Thurs 30th May

It was rather overcast today, but with a forecast westerly wind, half-term and yesterday's washout, there was a good number of members on the flying list. The launches were high to 1500ft, but not much heating to provide any thermals, and the ridge didn't seem to want to help either. 
Overcast skies over North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
By lunchtime, the west ridge had started to work a little but the soaring buzzards wern't too impressed. But then the overcast layer started to break up and cumulus could be seen in the distance moving towards the field. It remained soarable for the rest of the day, with the ridge now turned on to 1000ft and kicking off plenty of thermals. 
Chris Warnes solo in Perkoz (Mike Sloggett)
Chris Warnes was cleared solo in the Perkoz, Dan Hender enjoyed a good soaring flight with Pete Harmer. 
Dan Hender practising soaring with Pete Harmer (Sally Hender)
Jack Raybould had almost a day full of simulated launch failures on his 1:1 with John Sillett. 

At the end of the afternoon, the sky really opened up to reveal lines of lenticular bars across the wind. 44 launches in total. Thanks to everyone for a pleasant day out. - J&P

Tues 28th May

For any glider pilot it is not always easy to explain the “fun and enjoyment” from being launched into the air very quickly on the end of a long rope and then the excitement of finding a thermal to keep a glider aloft - and not forgetting the disappointment of being unsuccessful and having to land to have another flight. Similarly it is always interesting to see how visitors to the sport of gliding are evidently feeling as their turn to fly comes around.

Today we welcomed some visitors from Devon Youth Service (DYS) Space -  a youth charity based in various Devon locations - the Club having extended an invitation to DYS Space as part of DSGC’s commitment to supporting the local community and junior flying in particular.
DYS Space from Tiverton (Jenny Lindlow)
When the morning group were asked who wanted to go first one of the visitors quickly volunteered and it was evident that the rest of the group were suitably relieved that they would not be first. However with a comprehensive safety briefing including an emphasis of enjoying the visit and having fun soon the morning visitors were at the launch point and being shown the gliders in which they would be flying.
Ready to launch (Mike Sloggett)
Despite a brisk Northerly wind, launch heights were such that if one took off at the right time it was possible to get away on the evident thermals and show some visitors the fun of finding helpful clouds - but as ever it was also as easy to find the areas of sink meaning just circuits for some visitors. All of the morning visitors had two flights with the group helpers also being encouraged to try gliding.

During the morning Andy Davey took an aerotow with a Junior and blew the cobwebs away with some aerobatics. Just after midday with all of the morning group having flown and with the thermals evidently over-developed, it was time for a lunchbreak for the hard-working Club members who had quietly but efficiently been launching gliders all morning.

Then early afternoon as the afternoon group arrived, then so did brighter and sunny skies start to appear - and with a slightly smaller group of visitors a decision was made to complete some Club flying.
Improving skies (Mike Sloggett)
And as the afternoon progressed, then so the skies continued to improve with pilots reporting strong thermals straight off the winch launch up to a cloudbase of circa 3000’ above the airfield.

The good areas of lift enabled us to show our afternoon visitors the fun of flying across different parts of the local area with good visibility providing views of South Wales and the South Coast all the way to Portland Bill.
Great visibility (Mike Sloggett)
And various Club members also had afternoon fun with Hans Jenssen taking a Junior to cloudbase, John Borland (DG300 FAJ) getting away third time lucky after a couple of morning circuits and Peter Smith/Rob Rand staying aloft for an hour - and whilst Stu Procter/Martin Woolner and Mike Sloggett/James Flory took advantage of the unused Perkoz and K21 respectively to also enjoy the thermic conditions all around the airfield.

As ever today could not have happened without the excellent teamwork from Club members on the ground to help get others into the air - thank you all - Mike Sloggett

Sun 26th May

Today we welcomed Andrew and Charlie Broderick into the world of gliding. Charlie had a Trial Lesson last year and is interested in a career in aviation whilst Dad Andrew had a Trial Lesson in April and was keen to have some more glider flights during his Temporary Membership period before potentially joining as a Full Flying Member.

