A weekend at Parham

For those that don't know, Parham is the home of the Southdown Gliding Club and is blessed with a North facing ridge which runs from Butser Hill near Petersfield in the West to Lewes in the East, a distance of 69km. In certain wind directions it is possible to reach Eastbourne (the Holy grail), which adds another 20km. So when a brisk Northerly wind is forecast gliders migrate there to join the locals. Pete S(230), Ron and Dan(711), Phil and JB(DD3) and Wyn(W7) made the trip this time.

Phil taking a picture of himself!
Saturday was a good day with the maximum 15 visiting gliders plus Southdown club members - there were about a dozen gliders on the grid when we arrived at 08:30 which were soon joined by many more. Southdowns super slick launching operarion is a joy to behold - 2 tugs, 18 launches per hour, release at 800-1000' on to the home ridge. It was a bit soft at times which is reflected in the task speeds for the day, although the fast boys seem to be able to go fast whatever the conditions - the locals always fly full of water. 230, DD3 and 711 all did tasks of c.340km. Real excitement for the day, for Phil and JB at least, was a full on birdstrike with a buzzard right on the front of the canopy which made Phil jump(understatement) and put a 9" crack in DD3's canopy(ouch). Buzzard came off worse, failed to look before turning and paid the price, a lesson for us all! Probably about 30 gliders launched from Parham plus the gliders that flew down from Lasham made for a busy ridge day.

Looking South towards Brighton (711)
Wyn arrived overnight to join in the fun as Ron and Dan departed but Sunday proved not quite so good with a lot of showers around and the wind off the ridge. There was a clue there when most of the locals didn't bother and those that did fly landed after a couple of beats of the ridge. But we were on a trip so we were going to fly! It was possible to avoid most of the showers but as they went past the ridge conditions became 'tricky' at times as the wind decreased was dragged off it even more than it already was, a case of parking on a bit that was still working until it got going again. A few gliders ended up in fields today but we all enoyed some good flying.

Looking East from Truleigh towards Devils Dyke (DD3)
 Pete and Phil had to leave Sunday but JB and Wyn stayed on with the promise of a good day Monday. Stirling made the trip down to fly with JB, JB hoping to get to Eastbourne given the NE wind direction with thermals to help. Turned out to be the best of the 3 days with the wind being close to optimal at c.030/20 and some decent thermal energy lines to boot which made crossing the bigger gaps much less stressful. Wyn(who scored the day 9/10), flew the 344 km Butser - Lewes 5 lap ridge task at a very respectable 103kph. JB didn't get to Eastbourne this time but Stirling enjoyed his 300km+ trip between Butser, Lewes and Devils Dyke.

Wyn somewhere on the ridge (James Hiley, Southdown GC)

Clocks having gone back over the weekend meant landing in good time to de-rig ready for the drive home but another very worthwhile trip. - Pete S.

Task - Lewes  - Butser, A clear sky greeted us on Monday morning, so the glider was moved into the sun to help with clearing the ice. Stirling arrived early to help JB prepare DD3. The wind was forecast to be NNE  and picking up later in the day. Soon after 10am the first stirrings of a breeze saw the first glider launched.
W7 (James Hiley, Southdown glider pilot)
Shortly after I  launched onto the local ridge, which was working but not very well.  I set off to the Chanctonbury rings, and slowly climbed to 1,100 feet above PAR. Crossed to Truleigh Hill without losing much height. The run to Devil's Dyke was a gentle climb all the way, but then the challenge started. To push north to Newtimber from Devil's Dyke was not easy and I struggled to get a climb a few times and then ran back downwind to climb again on the ridge. Eventually I got the height needed to cross the saddle next to the "Jack and Jill" windmills, pushing through eye watering sink at speed, to find the lift on the Northern ridge for an easy fast run to Lewes.

The wind gradually picked up and the rest of the day was fairly text book, with the crossings made easier with following thermal looking clouds and even the odd street, which aided. 
South Downs (Wyn Davies)
On one visit to Butser, I had Nigel Mallender in his LS8 flash by underneath , and I tried to follow him to understand the higher energy low down. The surprise was arriving below Butser and turning .5k short - until I realised he was using a barrel turn point. Followed him out and then slowly regained a sensible height to complete the rest of the task at a more leisurely height and speed.

Altogether a great day out on the Southdowns with DD3. Followed by a welcome cuppa from the JB cafe with  Stirling, to recount adventures before the trek home in the dark. - Wyn W7

Sun 28th October

A very well attended day despite the strong and cold north easterly wind which was too boisterous for the majority to take control. 

