Wed 31st July

A day of two halves, in the morning the day looked very promising and all the early flights had no difficulty staying up, we had a busy day lined up with two visitors from Mendip GC and three booked Trial lesson visitors who all arrived together.
John Sillett pre-flight briefing (John Street)
To start with, the the cloudbase was approaching 3,000ft with strong and plentiful lift,  John Street and Chris Warnes made the most of the early lift, Chris is being checked out to solo in the DG505.
Mike Wilmott with the early promising sky
By the time we were ready to aerotow the visitors and after a small problem with the tow rope, the cloudbase lowered and  there was rain on the way, so the aerotows became taster winch flights, with the aerotows put off for another day.

In the afternoon the cloudbase came down to about 1,500ft but the northwest ridge was was giving a little lift.

Phil Grant and Tim Petty were getting themselves back to solo after forced layoffs, Glenn Turpin looked after the visitors and John Sillett flew all the pre-solo pilots, a bit of a disappointing day after such a promising start but everyone flew. - John Street
Lovely evening weather at North Hill (Lisa Humphries
 The Wednesday evening club flying got underway  with a much improved sky, and Emma Kendall and Stirling Melhuish both consolidated their solo flying from last week. 
More solo flying for Emma Kendall (Lisa Humphries)
Congratulations to Sam Flory, who was given some final check flights by Dad, James and then  made his First Solo flight.
Congratulations to  Sam Flory with James Flory (Lisa Humphries)
Another great evening flying. - J&P

Sun 28th July

 Another reasonable forecast - that's 2 in a row and on a weekend! brought out a few members to fly club gliders and a good contingent of private owners hopeful for better conditions than Saturday. 

Simon Minson got stuck in to the training list, with Sam Flory on a 1:1 with Dad James. The Trial lesson visitors (plus Dads) enjoyed their flights with Chris Wool / Peter Smith. Tim Petty successfully  tried out his new metalwork ankle with John Street as safety pilot.

The Cross-country pilots were set a task by Pete Startup of Whiddon Down - Culmstock - Cerne Abbas for 203kms,  Pete 230 was first to set off,  and next up was yet another father and son combination with Pete Bennett taking Dad Martin in the DG505, this was followed by Wyn Davies in W7, and Eric Alston in G29.

The early starters set off towards Crediton, and increasingly found the going tough with some spread out, however they managed to get back to the good air at Culmstock. 

Meanwhile, Simon Minson had finished his morning Instructor duty and set off in SM, with JB and Nick Jones in DD3 and Pete and Jill Harmer in OL. Simon  struggled to Crediton but was heard to say that he had the wrong head (or hat on) and returned. Pete and Jill decided to follow the energy modifying the task to turn at Witheridge, and DD3 caught up W7 to help him out of a hole at Whiddon Down. 

The conditions improved greatly heading downwind from Culmstock, (as it usually does going downwind!), 
Pete and Martin in JZK decided to turn Yeovil reservoir and return for a good effort of  171kms at 58kph. 
Having turned Cerne Abbas, OL decided to stay inland and eventually struggled back into the strong headwind and 6-8 knot sink streets to complete 173kms, also at 58kph.
Cerne Abbas Giant from DD3 (Nick Jones)
DD3, W7 and G29  were all tempted by the south coast  (not-working convergence) and DD3 and G29 had to get help from the iron thermal on the way home whilst W7 landed safely in a field at Crewkerne.
Friendly farmer at Crewkerne (Wyn Davies)
So well done to the Task Setter who won the day, Pete Startup completing 203kms at 64kph - well done Pete.

Local soaring flights were enjoyed by all the other private owners, and the Club gliders. Devon was clearly the place to be today with pilots from The Park and Lasham visiting. 
BGA National ladder 28 July 2019
9 aerotows and 40 winch launches, thanks to everyone for a great day out. - J&P

Sat 27th July

Members started to accumulate from 8:30, with the ground equipment out early thanks to Alan Turner and Andrew. On the instructors arrival, the hangar was completely emptied in readiness for the day ahead. With Rob Hender on the winch for an extended stint (10-2) flying started slowly, with members wanting to hold off for better conditions!
Dan has flights with Mark and Lisa - 14 sleeps to go! (Mark Courtney)
Come 11am the private owners were showing optimism and started making their way to the Launchpoint........Successive flights lasted longer and longer and more and more private owners arrived to make the most of the conditions.