So today was a perfect opportunity to show Andrew and Charlie what many glider pilots spend their life doing - reviewing weather forecasts, looking out of Clubhouse windows and drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee whilst discussing gliding/aviation related topics. Charlie was introduced to the DSGC simulator by Dan Hender.

And of course there is always something to do when not flying.....
Mark and team replacing the reference markers (Mike Sloggett)
Led by Mark Courtney the planned replacement of the reference markers was progressed further whilst James Hood continued the installation of ground receivers into Club vehicles and equipment.
James installing the new ground receivers (Mike Sloggett)
As the ‘non-flying’ tasks continued the hours ticked by with the various coffee breaks and lunchtime being used to good effect through suitable pointing at the West of the airfield around a potential improvement in the weather supported by modern technology indicating same.

Early afternoon the brightening skies suggested that cloudbase, which until then had been evidently too low to allow gliders to be launched, might just be high enough to allow some flying.

John Burrow and Karen King took the first winch cable and confirmed that the West ridge was working well in the North Westerly wind albeit with varying cloudbase levels. Then almost as soon as the break in the weather had appeared cloudbase lowered and it was back to the Clubhouse - for even more tea and coffee!
Grey skies breaking? (Mike Sloggett)
The afternoon then continued along similar lines with some short weather windows during which Mark Courtney was able to show Charlie Broderick as to the fun and excitement of a winch launch to add to Charlie’s previous aerotow experience. And slowly but surely the weather continued to improve with the flying list progressing through everyone only having one flight to allow others to fly.

A great example of the optimism needed as glider pilots, thanks to everyone for the teamwork to get others into the air. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 25th May

It was a sunny start, until some low cloud started spreading in from the north west. The wind was very light, and James Flory with help from Rowan Smith made a start on the flying list in the morning followed by Phil Morrison and JB in the afternoon.
Well done to Ruth  - solo again (Jill Harmer)
The training and check flights led to a resolo for Ruth Comer and a first solo for Marley Chinn, Marley started flying with DSGC in September before going to Uni at St Andrews, and continuing his training at Portmoak. 
Congratulations to Marley Chinn (Jill Harmer)
We also welcomed back Adam Niemczyk who came to Open Day  and has truly got the gliding bug, with a Mile High Trial lesson today and has also booked on our September course. - J&P

Thurs 23rd May

It was a slowish  start  with a very light south westerly wind, Mike Horwood was first up with Pete Harmer for check flights and conversion to the Junior, after simulated launch failures Mike resoloed the K21 followed by two flights in the Junior. 
Congratulations to Mike for converting to the Junior (Mike Horwood)
It was good to see Dave Albasiny back at the Club and he enjoyed some currency flights with Peter Smith. 
Well done to James for converting to Perkoz (Mike Sloggett)
Meanwhile Mike Sloggett was putting James Smart through some hoops  for checking out to fly the Perkoz solo. Ray Dodd was invited to soar for a two hour flight in the Junior over lunch. Peter March was also back solo after a few weeks off.
Peter March in K21 (Mark Layton)
A few private owners launched and disappeared under the only street of the day towards Bridgewater and the Quantocks. 

After lunch the cloudy remnants of an occluded front  stopped the soaring for a while, but after the wind had swung round to north west the sky opened up again for some more soaring.  Thanks to those who stayed late to ensure everyone flew. - J&P

Wed 22nd May

With a good forecast we had a good flying list and plenty of private gliders most of which were already rigged and parked in the new glider parking area.
The wind was southwesterly and light and slightly variable, the thermals were soon popping but with a clear coast it was very likely we would suffer from a sea breeze later in the day.
Sue Dyson with James Flory (John Street)
Sue Dyson was flying on a one day course with James Flory, Ron Perry (ex CFI from Mendip) after a couple of checks with John Street was cleared to fly the Junior and went on to have over an hours soaring, Ron was on the May course last week to get back to gliding after a break of several years.
DD3 returning (Mark Layton)
All the cross-country pilots got back abandoning the tasks due to the sea air, but taking in Hatherleigh or Okehampton and Taunton although Pete Startup and JB explored Bridgewater and Glastonbury, with  some of the others  content with some pleasant local soaring. 
Sea breeze convergence at Weston Zoyland (JB)
We handed over to the Wednesday evening club with the luxury of not having to put most of the toys away.- John Street

Tues 21st May - Ad Hoc Day

Pete Startup made a shout out last Saturday for the possibility of a good day today, and the call for interest was taken up by Wyn Davies in LS7 W7, Nick Jones and Phil Morrison in Duo Discus DD3, Pete and Jill Harmer in Duo Discus OL and Pete Startup of course in Discus 230.