Thanks to everyone who helped with holding canopies etc. and especially Robert for his skill driving the winch. Great fun seeing so many chase their hats blown off in the wind!- Peter Field

BGA Management Conference (BGA)
BGA Management Conference
Meanwhile at the BGA Management Conference, Pete and Jill Harmer and Pete Bennett (who has recently been co-opted  onto BGA Executive) were enjoying various presentations and discussions with the BGA Exec and Development Team, and Club Chairmen, Managers, Treasurers, CFIs and Junior Gliding representatives. - J&P

Meanwhile at Parham, with it being a little trickier than Saturday, Pete Startup completed 204Kms ........

Saturday 27th October

Making the most of a short day:
Bitterly cold at daybreak with frost on the ground on the way to the club. We were short of a full crew early on but a rallying call from James F brought forth the family Hender and maybe others so we had enough to fly.  Winching was the only option in the gusting cross wind and we chose to take only the K21s to the south west corner. The wind settled into something mostly just east of north and steadily increased.  Bits of lift were interspersed with some ferocious sink. The turbulent air made for some character-building approaches, and the Trial lesson visitors were all put off for a better day.
A bright start (Mark Layton)
Peter Smith, James Flory, Martin Woolner, Steve Westlake and Rowan Smith shared the back seats. Alan Turner, Sam, Emma, Ollie and Daniel all flew. As Rowan succinctly puts it, a fun day out that made the effort worthwhile. Boisterous and challenging conditions, I flew with Emma and Daniel who both proved they were worth their salt. Two budding pilots who showed you need to be in it to win it. 
Approaching rain squall (Mark Layton)
The wind increased to the point that coupled with the approaching rain squall prudence prevailed over valour and the gliders were put safely to bed mid-afternoon after a total of 13 flights

Particular thanks go to DLM Aston who winched and retrieved most of the day, a sterling effort. - Peter Smith

Meanwhile at Parham the North Hill Nomads enjoyed the South Downs with Pete Startup, Ron with Dan and Phil with JB clocking up 334kms doing the Parham club task.

Thurs 25th October

It was a murky morning with North Hill sticking proudly out of the fog, and it took all morning for the heavy dew on the field to dry and the low cloud to break up. 
Peter Smith and Ryan Lovell after the clearance (Dave Clements)
So following a 3 minute weather check, the morning was spent usefully including: Pete Harmer updated all the club gliders and Pawnee with the Flarm firmware, George Sanderson searched for the missing volts in the Perkoz battery system, Peter Smith gave a lecture to Jack Raybould and Ryan Lovell and then reinstalled the DSGC 60 year plaque by the Clubhouse. Jill Harmer and Geoff Lawrence reviewed the draft Club's response to the Call for evidence from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (GA).
Pawnee ready and some foreshortening on the Junior landing (Dave Clements)
After an early lunch, breaks in the clouds were developing nicely and a proper start was made to flying with Peter Smith checking out Mike Horwood, and Pete Harmer and Jack Raybould. Ryan Lovell on his first flight after his Trial lesson, opted for an aerotow to get some more time in the air, but the clouds didn't recycle nicely, and today's Trial lesson Visitor Caterina Gibbs decided to wait for a better day. 
Cloudy later with Ellie Carter (George Vojtisek)
The Junior was also going all afternoon with the Thursday regulars, and Ellie Carter perfected her spot landings from both ends of the field with Pete Harmer.
Aerotow when the gaps had opened up (George Vojtisek)
Longest flight of the day went to Pete and Jack with 14 minutes just holding at launch height at the ridge. It was certainly a chilly experience of what is to come, with 29 flights in total. - J&P

Thurs 25th October - Long Mynd

We were met with an unexpected, but welcome, strong Westerly ridge day at the Mynd . However it took us a while to get going after setting up the kit and waiting for Mark Courtney, Dave Weeks and Simon Leeson to come back from an hour's coffee in Church Stretton! After which we proceeded to help the Midland Gliding Club break there retrieve cable in 3 places and tangle it round the drum! 10 hours later fixed! Just in time for the mid-afternoon wave... with the long overdue morning check flights.

