Soaring in blue skies

09:50 19 April 2014

The first course week of the season at Devon and Somerset Gliding Club enjoyed some really good soaring weather, writes Jill Harmer.

Monday was wet so there were plenty of lectures and ground school to set us up for the week ahead.

On Tuesday, after a shaky start, there were nice cumulus clouds in the north westerly wind and training flights were able to soar the western edge of the Blackdown Hills and use the thermals that were being generated to fly round the local turnpoints, Cullompton, Hembury and Culmstock.

On club days, Wednesday and Thursday the course members shared the club gliders with the regulars. Rick Andrews from Bradninch and Chris Coville from Dorchester both completed their 50 solo flights.

In a two hour slot, Matt Wright from Washfield and Pete Startup from Ottery St Mary set off for a cross-country flight to Okehampton and Crewkerne. Matt completed the task, but Pete got stuck near Whiddon Down and landed safely in a field.

Friday proved to be the best day of the year so far, with a beautiful blue sky, light north easterly wind and cumulus clouds across the sky as far as you could see. Once the soaring started, it just got better and better with east-west cloud streets, convergences over Honiton and cloud bases to 5000ft.

The solo pilots on the course, Mark Wallis, from Exeter, and Rick Andrews completed their two hour soaring flights required for their glider pilot licence. Rob Rand from Starcross, Richard Davies from Topsham and Douglas Boyle from Sidmouth all enjoyed long cross-country flights around the Blackdowns with their instructors.

Peter Bennett (15years) from Yeovil soared for over three hours in Ka6 – his longest flight yet. Matt in ASW24 and Pete in Discus whizzed round 200kms covering Tiverton, Crewkerne and Yeovil. In a busy week for the club, the six course members flew for a total of 37 hours during the week. A number of other club members flew for nearly 100 hours this week in Scotland on a club expedition.

Interested in gliding with us at Devon and Somerset Gliding Club? Visit our website - there are still a few places available on our course weeks.


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