Sunday 31st July


With Sunday being the better forecast of the weekend, an even larger group was to be seen at North Hill today with the launch point set up and waiting for gliders by 8:30! Both flying  lists were long but good progress was made with training flights. 

Congratulations to Paul Kane for converting to H5 SF27 'Sophie'. 
 
SF27 Sophie (Paul Kane)
The cross-country gang planned a 168Km task  Cadbury Cross, Crewkerne, Knowstone, which Pete Startup in 230 completed. However most fell back to the Club 100, after the day proved not to be as simple as it looked with wave influence and rapid cloud cycling making progress slow and hard with the increasing westerly wind. 
Awesome visibility along the Jurassic Coast
However there were many soaring flights of over an hour at the club  (and six more than 3 hours) and even when the kit was packed away, Stuart in LS3 'KMV' (a bargain at £15,000) was still soaring -  landing eventually at 18:30. JB had the longest flight of nearly 4 hours. With 64 winch launches and 12 aerotows it was a busy day, so thanks to everyone for mucking in. - Pete Bennett
JB cruising to Wellington

Saturday 30th July

Exuberantly, a large group of members accumulated at  the launch point with the eager anticipation of a delightful days flying. The list was long and unfortunately there was a lack of instructors initially, so many thanks to those who stepped up to the plate. Mark Courtney was busy completing his biennial motor glider check successfully, which made him less grumpy than normal! A further congratulations to Richard Davies for completing his second solo, (rumour has it you could still see his brightly coloured socks from the ground).

Well done to Chris Mew for passing his Nav and field landing exercises - just the 2 hour flight now for the cross-country endorsement.


Chris passes his Nav and field landings with Mark (Mark Courtney)

There was a selection of private gliders being rigged however it became increasingly difficult to get away from the winch launches so most flights were short. The trial lessons were busy showing the club members how soaring is done with both mile high flights achieving hour long flights ;) Eric Alston in G29 explored the local area furthest, managing to navigate his way around many of the local turn points and with the longest flight of 2hrs 10 mins.- Pete & Jess.

Friday 29th July

We welcomed more than 30 scouts from 2nd Amersham Common for a day's gliding whilst on their summer camp in Devon. 
The start was delayed a little while the Skylaunch ignition system was fettled, but by the end of the day, they had all enjoyed 1 or 2 extended glider flights. - J&P

Thursday 28th July

A front was forecast to clear around lunchtime, so the morning was spent with some members walking the field looking for a total energy tube, a bit of a briefing on Notams, followed by a review of the BGA field landing video. In the meantime Rob Rand and Paul Kane were both successfully passing the Bronze exam. 

Worth waiting for....(Jill Harmer)
Just after lunch the sky started clearing nicely and the kit was readied. The patience of the Trial lesson visitors was rewarded with Pete Bennett finding nice areas of blue sky to fly in. 
There was just a hint of wave around with the strong thermals (David Clements)
The Thursday regulars flew the two Juniors and Pete Harmer completed the 2-seater training list with some help from Tuggie Mark.
Joe Scaife in 877 had the longest flight of just over one hour. - J&P

Wednesday 27th July

On arriving at North Hill,  the cloud was on the deck and a fine drizzle had just started not a good start to the day with a lot of anxious members looking out of the Clubhouse windows at the weather.
The forecast suggested that things might get better later in the day, to stop people drifting away a decision was made to get the field set up so as to be ready when and if the weather cleared, this decision was greeted with some initial scepticism but with a little gentle persuasion we managed to make a start.
 
By the time the field was set up it was flyable, Roly did a met flight and radioed down to inform us of a 1,100ft cloudbase. There was total cloud cover but with a fairly brisk north westerly wind, we were able to prolong most flights and the the weather was improving all the time.
 
Nigel Everett was flying solo again in his glider after a short break from solo flying and the K6 HEB was flown by various pilots.
Fran Knowles is back at the club again after her visit to Germany and Austria and after several launch failure exercises that she seemed to relish flew the K21 solo for the longest flight of the day. - John Street.

Sunday 24th July

A less than inspiring weather forecast probably discouraged some members from travelling to the Club today but there were still enough present to allow flying to be considered.

After much looking at the sky and reviewing of various weather forecasts, mainly to find at least one which might suggest it would be worth getting the gliders out, the decision was made that the morning offered the best opportunity of some flying.

The launch point was set up in the North East corner of the field whilst both K21s and a Junior had daily inspections completed.
Launching into a February (sorry July!) sky (Mike Sloggett)
Under a grey sky (to be fair not too bad for February) the first launches of the day were completed, then there was a need to let a light rain shower go through after which more flights were completed - and then the forecast rain arrived, light drizzle but enough to stop the gliders being launched.