The task for the day was Tiverton East - Dorchester for 139kms, but conditions varied quite a bit and tasks were modified to suit. Pete Startup 230, Simon Minson SM, JB and Stu in DD3 (extending to Weymouth),  all completed the task  Others tried slightly different tasks on a similar theme, Mark Courtney and James Hood in DG505 completed Club100,  Eric Alston in G29 completed Bampton - Crewkerne, Wyn Davies W7 completed Tiverton, Beaminster, Wellington, Cullompton. 
DD3 over Weymouth (Stu Procter)
Quite a lot enjoyed just local soaring Mike Harris and Mark Wallis taking turns in the Open Cirrus, and Peter Smith and Andy Williams similarly in ASW20, Paul Medlock was in DG100, Jeff Taberham in Mosquito,  Steve Westlake in FER, Andrew Logan in ASW15 and Pete and Jill Harmer in OL who tried unsuccessfully to find the elusive wave.

With a total of 25 winch and 14 aero tow launches, including four happy trial lessons, and three friends and family flights a great day was had by all. - Sally Hender

Fri 26th July

Well, the East Devon Pony Club group started arriving at about 5pm with masses of food, drink and even a pizza oven, for what looked to be a great evening ahead. 
Pizza oven (Simon Minson)
 The twenty or so flyers all completed their forms, and after Dan Hender did a parachute briefing the five instructors (Stuart Procter, James Flory, Simon Leeson, Martin Woolner, Simon Minson) started their flights.

 Great evening flying (Simon Minson)
Sid Miller  (huge grin) with Simon Leeson (Stu Procter)
 With a large number of young people, there were a few nervous faces, but every one came down after their flights with a huge grin.
Another  sunset (Simon Leeson)

With a couple of Falke flights included, for those too small to wear a parachute and two of the younger lads went for a second flight and all went home happy.  - Sally Hender

Thurs 25th July

The day started hot and got even hotter! with nearly wall-to wall sunshine and a few odd patches of altocumulus castellanus, the wind was very light to start and picked up south westerly giving reasonable height winch launches. 
K21 landing (David Clements)
Mark Courtney was back from holiday to fly the Pawnee, but with the high temperatures and increasing crosswind the Pawnee struggled  a bit to get some of the gliders off the ground (and up to 4000ft for spin checks).
Junior  landing (David Clements)
There was no soaring to speak of, but with 31 winches and 7 aerotows everyone was kept busy. Pete Harmer, Peter Smith and Mike Sloggett shared out the Trial lesson visitor flights. John Sillett was kept busy with Bob Burston on a 1:1. 
Mark Worsfold converts to Junior (John Sillett)
 Congratulations to Mark Worsfold for converting to the Junior.
Hot and dry North Hill from the west (Mike Sloggett)
Thanks to everyone for staying to ensure that we completed the flying training list. - J&P

Wed 24th July

Today started a bit misty but the warm sun soon burned it away which left us with some wispy low cloud which it was easy to fly round.
Perkoz on aerotow (David Clements)
We had three trial lessons booked, Glenn Turpin flew them and Pete Warren was tuggie, it was nice to see Pete at the club again as he has not been able to get up the last few Wednesdays.
Briefing a trial lesson visitor (David Clements)
There was plenty of card checks and check flights to be done plus several pre-solo training, three two-seaters were kept busy all day.

There was very little thermal activity about, Glenn managed to stay up on the southwest corner for a while and had the longest flight, we handed the gliders over to the Wednesday Evening Club about 5.30pm.
John Street.

