Thurs 27th February

It was a lovely start to the day, but with another 9mm of rain overnight, and a howling crosswind,  we were expecting a late start. Even with a number of Thursday regulars away, there was a good crowd assembled with hope of flying later.
The morning was spent preparing the ground equipment and sweeping out the hangar, followed by a briefing from Pete Harmer on local airspace rules for ticks in boxes for Dave Perriam, Ashley Thomas and John Davies. George Sanderson and Mike Horwood spent some time looking for missing volts in the Perkoz wiring system.
Assembling the new leveller (Nick Jones)

Peter Smith and Nick Jones returned  after collecting a rather large meccano kit and set to assembling it in preparation for the next stage of field levelling. 

After lunch,  with the sky still  looking glorious, at least 3 instructors made various field inspections, but all came to the same conclusion that the airfield had not recovered from the overnight rain, and any use would damage the field. So reluctantly the ground equipment was all returned to the hangar for another day. - J&P

Wed 26th February

Yet again a good Wednesday, with the best weather for a couple of weeks - that makes four good soaring days out of the last five Wednesdays.
First soaring grid of the year (John Street)
There was a long list, so three two-seaters and a Junior were taken out of the hangar, considering  the recent monsoons the field was in quite good nick, after a short delay because of a large storm we soon started to fly and from the first launch it was soarable on the ridge in the strong northwesterly wind. There were plenty of thermals to choose from,  plus the odd cloud street.
Sun shining on the south coast (Mike Sloggett)
Today was by far the best day this year with all the private gliders having long soaring flights, the cloudbase was nearly 4,000ft AMSL.
Odd cloud streets (Mike Sloggett)
We were able to stagger the lunchbreak, so we had continuous flying all day, at one point we had seven gliders all airborne at the same time. Eric Alston (with the help of his engine) G29, Andy Davey M, Pete Startup 230 and Martin Woolner KMV all flew their own gliders. With Pete having the longest flight of 2hr 30, but it was a bit of a struggle to get past the motorway and they all came back very cold!
Congrats to James (Ian Mitchell)

Congratulations to James Flory the latest to pass his cloud flying endorsement with Ian Mitchell in the Rotax Falke.

Everyone flew most having good soaring flights, Chris Warnes flew the DG505 solo for the first time and Nick Harrison continued his patter practice from the back seat. 34 flights in all. - John Street.

Sun 23rd February

With Newton’s Law suggesting that for each action there is an opposite and equal reaction one can only hope that after the very poor weather of recent months the soaring season will be a very very good one this year.The weather forecast today was for, no surprise, more rain overnight and this morning - with any one factor of a wet airfield, strong winds and rain enough to get in the way of gliding taking place this morning. There was a suggestion that the afternoon weather might improve which indeed it did but by when most of the members present had decided to do something else with their time.
Clearing up Wheelbarrow Lane (Mike Sloggett)
During the morning some ground tasks had been completed,  Tom Sides, David Cowley and Mike Sloggett made a start on lopping and clearing branches from the airfield lane. Meanwhile Ian Mitchell was making good progress with the annual checks on the Pawnee tug. 
Collecting the tree litter (Mike Sloggett)

Dave Perriam and Peter Smith had a good day working on the Blecevator,
Peter & Dave working on the Blecavator (Mike Sloggett)
We managed to release rusted connecting pins and seized bolts in order to access and fold out the screen which separates out the stones so that they don’t lay on the surface of the cultivated ground.  It was apparent that neither the screen or cover had moved since it left the factory. We managed to release all the bolts and pins on the various bits of the linkages enabling us to straighten the screen pins and replace a broken one. We struggled with lifting it and propped it up on a wingstand, then the penny dropped that the winch on top of the machine is for exactly that!

It now pivots as it should and the spring loading on the screen is functioning correctly so that a large stone will roll the screen back rather than jam it all up. The levelling blade height is now easily adjustable. All we need is some gentle breezes and warm sun to dry out the field and we can put it to work! Many thanks to Dave for pitching in and his willing help after I ambushed him first thing! 

The next flyable day is being much anticipated!
Mike Sloggett & Peter Smith

Dave Brummitt 1943 - 2020

A good number of DSGC members joined family and friends celebrate Dave's life at East Devon Crematorium today and afterwards at the Keeper's Cottage. Lisa had written a great tribute to all of Dave's achievements and there were lots of fond photos. 

This one from 1991 showing Instructor Dave sending current CFI Stu Procter solo. 

It was good to see gliding friends from Mendip and Lasham. Our thoughts are with all the family. - J&P

Wed 12th February

The weather gods were kind again to the happy Wednesday crew we had a nice dry field, a N/W wind and plenty of sun although it was quite chilly.