Oscar Leeson took the Discus down the ridge at 90kts,  while Charlie Stuckey and Josh Funnell put the Mynd members to shame in the K6. This couldn't of happened without our newly reassigned ground crew Simon and Mark.
Josh and Charlie considering tactics with K6 (Ross Pratt)
Daniel  Hender operated the launch point with his super young keenness and a duvet wrapped round him. 
Daniel keeping warm on the retrieve winch (Ross Pratt)

Ruth was tied to the simulator and began to fall asleep. 
Sally and Ruth keeping warm with coffee (Ross Pratt)
 All in all, it was a good day with us all having fun, watching Mark's course video and entertainment from Charlie in the bar. My check flight with Dave Crowson turning into a below ridge height beat up at 90kts in a K21 with aerobatics and 3 approaches... Thankfully just the one landing! 
It's been a week of sunsets at the Long Mynd (Ross Pratt)

And another super Mynd sunset - Ross Pratt

Wed 24th October

Another nice warm Wednesday with a long flying list, the wind was forecast light north westerly - not testing enough for yellow card checks, still I expect there will be plenty of opportunity for that in the coming months. This was the last Wednesday of BST this year and we made good use of the day with 41 launches and 5 aerotows we stopped flying at 5.00pm to beat the misting canopies. 
Mike Fitz in the Perkoz (John Street)
Mike Fitz made a welcome return to North Hill with an winch launch and an aerotow and his first flight in the Perkoz after a long absence from the club due to a broken wrist his comments after flying the Perkoz "beautiful handling and an ideal addition to our fleet".
Sandy on a check flight (John Street)
Sandy had three more soloes building up her confidence and getting ready to get back flying the Junior again. We also welcomed back Glenn Turpin to the Wednesday team after his return from sailing in the Med.
Lots of aerotows (John Street)
John Sillett and Glenn were kept busy all day flying our pre-solo pilots Jonathan Erskine and Sue Dyson and various other check flights and visitors.
Mendip Falke visiting (Graham Barden)
Ron Perry paid us a visit from Mendip his Falke and William flew VG. - John Street.

Wed 24th October - Long Mynd

Hanger unpacked and all gliders on the pan ready before 9:30 am so we had time to kill before the 10:00 am briefing. Dan and Ross entertained us by turning what should have been a 5 minute game of pool into an absolute marathon of mis-cued shots, foul shots and pocket misses, that thankfully ended and put us out of our misery when Dan missed a dead cert and left the black sat in-front of the pocket ready for Ross to roll in.

10:00 am briefing given by the Mynd's duty instructor Dave Crowson, after which the gliders were taken to the launch point that had been set up at the North end of the airfield, and within 10 minutes the first glider was away.
Mark Courtney with Sally Hender (Mark Courtney)
The launch rate was pretty good, using the Mynd's winch/winch retrieve set up, until the clutch cable gave way under the power of Daniel's substantial muscular strength, leaving us with a broken retrieve winch and about 700 metres of cable to wind in by hand. Luckily the club had a spare retrieve winch that we soon got on-line and flying resumed.
Ross Pratt and Josh Funnell with K6 (Mark Courtney)
Everybody flew today, Simon got the longest flight in the DG505 (26min), followed by Dan and Mark DG505 (15min), then Ross in the K6! 11min.
Josh Funnell  in K6 (Mark Courtney)
Charlie Stuckey in K6 (Mark Courtney)

Charlie, Josh and Ross all flew in the K6, Dave, Dan and Ruth in the DG505, Oscar in the Discus and Simon and Mark as required.
Sally was the log keeper and I was ground crew where needed.
Another Mynd sunset (Simon Leeson)
Another great days flying topped off by a fish and chip supper and drinks in the bar. Massive thanks to the efforts of the instructors. - Rob Hender.

Tues 23rd October - Long Mynd

A brilliant day for everyone. 

We all rose early with the forecast predicting a strong westerly throughout the day and the lure of ridge running had people looking forward to some fun low-level flying. 
Rob Hender and Ruth Comer dreaming about ridge running (Mark Courtney)
We launched all day on the short west run and this was a new experience for all the Juniors. Charlie took the first flight in the DG505, however the ridge was much more weak and patchy than expected, due to a lot of wave suppression. However Charlie and Simon scratched along the ridge and did a few beat ups of the ridge before riding the rotor into a lovely wave bar which carried them high above the site. 
Wave bars (Mark Courtney)
However, they had to descend and then Ross, Daniel and I (Josh) all experienced the lovely conditions. Many of the other Midlands Gliding club members rigged their own private gliders and all had long duration flights with people recording heights of over 6000ft above the site in their flights. 
Long Mynd sunset (Mark Courtney)
Flying went long into the evening with everyone getting their share of the soaring. By far my best experience of what the Long Mynd has to offer. - Josh Funnell

Sun 21st October

Another beautiful sunny day at North Hill saw early mist burn off and the winch set up in the north east corner in order to manage the light northwesterly breeze.  
Dave Cowley kicked things off in a K21 with some card checks, involving launch failures, and the Junior saw regular use with Lucasz taking her up early on and Pete Warren also taking her for a spin between spells on tug duty. 
Guy Adams and Mike Rigby in VG (Mike Rigby)
Mike Rigby was lucky enough to get a ride with Guy Adams in the SF-25, heading off to the Quantocks and Minehead for an hour, being careful to avoid the controlled airspace around a busy Hinkley Point, judging by the number of cranes that have sprung up.  Given the conditions it was surprising that they barely saw another aircraft once clear of North Hill.

