Sunday 28th February

A good forecast and a keen group of Club members was a sound foundation for the day - albeit the anticipated temperature was as predicted, cold!

Both K21s and a Junior were taken out of the  hangar and daily inspections started whilst the launch point and winch were set up for the South West/North East run

Flying was under way just in time for some cheap gliding to be completed - as the morning progressed the sun started to appear in the nice blue sky and despite the cold Easterly wind the teamwork to help everyone get in the air was evident, with training flights limited to 2 to ensure that everyone on the training list could get airborne.

Even though the brisk wind made for some challenging approaches and landings, which in turn tested individual skills, it was clear that members were enjoying the opportunity to fly.

During the morning there were some signs of some thermic activity in and around the airfield albeit the low cloudbase and strong drift meant that little good could be made of the lift available.
Signs of thermic activity (Mike Sl)
There were just enough members available  to allow flying to continue throughout the lunchtime period and by mid afternoon everyone who wanted to fly had done so and there was even time to go through the flying list to ensure that there were third flights for those members still at the launch point.

The Junior was kept in good use during the day particularly by Instructors keen to complete some P1 time in the interesting conditions.
Dunkeswell in the sunshine (Mike Sl)
John P and Matt W rigged the SF27 (H5) and It was no surprise that John completed the longest flight of the day with 24 minutes.

Thank you to the winch drivers who complete long stints during the day - particularly Eric who winched all morning,  Total number of flights 44 (34 dual and 10 solo), all winch.
End of the day (Mike Sl)
Four flying days in a row, can the Wednesday group make it five? - (No pressure!) - Mike Sl

Saturday 27th February

Today at North Hill was mostly for the brave. 
 An actual temperature somewhere between 0 and 5 degrees throughout the day, but together with a strong north easterly wind, meant the onesies were out in force.  Good organisation meant a first launch around 10:00am.  
CFI Martin got straight on with giving James F a hard time for his  BI acceptance checks.  A simulated launch failure, followed by an aerotow and then more launch failures.  
Welcome to the DSGC Instructor team - James (Martin W)
 Meanwhile there were a few card checks on the short list, the product of the lack of flying this winter no doubt, plus a smattering of training flights.  The instructor/student ratio was excellent, presumably also linked to the lack of flying.  

A short brighter period prior to a long lunch gave Martin W and James S the chance to find an actual functioning thermal taking them to 2000ft.  This warmed everyone up slightly, but after lunch the wind had stepped up a notch.  There was some lift to the north east of the airfield, but it was patchy and difficult to stay in (for amateurs anyway)!  One wrong move and suddenly 4 down seemed to be everywhere.  Further card checks and some 'currency' flights followed by the obligatory hangar landings.

Many thanks to the instructors that hung around in the bitter conditions all day and those members that spent 3 hours in the winch ;)

A good day to gain some blue card experience. - Tim P

Meanwhile Chairman Lisa  was representing the Club at the BGA Conference in Nottingham picking up some useful gems and admiring the fancy kit for sale.

Steve addresses the Haggis (Graham)
In the evening, DSGC are claiming the latest Burns night supper of 2016, with a magnificent haggis being piped into the Clubhouse. There was great catering from Cheryl & Graham, brilliant speeches, corny jokes, lots of toasts, plenty of singing and thanks to Chris C for running the show. - J&P

Thursday 25th February

It was another cold start but glorious sunshine in a light wind, and the club fleet was readied by the Thursday regulars.

Quite surprisingly, Pete H and James S found a thermal in the blue on the third launch and then decent cumulus started to form with a cloudbase of 3000ft, and thermals were plentiful in crosswind streets. 
Empty launchpoint (Jill)

A number of private owners rigged and took off, but just before lunchtime, the clouds spread out as forecast  and the gliders all landed.
Mark visited the serene looking north coast (Mark C)
After lunch, training and check flights continued, and Mark C took Matthew W  in the Rotax Falke for a final polish of his BI technique, followed by some field landing practice for Chris M.
Ray is now the third syndicate member to fly their new glider (Jill)

Congratulations to Ray B for converting to the DG100 with a quote for the blog "What a lovely glider", Paul K got checked out for winching completing his red card. Alan C soloed at North Hill, and we welcomed new member George who has moved to Devon from Cambridge Gliding Club. 

