The Tale of Pocklington 2017 – The Knights Return

With the passing of a year since the last battle of the North,  Lord Jones of Hemyock did once again summon his faithful knights to take passage with him to the Northern Lands and re-engage with the wily nobleman from the North and Midlands in the tournament known as Pocklington Two Seater Comp. As is custom, the mighty mobile palace of Hemyock did set itself in place on Friday to be circled by the various strong holds of Sir Philip of Exmouth, Sir JB of Taunton and the knavish Sir Pursey of the S Hams. Missing was the magic man, Malcolm of Wellington, grave injured in a recent skirmish. His skills with potions and fires would be much missed.
Flags of Devon and Somerset...
The flags of the lands of Devon and Somerset were hoist a topped by the mighty yellow tadpole representing the fertile lands of Hemyock and merriment began. Ales, wines and liquor were ordered to be brought forth by the Lord and the campaign planned. With a new steed at his command, the mythical Duo from the lands of Schempp and Hirth, Sir Phillip was given to much encouragement and the recital of prose during the pre-tournament feasting. The Lady Gill of Exmouth did roll her eyes…
Sir JB  and Sir JP.....
The Sunday brought a first battle with challenges to the south, the market town of Beverley, and onwards via the hellish land of Scunthorpe to Cottam the former lair of a coal-eating dragon. Sir JB and Sir JP did wrestle with the elements and take their trusty Eagle south but with encroaching vapours did alight on heading north twixt the flashing sabres of a Scunthorpe windfarm. Sir Phillip’s steady hand took the Lord safely around all the challenges and back to his palace. On finding himself locked in his field the resourceful Sir JB did enchant local maids with tales of soil and barley yields. He was successful and the Lord's wagon did come safely to the rescue with the fair maid Steff of Taunton and the ever resourceful Stirling of Melhuish. Much merriment in the tavern that night led to a good Knight’s sleep…
Sir JB enchanted local maids....
Monday and the morning court session of the Northern Barons did proclaim the Eagle as victor on the previous day’s challenge for wooden craft. Sir Phillip was much pleased with his standing.
The tournament jester, John Norman of Hull, did then brief of challenges first to the south to Goole and then north to Malton and other exotic places. The vapours were returning to the skies and much was the struggle to leave. 

Sir John with Alan of Ilford.......

