Sun 29th April

After the busy day at the Club yesterday, there were only a few members at the Club first thing braving the chilly North Easterly wind.The skies were as grey as forecast and although there were odd glimpses of blue sky here and there, there was little optimism of the conditions getting any better. However those present remained positive that with patience a few more members might turn up to allow some gliding to take place.

And by mid morning there were just enough people to allow us to get the ground equipment out and the winch run set up for launches to the North East corner of the airfield. Meanwhile with several instructors keen to fly the Perkoz a decision was made to get just the Perkoz and a K21 out of the hangar - with daily inspections of the gliders completed it was then a question of walking down to the South West corner of the airfield. Looking at the coats, hats and gloves being worn one would think it was December not April but soon it was on with the flying.
Gloomy towards Dunkeswell (Mike Sloggett)
Simon Leeson and Mike Sloggett both had the ‘fun’ of flying the Perkoz with Simon Minson who was clearly able to reach the yellow release knob in the front cockpit, providing Simon and Mike with the opportunity to land the Perkoz in different parts of the airfield.

Guy Adams then completed some training flights in the K21 to get David Cowley and Ross Pratt into the air whilst Simon and Mike switched to winching and cable/glider retrieve duties respectively.
New mower has been at work on North Hill airfield (Mike Sloggett)
Peter Warren then had some flights in the Perkoz with Simon Minson followed by Guy and  Simon Jordy - who, with no aerotows needed,  helped out on the ground commenting as he regularly retrieved the Perkoz that he was enjoying the opportunity to see different areas of grass. With everyone flown or about to fly in the Perkoz and the wind still chilly a decision was made to bring the day to an end so Chris Woodward and Mike flew the K21 home closely followed by the Perkoz.

A day where again patience was rewarded, thank you to everyone for the great teamwork which enabled others to fly. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 28th April - Open Day

The weather forecast on Friday was not very promising, but by Saturday morning the strong winds had abated, and there was just some low cloud to start. The airfield and clubhouse had been prepared to greet visitors, and Sir Chris Coville was featured on Radio Devon publicising the event.
The new Perkoz - latest addition to the Club fleet (David Clements)
Visitors started arriving early, and the gliders were soon walked down to the far end of the airfield with the low cloud lifting nicely. The Club's four two-seaters were kept busy all day with the new Perkoz taking it's place in the Club fleet. 
Busy launch point (David Clements)

After all the visitors had flown, some of the Club members took advantage of the opportunity to fly the new Perkoz. 

Thanks to James Flory and all the Club members who helped to make the day go so smoothly. - J&P

Thurs 26th April

The forecast for Thursday suggested drier and less windy than Wednesday - but it wasn't! There were many showers in the local area, although only one crossed the airfield, and it was easy to stay airborne around them. The gusty 20kt westerly wind made it feel quite cold, but it was soarable from first to last launch.
Good air (Mike Sloggett)
There was a good mixture of soaring training and currency checks for the Thursday regulars keeping Pete Harmer, Chris Wool and Mike Sloggett busy all day. 
First to fly the Perkoz - Stu and Chris (Stu Procter)
Well done to Andrew Logan and George Sanderson for negotiating with CAA to get the Perkoz paperwork completed in time for the Open Day on Saturday. So today saw the first flights of our new Perkoz,  overseen by CFI Stu who had taken the day off specially. 

Perkoz - first landing (John Borland)
It was good to see some private owners out enjoying the local sporting conditions and with Pete Startup  in 230 completing 130kms turning Okehampton and Wellington, and Wyn Davies in W7 getting back from Crediton. 

At the end of the day Mike and Barbie had rigged the Pik and Mike enjoyed a late afternoon flight in wave under the approaching high cover. 

