Sun 29th September

With the second day of the FI(S) course in progress in the Clubhouse,  a small group of members led by Peter Smith arrived to take on the task of sealing the Hangar floor. 
Peter and Dan ducking under the wing (Jill Harmer)
 With no flying and rather inclement weather, there was some reluctance to completely empty the hangar, so it was a case of carefully working round the gliders. With Sally Hender and Jill Harmer sharing the hoovering, and Peter Smith, Tom Sides and Dan Hender applying the sealant. 
No jokes about hoovering please (Jill Harmer)
Meanwhile Rob Hender was busy on his knees, painting the vehicle workshop floor (sorry no photos) and Chairman Nick was busy with a lifting and siting project (more about this on a sunny day).

So no flying  but some useful jobs done, thanks to those who turned out. - J&P

Sat 28th September

The Clubhouse was filling up fast with visiting and Club Instructors by 09:00, with the Club hosting an FI(S) course this weekend. 
Instructors with Mike Fox and Andy Miller (Mark Courtney)
 But there was an equal number of keen club members making an excellent start to the day, with the first launch just before 10:00. 
A strong southwesterly wind turned out to be the main theme leading to ridge lift, occasionally boosted by thermal activity.  The rating started at blue, moved briefly to yellow early afternoon before switching back to blue with therefore, John Pursey 'JP' the only member present able to make use the Junior.   Mike Wilmott came close to doing so, only for conditions to be re-rated back to blue moments before his launch!
There were 20 flights in all, with 2 of these in the Junior, and the longest flight of the day was JP at just under 90 minutes in LRD.   Pleasingly most of those present were able to make use of the ridge, in between showers.
Mark Errington's nephew - another JP (albeit somewhat younger at 12 years old) enjoyed 3 flights, and despite the fractious weather conditions (heaviest showers leading to a long early lunch) all members got airborne with the final flight landing just before 4pm.  A thank you to the Duty Instructors of the day (Martin Woolner and Rowan Smith). - Karen King

Thurs 26th September

With 54mm of much-needed rain over the last 4 days, the field had drained well, and with a small ridge of high pressure forecast, we hoped for a full day's flying. The cloud was just a little low to start with, so the start was a bit slow.
Ready to go (Mike Sloggett)
The south west wind was quite brisk, and once launches had started to 1600ft, there were plenty of extended circuits with rough thermals. 
North Hill in shadow (Mike Horwood)
The dark streets formed either side of the airfield with heavy showers moving through quite quickly, but the airfield remained dry  with rapidly cycling skies.
A sunny spell (Mike Sloggett)
After the first Trial lesson the Pawnee was taken offline with a mag problem, but Chris Wool managed to climb away from the winch launch for the second trial lesson.
Showers to the south (Mike Sloggett)
Late afternoon, the southerly street drifted over the airfield with some light rain, but it was a good day and everyone flew - 23 winch launches and 1 aerotow. Thanks all - J&P

Sat 21st September

A nice blue sky and just a slight southeasterly wind tempted 2 K21s and a Junior to the northwest corner of the airfield, however the wind out of the shelter of the clubhouse was more challenging. Some delicious-looking wave bars appeared in the sky. 

Wave bars in the southeasterly wind (Jill Harmer)
The first few launches found some nice wave to play in for nearly an hour. But then the sky seemed to change, the wave bars moved and North Hill was in the rotor. 

With another couple of launches finding severe turbulence up to 800ft, it was decided to call it a day unfortunately, with the gliders all walked back to the hangar. 

So sorry to those who didn't fly - but you really wouldn't have enjoyed it! Some days are more challenging than others and today the weather won! - J&P

Thurs 19th September

Clear blue skies and a light east southeasterly wind greeted the Thursday crowd, but quite a few of the Regulars were away, and so it was quite a small group of members that walked the gliders up to the far end of the field. 
Hazy blue skies (Jill Harmer)
The circuits were rather short to start with, but just before lunchtime, Andy Williams in FUN and Pete Startup in 230 decided to take a launch as there were just a few small wisps appearing. Pete crept out as far as MUD and nearly to Chard, whilst Andy stayed closer to home, but both enjoyed over 3 hours soaring.

