Thurs 27th December

A lovely winter's day in Twixmas, but the Thursday Regulars were missing - either still with the relatives, in far-flung places or at the Sales!
Stunning skies (Mark Courtney)
But there were plenty of Instructors keen to take to the air and a sprinkling of members. There had been a touch of frost overnight, and the field was just a tad sticky with mud, so it was decided to leave the winch parked up and aerotow only. 
Fog in the valleys (Mike Sloggett)
The fog in the Exe estuary, the Crediton valley and to the East of the Blackdowns persisted all day, but North Hill was resplendent in the sunshine.
North Hill in the sunshine (Lisa Humphries)
The Tug Pilots took turns until James Flory decided it was a perfect day for his first aerotow  and then we couldn't get him out of the Pawnee- welcome to the DSGC Tuggie team!
Raif's first flight in a glider (James Hood)
The Chairman's grandson Raif enjoyed his first flight  in a glider, spotting his house, granddad's works and the kart track at Dunks.

Late in the day, a young solo pilot from Lasham Ollie, on holiday in Devon saw a glider flying and turned up to fly.
Clear blue skies (Stu Procter)
15 aerotows and  both Falkes were going round. - Thanks to everyone for a really nice day out. - J&P

Sat 22nd December

An early field inspection suggested the possibility of winch launching but low and orographic cloud  was a worry. This though, was slightly academic given the lack of potential flyers. Slowly the numbers grew until we had enough to aerotow and then by 10ish to winch launch. A second trip to the west end confirmed that we could set up with the winch on the north side of the field and with the launch point moved more into the field than we usually do to create a cable retrieve run along the centre of the field, which fortunately was straight into wind.  So the K21s and Junior LRD were readied for flight and the order of the day was again to land short and avoid wheel brakes unless essential.
The sky opened up (Peter Smith)
The first flights were close to cloudbase but the sky soon opened and launch heights improved.  It was then possible to achieve extended flights with elements of ridge lift and some lift we thought related to the passing clouds.  The flying list grew so we set our sights on 2 flights each to have the best chance of everyone flying.
Pete Startup  (Lisa Humphries)
  CFI Stu and James Flory also brought out NH2 to do a mutual currency check and then others took advantage of that as well.  We had a couple of short interruptions by light showers but kept flying until dusk approached with a total of 29 flights and over 9 hours in the air. By the time the gliders were washed and put to bed the light had gone. There were several flights around the half hour mark.
Stu and James in Perkoz (Stu Procter)
It was a good day with everyone helping and  working together to get the most out of it.
All the gliders were soaring (Lisa Humphries)
 Thanks to John Sillett for helping with the back seat work, also Martin Woolner, Glenn Turpin, and James Flory for stepping in as well. Most importantly though to all the club members who made it possible.  - Peter Smith

With the weather looking unlikely for any flying tomorrow, DSGC would like to wish all our members and followers a Merry Christmas, and we'll be looking for any hopeful days to fly over the holiday period (keep an eye on North Hill GG). - J&P

Thurs 20th December

As we left Plymouth in the dark, and drizzle, we lamented the lack of flying in recent weeks and potentially another day of no flying. So with a number of Club days having been unflyable in recent weeks due to poor weather of various aspects it was pleasantly surprising to arrive at the airfield under blue skies and a light South Westerly wind.
Blue skies to start (Mike Sloggett)
Rain showers were forecast for later in the morning but with members steadily arriving two by two it was clear that we needed to make the most of every available minute of flying time to get as many people in the air during the day and there was a suitable air of anticipation in and around the Clubhouse

An airfield ‘pitch inspection’ confirmed that as thought the overnight rain had drained away well but nevertheless with the rain of recent days,  aerotow launching only would be the plan
(Mark C, as Duty Tug Pilot, managing to keep his excitement at hearing such decision under control as he ran with a skip and a jump to the tug hangar and threw the doors open!)
Club gliders on the grid (Mike Sloggett)
With a number of currency flights needed (including Instructors) both K21s, the DG505 and the Perkoz were all brought out of the hangar and readied for the day’s flying with a Junior also made available for “current” solo pilots.