Thanks to Mark, (Simon & Rowan ) for fixing the DSGC webcams.
Simon Leeson all points east and west (Mark Courtney)
Thanks to everyone for mucking in and keeping everything running smoothly albeit a little frustrating for the early solo restricted pilots. - J&P

Wed 25th April

Because of the forecast the usual number of Wednesday members was reduced and the weather at the club did not show much promise to start with, but we decided to make a start and the two K21s were readied for flying. We had problems with the winch communications, so we decided to aerotow only. The first couple of launches were very rough but the thermals were strong and it was reasonably easy to stay up if you managed to avoid the many showers.  We tried to do as many flights before 1:00pm because the weather was due to get worse in the afternoon.
Avoiding the storms (John Street)
But the weather hadn't seen the weather forecast because conditions steadily improved during the afternoon, Pete Startup  230 was the only private glider to rig and duly disappeared all afternoon.
Robert earned his gold 'c' in Tractor driving with an all day stint on the new mower at grass cutting. William Pope and Tim Petty changed the cables on the Skylaunch winch in Ĺ•eadiness for the Open Day on Saturday.
Good cloud streets and thermals (John Street)

Pete Warren was tuggie all day and had some quite interesting aerotows, everyone flew and all had good soaring flights, what started as a difficult day ended up very rewarding.
Many thanks to Peter Field for standing in for John Sillett. - John Street.

Sun 22nd April

With lots of card checks still to do after weeks of prohibitive weather together with many trainees, the club buildings were well-populated by the hopeful from an early hour today.  The aircraft were extracted from their new hangar configuration by the early risers and everything set up for launching into a westerly wind, such as it was. 
A bit grey to start (Mike Sloggett)

 Some early low cloud caused Mike Rigby and Peter Field to release early on the first winch launch of the day but this soon dissipated to sunny conditions allowing full-height winch launches and high aerotows. The return of the DG505 from the Long Mynd helped instructors to make brisk progress through the two-seater list; the Perkoz remaining elusively out of reach for a little longer, pending CAA paperwork. 

A couple of trial lessons punctuated the flying list and were met with enthusiasm and, in one case, observed by almost a dozen family members. It was good to see junior members, including Harry Rigby, Ellie Carter and Jack Raybould getting airborne and getting stuck in with launch and retrieval duties.  Harry was chuffed to receive sign-off to retrieve gliders in the Gator.  Well done also to Paul Little for his soloing the DG505.
Ron checks out Paul for the DG505 (Mike Sloggett)

Some took the opportunity to take lunch during a pause to change the troublesome winch battery, which produced a queue on the aerotow line.  Cloud came and went through the day, at times squeezing the headroom a little, but also with some weak wave. By mid-afternoon, with a lifting cloud base and strengthening wind, the ridge began to work well, giving some extended flight times.  
North Hill  and Forest Glade (Lisa Humphries)
 The motor-gliders made regular appearances including  James Flory at the controls completing his Tug rating.  The kit finally being packed away under James’s direction at around 1800 after 50 launches.  The new configuration actually seems to work better, with the aircraft arranged in symmetrical fashion.  Hot cakes from Cheryl & Graham put smiles on many faces as we shaped up to head home. Until the next time. - (First time blogger) Mike Rigby

Sat 21st April

At last a Saturday that had a forecast of something other than low cloud or constant rain. With a a lot of people eager to get current again, the hanger emptying process was completed in good time by the many, with Ian Hunt as Duty Marshall doing a sterling job, so that by the time the duty instructor turned up the field was almost ready to go. Lack of currency extended into the instructor cadre so with John P on duty and working on the list, CFI Stuart set about clearing first Rowan then Matt so that all the two-seat gliders could be used. 
Sky hinting at what was to come (JP)
Despite the almost absence of wind on the ground, the fact that it was a SE and a curious smoothness to the burgeoning stratus prompted thoughts of wave prior to launching and so it was the first flight of the day saw a disappointingly low launch dropped Alan Turner into a steady 1 - 2 up in a line running out from the club to Broadhembury. This really set the tone for the day with curiously good wave given the modest wind speed present for most of the day. 
Sky starting to look threatening (JP)
Play was interrupted for an hour late morning by a band of rain that sprung from the stratus but with brightening skies the team were soon out and launching again. Initially the wave seemed to have stopped but with successive launches it became obvious that it was re-establishing itself. Whilst mainly blue, the sky post rain showed evidence of alto cumulus and other mid level clouds often associated with thundery weather. Despite a pause for a cable break, the flying list did get attacked by JP and Rowan Smith with Reuben Buss getting cleared solo in time for him to have his first stint as a Duty Marshall. 

