Sun 30th September

Thankfully, the forecast of cloudy skies and a crossing cold front during the day wasn’t enough to deter a large turnout this Sunday. There was a large flying list for both the single and two-seaters and Peter Field, Ron Johns and John Sillett started cracking on with the training.
Clouds cycling (Jules Minson)
The morning flights were generally short but breaks in the cloud encouraged everyone to keep trying. There was a large Junior turnout this Sunday with Charlie, Jack, Ollie, Daniel, Harvey and Oliver helping out when they weren’t flying. After a quick stop for lunch, flying resumed with (OMG) thermals as well a small amount of ridge lift providing lengthened flight times. The weak cold front continued to cycle the cloud cover and by mid-afternoon most of the thermal energy was gone.
SM keen to fly after a day REing at Brentor yesterday (Simon Minson)
All of the voucher trial flights went away with cheesy grins, and the member flying finished up around 5pm. In all, it was a fantastic way to end the last day of September. - Tom Sides

Sat 29th September

Today was warm and sunny at North Hill, and a very pleasant day to be at the club.  In the morning, young members Daniel Hender and Harvey Skeggs continued their training in the K21s with James Flory and Peter Smith respectively.  Meanwhile Mark Worsfold went off with Ian Mitchell in his Falke to get some useful practice.
Pete Harmer with Daniel Hender (Keith Lippiat)

In the afternoon there was soaring to be had if you timed your launch right, though also plenty of sink in places to foil the unwary pilot.  Pete Startup and John Pursey rigged 230 and HOG respectively and disappeared for several hours, as is their habit.  Pete went looking for a non-existent convergence at Bridport, and JP turned Whiddon Down before heading east. Rowan Smith, having taken over the Duty Instructor mantle for the afternoon, enjoyed hour-long soaring flights with Ruth Comer and later Andreas Kraemer.
Junior  soaring  North Hill (Dave Herbert)
 In the late afternoon, some of the extended Hender family arrived to learn what Daniel's new hobby is all about and watch him fly an aerotow launch with Pete Harmer. - Ruth Comer

Thurs 27th September

Pete's forecast was for another gloriously blue sky day with light winds and only a remote possibility of any soaring from the local hot spot.

Blue sky day (Hans Jenssen)
But the day had started a little foggy in the valleys, with the airfield out in the sunshine.

Arriving at North Hill (Hans Jenssen)

Whilst waiting for the surrounding fog to clear, the Thursday working party set to picking stones.

Stone picking party (Mike Horwood)
The hangar was emptied and the launch point was soon set up starting with some simulated launch failures until it was judged safe to start aerotowing as well. Today the single seater list and two-seater list  were equally long, and Hans Jenssen set the 8 mins circuit to be beaten on the first Junior flight.

Busy Club launch point (Mike Sloggett)
Training and solo flying continued side by side all day, alongside the 3 Trial lesson visitor flights.  By the time the list had gone round once, Hans managed to find the hot spot on the sunny ridge on his second Junior flight and claimed the 36 mins longest soaring flight. Wooly and Seb Mounoury also found the same spot for 34 mins in K21. 
North Hill in all it's glory (Peter Smith)

Congratulations to Ray Dodd on his persistence in achieving his Bronze having satisfied Pete Harmer today with the final part of his flying skills test.
Ray Dodd completes his Bronze
With a complete team of Instructors and Tuggie, we completed 43 winch launches and 12 aerotows for the 23 members who flew (Apologies to those who have to work!). - What a glorious day with that lovely North Hill hotspot with the sun and wind on the ridge late afternoon.

