Tuesday 31 January - New Zealand

We had a great few days at Omarama with Justin and Gillian, two good flying days in Duo Discus RW.
Day one up to Mount Cook and down to Mount Aspiring some times down in the valleys other times at 14,000ft.
Day two strong NE wind,  wave to over 22,000ft winds at that height 95knots a new experience for me! But we did do a 500k out and return.
As usual I only think of photos after we have set out and then my camera phone is trapped in my pocket by the straps......
Justin and Nick climbing through 15,000ft in New Zealand (Nick Jones)
But I did manage to wriggle it out and took this shot, soon after this we started to climb at 14kts and Justin requested clearance to 22000ft. As we approached the ceiling we increased speed to 120kts but still had a very high rate of climb so deliberately moved out of the wave and finished the flight with a circuit of Alexandria and back to Omarama down through the roughest turbulence I have ever flown in.  - An amazing 3hr 45min flight. - Nick Jones

Saturday 28th January

The day started with a fresh bite in the air and a fair few misty canopies! Considering the weather we were surprised at the lack of people. 

Martin Woolner turned up, and with one Instructor things slowly got underway, with Fran taking multiple launch failures. David Buss suddenly decided he could speed up operations by retrieving the crew separately to the glider putting them in the other two-seater while the previous one was towed back. This sped things up and we had quickly got the first two students flown. 

I then took a check flight and got cleared for solo, putting my count up to 8 solos now! Unfortunately this ruined David’s retrieving system but Steve Westlake turned up and so did the weather! Pete Bennett took the Junior for a long flight and HCX was up for a good 30 minutes.

 We said farewell to CCY as Ian Mitchell towed it to Mendip GC with the Rotax Falke at lunchtime with Matt Williamson having his first ferry flight.
Nice cloudscape with CCY on tow (not quite the flypast I was expecting! - Jill Harmer)
 A stop for lunch and afterwards only a few flights were needed to complete the list. Karen King had a solo flight and thoroughly enjoyed it, all in all a good day was had by all despite the cold!! with 33 flights in all. - Charlie Stuckey

Wednesday 25th January

A much larger turnout today with a reasonable forecast, thankfully the wind was southwesterly and not southeasterly, as some forecasts had suggested.
Mike Fitz and John Street were first in the air with a 25min flight in weak wave / southerly ridge, nearly all subsequent flights were soaring flights.
Thermals starting (John Street)
The soaring was best between 12noon and 2:30pm with many long flights logged. 
Parked up for lunch (John Street)
 Pete Startup (who else) had the longest flight of over two hrs in his Discus, Jeff T had the second longest with 90min and there were many more flights of around one hour. Eric had a good flight in the Junior, wishing he had rigged his own glider, at one point in the day we had all the gliders soaring at the same time.
Good strong thermals (John Street)
Peter Stoker joined us today-  he was a Wednesday regular up until a few years ago, let's hope he re-joins us in the near future. 
The lift was quite varied today, we had weak wave to start with, lift on the South ridge, good thermals to 2,500ft and cloud streets - not bad for late January. - John Street.

Sunday 22nd January

Despite the optimistic forecast, only a small number of members turned out to keep a higher number of instructors busy. 
It was mild (at least considering it’s January) and a light southeast wind greeted the group as Peter Field gave a quick briefing about canopy misting and then challenged Fran Knowles with various cable breaks. 
A few breaks in the cloud (Mike Sloggett)
Tom Sides took the first full height launch and found the sky a bit overcrowded with cloud scud. The sky gradually improved, but there was little lift through the rest of the morning as Mike Sloggett put Dave Cowley through his checks and Sam Flory received some refresher training. A wind shift dictated a field end change, then James Flory elected to help the Treasurer by taking aerotows and beginning his instructor coaching with Mark Courtney. 
A few more breaks (Mike Sloggett)
Around noon, Simon Leeson took a Junior launch and showed the rest of us pups what big dogs do in tall grass, i.e., soaring in thermals forming off the south ridge for almost an hour. After a quick lunch, Ellie Carter had a few check flights and then was sent off solo. New member Simon Rickard had the last two flights of the day as the canopies started misting up. 
All in all, those who decided not to come out missed a good day for gliding. Thanks to John Street and Paul Summers for their help on the ground. - Tom Sides

