Saturday 22nd April

Having spent the morning at home catching up with housework, occaisonally looking at spot the gliders,  I decided to deliver eggs to the club and have a cuppa. The conditions on arrival looked very inviting and as there was a K21 parked up I thought a solo flight was well overdue. A winch launch with very little wind to 1000ft QFE straight into a 4 knot thermal and soon I was at cloud base 3700ft QFE. As it was an unexpected flight I didnt take my phone so no lovely pictures but just under an hour and had to land as I was well overdue my time for the ‘short trip to the club’

There were few members around today (with the ICL leg at Mendip GC)  but  Rowan in the morning and Steve W  in the afternoon were  kept busy with training flights, Stu and James hankering after aerotows and several private owners flying the Club 100.  Thanks to everyone for keeping the show running. 43 flights in total with Pete Startup turning  Yeovil  - Mudford Gate during his 3 hour flight.
A really lovely afternoon, let's hope the weather is as good for open weekend! - Lisa Humphries

Thursday 20th April

What a difference a day makes......! with a similar synoptic situation, yesterday was wall-wall cross-country conditions  and today a weakening tail end of a warm front in the high pressure left us under cloud all day and with no wind to speak of  - it didn't move. 
The morning consisted of discussions and replays of yesterday's flights and some words about the weather, and in the afternoon we were able to get some winch launches to 1200ft. In a carefully monitored moment, we were also able to fly one of the Trial lessons (although not to the MIle High level.)

At the end of such a rubbish weather day, there were masses of Instructors around as they had gathered for an Instructors meeting. - J&P

Wednesday 19th April

A day of much promise, with a lot of early private glider rigging activity, the field was set up for an Easterly with much enthusiasm, all the club fleet taken out of the hangar and walked up to the southwest corner.
The sky looked good with high cumulus forming quite early, but the first few flights had difficulty staying in the lift and were soon on the ground.
All eyes were on Ron Johns and Phil Morrison who had 711 ASH25 on the aerotow line early and was forecasting a 500k day.
Nice cumulus clouds (John Street)
The winch launched gliders started contacting good lift about 11:30am after that most gliders found lift without difficulty as there were good strong thermals at the top of the launch. Just about the time that the Lashamites started arriving to turn Hembury Hill and beyond!
The cloudbase topped out between 4,500 and 5,000ft with silver height easily obtainable for those who needed it. Congratulations to Ray Dodd for his Silver height.
There were few members left to run the field, with four two-seaters  and both Juniors all in the air at the same time.
And some wave late afternoon (John Street)
Robert was kept busy with all the aerotows, helped later on by Pete Warren and Stu, there was some interesting landings when the wind suddenly decided to do a 180 degree reversal with the sea air.
It was nice to see Dave Reilly flying again with JB who managed a short cross-country along the convergence, it was a very successful day with a lot of happy pilots. - John Street.

Cross-country flying
Ron & Phil completed their 529kms - Launceston - Candover - Didcot in 5hr 34, Wyn Davies W7 completed 322kms O/R to Lasham in 4hr 50, and Pete and Jill Harmer (leaving a bit later followed the energy lines) for 253kms Salisbury - Longleat - Tiverton in 3hr.

Sunday 16th April

On a day when many chocolate boxes across the country were being opened to celebrate Easter the day was a bit as Forrest Gump would say - 'gliding (life) is like a box of chocolates, you do not know what you are going to get'.

During the morning in particular, and to be fair like any other gliding day, one glider would find itself launched straight into some lift whether thermal or ridge and the next glider would find itself launched into heavy 'sink' and be almost immediately into circuit.
Lift and heavy sink in the circuit (Jill Harmer)
The morning had started with a very limited flying list but steadily and surely the number of members on site increased with Michael Fawcett and Andreas Kramer making welcome returns after extended periods of time away from North Hill.

After careful consideration by John Sillett (Duty Instructor) re the best way of protecting the field in setting up the launch run for the present/forecast wind direction, flying was under way mid-morning with the K21s and a Junior in use. Cloudbase was only around 1500' initially, evidently thermic in places but with suspected wave interference and ridge all mixing up the odds potential for soaring flights.
Wave clouds and an empty launch point (Jill Harmer)
Matt Williamson (ASW20 611) and James Flory (ASW19 877) both rigged and then launched looking to make the most of the conditions and Dave Clements and John Sillett shared the flying in (B4 CVV). Good progress was made with the flying list during the morning but with a limited number of members, and particularly those able to winch, flying was stopped for a lunch break.
Typical Devon countryside and clouds (Mike Sloggett)
Meanwhile Ron Johns and Daniel Johns had rigged (ASH25 - 711) and with wave clouds all around the Club, albeit at distance, after lunch the ASH was aerotowed to the East of the airfield with a plan of getting into the wave which they achieved to the base of the airway, albeit the wave was not as  good as it looked.
Ron & Dan in ASH getting above the clouds (Ron Johns)
After lunch the soaring conditions improved with successful completion of the flying list during the afternoon ahead of increasing cloud cover late in the day - and with the last few flights of Easter Sunday enjoying wide areas of 'straight line' lift all over the sky.

During the day a trial lesson was completed together with several family and friends flights, with the Pawnee in regular use.

