Fri 26th April - Cerdanya

With no flying in Devon on Wednesday and Thursday due to the weather, it's good to hear from Ian Mitchell in Spain enjoying the sunshine.......
Deflections checked, Annual completed (Ian Mitchell)
It’s not often you are asked to carry out an annual inspection and ARC renewal  in a different country so when asked if I was interested I couldn’t refuse.
Ian Mitchell selfie
So here I am at La Cerdanya, a Spanish club in the Pyrenees.
Just off tow hoping to make it to the mountains (Ian Mitchell)
View from 10,000ft (Ian Mitchell)
Wednesday & Thursday were spent doing the inspection and today was an opportunity to test fly the LS4. - Ian Mitchell

Monday 22nd April

A relaxed day at the club today with just a few members fettling gliders and working on caravans etc.
The Chairman supervises  the new GreenKeeper! (Sally Hender)
Thanks are due though to Chairman Nick assisted by Team Hender who tackled much mowing in the morning and Nick for much strimming later in the day to tidy up the club grounds.

Also to Roy Boddy for stepping up to cut the longer grass areas on the field with the big mower on Saturday after flying. Many thanks, much appreciated. - Peter Smith

Sun 21st April

After Saturday's blue circuits apart from a bit of soaring in the afternoon, RASP showed more hope for Sunday in the West Country......

The very sunny blue sky above the airfield together with a forecast of reasonable soaring potential ensured a good number of Club members, both for pre-solo training and also private owners anticipating a day of soaring. The forecast was for more Easterly winds than was evident first thing so with a light and variable wind the launchpoint was set up in the North East corner of the airfield.
Josh, Charlie and 'wannabe K6 pilot Dan' (Sally Hender)
Both K21s, a Junior and the DG505  were brought out of the hangar,  and Josh and Charlie rigged K6 DRE and soon it was on with the day’s flying with Bennett and Hender families contributing fully to keeping the launch point running smoothly.

The Cross country task for the Pundits was set by Phil Morrison  NHL- Molton - Launceston - Wimbleball - NHL 206Km to take most advantage of where RASP was showing strong conditions and maybe even some clouds!
Wimbleball Lake (Simon Minson)
Mid-morning it was evident that just off the winch launch towards the South West there was a ‘hot spot’ of thermals being regularly produced and one by one gliders established themselves into the rising air providing the height to look for even better thermals.

Meanwhile private gliders started to steadily appear and after launching whether by aerotow or winch “disappear” off into the hazy blue sky - with the inversion and related limited visibility  providing the challenge of spotting other gliders whether from the ground and particularly in the air.

The morning saw several Trial Lessons completed with Philip and Samuel Rees and Gavin Roberts..

Around lunchtime the wind gradually moved to a more evident Easterly flow so the decision was made to change ends with a “fingers crossed” move of the launch point to the North West corner of the airfield - after a long walk with the Club gliders early afternoon various Club and private gliders were soon being launched into the air, readily finding lift sources all around the airfield and continuing to “disappear” off somewhere around the Devon countryside.
Well marked inversion (Mike Sloggett)
Most of the private gliders just enjoyed the local soaring to ~6000ft amsl, but the Pundits completed Phil's task with Simon Minson in SM, Pete Startup in 230 and fastest DD3 with Phil Morrison and Nick Jones  at 72kph.

With ongoing teamwork the Club flying list was completed with just time for ‘second turns’ for some members before hangar flights were decided.

A long hot day under a very sunny and warm sky but a really good day all round - with everyone at the Club today making the most of the conditions and with teamwork to help get others into the air very evident. 36 winch launches and 8 aerotows- Thanks all - Mike Sloggett