And then it was on with the day’s flying with a pre-flight briefing agreeing that activity would continue through lunch to make the most of the day and with members encouraged to land short by judgment, rather than using the glider wheelbrakes, so as to not damage the airfield too much.
Lunchtime storm  (Mark Courtney)
As it happened some rain showers worked their  way across the airfield around lunchtime so an ‘enforced’ break in flying was needed but early afternoon the gliders were again in continuous action. Throughout the day the weather moved through in phases, ranging from orographic cloud hanging around the circuit to nice blue skies and everything in between. 
A bright slot is on the way (Peter Smith)

Some flights were extended by convection under the clouds, and others by some wave in front of the clouds, but nothing spectacular except for the cloudscapes. 
Some gentle wave (Mike Sloggett)

Rob Hender enjoyed his "Amey Community Day", working at the launchpoint and on the simulator wiring, just fitting in a small cross-country triangle in the simulator at lunchtime.
Cloudscapes and rainbows (Mike Sloggett)
As the afternoon came to an end the flying list was not quite beaten, with just one member missing out due to a darkening sky of the next rain and cloud heading towards the airfield concurrently with the Pawnee needing it’s second refuel of the day (sorry Andrew!)

A nice early Christmas present for everyone else today in terms of some flying after a torrid run of poor weather - Thank You to everyone for the teamwork to get others into the air.. 18 flights in total. - Mike Sloggett

In the evening,  there was a DD3 / Eagle Christmas Party  with JP spending hours on the catering with the 'hangers-on' doing the washing up.
Washing up (Nick Jones)

Wed 19th December

Wednesday morning experienced a very reduced collection of Club members - no doubt discouraged by Tuesday's all day heavy rain and expecting the field to be too wet to fly on.
After a field inspection it was decided to fly aerotow only, we quickly readied a K21 and one of the Juniors, only to find the canopies would not demist, so it was off to the Clubhouse for refreshments.
The sun dries the canopies (John Street)
After about 30mins and a light shower the canopies managed to clear themselves, so we were ready to fly.
John Sillett.was first to fly and indeed the first Club member to fly this December from North Hill and everyone commented that it was good to get in the air again after the long lay off due to the adverse weather conditions, we managed 7 aerotows in very pleasant conditions.
Pete Warren and Robert Lee were tuggies today. - John Street

Sun 16th December

With the prospect of the possibility of some flying, after so many days of bad, we were a little surprised to see only the Duty Instructor (Pete Smith) at the club when we arrived from Plymouth at 8:45. A quick pitch inspection and the field was declared fit for flying! (North Hill has the amazing ability of draining quickly).

Simon Minson  RE was running a five-year refresher course for three of our Instructors in the lecture room but the rest unpacked the hangar for the first time for what seemed like months.
The tug was readied, batteries fitted into gliders, parachutes dusted off and the gliders DI’d, but alas the weather had other ideas, with the humidity at 98% the canopies refused to clear.

During the DI’s we found several “presents” left by one or more Xmas mice, it is thought that the odd sweet wrapper left in the cockpits had attracted our little friends.
If anyone would like to donate a cat to the club that would be great, (he will have to live in the hangar).

After the toys were reluctantly put to bed the Instructors were invited to sit in on the five-year refresher course. We watched some video clips on how “not to do that” and some videos on “how to do that”, discussion ensued, the “B” word never came up once!
Simon Minson leading the 5-year refresher (Mark Courtney)
Lunch temporarily interrupted the proceedings, and for an hour or so the club house was quite busy with everyone in a good pre-xmas mood, no doubt encouraged by the splendid decorations and tree, but with the notice on the table about max cockpit weight the mince pies were nowhere to be seen!

The instructors returned to their “den” and by the time they emerged there weren’t many members left. (Ed: There were still a few working in the Simulator Room, with the help of Test Pilot Daniel making some more tweaks to the system.)

I have asked Santa very nicely for some wonderful cold blue days in January, I even wrote a letter, AND I have been a good boy so let’s hope this big boy's dreams come true for all our sakes!
- Mark Courtney

Sat 1st December

After a day of rigging K21 HCX after Annual inspection - thanks all,  the new grasscutter annual maintenance - thanks to Peter Smith and the team - and some more Cross-country training in the Simulator, there was a crowded Clubhouse for the AGM.

There were the usual Management Committee Reports, Thanks to practically everyone and Voting for Committee posts and useful general discussions. Welcome to the new Committee for the first time - John Borland and George Sanderson.
2018 Trophy winners (Robert Lee)
Congratulations to all the members who achieved or surpassed their personal objectives this year, and special congratulations to all the Trophy winners. 

The AGM was followed by a super supper from Graham and Cheryl, North Hill Cafe, and Karen King organised a "Nick's raffle" in aid of the Samaritans. - J&P