With Robert Lee supplying the tows, launching the mini-grid started at 11:15 with Pete leading the way on his task NHL - Okehampton - Fordingbridge - NHL  310kms.
The Task setters sky - looking across the Solent to the IoW(Pete Startup)
The first leg to Okehampton was fairly straightforward although cloudbase was still only 4000ft QNH,  the return leg passing North Hill saw a rise in bases to 5000ft. At odd spots in Dorset, cloudbase improved even further to 6000ft. 
Coming back along the south coast looking towards Bournemouth (Wyn Davies)
The promised convergence along the south coast didn't happen, but there were clouds and thermals all the way across the Somerset levels, so no worries.

The Task setter won the day by 1kph, with the two Duos less than 1kph apart, and W7 had a little wobble on the way home reducing his speed significantly. 

A very pleasant day out thanks to Pete for the call and to Robert for tugging. Let's hope to see more ad-hoc day flyers next time. - J&P

Sun 19th May

A good number of members were at the Club ‘first thing’ including various family groups, all keen to fly. However the actual wind was not quite as forecast so there was a momentary pause in proceedings whilst a decision was made about which end and side of the airfield to set up the launch point and winch respectively. With a decision made to set up the winch in the North West corner all of the Club two seaters and a Junior were taken out of the hangar.
Dramatic skies (Mike Sloggett)
However by the time daily inspections had been completed, and a K21 moved to the launch point, it was evident that the wind direction was such that a change of ends was needed so all the gliders were walked down to the South West corner whilst the winch was moved suitably.
More interesting clouds (Mike Sloggett)
And then it was on with the flying with good teamwork evident between experienced and ‘new’ members with the latter learning ground skills in and amongst the flying.

The morning suggested better thermal conditions than were actually present but by early afternoon it was possible to find suitable lift from the winch launch with the thermic conditions continuing until late in the day and with the various forecast rain showers missing the airfield on one side or another.

During the day.... Guy Adams was kept busy in the Pawnee on various aerotows, Ian Mitchell and Martin Woolner enjoyed a jolly in the Rotax Falke. Simon Minson put Richard Roberts from DGS through his BI Assessment day which Richard successfully passed, Well Done Richard (and Mark Courtney and other DSGC Instructors for their coaching of Richard for his BI Rating).

James Flory and Tom Sides completed some Friends and Family flights in the DG505. Peter Smith, Andy Williams and Mike Sloggett all had an aerotow in CFUN.
Andy, Peter and Mike practicing rigging and then flying their ASW20
And the flying list was completed by late afternoon. A good day all round, thanks everyone - Mike Sloggett

Sat 18th May

It was a very quiet day - did everyone go to the Devon County Show? By 11:00 and a call out on google groups there were enough members to make  a start on flying. 
Almost more dogs than members! (Lisa Humphries)
It was good to see Arthur back to resume his training, Dan grabbed the back seat of the Perkoz to start his spin training with Pete Harmer., and he managed some soaring in the overcast to go through it more than once. 
Thick overcast at times (Jill Harmer)
Emma Kendall enjoyed her 1:1 coaching with James Flory finding all the corners of the airfield for her eventuality training. Rob Hender started training on winch driving.  Only 25 launches with the cumulus base at 2000ft and the overcast / haze at about 3500ft.