Sir John with Alan of Ilford spent much time with the Eagle’s stablemate the venerable Capstan as they hedge hopped to Goole. Lucky spirits were with the Eagle because it turned and made a slow, low passage to the magical outer perimeter known as the finish ring and then settled next to a tavern in a field of stubble. Sir Phillip’s enchanted steer made easier passage and returned from Northern quarters with Lord Jones. A feast was arranged with Salmon encrusted with spices from the New World. Caskets of beer and wine were broached and the sacred waters of Jura brought forth. 
The sacred waters of Jura...
Tuesday, and jester John announced good standings for the Lord’s men and a day of rest as foul airs brought cloud. The palace and encampment of Lord Jones became the scene of a banquet as fellow competitors gathered to share Spanish flavours around the fires of the Southern Knights. As the evening wore on Sir Phillip did recount more odes and poems from his youth, the meaning of most lost in the mists of time. A new sacred spirit was tested as the maiden Linden from Knaresbough offered “Slingsby Rhubarb Gin” from the ancient family Slingsby of York. Much was drunk and the poems did keep coming…
Luckily Wednesday which had been heralded by mighty storms with much electricity and magic in the skies was declared another day of rest for the Knights were jaded from their revelry. Later with the sun back in the sky, the Eagle went on a journey of discovery and attempted to soar the ancient hills of The Wolds. Low and with only ridge lift from a stand of trees, Sir JB took Sir JP into a field of gold, attracted by the sight of bisecting power wires and a wide gate. A simple supper followed and the young knave Matthew of Woolwell brought life to the tired party. More ale was broached and the waters of Jura once again sampled.
Thursday and the Northern heralds encouraged readiment but it was to be all for naught as vapours covered the sky. Late on and the sun returned making the Knights take to the sky in search of joy. Tinctures of wave and convection were sampled and the steeds carried new Knights aloft. On return fires were lit and a vat of exotic fare prepared. More story telling ensued and poems recited before slumber took hold. The Lord was tiring.
Friday and the Knights were greeted with commands to head west and cross the vast plain of York. After false start and re-light, Sir JB and Sir JP found the greyness overwhelming and flew to a field not from the Planes of Elvington whilst wise Sir Phillip, quietly slipped across the Vale and returned. With the camp returned the ancient dish of orange chicken was prepared and devoured amid much consumption of ale as the secret fires of red chilli caught hold the Knights. Sir Phillip was less moved to verse and with camp fires burning, waters of Jura quietly consumed as the Knights contemplated the coming challenges.
Saturday and the jester John let his wise man Bill-The Met talk of much excitement in the sky and the setting of routes to the south. Sir JB drawn by vigour in the vapours aloft, took the Eagle into the grey using long-learnt skills to take the craft high above the fellow Knights. Unfortunately he was too close to the fortress of Pocklington and penalties were to ensue. Also the lure of further forays into the veils of the sky meant that the trusty Eagle was out of sync with the sky and soon Sir JB and Sir JP were sitting at the gates of Hades also known as Scunthorpe steel works. A field soon followed and the Knights were crest fallen. Sir Phillip however prevailed and took Alan of Ilford on a great voyage to the towers of Belvoir beyond the Great Vale of Trent. Alan was kept aloft longer than he had experienced for many a year and was much enthralled by the marvel of the noble Duo and its lack of demand on the feet. That night the Northern Barons held a celebration in their castle but the Lord Jones men were tired and they were soon quietly sipping the waters of Jura in the mobile palace of Hemyock. Wisely the Lord of Hemyock had an early night for he knew of the seriousness of the battle to come. 

Soaring wolds field.....
Sunday and the final day. The Eagle needed to be strong to avenge the previous day's defeats and the morning proclamations were much studied and the Knights took their places. Sir JP was entrusted with carriage of the Lord of Hemyock and Sir JB given charge of the Lady Gill in the magic Duo. Routes South, then East and South again were set. Sir JP carefully took the craft south with much trepidation as the skies were at once full then empty of vapours. With the location of competing wooden craft unknown, the Eagle rounded Goole then headed east on an ever-downward path. With fellow craft alighting into fields and a healthy 400ft still showing the Eagle pressed on… In a final moment of enchantment, goblins conjured from afar by the Wizard Malcolm, startled birds out of a field as they released precious warming updrafts for the Eagle. With half its height gone that enchanted moment was enough to stop the downward path and allowed the southerners to prevail. Many turns later, the craft was high enough to continue and make good on passage to Beverly and Scunthorpe before returning home. Sir JB letting the Lady Gill take rein of the magical Duo, sailed round and was there to greet the returning Lord. With victory secured for wooden craft and the mighty Duo a creditable 7th, Lord Jones declared that celebration be made and a trip to the tavern was undertaken. 
Another day, another golden field.....
The next day with banners lowered the camp was struck and the campaign of Pocklington 2017 declared a success. The trusty Disco 5 bore the Lord of Hemyock home and the Knights returned to normal duties. - JP

Thursday 31st August

Sunshine and showers later was the forecast for a very pleasant Thursday, and there were some private gliders rigging, as the club gliders were put on line.
John Borland got cleared  solo aerotow,
John cleared solo aerotow (Mike Sloggett)

and Andy Davey converted to the Junior and Pete Bennett completed his BI renewal checks but the highlight of the day was just before lunch.
Peter Smith arrived in style in a new 2-seater ..... not quite what you are thinking! ..........
A pre-arranged birthday treat flew in from Exeter via Dunks,  the 'Spitfire' flew a low pass of the airfield.