With effectively a cross wind all day, launches were never particularly high but with a little effort most could slide into the wave which whilst not going particularly high was fairly solid low down.
Looks like Summer (Dave Herbert)
DSGC young member Daniel Hendey was rewarded for his accurate flying by taking KEK to 2,000ft and the sight of the DG505 slipping alongside in formation with a smiling and waving trial lesson crew (Matt Williamson and Arthur Hayhoe). James Flory  took on the pm duty and improved his fitness with endless simulated launch failure walks back to the launch point. 

As the day wore on, the clouds around became rather more sinister and in the distance thunder could be heard. Last flights revealed more challenging conditions with rough approaches and a wind that round to the west. The last hurrah in the wave saw 2,500ft before it all broke down and become very turbulent. With gliders being walked back to the hanger, the electrical storm started flashing both to the west and east. 
Interesting cloud formations before the thunderstorms started (JP)
The hanger packing was made more interesting by a new addition - the Perkoz! Resplendent with its tips on, the Perkoz had been rigged during the afternoon and now with two big span gliders to stow in the hanger, the challenge was on to come up with a new layout. With some thought and a few squeaks, a sensible and symmetrical arrangement was hit upon which looks to work well. 
New hangar layout (JB)
 With the beer fridge opened and the sky entertaining with lightening and funky cloud shapes it was a great end to a day that hopefully marks the start of a proper summer... - JP

Fri 20th April - Denbigh

It was a warm and sunny Friday morning at Denbigh and the forecast was not at all promising for the Vale of Clwyd due to the warm stable air mass. However for the gliders with turbos it was suggested that conditions to the west and south would be good, so a 200k task was set and the turbo gliders launched as soon as Cu was visible on the distant hills. With the Tug U/S, winch launch was the only option and and the prospects of finding any lift within gliding range for the non turbo pilots was looking pretty slim.

First to launch was Rodney Witter in his super little 13.2 m Silent 2 electric glider  followed by Dan and Chris in the Arcus M and DG1000 M. JB in the Ventus Ct launched next followed by Phil and Nick in the Duo Discus DD3.

Much fuel was spent (and noise generated by all except Rodney) getting to Lake Brenig (Task Start point) in the distant hills and on arrival the promised thermals were almost non existent and very broken. The options were to keep searching for a climb or just set off on task and hope for the best.  JB adopted the 'press on regardless' method and sledged south east as far as possible into a little valley and the sun soaked town of Corwen which looked obliged to offer some thermal sustenance. Forty five minutes later having supped from every wisp of lift on offer he finally accepted failure and succumbed to the iron thermal to escape. Meanwhile DD3 had been searching in vain for a decent climb to set off on task and eventually decided to abandon the task return to Denbigh for a nice cup of tea. The Arcus and DG1000 both faired better and eventually turned the Long Mynd. 
Snowdon shrouded in cloud with sea mist in the distance (JB)
After a second noisy climb to 3000ft, JB eventually found a stonking climb near Lake Bali and headed north to Snowdonia to play in a weak sea breeze convergence. The views were spectacular with the sea to the west hidden under a blanket of sea mist.