After flying, another work party of George Sanderson, John Borland and Rob Rand, installed some LED Battery indicators for the Perkoz to hopefully remind members to swap batteries  during the day.  Great team, great day,  thanks all - J&P

Wed 26th September

Everyone arrived at the club today overdressed and spent the rest of the day taking off layers of clothes, it turned out hot!
There was very little wind and at times it was dead calm so we set the field for a northwest take off, for most of the day there were no thermals but very pleasant flying conditions with infinite visibility.
Pete  Warren and Jonathan Erskine getting ready to launch (John Street)
 We had three trial lesson visitors today all of them having mile high flights and with the weather almost perfect  with clear blue skies, they all went home with big smiles.
Sandy re-soloing after a long break (John Street)
 Congratulations to Sandy who went solo again a long lay off, after she had to endure plenty of simulated launch failures.
The tug was in use all day with Peter Field as tuggie, all four of the two-seaters were kept busy, in the late afternoon there were a few weak thermals to be had for the lucky ones who timed it just right.
-  John Street

Sat 22nd and Sun 23rd September

A bit of a washout this weekend, but, although the Juniors have moved their trailer washing day to Sunday 4th November, there was some trailer washing going on!
Before (Rob Hender)
Dan, Sally, Wooly, Ruth, JB and I washed Ruth and JB's trailers this afternoon.........
After (Rob Hender) there will probably be a couple of donations to the Ian Beckett  Fund (even though they helped clean their own trailers!). - Rob Hender (first time blogger)

Wed 19th & Thurs 20th September

There was no flying on Wednesday, but about 15 Club members turned up  to help with field levelling and seeding....
Big boys toys (John Street)
 ....the task in hand was completed with many thanks to all who turned up for a job well done. - John Street.
Thursday was no better for weather, but the Thursday regulars put the world to rights, - some were resting after yesterday's strenuous gardening.  
John Borland and Pete Harmer immobilised the passenger window  closed in FREDA.  (Please try not to break the motors for the other electric windows). Aston Key and Chris Wool enjoyed BI pattering in the Simulator. John Borland possibly cured the long-standing oil leak in the winch. George Sanderson and Andrew Logan changed the hook in FZF. And as some of us were leaving a large branch from an Oak tree fell down in Wheelbarrow Lane that had to be cleared. - J&P

Barcelonnette - September

First few days - 

After taking an early ferry from Dover to Calais on 11th, Marie and I shared the driving directly to Barcelonnette, arriving after dark.

A fine day dawned on Wednesday and I went for a couple of hours in the club DuoDiscus to re-familiarise myself with the local mountains and complete the check flight. 
A great looking sky (Wyn Davies)
Thursday I flew W7 locally, and the conditions were fairly lively and did not inspire me with confidence to leave the valley.

Friday and Saturday were both strong days, so I ventured North over the Col de Vars, to Briancon, and then back via the Glacier Blanc 

Glacier Blanc in all its glory (Wyn Davies)
and a short excursion down the Parcourt. Both days were fairly similar, but with a much higher cloud base on the second day allowing a full view of the Glacier, which was obscured by cloud on the first visit. 
Running the ridges of the Parcourt  (Wyn Davies)

Although the mountains give very strong lift and you can get it wrong and find the corresponding sink, my land out options were another airfield, with an arrival height of over 5,000 feet, taking the stress out of situations where I was going to mountains "low ", and scratching back above the ridges. Another week to go with mixed forecasts. - Wyn Davies

Sun 16th September

An uninspiring weather forecast saw few members turn up at the Club today.

Whilst the actual weather above and around he airfield suggested some optimism might be rewarded by some potential flying, it became evident as the morning unfolded that there would not be enough members to run a safe winch launch operation and conversely the anticipated height of the cloud was such that aerotow launches would not be an option either.

During the morning some ‘ground school’ briefings were completed with Mark Worsfold and new Junior member Oliver Smith who also used the Club simulator to practice approach control/landings and general handling respectively.

By late morning and after much discussion on all things gliding a decision was made to scrub any plans for gliding during the day.
Hatching a plan for the afternoon (North Hill webcam)
But as ever on a airfield there is always much to do on the ground and soon Peter Smith, helped by Nick Jones, Guy Adams and Mike Sloggett, was putting the non-gliding afternoon time to good use...- Mike Sloggett

Sat 15th September

It was a light southwesterly wind, with some clear blue skies initially, however it wasn't long before some cloud arrived. Initially orographic, but then widespread cumulus at 2000ft with plenty of large gaps for the Mile High Trial lesson visitors to enjoy the sparkling clear Devon air.