And there were some nice cloud features
A line of cloud turrets (Mark Courtney)
and a rainbow effect that was new to all but tricky to photo...
Low-level rainbow under the shower (Mark Courtney)

Wednesday 30th August

A very wet start meant that only a few of the Wednesday regulars were keen to fly in the afternoon. Luckily there was a family of visitors from The Park to make up the quorum, and it was pleasantly soarable for the 10 launches. - J&P

Sunday 27th August

Arriving at the club today for the afternoon shift of launch point marshall duty, I expected a detailed hand-over from Mr Williamson who was on the morning shift.  As it turned out, I was just in time to see Ron Johns launch in the ASH.  "Who's flying with him?".  "Matthew Williamson" came the reply!  However, having inspected the list and noting the four people awaiting training I did manage to forgive him.  

The weather was glorious and the sky was improving by the minute.  Jill and Pete Harmer in OL and Pete Startup in 230 followed Ron & Matthew into the air to make the most of the conditions.  Mike Sloggett was enjoying flying his own glider ENW after a busy course week.  Simon Minson swapped instructor hats with Ian Mitchell who got busy putting Josh Funnell through his paces before sending him off for an excellent soaring flight.  Mike squeezed in a trial lesson in between ASW20 flights with Linda who has to be congratulated on conquering her fear.  The beautiful weather was bringing in the visitors with two 'walk-ins' - Sarah and Matthew flying with Simon and Ian respectively, Matthew taking the opportunity to have the full mile high experience.
James and Lisa in G-CDSC and Stu and Guy in B-BKVG
James Hood with Lisa Humphries and Stuart Proctor with Guy Adams took the motor gliders to visit Dorset gliding club for a cup of tea.  On her return Lisa took the opportunity to take a K21 for an early evening flight and found copious amounts of lift, reaching 3000ft from the launch in about 5 minutes!

The cross country pilots had started to drift in - Pete Startup and Ron & Matthew both making Dorchester  124Kms  using blue wispies to get there and a weak sea breeze convergence to get home. Jill and Pete had hung around for a bit waiting for the cloudbase to rise, and then a couple of streets just appeared, so they followed the energy to South Molton and back. 
A great day in the sun :) - Tim Peters

Saturday 26th August

A beautiful summers day for a change and the sky looked good. Several set off on cross-country flights, Simon Minson SM, Pete Startup 230, Mike Fairclough DFK and Paul Medlock HMS (attempting 50K), also Peter Smith flew 1UP and had a nice long flight.
Peter in 1UP enjoying some local soaring with a late evening cloud (Peter Smith)
 Pete and Jill took the Falke for a cruise .....
Nice and easy to spot MUD (Jill Harmer)
.... and VG was aired again with William and Heather.
Pete and Simon completed Wilton, Cerne Abbas for 200Kms. Paul landed near Sutton Bingham, and Mike landed near Ilminster.
Paul missed the Silver distance but picked a nice field in Ryme Intrinseca
Probably because it was a Bank Holiday weekend there was only 1 student on the flying list so he had John Sillett's undivided attention and in the early evening he enjoyed his first solo flight, well done to James Price who has recently returned to North Hill.
Congratulations to James Price (John Sillett)
In the morning, the Falke was busy with Mark Courtney and Ray Dodd practicing field landings and Roly was as usual taking trial lesson customers to the moon and back!

I flew Alex this evening, who came to have a look at gliding, he used to fly Microlights, I think he is converted and has expressed an interest in joining the Club.
Nice day out for all who were here, roll on tomorrow! - Lisa

Friday 25th August - Course week

Over the Course dinner last evening there was much talk about the week so far during which all four days had been flyable and whether it it might be a tad greedy to hope that the optimistic forecast of some potential soaring would actually happen.

With a bright blue sky over the airfield and a good weather forecast there was an evident air of keenness and enthusiasm first thing with various Club gliders brought out of the hangar and ground equipment being readied for action. The arrival of several private owners indicated that the general optimism for some soaring was (probably) well placed.
North Hill in the sunshine (Mike Sloggett)

The weather forecast suggested that flying ought to start from the North West corner ahead of a probable change of ends later in the day - however with only a minimal wind of variable direction the winch was dispatched to the North West corner and the gliders were walked up to the launch point which was now in the South East corner of the airfield

The first flight of the day was airborne just after 9:30 and it became apparent that there was already thermic activity in and around he airfield albeit cloudbase not very high. But as the morning progressed then the thermals became more evident whilst the flights became longer

It almost seemed wrong to stop for lunch but pilots and ground helpers needed refreshment after a good but warm morning's activity.

