January

The weather forecast suggested that a trip to North Hill might be more in optimism about any flying being possible.

And sadly the large group of members who turned up at the Club were indeed left disappointed as first the fog then low misty cloud continued to drift across the airfield all morning.

With no flying taking place Mike F and Pete Sm organised the replacement of much of the right hand winch cable whilst Mark C completed some lectures in the briefing room.
Replacing winch cable (Mike Sl)
Mid-morning with a brightening sky there was just enough optimism of a potential clearance for some of the gliders to be taken out of the hangar.

However after much drinking of tea and coffee during the morning, accompanied by even more looking at the sky,  Although the sun did make an appearance, the orographic  low cloud continued  in the strengthening southerly wind,  and with a forecast of rain from mid-afternoon the decision was made to call it a day and put the gliders back into the hangar.

Let's hope the weather improves soon... Mike Sl

Thursday 21st January

After a couple of nice flying days, there wasn't a lot of hope for any flying today (back to moist, tropical maritime airmass), but  most of the Thursday regulars assembled as normal. 
Paul K was first to do a little plumbing job.  Then Mr Sticker arrived and Peter Sm gathered a team to install the new DSGC Welcome sign on the hangar - Great job - Teamwork. 
New Welcome sign on the hangar (Jill)
Chris, meanwhile was busy applying the signage to more of the Club gliders.
DG505 (Jill)
K21 (Jill)
After lunch Paul K (and helpers) attacked a few more trees down the lane with his chainsaw, and Pete H briefed John B and new member Steve on Flarm.  Hopefully flying again soon.- J&P

Wednesday 20th January

No need to worry about the wet field, the ground was frozen solid with the coldest day so far this Winter, the two K21s and a Junior were walked up to the North west corner ready to tackle the South easterly wind.
The only moderately warm jobs were cable retrieve, winching, instructing and log keeping, the day progressed well with bits of wave South of the ridge so most flights were extended, a couple of flights found some weak thermals and managed to maintain height. 
Jeff remembering how to winch (Andre)
The longest flight was the last one with JSt and Chris W who managed to find some good wave and airbraked down after 35mins out of pity for the people on the ground who must of been freezing watching us enjoying the wave.
Bright sunshine (Andre)
Our new member Andre from Exeter University was flying again with us- it seems he is a keen photographer and the blog pictures taken today were by him, thanks Andre. - JSt

Sunday 17th January

The weather forecast suggested a damp airmass in and around the airfield and unfortunately the related premonition of low cloud proved to be correct.

However the recent run of good weather days had encouraged a number of members to turn up and keen that something was achieved from the morning Mark C organised various lectures in the briefing room.

As the lectures continued, by late morning the weather outside improved for a short while but with a pessimistic forecast for the afternoon there was little confidence that the weather was really suitable for flying.

After discussion between various instructors a suggestion was made that a weather check flight be completed in the Falke (VG) but by the time the aircraft had been brought out of it's hangar the cloudbase had lowered to the point that even that plan was out on hold.

With little enthusiasm for hanging around 'just in case', the general concensus was that with everyone having plenty to do at home, and with potential 'brownie points' to be earned by some, it was time to 'make the call' of no flying for the day and members made their way home with their ears burning from the usual comment - "You should have been here yesterday...." - Mike Sl

Saturday 16th January

Finally the rain had stopped, the forecast for the day had SUN in it and to top it all there was a rumour circulating on social media that due to the new dehumidifiers being installed in glider trailers, the field might be dry enough to winch!  No wonder Mr Treasurer Tom turned up looking cheerful.  The rumour turned out to be true and with a healthy number of members present, almost every glider was extracted from the hangar and a flurry of DIs commenced.

JP was duty instructor - a slight aside from gliding - fashion fans will have noted that this winter, fluorescent orange gloves are out and 'Game of Thrones' inspired tops are in.  Joined by Simon L on instructing duties, the first gliders were launched into a sunny blue sky.  This began a whole day of either 5, 6 or 7 minute circuits in perfectly still air making things easy for students.  Alan T, Ellie, Oscar and David W were some of the first up with Oscar taking the opportunity to try out the new Junior following some checks and David practicing approach control.  Meanwhile Simon M and James F began a busy day of practical examination for James' BI rating.

By mid-morning, cloud cover had started to form, causing the "feel's like" temperature to drop noticeably.  Those who weren't logging, winching or cable retrieving began to look slightly less comfortable.  Some of the faster thinking members took this chance to receive an introduction to the wonders of logging (James S).  - He'll go far! 