Saturday 21st January

With only the hardy or the insane braving the sub-zero conditions, it was no surprise that there was a relatively short flying list. Many were present to shake the rust from their wings from the Christmas lay off.
After resolving the confusion of which side to set up the winch/launch point combo, we went with ENE which was what the Met Office was predicting. However the wind remained ESE all day.
With frost on the leading edges and canopies; cold enough to freeze the cleaning spray, Czech David and Lecturer Mike, were first up. They were followed by Reuben. Reuben’s first cable break gave me an opportunity to order my lunch and his second cable break allowed me to pick it up.
Peter S sent Mike H solo in the K21 who then filled his boots whilst Peter made a fuel stop at the Northhill Cafe.
Cabinet Maker David continued making good progress. Karen K completed a perfect hanger landing that rallied Roly to commend the act.
Martin W continued to put James F through his paces in preparation for his upcoming AssCat course.
Stuart trundled the tug up only to trundle it home again. This was due to the persistent low cloud base and poor visibility. He later enjoyed putting Peter S through some blue card checks.
Roly White Gloves flew a ‘friends & family’. He followed this by flying Sandy who was welcomed back after a long absence. She then flew with Peter S.
The Junior was given an airing by Cashier William, Balloon Tim and finally Roly for a hanger landing.
Our Chair-woman and CFI took their customary flight together in the DG, whilst Roly’s attention was captured by the beautifully arranged tires in the launch point trailer.

A rewarding, hassle free day was enjoyed by all, albeit a chilly one.

Thursday 19th January

Clear blue sky with lenticulars in evidence from first thing and a fresh easterly wind greeted the Thursday regulars. So the hangar was emptied and the gliders walked up the field. 
We also had some visitors first thing, who wished to view a potential earthwork enclosure that had been spotted on lidar images of the airfield. With the low sun angle a low earthwork feature was just visble in front of the aircraft hangar (amongst the lumps and bumps of the airfield) and is characteristic of late prehistoric settlement enclosures found elsewhere across the area.
Richard Sims and his team (Jill Harmer)
Richard Sims from AC Archaeology and his team working on a Historic England project were pleased to have been allowed to do a 'ground-truth' field visit. (There are no plans to excavate!)
Beautifully backlit K21 (Mark Layton)
  A few aerotows headed off downwind to explore the wave, but only found zero and reduced sink which was a little disappointing.
Nicely banked turn (Mark Layton)
It was a busy day with lots of members  training and renewing their card ratings and the solo pilots keeping current in the Juniors. 
Simulated launch failure (Mark Layton)
Landing ahead (Mark Layton)

Fortunately as the air was very dry, we were able to continue right through until sunset with no misting canopies. 45 launches in total with several of 11 and 12 minutes from good height winch launches. 
Martin Woolner & Fran Knowles (Mark Courtney)
 Thanks to everyone for another pleasant winter's Thursday. - J&P

Wednesday 18th January

The fourth Wednesday in a run that we have been able to fly and it was much brighter than forecast and almost "springlike". The wind was very light with a southeasterly airflow, we walked the two K21s and a Junior to the northwest corner. 
K21 landing (Mark Layton)
Pete Startup finished off his Blue Card checks with Pete Warren and John Street and Mike Fitz made a start in the other K21- there was little lift available but the flying was very pleasant in mild conditions.
Pete Startup and Pete Warren (John Street)
Malcolm Vest had an aerotow check then went on to fly the Junior on aerotow, Chris Warnes took the opportunity to get more checks ticked off in readiness for his yellow card. Mike & Barbara were Tuggies for the day. 
William arriving in style (John Street)
 William Pope made a dramatic entrance in a gyrocopter much to the envy of all. - John Street

Saturday 14th January

The morning dawned clear and bright, with a thick frost covering the field. Smoke from a fire in the forest drifted gently across the field, revealing the apparition of the new land rover in all its glory.

Thanks to the large turn-out of members, club vehicles and gliders were all setup before 10am anticipating a long day of ridge flying. The first few launches were fast and furious with minimal lift on the ridge. John Pursey and Rowan Smith undertook some morning instructing, the challenging conditions giving great experience.
Jess Summers organised some of the Junior members to wash and clean the K13 and K6 trailers, which was completed with great enthusiasm.
Junior members cleaning some trailers (Mark Courtney)
As the day progressed the ridge came into its own and allowed sustained flight for everyone. Several members took advantage of the exciting forecast to give their gliders a winter airing, Matthew Williamson led the charge in 611 quickly followed by Simon (SM), Rowan (CLM), Pete Startup (230) and Andrew Logan in his shiny new ASW15! Broken, wave assisted thermals were streeting out towards Exmoor, you were able to push out into wind and fall back to the ridge to top up if things didn't quite go to plan.