Training flights continued with limited success at soaring with just a couple of 20-30 mins flights and there were a lot of simulated launch failures to keep everyone busy retrieving gliders from the  other end of the field.
Congratulations Josh (Mark Courtney)
Congratulations to Josh Funnell for completing his Bronze endorsement, and to Chris Warnes for Cross country endorsement.

Thanks to those who stayed late  to make sure everyone flew. 38 winch launches and 4 aerotows- J&P

Wed 18th September

Another warm and sunny day with the prospect of some soaring about midday, we had three trial lessons booked, so the K21s the Perkoz and a Junior were walked up to the southwest corner.
Andy's Emeraude (John Street)
Andy Williams flew in with his Emeraude, Pete Startup was seen rigging his Discus - this reinforced our view that it was going to be soarable.

Sandy Harrup added more solo flights to her total.  It become obvious from the first flight that it was going to be a reasonable day, when the thermals got organised it was thermic to 2,000ft and most flights took advantage of this, as usual Pete Startup and Chris Warnes had the longest flights.

John Street and John Sillett shared the instructing and Robert was the tuggie, it turned out to be a warm and pleasant day in the sun. - John Street.

Sun 15th September

The weather forecast for today was for a sunny day, eminently likely to be flyable but with little thermic activity expected and with insufficient direction or strength of wind for either of the ridges to provide enough lift for extended flights.

It was therefore not too much of a surprise to find that the only gliders being launched today were Club gliders - but whilst private owners would have preferred more “interesting” conditions, for those members seeking to practice winch launches, circuit planning, approaches and landing the day was likely to be ideal.
Blue skies (Mike Sloggett)
With a fairly long flying list, whether for pre-solo training or card / currency checks, gliders were being brought out of the hangar before 9am. With the light Northerly wind direction and strength, it was an easy decision to set the launch point up in the South East corner of the airfield.

And then it was on with the first launch of the day - with, as anticipated, the conditions providing pleasant flying but relatively short circuits

As the day and flying list progressed then so the temperature increased steadily. and with little wind all morning by lunchtime the airfield had become a tad warm - so it was evidently time to retire to the shade of the Clubhouse for lunch!

After lunch the flying list continued to be worked through until completion late afternoon.
Ian Patterson enjoys his Mile High Trial lesson with Simon Minson (Kay Wisker)
During the day various Trial Lesson flights were completed as well as a Friends & Family flight, and as ever there were various members undertaking tasks on the ‘ground operations to do’ list

Whether you were on the ground or in the air today it was a long hot day but a good day - which was only possible through everyone working well together from start to finish, thanks to all involved today. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 14th September

The forecast was for a glorious early autumn day with blue skies, fairly warm, light winds starting south easterly then going through south to southwesterly.

James Flory and John Sillett started working through the long two-seater flying list  of training and red card checks and Dan Hender, Charlie Stuckey, Josh Funnell and Mark Worsfold took turns in the Juniors. 

In the afternoon Phil Morrison joined in the training and card checks flights, and instigated the change of ends. Pete Harmer was tuggie and Jill Harmer DLM.

Pete Bennett and Tom Sides looked after the Trial lessons and Friends and family flights. Martin Bennett had a couple of flights in DG1, Martin Woolner in KMV and Jeff Taberham 380 had short soaring flights. Longest flight of the day was Ross Pratt in Junior with 1hr23 having been given permission to stay up for his two hour flight - and all below 1600ft!
Stu managed a quick flight in KMV (Stu Procter)
Lisa Humphries completed her 5 year Instructor checks with Stu Procter.