Friday 19th April

Well it certainly was a Good Friday , a nice day out and very warm. The visibility was disappointing but everyone made the most of the day and all who turned up flew. James Flory, Wooly and I assisted with the required instruction duties and it was lovely to see Dick Stevens and Roy Boddy back for the Easter weekend. Alan Turner and Hans Jenssen took the Junior for a few laps around the local area and as usual Daniels family were keeping the club operations going with Father and Son also getting in the air. Daniels friend had his first gliding experience, and was being utilised well by Daniel collecting gliders in the Gator. Martin Woolner continued his training in the Motor glider and James Hood had one Aerotow job with the Perky and Rick Andrews who went aloft for some spinning with Chris Wool. 
Roy Boddy with Lisa (Lisa Humphries)
"So glad I went gliding yesterday. 5 minute circuits all morning but all afternoon it was blooming fabulous and who'd have thought I'd miss my silver height by just a couple of hundred feet in a clear blue sky! Thanks all who turned up and made it possible." - a very happy Hans
Visibility could have been better (Lisa Humphries)
Flights were mainly extended circuits but there was some lift in the afternoon if you could find it, Roy and I managed to get to 2200ft before being called down at 5pm as the helpers on the ground had to go home. Thanks to Graham and Cheryl for opening up at lunchtime and nice to see the Minsons who brought Jules mum to the club for lunch. - Lisa Humphries

Thurs 18th April

It was a slow start due to some misty low cloud and rotor, but there was some useful housekeeping while we were waiting. The fallen branches along Wheelbarrow Lane were collected up, the Hangar side door was painted, the charging connector for the LPV was replaced, and the Perkoz was rigged after it's Annual this week (thanks George Sanderson and Andrew Logan).
Hazy high clouds (Jill Harmer)

Then it was off to the southwest corner with the gliders. and mainly short circuits. After a change of sides with a southerly wind, it suddenly got soarable up to 3000ft and the visibility improved.
Collecting the fallen branches along Whellbarrow Lane (Mike Sloggett)
Jack Raybould had 9 flights on  his 1:1 with John Sillett, and Claire Turner and Max Granger enjoyed their Trial lessons, Max's Dad Ken decided to try out gliding at North Hill as well.
George Vojtisek in Junior and George Sanderson with Pete Harmer in DG505  had the noticeably longer flights of 48mins and 43mins respectively.
John Borland enjoyed 90 minutes of field landing practice with Ian (Ian Mitchell)

Congratulations to John Borland who completed his Cross-Country Endorsement with Ian Mitchell in the Rotax Falke.

Only 22 flights due to the late start, but a pleasantly warm day once the wind dropped. Thanks all - J&P

Wed 17th April

Another flyable Wednesday with a long list of pre-solo members, John Sillett was back from his duties at Merryfield and Glenn Turpin has returned to his Greek island to catch up with his sailing.
It was a slow start with the misty conditions making instruction difficult and the solo pilots hanging on until the visibility improved.
Pete Warren briefing Sue Dyson (John Street)
 Dave Clements and Tim Petty rigged the Pilatus B4 and Geoff Lawrence gave the Pegasus an airing.
Walking up to the southwest corner (John Street)
It became soarable after lunch and several gliders had reasonable soaring flights with poor vis and low cloud base. - John Street.

Sun 14th April

With a not too inviting forecast, only a small group gathered early in the Clubroom for pre-flying hot drinks.

Soon the hanger doors were opened and the small, but keen group were led to the west end by Peter Field.  After the first flight, conditions were better than expected in the gusty southeasterly wind making for some challenging flying in the wave, mild rotor and broken thermals!
DG505 (Simon Minson)
Simon Minson was seen heading back to the hanger to bring the DG505 out to play (he had flown Perkoz all day Saturday).
That's 6 knots on the vario (Simon Minson)
Everyone had two flights each, with a few soaring flights, longest being 60 minutes with Paul Summers and Simon Minson in the DG505.
Jonathan Erskine getting ready to launch (Simon Minson)
Extra members arrived to derig the Perkoz and put it in the workshop for its annual.
North Hill looking brown in April! (Simon Minson)
A good day out for all that took the opportunity, as the quote goes - "it's always worth turning up", a big thanks to Gordon for suppling such great launches in the gusty conditions! - Simon Minson & Gordon Hutchinson

Sat 13th April

Today's weather forecast was better than the weather we actually experienced, so it was surprising to see so few members at the club, but then again it is the Easter holidays and no doubt those who filled their boots on the Ad-hoc flying day yesterday had to gain some brownie points at home.

