Welcome to the SW Interclub league for 2015

Even though we are not able to host an event ourselves, DGS have been invited into the league for this year. One change to the rules that we have the accept is that since we are not able to host an event (as are Shalborne), we are not able to carry forward scores to the following event. We can however be ranked for the day, so we can still compete!

The dates for this year are as follows:
  • 09-10 May: Upavon (Wyvern Gliding Club)
  • 23-24 May: Keevil (Bannerdown Gliding Club)
  • 13-14 June: The Park (Bath and Wilts & North Dorset Gliding Club)
  • 4-5 July: Halesland (Mendip Gliding Club)
  • 25-26 July: North Hill (Devon and Somerset Gliding Club)
  • 15-16 August (Reserve Weekend)

DGS at the Interclub Competition Bannerdown 7/8th June 2014

After a very uncertain forecast during the week, on Thursday, Bannerdown made the call to hold the event. For this event Dartmoor had Matt Wiles (Novice class), Ged Nevisky (Intermediate Class), Mike Gadd (Novice class) and Rick Wiles and Ray Swinfield as crew.

Ged and myself made it to Keevil Friday evening, and after a delay due to trailer electrics on the tow vehicle, Ray, Matt and Rick arrived Sat PM. Since Ged and I were sharing the cirrus, we agreed that Ged would fly on Sunday, and I would fly Sat after the rain of Friday night has passed through.

My task was a 101km with 3 turnpoints, Keevil, Pewsey, Frome, Devizes, Keevil. After a slow start in the morning to rig and let the rain clear, I launched into a reasonable sky, at 1pm and after a slow scratchy climb out under a low base of about 2600 QNH (2400 QFE), made it to Pewsey (24km) without too much difficulty. Base had now risen to 3400QHN (3200QFE). The push into a 25kt wind to Frome was difficult and every time I got low and circled, I was heading back towards Pewsey, so after a few tries at this, I decided to head towards clouds further away along my into wind track. Alas however, I quickly lost too much height, and not having much to start with, I was now looking at landing options. The cloud I wanted didn’t really work so after a short battle with weak thermals, I headed to my land-out which was a small private airstrip with a windsock. This was to be my first out landing, so I chose carefully to put the glider down in the middle of the field away from the edges and long grass. To my surprise I stopped very quickly as the ground away from the narrow main grass strip that the light aircraft use, was soft and not as expected. However a safe landing to add to my log book at an airstrip called ‘Lydeway’

Retrieve by tractor
The next problem was that I soon found out that access was not good for trailers, so when Ged arrived we could not get the trailer into the airstrip (who would have thought that an airstrip would not have good access!). Next option was for Ged to take an aero-tow out of the field since tug retrieves were on offer from Keevil (I’m not endorsed for aerotow). However the tug pilot was not happy that he could get the motor Falke tug out of this 700m grass strip. So the only option left was to request help from the local light aircraft pilot, who I met when I landed, to get help from the local farmer to borrow a tractor to tow the trailer across the fields into the strip; De-rig the glider, then a tow back out to hook to the car to get back to Keevil for the (as it turned out very lively) social in the evening, put on by Bannerdown club.

Not exactly easy access
Sunday was Ged’s turn flying intermediate task of 177km, Keevil, Membury, Glastonbury, Keevil.
The sky looked promising, but the wind was always to be an issue today, and after making the first turnpoint at Membury, he like many was not able to push into the strong winds and ended up landing out. So day 2 was a second retrieve for the open cirrus.


Ged on aerotow
Membury services
Landing in a meadow
Our novice entry today was Matt Wiles in the club Pirat and there were high hopes that today could present an option for a silver 50KM which Matt is chasing. After 2 valiant attempts, Matt finally managed to connect with the tricky conditions that were materialising for the day, and get away only to find that his task GPS had not triggered a proper start. So rather than risk a false start, he returned to cross the start line to try again. However, this time the conditions put him on the ground once more – commiserations Matt, you did well to make the most of the conditions, better luck next time!

Matt and the Pirat
Matt ready to launch
And finally, Dartmoor having being short of a Pundit for Sunday, and Pilot Stewart Renfru (Ventus B) from The Park without a vacant slot, offered to fill the slot and fly for Dartmoor. He also struggled initially, getting a re-light at Keevil, and then making the first turnpont before ending up at Rivar Hill airstrip. A request for a launch from there put him back in the air, but again the conditions put him down again this time at Upavon airstrip. Thanks Stewart for offering to fly for us, however, to fall in line with the spirit of the ICL, scores can only be accepted from members of the competing club, so regrettably, we could not accept any points scored.

