Sun 9th August

For anyone wanting to maintain currency, practice takeoffs, circuits and landings in a crosswind the weather forecast suggested that today was potentially a good day for same - but with minimal likelihood of soaring no surprise that first thing the Clubhouse was quiet with few private owners around.

The low cloud and ‘interesting’ wind strength and direction kept enthusiasm levels fairly low initially but with the forecast suggesting a steady improvement during the morning soon Ron Johns as Duty Instructor and Nick Redfern as DLM were organising gliders out of the hangar and ground equipment being set up.

And then it was a question of long walks to the South West corner of the airfield with both K21s and a Junior - and with the sun evidently burning off the cloud more and more, it was clear that a long hot day ahead awaited all.

Training underway (Mike Sloggett)

Training flights were soon underway with Ron Johns and Andrew Broderick taking HCX airborne whilst Mike Sloggett and Charlie Broderick used KEK. James Flory took advantage of the improving skies to take Falke BVG off for some local flying whilst Dave Perriam completed more flights in Junior LRD.

By late morning it was evident that a rest would suit all so a lunch stop was agreed - and with everyone suitably refreshed and reinvigorated it was back to the launchpoint for - more takeoffs, circuits and landings.

With the wind direction and strength not increasing as forecast the afternoon allowed all present to fly if they wished to - Guy Adams and Nick Redfern in HCX with Mike Sloggett and Harvey Skeggs in KEK. Meanwhile Trevor Russell and James Smart gave their ASW19 (877) an airing with - takeoffs, circuits and landings. Andy Williams and Paul Medlock flew the Junior and after an eventuality check flight Charlie Broderick took KEK for two solo flights adding to his first solo during last week’s course.

James Smart in ASW19 (Mike Sloggett)

With hangar flights completed and aircraft/MT hangar doors shut, a weary but contented group of members were soon wending their way home having made the best of the day. As ever great teamwork meaning everyone got into the air today - a particular Thank You (again) to Team Family Hender who all helped on the ground in one way or another but did not fly. - Mike Sloggett

And in the evening, the Club Condor soaring task was from Hembury Hill to Mudford Gate then taking in the sights at Wimbleball reservoir back to Northill2. HHL MUD WIM NH2. 

Condor task

Hosted by Matt Howard chosen and planned by John Davis with help from Stewart Henshall. Geoff Lawrence and Ray Dodds joined us for the 77.2 kms sortie in a Genesis2 Ray flew in a familiar Discus 2.The fastest time was completed by Stewart in 41 minutes, Matt followed 9 minutes later with John 6 minutes after that to complete the podium. 


Geoff made a valiant effort to finish in a time of 1:09, Ray enjoyed his first flight with us hoping to join another task next time. - John Davis

Fri 7th August

 After 2 foggy days there was blue sky with signs of medium level instability, and rain  was seen falling to the east of North Hill. 

Flying started with fairly short circuits for everyone with John Sillett helping out with the instruction.

Medium level instability (Jill Harmer)

The wind was light and variable on the surface, but by mid-morning,  the Met Office rainfall radar showed more showers had started developing over Dartmoor and moving towards North Hill. An early lunch was called with concern for heavy rain and lightning showing on the back edge. In the event there was very little rain at North Hill as the storm passed by. 

After lunch, John Sillett took each Rigby for a 4000ft aerotow spinning sortie in the Perkoz. Short circuits continued with eveyone improving their circuit planning and landings, and there was a second interruption when thunder rumbled nearby, but with no rain.

Unfortunately Charlie wasn't feeling so well and was unable to consolidate his solo flying from Tuesday. 

All course members achieved their personal objectives, Thanks to Course Instructors Pete Harmer and James Flory and guest Instructor John Sillett and helpers Gordon Hutchinson, Andrew Logan and Jill Harmer. - J&P


Thurs 6th August

After yesterday's foggy low cloud it was a repeat performance as the cold front /warm front sat above North Hill.
Weather Briefing (Mike Sloggett)

The course members enjoyed more lectures on weather, circuits and spinning and the simulator was also in use, and the Thursday regulars got on with some maintenance tasks.
Nick Bromley in the simulator (Jill Harmer)

In the evening the customary course dinner was replaced by a Fish and Chip picnic supper from Highfield Fish Plaice Dunkeswell,
Fish and Chip Picnic (Charlie Broderick)

and as forecast the fog had cleared and the sun was out! - J&P

Tues 4th August

It was a light south westerly wind, and there was quite a lot of cloud around, but launches were high and broken lift extended flights.

