Wed 30th January

Today was another opportunity for the weather to test the patience of those who ventured to go to the Club today. The roads on the way to the Club were like driving through a winter wonderland and on arriving at the entrance, and seeing the snow covered airfield, it was interesting to recall the brown dry grass of last summer!
Chairman Nick Jones leads the way (Mark Courtney)
As the members gradually arrived one by one, eventually enough had arrived to be able to start flying as and when the forecast snow showers ended.

However the low cloud base prevented any immediate plans to fly - but with K21 KEK in the workshop and awaiting re-rigging after it’s annual inspection, it was an easy decision to organise those present to get the glider out of the workshop.
The rigging team (Robert Lee)
So it was coats and jumpers on, and with careful watching of the snow and ice outside the workshop the K21 was re-rigged and control deflections checked.

On parade  (Mark Courtney)
 With some continuing optimism that the weather might improve enough for some aerotowing on what was a good airfield surface,  bearing in mind the snow which had fallen, an early lunch was taken by everyone.
Patches of blue sky developing (Mike Sloggett)
And then with patches of blue sky becoming more and more evident the decision was made to postpone the snowman-making competition for another day and to get some gliders ready for aerotowing. Daily inspections were completed on a K21, Junior and the Perkoz whilst the Pawnee was readied for action.
Quiz question - Why is North Hill still covered in snow? (Mike Sloggett)
And early afternoon, everyone’s patience was rewarded with some rather nice flights under a mainly blue sky above a snowy landscape and with clear visibility in every direction allowing spectacular views.

Thank you to everyone who helped others to get into the air today. - Mike Sloggett

Thurs 24th January

With continuous drizzle, turning into fog for most of the day with a slowly approaching warm front, it was no surprise that the Thursday Regulars looked for alternative tasks today. 

Some were working on KEK on its annual inspection, and Pete Startup did a repair on the Perkoz rear microphone. 
Many volunteers (David Clements)
 Volunteers are always needed for some of the "less-glamorous" tasks and after lunch it was all hands to the blocked drain......
Literally (David Clements)

Thanks all! -J&P

Wed 23rd January

This is the third good start on a Wednesday this year, again we had a good long flying list without the problem of misting canopies.
Ready to launch (John Street)
We had two new club members to fly alongside Sue Dyson -who has been with us a while, all needing training and Chris Warnes to be signed off for his new yellow card, we had three two-seaters and four Instructors available for training.
Chris preparing for his yellow card checks (John Street)
The DG505 was used most of the morning for Chris to complete his yellow card checks with John Street,  while Glenn Turpin, John Sillett,and Pete Warren looked after the pre-solo pilots.
First aerotow (David Clements)
Roly was waiting for his DG all morning and after a check flight had an aerotow with Heather. About midday some thermals started to appear and Nick Harrison made good use of them with the longest flight of the day managing 29min, there were also several others who managed shorter soaring flights.
Congratulations to Rob Rand (Mark Courtney)
Both the motor gliders were in use for most of the day  with Rob Rand completing his Cross-Country Endorsement with Mark Courtney.visiting The Park and Compton Abbas.
Glenn flying with a new member (David Clements)

We had three aerotow and 35 winch launches in total. January is proving to be much better than last year, fingers crossed for the rest of the winter. - John Street.

Sun 20th January

On a very quiet day with low cloud at North Hill, James Flory held court in the lecture room with DSGC Junior members. Young Ross Pratt gave a walk-through on circuit planning  to girlfriend Libby,  new member Rees and Dan Hender. Well done to James and in fact to Ross for his performance. The next generation of glider pilots and future instructors....
Ross talks about circuit planning (John Pursey)
Thanks also to Kris Pratt for installing the latest version of Condor 2 on the simulator, with Rob Hender progressing to winch launching in the simulator with Pete Harmer.  - John Pursey

Sat 19th January

It was always going to be a tricky day for flying with showers forecast, but members were optimistic as ever.... 
But it was bright, cold and the humidity was rather high. 

Alan Turner was first up in K21 with an aerotow, as the field was a little soft and muddy for winching, but just as the combination flew over the west ridge, some very nasty orographic cloud formed all around them. So Alan's flight turned into a very quick check flight with all landing back safely.
Alan Turner after his first short flight of 2019 (Mark Courtney)

There was a bit of a pause after that...

