Club news 1970s

Extracts from S&G February 1970 to December 1979

February - March 1970

Awards made at the AGM included the Francis Bustard Cup for the best recorded height - Tim Gardener (2nd year running) 9,000 ft.; the Kelsey Plate for best distance - Owen Corsbie, 306 km.; the John Kennedy Trophy for the best task week performance – Roland Trott, flight to Compton Abbas and the President’s Shield for the best progress during the year - Nick Jones.

Our club year ended on 30th September and the accounts show a decrease in net surplus compared with the previous year. A study of club notes in the last issue of S & G discloses a number of money raising ideas ranging from bingo to the sale of waste paper and we may similarly have to augment our regular income. It is hoped, however, that when our initial heavy capital programme has been completed, the social activities centred in the new clubhouse will not only by self-supporting but profitable.

A very enjoyable dinner in Honiton was organised (and paid for) by the President for some of the senior members of the club and the annual dinner-dance will again be held at the Victoria Hotel, Sidmouth. Until the new clubhouse becomes fully functional, the regular social bean feasts continue to be held at the Carlton Hotel, Honiton.


April – May 1970

1970 has not started particularly auspiciously by way of weather, but the almost continuous rain has not daunted the stalwarts who always seem to turn up to rig the two-seater and Swallow, drive the winch and retrieve vehicle, not to mention site chores and work on the club house. Talking of the clubhouse, I'll wager no other club has the oriental atmosphere of seeing all the footwear deposited in the porch in order to keep the newly sealed floor in its state of gleaming beauty!

Despite the weather, quite long spells of soaring on both the south and west ridges have been logged in January and February. The committee is busy with a number of problems connected with the supply of electricity and water to the site and the provision of adequate flying facilities, particularly for increased number of summer courses. After many years of hard work as Course Secretary, Mrs. Joy Hancock has handed over to Miss A. M. Patterson, "Lallang 3 Long Copp, Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Finally, whilst looking through the notes submitted in the last issue of SAILPLANE & GLIDING, it did strike the writer that our problems were dwarfed by those of the unfortunates who suffer evictions and restrictions in more populated areas, and that for this we should be truly grateful.


June – July 1970

Since the last notes there have been fairly heated discussions on the economic policies involved in running gliding clubs in general and this one in particular. Apart from decisions on whether or not to purchase additional club aircraft, it apparently requires the wisdom of Solomon, if the policy is to buy, to decide on the type. •

Careful examination of membership statistics is needed in order to assess the probable demand for types under discussion and vociferous minorities must not be allowed unduly to influence final decisions. There is, of course, the over-ruling question of finance and most clubs seem to be equally divided in policy between the American idea of 'exploiting creditworthiness to the limit' or of consolidation before further commitment. The only certainty is that whatever decision is reached it will not meet with unanimous approval.

We have had some excellent soaring days this year and these have been fully utilised by both club and syndicate aircraft. To the latter fleet of three K-6E's, one Dart 15, one Skylark, one Olympia 2B, one Olympia 463 and an Eagle, has been added a superb specimen of a K-6CR, the instrumentation and cockpit layout of which is guaranteed to make any pilot break the tenth commandment. A cordial invitation is extended to visitors to try our ridge and thermal facilities or just to pass a pleasant hour in our new clubhouse situated in one of Devon's beauty spots.


August – September 1970

Courses are now fully under way at North Hill including 'air experience' evening meetings chiefly for Youth Clubs. These activities have been greatly facilitated by our recent acquisition of a Bergfaike III, comments about which have varied from the sublime to the ridiculous (like the member who complained that it wasn't his falke).

Our new clubhouse was perhaps socially utilised for the first real function when we had the honour of entertaining members of the American Air Force and friends from Yeovilton after their annual commemoration Service at Dunkeswell on May 31st.

The weather has been pretty good this year and we can record three Silver legs, Des Kingsland and myself for distance, Nick Allery for duration and a Bronze C completed by B. Salter. This was one of Nick’s first flights in the Olympia 2b and he did well to last 5 hours in conditions which were not easy

The blue ribbon for this period however, must surely go to Terry Brown and Bill Nill for their marathon effort on the steelwork of the new hangar. The result of seeing those trusses suddenly erected and the roof appear is most encouraging to say the least.

We are happy to report that the bar facilities in the new clubhouse are in full swing. What can be more pleasant after a day s activity on the flying field than a cool pint amongst congenial companions?


October – November 1970

Bob Rowe recently landed on Ham Hill, after a Silver height climb in a thundercloud. As I happen to live there he made sure of sustenance, derigging help, etc. What meticulous planning! Several pilots have gone solo and I managed my Silver duration with a flight of nearly six hours.

The Tiger Moth is now safely housed in our new hangar which saves time and expense of having to fly to and from Dunkeswell. This has been opportune as there have been several occasions when a winch launch will not quite reach the first thermal.

Our erstwhile CFI, John Fielden, gave his usual polished acrobatic display at the Exeter Air Day, and his practice beforehand was also much enjoyed. Members who attended the World Aerobatic Championships at Hullavington are still raving about the gravity-defying antics of the pilots, and it will obviously be necessary to reiterate the limitations imposed on glider aerobatics in order to keep our fleet intact.


December 1970 – January 1971

clubhouse opening - copyright D J Wheadon
On 19th September our new clubhouse was officially opened. The ceremony was performed by Alderman E R Lawrence, C.C., Chairman of the Honiton R.D.C-, and the occasion was graced by many other civic dignitaries including the Mayors of Honiton, Taunton and Tiverton and their Ladies, as well as the Chief Constable of Somerset. It is doubtful whether the site will ever again be the venue for so many bowler hats and pinstriped trousers. The weather could not have been better and many "air experience" flights were carried out in the Capstan and Eagle, the Bergfaike having sustained an accident in the trailer that morning. Perhaps the most outstanding feature was the hair raising acrobatic display by John Fielden in the Dart 15, finishing with a downwind landing and stopping at the spot from which he started. This ceremony made both T.V. and Press, and gave the Club considerable publicity. Whether this was entirely beneficial is questionable as we were burgled the following weekend suffering damage to the telephone box and windows and loss of bar takings, stock and fuel.

The barbecue and dance in the evening was well attended and enjoyed by all. Our President Norman Whyte and Chairman Francis Bustard are to be congratulated on the administrative and catering arrangements.


February – March 1971

At the time of writing we are lined up for our AGM and therefore thinking about statistics and costs. Our total flying time last year of 1,018 hours (including PO.'s 424 hours) came remarkably close to the 1,013 hours flown the previous year although the number of launches had reduced from 6,124 to 5,815 (see Statistics, page 52)

The Bergfaike 3 acquired in May more than compensated for the sale of one of the Swallows. Nine weekly courses were completed with the voluntary help of the club instructors who now muster 15. More of these courses are now being booked en bloc by youth and educational associations and although this means a lot of hard work by club personnel, it is thought to be well worth while.