Having rigged SF27 H5 on arrival and realising conditions might not improve, Matt Wi took the opportunity to fly a circuit.  He ended up with the 7 minute version.  Nick R didn't fancy a 5,6 or 7 minute circuit so opted for a 4000ft aerotow.  - Cheat! 
Chairman and CFI flying for Fun (Lisa)
Other excitement included (but was not limited to) James H and Stuart P taking Falke VG for an outing round Dartmoor, Lisa H and Martin W taking an aerotow in the DG 'for fun' (fun police . . where are you?), 
Lisa trying to spot Malcolm in the Hot Tub (Lisa)
  James H flying Matt W/Tim P/JP's friend, Scott, for a very enjoyable trip to the seaside in the Falke, and William and David C having an outing in VG.  Pete and Martin B went for an aerotow in a K21 to see what the world looks like upside down and JP obviously felt obliged to break the 5,6,7 rule and rustle up a 10 minute circuit with the lucky cunning use of a bit of sky no one else had found. 
Dartmoor looking gorgeous from VG (Stu)
Thanks to Martin B for two stints on the winch, Wyn for volunteering to splice cable half way through de-rigging his glider and JP for instructing for far more than just his allocated slot just for the love.  Also Gerard and Ian for excellent 'Launch Marshalling' and Simon L, Simon M and Ian M for instructing.  Whoever realised that swapping the headset in the winch would cure the whisper quiet comms deserves some appreciation too!

And the first Achievements of the year, - Congratulations to Rowan for demonstrating his aerobatic skills to CFI Martin, and getting his Standard Aerobatic badge signed up, following the excursion in the Christen Eagle with Ian. 
Congratulations also to James F for passing the BI tests with Simon M.
A rather splendid start to 2016 for those present with ~50 winch launches and 10 aerotows - Tim P

Thursday 14th January

The forecast gave a cold front clearance overnight with a possible weak occlusion at lunchtime in the freshening north westerly wind. So it was a day of two halves....

After a pitch inspection, although it might have just been possible to winch, it was decided that as there were still some soggy patches, the airfield would be saved for the weekend. - So aerotows only again.

The morning started crisp and bright with a street to the north raining continuously but the airfield stayed clear until just about 12:00 when the cloud lowered. In the event there wasn't much rain, but there was a complete change of airmass after the early lunch with not much in the way of cloud and a shift in the wind to almost northerly.
Dark clouds to the north just before lunchtime (David C)
The first flights after lunch found some rather nasty sink, with Ron and Chris M making a hasty retreat in DG505, but Mike F was not so lucky in the Junior ....
The Junior was moved to the gate (Mark C)
 ......and had to make the first outlanding of the year on the rifle range. A team quickly volunteered for the rather muddy retrieve.
Retrieving  LRD from the rifle range (David C)
Quite surprisingly, mid-afternoon the aerotow-only launches started finding some wave over quite a large area between the airfield and the motorway. Longest flights of the day were Chris W and Ray D in DG505 at 62mins and Pete H and Geoff L in K21 at 58 mins. 20 flights in total with Stu grabbing a few tows at the end of the day from Mark.
K21 with some new signage (Jill)
The gliders were all washed  and put away just before the water started to freeze outside the hangar. - J&P

Wednesday 13th January

A nice bright start to the day, but cold with the ground frozen to start with, after an inspection it was decided to have aerotows only as the ground had started to thaw.
Aerotow only (Mark L)
Matt was the tuggie today and after a fairly brisk start we soon got through the list, the conditions were easier than of late and everybody handled the aerotows well and soon we were going through the list again for those who wanted a second flight.
Reflections (Mark L)
 The conditions were smooth as silk and if the wind had been a little stronger we would have had wave, Robert had the longest flight with 24min in the Junior, we welcomed a Andre back today he flew with John Sil and Tom got him signed up, the only private glider to fly was the Falke. - JSt
Sunshine tow

Sunday 10th January

"A day of two halves, with suitable pitch inspections..."

Although the weather forecast was relatively optimistic there were few members at the Club at the start of the day - gradually the cars arrived one by one and with sufficient members including Instructors for the first pitch inspection of the day to be completed.

With approval of the field being suitable for aerotows both K21s and a Junior were taken out of the hangar and the launch point set up in the South East corner of the field.

Meanwhile the Pawnee was readied for flying  with an evident keenness by a couple of non-rostered tug pilots to help get the Pawnee out of it's hangar and start flying.
K21 landing (Mike Sl)
Ready to launch (Mike Sl)
The morning provided good weather for both Instructors and members to enjoy the opportunity to get into the air on and with various successes at finding some wave to the South West of the field.
Nice skies at times (Mike Sl)
Both Falkes were also brought out of their hangars and flown around various parts of the countryside during the day albeit with a careful eye being kept on the changing weather conditions throughout the day.