First up to fly with Pete Harmer was Charlie Broderick, who was not too impressed with the instruments being covered up for the training exercises. But having completed successfully all that Pete could check, Charlie enjoyed his first solo flights.
Congratulations - Charlie's first solo (Jill Harmer)
Meanwhile James Flory continued training flights with Harry Rigby and Josh Batchelor.
Increasing cloud (Jill Harmer)

After lunch the wind started to pick up from the south with the approach and landings on the training flights becoming more challenging with the wind gradient and shear.

But the later flights also found some weak broken wave in the Broadhembury valley. 25 flights in all. -J&P

Mon 3rd August

Our first Course week of the year got underway with a sparkling clear blue sky, but the soarable clouds didn't really sort themselves out until after lunch. 
Course photo (Jill Harmer)
With James Flory starting with new member Josh Batchelor and then Harry and Mike Rigby and Pete Harmer flying with John Davis, Charlie Broderick and Nick Bromley (on his 3rd course at North Hill).  Only Charlie missed out on the soaring, but he was concentrating on simulated launch failures.
Clouds sorted  (Jill Harmer)
Spare cables were used by Andy Davey (KCM), who did a bit of cloud flying practice, and Eric Alston (G29) with a swift Club 100. - J&P

Sun 2nd August

The Club was a tad quiet at the start of the day with just a small group of members - a little surprising bearing in mind the generally positive weather forecast but with rain interrupting the day on several occasions perhaps others had a better crystal ball than those there today

With Peter Field as Duty Instructor and Guy Adams and Mike Sloggett as the booked Instructors for the day both K21s, the Perkoz and a Junior were soon having daily inspections completed whilst the winch run was set up for the forecast wind direction of ‘generally West’ but maybe a bit of South and a bit of North during the day - as it happened it was good that the windsock is designed to blow in several directions as that is just what happened throughout today!
Family Bennett lunch bubble (Paul Summers)
The flying list made steady progress during the morning with Jack Raybould having some check flights before completing further solos in the K21 whilst Matthew Howard had the “fun” of eventuality demonstrations and practice.
Drying the gliders after another rain shower (Fiona Bennett)
After quite a delay for a heavy rain shower to go through Paul Summers took the opportunity to reacquaint himself with the Perkoz after which it was time for lunch.
Well done Jack converting to Junior (Mike Sloggett)
With lunch completed the afternoon had the odd interruption for rain going over the airfield but saw Jack convert to the Junior whilst Dave Perriam completed some more solo flights in a K21 - then also converting to the Junior.
Well done Dave converting to Junior (Mike Sloggett)
Paul Summers and Pete Warren completed some mutual flying in the Perkoz whilst Peter Field and Dave Cowley flew the Junior and Paul Medlock flew a K21 solo.

There was just time for Mike Sloggett and Pete Bennett to take the Perkoz for the last flight of the day after which it was time to put the gliders away.

Thank you to all for the teamwork to help others fly today - particularly Dan Hender and Gordon Hutchinson who winched all morning and afternoon respectively, without flying. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 1st August

We had only a skeleton crew, so it was all hands on deck throughout to keep the operation going.  Martin Woolner and Stu Procter took turns flying their LS3, Eric flew his ASG29 and John Pursey and Stirling Melhuish rigged and flew the "new" blue Eagle.  Conditions could not be said to be booming, but there was a reasonable mix of ridge and thermal to keep the skilled aloft.  Stu just pipped Team Eagle for the longest flight of the day, with both achieving about 1hr45.
Exe Estuary (Stu Procter)
Phil Morrison treated young family friend Ben to a flight, in between the pair of them providing an excellent glider retrieval service - hopefully Ben will be back for more.  Meanwhile Ross Pratt and Ruth had their skills interrogated by John Sillett and James Flory respectively.  Each was rewarded with a solo in the K21s and their rating cards reinstated.