It was quite a busy day and it was good to our new young members and their parents helping to run the launch point. 
Daniel (12) on the wing, Arthur (14) showing Harvey (12) how to hook on (Jill Harmer)
Congratulations to Dave Herbert who completed his field landing exercises with Stuart in BKVG and was signed up for cross-country endorsement.

We welcomed Brian Tansley from Kent  Gliding Club who enjoyed flying the Perkoz.

39 flights in all. - J&P

Thursday 13th September

Light Westerly with a hint of North and a lovely sunny start greeted the Thursday regulars. With no temptation of bacon butties, the hangar was emptied and flying started early. Flying started with a couple of aerotow checks and winching all day. 
It's starting to look good....(Jill Harmer)
Private owners rigged and joined the launch queues and it was soarable from early on, with just a short interlude while a rope break was sorted. 
Private owners moving out (Jill Harmer)
A quick break for lunch was made while the launch point was empty, conditions just got better and better despite a little bit of spreadout.

Pete Startup was very annoyed! undersetting as rasp had been a little indifferent, but as he managed to fly for 4 hours and claimed a new turning point he was so elated when he got back that he let Pete Bennett convert to a Discus.
"Once only offer yes or no - would you like to fly 230?"  (Pete Bennett)

From the BGA Ladder Pete Startup
"CRK-TIV 101Km
Mad, mad day. Forecast for the SW penninsula wasn't great so the day was unexpected, underforecast and underset. Continued on with last weeks failed task after going round this,

A re-run of last weeks failed task and a trip to CWC(Crowcombe House) up in the Quantocks, a turnpoint that I asked for but have never been too - very nice house. Great views up over Exmoor, Bridgwater Bay and up the Bristol channel.
Mix of thermal and convergences.
Great September day, just wish I'd seen it coming!"

Forest Glade (Mike Sloggett)
Well done to John Borland who was signed off on a Nav test with Pete Harmer in Rotax Falke successfully finding Mendip GC  with detours on the way back.

The Trial lesson visitors enjoyed their Mile High flights, and Roger Spall form Canada returned to try out winch launching before returning home.

On a day when most found at least 1 thermal but finding the second proved tricky for some, 10 flights were over an hour with some benefiting from extending over lunch. 57 flights in total on a lovely September day - Thanks everyone - many grins. - J&P

Mon 10 September

A small group of DSGC members gathered at East Devon Crematorium, joining with the family to say goodbye to John Phillipps. 
John Phillipps 1921 - 2018

John enjoyed gliding until his mid-80s including club trips to Scotland and Spain,  a long-standing member of DSGC, his last private glider being the LS4 he shared with Ken Jenkins. 

John died peacefully in his sleep at the great age of 97.

Sun 9th September

After a quiet day at the Club yesterday it was thought that a good weather forecast for today might see more members at the Club. However the flying list was limited to start with and then slowly but surely more members arrived so it was on with the day. All four two seater gliders and a Junior were brought out of the hangar ahead of daily inspections and canopy cleaning whilst the launch point was set up in the North East corner of the airfield.

And then the day’s flying got underway - with thermals becoming evident from mid-morning onwards, as ever from the winch it was a question of finding the first helpful thermal to allow further sky searching for better thermals to be undertaken.

Late morning there was a rope break which due to the crosswind saw the drogue parachute disappear into the trees on the South side of the airfield and this meant a single rope winch operation for some time until order could be restored and twin launch operation resumed.

After lunch a second Junior was brought into use and the afternoon saw several members having good flights in a Junior whilst the 2-seater  flying list progressed well.

Alongside our booked Trial lesson visitors, we also welcomed Chris Jones and Kristen Rapp from FlyBe following our liaison visits last month. Kristen is a Silver C pilot from Germany and Chris enjoyed silent flight for the first time, we hope to see them both again soon. 