Total of 46 winch launches and 7 aerotows. Thanks all for staying to make sure everyone flew with special commendation for the late shift of Nick Jones, Tim Petty and Stirling Melhuish. - J&P

Thurs 12th September

That was an unexpected surprise! with the forecast  yesterday giving moist tropical air all day, and yet this morning there were to be some breaks in the cloud in the afternoon. The morning was spent doing chores with the small assembled gathering - a flat tyre was replaced on Junior LRD, the Ground Hangar and Tunnel were given an Autumn clean and tidy up, a flat tyre was replaced on the Manual Disco, there was a demo of an electric golf buggy and there was quite a bit of mowing going on.
KEK launching under 1400ft cloudbase (Mike Horwood)
By lunchtime, we were rewarded with some glimpses of sunshine and blue sky, but still the low cloud..... After lunch and another roll call, there were just enough keen members to get flying.  So with 2 K21s and a Junior, 4 instructors and the Thursday regulars - flying started at 14:50. 
A small group of keenies (Mike Horwood)
There were 15 winch launches in total into repeatedly cycling skies. Longest flight was Aston Key in Junior with 28 minutes. Thanks all -J&P

Sun 8th September

Dave Masson was suggesting 500kms from 'nearly' anywhere in Southern England, but  clearly Devon was not included! The cloudbase was around 2000ft and thermals were difficult to find and use, and there was clear wave and windshear in different places at different times.
Streeting  / wave proved difficult to use (Jill Harmer)

It was mainly circuits and extended circuits for training flights, with Jeff Taberham in 380 taking the first aerotow and managing to stay up for just 1 hour. Andy Williams FUN had a couple of attempts of 30 minutes each. 

A big thank you to all the 'standins' today with Pete Harmer tuggie, James Flory and John Sillett covering the Instructing duties, and with Simon Minson on a 1:1 with Paul Medlock converting to DG505. Sam Flory converted to the Junior, Emma Kendall consolidated her solos in K21, and Ross Pratt reaquainted himself with the Junior.  - Congratulations to all.
Congratulations to Sam Flory converting to Junior (Hans Jenssen)
Also thanks to the combined force of "Junior member Dads" Craig Howard, Andrew Broderick and David Brook for keeping the launch point running. - J&P

Sat 7th September

The day started with a forecast north northwesterly wind and a lot of cloud, so the launch point was set up in the southwest corner of the field and flying soon commenced with Lisa instructing in a K21, 

Martin Woolner and John Sillett were running an aerobatics course in the Perkoz  with David Cowley, Paul Summers, Andy Davey and Trevor Russell and Charlie Stuckey, Dan Hender and Alan Turner  were flying the Junior. 
With little soaring everyone had a few circuits before the wind became a steady north northeasterly and Steve Westlake called the decision to change ends. 
Emma Kendell  with Lisa (Lisa Humphries)
Having changed ends the launch heights improved as did the flying in general. 3 Trial lesson visitors  enjoyed their flights and everyone enjoyed more training and general flying. 
A bit more sun appeared in the afternoon (Lisa Humphries)
Congratulations to Dan for getting his red card signed up, having completed his 25th solo flight,  and to Charlie who was checked out and soloed the DG505. 
Charlie solo in DG505 (Lisa Humphries)
A big thank you to Lisa for instructing all day and to Steve for his help in the afternoon as they took on a long list between them,  also thanks to tuggies James Hood and Pete Harmer who shared the 15 aerotows,  and Peter March and John Borland - DLMs, and everyone else who helped the day run smoothly.  - Charlie Stuckey

Fri 6th September - Course week

After four flying days so far in the September Course week, it was hoped that whilst the weather forecast was not too optimistic, there might be opportunities to fly during the day.

Looking at the weather one of such opportunities seemed to be during the morning - so after a quick discussion as to the plan for the day the winch was set up in the North West corner of the airfield, with both K21s and a Junior brought out of the hangar and daily inspections completed.
Optimism (Mike Sloggett)
However no sooner had the gliders been walked to the launch point some rain arrived......