Looking back over the year we have achieved our objectives regarding aircraft, clubhouse and hangar, and also managed to produce a small surplus on the year's finances. Decimalisation on February 15th will coincide with a winch launch fee of £0.40 and aerotow charges of £1.25 and £1.50 for single and two-seaters respectively to 2,000 ft. Other aerotows will be based on a time scale charge of 15p per minute. Incidentally, similar information from other clubs would be appreciated and perhaps a table of charges published in S&G would serve as a useful reference when these figures have to be assessed.

These notes would be incomplete without at least a brief reference to our flying activities which, like many other clubs at this time of year, have been concerned with wave. Even the Tiger is now being fitted with a vario in order to participate in the increasingly popular pastime of hunting this elusive form of lift, and days which formerly were written off because they promised neither thermal nor ridge soaring, are now pregnant with possibilities!


June – July 1971

Having missed an issue due to postal inactivity, it needs a little research in order to continue where we left off so to speak. There is little doubt that a westerly wind on our site at North Hill offers the best chances for soaring and cross-country flying. The persistent east winds since Christmas have slightly curtailed these activities, but there have been days when even under these conditions it has been possible for quite number of pilots to exceed one hour. There are usually six or seven aircraft lined up at the launch point on club days and the Tiger has also been kept busy with aerotows. Since last writing the club diary records one new solo and two Bronze C flights, and also that Nigel Hatton has completed his 35 hours for helicopter PPL. We look forward to Bill Scull's visit at the end of April with the Falke, which coincides with a meeting of West region instructors.         '

Whit-week will be a task week, during which we shall welcome some visitors from the Kent club. Perhaps the most important change is that Gerry Leat has been appointed CFI, replacing Mike Dixon who had to relinquish his post due to business commitments. We all thank Mike for his authoritative support during a difficult period, and wish Gerry success in his new role. Dave Bindon will assist him as deputy CFI.


August – September 1971

In addition to the usual A, B and C certificates, Bronze C's were completed by Mike Cook, Mary Weeks and Vic Thomas. Silver distances included Rod Hobbis, Alan Holland, D. Reilly and Ken Jenkins; duration: W. Down, and heights: Barry Salter, Mrs. Vivienne Fitzgerald and Roy Hodges (your scribe) the last two being completion of Silver C. and in the case of Vivienne being the first lady to obtain this qualification in the Club. There were also six cross-country flights including Brian Weare's journey to Lasham and Bob Rowe's excursion to the Wild Life Park at Cricket St. Thomas. Since last writing we have replaced our Tiger Moth by a Beagle Husky. The Tiger went to Keith Fordyce's Museum and was the subject of a radio comment. The Husky has worked overtime since we got it and proved invaluable during our Task Week which was held from May 30 to June 5.

Eleven gliders and 28 pilots (four from the Kent club) participated in a successful task week, held from May 30 to June 5. A total of 1,464km was flown during four days, and the winner was the team D. Bindon and A. Hodges, K-6E.


October – November 1971

Continuing soaring conditions in June and July enabled the badge hunters to pursue their quests with success in addition to giving old hands, like Eric Shore, the opportunity to declare (on a large board) "Lasham and return" and then fly to Compton Abbas! On June 17, Ken Jenkins completed his Silver by getting both height' and duration, while lan Beckett also got Silver height and Reg Welch and Dave Bailey their C certificates.

July 17 to 19 saw Peter Davey and Les Ford go solo and Silver heights for Colin Weeks, Barbara Fairclough, Rod Hobbis, Chris Slade and Ken Collins.   ;

The Beagle Husky on which we so proudly reported last issue unfortunately became hors de combat due to a cracked cylinder head and vibrating crank shaft and is likely to cost the club a fair old whack. The saddest part is the loss of the facility at the height of the season.

Mains electricity has at last been connected so that the many projects awaiting this event can now proceed. Both east and west approaches to the site are now navigable and it looks as though the hardcore (plus hard work) on Wheelbarrow Lane has now cracked this long standing problem. This means we can invite you to visit us in a civilised manner, by road or air.


December 1971 – January 1972 – airfield levelling started

Work progresses with the hangar and workshop and we aim this year to hold our AGM in the site clubhouse for the first time. Airfield levelling has commenced with the removal and sale of turf from the first 10-acre strip. This now has to be graded and seeded.

The influx of pilots now capable of flying cross-country has revived the consideration of obtaining a more sophisticated solo club aircraft.

The first issue of "North Hill News", started by Janet Halfacre and colleagues, has appeared.


February – March 1972 - annual awards

On Saturday, December 11, the private owners' fleet was augmented by a brand-new Cirrus which imparted a certain elan to the line-up at the launch point.

In the evening the AGM was held in the new clubhouse. In spite of unlooked-for expenditure on the tug aircraft, the accounts still showed a healthy surplus and statistics showed increases in membership, flying certificates, number of instructors, launches and hours flown.

Trophies were awarded as follows: President's Shield (for the pilot making the best progress), Dave Bailey; Francis Bustard trophy (greatest recorded gain of height), Roy Hodges; Kelsey Plate (best cross-country flight), Brian Weare; Brian Masters trophy (winners of task week), David Bindon and Roy Hodges; Kennedy trophy (top of club competition ladder), Rod Hobbis; special cup (first lady SiIver C), Vivienne Fitzgerald.

The meeting was followed by a buffet supper and get together. An innovation was incorporation of the reports of chairman, secretary and CFI in the club magazine, the North Hill News.


April – May 1972 - the case of the wheel-less trailers

Two K-6Es and a Dart 15 were due for C of A over the Christmas holidays and were towed to a workshop. One K-6 was taken back to the site in case the weather proved flyable (which it didn't) over the holidays, the other two remaining under cover and presumably safe The syndicates concerned were more than a little shaken to find on their return their trailers resting on the brake drums, the wheels having been stolen.

Clubhouse painting and floorsealing, hangar and workshop tasks have all been helped by the labour released by bad weather since Christmas. Flying is now possible on some Wednesdays and Fridays as well as the regular Thursdays and weekends. Arrangements are in full swing for our summer courses, four weeks of which are booked solid with youth clubs and technical colleges. The annual Task Week is from June 5-10.

The recent strong westerly winds have provided some exciting ridge soaring.


June – July 1972 - wave at North Hill

Four club members including the CFI went to Portmoak during the week preceding Easter and did very well. Gerry Leat (K-6E) and Peter Cooper (Olympia 463) both obtained Gold height with 12,500ft, Peter also completing his Silver C with his duration leg. Bill Nill also got his duration while Ken Jenkins missed his Gold height by only 200ft.

Wave was also experienced at North Hill on Saturday, April 15 and was exploited by a number of club pilots.