Despite a skeleton crew the club gliders were kept flying and 2 private gliders 230 and W7 were rigged, Pete Startup having the longest flight of the day (there's a surprise) just over 2 hours and Wyn Davies having a few attempts to follow him, well done both for making the most of it!
Congratulations Roger Green from Brentor BI Simon Minson)
The wind was a strong South Easterly and it was bitterly cold at the launchpoint. Simon Minson was busy all day (with RE hat on) in the Perkoz with Roger Green from Brentor, who was successfully signed off as BI.  Rowan Smith, James Flory and Steve Westlake performed the duty instructor roles with Stuart Procter in the Pawnee. Tom Sides flew a lovely 80 year old lady for the trial lesson,
80years young Marian Fowler with Tom Sides (Alison Hart)
I managed a flight with the CFI at the end of the day, nothing to write home about with the strong winds and lots of sink but its always good to get aloft!

Lisa Humphries and Stu Procter
At the end of the day James Hood and Steve Westlake managed to give us a cable break to deal with and the strong southerly wind took the parachute into the woods to the north of the field, good exercise for me and Andreas Kramer retrieving this on foot, maybe I burnt off the some of the calories from the toasted sandwich I had for lunch!!
Lisa collecting the broken cable (Stu Procter)
Nick Redfern flew the Junior just before the Blue flag was erected, all in all, a challenging day but the summer is just around the corner. Meanwhile our new member Brian Knight brought his daughter to the Club to show her the sport he was now involved in, hopefully she will give it a go when the weather is more benign.
Forest Glade was full for the Easter Holidays (Lisa Humphries)
And it was good to see Fiona Bennett taking some gentle exercise on the field after her recent scary stay in hospital. 

35 launches total, thanks to all. - Lisa Humphries

Friday 12th April

1st call for an ad-hoc day of the season based on the forecasts of the previous couple of days. But on looking at the sky this morning with it's 8/8ths overcast I wondered if it was the 1st mistake of the season! Still, I had faith that it would be at least reasonable local soaring so we went ahead.

Most people had obviously looked at the same sky so only 3 took up the offer - Pete S in 230, Wyn in W7 and Ron with Dan in 711 who were at least keen to rig the ASH ready for the good weather.

With the late start and forecast early finish I set a very conservative task of 104km, NHL - BEA - WEG - CUL - NHL, which is a task I have in mind to replace one of the other Club 100 tasks which are a bit samey(and people don't seem to like going to Tiverton much!). If I decide to go with this as a new club task, it can of course be flown in either direction and no pre flight declaration is required.
Ron Johns and Pete Startup (Phil Morrison)
Conditions were quite good once it got going and all 3 got round in reasonable times with some nice climbs to just over 3,000' QFE and not much wind, about 8kts from the SE which helped on the second leg from BEA to WEG.
W7 got back home today (Wyn Davies)
Wyn then had to land and leave for some domestics, Ron played around in some sea air convergency stuff and Pete went off around the other Club 100 TIE - YEO although sea air messing with the sky around Yeovil made it much trickier(and slower) than the first task.
Long wings give long shadows (Dan Johns)
Many thanks to Barbie for tugging and Phil Morrison for general dogsbodying and not flying.- Pete Startup

Fri 12th April - Portmoak

The last morning drive from the holiday cottage accommodation to the gliding site under a greyish sky suggested that the best of the week’s flying may well have already happened. And indeed on arrival it was evident that the local members had little optimism for anything other than a day of circuits.
Greyish sky (Mike Sloggett)
Undeterred, Mike Sloggett and David Cowley took a K21 on aerotow behind the Eurofox, providing Mike with more P1 flying to end his week, and then David continued his aerotow training in the K21. Unusually Andy Davey had decided not to rig and instead plan for the return journey home ‘down South’ but was readily helping others, including Mike and David, to get into the air.
Last flights (Mike Sloggett)
And then it was time for Mike and David to begin the journey home, heading for Edinburgh Airport as the start of same.

As ever DSGC members had a very warm welcome from everyone at Scottish Gliding Centre, with the use of their gliders for various flights much appreciated. - Mike Sloggett

Thurs 11th April

With soaring expectations high, there was a lot of activity in the rigging area, but coats and hats were needed as it had been quite cold overnight and the easterly breeze was still rather biting.