We had a couple of trial lessons through the day and the two-seaters were kept busy with these and those under training including Tim Powell and Mike and Harry Rigby who were all flying complete circuits as their proficiency improves, under the instruction of James Flory and JB.  
First flight for George Stone (Mike Rigby)
We were also pleased to welcome Gerry Stone, OC of 41F Squadron Air Training Corps, and his son, George, who enjoyed the first clutch of what we hope will be many flights at North Hill.  Gerry is an experienced pilot with lots of power experience. We were a little thin on the ground so we took the opportunity to take lunch courtesy of Graham and Cheryl’s culinary expertise.  
Training continues for Harry Rigby (Mike Rigby)
Despite the sunny weather, the wind was insufficient to give even a tickle of lift on the ridge and there was no real thermal activity either, giving lots of short flights but given that so many of the students were after circuit practice, this was no bad thing. 

A full day’s flying finishing at 1700.  If this is a sign of the season to come, it’ll be a lot better than last year! - Mike Rigby

Sun 21st October - Long Mynd

After a 10:00am briefing, the Juniors rigged the K6 and pulled the DG505 over to the launch line. Oscar Leeson then started the day off with an amazing flight of 8 minutes! After that James Hood flew for 4  minutes more than Oscar! Then Oscar had another flight but it was a 1 minute flight since it was a simulated cable break. 
Simon and Oscar Leeson (Sally Hender)
 A few flights later Reuben had his first solo at the Long Mynd. I had my first taster at the retrieve winch, which was awesome. The weather then started to come in and so we broke for lunch (And the retrieval winch did too!)
Simon Leeson and Dan Hender (Sally Hender)
After lunch 1-2 MGC members  came back out, but in North Hill's optimistic mentality we all came back out and had another 5 flights, 4 of which were us!!! Ruth and I both did a bit of ridge running having a 19 and 31 minute flight respectively. What a great way to end the day. - Dan Hender

Sat 20th October - Long Mynd

DSGC’s Junior Club Expedition to the Mynd had an unusual start this year because we arrived at the club Friday afternoon in glorious sunshine! Early attendee’s were the Hender family, Ruth Comer, Myself, Simon (satnav Leeson) Dave Weeks,and Oscar Leeson. The familiar M5 half-term traffic made the journey a little slow. After the usual friendly greeting by the Mynd people it was time for dinner, later the “terrible trio" (Josh Funnell, Charlie Stuckey and Reuben Buss) turned up after leaving a little later from home.
DSGC Juniors Expedition Long Mynd (Mark Courtney)
After the morning briefing we rigged the DG505, ASW20 and the Juniors K6. Reuben got cleared for solo by Simon L and waited for the expected wind to go more west in the afternoon. 
DRE was rigged and Dan tries it for size! (Mark Courtney)
Despite there being several holdups with the retrieve winch (very unusual for the Mynd) everyone got at least one flight each, as the day progressed it was possible to soar the ridge, not easy though because the ridge was “out of phase” with the wave.
Unreachable wave (Mark Courtney)
The Mynd fleet is down by one K13 but with another K13, a K21, and a Grob, we hope that we can get everyone checked out on Sunday.
Dan's first flight at Long Mynd (Mark Courtney)
Mike Sloggett arrived late in the evening after staying home to watch another thrilling football match at Plymouth Argyle (they lost again).
Ross Pratt arrives Sunday evening so the group will be at full strength.- Mark Courtney

Sat 20th October

A nice forecast today and it was truly a lovely almost summer day out! Peter Smith, Steve Westlake, Martin Woolner and James Flory started the days instruction with me joining the proceedings just after lunch after a couple of flights with Steve to get back into the saddle. 

Martin was seen to be in various aspects of flight (there’s a change) whilst flying Aerobatics with Andy Davey, everyone else kept the list going so that all flew with the last flight just before 6pm with Sandy on her 3rd solo (in recent times) in the K21. 
Sandy Harrup - Solo again after a little layoff (Lisa Humphries)
New Junior member Oliver Smith flew well having 10 flights now under his belt and Craig our new member from Wellington had a nice flight before he disappears on holiday soon with promises to join the Club on his return with a keen desire to progress. 

Peter Smith flew the Trial lesson visitor Mark Benger and Pete Harmer was steadily busy with the tug. 