The K-6CR syndicate sold their aircraft to two other club members and have now acquired a Dart 17R which brings the private owner fleet to: Std Cirrus, Dart 17R, Dart 15, two K-6Es, K-6CR, Olympia 463, Skylark 4, Olympia 2B, an Eagle and two immaculate Grunaus. The club aircraft remain at Capstan, Bergfalke and Swallow.

A more sophisticated machine, to satisfy the pilots who have outgrown the Swallow, is being considered. Aerotow requirements are still adequately supplied by the Husky tug.


August – September 1972 - 16 enter task week

Although socially a success, a visit to the Long Mynd by three of the K-6E syndicate the first week in May proved frustrating due to the terrible weather, which had not improved even by June for our task week, conditions taxed both John Fielden as task setter and the pilots who managed to fly. Sixteen aircraft with their crews competed, including Peter and Pauline Kingsford (who came joint second) and Mike Honey, who gained first place; from the Kent club, and Kay and Mike Lee from Essex & Suffolk who were lucky to get sixth place as they turned their outfit over on the way down and managed to repair glider in time for the second day's flying.

The Dart 17R and Oly 463 shared second place with Pauline. Two days only were remotely suitable for cross-country flying but despite thunder, hail torrential rain and gales of wind, morale remained high and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The usual party on Saturday evening rounded off a week which would have been superb given better weather


October – November 1972 - besieged

This summer seems to have slipped by unobtrusively without any major feats of flying. Despite bad weather courses have been well attended and we seem to have saved enough filthy lucre at least to think about another solo machine for the club fleet.

The clubhouse security system is now working and the second winch almost so; the re-turfing and grading of the field is proceeding almost as planned. Wish we could say the same about the footpaths and caravans, both of which continue to pose problems. A few Saturdays ago we were besieged by a flock of exotic ships from the Compton Abbas regionals which, coupled with the Libelle brought down by the Derby lads, promoted a lot of heart (and pocket) searching to try and emulate.

Janet Halfacre is still struggling manfully with our embryo publication the "North Hill News" and finding that even a small effort like this takes a heck of a lot of time to produce. The ladies behind the scenes who toil over hot stoves on our behalf also deserve our gratitude; the social life of the club depends a great deal on them.


December 1972 – January 1973 – careful costing

Two items of note have to be reported in this issue - the unfortunate collapse of the undercarriage of the tug aircraft while taxiing and the good news of the purchase of a Dart 15 for the club fleet. This brings our club aircraft to a total of four—two two-seaters and two solo machines. The private owners' assembly has been increased by a Skylark 2 and a third Grunau, the latter having virtually been rebuilt by Colin and Mary Weeks over a period of years. This makes 15 privately owned aircraft ranging from Std Cirrus to Grunau.

We are now tidying up the records for the AGM and await the financial repercussions of our operations during the year. Like most clubs we are casting an anxious eye on the possible effects of Value Added Tax which comes into operation on April 1. The clubhouse committee have been experimenting with a microwave oven, pre-cooked meals and the economics of a drink vending machine. The latter shows better prospects of proving profitable than the meals which need careful costing before we decide. With the prevailing wind seemingly determined to blow from the East rather than the West we offer a cordial invitation to the many clubs upwind of us to “drift in” and sample the facilities at North Hill.


February – March 1973 – pilot motivation

It is surprising sometimes to find what motivates glider pilots. I have just returned from a not very promising weekend at the site when the line-up at launch point was so great that the CFI had to ask private owners who had already flown to withdraw. There does seem to be a pattern which produces a heavy demand to get airborne after a few weeks of unflyable weather and one can only suppose that flying a glider is addictive and demands satisfaction!

Despite the lack of a tug aircraft, ours being under repair, our launches for the months of October and November topped 800. The recent gales of wind and rain have tested the club structures and the equipment to the limit and we are grateful that the access lane is still navigable. The members who put in so much hard work, and hardcore, on this project must be pleased. The cost exercise on meal vending machines, mentioned in the last issue, indicated that this method of feeding would not be economic so we still rely on the "faithful female" brigade.


April – May 1973 - industrious winter

The New Year saw the return of the club's Beagle Husky after a long illness. Problems over spares for the undercarriage have kept it away for nearly four months.

We have had plenty of snow, sleet, rain and low cloud but members have still managed to continue work on the construction of the hangar workshop and a second winch. Labours on the refurbishing of the mobile control have been held up by problems of fixing the helicopter dome satisfactorily to the base but we keep on trying.

Brief periods of kinder weather have allowed a reasonable rate of launches to be maintained and there has been plenty of opportunity for limited ridge soaring and the occasional extended thermal flight.


June – July 1973 - snow in April

The soaring season has just about struggled into being but several of our members couldn't wait and have returned from Portmoak flushed with success. The dark side of the cloud showed with the crash of Les Ford in his Olympia 463. He spun into the ground from 500ft, writing off his aircraft and landing himself in hospital. We understand he is now on the mend.

April brought a promise of good weather but one weekend we still had to record that SNOW stopped operations! Launch rates are good and work is progressing slowly on the new winch and control bubble which we hope will be operating by the time the next issue appears. And the track to our site has now been covered with tarmac.


August – September 1973

Sadly we have to report general difficulties in our task week in June which went well but for the damage to both club two-seaters. The Capstan is an insurance write-off after a tricky downwind field landing and our Bergfaike III was slightly pranged in a long grass landing but that is back in service now.

the bubble
Our mobile control bubble is back in full operation with acknowledgements to Dave Griffin plus helpers for the hard work. It makes life a lot more bearable on windy days. Launch rates in the long summer evenings are well up although the Beagle Husky tug has had engine problems so we were without aerotows for a while.


December 1973 – January 1974

Although the weather has been none too good this summer- we have continued flying as much as possible. Several did their first solos and a number have managed to gain legs or complete certificates. Contact has been maintained with other clubs by groups or individuals visiting for a day or even a week. We too have had visitors, their gliders ranging from an immaculate Sky to a Pirat

An encouraging feature of the courses which were run through the summer was the number of young pilots taking part and showing great enthusiasm.

Thanks must go to club members Jim Tancock for organising a very successful barbecue, and Sid Dymond for providing a sheep for roasting.


February – March 1974

In defiance of winter, the club has been showing signs of what is normally considered spring fever. Small groups of members have been spending evenings busily washing, scrubbing, painting and pasting in the clubhouse - and it now looks fresh and bright under its new paint and wallpaper. Just what we need in the long, dark evenings. Thanks must go to the new clubhouse chairman, George Moore, for his efforts in organising the redecoration so well, also to his gallant wife, Belle, and all others who helped.

Despite the shorter days, we're still flying and although it's not the time of year for spectacular flights, it's fine for first solos. We're not summer-only pilots down here.