JB couldn’t quite get to Snowdon peak which was shrouded in cloud so set off south again with renewed enthusiasm to Vyrnwy dam on Lake Efyrnwy (they don’t like vowels in wales!). 
Clwyd hills from the southwest (JB)
On the way back a small diversion was required around the Jubilee Tower on Moal Fameau for a last low level wave at the walkers before landing. Four hrs of flying for 4 litres of petrol seamed a fair compromise! - JB

Thurs 19th April - Long Mynd

There was some confusion as we all woke up in the morning, caused by an abundance of blue sky and a bright orb which caused certain members of our group to put out their shorts in anticipation of a hot day. The weather forecast was good, almost too good with suggestion of possible thermals but unlikely to be marked by fluffy white clouds. As the hangar was unpacked then so were the shorts following which several other DSGC pilots had to go and lie down to recover from the sight of the legs on display.

The Club was busy with local pilots rigging a wide variety of gliders keen to make use of the pleasant, if unspectacular weather, to regain some currency after the poor weather of recent weeks. Some of the DSGC group took their gliders across to the launch point with a view to ‘timing’ their take offs to make the most of the potential lift as and when it might arrive. Highlight of the day was David Cowley converting to the K23.
David Cowley solo in K23 (Mike Sloggett)
However it was evident from the first launch that the day was going to be hot and limiting in terms of thermal activity. Some launches ended up with simple circuits, some with extended circuits and the odd one or two managed to ‘hang around’ in broken blue thermals for a while - unfortunately the conditions did not quite become as hoped for and the fact that the longest flight of the day was just over an hour tells the story. Some of the DSGC model flyers went off to have fun on the faraway slopes the other side of the valley from the Mynd and funnily enough ended up having a cream tea too. Rumours of an ‘active discussion’ around whether it is jam or cream first on the scone have yet to be proved.
The famous Mynd sunset (Mike Sloggett)
The evening ended with the famous steak night meal with suitable discussion between DSGC and Midland GC members as to whether Friday would provide any better soaring to end the week.

 In fact Friday dawned in a pretty uninspiring way and by late morning the decision was made by most of the group to derig and return to North Hill. As ever a big Thank You to Midland GC members for their welcome and help during our visit.  - Mike Sloggett

Thurs 19th April

It was a bright sunny start, with a light westerly wind, and the field had dried out significantly after the sun and strong winds of yesterday. With careful positioning of the winch run to avoid the still soggy patches, the 21 members on the two-seater list (with most requiring currency checks) was started. The three Instructors were kept busy all day with just the two K21s available. 
Juniors ready to launch (Jill Harmer)
Circuits of those who got to full height varied between 4 and 5 minutes, whilst most of the simulated launch failures enjoyed the long walk from the other end of the field. Just before lunchtime, five private gliders joined the single seat queue, but soon opted for an aerotow. With a solid inversion initially at 1200ft, some bubbles started developing and the inversion rose to 2,500ft. 

Steve Westlake FER, Jeff Taberham 380 and Eric Alston G29 all enjoyed long flights in the local area. When it was looking like the flying list would be completed, there was a sudden wind shift and cooling from sea air to the north, and the small convergence area moved over the site giving a significant tailwind. It was decided that it was too late in the day to change ends with everyone getting tired in the unfamiliar heat, and a decision to call it a day was made.

Sorry to those who didn't get to fly, but a lot of the currency checks were completed - 46 winch launches and 7 aerotows in total. 

Congratulations to Andy Davey after his course at Aston Down with his Bronze badge completed. We were also able to give new member Jim Binning his first flights today after the unfortunate weather cancelled  April course.

And two more bits of good news - 
The CAA have rejected the Exeter ACP (more details on the website)  and a big thank you to everyone who submitted a response. 
The Swallows are back - so please keep the aircraft hangar doors closed. - J&P

