Mon 30th December

The day started with slight worry that the fog might not clear and ruin our ad-hoc day. John Sillett kept us entertained with a great refresher briefing on aerotowing and tug upsets. Finally the cloud started to clear and we unpacked the hangar quickly getting the first launch around midday. John did a met flight with Dave Perriam and after announcing that the conditions were good, everyone hurried to get flying and make the most of the short time we had left of the day. 
Clear blue skies (Jill Harmer)
A friends and family flight was taken by Dave Broderick and plenty of check flights and training flights followed. 
Pawnee poised (Charlie Broderick)
Peter Warren was kept busy aerotowing, and John Sillett committed to instructing for the full day with Pete Startup doing an excellent job launch marshalling.
North Hill looking serene (JB)
Later in the day,to give John a break, Pete Harmer, JB and CFI Stuart Proctor helped out by instructing on flights in the afternoon.
Great views as the mist started rolling back up the valleys (Stu Procter)
Overall a really good ad-hoc day after the recent wet weather, with lots of keen members working hard to get everyone in the air - 21 winch launches and 4 aerotows before the canopies started misting as the sun dropped in the sky. - Charlie Broderick
(Ed: Reminder to everyone to  keep up with GG for notifications of ad-hoc days! - Great call by Chairman Nick , Thanks to Rob for spotting the date - sorry too many sherbets! HNY everyone)

Sat 28th December

A small but keen and enthusiastic group of members turned up today, filled with optimism that the weather might just be a tad better than the forecast.

The airfield had, as usual, drained well and the the wind strength and direction were such that the optimism continued to be maintained - it was just a question of whether the cloudbase would get high enough to allow some gliding to be achieved.

After some ground school briefings the decision was made to take one K21 out of the hangar and to set up the winch up in the South West corner of the airfield - having done so it became apparent that whilst much of the airfield had drained suitably that particular corner of the field was still quite wet and that therefore continually retrieving cables would cause unnecessary damage to the airfield surface. So, with cloudbase evidently deteriorating the decision was made to put everything away and dream of better days ahead...

As everyone wended their way home the only thing left to be done was a replacement of the Club sign... 
Looking forward to some dry weather (Mike Sloggett)
Happy New Year to all - Mike Sloggett

Sat 21st December

Only a few of us turned up today. Over a cup of tea, it was agreed that rather than just turn around and head home again, that we would clean some of the vehicles.  
Wash and brush up (Ashley Thomas)
We managed to wash down the Gator, Cable Retrieve Discovery and Skylaunch before the rain started.  The plan is to complete the rest of the vehicles and clean all the insides in the next couple of weeks, time and weather permitting. Merry Christmas to all. - Ashley Thomas

Thurs 19th December

Despite the weather being as poor as the forecast had suggested, a small group of members turned up at the Club today.
Still raining (Mike Sloggett)
After discussion on a wide range of topics it was time to do something useful, so it was off to the Ground vehicles hangar where the collection of rainwater from the leaking roof was sorted by Gordon Hutchinson.
The roof needs some attention (Mike Sloggett)
Meanwhile John Borland and Rob Rand got the simulator up and running after some ‘fault finding’ of various cables and connectors.
Aerotow training (John Borland)
The simulator was then put to good use with various members getting into the air, including Dave Perriam practising aerotows with Mike Sloggett and John Borland spinning with James Flory.
Much better sky than outside (Mike Sloggett)

And there was time enough for James Flory to complete some ground school briefings before lunch.
Lectures by James Flory (Mike Sloggett0

With the rain pouring down outside as forecast and with lunch over, it was time for everyone to wend their way home talking about better weather days ahead - as ever glider pilots being optimistic - but at least the evenings have started drawing out!

Happy Christmas from the Thursday Regulars. - Mike Sloggett ++
JP's infamous paellas (Nick Jones)
 And in the evening...  25 people attended John Pursey’s Paella evening in spite of the flooded roads. 
Paella party (Nick Jones)
Thank you John and Steph and all who helped make it such a pleasant evening. - Nick Jones

Wed 18th December

Wednesday's forecast was dire, John Sillett turned up and also Peter Field and a couple of others, the forecast was spot on,  so no flying on the last Wednesday before Christmas..... 
Just more rain (DSGC webcam) all I can do is wish all my Wednesday blog-followers a happy Christmas, from your veteran blogger. - John Street.