This is also the time of year for the awards which were presented to Tim Parsons (best progress by ab-initio); Eric Shore (best recorded height gain); Reg Welch (best distance); Ken Jenkins (winner of the task week) and Steve Frank (top of the club ladder).


April - May 1974

We’ve come of age! Twenty-one years ago, in a small room in Taunton, a group met to discuss forming a gliding club. Although it was a few years before they literally "got off the ground", it was the beginning of the Taunton Vale Gliding Club, now the Devon and Somerset Gliding Club.

The event was duly celebrated at the AGM and the party which followed. Taunton Technical College kindly made a splendid cake, complete with a marzipan glider on top and gliding scenes on the sides.

This happy occasion was saddened somewhat by the retirement of our long-standing president, Mr.T.R.N.Whyte. After many years of hard and unobtrusive work on behalf of the club, he has had to retire due to ill health. Unfortunately "Doctor's Orders" did not allow him to be at the meeting, but he thoughtfully phoned to wish the club well. We hope he will be with us soon, and we will have an opportunity to present him with the engraved silver salver to which members contributed.

His retirement has meant the election of a new president and "Our Sam" (Mr.S.G.Tolman) was unanimously voted in. He is well qualified for the post, since he first began flying in the early thirties – before many of our members were even born! We've all benefited from his vast experience and instruction, and hope we shall continue to do so for many years to come.

1974 began well - despite fuel restrictions and rough weather - with two new solos. The first of these was one of our few lady members.


August – September 1974

Within an hour of their wedding, club members Jennifer (nee Harrison) and Dave Bailey were airborne together in the club Bergfalke 3. Their reception was at the club and the wedding cake was decorated with two intertwined Ottfur rings.

We have introduced a new system of launch marshals to relieve our instructors of some of the burdens of organisation. Lectures have been in progress for ab-initios and the soaring season has started well with several first solos and three duration flights in one day.

Our club Swallow has been replaced and work goes on at the site, constructing a car park, the levelling of another large area, the installation of additional toilet facilities and the near completion of our hangar workshop.

At the moment we are enjoying our annual task week and are eagerly anticipating the birth of Philip Wills' brainchild, Competition Enterprise.


December 1974 – January 1975


Within five weeks of the closure of the Devonshire Soaring Club and our decision to continue gliding from this superb site, we are now fully operational, using an autotow launching system and with the prospect of aerotowing by early spring.

We must be one of very few clubs fortunate enough to commence operations with a ready-made aerodrome and a brand new purpose-built clubhouse at its disposal!

We are delighted with our two-seater, which was christened by carrying our CFI, Dave Bindon, and our youngest member, five year-old Rupert Fairclough, on the club's inaugural flight. Needless to say, visiting pilots will be made most welcome.


February – March 1975

North Hill

Sadly we have to report the death of our President, Sam Tolman. Although President for barely a year, Sam will be greatly missed, especially as an instructor. Our sincere sympathies are extended to his wife Joyce and family.

Eric Green and Alan Barnes have recently gone solo - the latter soaring for 30 min on his second flight; and Ian Patterson has completed his Bronze C.

The petrol pump for the tug is now installed and in working order, cutting down delays in refuelling.

Our AGM was held at the clubhouse in December, followed by the usual party.



Our members have combined with the Aero Club in most enjoyable social activities including a firework display and party, plus three dances in the new clubhouse.

We have been operating successfully with wire launching and are about to embark on the ICI Parafil rope described in the October 1974 issue of S&G, p230.

Mike Bird, Dave Bailey and Roy Young have recently gone solo and Mike Fairclough has acquired a PPL and joined the queue of tug pilots eagerly awaiting our tow plane.

Wet days have been consumed by lectures, ably delivered by our CFI, Dave Bindon, who proposes to run a regular course of talks for trainees and advanced pilots during winter evenings.

We have been inundated with membership applications and are also delighted to have been visited by so many familiar faces during our short period of operation. We hope to run a club week in the spring and invite pilots from other clubs.


April – May 1975

North Hill

Despite the horrible weather over the last few months we have been optimistically making plans for the summer. We shall again be running courses, are holding our annual task week from June 30 and have Competition Enterprise from June 7.

The annual awards were presented at our AGM to Andrew Blackburn (best progress by ab-initio); Eric Shore, (best recorded gain of height); Ken Jenkins, (top of club ladder); Reg Welch, (best cross-country flight) and Tim Gardner, (winner of task week).

Francis Bustard (ex-Chairman) was elected our new President with Roy Hodges as Chairman, and George Mathews, Vice-Chairman. Business over, we celebrated as usual with a party arranged by Jane Hine and helpers.



We are running a series of lectures on Wednesday evenings and the programme includes Principles of Flight, illustrated by the Bill Scull diagram slides. The social calendar has provided some excellent parties and there have been film shows the clubhouse.

The weather, although uninspiring, hasn’t stopped launching on most weekends and Celia Young is now flying solo from the site. Our club week is planned for early April and we expect to start mid-week flying at Easter. There will always be a welcome for visiting glider pilots.


June - July 1975

North Hill

Some members have just returned from ten days at Portmoak with two Gold heights (Tim Gardner and Terry Janvey) and one Silver duration for Reg Welch, thus completing his Silver. He missed his Gold height by 95ft.

The weather improved over Easter when flights of more than an hour were logged. The first April weekend saw two first solo flights for Jack Bamett and Jim Napper, and our tug back in service after its C of A.

Congratulations to John Burrow and Sue Moore who were married on April 5.



The club's first "solo" was recently made by Frank Buttery, closely followed by another first solo by David Burrows, a visitor on our Easter mini-course. John Turner has since soloed the T-53 and flown his Oly 2B while Peter Clements and Veryan Stephens have been making good use of their Dart 15 in preparation for an expedition to Fayence.

March, and Easter in particular, has been our best month so far with spring thermals combined with maximal launch rates. The T-53 has certainly proved its excellent soaring ability.

Our ten courses are fully booked and Wednesday flying is in progress to complement our active weekend operations.

We are delighted to welcome the return from Cyprus of Dave Reilly. During his stay in the West Country he has given valuable help as an instructor. It has also been pleasing to have so many visitors from other clubs.

Social activity, combined with the Aero Club, recently ran to a cabaret and dance in the clubhouse.


August - September 1975


We have been very fortunate with the weather lately, with most weekends providing soarable conditions. lan Widger and Steve James have gone solo, and several new members are now flying the T-53 solo.

Peter Clements returned from Fayence with both Silver C height and duration legs to his credit and a strong recommendation for the French site.

The new tug, a Rallye 150, was delivered in the nick of time to launch our CFI, Dave Bindon, when he gave an entertaining aerobatic display in the Foka 4 at the Dunkeswell air show on Bank Holiday Monday.

Our courses so far have been enormously successful, and we are to run two extra in September.