Before lunch Pete Startup (Discus 230), Mike Fairclough (Pik DFK) and Simon Minson (ASW20 SM) had all launched and successfully "got away", disappearing for a couple of hours in the directions of Tiverton and Crewkerne for the Club 100.

By the time lunch was over the sky had improved further providing everyone with the opportunity to enjoy a soaring flight (or two) during the afternoon to finish the Course Week.
Course Members, Instructors and Helpers (Mike Sloggett)
A good week all round, well done to the Course members Simon Collier, Rick Andrews, Graham Hawker, Callum Ayres, Ross Pratt and Mark Worsfold for making progress with their objectives for the week and particularly to the ground helpers William Pope, Roly and Heather Clarke without whom we could not get airborne, and the Back Seat Drivers Martin Woolner, Mike Sloggett and 'Rookie Instructor' James Flory. - Mike Sloggett

Thursday 24th August - Course week

Day 4 of the course dawned with promise of a better day. But once again the weather gods had other plans; we’re obviously not talking to the right people when it comes to booking the weather. Despite this the equipment was soon made ready and launch line was set up ready to go. 
Not quite overcast (Mike Sloggett)
Rick Andrews continued to enjoy flights in the Junior whilst Mark and Martin Woolner continued with Mark’s training, having already began to master landings. Mike Sloggett and Mark Courtney meanwhile had taken a metaphorical hacksaw to the DG 505 wingtips and replaced them with the stumpy training tips with the idea of trying the DG for training; this was after Martin, George Sanderson and Graham Hawker all did their bit to replace a deflating tail wheel. The DG was then brought on line and mixed in with the K21’s and K13 to be used for training. Without it’s go further wing tips it blended in quite well. Graham Hawker and Martin then leapt forward to start to us the new clipped wing beast. 
A bit nose heavy with Graham and Mark (Mark Layton)
James Flory and Ross also enjoyed a number of really good flights as did several others. All in all not a bad training machine! The weather progressively improved through the day with conditions becoming quite soar-able  as afternoon progressed.  Meanwhile the rest of the course kept the K21 and Junior busy and Simon enjoyed another flight in his ASW15.  Overall another good day despite a few early dark clouds and some damp stuff. -James Flory

The Thursday regulars got on with a few jobs this morning, assisted with the DG505 tailwheel, changed both winch cables, changed the oil in the tractor, and then it was time to go flying, working round the two-seaters that were being used for Course flying. There was variable success with soaring as the conditions changed during the day. 

Ray Dodd passed his Bronze exam, and then followed that with a navigation exercise with Pete Harmer in the Rotax Falke. James Smart and Ian Mitchell flew in with a Jodel for tea. 
Jodel D112 (Jill Harmer)
Tom Sides and Peter Smith supervised the delivery and installation of the new Avgas tank.
Positioning the new tank (Tom Sides)
 In the evening the Course members enjoyed the Course Dinner at the Hare and Hounds near Honiton. - J&P

Wednesday 23rd August - Course week

A mixed forecast with the possibility of a shower, brightening in the afternoon, there were some showers about but they all missed us.
Thermals started (John Street)
All the club gliders were out plus the DG1001 Neo, there was a bit of low cloud about but aerotows went ahead with the DG demonstrator and managed several flights in the gaps in the cloud cover before being derigged and returned to Lasham.
Clean and valet DG1001 Neo (Mark Layton)
The second August course was in full swing with Mike and Martin doing a fine job. All the Wednesday suspects that turned up flew and most had reasonable soaring flights although the cloud base didn't get much above 2,500ft.
Busy launch point (John Street)
The only private gliders were Nigel and Jeff, Robert and Pete W were the tuggies.
We finished flying flying about 5.30pm and handed over the two-seaters to the Air Cadets evening group. 
Another great North Hill sunset (Mike Sloggett)
It was a very pleasant and productive day with more than 60 flights. - John Street.