From the first launch Chris Warnes (who else ) managed nearly 30min in wave/ridge lift to set the tone for the rest of the day, Aston Key, a refugee from the Thursday club, having studied the weather for Thursday decided to fly with the Wednesday suspects and was rewarded with a good soaring flight. Trevor Russell, another refugee from the Sunday club managed to soar whilst the rest of the crew were having lunch.
Chris on Yellow card checks (John Street)
For most of the rest of the day nearly all of the launches found good thermals, Chris Warnes completed his yellow card checks with John Street.
Nick practising patter (Mark Layton)
 Nick Harrison again was practising his back seat flying.
The cloud base was just short of 3,000ft with good strong thermals and cloud streets to play with. At one time both K21s and both Juniors were all airborne at the same time.
On approach (Mark Layton)
 Glen Turpin was in charge again and takes full credit for the run of good weather in recent weeks, also instructing Peter Field and John Street.  - John Street.

Sat 8th February

Fresh southwesterly winds can be feisty at North Hill and with Storm Ciara coming, Saturday had promise to be fun... The field was quickly laid out by the usual Saturday stalwarts (thank you!) and flying started with a deceptively gentle breeze from the SW. 
First launch with blue skies (James Hood)
Under blue skies, the first launch with Mark Wallis had that wave-like feel as the launch went on and on. At 1,700ft we clicked off into gently buoyant air over the valley. Shame it was card check time... in fact shame all round because with Martin Woolner giving Robin Willis-Fleming cable breaks and Mark Courtney grilling instructor trainees from Brentor,  the  soaring potential went untapped. 
Mares Tails (Mark Courtney)
On cue, per the forecast, the wind at ground level picked up and after a particularly bobbly looking approach  by the Junior, the blue pennant was raised. 

The Brentor boys got their testing as did Simon Leeson on 5 yr checks with CFI Stuart and with Glenn Turpin turning up early for his pm instructor stint the list was whittled down. 

So what of the soaring? - My remote bullying of the turbo boys last week to go try the Quantocks had spectacularly failed with JB going to a car show and Phil washing his hair so I can only wonder what it was like.
Rowan soaring the south coast (Rowan Smith)
At least the Falke went cliff soaring for a while and Rowan Smith came back with tales of the engine off and good lift near Sidmouth. 
Simon and Dan also explored the south coast in the Falke (Simon Leeson)
At North Hill clouds started to pop, and for an hour the lucky few spiralled and turned in feisty thermals which streeted to give little energy lines. 

Paul Summers  bravely took yours truly as ballast in the Perky to “critique” and dog fight the K21s and Junior. Despite the interesting crosswind approaches and lack of reliable ridge lift, the day was a good one with flying for all and when light rain arrived the kit was all but away. 

Thanks as ever to Alan Turner and Team Hender for getting us going and the myriad of retrieve drivers for all the simulated launch failure retrieves.  30 flights in all - John Pursey
Found in the webcam housing (Rowan Smith)
And on the ground,  Rowan got the webcams working better.....
New bigger tractor for the field leveling work (Jill Harmer)
 and Nick Jones and Peter Smith inspected the new 'Big Boys Toy',  whilst work continues with the Simulator upgrade. -J&P

Thurs 6th February

After the previous three Thursday club days had been ‘wiped out’ there was suitable optimism that the Thursday regulars would be able to get into the air today - the only lingering doubt was whether the skies around the airfield would be clear of some potential fog. On arriving at the airfield it was evident that actually the only thing likely to prevent gliding taking place would be the lure of the warm Clubhouse and breakfast food and drink against the rather chilly temperatures outside.
New smart colour scheme for FZF (Mike Horwood)
But soon a hardy group of members were getting gliders out of the hangar whilst the launch point was set up in the North West corner of the airfield. And with daily inspections completed on both K21s, the Perkoz and both Juniors it was then a question of a long walk with the gliders down to the other end of the airfield.
Perkoz waiting to launch (Mark Courtney)
And as the morning progressed all the gliders were in continuing use for either pre-solo training, card checks or simply members keeping themselves current ahead of the widely anticipated soaring of the weeks to come. 

After a stop for lunch to allow everyone to refuel themselves in the Clubhouse the afternoon flying commenced, with the skies providing increasing opportunities to stay aloft in the weak thermals to the South of the airfield, albeit with cloudbase not being very high.
Well done Andy - Cloud flying rating (Ian Mitchell)
During the day the Rotax Falke was in steady use on local flying, congratulations to Andy Davey who has now achieved a cloud flying rating.
Hembury Ridge (Mike Horwood)
And then late afternoon with the flying list completed, and with canopies starting to mist as well as a rapidly sinking sun, the gliders were all flown down to the other end for washing and return to the hangar.