In the briefing room, Alison Randle from BGA held some Effective Club Management training for clubs in the South west region.  - J&P

Fri 17th May - Course week

After four days of continuous flying it was hoped that today’s actual weather would be better than the forecast but as the Course members and helpers assembled in the Clubhouse it was evident from looking out of the windows that cloudbase was not high enough to allow much optimism of flying. A review of the weather forecast indicated rain moving towards the airfield so it was time to complete some training cards and other paperwork - after which there were various discussions on gliding and general aviation topics as well as wider subjects.
DSGC Simulator used for course member flying today (Mike Sloggett)
The Club simulator was also brought into use allowing some Course members to continue practising their turning, circuit practice, approach and landings.
May Course members and Instructors (Peter Smith)
Late morning the rain duly arrived and with other rain likely to move in from the East evident on the weather radar an early lunch was taken. It was then time for everyone to wend their individual ways home - Thank You to all the Course members and helpers who have made this a very enjoyable week, (Ed: not to mention the Instructors Mike Sloggett and Peter Smith) - Mike Sloggett

Thurs 16th May

The Thursday regulars turned out in numbers this morning which, together with the Course members and helpers present, ensured that gliders and ground equipment were readied easily. As with the previous three Course days it was then a question of walking the gliders down to the Northwest corner of the airfield.

The conditions enabled Mark  Worsfold to continue with the ‘fun’ of dealing with eventualities - and providing the opportunity for Mike Sloggett to visit various different parts of the airfield at the same time.
Congratulations to Mark Worsfold (Jill Harmer)
Congratulations to Mark, with his Training card full, Mark then completed his first two solos in a K21 - a great achievement taking into account that Mark is profoundly deaf, and reflective of his commitment and determination to fulfil a personal ambition of becoming a pilot.
A veil of high cloud at North Hill today (Mike Sloggett)
RASP had suggested a potential good day of soaring which had encouraged various private owners to rig and tow their gliders down to the other end of the airfield. However as is often the case the actual thermal conditions were not exactly as forecast - for the Course members keen to continue practising winch launching, circuit planning and landings the weather was ideal. For the solo pilots, whether flying Club gliders or their own gliders, it was a case of taking a winch launch and hoping to find something positive in the air around the airfield. Few were successful, although the south ridge was kicking off occasional thermals. Longest flight of the day was George Sanderson in HES for 40 minutes. 
Well done Roly  on his NPPL (Ian Mitchell)
Congratulations also to Roly Clarke for successfully passing his General Skills Test with Ian Mitchell completing his NPPL SLMG. 

The evening continued with the course dinner held at The Wyndham Arms,  Kentisbeare with a large contingent of Course members, Helpers and hangers on - 22 in all. - Mike Sloggett

Thurs 16th May - Long Mynd

The morning briefing was all about the wind, RASP was very optimistic about the soaring today but the wind at the Mynd was 20 gusting 30 due East, they don’t launch in a strong Easterly due to the danger of a falling cable crossing the right of way after a cable break. It was quickly decided that the Mynd course would “move” to Shobdon for the day. Shobdon is 1100 ft lower, has a East West tarmac runway, they use the EuroFox for launching, so what’s not to like.

We de-rigged the Discus, but unfortunately, when we put the wing into the trailer a support bracket gave way, this required a bit of DIY before we could leave. We debated over coffee and were torn between drinking coffee and flying models due to the late start we would have at Shobdon! After an uneventful 40 min drive we arrived at 12:00 to find the field all organised and ready to launch the first glider.
A  special day at Shobdon in FER (Mark Courtney)
The sky was alive with energy so we were keen to get airborne, after a briefing (required as this is a very busy GA airfield) and the necessary form-filling, Steve Westlake set off. 
Steve ready to launch (Mark Courtney)
He was dropped in lift and quickly got to cloud base at 5700 AMSL under a cloud giving 8 kts up!
Steve explored the local area, from 5000ft that area was quite large, it was quite easy to return to the Mynd and hurtle back at 100 kts. Steve kindly returned to let me have a go.
Andrew Logan opted not to fly as he was not aerotow current, (a clear case for taking the reduced price aerotows at NH through the winter!)

Nice sky (Mark Courtney)
I launched at 4pm, the lift was just as strong but the cloud base had risen to 6000ft AMSL.The run back to the Mynd was at high speed and no turn was needed either there or back. Runs into wind to Clee hill and down wind to Radnor forest were fast and very easy. The whole group was encouraged to land before 6pm because we all needed to get back for steak night!
Shobdon Airfield (Mark Courtney)
Shobdon despite being very busy is an easy airfield to fly from, mainly because of the circuit discipline, well worth a visit if anyone fancies it! The decision to not drink coffee or go model flying was for once the right one.