Sat 14th December

John Pursey was duty instructor (am) and once a few members made noises about wanting to fly if at all possible a decision was made to fly but with aerotow-only available to preserve the integrity of the airfield. The launch point was set up right at the East end of the field, by the main entrance road as no coms point to winch was necessary and the wind was a nice strong Westerly.

Simon Leeson was tug pilot and he took a flight to confirm if conditions were suitable to aerotow. Once confirmed, flying commenced just after 11:00 with JP and Ashley Thomas up first, closely followed by Pete Startup who had rigged 230.
230 out in the valley in weak wave (Rowan Smith)
JP returned and flew with Dan Hender. The rest of the flights were Tom Sides / Pete Smith, Rob Hender / James Flory, Pete Harmer /Charlie Stuckey, Rowan in CLM, Mark Courtney training two guys from Dartmoor Gliding Club (Rick Wiles and Martin Cropper) and the last launch went to Stuart Proctor / Emma Kendall. 

Extended periods of flying were enjoyed by all pilots, thanks to the conditions on the ridge (and their skill, of course!) No points for guessing who was up longest (230), but he was followed by Rowan! 
Mark proving that he knows how to wash the gliders (Rob Hender)
Very big thank you to Simon for aerotowing in testing conditions. - Rob Hender

After flying a good number of members gathered for the Annual General Meeting. There were the usual Management Committee Reports, thanks to practically everyone and Committee updates. Welcome to the new Committee for the first time - Tim Petty and Dave Perriam.
Some of the 2019 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.
Some of the fantastic bring and share buffet (Sally Hender)
The AGM was followed by a Christmas Party with a fantastic Bring and Share buffet supper, thanks to Team Hender for organising the party. - J&P

Sun 8th December

Today was always likely to be a non-flying day, and it turned out to be the case. After a note on GG last night we were expecting some members to turn up for some lectures and some practice on the simulator.
Jonathan Erskine in the simulator (Mark Courtney)
As it happened only Jonathan Erskine appeared as a willing volunteer to be our “student”. Jonathan quickly mastered the differences between a real glider and a simulator and was soon practicing stalls and spins as well as height/distance judgement in relation to final glides back to North Hill. 

Simon Minson and JB were also keen to learn how to use the simulator admitting that they have not used the sim to its full potential.

Dan Hender was at hand to help us “tweak” the Blanik C of G to make it spin more readily, and it did!

Dan checks out Simon (Simon Leeson)
Dan “checked out” Simon Minson who very annoyingly adapted to the simulator far too quickly!

Today showed the potential of our great asset, we Instructors have been too slow to embrace the use of the sim, but with the BGA singing the praises of simulator training at a recent Management Conference, it has woken us all up to the need for regular training sessions on non-flying days and indeed flying days as well.
If only the sky was like that outside (Simon Leeson)
Remember ‘practice in the sim, perfect in the air’, it can save you time and money, data shows that a student making progress is a happy student, and progress fuels enthusiasm.

With that in mind, see you the next rainy day! - Mark Courtney

Sat 7th December

The day started with high hopes, (well people turned up!). The Airfield was set up and gliders on line ready to go by 10.00am, however the first flight launched straight into cloud and had to release early. Two more similar launch’s later, and the launchpoint was abandoned for coffee! During the break the Christmas tree went up. A second attempt to fly was made about an hour later, resulting in zero launches..... back again for coffee!
A grey day (David Clements)
Finally after lunch it was third time lucky, with two K21’s, a Junior and the Perkoz in action, everyone flew 25 flights in total. Check flights for Mark Wallis and Hans Jenssen, Phil Morrison flew in the Perkoz for the first time with Peter Smith, and training continued for others. 

All day, good use was made of the DSGC Simulator, with Dan Hender instructing Paul Summers,  Mike Harris and Mark Wallis attempting cross-countries and CFI Stu completing a task NHL- Tiverton Wellington- NHL.