Later, in the afternoon another attempt to take an aerotow resulted in a pull off on the ground run after the canopies misted up. 
Nev Almond presenting XCSoar tutorial at North Hill
In the evening there was a good gathering of members and visitors from Dartmoor GS for our first winter lecture of the season, we welcomed Nev Almond who presented a very good tutorial on XCSoar.  Thanks also to Graham and Cheryl - North Hill Cafe for the dinner after. - J&P

Thur 17th January

We had a forecast for a ridge after a cold front clearance with a nice northwesterly wind, but it wasn't quite like that. - It was lovely and sunny but with a biting northeasterly wind. The South coast could be seen glinting in the winter sunshine.
South coast glinting beyond North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
The flying lists were long after no flying yesterday, but with a steady launch rate, 27 members enjoyed reasonable launches and some slightly extended circuits, 43 in total. 
Roly Clarke and Ian Mitchell followed by Mark Courtney and  Rob Rand completed practice Navexs in the Rotax Falke.
Mark Courtney and Rob Rand  (Mark Courtney)
Longest flight of the day went to Chris Wool and Ron Johns in DG505, who scrabbled around in some sort of low level lift for 23 minutes in the middle of the day.
Waiting for their turn  (Mike Sloggett)
The gliders had to queue up for their wash and brush up after flying. Thanks to everyone for yet another lovely winter's day out at North Hill. - J&P

Sun 13th January

The weather forecast suggested that we might fly today albeit in “interesting” conditions with the forecast wind strength anticipated to be a potential challenge. On arrival at the Club, our optimism from the forecast was quickly replaced by the reality of the actual weather, with the gusting wind and low cloud preventing us getting any gliders or ground equipment out.

But as the Clubhouse steadily filled with Club members ordering their breakfasts and hot drinks then so the weather improved and with various Instructors keen to make the most of the potential for flying, the hangar was soon being unpacked and the launchpoint set up for winching to the North West. 
The weather improved (Mike Sloggett)
Initially both K21s and a Junior were being used, but with the ridge working well and with further members arriving, and keen to fly, soon the DG505 and Perkoz were also brought out of the hangar.

With cloud base of only around 1000ft,  it soon became evident that limiting the number of gliders on the ridge would be prudent and with quite a long flying list flights were limited in duration to allow others to fly.

As lunchtime arrived then so did lower cloud to the extent that full height launches could not be achieved - and then sooner than had been expected - the rain arrived, so it was time to put the gliders and ground equipment away.

During the morning, Mark Courtney completed some Basic Instructor ground school and flying with Richard Roberts and Roger Appleboom from Dartmoor Gliding Society.  
Dartmoor GS members using the DSGC simulator (Mark Courtney)
Another day when the opportunity to fly was taken for as long as it was possible - thank you to everyone who turned up today for the teamwork to help others fly and apologies to those who ended up not flying due to the weather stopping the fun.

Gliding is described as ‘Affordable, Challenging and Exciting’, today saw all three elements! - Mike Sloggett

Thurs 10th January

It was a glorious sunny morning (if a tad cold), and not a lot of wind, so as soon as the temperature got above zero, the gliders were prepared for flying - 3 two-seaters and 2 Juniors, the DG505 was again left in the hangar due to the lack of wind.
Chris Wool - Birthday boy (Mark Courtney)
Launch point was set up for the forecast northwesterly wind, and the very pleasant high launches commenced.
Icebow (Mark Courtney)
It was mainly solo pilots and check / recency flights, and for the first time we tried out the Perkoz with the little winglets. 
North Hill looking cold (Mike Sloggett)
Everyone was glad of the short break at lunchtime to warm up, but after lunch the forecast cloud had piled in, with cloudbase at 1100ft.

Seven-minute circuits were the best that the sky offered, but there were a number of achievements to report.:
Robert Lee soled Perkoz (Mike Sloggett)
Robert Lee soloed the Perkoz, Chris Woodward resoled after a few months away, Wooly celebrated his birthday in the back seat, and John Borland converted to the DG300. 
Rob Rand and John Borland with DG300 (Rob Rand)

Thanks to Roy Boddy for winching all morning and Gordon Hutchinson all afternoon.
Even CFI Stu turned up to try the Perkoz with shorter wings, and we packed up  at 16:00 after washing all the gliders.  Thanks all 42 launches in all - J&P

Wed 9th January

Another very busy Wednesday with a long flying list and great deal of enthusiasm, the gliders were quickly walked to the southwest corner where a quite brisk northeasterly icy wind was blowing with some determination.
Sparkling sky (David Clements
The now commonly worn green uniform (Dickies one-piece suit stocked at Mole Valley Farmers) was much in evidence by the more informed, some members preferred to shiver huddled behind the LPV.
Thermals and green suits (David Clements)
Brian Knight, our newest member had a good  day and was getting excellent advice from all quarters including three flights with John Sillett to start off the days flying, Jeff Teberham finished his yellow card checks with John Street.
Long shadows (David Clements)
The thermals started briefly to bubble up to give the lucky few a taste of better things to come, Geoff Lawrence rounded off the day by finding some wave near the north ridge and had the joint longest flight of the day (14 mins), Robert who usually tries to the get the longest flight of the day realizing he was outclassed used the tug as an excuse not to compete.
Last flight as the canopies started misting (David Clements)
We had three two-seaters in use all day and a Junior with four instructors on duty everyone had as much flying as they wanted, we finished flying about 4pm just as the canopies started to mist up, a very rewarding mid-winter day's flying. - John Street.