Wed 18th April - Denbigh

Phil arrived towing JB’s glider, journeying via Essex for work related matters, and thus relieved JB of his seat in DD3. The day dawned cloudy but rain free with a strong Southerly wind. The tug tried a flight in the strong cross wind and decided it was not sensible to aerotow, which hampered those without engines. 
However Phil and Nick lined up DD3 for a winch launch and, starting the engine at the top of the launch, proceeded South to Denbigh where they contacted wave at 3,500ft. Initially it was quite strong but soon settled down to an average of 2-3 knots. They climbed to 6,000 ft then pushed forward to a view of Bala lake with a further climb to 12,000ft, and so forward again to Bala lake itself. Not easy with a 50 knot headwind. After a patient wait here they finally topped out at 15,500ft. Thus emboldened they decided to crab their way across wind to Dolgellau in the region of Barmouth a shallow Haven which they had both visited in their nautical days. This point claimed,  rounding Snowdon was of course mandatory. This was done from a comfortable height of 10,000ft or so. 
 (At the briefing the following morning we learnt the locals had airbraked down to peak height earlier in the day and flown back home from there!) Phil and Nick were happy to conserve their height and mop up a few more turning points before returning to Llewenni Parc for an interesting approach and landing to be enhanced by a glider being towed down the runway just as they were on finals!! Anyway they stayed mostly on the narrow runway only making a short excursion onto the forbidden grass. 
Magnificent view over the Lleynn Peninsula. Port Madoc, bottom right followed by Pwllheli, Abersoch and Bardsey Island beyond the end
The only other Nomad to venture forth was Wyn. In his usual enthusiastic manner he took advantage of an aerotow; (a few were taken later in the afternoon). Releasing at 4,500ft in W7 climbed to 5,500ft in wave and in his own words “I pushed out from there and lost it all to return to base from 18kms away on a marginal final glide”.
So a great day for the engines and disappointing for some. - Phil Morrison

Wed 18th April - Long Mynd

The day dawned (well we think it did) under a very grey sky with the wind still blowing around the eaves of the Clubhouse. The weather had been forecast to brighten up as the day unfolded and the local Midland GC members were all confident that there would be some flying later in the day, it was just a question of when. With reports coming in from all parts of the South that the sun was shining brightly and with satellite photos confirming that the cloud was moving away to the North it was agreed that patience, as ever an essential attribute for all glider pilots, was needed. So there was only one thing to do and that was to complete the first visit for the week to Ginger and Green Coffee Shop in Church Stretton. As the group returned up the steep hill to the site it was evident that the weather was not improving as quickly as hoped but the decision was made to rig the single seat gliders and unpack the hangar.

It turned out nice after all (Mike Sloggett)
With an early lunch called and the daily briefing completed the launch point was set up and the Midland GC K21 and K13 taken across to launch and assess the conditions which looked “interesting” in the freshening South Easterly wind. With evident thermal activity albeit not particularly consistent the DG505 was also taken across together with DG100 (LRN). Both DSGC gliders took the opportunity to launch and found that whilst there were some thermals around they were not particularly strong and ragged. With the wind direction and strength continuing to be “interesting” the decision was made to not launch again but to put the gliders to bed for the night. Meanwhile some of our group went off to fly some models. In the evening a large group of DSGC and Midland GC members went down to Church Stretton for the traditional “Wednesday
night out”. Optimism continues for some better flying weather tomorrow and Friday. - Mike Sloggett

Denbigh Tuesday 17th April

We woke this morning to lots of rain with lots to come, so although the Lleweni manager Chris predicted wave late in the day, we decided it was looking good for a day out to the Great Orme and view the scene of the epic flights by Arcus EW and DG1000M SOR yesterday. On the way Nick Jones wanted to introduce himself to the crew of the RNLI Llandudno lifeboat in a 'I designed and built this' moment which resulted in a warm welcome and a personalised tour of the new boat, launching platform (Nicks and Supacats bit), and building with the boat's engineer Les. Wyn was like a kid with the latest version of a Playstation game sitting in the helmsmans seat and playing with the touch screen controls. Many thanks to the Llandudno lifeboat crew.

Nick studies his handywork on the Llandudno lifeboat
 On arrival back at Lleweni we awaited the arrival of Phil with JB's glider while struggling with the daily decision of which pub to go to. Meanwhile a couple of gliders took late launches and had some fun in Chris's predicted wave, Chris himself climbing to over 19,000' - top effort.