Finally on Sunday after the Cirrus was retrieved from a hay meadow, we all headed home after a full and fun weekend with Bannerdown Gliding at Keevil. Special thanks to Ray Swinfield for pulling the club Pirat and crewing for us. Hopefully next time he will get a chance to fly.

I will publish the scores when I have them.

Michael Gadd

Further to the news on the ICL dates as published on the forum, I have two other items to report:

- Use of the Club Single Seater: The committee have now approved the use of the Pirat for ICL's for a set fee of £20 / day. It goes without saying that the pilot who takes the glider away, must look after it and be responsible for it.

I cannot help with the preparation or transportation of the Pirat, so if you plan to take it away, please let me know anyway, but I'll leave it you to take the lead on this (Ray, I think you are already on the case here?).

- GPS: I have been granted permission to purchase a 'Glider Guider' from the tea swindle for DGS pilots to use. Due to the bright screen, these only have a battery life of about 1.5 hours, therefore an independent 12v (fused at 1A) power supply must be provided from the glider battery. I will obtain a suitable power lead, and will aim to prepare it in time for the first ICL meet. I will also configure it, and will offer basic instruction on it's use (since I already have one fitted in my own glider). Let me know if you need this. Since I am not always at the club, we need to find somewhere secure to store it. I also recommend that a spare / charged battery travels with it.

Therefore, what I need now are interested pilots to fly these events - they are good fun and will offer an opportunity to fly cross country. If this is not for you yet, but are interested to see how they run, and you fancy a social away, then we need crew and drinking partners!

Please let me know!

Mike Gadd

The 2014 season is nearly upon us!

Well a little early I know, but in the next few weeks I should have the dates for this years ICL.

As with last year, DGS will offer a team for each venue, kindly hosted by our neighbour clubs. As we are not really able to host the ICL, I think it's only good manners to make the effort and attend as many as we can.

As was the message for last year; ICL's are a great opportunity to fly cross country, so if you're looking for an opportunity to join in on something that is well organised, with tasks set that are within the possibilities of the day, with ground crews to get you if you do land out - then this is it! My first XC last year was nearly 100km around a set course of turn-points, with huge fields to land in if I needed them, something perhaps I wouldn't have attempted if I hadn't been there. This was on a weekend with a dodgy forecast, so for this year, if the host club calls the meet as ON, I will assume they will know more about their own local weather than we do, and we should therefore attend.

Host clubs are great at putting on these events, offering camping space and facilities, or access to something nearby, and Sat night is usually a BBQ social.

You must be Bronze with a cross country endorsement and current by the time you fly. Host clubs are always happy to offer check flights for those who want them, but this is up to you!

Subject to committee approval, I also hope to get access to a club single seater for those who don't have access to their own glider. If you want to attend and wish to fly a club glider, let me know.

Last year was a good start, we had two scoring events with flights entered into the BGA league, but this year I need more pilots and crew to join in on the fun. Please email me if you're interested and I'll keep you posted on dates.

Come on, join us!

Mike Gadd

Welcome to the Interclub League 2013

Before we know it, the new season will have arrived. We have a bunch of pilots ready to try their first cross countries, and another bunch that ought to be going for 300k flights.

To help move this along, 2013 we have decided to join in with the regional interclub league (ICL). The ICL is a very informal interclub competition designed to encourage cross country flying, particularly for newbies.
These are really great fun, very sociable and a good way to learn more about cross country flying in a safe environment.

I am pleased to say that Mike Gadd has agreed to co-ordinate our involvement for 2013 so please give him support by volunteering to enter some of the events and/or volunteering to crew.
The minimum entry qualification for pilots is cross country endorsement+ bronze C. To be crew, you just need a sense of humour. A full team is one novice, one intermediate, and one pundit, the team members will change day by day and event by event.

Winning is really not important, getting involved is what it is all about.

You can be involved for as little or as much as you wish, spend the weekend, enjoy a BBQ and a few beers on Saturday night. You can take a tent or stay at the local Ritz its up to you.

The event dates are now on the club calendar---have a chat with Mike and get involved"

Don Puttock

Interclub Competition - Round 2 2013

Round 2 of the Interclub Competition was held at Bannerdown Gliding Club - Keevil on the 1st and 2nd of June 2013.

DGS fielded a single pilot, Trevor Taylor flying the Jantar1 in the Pundit Class, who decided to attend without a crew; is that confidence or something else? He was made very welcome at the well run event at the RAFGSA club.