Many thanks to Shobdon for allowing us to borrow their kit and  the Midland gliding club for allowing us to tag along. - Mark Courtney

Wed 15th May

The third day of the Course week was a case of deja vu for the previous two days in terms of the weather, forecast and actual.

With the help of the Wednesday members both K21s, the Perkoz, the DG505 and a Junior were soon being brought out of the hangar whilst the launch point was again set up in the North West corner of the airfield.
Looking down the winch run (Mike Sloggett)
First launches of the day saw gliders contact some boisterous thermals providing climbs to around 2000’ QFE which seemed to be the level of the readily apparent inversion.

Club and Course members worked together to get others into the air throughout the day - by lunchtime the sea air had again moved in around the airfield so the afternoon became one of mainly circuits but with odd flights finding sporadic thermals here and there.

As ever ‘every cloud’ was the case with afternoon conditions ideal for the Course members looking to improve their winch launching, circuit planning, landing and eventuality experience.
Perkoz on aerotow (Mike Sloggett)
Ian Mitchell and Nick Harrison completed some BI training in the Perkoz. 
Sally Hender  helping out for club members evening flying (Sally Hender)
Early evening a K21 and Junior were handed over for the Wednesday evening Club flying session. - 
Mike Sloggett

Tues 14th May - Course week

There had been optimism yesterday that the second day of the Course week would see good gliding weather and today did not disappoint. With RASP suggesting that there might be some soaring during the morning before the sea air ventured across the South West peninsula the decision was made to complete some winch launching and eventuality briefings to support the flying from yesterday and planned for today.

Then it was off to the hangar to bring out the K21s and a Junior whilst the ground helpers kindly put the launch point and winch in position. After a long walk to the North West corner of the airfield flying started mid morning and as with yesterday whether one found a thermal depended on timing at the top of the winch launch.
Contrails (Mike Sloggett)
The morning saw a wide range of flight times, but the highlight was Ron Perry re-soloing in a K21 and then disappearing to the North West of the airfield for half an hour.
Peter Smith congratulates Ron Perry resolo (Mike Sloggett)
Various course members continued their training and “enjoyed” the fun of planning a circuit with a cross wind. After lunch it was more of the same albeit the thermals became few and far between as the sea air made it’s presence felt.

As the wind abated in strength the circuits became more straightforward which allowed eventuality practice to be completed.
1 of 10 flights for Dave Cowley (record?)  (Mike Sloggett)
During the afternoon David Cowley decided that getting into double figures launch wise for the day would be a good plan and completed his 10th flight of the day with a hangar landing of Junior (LRD) - which other Course members could not actually remember seeing him get out of, all day....

At 6pm, the K21s were handed over to the evening group flying team.  - Mike Sloggett

Mon 13th May - Course Week

The first day of the May Course saw blue skies and sunny weather above and around the airfield albeit that the slightly chilly Easterly wind ensured that jumpers and coats were kept close to hand at the start of the day.

Peter Smith and Mike Sloggett, as Course Instructors, welcomed a variety of existing Club members and visitors to North Hill and with the weather looking rather nice outside the Course briefing was quickly completed to allow gliders to be brought out of the hangar soon after 9am. Meanwhile the Course helpers were quietly and efficiently setting up the winch run and launch point.

And with daily inspections completed on both K21s and a Junior it was then a question of a long walk to the North West corner of the airfield.
Launchpoint at the west end (Mike Sloggett)
Launching was soon under way and from the first launch there were signs of some thermal activity here and there which allowed extended circuits - as the morning progressed the thermals improved with climbs to over 2000’ QFE being completed, allowing Course members plenty of opportunity to demonstrate their thermalling skills.
Thermals improved ...(Mike Sloggett)
As ever it was a question of timing and whether  the winch launch would be high enough to allow suitable thermal hunting time.

