Report from Steve, our correspondent in the West Country...
'This is our first attempt at digital photography and slope soaring at Cox Tor in Devon!
Cox Tor is the first lump of rock on the Cornish side of Dartmoor. The slope works for all but Easterly winds. We found four very welcoming gentlemen from the local club with superb large scale models of 1930s ?? gliders.
See their web site at: http://www.fraquet.co.uk/coxtor/gliders.htm Also search on 'Cox Tor Gliders' for some very pretty footage on YouTube. Considering many modern ships look much the same, these scale models are a welcome treat for the eye. They looked very good indeed and they weren't just pretty either, the guys put them through some impressive low passes, loops and stall turns. One might imagine they were very heavy but I was encouraged to pick one up and it was surprisingly light. All built up from balsa wood of course. Not a bit of fibreglass in sight. The on-board pilots (larger than Action Man) were caricatures of their owners and as you can imagine there was plenty of slopeside ribbing about the accuracy of the rendition!
I attempted the discuss launch with the Fling and although it was a modest lob my adjustment on the elevator to bring it to level flight caused some drastic changes in attitude. I realised the new elevator throw was lots! However, I got out from the edge and discovered that such a light plane (16 1/4 ozs) can get a rough ride from the gusts at low altitude. In truth the windspeed was more suited to the Stargazer or the ill-fated Sterngucker. Once I had settled down with the conditions and adjusted to flying with three mammoth birds in a fairly limited arc of flyable slope, I began to enjoy things!
The top of the Tor presented a nice grassy flat surface without rocks and it was nice to land on. However, just one puff of wind on finals and the featherlight Fling was off from 12 inches to 6 feet off the ground in a flash. I managed 4-5 flights and landings without incident before the ice-cream van beckoned and we called it a day. Thanks to Raymondo for the loan of the car!'