Mon 16th March - Ad hoc Day

Yet another inspired ad-hoc day call by our Chairman led to another successful day’s flying on Monday.
With a cold fresh start and some dew on the airfield, the blue skies dominated with a light westerly wind. 
Private owners on the aerotow line (Jill Harmer)
A reasonable number of retired members were able to take advantage of one of the best early spring days at North Hill this year. Incredibly, the field inspection showed that the airfield had drained well enough after the 9mm on Sunday, that even some carefully positioned winching would be possible.
Instructor Check flights (Jill Harmer)
It was soarable from 11:30, once the cumulus clouds started popping over the airfield and Chris Mew in the Junior led the way, quickly followed by the line of private gliders for aerotows.

Pete Startup 230 and Robert Lee DKU enjoyed flights of 2½ hours with Pete venturing as far as MUD. Eric Alston G29 and Tom Sides DG1 made up the rest of the private glider grid.
North Hill airfield from the west (Peter Smith)
Meanwhile, John Sillett and Peter Smith kept the 2-seater list going with training and check flights. 23 winch launches and 4 aerotows in total with 3-4 knot thermals to 3600ft above North Hill. - Jill Harmer

Sat 14th March

The clubhouse was fairly busy first thing, but the majority of members were juniors ready for their trailer wash!! And parents that brought them! 
Juniors cleaning the Pik trailer (Rob Hender)
They got on with the list of eight trailers, fuel tanks and caravan for washing while the rest looked out the window in hope! Martin Woolner then did ground school and more work was put into the simulator by Jill, Pete and Rob and by Rowan tweaking the webcams.
Happy 18th Birthday Charlie Stuckey
At 2pm the decision was made to fly, Rob Hender flew with with Rowan Smith, while Andrew Logan did card checks with Simon Minson. 
Extended circuit (Dan Hender)
The juniors then all took their turn at flying (once the washing was finished).
Dan just checking for any last black spots (Sally Hender)
  Eighteen flights in total, not bad going in the end. - Sally Hender

Fri 13th March - Ad hoc day

Another inspired ad-hoc call by our Chairman led to another successful day’s flying on Friday.
The day started bright and fresh, some showers were expected and more persistent rain later. Temperatures were down on recent days but the brisk winds which had demolished yet another Thursday had abated to a light WSW. The turnout was good, with just enough hands to run an efficient operation.
Optimistically vehicles and gliders were extracted from hangers and prepped much earlier than in recent days. The K21s and a Junior were readied.
The field remained soft from the March rainfall - very soft in some places, making manoeuvring gliders challenging at times. A dry enough line was found along the centre of the field and at 9:23 the first glider was winched into an inviting sky, Peter Smith commencing card checks with Dave Cowley.
James Flory took the Falke off for a couple of local flights, then Mark Layton was first up in the Junior, managing a satisfying 56 minutes.
Mike Sloggett flew with Tim Petty to get his checks done before he flew solo in the K21. Martin Woolner and William Pope took the Falke up and away for nearly an hour.
Peter Smith then moved on to checking Trevor Russell in the K21. Pete Startup rigged his Discus for its first decent soaring flight of the year, and easily set the best for the day with a spring soaring flight of 1 minute short of 2 hours.
Discus eager to get airborne (Stewart Henshall)
Debates continued about where the best conditions were to be had - North or South from the winch. Some streets were evident before the clouds filled in and blocked out most of the sun.
To keep the solo list happy it had been decided to bring out the Perkoz to add some more capacity. Andy Davey took it up first but despite his enthusiasm missed out on the lift. Rick Andrews was next in the Junior but also didn’t have the best of the conditions.
There were some interruptions due to passing showers, but the Treasurer’s DG-100 had its first outing, but he was less lucky with the conditions.
DG100 being dried off after a shower (Stewart Henshall)
Andy Williams flew the Junior for 19 minutes before his return, and James Smart was next in the Perkoz followed by Andy Davey, but it was clear that the good conditions had passed. Mike Sloggett then flew with George Sanderson to go through his card checks. Rick Andrews flew the Junior for another short flight.
Photo competition - what exactly is Tim doing? (Stewart Henshall)
At 13:00 a break for lunch was called to avail of Graham’s kind opening of the North Hill cafe. Before long the remaining instructor duo of Peter and Mike were cracking the whip to get things moving again.
Conditions were significantly less bright as more cloud moved in, and soaring opportunities seemed to have passed for the day.
Peter Smith was brave enough to fly with this ‘yaw uncoupled’ Airbus pilot for three flights. On the second we joined a small flock of gulls, a buzzard, and a lesser spotted Falke (crewed by Carl Tharme and our Chairman) which was in its rightful place for a photo shoot from above. Stretching the flight to 23 minutes was a small victory in this greying sky.
The Falke soaring (Peter Smith)
Mike flew last with a patient David Perriam and ran through some launch failures and circuits.
Rick Andrews, Mark Layton and David Cowley flew the Junior again, before our CFI took it up for the last flight of the day but lost some enthusiasm when he encountered rain and opted for an immediate return.
All on the list had flown and gliders were cleaned and put to bed comfortably before the persistent rain finally arrived around 16:00.
All in all a pretty good day - with 41 launches and TMG flights achieved. - Stewart Henshall (first- time blogger)

Wed 11th March

Another Wednesday, another good soaring day, with a large contingent of Brentor members we had quite a long flying list.
Launch point in the middle of the field (Mark Layton)
All the available gliders were in use, both Juniors, both K21s and the Perkoz. It was decided to launch from the middle of the field to protect the southwesterly winch  run,  but the field was in surprisingly good nick considering the recent spell of very wet weather.
Obviously thermic (Steve Fletcher)
From the first launch it was obviously going to be very thermic, the take off and landings were quite character building in the gusting and west southwesterly wind, on some flights heights of nearly 2,000ft were reached from the winch launch.
North Hill airfield (John Street)
We had enough members  to stagger lunch, we kept flying all day and most pilots had soaring flights, we had to limit the soaring flights to 30min on the two seaters to ensure everyone flew.
surprisingly, no private gliders flew today.
Lovely early spring day (Mark Courtney)

Mark Courtney flew two of the visitors from Brentor who were on special training and John Street and James Flory flew the other two Brentor visitors, John Sillett and James Flory shared the Club training flights. - John Street.