Sun 6th January

An overcast sky at daybreak with very light westerly wind changed little other than the low cloud slowly lifting. Early arrivals were JB and Rowan with Simon Minson (wearing his Regional Examiner hat) keen to complete 5 year Instructor checks.

Whilst waiting for cloudbase to rise and canopy misting to abate, Chairman Nick and I used the time to deal with some admin matters and then he and Peter Warren were able to complete formal declarations regarding the club’s original access. Many thanks to Guy Adams for his input and ability to formalise same which is much appreciated.
Perkoz (Simon Minson)
The Instructor check candidates were eager to get it over with, (rather like a visit to the dentist’s chair I suspect) so we got out gliders and JB posted a call to arms with Graham’s help. Lo and behold slowly the numbers increased as indeed did cloudbase, sufficiently to allow the first aerotow launch just after midday. We set up the field for the surface wind (light from the north west) but smoke from fires in the Exe valley showed that the forecast South West breeze was on the mark.
Jonathan Erskine (Peter Smith)
Thereafter both K21s flew circuits, first up was Jonathon Erskine who had waited all morning and completed 3 respectable flights before being persuaded to accept the challenge of logging in order to keep us flying. Tim Petty drove the winch and cable retrieve enabling it all to happen.
Gloomy North Hill (Simon Minson)
James Flory completed a trial lesson aerotow with some visitors from Newton Abbott who appeared to be very impressed with the Club and gliding and we hope we will see them again.

A number of short flights followed including instructors keen to keep current during the winter months until dusk and misting canopies drew the day to a close after 20 glider flights. Not a memorable one, but we wrung about as much as we safely could from a short mid winter opportunity. - Peter Smith

Sat 5th January

The forecast promised some sunshine amongst the cloud today, but the anti-cyclonic gloom won out. Although at times, there was a hint of the cloudbase lifting to circuit height at North Hill, the visibility was never good, and after  James Flory and Pete Harmer made a couple of trips to the west end to look out into the valley, it was decided to give up the idea of real flying. So it was off to the simulator to enjoy the better weather.......

First up was Mark Wallis, who completed the small Tiverton - Wellington triangle in just over the hour, first time past the motorway for Mark.  Then Mike Harris showed some expertise completing the "easy"  thermals task in 38 minutes - the new time to beat.
Rob Hender first circuits and approach to North Hill (Jill Harmer)

Pete Harmer briefed Charlie Stuckey and Josh Funnell on their next steps to Bronze, and then it was Rob's turn in the simulator for some basic instruction on circuit planning and landings at North Hill. You can do 10 circuits in half an hour without all that queuing for the winch!  Meanwhile Daniel Hender was enjoying his new hover board with go-kart extension, but took some time out to show Dad how to loop the Diana in the valley to lose some height in the circuit! - J&P

Thurs 3rd January

After yesterday's sparkling blue sky, today seemed a (little) grey by comparison but the field was firm, the wind very light, and the launch point was set up in the north east corner.
Ready to go (Mike Horwood)
With a long two-seater flying list with many recency checks required due to the poor weather in December, training continued in one K21, whilst the other K21 was on check flights and the Perkoz used for type conversions. Both Juniors were available for the current solo pilots and the DG505 had been left in the hangar due to the very light wind.

The winch launches were surprisingly high in the light wind, and lunch time was staggered while the flying list was being worked through.
Dan Hender with Pete Harmer and Rob Rand ready to hook on (Rob Hender)
The air was very still with little sink around, but aerotows were possible to 2500ft under the overcast sky. At times there were just a few gaps with a hint of sunshine.
Crepuscular Rays (Mark Courtney
We welcomed Brian Knight for a Trial lesson, he has decided to take up gliding in preference to sailing following a gliding course at Lasham 15 years ago. We also welcomed back Brandon Kusma after his Trial lesson last May, Brandon is planning to join the DSGC Junior member ranks and enjoyed his flight with Paul Summers. 
Ellie Carter and Pete Harmer (Rob Hender)
 The list was completed just in time before the (misting) canopies, thanks all for a pleasant (if cold) day at North Hill. -J&P

Wed 2nd January

For once the forecast was spot on and a large contingent of members turned up to enjoy the first club flying day of 2019 in the bright blue sparkling sunshine.

John Sillett was first in the air followed by everyone eager to get back in the air after after some very indifferent December weather.

We flew from the southwest corner in the light northeasterly wind, there was no lift to speak of although George Sanderson found some lift under a nice cloud after a 2,000ft aerotow and floated about in zero sink for a while.

We flew until after 4:00pm and everyone flew, we managed to fly all the gliders back to the hangar before the canopies started to mist up.

Veteran Wednesday Blogger John Street
I would like to wish all DSGC blog readers a Happy New Year - from your veteran Wednesday blogger.  - John Street.