Jantar1 on the way to the grid.
 Day 1.
Task Keevil, Avebury, Worcester, Westbury, Keevil for 220.2 km in a very strong northerly airflow.

Trevor completed the task after quite a struggle. At one point he had to resort to ridge flying while waiting for the overcast to clear and the thermals to restart. He came 4th on the day. Great effort.

Some of the grid
Task Keevil, Chievely, Buckingham, Wantage, Trowbridge, Keevil 245.8 km.

Trevor initially struggled to get away. During this struggle he inadvertently clipped the edge of the Salisbury Plain danger area and returned to Keevil to confess his sins. He took another launch and completed the task in good style with an average speed of 72.6 km. He came second overall but was penalised one place due to the airspace infringement and so ended up 3rd on the day

Most launches were by the winch
Well done Trevor.


Team Dartmoor at the Interclub Competition – Round 1 2013

Well after a week of weather uncertainty, the competition organiser for The Park (Steven Lambourne) , finally decided on Friday to call the first ICL competition of 2013 as ON. As the weekend weather had looked so bad, by Friday I had lost most of my team for the meet, but Ged and I were still up for going, after all it would be poor not showing up after we had been accepted into the ICL this year. I think that if the host organiser calls the event as ON, it is good manners to show up and attend after all the advanced preparation that goes into hosting a meet. So Friday morning Ged and prepared and made our way with the Open Cirrus to meet Darren Wills and Malcolm Roberts (Team Dartmoor crew) at 'The Park' near Mere in Wiltshire. First impressions on the drive up was how big the fields were in that area, and coupled with an early (low height) crop this time of year, landing out options were looking plentiful.

We arrived in plenty of time to rig tents, rig the Cirrus and open a bottle of wine to relax in their fine club house and chat with some of the local pilots before an early night in readiness for a 10am briefing on an ever improving forecast for the following day.

One way of dealing with how to share a shared Glider is to agree weeks in advance of any weather knowledge who will fly on which day - however we had not known this strategy at the time, so even on Sat morning, Ged and I had not really agreed who would fly the shared Open Cirrus and therefore who would be the only entering pilot for this day of the ICL. Well the forecast was looking hopeful enough for a task but not good enough to get too excited, so instead of tossing a coin Ged made the call that I should take the glider that day - which I excepted NERVOUSLY.

Having completed my cross country endorsement early this year, I had only pushed the glider out from the club as far as Roadford and Burrator reservoir. So I have not yet flown a cross country, yet alone a defined task in a competition - so by the time I was sitting at briefing on Sat morning with my chart, and GPS, I was feeling a little apprehensive to say the least. However flying cross country is why I want to fly gliders, and having a competition where the tasks are set for you, and having crew ready to fetch me in case I landed out - there was never a better opportunity to give it a go than at one of these very friendly and brilliantly organised ICL meets. Here we go then, I'm entered into the Novice class of the first comp I have ever flown!

My task was a 91.7km race, with a start line (12km line) from cloudbase over The Park, with a further 3 turn points before HOPEFULLY finishing at The Park.

Start: PRK (The Park)
1. Point: BCA (Bishops Caundle - 27.2km)
1. Point: YEO (Yeovilton Reservoir - 16.1km)
2. Point: PR1 (Park Control Point E - 42.8km)
Finish: PRK (The Park)

A view of Mikes task and his trace
After putting all the points into my PDA (Glider Guider running LK8000), and marking out the task on a chart (in case the PDA failed), we DI'd the glider and waited for my turn to start. It is typical at this comps to let the Pundits go first, then the Intermediates, then finally the Novice (although if a Novice is ready and waiting, like I was, and no other higher classes are ready, then this rule is quite loose . As I am not Aerotow endorsed, Ged, Darren, and Malcolm helped me to the winch launch cue and I was ready to start - now very apprehensive.

After a beautifully smooth (Skylaunch!) winch to 1200ft, I found myself immediately in lift and I started to climb out to 2000ft QNE  - then struggled for a very determined and focused hour to get to cloudbase 5.5nm downwind. My next task was to fly back upwind to the start line to trigger my start, so all I needed to do was fly into the start sector I had programmed into the PDA and radio my start gate to control point. However when I got back into the start sector, my PDA would not trigger my task to start (I am still not not 100% sure why this happened, but I suspect this was incorrect programming of the start sector type when I entered the task on the ground). So I decided to quit the task with the PDA, set the altimeter to QNH, enter the waypoint manually into the PDA and get out the chart (as now I didn't trust the PDA) - and get started on the task. What an amazing feeling this was, I was heading away from the club on a 91km task on my first cross country, and ahead of me was a very promising looking sky! At this point I must also add how important lookout is at any time, let alone at a comp where there were gliders everywhere, and often sharing your Thermal. I didn't want to spend any time messing about with settings on the PDA, and not looking around.