Although RASP was suggesting some useful cross-country conditions the private owners found it hard going. Pete Startup 230 got to North Tawton but decided that Dulverton was a turnpoint too far. Rowan Smith  CLM spent an hour west of Tiverton trying to get into wave. Robert Lee DKU enjoyed a flight to Wellington. Pete and Jill Harmer OL took off just as they all arrived back and went off looking for the wave - to no avail.

And it seemed that almost as soon as we had started flying for the day it was time to put the gliders and ground equipment away.
Tricky day for cross-countries (Jill Harmer)

On a day when teamwork was needed to get other members into the air we had just that - Thank You to all who helped in one way or another today - 46 flights in total. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 8th September

Today was very quiet with few members.  In the morning Nick Jones arrived in his beautiful classic Jeep and several members enjoyed driving it for a lap around the airfield before putting it to some real work - 75 years old and still able to pull roots out with no fuss, amazing, didn’t even mark the bumper!
Nick's classic Jeep (Peter Smith)
Some weak lift was found on the south ridge through the morning, in which both David Wojnar and Josh Funnell tried their hand in the Junior, while Ollie Handford continued his training in the K21 with Martin Woolner.  We also welcomed Andrew for his (Christmas present) trial lesson.  By lunch time the cloud was descending so unfortunately further flights had to be scrubbed. 

Thanks go to the skeleton crew for working well together to enable the few flights that were possible. - Ruth Comer

Fri 7th September - Course Week

With some poor weather preventing flying on previous days of the September Course week, it was no surprise that with a good forecast for the last day of the week Course members, Instructors and Helpers were getting gliders out of the hangar soon after 8:30 this morning. With the Course helpers having already got all the ground equipment ready one could sense a steely determination all round that everyone was going to make the most of the evident good weather.
September Course (Mike Sloggett)
And after the first winch launch getting in to the air around 9:30 it was then non-stop flying until lunch.
Early morning sky with a balloon visitor (Emma Kendall)
Lovely Devon sky (Mike Sloggett)
Richard Copus and Rob Rankin both used their morning flights to build further on their flights from earlier in the week and meanwhile Andrew Darke was being put through his paces before eventually completing his first solo in a glider to add to his very extensive private and commercial flying experience including as First Officer on Concorde for a number of years, Well Done to Andrew.
North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
By mid-morning, the sky had become quite thermic albeit as ever it was a tad tricky to get away from the winch launch - however as the morning progressed then so did the consistency of the thermals just off the ridge and the flights became longer and longer.

Just after midday Andy Davey launched in a Junior (LRD) and then spent the next five hours airborne landing just after 5, having made the most of the thermals until they “died” shortly before he landed, Well Done to Andy on his Silver Duration. 
Congratulations to Andy Davey after his 5 hour flight (Mike Sloggett)
During the afternoon, Emma Kendall continued to make progress with her pre-solo training in general and particularly how to spot and use thermals (after all that practice in the simulator yesterday).

The second of our experienced Pilots, Doug Gage was also put through his paces re-soloing at North Hill, to add to his previous gliding solos and his previous commercial flying experience, Well Done to Doug.
Peter Field congratulates Andrew Darke and Doug Gage (Mike Sloggett)
The final training flight of the week for Rob  Rankin was anticipated to be simply an opportunity for Rob to demonstrate his ability to plan a circuit but instead Rob decided he would show how to ‘sniff out and climb in’ a thermal not marked by any clouds so Rob goes back to Hong Kong with that skill nicely established.

And then almost as soon as the day had started it was time to put the gliders away for the week. A really good day to end a week where patience was needed on the poor weather days but where today proved that all good things come to those who wait!