Course summary

Day 3 for the course dawned typically summery, for Devon; overcast and decidedly chilly. Despite the rather inhospitable conditions the course members and ground helpers got everything ready with the help of the normal Wednesday crew ready for another days flying.  Mike Sloggett was the first to bravely leap into the air on the winch doing a weather flight with Mark Worlsford. The conclusion was it was flyable but with areas of low cloud; how much more summery could you get! 
However, as the day progressed the cloud base slowly went up and the course got flying in force. Rick Andrews took advantage of the free Junior whilst Mike, Martin Woolner and James Flory worked through the list of course members wanting dual flights. Mark continued to progress really well with Martin’s coaching, whilst Graham Hawker continued to enjoy flights in the DG, thats the 505 rather than the 1001! Callum Ayres bravely stepped forward to fly with James Flory as the new instructor on the block and enjoyed three launches later into the afternoon. Simon Collier was able to enjoy an aerotow in his ASW 15, helping him to build experience in his new glider. Sadly one of the course members had to drop out, but fortunately Mike "sales man" Sloggett was able to fill the slot within minutes. Ross Pratt wasn’t able to move quickly enough before the full powers of Mike’s sales technique landed on him and his mum. Suitably persuaded Ross was duly signed up; good job Mike!. Although not a perfect weather day everyone managed to fly and good progress was made by all.

The day then continued into the evening with trail lesson flying for Air Cadets from Exeter and Bodmin. All the cadets enjoyed good flights, with the weather rather typically getting better as the day went on and the sun began to set. Special thanks to all the ground crew who had to cope with several cable related problems on the winch. Overall a good days flying at North Hill. - James Flory

Tuesday 22nd August - Course week

The second day of the Course Week saw low cloud drifting across the airfield but with a positive weather forecast the gliders were brought out of the hangar and based on the forecast wind direction the launch point was set up in the North West corner of the airfield.
The Northwest corner of the airfield (Mike Sloggett)
With a brightening sky and suggestions of cloudbase improving both K21s, a Junior and the DG1001 demonstrator were walked down to the launch point where it became clear that the cloudbase was still too low to enable flying to start for the day so it was a return to the Clubhouse for some briefings on winch launching and launch failures.

And then with the cloudbase much improved it was time to return to the launch point and start the day's flying.

And then it was a day of continuous flying of both Course members and also Club members taking the opportunity to fly in the DG1001 demonstrator.
DG1001 Neo Demonstrator (Mike Sloggett)

The wind direction and strength allowed the South ridge to work in places albeit not very strong and providing the opportunity for pilots to test their skills at extending the time of their winch launches suitably.

With a freshening Southerly wind by late afternoon all the Course members had flown so  the Club gliders were put away for the day whilst the Club members continued to fly the DG1001 on into the evening. - Mike Sloggett

Monday 21st August - Course week

Those arriving early at the Club found mist and low cloud, but with every expectation that the sun would soon start to burn through and see clearer skies as a result - well that is what all the forecasters were saying would happen...

And that is exactly what happened - as the Course briefing was coming to an end there were glimpses of the sunshine and evidence of an increasingly improving sky above and around the airfield. Both K21s, the DG505 and a Junior were brought out of the hangar and the launch point set up in the North East corner of the airfield.

Meanwhile the DG1001 demonstrator was getting lots of interest from members and was soon rigged and also taken to the launch point.
Form an orderly queue for DG1001
Mid-morning, the first launch of the day saw a K21 not achieve full launch height due to low cloud so a coffee break was called for.
Blue skies (Mike Sloggett)
And patience was rewarded within a short while with full launch height being achieved and then it was a day of continuous flying by both the Course members and various other Club members taking the opportunity to fly in the DG1001.
DG1001 on aerotow (Mike Sloggett)
Late afternoon with all the Course members having flown and made good progress with their objectives for the week all the Club gliders were put back in to the hangar - whilst the DG1001 continued to be flown well into the evening to make good use of the glider whilst it is with the Club. - Mike Sloggett

Sunday 20th August

The weather forecast was rather pessimistic for today but a few members turned up at the Club, primarily to fulfil their duty instructor and launch marshall duties.