Arriving at the Club early evening it was great to see that Lisa Humphries was already getting the Wednesday evening flying underway, launching in K21 HCX into a bright if not a tad milky sun. With a fairly long flying list against a backdrop of shortening evenings it was good to see everyone working together well to launch and retrieve gliders. 
North Hill early evening (Mike Sloggett)
Mid-evening it became clear that with misting canopies likely it was necessary to reduce the number of training flights for those present and eventually the reluctant, but safe, decision was made to bring flying to a close for the evening.
Rapidly sinking sun (Lisa Humphries)
As well as the various training flights completed Karen King took a Junior for a flight, continuing to build her experience in a single seat glider.
Sunset (Mike Sloggett)
A good evening all round - Mike Sloggett

Sun 21st July

With a few thick heads from Saturday evening festivities, and a large contingent off to Fairford, there was little enthusiasm to fly early on, with the North Hill orographic cloud present. Eventually the cloud lifted and tuggie Simon Jordy got going with some aerotows. Trial lesson visitors were keen to get their flights and fortunately cloudbase played ball. 
Stu Procter and James Hood in the Perkoz (Stu Procter)
Later in the day, there was also some winching for the Club members. Just 9 aerotows and 4 winch launches - J&P

Sat 20th July

It was a slow start with a skeleton crew to run the operation and 6 trainees.  We welcomed Paul Roberts from Lasham GC,  a Bronze pilot who wanted to try out our K21 with the hand controls. Ashley Thomas was also back to try out the aerotow on his Trial Flight after getting hooked on gliding from the Exeter CC group evening. We also welcomed Tony Thomas who last flew at North Hill  some 40 years ago when he was Technical Officer, he arrived with a list of members names to reminisce, and thoroughly enjoyed his flight with JB.
Congratulations to Emma Kendall from Simon Leeson (Simon Leeson)

Flying continued into the evening with Emma Kendall being checked out for solo by Simon Leeson. Congratulations to Emma for her glider first solo, to follow the power solo she achieved last week, whilst on a Air League Power flying scholarship at Tayside Aviation.
Latest Solo Pilots at North Hill Stirling Melhuish and Emma Kendall (Jill Harmer)

Then Stirling Melhuish consolidated his flying with 2 more solos. Stirling and Emma posed for the camera in the early evening, prior to a Birthday celebration at the Club for Cheryl Smith. - J&P

Thurs 18th July

The weak cloudy Cold front from overnight clearly hadn't seen the weather forecast and the cloudy overcast remained all morning, so it was just circuits all morning. 
Cloudy morning (Jill Harmer)

Pete Startup had checked the satellite images for progress  and spotted that things would change at lunchtime, 230 launched at lunchtime (thanks Wyn) and Pete struggled several times to get to Tiverton, but as always he persisted, and then the conditions perked up for a tricky Club 100.

With the interesting wave interference in the north westerly wind, it was tricky conditions to get away especially low down, but most people had several attempts and managed to make the transition into soaring. 
Andy Davey and Martin Woolner in the Perkoz (Mark Layton)

Martin Woolner and Andy Davey kept the (short-winged) Perkoz busy all day perfecting Andy's aerobatic skills (until they both felt they had had enough!

Thanks to Tom Sides for looking after the Trial Lesson visitors and to Mike Fairclough, Simon Leeson and Stu Procter  for sharing out the 9 tows covering Mark's Tug duty.
Aerotow (Mark Layton)
In the evening, another group from Exeter City Council,  organised by Tim Powell arrived to enjoy a lovely evening of flying with the ridge helping to extend flights.

More than 60 winch launches during the day and 9 aerotows, with a further 16 winch launches in the evening -well done to everyone  with the North Hill kit working well. - J&P

Wed 17th July

Plenty of the usual Wednesday suspects turned up and the hangar was quickly emptied and the gliders taken across the field for a southwesterly take off.
There was a list of friends & family and trial lessons to be flown, James Smart's daughter Madeline was one of them who thoroughly enjoyed her flight.
Chris Coville getting ready to find a thermal (John Street)
Both K21s and the Perkoz were kept busy all day with check flights, trial lessons and training, Dave Clements was getting a feel for the Perkoz with a view to flying it solo. Mark Worsfold was building up his solo flights for his conversion to the Junior and Malcolm Vest was getting his hand back after a bit of a layoff.
Wednesday lunch Club (John Street)
There was very little soaring to be had with  Reuben Buss showing everyone how to do it, with a flight of over one hour in K6 DRE and Chris Coville allegedly gaining 500ft in the Junior,
We handed over to the Wednesday Evening crew at 6pm just as a light shower went through. - John  Street.