An early lunch was taken in the hope that the rain might pass through and a forecast clearance arrive to allow some afternoon flying.
Time to put the gliders away (Mike Sloggett)
With some optimism around, JB talked through an eventualities briefing so that even if full launch height could not be achieved then some eventuality practice could be completed but by mid-afternoon it became obvious that even the combined optimism of those members present would not be enough to shift the low cloud and rain now drifting across the field from the South.
James shows commitment to washing the gliders in July in the rain (Mike Sloggett)
So, all the toys were put away amidst suitable muttering from members asking as to when summer may actually arrive... Mike Sloggett

Saturday 23rd July

I arrived for my Launch Marshal Duty this morning at what I thought was a very early time of 8:10am.  Imagine my surprise in finding all the vehicles out ready and a crowd of members in the clubhouse with Duty Instructor Stuart Procter checking the weather and Notams for the day.  The enthusiasm translated into excellent team work setting up the field and DI'ing the gliders, the first of which we launched shortly after 9:30am.

We had benign conditions with a light headwind all day.  This was perfect for David Herbert and Lukasz Kieruczenko, who racked up a few more solos each in Junior FZF following their recent successes on Course Week. 
A pleasant day with light westerly wind (Lisa Humphries)
  Mid-morning Ian Mitchell and James Hood brought out the newly rigged Junior LRD complete with new rudder cables  for a test flight.  LRD was declared serviceable just in time for the lift to really start working and solo pilots scrambled to take full advantage of the booming conditions which lasted all afternoon and into the evening.
Booming conditions locally (Lisa Humphries)
Meanwhile David Wojnar was being put through his paces by Stuart, finally convincing him to vacate the back seat and let him loose on his own.  David soared for over half an hour on his first solo, and consolidated with a couple more solo flights in the afternoon.  - Congratulations!
Stuart congratulates David on his first solo (Stu Procter)
With a large contingent of our cross-country pundits away at Nympsfield for Sid's task week, only Simon Minson  in SM ventured away from North Hill.  Initially heading out east towards Crewkerne and finding conditions less than helpful, he headed west to explore Mudford Gate and Cadbury Cross. - Ruth Comer 

Sid's Task Week -Nympsfield
There were only 3 of the expected 5 DSGC particpants at the NHL regionals as Sid called his task week at the packed 10am briefing in the NYM kitchen area. He decided that the much more spacious bar wouldn't be a good place for the briefing as the proximity of beer might lead to the drowning of sorrows having looked at the weather. Sid was uncharacteristically optimistic and set the A class a 312km task via Newbury to exploit the good weather in the east with a fall back of Newbury out and return. The tricky bit was getting out past Swindon with a very moist, murky and uninspiring cloud base at Nym. The waiting game dragged on eventually forcing Sid to announce fall back to NEW. Most of the club instructional flights were barely managing extended circuits when the front of the grid decided "What the hell, might as well give it a go!" They couldn't bare anymore hanging around hoping for an improvement. Off high tows the first couple just glid out on task through cloud, hoping to connect with a climb somewhere near Aston Down, man they are keen here!

The NHL gang were at the back of the grid and about 2 hours later I set off under a marginally better sky, cloudbase was still low however and the good climbs in the region of 2kts. It wasn't until Newbury that it really got going but that was where I had to turn around and head back into the gunge! It was another slow struggle with thick bands of top cover and increasing wind from the in rushing sea air. Pete in 230 was another 30minutes behind me after being caught in a dead patch of air after launch and needed a relight before starting. Wyn, also needed a relight and got put off by the gloom on the radio so opted for a bit of local soaring before calling it quits. I made it back with about 400' to spare after a long final glide from abeam Kemble but Pete was just a little too late and the sea-air  cut off any chance for getting back. He relished the chance to land on a proper runway at Kemble and rolled to a stop outside the bar only to discover that it had just closed.

To rub salt in the wound the retrieve was a fiasco and took far longer than expected, I blame the idiot using my phone as a satnav! We did however make it back in time for the BBQ and beer! -M5Matt
So that's what Kemble looks like!

