Thursday 28th September

It was misty at the Club early on, but Mark said let's get everything out and then he went for breakfast!

The mist cleared into very low orographic cumulus and we sacrificed Aston to check cloudbase, 3 minutes later he was back and declared it 800ft, so there was a little delay with more flying. 
Low cloudstreet was present most of the day (Jill Harmer)

The low cumulus got rather annoying as it kept reforming just at the top of the winch run in a southwesterly street, but there was masses of nice blue sky  away from the cloudstreet, and the first trial lesson was able to experience a wondrous cloudscape from an aerotow.

 During the day the local street was continually reforming with the base varying from 900ft to 1400ft, so we worked round this including 2 Mile High flights.
Mile High on aerotow (Mark Courtney)
 Congratulations to John Borland for getting the last signature for his Bronze. There were 39 flights in all so it was quite a busy day but everyone flew. Pete Startup had the longest flight of 61 minutes in DG505. - J&P

Saturday 23rd September

Early morning murk and drizzle was the welcome at the club. However the sky began to brighten after about 9:30 and gliders were soon brought out. The wind was teasing us with the forecast south easterly component but by the time we were ready to go it was predominantly south with a tinge of west so the winch was despatched to the south west corner and there it stayed all day.
The aerobatics course contingent were briefed and eager to go when flying started at about 11am. Thereafter John Sillett and Martin Woolner vied all day for who could spend the most time in other than the normal gliding attitude.
Phil Morrison kindly volunteered to do the first trial lesson, Stuart Procter did the midday one and Simon Leeson briefly left the tug, a noble gesture, to do the third which was a great help with working through the flying list, many thanks.
The South Ridge (Peter Smith)
 Instruction flights mostly used the by now moderate and gusting southerly wind to get practise at modified circuits for crosswinds and dealing with same in launches and approaches. Chris and David Woodward, also Ross Pratt  and Oscar Leeson went through the mill successfully on that.  James Flory helped with instructing in the afternoon and Sam did sterling service in the winch, thanks both.
There were little scraps of lift about all day but nothing solid enough to work with and some serious sink to contend with as well.
Meanwhile Matt Williamson in 611 went on bended knee and pleaded for an aerotow which by huge sacrifice we were able to provide and he went off to the seaside, as did Nick Jones and Phil Morrison in DD3 but under their own steam. Both had good flights until the wind dropped at the coast.  
611 at the seaside (Matt Williamson)
Flying continued until the easterly influence finally settled in giving Oscar a very interesting simulated launch failure in JZK. It fulfilled the awkward height criteria admirably and the longest walk possible back from the western end of the field perfectly met the BGA mantra of always land ahead if you can.
Thanks to all who pitched in and helped, especially Wyn Davies who stood in at the last minute as launch marshal and ended up winching to enable us to finish the list. Overall a good day - Peter Smith

At the seaside
You’ll often hear instructors say “never believe the forecast”. Checks complete and waiting to launch, the excitement and anticipation was coupled with crossed fingers that this time the forecast was right; the wind suitable for a trip to the seaside.

After the low down turbulence the tow smoothed out and James Hood, who had prised Simon out for the tug for an opportunity for a tow to the cliffs, got to practise his best RT voice with Exeter ATC for the first time as a “PA25 and glider combination." After release I flew cautiously towards the cliffs to ensure I had plenty of height should they not be working, I arrived above the clouds and gently drifted down around them to check the lift, they were working to 1700' QNH, game on!
About to start as a strafing run to the west (Matt Williamson)
The 20 had a good airing above and beneath the Jurassic coast between Sidmouth and Beer Head, when I first arrived ridge running could maintain 110+kts along the top. Distracted waving to the walkers I only managed a task speed of 150kph with a fastest lap of 186kph, more practice needed please weather gods.... Walking the cliffs and watching would have been almost as fun as flying today, John Street commented that a peaceful walk at Branscombe Mouth was interrupted by a glider that was going too fast to read the registration. I was joined by Nick Jones and Phil Morrison in DD3, no excuse needed for a day out in their new toy but a great use of the turbo getting down.
DD3 motoring to get back (Matt Williamson)
As the day progressed it got soft as forecast, flaps needed to go from full up to full down and I managed another hour floating around, DD3 fired their engine and motored home. I selected a field and initiated the retrieve crew whilst still in the air. I slowly came down until I got to a safe high key point for my field, options would have been limited after this! I finally settled down in a field  on top of the cliff under the watchful eye of Ian Mitchell who had come to join in the fun with the Motor-Falke. James and Stuart were with me in about 10 minutes for a silky smooth retrieve, thanks guys.