Lunchtime came, and went, and flying continued from early afternoon through to just before 6pm with the sea air steadily turning off the thermals as the afternoon unfolded.
North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
David Cowley did not quite make double figures with his day but had a good attempt completing 9 Junior flights of varying duration.

Spare cables were used by John Borland who had several flights in DG300 (FAJ) and Eric Alston in ASG29 (G29) - took a launch and disappeared for a couple of hours.

A really good first day of the Course week, with  suitable optimism of more flying over the coming days. - Mike Sloggett

Mon 13th May - Long Mynd

Last night when we arrived we were greeted warmly by the locals as usual, we were also treated to a “typical“ Mynd sunset!
Mynd sunset (Mark Courtney)
Today we woke to blue skies and a light SE wind. There were several locals rigging including a Duo Discus, various tasks were talked about but the only one to venture far from site was indeed the Duo XLT who circumnavigated Snowdon several times.
Discus FER (Mark Courtney)
Steve and I had a couple of hours flying into wind and back, the thermals were “challenging” very narrow but you could get quite high because it went “blue” 5500 amsl.
Soaring over The Mynd (Mark Courtney)
The wind was quite a brisk 90deg cross, funnelling up the valley from Church Stretton which tested your judgement on the circuit (where all the lift was waiting for you!)
Interesting sky (Mark Courtney)
A great day, all eyes are on the high pressure system to see if it develops and suppresses the thermals, talk is that it may break down allowing for good conditions later in the week, fingers crossed.
Roast duck tonight, the catering really is at a different level. Looking forward to a cup of coffee in Church Stretton in the morning before flying commences. - Mark Courtney

Sunday 12th May

It was a quiet start after all the efforts of yesterday, but the Cross-country pilots were muttering 300kms with a worry of sea air coming in early........

Club Flying started with a light  north easterly wind  followed by a swift change of sides as a blow from the south east developed. 
Simon Minson near Salisbury with ' typical Wiltshire clouds' (Simon Minson)

The first club gliders started soaring at 11:00 and the private owners started launching at 12:00, Ron & Dan Johns in 711, Pete Startup in 230, Simon Minson in SM and Phil Morrison and John Pursey in DD3 set off for Candover Church near Lasham, and Martin Woolner in KMV, Rowan Smith in CLM and Wyn Davies in W7 decided to stay a little more local. Jeff Taberham 380, David Clements in CVV and Geoff Lawrence in HES also enjoyed some local soaring. Congratulations to David Cowley for completing his 2 hour flight in the Junior towards his cross-country endorsement.

By the middle of the afternoon, the sea air had gone through and a strong southerly with southwesterly gusts developed, causing a bit of a halt to launching whilst waiting for it to be more consistent. With the flying list complete, hangar flights were called.
230 in a lovely polo field at Taunton (Pete Startup)
The adventurers returned with Ron & Dan, Simon, completing the task, DD3 had to use the engine at Merryfield and 230 found a lovely large polo field near Taunton.- J&P

Saturday 11th May - Open Day

First visitors were ready to book in at 08:15, and the queue steadily increased to 40 visitors  signed in by 10:30 - It was going to be a busy day!
For once the weather was cooperating with our Open Day, with sparkling visibility, blue skies,  sunshine and just the tricky crosswind to contend with.
Ready to go (James Hood)
It took quite a while for cumulus to form within reach of the winch launches, to maximise the flight time but soaring got going just before midday.
Cumulus forming (James Hood)
We had 4 two-seaters going all day, with a bit of help from DD3 as well, but all had to break off climbs to fly all our Visitors. Last flight was still soarable landing just after 19:00pm.
North Hill (Robert Lee)
Pete Startup 230, Wyn Davies W7 and Robert Lee in DKU, all had long flights but found the conditions best at North Hill.

It was great to hear that all of our marketing initiatives had been successful, with notices seen on Facebook, Twitter, DSGC website, Tesco, Midweek Herald, posters and roadsigns and Hans Jenssen's front window in Culmstock. Great also to hear Sir Chris on Radio Devon this morning.

Thanks to all the volunteer members for giving up their flying day and thank you to all our Visitors (66 in total), we hope to see some of you back on our courses or voucher flights, following your taster experience of gliding. - J&P