Thursday 21st July

Yet again the low cloud delayed the start of play, but launching started as soon as it was high enough. The planned Trial lessons also had to wait for clearer sky. 
Then out of the grey overcast a few spots of rain started appearing, but at least it was warm rain! By lunch time there seemed to be a more concerted wet spell and we adjourned for lunch. The Met Office radar image showed a large area of light rain which appeared over the south west peninsula and seemed to be regenerating over North Hill. 
Checking for rain (Jill Harmer)
After an extended lunch we managed to get some more flights in during the afternoon, but the showery rain reappeared and we called it a day. Sorry to those who missed out on a flight today.- J&P
Woolly letting the weather know how he feels! 

Wednesday 20th July

Another day when the forecast didn't play ball with very persistent low cloud blowing across the field in a brisk(and cold!) Westerly wind.

The cloud eventually lifted allowing some flying to take place although the ridge wasn't working very well at all which was surprising given the wind strength and direction - possible wave interference?
At last a blue sky (John Street)

As conditons slowly improved, CFI Martin was first to soar in his LS3-17 but the cloudbase remained stubbornly low.
Canopy reflections (Mark Layton)

As the afternoon went on soaring improved and Pete Startup in 230 managed to find a chink in the overcast and climb in weak wave to 4,200' above site running a North South line between Culmstock and the quarry at Holcombe Rogus, SW of Wellington.

Looking South from Holcombe Rogus, North Hill at the far end.
 By the time the evening group from the Met Office arrived the sky had really opened up, cloudbase was higher, the ridge was working and a great evenings flying was had by them.

Sunday 17th July

No surprise that with a positive forecast the flying list was quite long soon after 8:30am.

However someone, somewhere had not organised the weather to fit the forecast with low grey cloud delaying the hangar doors being opened.

However steadily and surely the cloud base started to lift and with several members "looking forward" to practicing launch failures the decision was made to start getting the gliders out whilst the launch point and winch were set up for the North East/South West run respectively.

A met flight by Ron Johns with John Street allowed the two of them to reminisce over the last time they had flown together (someone said over 20 years!) and with a declared cloud base of around 800ft the day's flying was soon under way with those members who wanted to having the 'fun' of various different height eventualities.

As the day unfolded then so did increasing amounts of blue sky start to appear and around lunchtime the previous high cloud had started to rapidly disappear being replaced by much more interesting cumulus.

Gliders started to stay up longer and longer albeit as ever the first climb away from the winch was crucial in terms of determining whether each flight would be more than a simple circuit.

Well done to Jess Summers who had some fun in the K6CR HEB with 2hrs 23mins, showing everyone the way around making the most of the conditions, whilst Lizzie Westcott did the same firstly in K13 R37 and just to prove that it was not a fluke then took the Junior to 3000ft in only her second flight on the type.
It turned out to be a nice day (Mike Sloggett)
During the day Paul Summers completed 3 trial lessons whilst James Flory also completed some BI flights with some returning 3-month members.

James Hood and Guy Adams flew Rotax Falke G-CDSC to Mendip and back in formation with Simon Minson and Stu Procter in G-BKVG. 
Falke formation (Stu Procter)
By late afternoon there was time to go around the flying list for another flight each for those that wanted same and then with everyone flagging in the heat the decision was made to put all the toys away at just after 6:00pm.

As someone said 'What a great day, could summer actually be here?' - Mike Sloggett

Saturday 16th July

It was a slow start due to low cloud with the first launch taking place at  10:00 which was abandoned at 700ft after reaching cloud. There was then a decision for club members to take advantage of the low cloud and practice their cable breaks.
By mid-day, the cloudbase had risen to a staggering 1500ft above NH meaning full circuits were in order. For the majority of the day, flights were below 10 mins however there were periods of thermic weather under the 7/8ths cloud cover and multiple flights over 30 mins were achieved.

Nick is over the moon with his peronalised transport (Chris Heide)

The kit was all packed up by 7pm, thank you to everybody who stayed to help pack up. - Pete Bennett

Thursday 14th July

The bright sunny dawn soon degenerated into heavy low cloudbase cumulus clouds which spreadout and ruined the morning's soaring.
Having looked at the satellite picture, it seemed that Devon was stuck in the only bit of spreadout and up-country there were the gorgeous puffy cumulus that we had hoped for.