Tomorrow's weather shows some soaring potential although the thought of launching and landing in the forecast brisk 90 degree crosswind again are not a great prospect - character building stuff, we'll see.....

Tues 17th April - Long Mynd

With the actual weather being as forecast it was a question today of deciding what to do and where to go. With several of our group having not been to the RAF Museum at Cosford for a number of years and with others wishing to revisit one group set off by car for Cosford mid-morning. With David Cowley and Andrew Logan continuing to impress others with their detailed knowledge of all things aircraft it was anticipated that the visit would see much discussion between the two of them and that they might not progress past Hall One before the museum closed. And as expected there was an argument over the serial numbers of the instruments used........

David \Cowley and Andrew Logan (Mark Courtney)
 Another group set off for Hereford on the train and wandered around the city finding that the local museum and cathedral are recognising the part played by the local population in both providing men for the 1914–1918 and also women and men for the Land Army and Home Front.
Weeping poppies memorial at Hereford Cathedral (Mike Sloggett)
The evening ended with a group meal and much discussion around the potential soaring tomorrow - fingers crossed that the accuracy of the good forecast is as good as the accuracy of the poor forecast for today... - Mike Sloggett

Denbigh Monday 16th April

With the wind not quite on the ridge we were thankful of the plentiful thermals that were around today. Wave influence was obvious with some very good thermals 4-5kts accompanied by the equally good sink!
Difficult to go far but local flights of between 4 and 5 hours were had by the NH Nomads, Wyn stretched his legs slightly more that the rest of us reaching Corwen down the valley before scuttling back to the hills. DD3 turbo'd out West towards the Mountains but found it even trickier out that way.

230 and KMV had a small sniff of wave late in the day but to only about 5,200' and 5500'.
By the  time we landed the wind had backed to about 180 brisk-ish straight across the runway and it was challenging to hit the small tarmac strip in the conditions.

A couple of scenery pics courtesy of 230.

Looking North along the ridge

Rhyl and Colwyn Bay

Mon 16th April - Long Mynd

After yesterday’s no flying day there was optimism that today would be much better - and with various fingers crossed that the wind might be a tad more from the West than forecast so that the ridge would work.

A morning briefing was completed with reinforcement of the importance of good lookout along the ridge and around the circuit as there were likely to be various gliders “competing” for the same parts of the sky. The morning saw various gliders being launched into a grey looking sky and as ever it was a question of whether the pilots were lucky in finding the all important ‘first climb’ on the sporadic thermals or making the most of some limited ridge lift which was inconsistent  - some pilots got away, some did not, but after the limited gliding days at North Hill of recent months it was evident that DSGC pilots were just happy to get airborne in their own gliders or the DG505. 
Mark Courtney giving ENW an airing (Mike Sloggett)
As the day progressed then slowly but surely the sky brightened, more and more blue in colour and with some nice fluffy clouds evident. And the afternoon saw flights of increasing duration with suggestions of wave here and there but always just out of reach.

During the afternoon Oscar enjoyed the experience of his first field landing having made a decision with the Midland GC Instructor in the back seat of the K21 on their flight that a landing in the valley was more appropriate than trying to get back to the airfield!
Oscar Leeson with MGC K21 down in the valley (Mike Sloggett)
Ian Mitchell decided to fly a variety of gliders during the day, working his way through  the DG100, DG505, Standard Cirrus and ASW20.
DG505safe in MGC Hangar (Mike Sloggett)
With a very poor forecast for Tuesday all the DSGC single seat gliders were de-rigged and put safely away in their trailers whilst the tips of the DG505 were taken off so the glider could be safely stored in the Midland GC hangar ahead of the bad weather arriving. All round a good day followed by a group meal in the Clubhouse and discussion about the day’s flights . - Mike Sloggett

Denbigh Saturday14th April

Excited by the prospect of the best conditions in the UK the North Hill Nomads plus others from Nympsfield, Eden soaring and a smattering of others were all rigged and gridded early. Then we waited and we waited. Eventually somebody took a launch and stayed airborne(just) which resulted in the usual frenzied grid rush. The aerotow behind the Eurofox TURBO G-FLAX was excellent.