Thanks to Rob and Dan Hender  for bringing their gaming PC in so that we could achieve a proof of concept in the Briefing Room, running Condor2, using 3 screens to get 220deg field of view.

I was allowed to leave the LPV later on (thank you Mark Wallis) so Cheryl and I could put up the rest of the Christmas decorations! A successful day. - Sally Hender

Fri 6th December

Thanks to everyone who turned up to help plant the hedging whips along the new boundary fence. All 400 were planted, sleeved and staked by lunchtime, an amazing effort.
Hedge planting team at North Hill (Rob Hender)

Thanks also to Graham for the catering. Nick Jones DSGC Chairman

Thurs 5th December

Another slow start whilst waiting for the canopies to dry out with the initial high humidity at North Hill and some orographic cloud blowing up the gulley. But patience was rewarded and the first flight was just before 12:00.
Mike Horwood with Peter Smith for Card checks (David Clements)
Surface wind was a quite light southwesterly but there was clearly a good wind gradient with high winch launches all day.
1600ft launches were the norm with 10-12 minute circuits, Training, check flights and solos all enjoyed the good winter conditions and tuggie Mark Courtney was also in demand. Stu Procter came along and enjoyed his first tows with the Pawnee since his enforced break from towing.
Ron Johns and Chris Wool in Perkoz (David Clements)
Late in the afternoon, thickening patchy cloud  started  making it feel quite dark. Peter Smith had the last flight of the day and got an exceptional 1900ft on the winch, but Ktrax log thought that Peter landed in the middle of the flight.....

"I found the small wave lift area west of Broadhembury and pulled the speed back and sat in it for a few minutes maintaining height and little visible ground speed. My suggestion is that I was actually geo-stationary without change in altitude for long enough for KTrax Log to conclude that I had landed. Thus when I resumed forward motion it recorded it as a separate flight from the Broadhembury “virtual landing strip”. Hence the missing minute or so.

The winch launch was the highest I have ever had, and I omitted to tell the winch driver, that it was a perfect launch, a constant 65 knots and smooth but very steep, I suspect because of ridge or wave lift. It just went on for much longer than normal, pure luck. Right place right time. I read it as 1900ft but KTrax Log says 2030ft."
Junior landing (David Clements)
Thanks to all for a pleasant day, and especially winch drivers Ian Hunt and Aston Key for the great winch launches today, and Instructors Pete Harmer, Peter Smith and Chris Wool for driving the two-seaters. 19 winch launches and 5 aerotows -J&P

Wed 4th December

KEK was quickly rigged after having a new canopy fitted, we walked the gliders to the northwest corner, both K21s the Perkoz and both Juniors.
Ready to go (David Clements)
About 12:00 o'clock, weak thermals started to work and it was possible to have extended circuits.....
Perkoz (David Clements)
......later as the sea breeze set up there were several flights of over 30min, because of the number of people who wanted to fly, we staggered the lunch break.
Gliders being washed (David Clements)
Because of misting canopies we had to stop flying at about 4:00pm but luckily by that time everyone  had flown, we had 38 flights on what was a very rewarding day. - John Street.

Remembering Matt today..............

Matt with David Jesty

Sun 1st December

With temperatures today starting off at 'scorching' 3 degrees with a howling wind and a cloudbase of 500ft meaning that until 12:00, things got off to a slow start. After a 'quick' walk to the southwest corner by 12:30 everything was up and running with the first two cables in use straight after the gliders arrived. 
Horizontal windsock early on (Matt Howard)
Big thanks to 'Team Hender' who were launching, winching and retrieving from the first to the last launch.

All pilots today got to have some fun doing crosswind training with a crosswind battering the aircraft on their approaches. With high launches but not much lift around the field the longest flight was 11 minutes - 23 launches in total. - Matt Howard (first-time blogger)

Thurs 28th November

With more than 70mm of rain over the last 7 days, the prospect of a dry day brought 'everyone' out, but it was a slow start with the wet ground making it a reduced price aerotow-only day. It took most of the morning before the canopies cleared and the humidity reduced. There was 1 launch before 12:00 but we were still plagued with the intermittent small bands of lowish orographic cloud forming on the west ridge, so it was an early lunch before getting going in ernest.