Just before lunch, (with all the private owners and Junior pilots moaning) the K21's found at least 1 thermal before plummeting back to terra firma, but this signalled a change and Ron Johns with Chris Mew in ASH25 led the escape to better conditions and completed O/R to Salisbury.
A busy screen from Spot the gliders showing many visitors to Devon struggling through the spreadout (Jill Harmer)
Well done to Pete Startup in 230 for completing 312Km Salisbury,  Okehampton through dogged determination.
Empty launchpoint at last (Jill Harmer)
Late in the afternoon, the local conditions improved significantly for more gentle soaring until we packed up at 19:00pm.-  J&P

Wednesday 13th July

We started flying before 10:00am and from the second launch it was obvious  the day was going to be something special with a brilliant looking sky there was a large contingent of private gliders rigging.
Brilliant looking sky (John Street)
At tim├Ęs it was difficult to get away with the conditions changing rapidly, one minute there was sink everywhere and next flight, off the clock lift, the conditions improved right up to the end of flying with very strong lift the the entire length of the ridge.
Good strong lift in most thermals (John Street)
The Falke arrived early to aerotow CCY to Mendip on loan to replace their K13 that is out of service, Peter Field was tuggie for the day. Peter Warren, John Street, John Sillett and Roly kept the four two seaters in the air all day, there is a rumour that Roly was seen flying a K21 with the DG505 sitting unused. Chris Warnes increased his solo hrs with a good flight in the Junior, it was nice to Dick Stevens back at the club after a break. - John Street
The Cross-country contingent found the conditions a little mixed, with some great climbs but unreliable clouds and streets that suffered from some wave interference in the 20knot north westerly wind. 
Pete Startup 230, Matt Wright M5 and Eric Alston G29 completed  the Club 100 Tiverton,  Crewkerne, but others struggled with some of the unreliable lift. - J&P
 - John Street.

Tuesday 12th July

Another late morning start but Tom Wilson the Kestrel Junior member was cleared solo aerotow by Stu Procter who then climbed in the tug for Tom's first aero solo. Thanks to Graham Barden, Allan Mounce, Pete Startup,  Stu Procter and Gordon for helping out on the day. - Peter Field

Monday 11th July

Our guests from Kestrel GC enjoyed a lively day on the ridge and some strong thermals when the weather improved late morning.
Sincere thanks to Graham Barden for volunteering to man the winch all day and for Cheryl who popped in to cook lunch.
We should have two DSGC  instructors and a winch driver tomorrow and the kitchen will again be open at lunch time. All DSGC solo pilots welcome to join in with our Kestrel guests. - Peter Field

Friday 8th July - Course Week

The day started with low cloud and intermittent drizzle so after all the DI's were completed, the kit was left at the launch point in the north east corner while the Course members enjoyed some old films of the Club from the 70's and 80's, unearthed by Roly. In the meantime Lukasz was sat in the Junior familiarizing himself with the aircraft to which he would be converting having completed more solo flights in the K21 yesterday. By around 11am conditions became flyable with a nice steady westerly with some north and the day's fun began.
Lukasz converts to the Junior (Hans Jenssen)
Congratulations are due to Lukasz for completing his first flights in the Junior. Dave Herbert was not happy as he'd had the Junior to himself all week but he and Lukasz shared it nicely and by the end of the day Dave had his 25 solos signed off. 


Dave achieves 25 solos  (Hans Jenssen)

For me, it was launch failures and after several long walks back to the launch point it was time for lunch.

After lunch, Callum Ayres and Dave Pegg were flying in nice benign conditions under a cloud base of around 1,300ft. The ridge was working a bit but there was not much thermal so very good for practising circuits. Roly had been promoted from helper to instructor while Martin Woolner was in a meeting. I had two flights with Peter Field a bit later and having completed a flight during which he somehow managed to stay silent for the entire duration, he uttered the words no pilot ever forgets, "You are now cleared solo."
Congratulations to Hans Jenssen for his first solo (Dave Herbert)
I managed to stay calm while waiting for a cable and got a good 100+ feet extra on the launch without all the ballast in the back seat. Managed a couple of passes up and down the ridge before reaching high key at a good height and completed my first solo with a good landing and an absolutely massive smile on my face which is still there 2 days later. I have to say a huge personal thank you to Instructors for the week Martin and Peter, and all the helpers Heather, Roly, Allan and others who pitched in and kept the course running so efficiently and my fellow course members for all their support and encouragement.

I completed 5 more solo flights in the K21 before the end of play and managed to land in approximately the same place every time.