The Wednesday Evening Club flying took over..
And with a short delay for light rain followed by a need to move the launchpoint and winch due to the wind direction a successful evening of Club flying saw various members continue to develop their flying skills.
Congratulations to Stirling Melhuish (Mike Sloggett)
Congratulations to Stirling Melhuish on his first solo and well done to Mike Wilmott for converting to the Perkoz.
Well done to Mike Wilmott (Mike Sloggett)
David Cowley brought his son, Jack, for a couple of Friends and Family flights to celebrate Jack’s graduation from university whilst Ashley Thomas also got airborne having been ‘hooked’ from the recent Trial Lesson evening  with Exeter CC.
Hangar packing in the dark (Mike Sloggett)
With 41 flights during the day and a further 20 flights this evening which were extended on the ridge, it was a good day for training. - Mike Sloggett

Monday 15th July - ad hoc day

A shout out on the WhatsApp group and Google Groups for a good soaring day only garnered interest from just 2 participents, 230 and DD3, and with Ian Mitchell offering to tow once he had finished some scheduled maintenance on the Pawnee.

Task decided on was an out and return to Wantage, 307km to take advantage of the fact that it's possible to get across the Somerset Levels in the light North Easterly wind direction and avoid any possible problems caused by sea air from the South in the afternoon.

Started well at 3000' agl but by the time we got to Shepton Mallett we were down to 2500' agl which progressively got even lower. Spent the next 2 hours working a height band between 2000' and 3000' agl - you get quite used to it after a while! The only thing that kept me going was hearing a glider ask another what the conditions were like in the area and the reply was 'It's low, bluing out and the climbs are feeble - but quite consistent'! I eventually rounded Wantage (where there's a Sea Venom on a pole on a roundabout - yep, that low), and back to Keevil. Somebody there switched on the Maxi thermals and from there back it was a real blast, 93km at 90kph.

Glastonbury after the party(JB)
 JB and Stirling in DD3 got as far as Melksham and decided to return to Devon given the poor looking conditions ahead(probably the sensible option but partly my fault as I said I may turn Devizes and return but didn't update them that I'd decided to carry on after hearing the message above -sorry guys). But they then had a fine old time exploring sea breeze convergence along the South coast.

Later on one of Chairman Nick's colleagues from Supacat got a chance to sample flying in sea air convergences with JB which he really enjoyed and I hope we'll see him back again.

A good ad-hoc day but where was everybody? The Summer's disappearing fast and there are Silver distances and durations to be done! I know it was late shout but you need to be time flexible to make the most of the UK Summer. - Pete S

Sun 14th July

After being rudely awoken from my pit of dwelling and never ending slumber, I decided it was a great day to go gliding. I arrived and all was seemingly normal. Mike Sloggett turned up and I knew my hands would not be in my pockets for the rest of the day! It was uplifting to see other Juniors like me arrive, and we got off to a quick start of getting the gliders out. 
Flying started (Mike Sloggett)
We set up the Launch Point Vehicle at the North West Side of the airfield, and I was up first, and I was pitted with James Flory.
After three successful but short flights I was back on the ground and everyone seemed to be doing everything needed. Some Juniors were getting some small briefs and a few visitors arrived, all seemed well. That was until the wind sock first changed direction for the worst.
Tom Sides, the Launch Marshall, Charlie Stuckey, and Mike all started talking about what to do. Thankfully it was just a conspicuous cloud going through. The flights continued as usual.
Then, later on in the day, around 12 o'clock, Charlie took over Tom's duty and flying continued until lunch, when the wind went in the wrong direction again. Many of the gliders in the air landed in the correct into wind direction and were relatively close to the clubhouse when all went for lunch. 
Grey sky (Mike Sloggett)
After lunch, the Instructors made the tough call to change ends and Charlie organised moving to the North East Side of the field, opposite the clubhouse. The launches were fine and all the people were working together as a team to launch gliders as quickly and efficiently as possible, with many landing close to the launch point so all we needed was to push them back to position. 
Now which end to land (Mike Sloggett)
Then, later on in the day. It started lightly raining. At this point Mike was training Chris Warnes on the DG-505, and Charlie, who had been Launch Marshall for the better part of the day, decided to have a solo flight in a Junior, and after Charlie was launched, I overheard Pete Bennett talking to Mike and Chris about the DG-505 and I heard this gem, 'The DG-505 is notoriously good in rain… Or is it bad?'.