With rain evident on the weather radar the decision was made to get flying as soon as possible in the expectation that rain would arrive later in the day. Both K21s and a Junior were brought out of the hangar as well as the Pawnee.

And under a grey sky with threatening rain clouds some check/training flights in the K21s, some Junior flights, a Trial Lesson and a Friends and Family flight were all completed by just before midday - and then the light drizzle rain arrived as forecast.

With an element of optimism an early lunch break was taken but as the afternoon unfolded it became evident that it was time to put the gliders and ground equipment away before even heavier rain arrived as forecast it would. Still some flights completed which is good for Spring, oh wait a minute it is supposed to be Summer.. - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 19th August

Another busy day at the club, weather wasn't fantastic but hey, its August what do you expect! James Flory having received his BGA paperwork launched into full instructor mode today and John Sillett covered the afternoon shift for Phil Morrison who was having fun in Pocklington, Matt Williamson flew all of the trial lessons today in the K13, yes that's right the K13!!!! 
North Hill Airfield (Lisa Humphries)
I got back into the back seat with proper instructing today and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Pete Startup rigged his Discus and  flew longer than anyone else 2 hours -as expected, Ron and James took the ASH25 for a spin, VG was aired and the Cub flew in with Mike and Barbie in the evening.
Tricky for soaring sky (Lisa Humphries)
Everyone flew - even William Stainer who despite turning up very early this morning managed to put his name at the bottom of the list as he thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do, he will learn! All in all a nice day at the Club!- Lisa Humphries
Nice field (Simon Minson)
and the DG505 was at The Park on the ICL, watched on Spot the Gliders  with Simon Minson and Pete Bennett, 166kms and landed just 8kms short. Well done Team.

Friday 18th August

It was another special Trial lesson voucher day, to catch up on the backlog of cancelled flights, and the weather forecast was trying hard to be difficult. Early in the week it was going to be gales, then the expected wind had eased, but thunderstorms were forecast!
Cumulonimbus anvil to the north (Jill Harmer)

Although the wind did blow, and we did see one flash and a couple of rumbles, the showers were whizzing through so that there were some good clear blue skies in between. 
Trial lesson Visitors enjoy their flight (Mark Courtney)
All 10 pre-booked flights were flown with the visitors enjoying the cloudscapes. Thanks to all the Instructors and Helpers. -J&P

Thursday 17th August

After rain overnight, there was some mist and drizzle initially so we used the time to discuss the Exeter Airspace proposal. Then the sun started shining and we went flying. 
Nice sky (Jill Harmer)
 It was marginally soarable, thermic initially, and feeling a little wavey, then later in the afternoon as the wind backed and increased, the south ridge started working.  
Pete Harmer flies a Trial flight visitor (Mark Courtney)

George Sanderson and Andrew Logan changed the hooks in Junior LRD,  Andy Davey completed some check flights and flew his first solos at North Hill.  -J&P

Wednesday 16th August

We had a poor start today with low cloud, strong crosswind, and total cloud cover forecast, but we got the kit out more in hope than expectation.

Once the  cloud base had gone up a bit we started to fly, Roly made a start with Trial lessons but had to cancel  due to the conditions, at the same time the south ridge started to work and for the rest of the day the  most of the flights were 30min plus. 
Strong southerly crosswind (John Street)
Nigel was the only one who flew his own glider managing over an hour  on one flight. Nick Harrison completed his yellow card checks, all in all a much better day than we were expecting.  - John Street

Sunday 13th August

With Club flying started as the morning progressed there were predictions of Silver heights being completed later in the day and cross country flights being planned - no surprise that North Hill cafe was busy throughout the morning as pilots anticipated little time for lunch later in the day.