A rare weather window allowed for a fab day out at one of the best attractions gliding and Devon and Somerset have to offer! - Matt Williamson

Thursday 21st September

We were expecting a morning of rain but apart from a couple of heavy bursts there wasn't a lot, but the southerly wind was a bit gusty. Whilst John Borland gave an extended weather briefing for everyone and completing his sign off for Bronze, we were able to watch the passing of the cold front which matched the theory exactly!

After an early lunch, the wind had gone round to north west, the low cloud cleared and the overhanging high cloud was moving through nicely. There were some lowish thermals forming on the ridge, and on the first mile high aerotow there was even a call for some wave at the quarry, so soon there was an empty launchpoint. 
Empty launch point (Jill Harmer)
The 3 Trial lessons were all able to enjoy the crystal clear air behind the cold front and John Borland had the longest flight in the Junior of just over the hour. But everyone enjoyed some soaring, so patience was rewarded on a very pleasant September afternoon. Thanks to Robert Lee for standing in tugging for Mark - J&P

Wednesday 20th September

For once the weather was quite mild and fairly sunny when the gliders were pulled out of the hanger, we set up for a southwesterly wind and there were quite a lot of members today - maybe because of Thursday's forecast?
John Street does a bit of gardening (Mike Sloggett)
By the time we were ready to fly the wind had freshened, the first few flights found reasonable lift on the South ridge mixed with a bit of thermal, Mike Fitz and John Street kicked off with two good soaring flights.
Peter Field was doing card checks in the short wing DG505 and Mike Sloggett who was standing in for John Sillett was also giving card checks with George.
There was a trial lesson done by Peter Field, the Tuggie was Peter Warren who then went on to spend 40min on the South ridge in the Junior.
Break for lunch (John Street)
After lunch the cloud base was rapidly descending, Dave Clements and Rick both wanted card checks but the rain came in and put a stop to that exercise, unfortunately some members didn't get to fly as the rain looked if it was in for the day. - John Street

Sunday 17th September

The day dawned with the promise of a reasonable forecast; unfortunately the weather hadn't read the script and the small but keen band of members who arrived bright and breezy at the club were greeted by a chilly blustery North Easterly wind and layers of low cloud. Despite numerous efforts a forecast that actually reflected the conditions at North Hill was hard to find, and we did really look! Despite this the gliders and kit were soon positioned in the South West corner of the field ready to start flying, but the low cloud led to a retreat to the club house for tea and breakfast. Meanwhile James Flory and Martin Woolner positioned the Falke ready for a flight as soon as the cloud lifted and Simon Jordy readied the tug for the planned trial lessons.
Looking for the wave in the Falke (James Flory)

After much tea and discussion the cloud finally lifted enough to allow flying to start around 11:30. Duty Instructor Simon Leeson took the first launch, closely followed by James and Martin in the Falke. Conditions were far from booming, but there were broken thermals to be found. James and Martin also searched for wave downwind of the field, but only found broken lift. Simon did a great job, especially as there were reports it was his birthday, working through the two seater list whilst several club members enjoyed trips in the junior.  
Josh with some more solos (JB)
 James, back from his Falke trip with Martin then stepped in to cover until JB was able to arrive mid afternoon to work through the rest of the list with help from Steve Westlake. There were even reports of Ron and Woolly having a quick two seater trip together, while Guy Adams took Dave Cowley up in Victor Golf to see if he could navigate his way home to Martock. Two trial lessons were flown by Matt Williamson, including one mile high flight. Everything was safely packed away soon after 5. Particular thanks to the members who helped all day but didn't fly, especially Tim Petty who did a stirling job driving the winch for half the day.  Not the best weather but a good days flying none the less. - James Flory

Saturday 16th September

An interesting day at the club, not many members turned up to fly and the showers were rather frequent. I did manage to capture a bit of a rainbow before the Airfield was thoroughly soaked and at 4pm the kit was packed away and dried off in the Hangar.
Rainbows (Lisa Humphries)
 In the evening, we held our SGM for the members to approve the purchase of a K13 replacement glider. The recommendation was approved with 84 votes in favour and 5 against. We will now start the process of finalising the specification and ordering the Perkoz which we hope will be delivered to the club in November.
Thanks to all who attended and those who couldn't for submitting their proxy votes. - Lisa Humphries

Thursday 14th September

There was a strong and unusually gusty north westerly wind with strong thermals from the first launch, but disappointing low cloudbase.
Aston Key and John Borland led the way in the Juniors with long flights, but the conditions particularly on approach became increasing boisterous, and limited to yellow card.
Looks better to the north east (Jill Harmer)
There was a long line of heavy showers to the west of the motorway nearly all day, whilst the airfield stayed predominantly dry and sunny with the ridge working quite well at times.
Storms to the west (Jill Harmer)
Pete Startup in 230 persevered for 2 hours locally, Wyn flew W7 and there was a rare outing for DG1 with Tom Sides. 
Tom with DG1 (Jill Harmer)
Woolly was kept busy with Roly's BI revalidation, and then some back seat flying with Aston Key in the DG505. 
Thanks to Robert Lee and Mike Fairclough for standing in tugging. -J&P