All in all we had four flyable days during which two conversions to the Junior (Dave H and Lukasz) were achieved. Dave H also had his white card checks signed off and a 2-hour flight and Lukasz a 1-hour flight for their respective cross-country endorsements. One first solo was achieved (me) and young Callum Ayers made good progress when we managed to prize him out of the Gator. Dave P also had a good amount of flying which is what he wanted to achieve, so all in all a very successful course. 
Course photo (Hans Jenssen)
Thanks again for a great week. - Hans Jenssen

In the evening, the  course handed the kit over to a combined evening group for Graham Hawker's friends and Martin Bennett's friends and work colleagues from Honeywell Aerospace, Yeovil.
The Honeywell Aerospace contingent (Martin Bennett)
Thanks to a strong westerly wind, everyone got a long first flight and several had second flights. Three students from Bath University who have just started an internship at Honeywell requested something a 'bit more exciting' for their second flights, Simon Minson and John Sillett were very happy to oblige and the students learnt what is probably the most important lesson of their internship - no ambiguous requirements.  Thanks to all the Instructors and Helpers - Martin Bennett

Thursday 7th July - Course week

Increasing orographic cloud in the warm moist southwesterly wind delayed the start until just before lunch.  The course members started flying first and the Thursday group who were somewhat depleted by holidays had a quick lunch ready to take over the aircraft at 13:00. Paul Medlock and Malcolm Vest had card renewal flights and the Course members continued with their training and solo flights.

In the evening, a group of ATC cadets from Taunton, Totnes and Glastonbury  enjoyed some circuit flying just completing before a drop of rain came through. 

Course members, Instructors and Helpers enjoyed a course dinner at The Keepers Cottage. - J&P


Tues 5th - Wed 6th July - Competition Enterprise 2016

Tuesday's task was named Ganglion due to it's diagrammatic representation of the aforementioned nerve ending. The rules for the day took more time than usual to explain and the intricacies still seemed to be lost of a few people as they walked out of the briefing. Essentially there were 4 turnpoints within 20km of Shodbon that we were allowed to fly Out and Returns from, before moving onto another of the 4 to try a further OR and so on and so forth.
Ganglion 4 points of a quadrilateral
Conditions were brilliant and I clipped the Leominster start point and whizzed off to Tewksbury at about 128kph admittedly with the help of a 10kts tailwind before turning back to LEO and completing my first OR. I then pushed north west to the next possible starting turnpoint ,Walford, which let me charge off to Worcester and back.
Upton apon Severn
I had noticed that the northly point of WAL was a little tricky both times I approached it and put that down to the effect of the hills just to the north with the northerly wind. Having made it back to WAL I set off towards to Old Radnor, also in the lee of those pesky hills and the third of the 4 set points. I was planning to aim for the Breacons for the next OR and noting the ragged clouds near the TP I was cautiously trying to stay high but having not found any lift that was worth stopping in and not going back, my options rapidly diminished and having pushed on and pushed on I ended up rounding out in a very nice field near Hay on Wye. Even though I had managed 236km I was cursing my decision not to turn back while I had the chance and was subjected to the torture of watching the sky stay soarable for hours.
Field with a great view of the epic conditions over the Black Mountains
Team Eagle meanwhile had nabbed a couple of the 4 turnpoints and even managed to work their way over to the Black Mountains to turn Talgarth where they scored their climb of the day, a solid 6knots up to cloud base. The return to Shobdon proved to be a bit more tricky and the big blue hole that had appeared over the airfield claimed it's second victim. Both NHL gliders in fields in opposite directions from the club, rubbish cell phone coverage and battery power running low, the retrieves were a whole other saga. If you have a hour or so to spare ask Tom about it when you see him at the club.

Wednesday greeted us with a gloomy overcast and we were rather taken aback when the "grid before briefing' message came through, especially as we were having a nice relaxing breakfast in Nick's caravan and the gliders were still in their trailers after yesterdays late evening return. Pretty soon the murk was dissolving and blue sky appeared letting the full strength of the sun get to work in adding energy to the mixing layer. Our optimistic met man had high hopes for the conditions too our east despite the top cover that was already visible racing in from the west and consequently another east west yoyo task was devised to stretch the Enterpriser's abilities. Waiting to launch, we watched the high cloud layer move over the sky like a giant sheet of paper coming in to block out the sun. Early launchers raced off east but even they couldn't out run the thick cirrus and everyone remarked later how cautiously they had to fly. Underneath the alto-stratus the cumulus clouds that had appeared were still working although with less powerful climbs and as the thickness of the top cover varied so too did strength of the available thermals. 

JB and Nick were convinced another landout was on the cards so Nick offered up the back seat of BBB so that he would be available to take care of complicated Eagle retrieve logistics and JB cautiously notched up a few of the more local turn-points with an enthused visitor before making a beeline back to Shobdon, where he and Nick later took another launch for some local soaring. 
Looking east over those pesky hills near Old Radnor
I too felt that another landout was high on the agenda for the day and decided to go west first as it appeared to be a bit brighter in that direction and was rewarded with a relatively stress free turn at Llandrindod Wells before tip toeing off to the east. My bottle went at Broadway just to the east of Cheltenham and I turned back for Shobdon in a very gloomy sky. A low save over a nice looking field in the otherwise rather gnarly looking terrain west of the Malverns put me on back final glide but not quite finished for the day I spent about 40minutes holding level on a ridge just north of the airfield waiting for one last little boost which would allow me to sneak around Presteigne to nab a few more points and about 250km. There were about 6 land outs today including the day winner Dave "Met Guru" Masson who covered 430km before landing at Gransden Lodge.