However as is often the case with gliding, predictions are reliant on the weather playing fair to the forecast and unfortunately as the day unfolded it became clear that the high level cloud, which was around for much of the day, was preventing the sun from getting through to really heat up the ground. There were odd thermals evident but often out of reach from a winch launch with various private owners deciding to take an aerotow to endeavour to secure a better opportunity of getting away for a longer flight.
Mid-morning (Mike Sloggett)
The light and generally crosswind throughout the day meant that winch launches were not that high in turn providing limited time for pilots to search for any available lift in and around the airfield. And with the thermals "just too far away" it was no surprise that in and around the airfield there were plenty of 'sink holes' ready to catch out unsuspecting pilots with 'turn in' early decisions being needed in various circuits throughout the day.
Early afternoon (Mike Sloggett)
Trial lessons were completed by Roly Clarke and Pete Bennett in the DG505 and visiting pilots from Kestrel Gliding Club enjoyed flying in various DSGC club gliders.
Late Afternoon (Mike Sloggett)
Pete Startup (Discus 230) and Ron Johns/Daniel Johns (ASH25 711) completed cross-country flights on an Exmoor convergence. - '40kms without turning. Squeaky bum glide home through totally lifeless air though'.

With the gliders and ground kit put away just before 6pm whilst it turned out to be a day of unfulfilled promise nevertheless everyone who wanted to fly had flown, so a good day all round. - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 12th August

The day started quietly, with club members almost outnumbered by our guests from Kestrel Gliding Club, who were bright-eyed and keen to soar the Devon skies even after a night under canvas.  Flying started at around 10:00 with Karen King and Martin Woolner in the K21, whilst Peter Field showed Noah (Kestrel GC) what North Hill looked like from a K13.  Unfortunately, after only a few flights a halt was called to allow a rain band to pass through.
The Clubhouse began to fill – numbers swelled by a family from Cornwall who had braved the traffic on the A30, and were looking forward to their four booked trial flights including one “mile-high”. Disappointingly, low cloud continued to drag over the airfield, but at last the sky brightened in the north-west, and flying began again at around 1200.
Ellie grasped the opportunity of having her feet temporarily on the ground to get signed off for the winch.  Peter Bennett enjoyed flying Matt Williamson’s ASW-20.
When I left the club at around 1400 (Duty Grand-dad) the sky was looking good; two aero-tows had just whisked two Cornishmen into the sky, and there were smiles all round on the faces of our visitors.
The flight-log shows 48 flights for the day, despite the delayed start.  Longest flight went to Jeff Taberham in the Mosquito, who flew for 2 hrs 20 min after a 2000ft aero-tow. - Aston Key

Friday 11th August - Course week

It was a sunny start for the last day of the Course week, but the weather gods hadn't quite finished with us. First launch was just after 09:30 to try to squeeze in as many launches as possible for the Course members.

Ellie was first up to receive those "special Woolly winch launch simulated failures", followed by another solo in K21. Reuben had some check flights and converted to the Junior. 
Reuben converted to the Junior (Dave Herbert)
Dave and Lukasz added more launches to their Junior tally and Dave wanted one of those Woolly specials..... Hannah had a couple of circuits, but Adam missed out unfortunately as the rain set in exactly on schedule at 12:00.

After lunch, we looked at the flight traces from yesterday with the multiple out and returns to Wellington analysed in depth, followed by planning their Silver distance flights to The Park. 
Course members and Instructors (Jill Harmer)
So a rather disappointing week weather-wise, but some good soaring on Thursday helped a bit. Thanks as always to Instructors Pete Harmer and Chris Wool, and the Helpers Aston Key, Richard Harris and Jill Harmer. -J&P

Thursday 10th August - Course week

It was always going to be busy today, with the best forecast for ages and the course members with a lot of catching up to do for the poor weather earlier in the week.
The Clubhouse was jam-packed full by 08:30, and the only delay was the strength of the northerly crosswind and the key decision of which end to go from.
Eventually, we started walking the kit up the field, whilst the private owners were rigging. There was a provisional blue card for the conditions until the assessment could be made, but the wind started abating fairly quickly.