Wednesday 13th September

Another Wednesday another lousy forecast so little hope of flying, the trial lessons were cancelled, hardly any members turned up.  But then there was a glimmer of hope - the strong Westerly was right down the field and members started to drift in and the sun was trying to come out so we decided to get both K21s out and and set up the field for N/W launches.
At about midday Pete Warren and George took the first launch and radioed down that he was in good lift, John Street and William soon joined him, the only problem was a line squall spreading from the north west.  The lift ahead of the squall was off the clock which is usual in these conditions - but before the rain arrived - airbrakes open and on the ground ASAP.
Cloud Street shadow looking east (John Street)
 An early lunch was the order of the day, after lunch a weather check at the end of the field looked as if there was going to be more rain.But before people started to drift away I did another weather check and the prospects looked much better, the next problem was to prize people out of the comfort of the clubhouse and onto the very cold airfield.
Geoff flying up the cloud street (John Street)
 Pete Startup saw the wisdom of the flying possibilities and started to rig his Discus and reaching Tiverton - quite an achievement in the strong wind. After such a poor start to the day the afternoon produced some excellent conditions with abundant thermals, cloud streets and ridge lift. Most of the flights airbraked down, and on the last flight of the day there was  some wave just to round the day off. - John Street

Saturday 9th September - The highlights

At 9:28 the hanger was unpacked ready for a day of flying.

At 10:09 the hanger was packed away due to impending rain. 

At 10:30 Francis arrived and immediately started his daily digest of today's newspaper.

At 10:31 Francis took a snooze.

At 13:02 Francis awoke and promptly left for home.

At 13:30 Ruth and Rowan took the first launch of the day to enjoy off the clock lift to 1700 feet cloud base and a 40min flight of shower dodging.

At 14:24 Paul S. and William took a half price aerotow onto the ridge only to be forced home because of a wall of showers.

At 14:48 the kit was put away due to heavy showers.

Thanks to the brave tuggies James H and Simon L who towed us aloft in either exciting or challenging condition depending on your perspective. 

Friday 8th September - Course week

The final day of the last course week for 2017 proved to be disappointing, weather wise. So after a course washup, we gave up mid-morning with the cloud still on the ground and an afternoon forecast of heavy rain and thunder. 
Thanks as always to the Course helpers - Richard Harris, George Sanderson, Chris Coville and Allan Mounce and the back-seat drivers John Sillett and Paul C.

Thursday 7th September - Course week

It was a slow start with low cloud, but the Course members enjoyed more lectures from John and Paul. 
Ready to go when the cloud lifts (Jill Harmer)
As soon as it looked possible to launch the Course got going and the Club members decided to wait until after an early lunch. 
There were soaring flights for both Nat and Rob Rankin, with the West ridge kicking off some low level thermals in the brighter gaps of the cloud sheet.
September course and helpers (Jill Harmer)
During the afternoon, the brighter gaps disappeared but the ridge started working more reliably, for a while before the rain appeared in the valley and the kit was put away just in time after 40 launches.

The evening flying had been cancelled, but the Course members and helpers enjoyed an evening at the Keeper's. - J&P

Wednesday 6th September - Course week

The forecast for Wednesday was for the weather to be the best day of the week and so with great expectations there was plenty of enthusiasm to get things going and there was quite a queue in the club line with several private gliders, two club Juniors and the K13.
A good line of Wednesday flyers (John Street)
The wind was a brisk northwesterly and cloud base at about 2,000ft, the September course K21s were first away and had mixed success to start with but soon began to stay up.
Pete Startup, Andrew Logan, Nigel, JB, Barbie and Simon Minson all flew their own gliders and all had good flights,
Pete landed out at Smeatharpe whilst attempting the Club 100......
"Round TIV and picked up a great convergence which I ran for 33km without stopping towards CRK. But then the convergence stopped and so did the sky. Backtracked to Chard where I picked up a climb and it looked better towards CRK by then so tried again. Got rained on 5km from turnpoint so went for home by which time the sky had stopped giving and ended up landing out at Smeatharpe."
A late convergence (John Street)
Both Juniors were kept busy all day and Pete Warren made good use of the K13, a large convergence set up  about 5.00pm and both course K21s spent about an hour in it kept company by Mike and Barbie, Mike in a Junior and Barbie in the Pik, they all landed about 6.00pm or just after. - John Street.