So with the gliders suitably parked it was down to the Clubhouse for discussion on the BGA Safe Winch Launching initiative followed by a briefing on various aspects of thermalling to build on everyone’s practical experience of same during the week to date.
Adam giving a First Aid briefing (Mike Sloggett)
Using his dayjob experience Adam Niemcyzk then provided some useful information and guidance on how to use the Clubhouse defibrillator and how to help anyone who needs resuscitation.

Over lunch, as the weather deteriorated further, the reluctant but sensible decision was made to put the gliders and ground equipment away. Whilst it was disappointing to not be able to fly today all the Course members made good progress with their individual objectives for the week.
Reallity (MIke Sloggett)
Thank you as ever to the Course helpers (Hans Jenssen, Richard Harris and Allan Mounce) and to the Course members for getting stuck in to the ground tasks in and amongst their flying. - Mike Sloggett and Peter Smith - September Course instructors. 
Congratulations to Rowan Smith (Ian Mitchell)
 And in the evening when the weather had improved, Rowan Smith passed his  BGA Cloud Flying Endorsement  with Ian Mitchell in the Rotax Falke. - Well done Rowan.

Thurs 5th September

A brisker wind than forecast lay in wait for us this morning with more north in it than we were expecting. A slightly delayed start for KEK for a wheel brake check - many thanks to Andrew Logan and George Sanderson for stepping up to that - and we got under way with both K21s with club flying using the DG505 and Perkoz.
Lenticulars in evidence (Mike Sloggett)
We tried to set up the field to achieve as much into wind as possible. While successful, the shortened length of winch run reduced release height so we reverted to the usual winch location. First launches struggled with little head wind and a boisterous air mass, and were restricted to  very short (4min) circuits until the sky changed and thermals gave vigorous climbs.

We then enjoyed extended flights with strong thermals and the opportunity for upper air exercises followed by lively approaches to landing. 

There were 43 flights in all with John Sillett in CVV having the longest at 1:24, closely followed by Mike Fairclough in Junior. Unfortunately, the tricky conditions limiting solo flying to Blue card pilots, and the interfering wave  and strong winds added to the challenges. Most of the Club members enjoyed good soaring two-seater flights.
Soaring over the Blackdowns (Mike Sloggett)
A pleasant course dinner at the Wyndham Arms, Kentisbeare ended a good and enjoyable day in conjunction with club flying. - Peter Smith

Wed 4th September

Club flying
Quite a blustery start to Wednesday with a very strong north westerly wind which was forecast to last most of the day, with a small group of the Wednesday regulars keen to try their hand at the strong North-Westerly.
The Wednesday club were using the Perkoz as the K21s were being used for the September course, John Sillett and John Street were instructing.
Nice cloud streets (John Street)
The lift was very strong and rough but very rewarding if you were lucky enough to reach the many cloud streets, cloudbase was 3,500ft, Nick Harrison completed his yellow card checks and all who flew had good soaring flights in the character building conditions. John Strèet

Course report
The course motto for today is "up up and away".  We all managed longer flights and made good use of this time for ridge soaring and where height permitted stall demonstrations and practice.  Team Peter holds the records for todays distance to the Cullompton turn point, the height at 3000ft + and the longest time at 45 minutes.  Of course there is no pressure on Team Mike to better these before the end of the week! 
Nice clouds (Mike Sloggett)
As with the first two days the intermittent rain has been an issue but that is part and parcel of gliding.  The time was not wasted as we were able to complete a number of the theoretical briefings.
A big thank you to the support team who continue to provide a first class service this week and also to the other members on site today who assisted us by  retrieving and launching our gliders. - Ashley Thomas (first time blogger)

Committee Meeting in the Clubhouse (Lisa Humphries)
Club Evening report
Tonight started with showers and hope of flying, we were lucky and managed to fly 6 members once before it got dark. 