The conditions sadly didn't quite live up to expectations the lift being scrappy and unreliable. Still, some enjoyable soaring was had by all with forays into the foothills being made until the rising ground and diminishing lift resulted in much scuttling back to the Denbigh area for another try.

DD3 with the Guv'nor Nick and JB managed a trip out over the sea, W7, KMV and 230 just managed.

Pics courtesy of DD3 crew. Sunday was naff so we went walking up to the Jubilee tower on Moel Famau, part of the Offahs Dyke trail - puff, wheeze, puff, wheeze, beer.

Sat 14th April

Yet another dismal view at North Hill this morning BUT the forecast came good and later in the day the sun came through enabling us to fly and keep current. The field was still wet in places and Peter Smith spent many hours in the morning rolling out the ruts. 
The wait during the morning was worth it (Jill Harmer)
 To preserve the field it was decided that aerotow was the only option to get in the air, and a dry strip was selected.
Blue sky in the south west (Peter Smith)
Stu was on tug duty and kept busy all afternoon with a short respite from Peter H. 
Stu with Robin Willis-Fleming in the Junior on the back (Stu Procter)

Although the conditions were far from perfect with poor visibility and a lively approach, everyone flew and had a pleasant afternoon. Our new, keen, young member Daniel filled his boots with 2 flights and it really felt like summer is just around the corner. 
Mike Wilmott back after the winter with Lisa  (Lisa Humphries)
Several members had long (30mins) flights in the Junior and the two K21’s were also kept busy. Thanks to the small group for mucking in and making sure it was after all a very nice afternoon out! - Lisa Humphries

Up at the Long Mynd

Arriving last night after a hideous journey we received a warm welcome from the Mynd regulars. After a good night's sleep and a cracking breakfast we rigged the DG505 and helped rig several Mynd gliders including a beautiful Arcus, and a stunning Duo Discus.
After the 10am briefing the launch point was set up and gliders were soon getting launched to 1600 ft, helped by the 5-10knots SSW wind. Paul Summers jumped in the DG505 for a solo and immediately found lift, the Arcus and Duo fired up their iron thermals and headed off to where there be dragons. The launch point soon had a long line of queuing gliders, but with the retrieve winch system it was soon an empty launch point!

Long Mynd (Mark Courtney)
Simon and Mark went on a tour of the local area for two and a half hours only landing to let late arrival James and Ian Mitch have a fly. Both Chris Mews and Gordon Bonny had nice flights in their DG100, Paul Summers and Ian enjoyed some late flights in the DG505 before putting it to bed. Oscar had several check flights and was cleared to fly the K23.
The weather really did feel like spring today, and it was nice to be in tee shirts and not in Wooly hats!
In the evening a large group of members as well as DSGC visitors sat down to a superb evening meal. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, so glad we all made the best of today. Quite a good forecast for the week actually so we might have to go on a tour of the coffee shops tomorrow. - Mark Courtney

Thurs 12th April

The first course week this year started with the continuing rainy theme, and after two days of lectures and a forecast of yet more rain or low cloud for the rest of the week, a decision was made to cancel the remaining course days and reschedule the course if possible. The field was completely waterlogged on Wednesday, and the expectation for any flying on Thursday was not great. 