After everyone had the chance to fly, Mike offered my father a flight for helping out all day, which he eagerly took up. After helping launch him I saw him after and he was ecstatic.
David Brook (Mike Sloggett)
All jokes aside, today was a great day, for flying and for the General atmosphere. I believe the longest flight was somehow 47 minutes! All in all, it was a great day, and I have to thank everyone who helped out, even if they didn't have a flight. - Jacob Brook (first time blogger)

Thurs 11th July

A sunshine sandwich was how Pete Harmer had described the forecast, but with the thickness of filling variable depending on precise timing!
So it was no surprise to find North Hill shrouded in lowish cloud to start. The ground equipment had been readied early by Josh Funnell and Charlie Stuckey, so it was just a case of emptying the hangar and DI'ing the aircraft at the first signs of the orographic cloud lifting.
Orographic cloud lifting (Jill Harmer)
Flying was underway just after 11:00 with full height winch launches, although it took a while before the Trial lessons were able to get to 2000ft, but fortunately all the Trial lesson visitors were able to be a little flexible on timing.
West ridge (Mike Sloggett)
Extended circuits were the order of the day until lunchtime when it became more soarable locally, with a sea breeze front arriving from the south, which was quite soarable although not well-defined.

Launch point rapidly emptying  (Jill Harmer)
Gordon  Bonny had the longest flight just over the hour, and there were 42 winch launches in total with 5 aerotows - thanks to Barbie Fairclough for standing in for Mark as tuggie. 

Very pleasant day, with surprisingly good conditions given the forecast. - thanks all. - J&P

Wed 10th July

Another warm sunny start to Wednesday with a light northwesterly wind and a forecast for it to veer to the southwest. We had three trial lessons booked and Tom was the scheduled pilot for the day, 
Visitors being shown around the gliders (John Street)
Robin & Wendy W/F had their currency checks completed with John Sillett.
Robin Willis-Fleming waiting for check flight (John Street)
There was plenty of thermals for the lucky (or skillful) to enjoy, Chris Warnes once again picked the best time to fly and Andrew Logan refreshed his aerotowing and Nick Harrison practiced flying from the back Seat of the Perkoz with John Street. There was still abundant thermals when we handed over to the Wednesday evening crew at about 5.30pm Mike Fairclough was tuggie for the day. - John Street.

Another successful club flying evening, although it was warm and very light winds,  the few that were there had a super instructional evening. 
James Smart successfully following a check flight flew the Perkoz solo again, Karen King, Hans Jenssen and Mike Wilmott  enjoyed the Junior and Tim Powell, the Flory youngsters and some new additions to the club who were introduced to us last week on a trial lesson flight, all had a good evening.
Potential new member (Lisa Humphries)

Stuart turned up to give VG an airing and we were visited by Ian Mitchell and James Hood in one of the many powered Aircraft they are blessed to fly (Cub) from Dunks. 

Thanks to everyone who turned up and made it a very pleasant end to a day in the office. See you all again next week! - Lisa Humphries

Comp Ent - Tuesday

The day was scrubbed with  a rather miserable sky and forecast......

(Comp Enterprise)

But the North Hill team managed to explore some good pubs.......
(Nick Jones)

Comp Ent Day 3 - Monday

Starfish Enterprise

Today's task was to fly round 5 selected turnpoints (which made a starfish shape). Between each turnpoint, you could then fly to another turnpoint of your choice.

We set off into another sky with thick top cover and a base of only just over 2000ft above Sutton Bank. Nevertheless, the whole grid set off making it fairly easy to stay airborne as there were always gliders around marking climbs (which were not always under the clouds where they should be).

By about 2 o'clock, the cloud base had gone up to around 3300ft above Sutton Bank and there were some strong climbs around.
Just after 4 o'clock, the top cover killed the day and there was a mass landing back at base including the Eagle which had made it round the whole task!

Scores on the board:
Team DD3: 4th on the day (266km), 7th overall
Team Eagle: 15th on the day (110km), 20th overall
711: 23rd on the day (169km), 18th overall
DG1: 14th on the day (199km), 14th overall
W7: 27th on the day (104km), 29th overall
- Pete Bennett