A very pleasant day under sunny skies with the chilly wind being very much overruled by the evident enjoyment of all those present - as ever thank you to everyone for getting others into the air. - Mike Sloggett

Wed 5th February

Considering the good forecast, it was a very quiet start with just enough members to operate, but that situation soon changed as the late arrivals turned up.
Launch queue (David Clements)
The sky was fairly blue to start with, but thermals were expected about lunchtime and that was exactly what happened.
Andy and Pete getting ready (David Clements)
 Pete Startup 230, Andy Williams FUN, Eric Alston G29 and Andy Davey M  rigged their own gliders and all were rewarded with good flights, Eric had the longest flight again but this time he had quite a bit of help from from his iron thermal.
Nice looking sky (David Clements)
It was a good job the field was nice and dry because the tug was out for it's annual, considering the light wind we were getting good high launches.
Busy launch point (David Clements)
 Glenn Turpin and John Street were the instructors and we got through the list just as the canopies started to mist up, not a bad day's flying for the first week in February. - John Street.

Tues 4th February

Following Chairman Nick’s call out for an ad-hoc day, a small band of 12 (very) keen pilots showed up to 5 deg C temperatures and 20 knot + gusting crosswinds. Thanks to JB for providing the adult leadership and instructorship today. 
A quick stop for lunch (Tom Sides)
The good news was that the field was dry, which was a relief as the Pawnee has begun its annual service. None of the winch launches were particularly high, but we were fortunate to have had only one weak link break. Anyway, they were high enough to allow everyone a chance to fly in the ridge lift and limited thermal activity. Testing times, but great fun. 14 launches with Wyn Davies in W7 longest flight of 1hr 14mins and Gordon Bonny and Andy Davey with long flights in K21s. - Tom Sides

Sun 2nd February

As glider pilots we always have a sense of enthusiasm around being able to get into the air - with ‘to do’ lists provided by others gently pushed to one side to allow optimistic journeys to the airfield.

The weather for today had seemed potentially flyable even as late as yesterday afternoon - it was just going to be a question of whether the wind strength and the cloudbase would be within flying limits and also whether the forecast rain could be ‘dodged’ suitably.
Simulator flying (Mike Sloggett)
As it happened overnight the forecast took a turn for the worse with our arrival at North Hill seeing an airfield having been rained on during the night, and standing water just where the launch point would be set up for winch launching. With no sign of any sun and cloudbase barely high enough for aerotows it was time for coffee and ground school briefings followed by some simulator flying - well at least it felt as if members were getting into the air...

With only a small number of members present and against a backdrop of a steadily increasing wind, in overall strength and gusting from time to time, and a forecast of rain on the horizon there could only be one decision. Time to return home to the ‘to do’ lists, well to read them at least if not actually complete... 

And a big thank you to the maintenance team of Carl Tharme, George Sanderson and Andrew Logan for completing the Annual and 5000hr check on Junior FZF, members will notice a nice new colour scheme when the sun comes out (and we'll get some photos then). - Mike Sloggett

Sat 1st February

Today was forecast to be very windy and it lived up to that forecast!
Early pitch inspection by myself and Martin Woolner confirmed that we could winch launch without any damage to the field. From the very first launch it was clear that the sky was full of energy, a real mix of wave, thermal, ridge and convergences, fortunately the strong wind was right down the airfield.

Dramatic sky (Mark Courtney)
Simon Leeson was flying with our CFI Stuart Procter for Simon’s five year instructor refresher in the Perkoz, the two K21’s were kept busy with club flying, sharing the instructor duties with me were, James Hood and Martin Woolner (thanks guys). 
Mark Courtney and Robin Willis-Fleming (Dave Weeks)
Two private gliders rigged, Pete Startup Discus and JB in his Ventus, both enjoyed 2.5 hours each and had tales of strong lift and broken wave.

The only person to brave the blue card conditions in a Junior was Robert Lee, I take my hat off to you sir, having flown the first flight of the day in the K21, behind the Pawnee, I can say that I would not have enjoyed it in such a little light aircraft!
Good lift (Mark Courtney)
Training flights were called down after 40 mins to enable us to try and get through the flying list, unfortunately the wind really picked up after lunch so the toys were put away, sorry to those who dipped out.

The launch point was left all alone on the airfield waiting patiently for JB to land, he did eventually and that was also put to bed.

Today was not particularly busy, but the small team worked like a well oiled machine, thanks to Hans Jenssen for winch launching ( the winch was shaking in the wind) and for Pete Harmer for towing, (another aircraft I did not want to be in today!).

The Flarm log had a wobble when both 230 and JB were logged as landed when in fact they had not, they were simply standing still at height or going backwards! I did note at one time 46kts at 2700ft.
Today was not for the faint-hearted, however these days very often offer more in terms of hunting for lift and handling skills than benign days. Highly recommended! - Mark Courtney.