LS3 (KMV) was the only private glider to be rigged and flown by Stu and Martin in turn.
Nice looking clouds (Lizzie)
As the dark clouds approached the field, a decision was made to stop for lunch and allow what was in the end relatively light rain pass over the field before the afternoon flying, after another pitch inspection, started.
Dark thunder clouds to the northwest (Lizzie)
With few members on the flying list several were able to have additional flights before the much needed washing of gliders was completed ahead of the hangar being re-packed and the doors shut on what was the second consecutive flying Sunday of the year, can we make it three in a row next Sunday? -Mike Sl

Thursday 7th January

Two midweek  flying days in a row! - hopefully a sign of things to come.
The early start was delayed a little with the receding cold front, but another aerotow-only day soon got underway.
Captain Courtney ready to go
There were showers blowing through in the brisk north westerly which limited launching to 1 per gap. 
By early lunchtime the last of the showers was in sight the wind had backed more westerly and the afternoon flights were all quite long with the ridge working to a good height of 1300ft. There were also good rough thermals and some streeting. Aston got to 3000ft, and JB and Gordon B in R37 had the longest flight of the day at 2 hours exactly. 
JB and Gordon trying to look cool before enjoying 2 hrs in R37
The real excitement was after a long wait for the paperwork to come through, finally Pete St put G-CLRD our new Junior, through it's paces. 
Robin hooks on Pete for our new Junior's maiden flight in the UK
Aston takes Claude for its second flight
The DG reflects on a Glorious afternoon
A great day with lot's of happy smiling faces. - J&P
Even Captain Slow was happy!

Wednesday 6th January

2016 got off to a good start for the Wednesday club with a good turnout of members, once again the recent spell of wet weather meant it was aerotow only, after Mike Fitz and John Sil had inspected the field.
Aerotows got underway with Mike Fitz and John St about 10:30am, first in the air after a short delay due to the the orographic cloud collecting on the west ridge, once airborne the visibility was clear as far as Dartmoor.
Although there was very little sink about and bits of  'zero'- most flights were about 20mins or so Martin W was the only one to find any lift and climbed a staggering 50ft!
We had three two-seaters on the go and a Junior and the aerotowing was non-stop until 3:30pm when we had to stop because of misting canopies, everyone flew and some had second helpings, thanks again to Robert for his superb aerotows and to Matt who held the fort whilst Robert had a break.
Robert and Ray during one of 3 pawnee pit stops
As soon as the kit was washed and put away all willing hands helped rig KEK after its Annual inspection. Thanks to Ian, Andrew and JB for hours and hours of hard waxing and polishing.- JSt
Rigging party (John St)

Sunday 3rd January

'Whether to be optimistic or not, would patience be rewarded....?'
In the early hours of the morning, with the rain beating on the windows of their respective houses in Saltash, James and Mike S were soon exchanging messages questioning the wiseness of the planned trip to North Hill.

As both were on the Instructor rota for the morning and afternoon respectively and with Paul S having looked at the weather seaweed, retaining an optimistic outlook that it might be flyable during the afternoon - the decision was made to meet up and go to North Hill (albeit at a slightly more leisurely pace than would be the case were a day of good weather being forecast).

As we drove up the hill, (and against the tide) to the Club it was clear that a lot of rain had been / was still falling, and already a decision to leave for home early was already being mooted.

At the Club, Wyn as Duty Launch Marshal, was pleased to see that he was not the only member to have braved the weather.

The morning was taken up with discussion of Christmas festivities, taking down the decorations in the Clubhouse, orders for breakfast / brunch and regular reviews of weather forecasts, particularly rain radar pictures.

It was good to see Max, as a former Junior member, and Emily visit the Club in the hope of some flying.

Around lunchtime and with some optimism that the weather might just improve enough for some flying to take place, assuming the field had drained enough, those present decided to hang on 'as you never know' and with the numbers swelled by Phil G, the afternoon Duty Launch Marshal,  having turned up 'just in case'.

Meanwhile JB had also arrived but was confined to the workshop to continue polishing KEK.

Just after lunch the weather had turned from grey skies to mainly blue skies - with enough interest in some flying and after a field inspection by Mike S and James H it was decided that with some careful planning around which area of the field to use we could feasibly start aerotowing. A visit to the workshop found M5Matt, to whom we profusely apologised for taking him away from helping JB with the glider polishing so that we could aerotow.

Aerotows under partly blue skies (Mike Sl)
With the field draining well, a K21 was taken out of the hanger and the launching / landing areas determined.
...and landings (Mike Sl)
A couple of hours later and 7 aerotows had been completed with everyone who wanted to fly having seized the opportunity to do so.
Sun in evidence (Mike Sl)
The K21 and Pawnee were both thoroughly cleaned  and the hangar doors closed on what had been a good example of how optimism and patience can (sometimes) be rewarded.

Thank you to Matt and Stu, who had also turned up 'just in case', for the aerotows, and to JB who despite the fun outside stuck to the dreary task of hard waxing KEK- Mike Sl

Sunset Aerotow (M5Matt)