Jacob Brook with Lisa  into the setting sun (Lisa Humphries)
A skeleton crew but very effective, thanks to everyone for a pleasant evening. We will run another evening next week weather permitting of course. - Lisa Humphries

Tues 3rd September - Course week

The second day of the course brings low cloud base with occasional drizzle.
Unpacking the hangar (Mike Sloggett)
While waiting for the weather to improve, Peter Smith and Mike Sloggett presented theory for winch launching / winch eventualites.
Launching begins (Adam Niemczyk)
Before lunchtime the weather started to improved and with the winch set up at the southwest end of the airfield, launching began.
Rob Rand back in the Junior (Mike Sloggett)
Congratulations to Rob Rand for his resolo flight in  K21 and  then he continued flying in the Junior for rest of the day. 
Launching into grey skies (Adam Niemcyzk)
After lunch, Mike and Peter continued flying with the course members and improving their skills.

Total flights for the day  - 23.  - Adam Niemczyk (first time blogger)

Mon 2nd September - Course week

The first course day began in bright sunshine with clear blue sky in a light south westerly.  The morning briefing was swiftly delivered by Mike Sloggett anticipating cloud cover later in the day.  Glider DI’s were done and the launch point set up.
September Course (Mike Sloggett)
Before launching could begin the sky had filled with clouds.  After some delay the first flights took off but were back on the ground within minutes, and then the showers interrupted play.
Showers stopped play (Rob Rand)
Peter Smith and Mike continued valiantly dodging the showers up to lunchtime managing to deliver flights for four of the course members.
A brighter afternoon (Mike Sloggett)
The afternoon looked brighter but  the wind had turned northwesterly and a cable break near the top of the launch sent the parachute into the woods.  All enjoyed a romp down the hill where the chute was found and Hans Jenssen made the new splice.
Splicing practice (Rob Rand)
At the end of the day all had had fun with a total of 18 flights flown. - Rob Rand

Sun 1st September

Arriving at the Club with blue skies and thermals already evident it was good to see all the Club gliders out of the hangar as well as the Pawnee.

With a number of private gliders being rigged whilst other private gliders were being towed from the parking area, as well as a long flying list, including some visitor Trial Lessons, clearly today was likely to be busy - and it was! 
Busy day at North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
The morning duty team of Peter Field and Nick Redfern had the launch point well organised and soon gliders were being launched into a sky which promised much - but as ever did not always provide the necessary and important first climb away from the winch launch. So no surprise that some private owners decided to take an aerotow to allow more thermal hunting time.

For those who managed to get away from the winch or aerotow the sky was looking good enough to encourage ventures farther afield.
Nice clouds (Mike Sloggett)
Pete Startup 230 turned Eaglescott - Beaminster - Wellington - Cullompton for 206kms, Ron and Dan Johns in 711 went to the seaside - South coast. 
Ron & Dan in 711 over Chesil Beach (Ron Johns)

Rowan Smith in CLM had a good day out  turning Eaglescott and Barnstaple on the North coast...
CLM over Eaglescott (Rowan Smith)
 " Best day of the season for me. Although the wind was strong (18 knots) the thermals were also strong and very reliable. A thoroughly lovely day out. Let's hope the rest of September will bear more soaring fruits." - Rowan
CLM at Chivenor Taw estuary (Rowan Smith)

 Pete and Jill Harmer in OL wombled round South Molton and Wellington. Eric Alston  in G29 did Club 100.  We welcomed the Linees from Dorset GC with Tim in the Nimbus 2 enjoying Devon weather. Altogether there were 15 private gliders out enjoying the local conditions.

The afternoon duty team of Guy Adams / JB and Martin Bennett ensured that the flying list continued to make progress and with everyone who wanted to fly having done so by soon after 5pm the decision was made to return Club gliders to the hangar and put the winch and other ground equipment away.