Aerotow queue (David Clements)
3 two-seaters and the 2 Juniors were in action and Martin Woolner KMV also rigged and took a launch. 
Aston Key with an aerotow recency flight with John Sillett (David Clements)
Aerotow training and some spin practice took place before the temperature started dropping and the orographic cloud returned, which called an early close 11 launches in total. Sorry to those who didn't fly today. Thanks to guest Instructors John Sillett and Peter Field for helping out on a Thursday. - J&P

Sat 23rd November

The wet weather continues.... but Mark Courtney and Simon Leeson were helping prepare some members of Dartmoor GS for their Full Cat test in the New Year. 
Lectures in the Briefing Room (Mark Courtney)
Rick Wiles and Martin Cropper were being put through their paces both in the Briefing Room and the DSGC simulator. 
DSGC Simulator (Mark Courtney)

Meanwhile, some DSGC members prepared and derigged the K21 KEK for its journey to Airborne Composites - thanks to all. - J&P

Thurs 21st November

The regulars met for coffee and bacon baps, with Jill and Pete Harmer reporting on some of the messages from the BGA Management Conference. Mike Horwood kicked off the winter simulator cross-country challenge with an out and return to Tiverton. 
Practising cross-countries at North Hill (Jill Harmer)

At least the dark room gives a much brighter picture of the sky to dream for - Looking forward to the rain stopping...... J&P

Wed 20th November

Once we had walked the gliders to the launch point there was a strong and gusting mainly Southerly wind. Before launching it was found that KEK had a puncture that needed fixing, when we started launching we found the launches very testing due to the sudden gusts, after about four launches it was decided to fly the K21s home as the the pre-solo pilots would not gain a great deal from flying in the difficult conditions,
Library photo of K21 (Mark Layton)
Pete Warren managed nearly 30min on his hangar flight with some interesting ridge lift. - John Street.

Sat 16th November

The day started with the gliders out and DI'd early to make the most of the good weather. With lots of Juniors and club members keen not to miss a good day at this time of year, there was no shortage of hands to get the 4 gliders to the west end of the field. 
Junior members discussing the cloud formation (James Hood)
Good progress was made through the flying list over the morning and with enough helpers we continued through lunch. Charlie Stuckey, Dan Hender, Josh Funnell, Andrew Logan, Alan Turner and Roly Clarke were some of the many to take launches in the Junior. 
Approach to North Hill (Charlie Broderick)
 The K21s were flown regularly with lots of training including a number of simulated launch failures keeping the Instructors on their feet walking up and down the field. Charlie Broderick took an aerotow in the Perkoz for spinning and Matthew Howard enjoyed his first aerotow in the K21.
Aerotowing (Andrew Broderick)
Ruth was able to continue with her solo-flying in the K21 later in the day gaining some great experience.
Wash and brush up after flying (Mark Layton)
 All in all, there were lots of members and 48 flights over the day and everyone worked well to get the hangars packed and everything away in time for the GASCO Safety meeting in the evening. A great day enjoyed by all. - Charlie Broderick

Thanks also to the workshop team for getting Junior LRD out after the Annual and ready for flying for the long list of members who wanted to maintain currency. 
Thanks to GASCO for the Safety evening (Stuart Procter)

The evening GASCO Safety meeting was thought provoking -as always-and well attended although some members had to miss it due to the clash with the BGA Management Conference.

Thurs 14th November

Another day when the forecast and weather precluded flying, there was even a bit of snow to start with. Various jobs were completed: the annual and rewiring on the Junior LRD was finished off. Some lagging on the hot water tank pipes was replaced. The mower was greased, Airspace was discussed. Possible improvements to the Broadband were investigated. 
Lunchtime break (North Hill webcam)
Congratulations to Hans Jenssen who completed his Bronze endorsement with the weather theory elements finally being signed off.
Thanks All - J&P

Wed 13th November

The forecast for Wednesday was for reasonable weather in the morning with rain spreading from the West later in the day. We had a large flying list and a shortage of instructors and two Trial lessons booked so we decided to set up the field and fly until the rain arrived and not stop for lunch.
Nice autumn colours as a backdrop (David Clements)
The flying was reasonable all morning and most flights were in the region of 15 minutes due to weak wave and high launches, most people flew before the rain arrived, the rain stopped for a while after lunch but the field was saturated so the decision was made to call it a day.
Cleaning the gliders as the rain set in (David Clements)

The gliders were put in the hangar as really heavy rain set in, we made the most of the day with the instructors we had, but unfortunately some members did not fly. - John Street.