Mark Wallis tried out his new purchase the Open  Cirrus and we commented on his lovely landings.
Mark Wallis converts to Open Cirrus (Lisa Humphries)
Thanks to all for a nice relaxing day at North Hill – Roll on the winter, don’t get depressed, some great flying to be had and a super way to improve your skills in readiness for Summer 2019! - Lisa Humphries

Thurs 18th October

After several days of poor weather preventing members getting into the air the Club was rather busy with a large group of people keen to make the most of the bright sunny forecast for today.

With the wind arriving from the North East this meant a long walk to the other end and a launch point set up in the South West corner of the airfield - and no surprise that with a chilly wind for most of the day coats, hats and scarves were the dress code for all.
Small cumulus forming (Mike Sloggett)
A Junior, the DG505 and both K21s were brought out of the hangar and daily inspections completed - and then the long walk began. Although for K21 HCX, the tow to the other end then stopped, as it was apparent that the wheel needed attention. So HCX was taken down to the workshop where the problem was identified and sorted and later the glider was back in the launch queue.
Blue skies (Mike Sloggett)
The other gliders were soon being launched into a sunny sky to start the day’s activity, albeit the visibility was not great, and there was little evidence of any lift to extend circuits - but with the wind direction straight down the field gliders were achieving good launches to at least provide extended circuits.
Hazy North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
And for those pilots asking for currency and card checks the absence of any lift made no difference, as they explored with their Instructor(s), various parts of the airfield following simulated launch failures at varying heights.

With a decision made to continue flying through lunch to make good use of the sunny skies, by late afternoon the flying list had been completed so hangar flights were the order of the day.
Hangar flights (Mike Sloggett)
During the day we welcomed Henning a visiting instructor from Denmark, who had an aerotow in the DG505 and who extended an invitation for DSGC members to visit his gliding Club in Denmark.  We also  welcomed Mike Thorne from The Park flying in to North Hill on a NavEx.
Falke from The Park (Graham Barden)
 Overall a good day, with as ever great teamwork from the Thursday regulars ensuring an enjoyable day all round. - Mike Sloggett

Tues 16th October - Denbigh

The only promising forecast for North Wales this week, and expectations were high for the North Hill Nomads, but there was a cloudy frontal clearance to deal with first. ...
Morning rigging ready for the clearance (Jill Harmer)
 Everyone was rigged and ready before lunchtime, (and rather later than hoped for) Chris Gill invited Rod Witter to test the conditions before the holes really developed in the lowish clouds. Local knowledge for the hot spots is a great help and Rod reported climbing heading for the Conwy valley.

The single seaters were swiftly launched behind the Eurofox with Jonathan May as Tuggie, some made contact with the wave easily and others struggled. Everyone commented on how short the usable beats were, and that the sky was quite confusing.
In between layers (Wyn Davies)
Pete Startup 230 enjoyed a nice 100km round Cerrig, Bala and Vrynwy and up to 10,600ft. Tom Sides in DG1 and Nick Harrison in JDD got into the local wave but found it tricky to step up through the transition to the higher systems. 

Wyn Davies in W7 was keen to continue his exploration of Snowdon having walked it yesterday, He found his way into the higher system topping out at 15,000ft and then went for a tour of Great Orme  before descending back through the multiple cloud layers.
Great cloudscapes (Wyn Davies)
The 2-seaters were at the back of the queue to allow Jonathan time to asses the wind for launching them with the Eurofox. Unfortunately the wind had dropped off a bit  and so Chris Gill got the winch out and the Turbos fired up at the top of the winch launch. 

At times confusing skies (Jill Harmer)
Pete and Jill in OL motored into a rather confused sky but found small beats to the south to climb in, topping out at 8,500ft. A decision was made to spiral down through the increasingly closing gaps as the day was drawing to an end. 

The best (only) usable day of the week. (Should have been here last week ....or next week!) - J&P

Wed 10th October

Another hot Wednesday at North Hill, but with a strong southeasterly wind, for a change there was quite a long flying list - so it was up to the Northwest corner.
Walking up to the top of the airfield (John Street)
There was little chance of any soaring so Roly Clarke,  Chris Warnes and David Clements decided in the 'at times' blue card conditions to get their card ratings renewed, so quite a few flights were launch failures.
Check flights (John Street)
We had one Mile High Trial Lesson Visitor and a quarterly member returning after his trial lesson, and along with the testing conditions, the day was well used getting the card checks out of the way. John Street 

And with Denbigh High Flyers having a rest day, it was time to check out the increasing number of woodland walks and sculptures at Lleweni Park. 
Delightful sculptures  on woodland walks (Rowan Smith)