However, with a drying wind and no more rain, the Thursday crew were amazed to find that most of the field had drained quite well. There were several pitch inspections during the morning whilst the low cloud hung over the field and after an early lunch, the glimmer of sunshine tempted the two K21s and Pawnee to the west end of the field.
Daniel and Rob Hender with KEK in new DSGC  livery (Jill Harmer)

As if by magic, the sun managed to break up the cloud all over the airfield, but during the first aerotow, some cloud started to reform to the east. As the second flight landed, the easterly wind picked up significantly and the wave slots were rapidly filling in. A pause in proceedings was called to see if the sky would open up again, but the haze and low cloud did not look promising and the gliders were walked back down the field. It was good to see the sun again - albeit briefly! - J&P

Sun 8th April - Portmoak

Pete Startup  in 230 sampled Portmoak's Bishop Hill on Saturday while the rest of the expedition drove up from Devon. Sunday dawned with light winds from the west and orographic cloud, but that burned off by mid-day with a promise of thermals and hopefully some ridge running. 
The Bishop appearing from the cloud (Simon Minson)
Simon Minson  in SM was first off, followed soon after by Ron & Dan in 711. CFI Stu in KMV and Tom in DG1 followed with aerotows, but only short flights. By early afternoon, we could see streets forming and there were several 'duvets' on the Bishop. 

Portmoak (Simon Minson)

Everyone continued a combination of thermal and ridge flying for the rest of the day. All in all, a good (though not great) day.
Snow still in Scotland (Simon Minson)
Sunday promised light easterly winds, plus rain showers, so instead of flying, we did the obligatory walk to the RSPB site. The forecast for this week convinced many to cancel their trip to the North. Likewise, several of those already here are heading home early.-Tom Sides

Sat 7th April

Today's weather meant there was no chance of flying. All members that attended came out to see the Perkoz, which after a polish from the Juniors looked fantastic. 
K21 trailer clean again after the Polish road trip with KEK (Simon Leeson)
The Juniors kept up the great work by cleaning the K21 trailer.......
K6 trailer has the treatment (Simon Leeson)
 ........and the K6 trailer. - Reuben Buss

Fri 6th April

The Perkoz has completed its journey from Poland on the back of a lorry. Thanks to Nick Jones for arranging the unloading of the trailer from the lorry.
Welcome to North Hill (Nick Jones)

A small team gathered to unload the trailer and install the glider in the workshop for initial checks and paperwork. - Thanks all.
Perkoz being checked out in the workshop (Jill Harmer)
Please be patient while we get through the formalities......- J&P

Thurs 5th April

Clear blue sky to start, transient ridge.... what more could we want? - We could have done without the 300+mm of rain so far this year and the fickle  wind!

The start of flying was delayed by a glider and some vehicles getting bogged down  in what looked like firm ground whilst being towed to the far end of the field to set up. Further field inspections showed that the boggy bit wasn't just an isolated area, but anywhere where the grass was growing and in some places looking fairly lush. The normal launch point was slightly relocated, and the cable run was dry, a safe route for the Pawnee was planned, and then we waited for a bit more sun to do some good. 
Looking for the boggy bits (Mike Sloggett)

After 4 launches, it was decided that choosing dry landing areas at the western end was proving difficult and with the wind picking up slightly from the south, a change to the other end would be sensible. 

The kit was moved swiftly to the eastern end and flying restarted. By this time the transient ridge was disappearing fast and a sheet of initially high cloud from the next frontal system moved in. There were blue/grey thermals under the cirrus cover and some hints of wave over Broadhembury, but as the wind picked up more southerly the south ridge started working quite well. 

Most flights were extended by some form of lift and Wyn Davies in W7 managed over 2 hours in the very local area during the change of ends when the sky was at its best.

Wyn in W7 making use of the best sky of the day (Wyn Davies)
With the very long flying list it was decided that 2-seater flights would have to be slightly limited to ensure everyone flew, but the 3 two-seaters were kept busy all day and the list of members needing card checks is increasing (Simulated launch failures will have to wait until the landing areas are more reliable).

We welcomed the Smith family from Chard with Luca, Fin and Joe all enjoying their Trial lessons, and hope to see them back soon.

Thanks to Yvonne Elliott, BGA Lead Schools and Colleges, who visited North Hill providing a Monitoring report on our Junior Gliding Centre activities. 

A total of 35 winch  launches and 5 aerotows and both Falkes were also busy. Thanks everyone, a  pleasant day apart from the crosswind and the mud! - J&P