Zoe in her K6 thermalling with an SHK and a DG1000
The beauty of Enterprise is that it's very nature is to test our personal boundaries and we are very often amazed at the results. Our new friend Zoe in her trusty K6 GEF managed an astounding flight turning Old Radnor in the west and Great Malvern in the east pulling off her longest ever final glide and bagging 12 place into the bargain and in so doing beating more than half of the field in their pointy glass ships.

Wednesday 6th July - Course week

After a run of dreadful weather on Wednesdays the forecast for this Wednesday was not great but at least it was going to be flyable, in the event the weather turned out to to be good.
There were several private glider pilots agonising whether to rig or not, the soaring started at about 10:30am with Dave Clements in CVV was the first to stay up, this started a flurry of rigging.
Along with Dave, Pete Startup 230, Jeff Taberham 380, Tim Johns 877 and Peter Smith 1UP all rigged and had good soaring flights.
The July course week run by Martin Woolner & Peter Field was in full swing and fitted in seamlessly with the Wednesday club.
Lizzie converted to K13 and soared for an hour (Lizzie Westcott)
Lizzie Westcott had a long soaring flight with a first solo in a K13 and marked a nice thermal for John Street who needs all the help he can get!
Mike Robinson consolidated his solo flying with red card checks with Pete Warren.  
Mike Robinson on his umpteenth solo (John Street)
John Sillett was kept busy with the pre-solo training, Chris Warnes had an enjoyable hour in the Junior and Robert was the Tuggie for the day. - John Street

Tuesday 5th July - Course week

After Monday's day of rest for the aircraft, Tuesday started with more promise, a prompt 8:30am start for us Course members -  saw the launch point already set up by the our amazing helpers!
The CFI led the team to the hangar and after daily checks Peter Field and Lukasz Kieruczenko were the first to take a winch, Lukasz brought HCX back with a great hold off despite an interesting northerly breeze. The second flight saw him ace a cross - field landing from a simulated launch failure and was rewarded by the first solo flight of the day. I was up next for a check flight with Martin and after a nice climb to 2000ft he tested my G tolerance with an aerobatics demo, a swift deployment of full airbrakes left us low (for me) over the west ridge, a shout from the back seat “are you worried yet” was quickly followed by “you have control, take us back”. After getting KEK back to the field in one piece I was told to sit in the Junior and familiarise myself with the layout, awaiting my first flight.


Dave familiarises himself with the Junior (Dave Herbert)
Callum Ayres was up next and after a couple of nice flights, Martin returned to cut me loose on the single seater. The remainder of the morning saw me proving how adept I am at reliably locating 5 knots down, but it provided plenty of opportunity to practice circuits in the Junior. The rest of the Course members made full use of the Instructors and K21s, with much improved weather we broke for lunch at 12:20pm.
Improved soaring weather (Lukasz Kieruczenko)


The afternoon was looking promising, this was reinforced by the sight of a few private gliders rigged and ready for the off. The K21's were quickly in the air whilst I continued my never ending hunt for sink and managed to improve my record for the shortest flight of the day. There were a lot of smiles at the launch point as the rest of the team were ticking off boxes on their training cards. By 3:20pm I was feeling very confident with my ability to fly exceptionally short circuits and with words of encouragement from Roly and Heather I launched with a renewed determination. My best launch of the day enabled me to find good lift for the first time in the Junior, a swift climb to cloudbase was just the start of the best fun I’ve ever had in a glider. Being a low hours, early solo pilot the first hour was a little challenging with some strong sink between the lift, however that improved greatly as the afternoon progressed, with Martin and Lukasz managing Tiverton with hardly any need to thermal. I completed 2 trips to Cullompton and enjoyed some general hooning, learning more about gliding than I thought possible in one day. With in-flight refreshments running low, I eventually sacrificed 2000ft of climb to get back to North Hill a little after 6pm with a 2 hour and 46 minute flight to my name. Martin was quick to great me with the news that was my first Bronze leg completed.
Back in the Clubhouse, we checked the logs to discover that Lukasz had also completed a 60 minute flight, so the course notches up two Bronze legs in one day.

