Tues 27th March - NHL Nomads

Version 1) Trevor's latest Ridge running invitation was just what I needed and although the weather looked rather dubious we had faith in our Master and the North Hill Nomads headed for Nympsfield in the rain (as usual). 

I decided to just do the short run north to BCL a couple of times and took my time and enjoyed the view. We were rewarded with weak wave and some wave assisted thermals which made it a very enjoyable afternoon. 

Thanks Trevor for your guidance and especially to Jordon Richards who helped us all rig, de-rig and drag Pete out of a very slimy field at the bottom of the ridge! - JB

Version 2) A call from Trevor saw 230, JB and DD3 heading North for the Nympsfield ridges. When the rain eventually stopped we enjoyed a pleasant couple of hours going up and down to BCL. 

On the last leg I got stuck in the bowl at Harescombe hoping to climb that extra bit but it had gone a bit soft and wasn't happening. Still thought I might make the Nympsfield home ridge with the tailwind and height I had but as I got closer it just wasn't looking sensible, so went 'au vache'.
230 au vache (Pete Startup)
 Many thanks to those who helped me carry 230 out of the slimefield including Jordan and Steve E from NYM.
Failure to pay attention meant I stopped short of the finish line by 400 yards - b.......r.
Now, where's that pressure washer! - Pete

Mon 26th March

Trimax who manufactured our new mower came to the Club today to brief us on routine maintenance and set the machine up for our needs.
Robert Lee sets off  (Peter Smith)
They have worked hard to make it as easy as possible and we can spread the word in due course. Encouraged by a field which has dried out well, and grass that is already growing, Robert Lee set off over the horizon and back several times. The size and cutting width of over 6 metres means that we have to re-think how we set about mowing the field. Unlike gliding should be, time spent turning is not very productive.

We are starting with a cut height of 40mm and will see how that works, so far it looks about right. Adjustment is very straightforward if we decide to change it. - Peter Smith

KEK is back (Jill Harmer)

Following the refurbishment of KEK in Poland by Refinish, the delivery chain brought the K21 back via Lasham to Southern Sailplanes at Membury today. Jill and Pete collected the trailer and returned it to North Hill. A quick peek in the trailer shows the new sparkling blue livery. - J&P

Sun 25th March

It was a busy day at the Club, with a long members flying list, some cross-country mentoring from Ron Johns, some Brentor Instructor Training with Simon Minson, first flyable Trial lessons for ages, the Pawnee back in action and only 2 two-seaters available, but thanks to Nick Jones who volunteered DD3 to help out. 

We started the day with a flat tailwheel  tyre on the DG 505 ...leaving us with one, two-seater but things improved. The wind didn't listen to the forecast which was supposed to be west of north...of course it was east so a set up in the SW corner was made. The Flying list was over 17 and with only two gliders it was going to be challenging but help soon arrived with duo DD3 kindly lent to the training fleet for the day and ably flown by JB and Phil.

Wave was contacted by Duty Instructor Ron Johns with Paul Medlock, who incidentally is one of the first guinea pigs in the cross-country mentoring scheme. Paul received a few hints on recognising, contacting and monitoring the wave lift. Later in the day a meeting was held briefing the objectives behind the scheme.

We said goodbye to our last K13 as R37 set off for Mendip Gliding Club, and it is certainly a milestone for the Club now having a completely glass fleet.

R37 sets off for Mendip Gliding Club (Robert Lee)
Ron managed to find some wave in the morning, but there was over-development and spreadout at lunchtime. 
Spooky clouds (Ron Johns)

Pete Startup 230 and Wyn Davies W7 enjoyed the late afternoon conditions.
Improving conditions (Ron Johns)
Pete's flight-  "Late clearance in Devon. Not even soarable until after 3 and the good air arrived even later but by 5 it was great! Boundaries of this small local task largely dictated by sea air from Bridgwater Bay to the North, Chard on the edge of it and Taunton being well into it and taking more than one attempt to get to. Not what we hoped for but glad in the end to get something out of the day. Had the Wynster in W7 for company."

230 & W7 ready to go (Wyn Davies)
Wyn's flight  - "Short cross country flight. After a previous attempt or 2 we set off cautiously to the east. 230 turned Chard and Axminster, while W7 made it to AXM and called it a day. The sky got better as we came back to NH and a push  to the north got 230 to Taunton and back. Fantastic clear sky following the rather overcast morning."

Thurs 22nd March

The initial bright start soon changed to total cloud cover, with a cold westerly wind. The masses were very keen to fly, so the K21, DG505 and two Juniors were readied, only to find there was a flat main tyre on one of the Juniors and the valve had disappeared.
North Hill airfield with snow still round the edges (Mike Sloggett)

Flying started, whilst a team changed the wheel on the Junior and it also soon appeared at the launchpoint. 
DG505 still with its tips on (Mark Layton)

With good launches to 1600ft, a little bit of wave over Broadhembury and the odd thermal, most flights were extended circuits with 14minutes being the best.
Cleaning gliders and hangar packing (Mark Layton)

The expected rain and low cloud stayed out to the west and we managed to complete the flying list before everyone got too cold. 

Just as we finished flying Ian Mitchell appeared with the Pawnee for a test flight following the Annual, thanks to Ian and the team for working on the Pawnee in the cold hangar. 