Huge thanks to Andrew Logan and Paul Medlock for providing all the winch driving even though they did not fly themselves. - Ruth Comer

Thurs 30th July

The sky was a vivid blue from the start with the wind south south easterly, and the launchpoint was set up in the north west corner. 
Vivid blue sky (Jill Harmer)

Mike Sloggett was flying the booked 2-seater training with first Reuben Buss who resoloed and then Toby Butler.
Reuben Buss back from Durham (Mike Sloggett)

Meanwhile Pete Harmer was putting Ashley Thomas  through final checks before his First Solo.
Congratulations Ashley Thomas - first solo (Mike Sloggett)

Longest flights of the day were from aerotows with Chris Wool and Wyn Davies in Perkoz  who patiently soared the South ridge (45 mins) and George Sanderson in Pegase  (28 mins) who found a little weak wave. 
North Hill in the sunshine (Mike Horwood)

37 flights in all with most only 4-5 mins, thanks everyone. - J&P

Wed 29th July

A small group of Wednesday regulars to start with, but whilst we were setting up the launch point quite a lot of private gliders were getting ready, so it looked as if we were to have a busy day.
Grid setting up (David Clements)
John Sillett and Peter Field were instructing in the two-seaters and Peter was also tuggie for the day.
The days soaring was quite mixed with some periods of reasonable lift and other times no lift at all.
K21 on approach (David Clements)
Pete Startup (who else) had the longest flight - over two hours - the rest of the soaring was quite mixed and when the sea breeze set in, the soaring stopped.
James Smart in ASW19 (Trevor Russell)
Well done to James Smart and Trevor Russell for both converting to ASW19 their new acquisition.
We had over 30 flights but it was not a cross-country day as Pete Startup nearly found out, well done to Sandy Harrop and Malcom Vest for re-soloing after the lock down. - John Street

Sun 26th July

A few of the regulars turned up early, ever hopeful of flying. By 10:30 the equipment was out and ready and the two-seater booked training flights were taken by Tim Powell with Guy Adams and Matthew Howard with Mike Sloggett. James Flory and daughter Emma then took the Perkoz for training. Training continued while dodging between the showers!
Moody sky (Hans Jenssen)
No-one had particularly long flights, but Dave Perriam and Dan Hender both flew the K21 solo. Ruth Comer managed to get airborne with duty instructor Ian Mitchell after her rained out  booked training yesterday.
Some bright bits (Mike Sloggett)
Then the afternoon booked training slots were completed, for Ollie Butler and Charlie Broderick. Peter Warren also got a couple of two-seater flights with Ian. 

With quite a few other solo flights completed in the Junior (sorry can’t remember everyone, so won’t offend by trying and missing someone out!!). Everything was packed away by 6:30pm for another successful day at North Hill, 32 flights with some limited soaring. - Sally Hender

And in the evening - After a break from Condor for a couple of weeks, tonight’s task was chosen by Geoff Lawrence and planned and hosted by Matt Howard. HHL - CCX - TIE - HHL We were joined by Dave Clements and Stewart Henshall, and last but not least myself John Davis. We took to the sky (some more successful than others) in a NNW wind 13kts. Matt was the first to get to the first turn point at Cadbury Cross, while the rest of us were gaining height in very narrow thermals even Stewart commented on them. Dave got some really good height as did Geoff who turned Tiverton East in second place, Matt who was piling on the pace got fairly low at stages was taken by Geoff but managed to finish second.
John Davis Discus 2a (Condor)
The results are 1st place Geoff in a Discus2 in a time of 31.30 minutes 94kph, Matt finished 40 seconds later but had handicap penalties as he was flying a EB29R so Dave took second in a DuoDiscus  4 minutes after first place. Stewart and John finished 5 minutes apart to complete race. - John Davis

Thurs 23rd July

The day started brighter than expected  but with concern for an early finish,  the two booked training flights  Rob Rand and Brian Knight were shared by Peter Smith and Pete Harmer.  Well done to Rob for resoloing. Peter then checked out Malcolm Vest  for resolo, as he had missed out on his booked training yesterday, and Pete flew with Ashley Thomas and John Davis.
Overcast skies, a change from the last few days (Jonathan Skeggs)

Wooly flew in the Perkoz with Harvey Skeggs, and Wyn Davies, and the Junior was kept busy all day. Most flights were extended with the help of some weak wave in phase with the ridge. 21 flights in all before the drizzly rain set in. - J&P

Wed 22nd July

The brilliant soaring weather that was enjoyed on Monday and Tuesday continued for Wednesday. 