Flying finished just before sunset, ending a good day of flying for all, with a total of 39 flights (3 flights over 2 hours). - Reuben Buss and Matthew Williamson

Wednesday 11th January

A hectic start to the day with a gusting north northwesterly wind. There was debate about the conditions, but taking all things into consideration, we decided to take just one K21 to the launch point. From the first launch it was obvious the west ridge was going to work well and we managed to do a couple of soaring flights before lunch.
After lunch the conditions had calmed down somewhat, thus making the flying a bit more comfortable.
Our posh new ground vehicle (John Street)
Nick Jones arrived with our superb all purpose vehicle - it is almost a shame to use it for gliding, it is almost in showroom condition, long may it stay like this, everyone was keen to drive it and those who did were most impressed. 
Don't get it dirty (John Street)
 We finished flying about 4.30pm and all who wanted to brave the conditions flew. The booked trial lesson had to be  cancelled due to the unsuitability of the conditions. - John Street.

Sunday 8th January

A misty foggy start as predicted and unsurprisingly members were few on the ground.  Why is the forecast always accurate when it's gloomy? We pulled out two K21s and a K13 for Simon Minson and JB in instructor 3 yearly check mode.

There were a few launches before midday but all ending prematurely either intentionally or because of cloud.  Simon and JB persevered with an aerotow, but the K13 was back on the ground before the tug on the only launch I witnessed.

At least we tried and did some valuable simulated launch failures. Thanks to Rowan for helping to get things moving. - Peter Smith

Thursday 5th January

It was a lovely sunny start with just a light breeze from the east, the pleasant forecast had brought out many members, so two K21's, two Juniors and a K13 were walked up the field.

Cold dry morning at North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
The first flight with Mike Sloggett and Mark Layton found some shortlived weak wave in the Broadhembury valley and it proved to be the best flight of the day from the winch of 18 mins. There were quite a few currency checks and most flights were extended circuits with lots of reduced sink. With so many members around, we staggered the lunchtime, but during the afternoon some cloud moved in dropping the temperature.
Interesting cloudscapes for Mark to get arty! (Mark Layton)
New member Glenn Turpin who has joined us from Keevil had his first solo flight at North Hill.
Glenn flies K13 (Mike Sloggett)
It was yet another very pleasant winter Thursday with a very busy launch point all day,with a total of 48 flights. 
A lovely sunset with Dartmoor silhouetted (John Alcroft)
Thanks everyone. - J&P

Wednesday 4th January

Today again saw a low turnout for the first Wednesday in the New Year, but the determination of the few members soon had everything out and checked in record time, only to find, although flyable a very fine drizzle and a 1,000ft cloudbase, so we decided to wait for the better weather that was forecast.
Busy with the DI's (John Street)
After a very early lunch the weather was much improved with breaks in the cloud, a 1,500ft cloudbase and the drizzle had stopped.  We had two visitors - a glider pilot from Australia and a Trial lesson, JB and Pete Warren looked after them.
There was little in the way of lift for most of the afternoon but later weak wave appeared and Chris Warnes managed 16 minutes only returning because of failing daylight. Pete Startup had the longest flight just pipping Chris by one minute but as Chris maintained - he only came down because he wanted to help put the kit away and it was getting dusk.
We had a good finish to 2016 last Wednesday and good start to 2017, l would like to wish all Wednesday blog readers a happy new year I also extend this all members of DSGC. - John Street

Bank Holiday Monday 2nd January

Mark Courtney said he would be there on Bank Holiday Monday (after a family Christmas) to fly, and by 9:00am he was joined by Simon Collier, Stuart Procter, James Hood, James Flory and Simon Leeson who were all shivering in the Clubhouse after a taste of the  -4.5degs chill factor in the strong north north easterly wind. 
However after a couple of hours drinking tea, the wind calmed down and they were joined by William Pope and Ruth Comer. After another look out of the window it was decided to get the tug and a K21 out, and take to the top end of the field and brave the cold.
Simon and Ruth enjoying the wave (Simon Leeson)
Stuart took the first tow of the year with James Flory demonstrating an aerotow. Everyone flew that wanted to in the very pleasant sunshine and there was even some wave that extended some of the flights.
Caption Competition? -  Three Musketeers / Peas in a Pod? (Mark Courtney)
 8 tows in total so not very busy but Stuart and James made good use of their new winter flying suits  (that looked very much like the one Mark had). - Stuart Procter