October - November 1975

North Hill

The weather has been much kinder this year, resulting in two completed Silver Cs for Tim Parsons and Robin Munday and Silver legs for many others. Rod Hobbis and Robin Munday are claiming Gold distances flown during the Club's very successful task week, won this year by Mike Lee from the Essex & Suffolk Club. Second place was taken by the Cobra, with the Eagle hanging on grimly only three points behind.

The extension to our clubhouse, a fully equipped lecture room, is now complete, and we are looking forward to a series of lectures arranged by our CFI for the winter months.

So far this has been a marvellous season. There have been several good height gains and the total distance flown cross-country (to the end of July) amounts to some 18958km.



Hugo Irwin completed his A and B and C within a few days of his 67th birthday. At the other end of the generation gap, 16 year old Chris Dunn has his A and B.

First solos have also been achieved by Dave Parker and Brian Johnson; Frank Buttery and lan Widger have got their Cs and Steve James his first Bronze leg.

The visiting Pilatus demo-team provided an interesting day's flying and we have also enjoyed the visits of many pilots from other clubs.

The heatwave has provided pleasant holiday conditions for our summer courses, yet has not detracted from thermal activity with climbs of up to 6000ft being made out of cloud in the T-53 on June 30.


December 1975 – January 1976

North Hill

Now is the time for tidying up the Club records and figures for the AGM in December, and also for paying annual membership fees.

Looking back over the year, we have had a super soaring season with several Silver and Gold legs achieved. We have had many visitors, both with and without gliders who have all seemed pleased with the site, and once again held a successful competition (Enterprise) and a task week, along with several holiday gliding courses.

Work is nearing completion on a new retrieve vehicle for the club, as our two tractors are beginning to show signs of wear. We hope this will give us faster and more efficient retrieves, although our launch rate this year has been very good and we have done more aerotows than ever before.

A and B certificates have been gained by Colin Uncles and. Clive Steiner with Steve Barber, John Turner, Geoff Cook Janet Halfacre and Stan Fouracre completing their Bronze Cs.



Frank Jewell held an impromptu champagne party on the night of his first solo. There have since been first solos for John Killoran, Rodney Barge, Dave Winter, Gerry Binmore, Peter Craggs and 72 year old Alfred Davis. Dave Parker and Brian Johnson made use of the Bank Holiday thermals to gain Bronze legs.

We have just celebrated our first anniversary, having done a total of 5099 launches and 462hrs! The collection of Dunkeswell based gliders now consists of the club's T-53, a T-49, Foka 4, Grunau, Swallow, Olympia 2B, Pilatus and Dart 15.


February – March 1976

North Hill

It is just over a year that Sam Tolman, our President, was killed in a road accident and we are indebted to Mrs Tolman for making the first contribution to the memorial fund – some weather recording instruments which are now in the clubhouse.

Congratulations to Keith Selmes on his first solo and to Joseph Watt, a former member, on becoming a Pilot Officer in the RAF.

The AGM on December 13 will be combined with our Christmas party and arrangements are being made for Competition Enterprise, which starts on June 5.

Many of our catering problems have been solved now that we have a deep freezer. A large selection of meals are available at any time at a very reasonable cost. lan Beckett, Neil Templeman and helpers are working on a glider repair workshop, which they hope to complete by the spring, and members are cutting back the grass in preparation for resurfacing our main entrance road.



Bob Eames, lan King and Bill Evans have gone solo. Bill progressing from a BAC 111, and Bert Culverhouse has his C certificate.

The ab-initios of this time last year are now competent pilots and the advanced training they are receiving is being supplemented by another course of lectures given by our CFI, Dave Bindon.

There are a number of parties and dances in the clubhouse during the coming weeks and we now have a new briefing room.

Our summer courses are nearly fully booked and there are plans for an 'advanced flying course-cum-task week' for members in June.


April – May 1976

North Hill

Our AGM on December 13 was followed by the usual party. Annual awards were presented as follows: the President's shield (best progress by an ab-initio), Alan Barnes; Brian Masters' trophy (top of the club ladder) and the Francis Bustard trophy (best gain of height), Tim Gardner; Kennedy trophy (winner of the task week), Mike Lee of Essex & Suffolk and the Kelsey plate (best cross-country), Robin Munday.

Alan Barnes replaces Nick Jones on the Management Committee. Ken Bunyan has resigned as Secretary after seven years and his place is taken by Andrew Blackburn. Our membership and flying fees have been increased slightly to keep up with rising costs. Our new lecture room is now in full use.

This time of year soaring is mainly confined to our ridge, running both south and west, which has produced several flights of over an hour.



Arctic conditions in January failed to deter us from flying most weekends and the occasional non-gliding days gave an opportunity to overhaul equipment.

Our T-53 has had its C of A and our tug aircraft should be back in a few days after its extensive winter overhaul.

Excessive demands for places on our summer courses have induced us to run a tenth course which is now also fully booked. However, we extend a welcome to any private owners wishing to fly mid-week at Dunkeswell during our courses.


June - July 1976

North Hill

The annual expedition to Scotland returned last week, after an abortive visit to Aboyne - apparently the weather just wasn't co-operative.

Simon Minson has gone solo, just ten days after his 16th birthday. He is the first second generation pilot to do so; Dave, his father has flown with the club since the early days at Dunkeswell. Joe and Bob Beard have also gone solo and Geoff Cook has completed his Bronze C.

We have recently instituted a "Fly In and Take Me Home" trophy with the Weston-Super-Mare Gliding Club called the Woodsprings/North Hill challenge trophy. With this, we hope to encourage more cross-country flights between the two clubs. As Woodsprings is "downhill" from us it is not a Silver distance, due to the 1% rule, but we hope to see lots of Silvers from the other direction. Whilst on the subject, may we remind Tarrant Rushtonites, that the Tarrill trophy is still at North Hill.

Congratulations Frank Bell and Rob Hobbis on becoming fully rated instructors. The recent fine weather has given some fine soaring flights. Over the Easter weekend we added a connection to our field telephone to be used from the aerotow line, making the job of log-keeping much easier.

As this issue appears, we shall be just beginning Competition Enterprise, and trust that the weather will be kind to us, and for our task week at the end of June.



lan King found our first thermal of the year on March 24. Bronze legs have been completed by Dave Parker, Steve James and Kschell Eleffsen and in April we had climbs to 6000ft from car launches without reaching cloudbase.

Our CFI is running a well attended course of Saturday night lectures and we have a good social programme. Our Secretary, Barbara, has taken up powered flying and went solo after two hours' instruction. In due course she will be an additional tug pilot.

Our tug has returned from its overhaul and is working hard. We continue to have visitors from many clubs and hope this will continue.


August - September 1976

North Hill

As I write, we are just beginning Competition Enterprise - and what a super collection of gliders, everything from a Tutor to a Nimbus.

We have had some good soaring flights recently and Julian Hine attempted a 300km out-and-return to Lasham, landing just 25km short. We are now looking forward to our task week on June 28.