Daniel Hender with Pete Harmer  found some lift on the second launch of the day and the private owners were soon queuing up  with the Club gliders for launches and for some reason they were all waiting for winch launches whilst the Pawnee stood resplendent (but lonely) at the end of the field.
Largest grid of 12 private gliders so far this season (Jill Harmer)
Cloud base was only 2000ft until lunchtime, and the thermals were strong in places (but then so was the sink! which was reliable all day in the circuit). By Midday, the cloudbase went up to 3000ft but then blued out  leaving just wisps and haze caps.Nearly all had soaring flights although some members struggled to find the second thermal. We welcomed new member Craig Hinchcliffe who enjoyed two short soaring flights with Peter Smith following his trial lesson last year.
With the tricky conditions and quite a strong easterly wind not many ventured very far. Pete Startup 230 tried out a new potential 100kms Club task  Beaminster - Wellington - Cullompton. Wyn Davies W7 enjoyed his first field landing of the season at Smeatharpe  and met a model flyer who assisted with a self-retrieve.  But most of the private owners just enjoyed the first airing of their gliders.
W7 at Smeatharpe (Wyn Davies)
By 16:30 the wind had started moving round to the southwest and so landings at the hangar from the east completed the day.  35 launches in all. - J&P

Thurs 11th April - Scotland

Our plan to visit Deeside Gliding Club at Aboyne Airfield came out of a ‘chance’ discussion earlier in the week in the SGC Clubhouse members suggesting we might try a road trip ‘even further North’ to have the experience of flying at another gliding site - as none of David Cowley, Andy Davey or Mike Sloggett had flown from Aboyne it seemed like a good idea.

An early set off meant we made good progress on the road North and having made good time a stop was made a few miles from the airfield in the town of Banchory where a coffee was raised to absent gliding friends.
Another Perkoz (Mike Sloggett)
On arrival at the airfield the Eurofox was already out and ready for the day and after a warm welcome from local Club members, introductions were made and airfield/local airspace briefings completed together with relevant paperwork, and in turn logbook reviews.

Andy Davey, David Cowley and Mike Sloggett all had aerotows with a local instructor in the Deeside Gliding Club Perkoz behind the Eurofox - with a grey non-thermic cloudbase only about 3000ft and no distractions due to wave, all the flights provided a good opportunity to be shown various local landmarks and the general area around the airfield.
One of the two parallel runways at Aboyne  5m wide! (Mike Sloggett)
In the afternoon, and under brighter skies, Andy Davey had another aerotow in the Perkoz and managed the longest flight of the day at 38 minutes.
Cairngorms (Mike Sloggett)
Just after landing light rain started to appear above and around the airfield so that was it for the day flying wise for us.

Our fourth day in a row of flying in Scotland with tomorrow looking as if it will be flyable allowing Dave and Mike to get some morning flights in ahead of their return down South during the afternoon - and no doubt Andy will again be rigging his Libelle for a day of flying. - Mike Sloggett

Wed 10th April

This Wednesday was a re-run of last week (without the hail storms), the morning was low cloud  so after the kit was checked out and walked up to the southwest corner an early lunch was called for.

Considering the weather there was a very long flying list with some of the youngsters on Easter break, (this also had the advantage of keeping the average age of the Wednesday club members below 70 years old.)
James Flory on back seat duty (John Street)
James Flory was standing in for John Sillett who is running a Navy gliding course this week  from Merryfield.

In the afternoon the weather improved considerably, Nick Harrison led the way with a good soaring flight, poor Roly, even with the help of his magic white gloves only managed five minutes.
Roly's white gloves (John Street)
As usual Chris Warnes had the longest flight only coming down as we were packing the hanger, most of the training flights had good soaring, after such a poor start to the day it was rewarding to have such a good afternoon. - John Street.

Wed 10th April - Portmoak

Another good day at Portmoak. Andy Davey rigged and flew his Libelle for just over two hours in good local soaring conditions.
The Bishop and Kinnesswood (Mike Sloggett)
Dave Cowley continued with his solo flying in both a K21 and a Junior, completing a flight of just under an hour in the latter.
Good local soaring conditions (Mike Sloggett)
Mike Sloggett decided to have some solo flying time in a K21 and having enjoyed half an hour from a winch launch, in the afternoon took a couple of aerotows behind the SGC EuroFox in a K21 and a Junior.
David Cowley in the Junior (Mike Sloggett)
Tomorrow a road trip is planned to Deeside Gliding Club at Aboyne. - Mike Sloggett

Tues 9th April - Portmoak

The weather forecast for Easterly winds had seen various Club members decide to not make the long trip North to Portmoak. However with trains, flights and holiday accommodation booked, David Cowley and Mike Sloggett decided that a week ‘up North’ would make a change from usual routines.