First to find the thermals under a blue sky was the dynamic K6 trio of Josh Funnell, Charlie Stuckey and Dan Hender who between them kept the K6 airborne most of the day, after the lead set by the K6 all subsequent flights found good lift at the top of the launch, with a cloud base of 4500ft - all had good soaring flights.
A promising sky (John Street)
 Once again Peter Smith manned HCX for the training flights, Robert Lee was in charge of the tug but the lift was so good that it was not needed.
Wells Cathedral (Stuart Procter)
John Sillett CVV, Paul Medlock HMS and Eric Alston G29 flew there own gliders, Phil Morrison and Stu Procter followed the energy lines in  DD3 to Wells and MUD.  - John Street.

Tues 21st July

Another great day of soaring with the Chairman's call for ad-hoc day. The main task was set as NHL-Candover Church - Crewkerne - Chilbolton - NHL for 505kms.

Achievements include: JB completed his Diamond Distance  which makes his 3rd Diamond. The 500km  flight was also completed by Phil Morrison and John Pursey in DD3 and Pete Startup in 230 - was this the first 500k from North Hill in a Standard class glider?.
DD3 after a 500km task (John Pursey)
Eric Alston G29 completed his Diamond Goal O/R to Candover Church and Pete and Jill Harmer OL also completed 300kms in their fastest ever task speed of 100kph.
Passing Salisbury (Phil Morrison)
Andy Davey KCM completed O/R to Salisbury South 218Kms.

Paul Medlock HMS soared for  5 hours to complete his Silver badge.

Alongside this was some local soaring  with Robert Lee in DKU flying the Club100, Steve Westlake in FER, Nick Harrison in JDD, and Gordon Hutchinson in JDP.

Congratulations to all - 47 hours soaring in all, thanks to Mark Courtney for tugging and Nick Jones and Mike Harris for running the launch point. - J&P

Mon 20th July

Another call-out  by the Chairman for an Ad-Hoc day saw a number of private owners line up at the west end of the airfield. Pete Startup set a task of NHL - Didcot - Mottisfont Station - NHL
First off was Ron Johns and Tom Sides in 711, but he decided to go into Cornwall first and turned Launceston  and Candover  falling back from a 519kms to 416kms task. 

Next up was Pete Startup 230, completing the task 354kms in 84.7kph,  with DD3  with Phil Morrison and Nick Jones for company at 78.6kph and JB?
OL missed the grid but enjoyed an afternoon womble (Jill Harmer)
Pete and Jill Harmer in OL completed 175kms (with a trip round Yeovilton) The Park - Iwerne Minster.

"The Badges" (Nick Jones)

A number of gliders enjoyed local soaring including Chris Warnes in FZF, Robert Lee in DKU, Eric Alston in G29, Gordon Hutchinson in JDP (who posted a small task on the ladder), Martin Woolner KMV, Andrew Logan FMS, Mark Layton 477, George Sanderson HES, Andy Davey M, Andy Williams FUN, Mike Fairclough DFK Paul Medlock HMS made a good attempt for Silver Duration but was 40mins short. 
Excursion to the seaside (Nick Jones)
Thanks to James Flory for driving the Pawnee, Dave Perriam for driving the winch and Tim Petty for operating the LPV.

Sun 19th July

There were a few hopeful faces at the club, first thing. With both Guy Adams and Mike Sloggett ready for their booked two-seater training students. RASP was checked numerous times by a number of pilots, ever optimistic! Whilst waiting  for the frontal cloud to clear, Dan Hender was taught the art of water divining by Guy, which he had never heard of, but seemed to get the hang of very quickly!!
Water divining (Sally Hender)
New grass is green  at North Hill (Mike Sloggett)
Gliders were got out up to the west end after lunch (which was fortunate as the DLM didn’t turn up, you know who you are!) After a delay due to a bow in the cables, which would have resulted in the cables crossing (good spot Dan Hender) the first launch was taken at about 1pm by Mike Sloggett and Dave Perriam. After having his checks flights, Dave then went solo in HCX. Meanwhile, Jonathan Erskine was back in the air, under the guidance of Guy Adams.