Longest flight was Gordon B enjoying 1hr 42mins in the DG100, with 47 winch launches and 3 aerotows in total - what a nice day.  - J&P

Wednesday 24th February

Following on from the weather we had on Tuesday, it seemed to fire everyone's enthusiasm with a large  flying list and several pilots threatening to rig their own gliders, but the weather was slow to show its hand.
There were thermals and quite a few soaring flights with some pilots experiencing their first soaring flights of the season but the lift was fairly weak and shortlived but nevertheless quite welcome.
Peter Sm conducting launch failure practice (Dave C)
Robert was the tuggie and Roly flew David for the Milehigh Trial lesson and had a good flight and had to be encouraged to bring the K21 back.
Roly briefing David for his Mile High Trial lesson (Dave C)
It was a very pleasant day, a little cold but nice when you got out of the wind, let's hope the wet weather is now behind us. - JSt

Thursday 18th February

The forecast was for one nice day in a stream of rain and low cloud, and with it being half term the normal 'Thursday retirees' were outnumbered by our Junior members today.

The sun was out early and there was a light north-westerly wind, the field was still wet from yesterday's incessant rain, so aerotow only to start - with  a plethora of keen Tug Pilots and the Pawnee fresh from it's Annual inspection (Thanks Ian and helpers) - first launch was at 09:20, and the hangar was empty and several private owners were rigging.
Mark's early morning Costa (Mark C)
By mid-morning  the field was considered dry enough and the winch was setup for a run down the middle of the field, to avoid a few soft patches. Launch rate picked up rapidly and it started to get thermic and the wind backed on to the ridge, although the best conditions were downwind.
Long winch queue and a nice-looking sky (Mark C)
For a short period, cloud bases varied between 2000 and 3000ft and a line of wintry showers developed to the west of the field. Several gliders found a 'convergence-like line but with 3000ft cloudbase on one side and 1000ft cloudbase on the other  a couple of  'dirty dashes' made for some interesting circuits.

There was a short interlude whilst the rain and snow cleared through, and then the lovely blue sky was back again - but with no lift! We continued through the afternoon until the temperature suddenly dropped and misting canopies brought an end to the day.
Pawnee washed at the end of the day (Mark C)
Ian H made his first solo aerotow as did Paul Kane, Chris M  converted to DG100, Lizzie resoloed after a few months, and Jess flew the new Junior and Pete and Reuben had the longest flight of the day - 46 mins in CCY although Eric A, technically, was airborne for the longest time but unsubstantiated jealous rumours whispered around the launch point complained of engine noise in the valley. We also flew the first trial lessons for several months. There were 40 winch launches and 17 aerotows - Treasurer was happy! - J & P

2 of today's unsung hero's of the winch...
...were treated to an end of flying display!

Sunday 14th February

With limited opportunities to fly in recent weeks those members at the Club today were determined to show patience that the potentially optimistic forecast might turn out to be correct.

As the morning progressed the skies brightened and just after midday, with the weather considered good enough for flying to start, the decision was made to begin getting gliders out of the hangar - with a brisk wind just the K21s were taken out initially. 

Walk to the other end of the field (Mike Sl)

With an inspection indicating that the ground was suitable for winching the launch point was set up at the Western end of the field, a little more central than usual to provide a suitable retrieve line away from the soggier grass.

And then it was an afternoon of pleasant flying for the rest of the day with some strong areas of lift in and around the circuit providing the opportunity for extended flights.

Dunkeswell in the sunshine (Mike Sl)

During the afternoon the DG505 was taken out of the hangar to allow Mark C to continue BI training with Matt Wi.
Mark C in the front - nose heavy! (Simon M)

North Hill and Forest Glade (Mike Sl)
By late afternoon all those members who wished to fly had done so and the gliders were flown back to the other end of the field to allow the DG505 to be washed and derigged ahead of it's annual inspection and for the K21s to be washed and put away.

One of those days where the patient wait was rewarded with some good flying and increased optimism of better weather days ahead.... - Mike Sl

Thursday 11th February

It turned out to be a rather nice 'spring-feeling' day, not quite what we had expected, but very welcome. 
Blue skies to start (Mark C)
It was a frosty start with lovely blue skies as North Hill was popping out the top of the fog in the valleys,the wind was a light south westerly and the pitch inspection suggested a careful launch point position meaning winch launching all day. 
Fog in the Culm valley receding quickly (Mark C)
The air warmed up, and dried out the grass, and a few cumulus started popping just before lunch. There were a few winch currency checks and good 1400-1500ft launches. 
Ready for launch (Mark L)
Gordon B flew the latest acquisition to the North Hill private gliders list DG100 LRN, Paul S and Mark L had the longest flight of the day 15mins, closely followed by Rob R in the Junior 14mins. But the little flurry of usable lift didn't last long. 
The cheesy grin says it all (M5Matt)
Launch #35 (M5Matt)
We fortunately missed most of the showers which ran in 2 lines to the north and south of the airfield, but the cloudscapes were impressive.