As ever a big thank you from the Course members and Instructors to the various Club members who helped and supported the flying during the week - Richard Harris and Allan Mounce for their 5 day stints and William Pope, Graham Barden, Ian Hunt, Jill Harmer and Tim Petty. - Mike Sloggett

Thur 6th September

If you were up early enough the sun was out and Richard Harris and Allan Mounce had all the ground equipment ready with the launch point set up. By the time the aircraft were out and DI'd  a  bank of orographic cloud was on the ridge and drizzle was in the air. After a while it all cleared to blue sky and sunshine only to cycle twice more during the morning.
Sheltering from the drizzle (Emma Kendall)
Eventually with complete cloud cover, the cloudbase went up to a level that allowed some low launch failures for Doug and Andrew on the course, whilst others used the Simulator. After lunch, the cloudbase showed signs of getting a little higher and Wooly took an exploratory launch with Peter March in DG505, followed by Aston Key in Junior who managed to find some ridge lift and lift in the valley and achieved the longest flight of 42mins. Peter Field continued the launch failure scheme for Doug and Andrew, and Mike Sloggett attempted a full height launch with Richard Copus, but it wasn't long before they were all chased back down on the ground by some heavy showery rain. Having dried all the gliders again, a few more flights were attempted but the frequency of the showers finally beat us and the kit was returned to the hangar. 
Mike Sloggett and Richard Copus waiting for a full height launch (Jill Harmer)
Sorry for those who didn't get to fly, -blame the weather. - J&P

Wed 5th September

 Course news
After a theory-heavy day under murky skies yesterday the course members were eager to put their knowledge into practice, with much more favourable weather today. Along with the Wednesday club members we set up at the far end of the field.
West end launch point (Mike Sloggett)
Doug and Andy each had the fun of an aero tow in the Perkoz to practice some spins. Richard  Copus and Rob Rankin worked on winch launches and circuit planning, with Rob also getting in some launch failure practice and thermal soaring. Emma Kendall enjoyed the challenge of going without an altimeter. Andy Davey managed 2 hours in the Junior with a climb to 3,800ft, and is striving for a 5 hour flight for silver duration before the week is out.
Devon skies (Mike Sloggett)
John Sillett slipped in some aerobatics with James Price towards the end of the day - how else could they get down from 2,000ft?

 Pete Startup in 230 and Eric Alston G29 enjoyed mixed conditions on the Club 100.- Emma Kendall (first time blogger)

 Club flying
The good summer (autumn ) weather continues with all the the club gliders walked to the S/W corner, there was some early soaring before lunch, about 1:00pm the lift became very good if you could contact it.
Busy launch point with Mike and Rob Rankin (John Street)
By mid-afternoon the thermals were reaching 4,000ft with 4-6kt thermals under most clouds
Eric, Pete Startup, Jeff Taberham and Andrew Logan all flew their own gliders and had good flights.
Our returning visitor from Canada Roger had a nice flight in the DG505 which he found quite different from flying his K6 in Canada he also commented he wasn't used to flying from such a large wide field! - John Street.

Tues 4th September - Course Week

After some gliding yesterday Course members, Instructors and helpers were all ready to get flying ‘bright and early’ today - but unfortunately the weather was not.

With low cloud and grey skies there was little enthusiasm for taking gliders out of the hangar.
So the morning was used to revisit the ground school briefings from yesterday to ensure that the key messages had been embedded with the Course members and after completion of same some further briefings were completed. The Club simulator was also put to good use during the morning by the Course members. 
DSGC Simulator (Mike Sloggett)
As the day unfolded the amount of teas and coffees being drunk increased - along with the cloudbase to the extent that early afternoon it appeared as if there might be enough height gained from a winch launch for take offs, circuits and landings to be practiced.
Falke under grey skies (Mike Sloggett)
But with the afternoon rapidly moving by and with cloudbase still not ideal a decision was made that Peter Field would use SuperFalke VG with the Course members rather than the winch being set up - with the Course members having the opportunity to have various circuits and approaches demonstrated.
G-BKVG (Mike Sloggett)
With a final briefing session completed late afternoon the day was brought to a close with fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow. - Mike Sloggett

Mon 3rd September - Course Week

The first day of the September Course week saw us welcome existing members Andy Davey, Emma Kendall, Richard Copus and Rob Rankin (who was so keen to come gliding at North Hill that he had come all the way from Hong Kong where he lives and works), as well as Andrew Darke and Doug Gage (who having come from Bangkok also had a long journey to come gliding).