Course blog
A great day for the Course! Early low cloud dispersed rapidly, and we managed to get the first flight off before 0930. Everyone managed some soaring, with the ridge providing feeble support, and the occasional thermal bubbling up in the afternoon. One cable break; possibly instructor error, but we know that never happens at DSGC, so Rob Rankin takes the blame! John Sillett and Paul C had a very long day, but the reward was in the buoyant mood of the course members as we put the gliders to bed as the sun was going down. Tomorrow OK, but Friday looks bad; so a good day today was very welcome. Downside? Failing to see Pete Startup after his safe land out; apparently this has happened before, proving that the lift Gods occasionally tease even their favourite sons! -CC

Tuesday 5th September - Course week

Day Two of the course. 
Fog, rain, low cloudbase. Lecture programme continued, with extra- curricula discussion on ethics, Brexit and a short talk from Chris C on the Red Arrows. Zoe and Emma raised spirits, and also served an excellent lunch.
At 13:30, John and Paul gazed at the heavens some 30 ft above them, and after consulting the course members, we all shrugged our shoulders and headed home, looking forward to a better day tomorrow. - CC

Monday 4th September - Course week

 Day One of the final course in 2017

Arrived under leaden skies and driving rain, with low cloudbase and near zero visibility. Good morning for ground training!
The weather showed a marginal improvement by 1300, and we started flying 30 minutes later, with a series of early pull offs under a 900 ft cloudbase. Nevertheless, 22 shorties flown with all course members getting 2 or 3 flights, eventually finishing at 1730 with the weather closing in again - CC (first-time blogger)

The flights of t’Eagle & d’Discus

an Ode by Phil & Gill Morrison; on a train to London, September 2017

t'Eagle heading across the Humber (John Pursey)

At the briefing they said, “‘twould be thermic”,
with clouds all puffy and white.
Hot ships would have to go later
but t’Eagle should take the first flight.

Now ’Eagle has seen many summers
and has soared in many a sky
Her beauty and grace are a legend
and her pilots both eager to fly.

Alas, age has sapped her performance,
compared to more modern machines,
but her pilots were emboldened and daring
and fixated on winning it seems.

Then launching by ‘tuggies was started,
as soon as the sky looked just right,
all those who were waiting and gridded
were eager to start on their flight.

The ‘Eagle, in Mustard White livery
had only just vanished from view,
whilst the others in rapid succession
were all being launched, two by two.

Her “groundies”, still flustered and sweaty
from just having rigged the damn thing,
watched ‘launches, then went for a shower……
...‘Twas then the phone started to ring.

The task ‘twas six places to visit.
Scattered all over the weald
but ’Eagle made barely a couple
before she were down in a field.

Latest addition to the Morrison flight crew (Gill Morrison)
Meanwhile, d’Discus’s pilots,
aloft in their glassfibre ship,
were circling high over Scunthorpe;
not worried one little bit.

They pressed on regardless to Gainsborough,
down Valley of Trent as thee know.
But by now ‘top cover were showing;
‘twould soon be the end of the show.

At ’turnpoint it became quite apparent;
the ground seeming awfully near,
that, without hesitation or slacking,
toward home they needed to steer.

Our boys turned back with reluctance
to a small patch of light near the fell.
By now ‘land were covered in shadow
and Scunthorpe looked darker than hell

But failing to make upward progress
their decision ‘came perfectly clear
and by pushing buttons and switches
an engine was made to appear.

They figured, by way of excuses,
that ‘twas certainly bound to transpire
their bodies would surely be needed
to get ’Eagle out of the mire.

On landing back on the airfield
with runways so welcome and clear
They found ’Eagle…..already nested,
so they opened a bottle of beer.

Saturday 2nd September

Flying started early with some expectation of soaring weather before the approaching warm front, and some managed to soar, but it was mainly a training day with some extended circuits using the South ridge after the wind had backed a little.
Cheesey grins from Reuben and Ellie -the latest Junior members to convert to K6 (Jill Harmer)

Thanks to Ian Mitchell for completing the Annual on K6 DRE, which was rigged and then first Reuben Buss tried it out for size followed swiftly by Ellie Carter. They both enjoyed the delights of flying a K6. - J&P

Friday 1st September

It was another special Trial lesson voucher day, to catch up on the backlog of cancelled flights, and the weather forecast was very promising with a ridge forming and just the decision of which end to fly from in the northerly crosswind. 
In the event, there was a little bit of east in it, so the decision was made. 
A little wavy interlude in the cumulus (Jill Harmer)
With it being a lovely soarable day, there was no problem with giving all the visitors  a great gliding experience of the Devon countryside. Eleven flights completed with four Mile High's. Thanks to all the Instructors and Helpers. - J&P