Roly Clarke (DLM pm but managed to get in the air!) and Peter Warren took their turns in the Junior, Peter outflying Roly considerably!

Guy and Mike then flew with Nick Redfern and Adam Niemcyzk respectively. Dan had a couple of flights in the Junior. Charlie and Andrew Broderick managed to squeeze in a couple of flights, and a good day was had by all!!! Thanks to everyone for a successful day x - Sally Hender

Sat 18th July

Another cloudy start, but the cloudbase slowly rose and broke and the first flight was just before midday. 

James Flory was looking after the two-seater training with Ashley Thomas and Tim Petty booked in. It was Ashley's first training flights since March and after the initial rusty patch he got back in the swing of it. 
50 years since Tim first soloed in power (Jill Harmer)
Tim was after refresher aerotow training and completed successfully followed by a solo aerotow which was 50 years to the day after his first solo flight in a power plane at Thruxton.
Pleasant local soaring conditions at North Hill (Jill Harmer)
The afternoon turned into some pleasant soaring conditions with Stu Procter in LS3-17 having the longest flight of 1hr 45. Andrew Logan in ASW15, Robert Lee and James Smart  in Junior all enjoyed more than 1 hour soaring and Andy Williams and Peter Smith flew the ASW20. Tom Sides and Trevor Russell shared the winching with the small group of members present - 14 winch launches and 3 aerotows in total.- J&P

Thurs 16th July

It was cloudy to start with, but with the wind nearly on the ridge there were some extended circuits. Peter Smith was doing the booked training flights with Rob Rand in the morning and John Davis in the afternoon. 

Pete Harmer and Chris Wool decided to also do some training in K21 and Perkoz, George Vojtisek passed his check flights and Charlie Broderick made further progress.
Pete Harmer clears Dave Perriam for solo (Mike Sloggett)
Congratulations to Dave Perriam who resoloed some 40 years after his previous solo flying at the Albatross GC at Davidstow. 

Mike Sloggett enjoyed some FUN (Mark Courtney)
With a Junior and 6 private gliders having mixed fortunes in the changing skies, it was Gordon Hutchinson JDP having the longest flight of over 1 hour. 41 flights in all, thanks all - J&P

Wed 15th July

All the kit was ready to fly by 10:00am, but the cloud base was considered too low so there was a slight delay to the start of flying. We had both K21s and a Junior taken to the launchpoint in readiness for the first launch. The weather was quite cold for July and although quite a lot of members turned up in shorts they soon changed into warmer clothes even two winter woolly hats were worn, by Glenn Turpin and John Street.
A bit grey to start (John Street)
The wind was northwesterly and about 8-10kts so there was a fair chance of a bit of ridge flying with the occasional boost from a thermal, and this proved to be the case for most of the day. With the high launches, many of the flights were over 30min, John Sillett in CVV and Chris Warnes in Junior managed nearly 1hr. The only private glider to be flown was the B4 which John, Tim Petty and David Clements made good use of.
Peter Smith briefing Mike Meatyard (John Street)
Peter Smith flew both pre-booked training flights  Mike Meatyard and Charlie Broderick in HCX.

View from the winch glider stack  (Rob Hender)

Thanks to Rob Hender who manned the winch all day and provided all who flew good high launches, Sandy Harrup who looked after the LPV all day and Tim Petty who spent a lot of the day time fitting a new comms box for the S/W launch point. We achieved 27 launches today many of them soaring flights -  John Street.

Sun 12th July

With another good day of gliding being predicted and with a second group of members ‘booked in’ for dual flying the hangar doors were opened before 9am and both K21s and a Junior brought out for daily inspections. A light wind and a forecast of Westerly components saw the launch point being set up in the North East corner of the airfield and the steady activity of private owners preparing their gliders for the day suggested that the launch point was going to be busy.

As the day’s Instructing team, Guy Adams and Mike Sloggett briefed the Club members as to the day ahead and then took the opportunity of some flights to familiarise themselves with the back seat of a K21 whilst wearing masks and to check cockpit communication - and then it was on with the day. Tim Powell and Andrew Broderick flew with Guy, and Adam Niemcyzk and Mark Worsfold with Mike.