Introductions and Course briefing completed the launch point was set up in the South East corner of the airfield under bright skies suggesting an opportunity o get some gliding in before the forecast rain arrived later in the day.

Uneventful circuits (Mike Sloggett)
Some uneventful circuits allowed Andrew and Doug to demonstrate that they had not forgotten how to fly gliders from their previous course at The Mynd whilst Emma and Rob continued with their pre-solo training - just before lunch Andy launched in a Junior and climbed away from the winch launch with a thermal helping him get to cloud base at around 2200’ above the airfield, staying airborne for circa an hour and a half before the forecast rain started to appear on the horizon and leaving Andy with no option but to land.
Increasing cloud (Mike Sloggett)
Over lunch the rain started to fall and so the week’s “ground school” commenced with briefings on Circuit Planning and How a Wing Works - and despite optimism that the rain and low clouds might move through in time for some more gliding to take place during the afternoon it became evident that such optimism was misplaced......
The sun came out eventually (Mike Sloggett) the gliders and ground equipment were put away for the day. - Mike Sloggett

Sun 2nd September

A quiet day at the Club with the weather forecast having perhaps reduced member optimism for today.

The launch point was set up in the North West corner of the airfield and the day’s gliding started under greyish skies, with little evidence of any areas of lift.

And then mid-morning those members on the ground started to notice that launched gliders were staying up and even climbing in what appeared to to be weak wave to the South of the airfield - no surprise that this encouraged a quicker launch rate but the weak wave did not last long before deteriorating as the wind changed strength and direction.

The two Falkes G-BKVG and G-CDSC arrived back in formation from Sywell with Simon Minson, Stu Procter and James Hood thoroughly enjoying the busy LAA event.
VG at Sywell
As the morning progressed trial lesson flights were completed alongside the Club flying list of training flights and card checks.

And after lunch with the flying list having been completed those members present had the opportunity for further flights if they wished them

With the final trial lesson flight of the day completed and with everyone having had all the flying they wanted late afternoon the decision was made to fly the gliders back to the East end of the airfield and put everything away for the day.  - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 1st September

For the First day of Meteorological Autumn, today was rather frustrating with the wind direction being South West one minute and then South East the next which kept everyone moving with a couple of changing ends required. Also there were few grown up members today but we managed to operate with the excellent Juniors support, hooking on gliders, retrieving and generally being a great help. Steve Westlake was duty dog this morning and Rowan Smith this afternoon, with 3 trial lesson flights booked and some red card checks to complete I stepped in to help so that everyone flew.

Roly Clarke flew the Trial Lessons and announced that today was his last day as BI having completed over 500 launches with various visitors over the years, (I wonder how many pairs of white gloves have been a part of this?), he is now concentrating on his solo flying and gaining his NPPL so having given so much to the club in his BI capacity he is taking some well-deserved ‘ME’ time – thanks Roly, you have been a superb ambassador for the club.
Roly on his 500th BI flight with Philip Gyger (Lisa Humphries)
Our Junior members all flew and are progressing well, its great to see the enthusiasm by all of them, the newest member Oliver was taken under Daniel's wing today to show him the ropes, well done Daniel you are a great teacher!
Dick Stevens and Roy Boddy enjoyed their flights today, some being red card checks along with Mark Wallis. 

I managed to fly a friends and family with the son of one of our Learjet Captains, Rowan loved it and will be back for more.
Lisa takes Rowan for his first glider flight (Lisa Humphries)
All in all a lovely day at DSGC, thanks to Ruth, Karen and Stirling too for their much appreciated help in keeping things moving. - Lisa Humphries