Tom Sides was busy all day looking after the Trial Lesson visitors with relevant flights in the DG505. Pete Bennett completed revalidation of his BI rating under the watchful eye of Simon Leeson.
Pete Bennett enjoyed a testing day (Simon Leeson)
Robert Lee, Peter Warren and James Flory shared the tug pilot duties whilst John Street and Mike Sloggett helped out with some instructing in Club two-seaters.

During the day, Stu Procter and Guy Adams in  Falke (G-BKVG) and James Hood in Falke (G-CDSC) returned from the LAA fly in at Sywell Airfield - following which William Pope and David Cottingham took off for a local flight.

With a total of 55 winch launches, 14 aerotows and in excess of 50 hours soaring it was indeed a good day for the first day of Autumn. Thanks everyone. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 31st August

There were quite a few members arriving this morning by 8:30 to get their names on the list, it reminded me of the “good old days”. - It has to be said that they were mostly Junior members, keen as ever with Dads in tow.

The weather was due to deteriorate in the early part of the morning and to then clear after the passage of a cold front. By 9am the Clubhouse was buzzing, what to do to keep the troops entertained?
Josh and Charlie on Met! (Mark Courtney)
 I encouraged Charlie Stuckey and Josh  Funnell to present the weather and explain what we expected to happen throughout the day. They explained the met aviation forms 215&214 and were cross referencing to the rain radar and the weather forecast. We came to the conclusion that it was going to rain by 10am and clear by 1pm, as it happens that was spot on!

Ashley Thomas enquired about some theory lectures as there was a delay in flying, I started the lectures but Charlie, Dan and Josh took over with a bit of encouragement and did a fantastic job, explaining theory of flight very impressive guys!
Charlie converted to Perkoz
Having set the field up before the rain we quickly got going, Charlie fresh from attaining his Bronze was keen to solo the Perkoz, having done lots of flights on our course in the Perkoz, it only left cable breaks, these were done by Simon Leeson who sent Charlie for his solo, well done Charlie. 
Enjoying the Perkoz (Charlie Stuckey)
The conditions were great from the first launch with everyone soaring the ridge and then taking the thermals as they popped off the ridge. Phil Morrison steadily worked through the list we welcomed back “daddy Dave Weeks”, William Stainer, returning from the “dark side” (power) to practice using the rudder  (his words),  Dave Herbert (dark side), Lukasz Kieruczenko (dark side)  -  it was great to see you guys. Congratulations to Will and Lukasz for completing their power licences and keep going Dave H - half-way through.

Josh Funnell keen to hang onto Charlie’s tail nearly completed all the elements for his Bronze flight test with a long flight spinning stalling and just about everything in between! This combined with several  training flights over the last three weeks means it’s just cable breaks to do next Thursday weather permitting!

Several members commented how fantastic it was to see the Dads getting involved helping to run our operation, to ferry them to the club is one thing but to work tirelessly is another, without their help we would have really struggled at times with everyone soaring. Thank you.
Unusual sky (Mark Courtney)
As the day went on the ridge was a strong constant provider of lift which enabled runs down the entire length at high speed -  great fun, we haven’t got a classic ridge like some clubs but I wouldn’t be without it!

Phil continued to instruct and was still airborne with Sandy when all the kit was put away, I think they could have stayed up all night!
We flew two mile high visitors, one of which flew with us for a couple of weeks thirty years ago and remembered Stuart Proctor going solo!
We also flew a trial lesson voucher  which was won in a raffle for Upottery School,  the guy is from Upottery and promised to return after having a great flight with Phil.

Hangar doors were closed at 6:30.
Huge thanks to Sandy for running the launch point, Martin Woolner, Lisa Humphries,  Phil Morrison and Simon Leeson for instructing, not forgetting the Dads and everyone who helped to make it such a special day. 
Thank you all. - Mark Courtney