Congratulations to Louise Norton, M. Jeans and M. Heath who have recently gone solo, and to D. Williams, P. Trotter and A. Blackburn who have gained Bronze C.



Our CFI, Dave Bindon, celebrated his birthday by making a spectacularly impressive contribution to the Dunkeswell Air Display from a 300ft cloudbase, and was afterwards treated to a surprise champagne party in Ann Pitt's caravan. Social functions have included another successful dance in the clubhouse.

Our first course in May produced a first solo for Tom Gray and the spring thermals have provided a well deserved Bronze leg for Mike Bird. Dave Parker and Steve James have now completed their Bronzes in time, we hope, for some cross-country flying during our advanced training course in June.


October - November 1976


Our advanced training course was most successful and there was a good lecture programme and some cross-country flying. The club was host for a day to a party of disabled adults from the Cheshire Homes. The removal of the canopy and use of wide straps for lifting ensured a flight for each guest. It was all most enjoyable.

The bending of the T-53 wasn't allowed to detract from the euphoria generated by the previous club week when Roger Mason, Ann Pitt and George "Pop Rivett" Jewell, back after 15 years, went solo. Peter Craggs and Mike Bird gained Bronze legs and Robin Smitten, a visiting Enstone eaglet, his Silver height. David Bosher, aged 16, completed his Silver C with a distance flight.

We are delighted with our YS-53. It has proved its worth by giving two Bronze legs and a Silver height to Rodney Barge and two Bronze legs and Silver height to Chris Dunn. Mike Jewell, Peter Jury, Les Baskwell, Charles Davis and Doug Menzies have gone solo, Doug then getting his C. Frank Buttery, Dave Winter and Brian Johnson have Bronze legs, Brian also getting Silver height in the T-49, and John Killoran has his C. Dave Parker (Oly 2b) gained all three Silver legs in one week.


December 1976 – January 1977


We have come to the end of our second very successful year with a total of 512hrs flown, which is up on last year, although we had fewer launches - 4516 of which 4017 were by club aircraft. This summer's excellent weather brought cloudbases to over 8000ft and just under half the 138 flying days were in good soaring conditions, a feature also enjoyed by our many visitors.

Congratulations to Frank Jewell and John Killoran on their Cs, to Frank Buttery and Dave Winter for gaining Bronze legs, to "Mac" MacPherson who went solo, to Pat Pearson, one of our flying doctors, solo again after a long gap and to our Secretary, Barbara Fairclough, who has completed her Silver C and obtained her assistant instructor rating.


February – March 1977

North Hill

We have been spending the winter taking part in a series of lectures arranged by our CFI and getting used to our K-8 – this replaces the Swallow and is part of the process of updating the club fleet.

There are hopes the coming soaring season will equal last year when there were many long cross-country nights, notably Steve Frank’s Diamond goal and Dave Rielly’s Gold distance.

There was a fruitful expedition to Dornoch, the far north of Scotland, with several wave climbs to 8000 and 10000ft. Preparations are now being made for the organisation of Competition Enterprise from June 11-19.


April - May 1977

North Hill

It was a unique flight at North Hill on New Year’s Day when Kevin Jenkins celebrated his 16th birthday by going solo in our Bergfaike 3. Kevin was briefed for the flight by his father, instructor Ken Jenkins, who then flew the tow-tug to make sure that Kevin kept in line!

Congratulations also to Chris Miller, Gordon Peters and Dave Brearey for going solo and lan Gordon and Mel Pitts for gaining Bronze Cs.

Work on the new trailer for the K-8 is nearly finished, and the winch and tractors have been completely overhauled and refurbished by a small band of club members. The new cable retrieve vehicle is nearing completion in the workshops, complete with heated cab and automatic transmission, which should ensure an endless stream of volunteer drivers!


June - July 1977

North Hill

The soaring season is well under way at North Hill with several new pundits' names to be added to the list. Chris Miller used the K-8 to great effect by completing his two half-hour Bronze C legs within 12 solo launches. John Burrow took the Dart to 8500ft on April 3, a total height gain of 7500ft plus, and Dave Reilly made a modest start to cross-country flying with 70km on the first day of nearby Yeovilton's task week.

About 50 club members attended a dinner and disco. Many thanks to Chris Slade for organising the evening, Carl the chef and Kevin Jenkins for the music.



We had an enjoyable but cold Easter weekend with some good soaring flights, including one of 55min by the newly delivered Swallow owned by a four-member syndicate. Congratulations go to Julian Pearson who soloed the weekend following his 16th birthday. The demand for aerotows continues to rise, which keeps our Beagle busy, and Dave Bindon continues his repairs to the T-53 which he hopes to complete by mid-summer.


August - September 1977

North Hill

At the time of writing, we are all sitting gloomily on the ground, contemplating the weather which has produced only one flying day in three at the start of Competition Enterprise.

On the home front, George Matthews and Barry Moroney both claimed Silver height on the same day in an Astir and Std Libelle respectively. Steve Frank took his Dart 17R to 10400ft, just missing his Gold height at the end of May and Mike Hamilton, Derry Reaney and Danny Bishop have soloed. lan King has gone off on his own for the first time at North Hill.

We were pleased to see Reg Welch back in the air after such a long time and also John Burrow, who seems to have made a good recovery after wrapping himself and his motorbike around a cow a month or so ago.



During bad weather we have been taking advantage of the briefing room to learn from Bill Scull's slides and lectures on Safety and the Theory of Flight and there have also been various discos and dances to keep us busy.

Mid-April saw the delivery and first flight of Brian Johnson's Std Libelle and lan Mitchell soloed the following weekend. Peter Craggs celebrated May Day with a Bronze leg and Pat Murphy went solo during our course in May. Congratulations to Pam and Frank Jewell who met on a course last year and were married in May, and to Alfie and Lynn Trott on the birth of their daughter.


October - November 1977

North Hill

After a disastrous Competition Enterprise (see p208) and an only slightly better task week we have finally begun to get our share of good soaring weather. Half-hour Bronze legs abound thanks to the K-8, and we have had some very successful course weeks.

Kevin Jenkins, who soloed on his 16th birthday in January, gained his Bronze C by climbing to Silver height in August, the day that Les Hill kept his B4 up for five hours. Julian Peters has gone solo.

An expedition to Camphill by several members was very successful and another trip, this time to Scotland, is planned for next spring. At the moment we are inundated with holidaymakers, looking for something different than just laze on the beach. A club "duration" record was set up during August when our Secretary, Andrew Blackburn, drove the winch for six hours.



Our thanks to our CFI, Dave Bindon, for his unremitting hard work during the past year, when he has almost completely rebuilt the T-53 and restored it to the club in time for the second course and some splendid soaring.