M5 Junction 27 (Lukasz Kieruczenko)
A fantastic day enjoyed by all, fingers crossed for the rest of the week. - Dave Herbert

Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July - A whole lot of Enterprise

JB ,Nick Jones and Pete Sweetapple  representing Glorious Team Eagle and M5Matt resembling nothing in particular arrived at the Herefordshire Gliding Club at Shobdon on Friday evening ready for the start of Competition Enterprise on Saturday morning. With our trailers parked near the end of the impressive lineup of competitors gliders and signed in with the Comp Committee we retired to Nick's luxurious caravan to discuss strategy over a cup of tea but ended up going to the pub instead. 

Luxurious accommodations of Team NHL
In the morning JB met a young lady called Zoe wandering the campsite looking a wee bit lost and discovered that she was a junior competitor from Lee on Solent GC and that she was also crewless. No that's not Chinese for without a clue and anyway she was smart enough to latch onto the cheeriest  gang at the comp. Comp messaging system interrupted our breakfast with a text notifying a request to grid before the 10am briefing so we had to get our skates on. Tom Sides the master of perfect timing arrived to bolster the NHL contingent just as the last wing pin was slotted home, and we went off to the briefing that was anything but. To be fair there was a vast amount of airfield operational info to drum into the assembled masses, knowledge that would be necessary for us to integrate into the daily comings and goings of a very active GA airfield. 

Rigged in time for rain
Despite some early patchy rain the weather forecast wasn't too bad but the 25knot wind was going to add complication and the task setters came up with an ingenious arrangement of 10km concentric rings centered on Presteigne. Most of the comp settled for battling between PRE and the first 10km ring a number of times to rack up a few km while Justin Wills who won the day set off down wind to slightly better weather and covered 320km worth of ring crossing before landing out at Bidford. The Eagle had battled valiantly in the stiff breeze and after almost an hour in the air, managed to land back at the airfield. Zoe who was flying her syndicate K6 also wrestled with the wind but ultimately landed out and was retrieved by Tom, JB and Pete.

Sunday was going to be much better which is partly why Justin didn't land out at Great Yarmouth on Saturday and at briefing weather guru Dave Masson filled the grid with optimism suggesting a 500km day. The task was declared as Elbow, a yoyo type thing turning any BGA turnpoint to the east of Shobdon between N52 and N53 then returning via SHO to turn any BGA turnpoint to the Northwest of the site and so on and so forth. Bonus points could be earned by visiting other gliding clubs along the way. A common idea was to attempt a turn at Gransden Lodge bagging some bonus points into the bargain and off tow after taking a 4knot climb to cloudbase  I set off hopeful of bagging Snowdon after getting back from Cambridge. Initially the going was good but after Worcester the climbs seemed further apart and harder to track down with good looking clouds only indicating that a thermal had been there a bit earlier and a lot of faffing ensued, this sticky bit was exacerbated by routing via Snitterfield (bonus points) which added a 3500' Birmingham ceiling airspace issue into the mix. Having dithered past Northampton which dropped my task speed into the sixties I was becoming concerned with the spreadout around Bedford and put the brakes on my plan of going to Cambridge so at Bozeat (no I haven't heard of it either) I turned tail for Shobdon. 

Meenwhile JB and Nick in the mighty Eagle threw caution to the persuasive tail wind and charged off east bagging Bidford and Long Marsdon before steeling their nerves for the battle back home. Nick's gentle encouragement worked it's magic on JB who finally breathed a sigh of relief as he called final to land back at Shobdon having completed 191km on task and 15th place for the day. 

Having made it back to Shobdon I then continued west heading for Llandrindod Wells  and after a bit of field picking connected with the clouds which now gave me a good run back east to Worcester and a long final glide back to Shobdon to ultimately cover 485km. The winner of the day was David Masson who covered a mere 620km. Enterprise certainly squeezes the maximum out of a day. Rest day tomorrow, phew.
M5Matt
The end of day 1 Sky

Sunday 3rd July

Everyone arrived at North Hill this morning full of enthusiasm, presumably after looking at the forecast last night or this morning.  Unfortunately, the weather hadn't read the forecast and on arrival we were greeted with patchy rain and low cloud.  Most people hung around drinking tea, eating Graham's breakfasts and discussing Brexit . . apart from James Flory.  He was to be found sitting in the Falke pretending to fly while making motor glider noises.