It didn't feel much like spring today but at least the snow was showing signs of disappearing. - J&P

Wed 21st March

First thing there was still a lot of snow about but it had started to thaw, we had a Clubhouse full of hopefuls hoping to fly. After several field inspections, including John Street walking the length of the cable run, and much discussion, it was decided to fly,  but not before some members had decided to call it a day and go home.
Plenty of thermals around (John Street)
We were ready to fly at about 12:00 noon, and from the first flight it was soarable John Sillett was first in the air followed by Glenn Turpin in the DG505. This prompted Pete Startup (who else) to rig 230, the only private owner, as  Eric had decided not to rig, - I expect he regretted  it later.
Plenty of snowdrifts still (John Street)
The wind was north westerly, so there was a bit of ridge lift, but it was not needed because there were plenty of thermals, several flights climbed to over 3,000ft with flights of over 1hr logged. Pete Startup managed a local bimble around 100kms in 2hrs 30mins having dug his trailer out of the snowdrifts for the second time in 2 weeks.

Deja Vu!
What started as a bit of a doubtful day ended up very worthwhile. - John Street.

Thursday 15th March

With 30mm of rain yesterday, low cloud and a strong southerly, it was no surprise to those who drove through the floods to get to North Hill today that there was little chance of flying this week. 
The Wednesday regulars had completed the preparatory work of loading the newly-built parachute cupboard onto the trailer and it arrived at the club on Thursday morning.
Peter Smith with team of helpers (Peter Smith)

Peter Smith had not only designed and built it single-handed, but also had  a cunning plan for installation in the hangar using ropes, tractors and pulleys. 
Installation plan (Mike Sloggett)

So without very much blood, sweat or tears, the parachute cupboard was  installed in position.

Good job, well done, thanks to all the helpers and especially to Peter Smith (now moving on to the next project.) - J&P

Thursday 8th March

The forecast was hopeful for a second decent day this week with a good cold front clearance over night and a fresh westerly in a bright clear airmass. 

To let the field drain this morning, we delayed the start of flying a little, with the first task to rig the DG505 after its Annual inspection. Thanks to Carl Tharme and Pete Startup for the fast turnround, and just like magic, the 505 has regrown the tips.
DG505 complete with tips again  and just look at that sky! (Mark Courtney)

The field was still showing signs of the recent snow around the edges, but the surface was quite sound for winching. 
Snow round the edges of North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
It was soarable from the first flight until the last one with some chunky 6 knot thermals to 3000ft above North Hill. But it was the lovely streets that made it so enjoyable with many gliders heading off over the motorway.
Admiring the streeting whilst waiting to launch (George Vojtisek)
The two-seater list kept ticking over with 3 gliders and 6 Instructors taking their turn. With the gusty approach, single seat flying was limited to the more experienced pilots (including 3 instructors getting the opportunity for some solo time.) There were 22 flights in total with the Club gliders averaging 50 min flights. 

Pete Startup 230 and Eric Alston G29 explored the local area a little further with Pete clocking his first 100km flight of the season up over Exmoor. "Bit of a wander following the energy today. Wind c.260/24 at height made for some great wave boosted climbs matched equally by the wave boosted sink and difficulty going into wind - the streets looked better than they were. Great viz and scenery though and still quite a bit of snow on Exmoor. Great March day even if it was only local soaring." 

Thanks to everyone for a very enjoyable day. - J&P

Wednesday 7th March

The Beast from the East has moved to the north leaving us with ideal soaring weather, still a little cold but compared with last week almost tropical! Still some snow around to remind us of last week.

Diggin' before riggin'!
 The flying got off to a good start with Mike Fitz and John Street first in the air in the K21, followed by Robert Lee in a Junior-  both having good soaring flights, the good conditions lasted all day with everyone having a good soaring flight. There were a lot of storms about in the local area, but they all just about missed us, ahead of the storms, there was very strong lift with climbs to 3,000ft.
The storms missed us - just! (John Street)
Eric Alston G29, Pete Startup 230 and Tim Johns 877 flew their own gliders, Eric airbraking it down after 99min needing a cup of tea. Our friends from Brentor were with us again, they all had some good flying, and with the tug on its annual there were no Trial lessons.
Mike Sloggett with a Brentor visitor (John Street)
Considering the weather we have had lately, the field was surprisingly dry and with a similarly good forecast for Thursday - let's hope this winter is now behind us. - John Street.

Sunday 4th March

Following the Beast from the East combining with Storm Emma there was some work to be done at North Hill.
Temperature plunges at North Hill (Weather Station)

Looking like a scene from a Christmas carol, or at least the aftermath, a few intrepid explorers arrived at the club with the aim of extricating our DG505 from the hanger to get it into the workshop for the Annual inspection. The task was made harder by the snow covering the concrete pan in front of the hanger, nothing that a little muscle couldn’t fix! 
Andrew Logan and Glenn Turpin get stuck in clearing the pan (James Flory)

Following a few heavy showers the hanger was duly unpacked and James Flory, Pete Startup and Andrew Logan escorted the DG down to the workshop. Alan Turner and Phil Grant had also braved the conditions to complete the polishing of CYA following it’s annual. With CYA safely removed from the workshop, the DG was de-rigged and moved in and Andrew and Pete started the dismantling  ready for Carl Tharme to do the annual.  Meanwhile Stu Proctor and Ian Mitchell investigated the water leak above the showers in the Ground hangar. Stu found the culprit, a ruptured T junction. Sadly looks like some work will be needed to fix the showers ceiling and to allow the electrics to dry out. 
The Clubhouse still has a roof! (James Flory)

As we left the skies were blue with some inviting fluffy white clouds, but the field will take a good few days to recover. There was a river running down the main track, made a nice noise; perhaps we should have a permanent water features as part of the club house refurbishment?  Most of the field was either covered in snow or standing water, roll on the spring! 
Trailers all safe (James Flory)
Thanks to all who turned up and helped. - James F