The courses have produced several first solos and Bronze legs. On the June course David Hoskins went solo and David Spedding gained his Bronze, while in July Bob Eames claimed his Bronze, Mike Palmer and Chris Mann went solo and Adrian Lloyd soloed and has his Bronze C.

For added safety to ourselves and all the other people who use Dunkeswell, the launch and cable retrieve crew now wear dayglow orange jackets - and very fetching they look, too!


December 1977 – January 1978

North Hill

Bronze C badges continue to appear at the club, with Louise Norton, Gordon Peters, Doug Watson, Simon Minson and John Brown all passing within the past couple of months. John Collins and Michael Crompton have soloed and Chris Miller has completed his duration during his first flight in his newly arrived syndicate Pilatus B-4.

A lot of new aircraft have appeared on the site, totalling a B-4, a Pirat, an Astir, a DG-100, a Pik 20B and the latest, a Pik 20D. Bernard Reeves has completed his instructors' course and we welcome this addition to the club's "elite".

The club's AGM will be held on December 10 in the clubhouse and a repeat of the dinner and disco held earlier this year is planned for early November. Finally, a thank you to "Auntie" Kitty Cooper who has started serving Sunday lunches again in the clubhouse.



We are happy to announce the birth of a new "baby" - the club newsletter, under the talented and untiring editorship of our Canadian friend, David Bowsher (aided by his staff" of thousands!). The first issue last month was packed with an admirable mixture of news, cartoons, funnies, profiles and reports. We all hope it will be a regular event and wish David lots of contributors and assistants.

Together with the newsletter came an extremely welcome appendix on safety procedures for launching, observing, signalling and towcar driving, which was the result of much thought, experience and midnight-oil burning by our three stalwarts, Dave Bindon and Mike and Barby Fairclough, who put in so much hard work and thought to ensure the safe and enjoyable flying of us all.

We were lucky enough to have a visit from a Motor Falke during the past few weeks and some of our members had a trip.

Congratulations to Roger Edwards, who usually flies with the Albatross Club but whom we borrow from time to time and Peter Clements who are just back from instructors' courses and Tony Easterlowe, Dick Froggatt and Marie Jewell who have gone solo. Marie, at 16, is our youngest lady solo pilot.


February – March 1978


mike and barbie t21
The fleet is building up at Dunkeswell - there is now a second Swallow syndicate, with all the attendant friendly rivalry! And our complement of instructors is growing all the time. Ron Perry, an assistant instructor with the Albatross Club, has joined us and we congratulate Barby Fairclough on becoming a full-rated instructor; also Bruce Bint on going solo.

Following on from the appendix on safety procedures we had a well-attended discussion on all aspects of operating in the midst of all the other clubs at Dunkeswell, and now the party season is nearly upon us with lots of parties, dances and "events" planned.


April - May 1978

North Hill

The soaring season is already upon us at North Hill. Several club pilots enjoyed 5kt thermals on the first Saturday in February, in conditions lasting nearly four hours.

Our AGM saw Chris Slade installed as Vice-Chairman in place of Rodney Hobbis who has left us to work in London. Kevin Jenkins and Simon Minson were jointly awarded the title of most promising new pilots. Both had achieved their Bronze Cs within their first year of going solo. Other awards were, Tim Gardner (best cross-country); Dave Minson and Dave Reilly (for winning the task week); Brian Weare and Terry Jenvey (best placed in Competition Enterprise) and Eric Shore (top of the club ladder and best recorded height gain - 12000ft).

Peter Cooper and David Silverlock claimed the last cross-country of the year in early December only to be outdone by Julian Hine who landed out, 8km away, on December 31.

Competition Enterprise will be from June 17-25 and our task week will start on July 3. Peter Cooper, an instructor, has organised a "mini" task week beginning on August 7.

The club dinner on March 3 is the first event organised by the newly formed Clubhouse and Amenities Committee chaired by Kitty Cooper.


June - July 1978

North Hill

The spring expedition to Portmoak ("Oh Blessed Bishop's") yielded a crop of Gold and Silver legs: Steve Barber (Gold height and duration); Chris Miller and Dave Minson (Gold height); Simon Minson, Mike Heath and Mel Pitts (Silver height and duration) and duration for Kevin Jenkins.

Back home, lan King gained his second Bronze leg with a flight of over an hour and Gordon Peters put up a good show at the Yeovilton task week, completing a 100km out-and-return. He then attempted to fly back to the TP for Silver distance, but unfortunately landed short.

We had several days' flying as part of the "Sport for All" campaign with members of the North Devon Leisure Centre, which was enjoyed by us all. A number of Scouts have also visited North Hill.

There have been some excellent alterations to the bar and our thanks to Peter Cooper for fitting the clubhouse radio so neatly.



Thanks to our enterprising Canadian member, David Bowsher, we were lifted out of our late-winter doldrums by the excellent dinner- dance he organised for us in March. This was announced in the second issue of the DGC News, which promises to become a regular feature under David's editorship.

Congratulations to Jeff Vosper on going solo and to Mike Bird who opened the Easter weekend with a half-hour flight on Good Friday. Nicholas Keevil-Pitt celebrated his sixth gliding anniversary and 16th birthday on Easter Saturday with his first solo, followed a fortnight later by his second with 16min soaring. Jane Keevil-Pitt was prevented from making her brother's birthday a double solo day by gusty winds but has now joined the ranks. We congratulate them both and welcome back lan Widger who used to be a very early bird but who can now join us at more conventional hours.


August - September 1978

North Hill

We have had some marvellous soaring days. Steve Barber, Chris Miller and Mike Heath have gained their Silver Cs while Alan Barnes, Joe Beard, Ken Andrews and lan King have their Bronze Cs. Colin Uncles did his duration in May and Simon Harris went solo while his father Norman completed his A and B.

Many thanks to Tony Thomas for his splendid and very hard work on the clubhouse ceiling. The much awaited retrieve vehicle is in service thanks to the efforts of club members, especially CFI, Gerry Leat.

We have a barbecue arranged for July 9 at the club and our dinner will be in October. The club’s old Swallow and a syndicate Olympia 2B have arrived back at North Hill under new ownership after being rebuilt.



Congratulations to Tony Eastelow who completed his Bronze C in a week and immediately proceeded to fly his newly acquired Foka 4 on several cross-country sorties, to Julian Pearson who gained his first Bronze leg with a 50min flight on a virtually unsoarable day and Peter Collins who has just completed his A and B and eagerly awaits a first trip in his Swallow.

Having guided us safely through the last 3½ yrs, our CFI, Dave Bindon, has retired for a well deserved rest, but will remain with us as Chairman and Technical Officer and Mike Fairclough has exchanged "The Chair" for a slightly hotter seat, in his new role as CFI.


October - November 1978

North Hill

Although Enterprise produced some good distance flights and fine flying, our season in general has not been good. Both task weeks were dogged by weather only really suitable for local soaring although some heroic performances were made.