Sun 10th November

The day started very cold indeed, temperatures were hovering around 3c but with the strong NE wind it felt more like -3c! There were quite a few members in the clubhouse but none were keen to step outside for fear of frost bite, even Captain Shorts (Paul Summers) had his longs on today.

Answering the call for the Junior LRD to be derigged, meant that we had to empty the hangar to get at it, as the gliders were out we decided to D.I them “just in case it became flyable”.

Looking at the grey low cloud noone was prepared for what happened next, the clouds started to disperse and the sun poked its face through the gaps, game on!

With the wind ENE duty instructor Simon Leeson decided to set up at the west end adjacent to the “aerotow strip”. We took the two K21’s and the DG505 because Rowan Smith had turned up and offered to instruct.

First launch was at 12 noon, there were signs of wave to the NE so Simon and James Hood explored that way, alas to no avail.

Next launch was Mark Courtney and Trevor Russell, they decided not to go NE after the first K21’s failure to find wave but instead went West this decision proved to be correct (thanks Simon for exploring to the NE).
Wave bars to the west (Mark Courtney)
They were soon joined by Rowan with new Country member Stewart Henshall from Hong Kong, Mike Fairclough in the Junior and Simon L with Daniel Hender.
Rowan and Stewart (Rowan Smith)
All flights were about an hour enjoying the rather fickle weak wave system, it was great fun to hunt for the lift, the gliders only returning to fly the next people on the list. The sky by now was blue and it felt quite pleasant if you stood out of the wind. Then the wind eased and the card colour dropped to yellow, but this meant  that the wave had collapsed and flights were now much shorter.
Peter Smith arrived as a change of guard and flights continued until late into the day, Simon Minson flew the only trial lesson  visitor today,- James Tyrrell is a regular visitor, but usually only pops in for tea after racing up the hills on his push bike!

The few members who had stuck it out all day got to fly, but with the skies turning grey and the temperature plummeting it was decided that the last four launches should be hangar flights.

Longest flight was Simon and Dan at 1 hour and two minutes, beating Mark and Trevor by 2 minutes, but they did have a 500 ft higher aerotow and didn’t spin all the way down. (sorry Dan ).
Many thanks to Sally who manned the LPV all day and to Simon Jordy for tugging. All bottoms were washed before the gliders were put  to bed, the hanger doors were closed by 4 pm. A great afternoon was had by all, after the miserable start it made the flights even more rewarding. 12 aerotows in total, thanks to all who turned up today. - Mark Courtney and Rowan Smith

Thurs 7th November

It was certainly a chilly start after yet more rain had cleared through overnight, and with heavy dew all round it was decided to give the air a chance to dry out. Meanwhile a pitch inspection revealed a very wet muddy airfield so it would be aerotow only from the centre of the field.

Aerotows only today (Dave Clements)
Field inspections continued  for the reported 'depressions' and 3 were found along a collapsed drain line. Peter Smith led a team to provide temporary  infill until conditions would allow further investigations.
Temporary infill of the depressions (Dave Clements)

In the Clubhouse, there was demand from our newer members for a weather briefing, which showed a good window of opportunity for flying today.
Crystal clear skies over North Hill (Dave Clements)

Flying started at 11:30 into the crystal clear sky, and continued until a late lunch when the wall of rain showers to the northwest had just drifted across the airfield.
Parked up in case of a squall (Mike Sloggett)
 After the trough line had cleared through flying continued with everyone  enjoying  reduced price aerotows, and our two trial lesson visitors were suitably impressed with their short soaring flights. 
Thanks all- 12 launches in total - J&P