With the launch point well-organised by Trevor Russell as DLM, the morning saw Club and private gliders being launched on the winch line whilst there was a steady queue of private gliders on the aerotow line - Pete Stapleton had flown up from Newquay in his Cessna and shared the day’s aerotows with Pete Warren.
Waiting for aerotow (Simon Minson)
With a steadily improving sky most private gliders “disappeared” for the day whilst the Club flying list made good progress - as ever operating from the North East corner with the limited landing area on the North side of the airfield meant some delays during the day whilst gliders were retrieved, but as ever good teamwork on the ground by Club members minimised the delays.
North Hill - leveled areas showing dark green (Mike Sloggett)
The Junior was in regular use with David Cowley achieving his Silver Height and whilst Guy and Mike had their lunch the K21s were used by other members, making the most of the weather and available gliders to continue flying through the lunchtime.

Pete Startup had set a task of 307Kms Stockbridge - Membury with 230, Phil and Nick DD3 and Simon Minson SM  and JB all completing. Eric Alston completed 150kms Yeovil - Knowstone. Meanwhile Jill and Pete in OL decided to explore the many convergences that covered Devon and surroundings -  both coasts and some up the middle for a very enjoyable womble with no turnpoints collected! 
Convergences (Jill Harmer)
Geoff Lawrence  (Pegase) enjoyed his longest flight at 3hrs 35 - maybe the Sunday evening Condor races have helped a little?
And there was another Silver distance for a Mendip pilot arriving at North Hill. John Connor landed in his Discus during the afternoon. After some phone calls and discussion as to whether to get his retrieve crew to drive to North Hill, he took up the offer of a relight aerotow behind the Pawnee and just under an hour later had landed back at Mendip GC.

During the afternoon with the sea air moving in from the South, private owners started to return to the airfield to land and at one stage it was like (the old) Heathrow airport with gliders arriving into circuit regularly!

By late afternoon, with the Club flying list completed it was time to put everything away - thank you to all the members who helped get others into the air today. - Mike Sloggett

Sat 11th July

Red RASP brought everybody out early, and a well organised launch queue with winching and aerotows.
Organised queuing (Jill Harmer)
Well done to Sally Hender running the launchpoint and for checking that everyone had read the Risk Assessment and declared their health on the Flying List for our "new normal" operation. 
Two-seater training resumes (Pete Bennett)
Today was our first use of the "resuming two-seater training" booking roster, and Matt Howard, Jacob Brook and Jack Raybould were the first members to get back into training.  Matt had a good soaring flight with CFI Stuart, and James Flory did four flights with Jacob Brooks, 3 soaring flights and one shorter, they looked at thermalling and revision of Stalling and circuit flying.

Then James flew with Jack Raybould , did five refresher flights including a couple of simulated launch failures and then he  sent him solo again. He now just needs one more solo to get his white card and convert to the Junior. - All in all a very productive day. The COVID precautions worked well with no major problems.

The main task was set for an Out and Return to Lasham, with Pete Startup 230, Simon Minson SM, Ron Johns with Paul Medlock 711, JB and Eric Alston G29 all completing - well done to Eric for his first 300kms flight, Gold Distance and Diamond Goal. (It sounds like most had a bit of a struggle on the leg between Salisbury and Lasham)

Pete Startup cunningly set Andy Davey (Libelle) a slightly different 300kms Whiddon Down - Salisbury, but well done also to Andy  for his Gold Distance and Diamond Goal despite a bit of a struggle at Whiddon Down.

Pete & Jill Harmer launched a bit later than the others (as usual) and headed off to Whiddon Down but found the conditions looking so good that they continued into Cornwall turning Launceston, Anstey Cross and MUD for 331kms on a really good run out. 
Great conditions over Dartmoor in the afternoon (Jill Harmer)

Well done also to Andy Williams (FUN) who completed the Club 100 twice for his first real run out  cross-country for a long time.

Subject to checking Tim Petty  CVV and Josh Funnell DRE have hopefully got silver heights, so more congratulations.

Congrats also to the Mendip pilots Nick Blake and Andy Harryman who completed their Silver distances to North Hill.

The other thing to mention that the Blue Eagle was flown after its Annual and instrument refit with several soaring flights - instruments must have worked ok then! - Great day for flying and achievements,  and good conditions,  a big thanks to all the helpers on the ground who have yet to fly. - J&P