Arriving late Sunday morning at the Scottish Gliding Centre, in the rain and low cloud, David and Mike saw that Andy Davey was already well established in the SGC Clubhouse completing the usual “peer out the window looking at the Bishop Hill” exercise hoping that the weather would improve to allow some gliding to take place. Mid-afternoon it became evident that the weather was not going to improve so David and Mike decided to find their holiday accommodation for the week.
The Bishop shrouded in cloud (Mike Sloggett)
Monday morning saw that the weather had changed for the better with blue skies and sunshine now in abundance.

On arrival at the airfield it was evident that the local members were confident of a reasonable day with gliders already at the West end of the field. Paperwork and introductions completed,  David was soon in the air with an SGC Instructor and finding out the fun of flying the circuit and approach over Loch Leven.

In the afternoon Mike and David were able to use an SGC K21 to make the most of the improving weather, whilst during the day Andy Davey (Libelle) was continuing to enjoy flying his relatively new glider.
Andy Davey in Libelle (Mike Sloggett)
With a good forecast for Tuesday and as this was an SGC Club day it was decided that an early start would be a good idea, but even though we arrived at the the airfield around 8:30, there were three K21s and a Junior already down at the West end of the airfield with the winch in place and ready to launch.
Loch Leven (Mike Sloggett)
And so it was on with the flying for the day, with Mike being invited to help out “in the back seat” with local SGC members and clearly feeling it would be rude as a visitor to not take up the invitation.
Nice sky (Mike Sloggett)
After lunch David was able to complete his final checks before being cleared to fly solo in the SGC Club gliders and taking the opportunity to fly a K21 to end the day.
David Cowley solo at Portmoak (Mike Sloggett)
Throughout the day Andy Davey (Libelle) continued to enjoy the fun of flying above and around Loch Leven.

With a good forecast for Wednesday we may even have to set the alarm clocks a little earlier this evening. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 6th April

The forecast today was dry, bright and easterly, it certainly was and also dreadful visibility and soaring, but those who turned up made the most of it. 
Ladies Day -nice hats! with Lisa and Ruth (John Pursey)
Instructors John Pursey, Glenn Turpin, Steve Westlake and even I had some enjoyable flights with James Flory dipping in and out as he was disappointed to be on tug duty with no takers! Meanwhile James Hood spent the day cleaning the Perky Trailer, 

before and after - thanks, and Chairman Nick Jones was onsite performing his Chair duties, ie those that are not often seen or recognised. 
13yr old Daniel trying out Lisa's Audi for size (John Pursey)
Daniel and family Hender were present as always keeping the field ticking over, and Rob and Sally's comment in the Clubhouse when Dan appeared driving Lisa's car "Damn! no excuse now for Dan driving the Jaguar."  Various members enjoyed flights  with Alan Turner in amongst winching, Ruth Comer, Andy Williams and Daniel. Special thanks also to Ian Hunt for being Duty DLM alongside winching and cable retrieve.  Wyn Davies was the only member to rig a private glider but he is ever the optimist and chalked up several flights, most of which were extended circuits but one being the longest flight of the day, 25 mins!
James Flory and Rob Hender (John Pursey)
Thanks to everyone who made the most of the day which was difficult experiencing lots of sink and a strong easterly wind, but hey that makes our skills better for the coming soaring season, it is coming I'm sure!!! (as is Brexit???) - Lisa Humphries

Wed 3rd April

Not a brilliant forecast for today but plenty of the usual suspects turned up, so we readied a Junior and the two K21s for the days flying. 
Chris Warnes has the first flight of the day (John Street)
The morning consisted of very quick circuits interrupted with heavy hail showers, Chris Warnes was first to launch but was soon back on the ground, we stopped for lunch at about 12:30pm with a particularly  heavy hail shower and a very dark looking sky.
Hail shower (John Street)
It turned to be a day of two halves, in the afternoon it became very thermic with most flights having some good soaring. Chris Warnes had the longest flight of 44mins, although Robert Lee would have definitely had the longest flight (if he had not have to land due to an impeding hailstorm). 
Dark clouds (David Clements)
John Sillett and Glenn Turpin looked after the pre-solo pilots who all had good soaring flights.
Nick Harrison was practising his back-seat flying and patter with anyone who would listen! - John Street.