Entrance and track

All members and visitors

Work has now begun on repairing the entrance and track to the launch points.
Would all visitors please be aware of groundwork’s and heavy machinery over the next few months, this should only be an issue on non flying days including weather affected flying days and visiting pilots flying in.
We can only apologise for any inconvenience caused during this period of essential work.

Dene (Scratch) Hitchen DGSO
Hi All

March to April brought us a few good flying days with no reported incidents, well done to all for maintain our high standards, lets keep it that way.

One point for all to note is the latest report from the BGA:
Is Your Glider Fit For Flight.

I was going to post the whole thing here but I can't and the link won't work so you will have to copy the link to your search engine (I can only apologise for my lack of computer savvy), please do as it has some very important points to note.
That's your lot for now, don't forget all reports are in complete confidence so if you see something you don't agree with (gliding wise) drop a line to the Safety Officer from the Gliding Club DGS Safety Corner button on the home page.

Dene (Scratch) Hitchen
This is my first blog as Dartmoor Gliding's new Safety Officer, so Hi to all.

From Mid February to Mid March 2017 we have been relatively quiet, mostly due to the weather, so this report comes straight from the BGA recommendation:

The instructors’ manual and the safe winch launch leaflet/booklet teach:

After power loss in mid-launch, adopt the recovery attitude, wait until the glider regains a safe approach speed, and land ahead if it is safe to do so.
Why not turn? The BGA has been teaching ‘do not turn’ because:

  1. after a push-over the airspeed can be less than the attitude would suggest
  2. turning before the glider has accelerated to a safe speed after a launch failure can cause the glider to spin.
After commencing a turn, although the glider may have sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall and spin, no landing area may be immediately available, and this can expose the glider to other hazards which can prevent a safe landing. Sink is one such hazard, often associated with strong winds and wave. A glider making a 360° turn in still air at a bank angle of 35° and 50kt typically descends by only 70ft. But with 15ft/second sink the height loss in a 360° turn is over 400ft. If the launch failure was at 300ft the glider would crash before completing a 360° turn.

The existence of additional hazards from a turn adds force to the advice:

Nuf Said.

Dene (Scratch) Hitchen SO
Nationally, in the 12 months from September 2013 - October 2014 there were no personal injuries resulting from winching.

There were no accidents involving a stall or spin.

There were 4 reported wing drop incidents, but in all cases the pilot released early to avoid a cartwheel.

Let us at DGS have another safe year of winch launching!

I highly recommend to any pilot that has not had any practice lately on launch failures, to ask an instructor for a refresher; winter could be an excellent time to practice!

A poster from the BGA will be sent to our club and posted in the clubhouse.

Safe flying!

Mike Gadd DGS Safety Officer

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Flying in the Snow

The road to the airfield  on a snowy day
The following was circulated at Shenington and is a useful reminder of how things can go wrong when flying in snowy conditions.

Taking to the air when there is snow on the ground offers a new and attractive perspective to our normally familiar landscape.

DGS on a snowy day. Photo from the east end of the runway looking north west
There is nothing quite like looking down on pristine white snow-covered ground on a sunny winter's day, or even not so sunny! We do have to take some extra care that we do it safely though.

K7M G-DBVB ready to launch
Here are some things to think about:

Never launch with any snow or ice anywhere on the aircraft.  Pay special attention to gaps between flying and control surfaces even if Mylar or similar sealed.  

Do not fly in falling snow, the visibility can get very poor very quickly and the snowflakes disorientating, plus the danger of accumulation on flying surfaces and the canopy.

A light dusting of dry powdery snow on the runway will not normally cause problems with the launch, though visibility for the glider pilot on the ground run during an aerotow will almost certainly be compromised -and quite possibly loose snow thrown up by the parachute in the very early part of the winch launch will do the same.

Any significant lying snow will have the above effect as well, but more serious considerations should be thought about.

The normally obvious airfield shape, layout of runways, transition between surfaces may well be obscured. 

The airfield may be "invisible" and from a surprisingly short distance, especially for inexperienced pilots (and sometimes more experienced too!).

Snow will pack into the release hook, soft snow will rapidly freeze solid, at best that will make hooking on impossible and leading up to the worst case where releasing will be impossible!

Snow will go into the critical parts of the release hook that you cannot see or get to on most gliders - cleaning out the parts you can see is not enough and just because it passes the "release checks" on the ground will not guarantee it doing so at height in the colder air!

Snow will pack into the wheel box where friction during the ground run will melt it very slightly and then it will rapidly re freeze in the lower temperature aloft, leading to a landing with the wheel jammed solid. Inconvenient when you need to tow back, causing possible damage to the landing gear, but more seriously, potentially leading to a loss of directional control on the landing run.

I would add a couple more points:

Bringing snow into the cockpit on boots and clothing will add to the humidity as it melts increasing the likely-hood of condensation on the canopy.

With a complete covering of snow on the ground and in flat light caused by a featureless stratus sky there is the possibility of a 'white-out'. This causes a loss of contrast such that it is sometimes not possible to judge where the ground is (even when walking!) Judging when to round-out would, at best, be difficult.

David Jesty

DGS Safety Officer

Caring for Canopies

In the winter months with low sun and a tendency to mist-up, canopy cleanliness becomes even more important.

It is part of the DI to ensure that the canopy is clean. It is the pilot-in-charge's responsibility to ensure the canopy is still clean enough before launching.

The only way to clean a canopy is by using copious amounts of clean water to flush off any dust or mud first. Then to use soft clean cloths to dry and then polish the surfaces with an appropriate cleaner.

Wiping with a sleeve causes permanent damage. 

Wiping with paper towels causes permanent damage.

Finger-prints reduce visibility. Never touch the canopy with fingers (except touching the DV panel to slide it open from outside). There is absolutely no need to EVER touch the canopy with fingers. 

DGS Safety Officer