Thanks to Paul K for fixing the White Landrover after it started smelling rather hot.
35 launches  - highest number of launches for ages. - J&P

Wednesday 10th February

A day in which most club members arrived at North Hill more in hope than expectation, after an early field inspection it was decided that at present the field was still to wet and  also there was orographic cloud forming on the ridge.
After another inspection at 11:30am it was decided the field was dry enough, so by 12:30 we were ready to fly, it was nice to be winching again and some pilots hadn't winched since December, the launches were good and the flying pleasant in the sunny conditions.
Ready to Winch launch (Mark L)
 There was a bit of entertainment for some after lunch, part of Dick's caravan that was in the process of being taken apart finished up in the next field thanks to the strong wind we had on Monday saving him a lot of time in further demolition,  after all the bits had been removed it was back to flying.
Recovering the caravan debris from Storm  Imogen''s grip (Geoff L)
For those lucky enough to fly in the afternoon there was some good soaring to be had and at one stage all four gliders that were out were soaring at the same time.
Sheltering form an isolated shower (Mark L)
Ray B had the longest flight of over 30min and 20 flights total  in the shortened day-  let's hope Thursday is as good as it was today. - JSt

Tuesday 2nd & Wednesday 3rd Feb - Out of Hibernation

Despite the accompanying moans of a retiree being too busy, the very real prospects of nightmare muddy retrieves and the literal eleventh hour of M5Matt's decision to chase the weather and go to Nympsfield, Captain slow, couldn't resist the temptation to join in the fun. No mean feat either because, trust me, the resistance is MASSIVE. 230 has been tucked up in it's trailer, wrapped snugly in its anti condensation pyjamas, freshly dehumidified, and even with some bits nice and warm in Pete's shed at home while it hibernates through the winter. "Unwrap, reassemble and get my glider muddy, It better be worth it!" 

Arriving at Nymspfield in the rain I was racking my brain for suitable consolation to appease my fellow adventurer when he arrived, only to discover a couple of Nympsfielders actually rigging in the drizzle! Man! I though we were desperate to go soaring and the oft quoted "Its going to be epic especially if these guys are this keen" fell easily to mind.

The rain cleared and the wind was perfect for a couple of relatively straight forward trips between Bath and Nympsfield. The the odd shower passed through but they were small and easily avoided. We stayed high, eyeing the apparently puddle free fields with deep suspicion and thankfully managed to avoid them too. Great day out with about 12 gliders enjoying the conditions.
Captain Slow and Discus 230 on the home ridge
On Wednesday the wind was due to veer north during the day and it lost a smidgen of it's exuberance which would still allow for attempting the full ridge run to Bath in the south and Lower Clopton in the north. Captain slow had to go home after flying on Tuesday but The NHL contingent regained its strength when JB arrived. The muddy fields still foremost in our minds gave us another excuse to take it easy and bumble along while the grown-ups pushed harder lower down.  Rain cut off Bath while we were within spitting distance of the turnpoint, pre-empting a swift about turn and hasty retreat north again. We had to rely on the wind smashed thermals to round Lower Clopton and make some of the big jumps back into wind but patience usually paid off and the few extra hundred feet accumulated eased the nerves somewhat.
Divine Light looking down the Severn Estuary
The last hurdle to negotiate with this wind direction is the notorious landing back at Nym, flying through that curl over and turbulence often requires that the post flight cup of tea be forsaken for a couple of beers.
The sun sets on another fun day (Coaly peak view pt on the home ridge)
Quote of the Day
JB "Trevor I'm down at 400' near Cooper's Hill and just wondering what am I doing wrong?
Trevor "Um...... I've no idea.        Maybe drop back into the bowl at Birdlip. It will be better"
JB "What?? The bowl with the lakes?? There's nowhere to land!!!!"
Trevor "I wasn't thinking about you landing!!"