Eventually (12:30) cloudbase began to rise as the sun appeared and Roly and Heather took the first launch to check conditions.  Cloudbase was high enough, and soaring began.  Simon Leeson stepped in to cover what was left of the morning's instruction with David Herbert.  A simulated cable break later and David was sent solo and continued to fly the spare K21, getting some good soaring practice in and reaching 10 solo flights.

Pete Harmer turned up as afternoon Instructor and had the whole days list (minus David) to tackle.  Unphased as always he began with David Cowley.  Meanwhile a few private owners had rigged once it became apparent the conditions were going to improve.  Andrew Logan GDE, Eric Alston G29 and of course Pete Startup 230 all took launches.  Shockingly, Pete was seen just off of the south west corner of the field a good 30 or so minutes after he launched in a thermal with 4 other gliders.  With a 2000ft cloudbase he was probably biding his time.  His time did eventually come and he vanished, not to return until much much later . .

Carl Tharme and Francis Broom took Falke (VG) on a visit to the Isle of Wight.  James Flory had the (other) Falke 'stolen' from him by Ian Mitchell and James Hood so had to make do with 'proper' flying ;)  Roly flew the days trial lesson getting airborne courtesy of Guy Adams in the tug.  Due to lack of custom, Guy eventually abandoned the tug and after flying the Junior, helped Pete out with the flying list.  Heather took the Junior for a fly for the first time in a long while and Paul Summers and Tim Peters had a couple of flights in the DG500. 

Conditions started to deteriorate later in the day as the sea air started to encroach upon North Hill.  Pete Startup was still nowhere to be seen and the question was asked . . "WHAT is Pete flying in?!"  As we were getting ready to pack up for the day, he finally returned with a flight of 3h 32m under his belt having stooged around under a convergence reaching Dulverton.  He wasn't the last to land however.  That honour was taken by Ian and James who finally returned in the Falke after a tour of local airfields at around 7pm.

Once the weather sorted itself out, a fun summers day flying was had.  Let's hope this weeks course enjoys something similar. - Tim Peters

The weather must have been better further north as initial BGA ladder results show Matt Wright in M5 completing 474Kms  and JB in the Eagle completing 174Kms both from Shobdon in Competition Enterprise, further details awaited......

Saturday 2nd July

Two days in one.
By 8:15 there were 10 people on the list, by 9 there were about 20!
A busy day ahead, John Pursey was duty man backed up by me initially, later we were helped by Simon Leeson, John Sillett, and Steve Westlake.The weather at first was very frustrating with huge showers passing either over head, or very close making the timing of your launch a bit like like Russian Roulette. At least the wind was in the right direction Westerly 10Kts.

Stormy clouds in the morning (Mark Courtney)

This continued until lunchtime when the air started to change. By now we had 4 two-seat aircraft on the go with a wide range of training taking place from brand new members to yellow card checks.

At some point in the afternoon there was a dramatic change in the amount of lift, pilots were reporting huge areas of lift of up to 6 kts , I had a run back from Tiverton at 100 kts in the DG505 at 6 pm and lost no height at all! It was as if the warm air had been waiting patiently all day then suddenly decided to head for the heavens. The ridge was booming by this point with a constant 4Kts along its entire length this enabled me to check on the welfare of the squirrels in the trees.

Phil Grant continues his comeback (Mark Courtney)
David Clements had a great time in the Junior towards the end of the day and declared the conditions to be unbelievable. Paul Summers and Karen had 4 family members arrive late in the afternoon, they all enjoyed fantastic flights, this kept Robin busy in the tug until quite late.
Afternoon sky (Mark Courtney)
In all the years at North Hill I don't think I have ever experienced an afternoon like it, Simon Leeson agreed! Thanks to all those who worked so hard especially the Junior members, they really do restore my faith in the youth! Toys were put to bed at 19:30.

A few members invaded Andrew Logan's caravan for a "house warming birthday" get together, thanks Andrew and Hilary.

A fantastic day with some very special conditions! - Mark Courtney

Friday 1st July

A group from UTC Aerospace enjoyed their Friday afternoon off at North Hill. led by John Pursey, Matt Williamson and Tim Peters.
The forecast showers just took a while to dry out after lunch and then it was high launches in the brisk westerly wind, with the ridge working well to extend flights and brilliant visibility.
The ridge was working well (James Hood)

With the work colleagues all flown, Matt and Tim's parents also enjoyed some good ridge flights,
A family affair with the Peters and Williamsons (Jill Harmer)
   with Matt enjoying flying both his parents
Matt's first BI session flies his parents and work colleagues (Jill Harmer)

JP's Paella (Cheryl Smith)


JP cooked one of his renowned paellas to round off the day. - J&P