The Open Cirrus rides smoothly up the wire to 1200 feet
After lots of very conservative flying and taking more thermals than I really needed, I finally made the first turn point (BCA) and rounded it (or at least I thought I had!), entered the next waypoint into the PDA, and headed towards my next turn point (YEO), checking the compass to verify what the PDA was telling me. By now the conditions were brilliant, a had just taken a rapid climb (6-8kts) to 4500 QNH (short of cloudbase as I didn't want to enter cloud), and my route to point 2 (YEO) had a great good looking sky. Although I was still high, I decided to head towards good clouds, pulling the stick back in lift and pushing in sink, and I continued this strategy all the way round turn point 2 (YEO), and back along my longest leg of 42km towards point 3. At this point I knew I was at least 42km from home, my PDA was telling me I had 300ft of spare height needed to reach point 3, so bearing in mind that it was very likely that I was going to find more lift, decided to speed up a little and extend my glides between Thermals. During this 42km leg I only stopped twice to circle, the first (2kt) thermal was not really needed and only wasted time, the 2nd was definitely needed as I was down to 2000ft (and starting to check my landing options). This second and final climb was a nice 6kt which elevated me back to 4500ft, within very easy reach of my my final point 3 and my final glide home. So unless I hit some unexpected nasty sink, I knew I was home and dry with 2000ft to spare. (during this last climb a glider arrived below me, but left the climb 2000ft before I did, obviously making the better decision in this case to race back with just enough height ahead of me).

Arriving back at point 3, I had a decision to make, to continue flying along this track for another 8km to get my silver leg of 50km, or head 5.5km back to the club and finish. By this time, I had been flying for 3 hours, the conditions were not good where I needed to go and I needed to relieve myself (after failing with the in flight plumbing), and felt jubilant that I had completed the task and my first cross country, so decided for a lower risk gentle circuit and touch down feeling very pleased with myself. (Silver legs will have to wait).
So after a quick field retrieve (thanks Darren), I had parked the glider and rushed my logger to the control point to officially enter my task into the scores. And now came the shock, as my trace appeared on the screen, I instantly knew what I had done - in all the busyness of getting to point 2, I had flown the wrong side of it, and had therefore missed it by 0.7KM - what an anti-climax! I left the room, went to my tent and decided to make tea.

After about 15 minutes Darren appeared, and told me that I was within the rules, they would allow my task, but with a penalty of 50 points - so Dartmoor Gliding would score then, excellent!

Whether or not I had made the task, I had the best gliding flight I've ever had, to be out of range of the field and flying cross country is what I set to to do when I decided to fly gliders. I had experience of this in the past in hang gliding, but always downwind dashing, not having the performance to actually fly and navigate a route of turn points over this sort of distance - which is only the start of what is possible with these beautiful flying machines.

I came last (see scores to follow), beaten by better pilots than me, that flew faster than me in Astirs and K6E's - but I don't care - this time!

So let's have a look at the old scoreboard
The next ICL is in 2 weeks in Keevil, unfortunately I can't make this one, but I'm still hoping to put a team together for it - please let me know if you can attend this. And please don't wait for forecasts of perfect conditions before you decide, you can't always read the weather as this weekend has just proved. The conditions at the The Park were excellent from a very dodgy forecast. Also I think it is only good manners when a comp is called as ON by the organisers that know the local conditions well, that we show up and have some fun with our fellow flying friends.

There are always lessons learned, mine this time are:
- Understand start gates, and how to program them into the PDA tactical flight software
- Do always make sure you have a backup if the PDA fails (as I'm glad I did in this case)
- Request that task setters set at least one 50KM leg into the Novice class (for Silver legs)
- Get my in-flight plumbing sorted out

Finally, thanks to Ged to letting me take the glider that day, the conditions turned out better than expected with most pilots making the tasks (Pundit 186km, Intermediate 142km), I'm sure he would taken good advantage of the conditions. Thanks to Darren and Malcolm for crew, and making up Team Dartmoor.

Team Dartmoor. Darren, Mike, Ged and Malcolm
Looking forward to the next one and more flying - this is addictive!

Mike Gadd