During the last two months, lan King and David Silverlock have both kept their syndicate B-4 up for five hours and David, Kevin Jenkins, Simon Minson and club Secretary, Andrew Blackburn, have all completed their Silver distances, giving the last three their full Silver C.

At a Special General Meeting in July it was decided to raise the money needed for a new tug engine by means of a long term loan of £25 from all flying members, to be repaid over the next five years. We hope to have the tug back fairly soon.

Meanwhile, our special thanks to Dorset GC who, on hearing we were tugless, immediately offered and supplied their Auster plus pilots to fly it until our Husky returns. They have helped us out of a hole and shown us what inter-club relationships are all about.

Both the barbecue and the pig roast were a great success and helped to swell the club funds.



June thermals brought Julian Pearson his second Bronze leg. Tony Eastlow Silver height and distance and Doug Menzies a Bronze leg and Silver height. Dick Froggett has squeezed a C from his Swallow and the July courses produced A and Bs for David Hoskins and Tim Stirgess with a first solo for Roy Boddy.


December 1978 – January 1979

North Hill

Some unusual things have been happening. As well as our usual north-westerly wave giving enjoyable flying in conjunction with the ridge, Mike Fitzgerald and his son Steven found that we can't disregard a south-westerly - wave from this direction took them to 6500ft in the club Capstan. Terry Jenvey (K-8) launched right into the wave and got to 7000ft. This proves there is good flying here even when the sun doesn't shine.

Thermals have been uninspired, rarely reaching more than 2000ft above the site, but Dave Minson took his Skylark 4 more than 200km to Lasham and halfway back, 95% of the time below 2000ft.

Arthur Ball and Phil Turner have gone solo while Mel Pitts completed his Silver C with a distance flight, making this our sixth Silver this year

Steve Barber easily regained the Woodspring Cup while a sneaky piece of skullduggery allowed a lucky Dorset GC member to take the Tarrill cup back to Tarrant Rushton.

Our Husky has a new engine and a clean bill of health. Plans are being made for the annual pilgrimage north in the spring. Finally, we welcome back Louise Norton, having climbed Everest the hard way.



An August course produced solos for Mike Goode and Stephen Charlton, an A, B and C for Malcolm Hitch and a Bronze leg for Vince Lean. Tony Eastelow is congratulated on completing Silver C in one season with a 6½ hrs scratch in mediocre conditions on September 3.

A rare appearance of contactable wave produced a climb of 6600ft in early October and late autumn thermals have compensated for the poor season.


February - March 1979


The success of our recently inaugurated morning training courses can be measured by a marked improvement in the rate of pupils' progress, more advanced training for solo pilots and greater efficiency in ground operations.

Our CFI is making good use of wet weekends to give some useful and interesting lectures and "winter frustration" is being held at bay by cliff soaring expeditions to nearby Branscombe, where southerly or south-west winds provide much in the way of good lift, fun and enterprise.

A much needed programme of maintenance and re-furbishing of club equipment is being carried out by Tony Eastelow and his team of enthusiastic helpers and many of our major tasks have now been completed.

Congratulations to founder member Mike Bird on his forthcoming marriage.


April - May 1979


Ray Busutill managed a first solo before the arctic weather engulfed us. The few day's flying we have since managed to achieve over snowbound Devon have excelled in aesthetic reward.

On a more practical level, plans are being made for a springtime club expedition to the Long Mynd as well as a programme of lectures on soaring, cross-country flying and Bronze C subjects, in preparation for the soaring season.

Our courses are filling rapidly and we plan to run an extra two.


June – July 1979

North Hill

Since we last appeared in S&G there have been many changes at North Hill. At our AGM in December, Dave Minson was voted Chairman on the retirement of Roy Hodges, who has served the club so ably for many years. Then in January. Gerry Leat, our CFI for many years, decided to step down and Mike Fitzgerald took over in March. We thank Gerry for all his hard work both on and off the field and welcome Mike, who has instructed at North Hill for some time.

The club fleet has changed too. Our trusty Dart 15 is up for sale and in its place we are expecting delivery soon of a Club Astir. Also a very pretty K-6CR has joined the fleet, giving us three single and two two-seater aircraft.

We have run several "functions" for members over the winter and one tangible outcome of funds raised is a pool table which now graces the clubhouse, earning yet more money to subsidise our flying.

As with other clubs, our annual pilgrimage to Portmoak wasn't as successful as recent years, but Derry Reaney did achieve five hours, whilst back at North Hill, Tony Thomas has gone solo. The winch has been rebuilt and we hope will last until the new winch, in the process of being designed by Nick Jones and Terry Jenvey, is built.

Soaring has started, including a memorable Sunday in early March when: "You couldn't come down!"



Our soaring season began on February 25, followed by continuous thermal conditions throughout the Easter period - a great morale booster after the perpetual winter grot!

The good weather has brought a flux of new members and, to parallel our active ab-initio training scheme, much attention is now being given to the encouragement of early soaring and cross-country flying. To this end we are running a "soaring-cum-cross-country" week during the Spring Bank holiday. We are also greatly increasing the number of aerotows and utilisation of club aircraft.

We welcome two new instructors. Tony Eastelow, who has just completed a most enjoyable course and Barry Dixon, who arrived at Dunkeswell complete with Motor Falke, which is a popular feature with members.


December 1979 – January 1980

North Hill

We were all saddened by the tragic death of David Silverlock. He was a much loved and respected member, who will be missed by us all. We extend our sympathy to his family.

Mike Fitzgerald, our CFI, with the help of our stalwart band of instructors, has instituted an advanced training scheme which is gaining momentum. We welcome John Burrows, Chris Miller and Tim Parsons as assistant instructors who will help relieve pressure on their senior colleagues. Terry Jenvey and Vivienne Fitzgerald have gained their Full Category ratings and Terry has been appointed deputy CFI.

An air of adventure and competition has developed and the number of Bronze and Silver legs reflect this. Our two task weeks have fostered this, with visitors adding edge to the competitiveness. Over 9300km were achieved and there was a good batch of Silver claims. Both task weeks ended with an excellent party.

On June 24, a maximum launch day was arranged, which helped swell club funds, provided some new interest and taught us lessons for next time. With this, an article in "Devon Life" about the Club, and possibly a programme from strikebound "Westward TV", we hope that further interest in the sport will result.



We are pleased the following have gone solo - Jane Butland, Dennis Gosling, Mark Spedding, Richard Rampton and Richard Harris, the latter also gaining a Bronze leg. Tim Stirgiss and Dave Spedding gained their certificates and Ray Busuttil has both Bronze legs.

Congratulations and a warm welcome to Ron Perry on his Full Instructor rating.

We have had more cross-country flying this year than ever before and the courses have been well supported.

To cheer us through the winter, we are planning a big dinner-dance at Christmas and an expedition to Portmoak early next year.