All in all a pretty enjoyable box of chocolates today, if you launched at the right time... - Mike Sloggett

Sun 16th April - Talgarth

An early start with threat of Welsh heat haze later in the day saw the Eagle first on the line. New arrival Stirling was the nominated rear gunner and had his first experience of being towed straight at the mountain. 
Stirling Melhuish in the back of the Eagle (John Pursey)
 With increasing top cover the Ventus and Eagle worked away on the local slopes with a wave starting to set up and tease just as the approaching "heat haze" started making things more exciting. 
Cloud on the hill (John Pursey)
JB landed but the Talgarth K13 launched and joined the Eagle dodging the cloud which was by now on top of the hill. Within a couple of beats the cloud was starting to march down the hill so both gliders retired to the ground. A very pleasant 2 and half hours in the air followed by several hours in the best 4x4 by far as JB gave a guided tour of the Pandy ridge. - John Pursey

Saturday 15th April

After a slow start waiting for the weather to improve flying was underway just after elevenses, a reasonable list and enough to keep Mark, Stuart and Rowan busy. 

There were also various aerotows with a couple of trial lessons and the landings improved in the Pawnee as the day went on, we have some score cards on order for our entertainment.  (Ed: the undercarriage bungees and shock absorbers were changed on the annual, - suspension is a bit stiffer than previously.) 

Conditions were very blustery in the brisk northwesterly wind and the approach proved exciting for most of us. There were some longer flights during the afternoon as the sky  became  very soarable. Pete Startup did his usual disappearing act (3hrs 32) under the cloud streets and completing  Club 100km Crewkerne - Tiverton. Several other private owners flew, Robert Lee DKU, Andrew Logan FMS, Dave Clements CVV (birthday boy!) and the Faircloughs DFK. 
Late afternoon streets (Jill Harmer)

Flying continued until the early evening and a nice Easter Saturday with 40 launches. The first swallows are back at North Hill (a few days later than usual - must have been a headwind!) - Lisa Humphries

Sat 15th April - Talgarth

Team Eagle's Easter excursion to Talgarth got off to a good start with a day much better than forecast. The Jones luxury caravan and hospitality suite had meant a 'less than early night' on Friday but the sight of blue gaps and a stiffening breeze hastened Eagle and Ventus rigging. 

The hill was working well and the sun came through enough to generate good and vigorous thermals which meant the ridge was never really crowded. Wave was never far away but just too far for the 1950s aerodynamics of the Eagle. 
The Eagle has landed at Talgarth (John Pursey)

After 5 and half hours, murmurings from Lord Jones about time and cold brought to a close a most splendid day. - JP

Thursday 13th April

Another rather mixed forecast with a cloudy start breaking through the afternoon, and it turned out slightly better with the breaks starting to appear at lunchtime, although the wind was still across the launch run meaning lowish launches.

The ridge didn't want to play ball at all with too much northerly component, however there were some thermals by the afternoon Robert Lee in the Junior had the longest flight of 51 mins closely followed by Aston Key with 48 mins. 
Curved edge to the cloud bank but not lining up either along or across the wind (Jill Harmer)

We had two trial lesson flights,  one being Jonathan Erskine  a returning Exeter University gliding club member who last flew solo at Dunkeswell in 1964.

As the clouds  were breaking, there were some strange looking formations and thermals and wispies in unusual places, with various theories of out of phase wave and wind shadows. 
Aston waiting to launch to try to beat Robert's longest flight (Jill Harmer)


Thanks to guest Instructor John Sillett for helping out with the flying list. 54 flights in total - J & P

Wednesday 12th April

The weather at North Hill seems to have reverted to winter after the warm weather of late -  it was back to winter clothing.

The strong northwesterly wind suggested the ridge should be working and indeed it was with some unexpected strong thermals as well, on most flights it was reasonably easy to stay up and everyone had a soaring flight.
The sky slowly clearing (John Street)
James Smart had some more solo flying after his successful course last week, Nick Harrison and Pete Startup flew their own gliders and John Sillett looked after the Trial lesson visitor, Pete Warren flew the tug.
Wave slots over the west ridge (John Street)

In the afternoon the weather improved considerably with wave, thermal and ridge lift the only disappointment was the 2,000ft cloudbase. - John Street.

Sunday 9th April

Although the forecast for today was reasonably optimistic it was no surprise that with a number of members having been away on one of the Club expeditions the flying list for today was relatively short. Taking into account a light Southerly wind and the forecast wind the launchpoint was set up in the North East corner of the field. And with flying under way soon after 10:00 the day became one of success.
Great day for a Mile High Trial lesson (Mike Sloggett)
Firstly Charlie Stuckey completed some check flights following which he converted to the Junior.
Congratulations to Charlie Stuckey (Mike Sloggett)
Then Dave Wojnar completed some check flights  and converted to the Junior.
Congratulations to Dave Wojnar (Mike Sloggett)
And not to be left out Ellie Carter had some check flights and then completed the hat trick of conversions to the Junior.
Congratulations to Ellie Carter (Mike Sloggett)
After lunch flying started again but with only a few more flights completed it became necessary to change sides due to the wind moving to a North Westerly and by the time everything had been moved around the cloudbase had lowered to the point that flying stopped for the day.

And an hour or so after all the gliders and ground equipment had been put away as often happens at North Hill the skies became brighter and brighter.... However despite the earlier than planned end to the day all agreed that it had been a very successful one. - Mike Sloggett