It was soarable from early on, with Pete taking Adam for an out and return to Wellington in KEK, and Woolly and Ellie on the same task in HCX.
Meanwhile, as a reward for helping with the site maintenance (ie driving the dumper truck in the rain) Reuben was treated to a womble with Phil in DD3 Duo Discus taking in Wellington, Ilminster, Axminster and Cadbury Cross for 3 hours.
Streety convergence with changing cloudbase (Mark Courtney)

With the streety convergence staying put most of the day, more local cross-countries were flown to Wellington and back with Pete and Hannah, another with Adam and Woolly and Dave. -maggott racing tomorrow. Unfortunately Lukasz missed out on the task, as it had just got difficult, but made up for it by completing his 50th solo as did Dave.
Lukasz  Kieruczenko and Dave Herbert 50 solos (Lukasz)
So it wasn't always straightforward as the cloudbase was only 2000ft to start with, and many struggled to get away. Pete Startup completed Westbury Salisbury for 228kms but hard work over the Somerset Levels.

Pete Startup ready to launch (Mark Courtney)
The Club members list was very long, but thanks to Peter Smith, Mark Courtney, Peter Field, Paul Carpenter and John Sillett - they were able to keep going all day and into the evening with the remaining two-seaters.

The site maintenance work is moving on well, to the painting stage - thanks to all the workers.

In the evening, the course members (and hangers-on), enjoyed a lovely course dinner at the Keepers Cottage. - J&P

Wednesday 9th August - Course week

It was a sure cert that we wouldn't fly this morning due to the rain and gusty northerly wind, so Dave, Lukasz, Reuben and Ellie did a weather briefing by committee. This was followed by Woolly doing a lecture on thermal structures and centering. 
After lunch, we looked in depth at the Red Arrows notams for their West Country trip, and then with a careful eye outside, as the rain had stopped, a decision was made to get the kit out for the walk up the field.

Starting at 16:00, Ellie and Adam managed to catch up having missed out yesterday, and it was just 1000ft on the launch but worth the wait - we carried on into the evening.
North Hill Sunset (Jill Harmer)
And it was a lovely North Hill sunset - Tomorrow looks promising.... J&P

Tuesday 8th August - Course week

It looked like there would be a usable morning at least with some doubt about the afternoon, so we dispensed with the planned weather briefing to get on with some flying. The wind was light and variable and there were some towering cumulus to the west.  Woolly started off with check flights for Dave and then Lukasz. Pete flew with Hannah and Adam who last flew on a course 5 years ago. Dave having passed his check flights had 5 circuits in the Junior taking him to 49 solos. Reuben handled a couple of launch failures well, and then it was time for lunch. 
Growing Cumulus (Jill Harmer)
We watched the radar rainfall over lunch with the showers steadily moving nearer, and then the heavens opened. So a quick lecture on the Flight Envelope was given by Pete, and then it looked like the weather was clearing from the west, so a quick check of the puddles on the field looked feasible so the blades were brought out to dry the K21s and the Juniors were pushed back to the hangar. But then the supercell moved back from the east, and we had to shelter in the hangar. So that was the decision made with the next easing of rain, the rest of the kit was put away, with Ellie the only one to miss out on a flight.

With Nick, JB and Toby working hard on the site maintenance, the rain was a bit of a dampner!

Monday 7th August - Course week

First day of the first of the August Courses but it was damp and drizzly with a front sitting over Devon.
Following the normal introductions we talked quite a lot about the weather, but we also covered the mass of Red Arrows (and others) notams. Pete refreshed Adam and Hannah on winch launching (5 years since their previous course at North Hill), and Woolly went through a DI demonstration.
Checking out the Clubhouse roof (Lukasz Kieruczenko)
There was a short improvement in the damp stuff after lunch, and a check on the cloudbase was made using a drone (more fun than a weather flight). 
Cloudbase was low (Lukasz Kieruczenko)
Late on,......
Cherry picker for site maintenance (Nick Jones)

Reuben got checked out for picking cherries?......J&P