Sun 8th March

The keen early-arrivers had all the ground vehicles DI’d and ready by around 9am in a neat line in front of the clubhouse. Unfortunately, that’s where they stayed for the rest of the morning as the brisk south-wester propelled a stream of ragged low cloud along the field. By lunch-time, things were improving and the gliders came out and were moved to the launch point in the middle of the slowly-drying airfield just upwind from the clubhouse. Plenty of clear blue became evident, punctuated by obviously-convective clouds coming from the west, but these included some vigorous hail-showers. 
Simulated launch failure in a dramatic sky (Tim Petty)
First to launch just after 1pm were new flying member Stewart Henshall and instructor Simon Minson in K21 KEK, who managed to get away to the working and convective ridge for a soaring flight of 32 minutes. Next to go were James Flory with Charlie Stuckey in HCX and Simon Minson in KEK with Dan Hender, both instructors putting the juniors through launch-failure practice for their rating card renewals, followed by brief soaring flights for both.
Dan Hender on card checks (Simon Minson)
 Winch driver Sterling Melhuish was providing visibly-high launches into the stiff breeze although the launches had to be punctuated by breaks of up to 30 minutes as the showers went through. Andy Davey, Pete Startup and Paul Medlock ventured up in Junior LRD for soaring flights around the showers for up to 33 minutes (Pete).

Meanwhile, Ian Mitchell and Guy Adams disappeared in Falke CDSC for nearly two hours. When Ian returned he flew with Jonathan Erskine who came back grinning from ear to ear after his “best ever” soaring flight of 48 minutes - longest flight of the day. To end the day, Sterling was first confronted by JB with a launch-failure practice in KEK but then rewarded by nearly half-an-hour’s solo soaring in KEK.

16 glider flights in total – not bad for just half a day and nice for the day’s duty launch marshal who had little to do except join in with a very-effective launch team. - Tim Petty (DLM)

Sat 7th March

Warm sector Sou'westerly in March - it was easy to see why people might stay away from the club. The drive up from Ugborough through fog had seemed initially dispiriting but the usual improvements after each successive lump of high ground meant that on passing Exeter it looked very flyable if not exactly exciting with total veil of highish cloud. The Blackdown Hills however, were doing their thing with an orographic layer much lower and as I whipped the handful of faces in the clubhouse into action with duty man George Vojtisek's help, it seemed to be more from blind optimism than real hope.  A call to Exeter Tower was greeted with some humour, probably their first action of the day, and the Sky Diving centre declared the skies ours for the weekend. Simon Leeson got the Pawnee out to give it an airing post maintenance and his brief disappearance into cloud confirmed that it was going to be interesting.
Variable cloud base (Stu Procter)
With "the risk of going into cloud" a very part of the eventualities check list, Charlie Broderick proceeded to do some of the blank bits of his card with me. Considered early releases and some exciting low hill soaring allowed an out of position landing demo and some card filling. Stuart Procter had reappeared at the club and Alan Turner elected to take him along as he went cloud dodging. A stubborn chunk of cloud at 800' near the far end of the field was a lottery, some times gossamer allowing full height launches sometimes too thick and forcing an early release. 
Good Sou wester  (John Pursey)
As the day progressed the lower layer left us and with Broderick senior a respectable 1800' launch was achieved. Soaring wise the SW wind failed to really excite, hinting at wave later and obliging for limited hill soaring for the determined. Country member Stewart Henshall, swapping Airbus for K21 started the trend with a half hour flight but Andy Broderick got his well deserved reward for a morning of winch driving with 42 minutes somewhere between 700' and 600' over the SW corner. Three trial lessons were fitted in, thank you to Lisa and Stu for helping out.
The ridge was working (Lisa Humphries)
The field was in good order despite the recent rain, just a few very soft patches to which men and machine were naturally drawn. One of these, (who will remain nameless to save his blushes) swapped The Best 4 by 4 by far, for the Gator and in visiting the chap clearing the ditches with a mini digger, managed to get stuck! Mutterings about the "wrong tyres" and only "two wheel drive" were heard as the digger was needed to retrieve. Comedy gold for which sadly there are no pictures...
Grass is growing strongly in places (John Pursey)
  All in all the day wasn't that bad 18 flights and some good training achieved. Thank you to the usual stalwarts especialy Alan who is always there on Saturdays to get things going. Also special thanks to Ashley Thomas who nobly helped to get things going but had to leave before he could fly. - John Pursey

Tues 3rd March - ad-hoc day

First, well done Chairman Nick for organising what turned out to be a brilliant day. The ridge was soarable from the first launch and by just after lunch there were thermals and  streets up to just over 3000ft above North Hill.
Lots of standing water still with Brian Knight (Peter Smith)
Peter Smith and I were kept busy all day on training or currency checks. Both Chris Mew and David Clements were brought up to date and soloed in the Junior. Eric Alston rigged his beautiful machine and with the help of his iron thermal went off into the distance. Tim Petty flew with Peter to start getting back to flying after a long layoff. Ashley and Brain continued their training towards solo.
The end of a great ad hoc day's flying at North Hill (Nick Jones)
A small band who worked hard to make a successful day  with 25 winch launches.

Thanks to all - it can only be done with team work. - John Sillett