Thursday 21st. A light to moderate W’ly blew all day, providing a mixture of thermal, ridge and wave lift for the course and other members, and also the 2 First Flight pupils of the day. The soaring conditions led to 17 of the 24 winch launches exceeding 30 minutes with 11 exceeding an hour, the average duration for the day being boosted by the 8:09 spent by Bob Calvert in his Ventus, although I have been unable to determine where or how high he went. Derek Smith had just over 5 hours in his Ventus, he and Bob being 2 of the 5 private owners to fly, while the course members enjoyed another hill soaring day that allowed them to practice repeated approaches without landing, as closing the brakes and overshooting runway 24 propelled them back into the rising air in front of the hill, whereupon they could regain height to repeat the exercise again. Thus Geoff Turner and Charles Willoughby were able to spend a productive 1:26 each with Bob Beck in K21 JVZ. The Ka8 was also well utilised with both Nick Gaunt and Howard Marshall having an hour or more, providing glimpses of days of yore. (This refers to the Ka8 and not them of course). Another representative of that bygone age was the T21 which had 3 flights, accumulating almost 3 hours of air time and at one point climbing in the wave to 5,000′ asl with Nick Gaunt and Phil Lazenby on board. Fortunately, they drifted out of the wave shortly after passing 5,000′ as it would have been interesting to find out who first decided the cold or lack of oxygen was a good reason to return to lower altitudes. A photo from the K21 during the flight is shown below.
Friday 24th. A light wind blew, starting off in the NW and backing progressively to the NE by the end of the day, but with cloudy skies, soaring opportunities were hard to find, only 6 of the day’s 21 ATs managing to exceed 30 minutes and none in excess of an hour. Mike Smith and Junior member P Boumont topped the list with 42 minutes in the DG500 off a 3k tow, while Graham Taylor managed 39 minutes solo in K21 KLW. Martyn Johnson and Bob Sergeant, one of the 4 First Flight pupils to be flown, had 38 minutes in the DG1000 and Bob Beck and course member Tony Smyth had 36 minutes in K, while the 3 Falke flights added to the day’s activities. During the evening, Brian Wise, Fred Brown and Robin Hutchinson shared the flying of a group of Air Training Cadets from Leeming but the day’s highlights were the re-solo of course member Andrew Feldhann and the solo of club member Charles Willoughby, so congratulations to them.
Saturday 23rd. The day opened with a moderate to fresh NNW’ly blowing that provided some turbulent take offs from runway 02 and caused a cessation of ATing after a couple of launches. The wind, however, progressively moderated and backed into the W, so flying recommenced around 1230 hrs and continued until around 1730 hrs when a large shower caused those that were aloft to land and get somewhat wet on the subsequent retrieve back to the hangar. The day’s 25 launches included 8 for a group of Scouts from St Albans but with opportunities for soaring being limited by over convection, only 2 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour, with Rory O’Conor having to resort to the engine of this DG800 as he explored the lift on the North Face of the North Yorks Moors in his flight of 1:23, while Darren Lodge eventually managed to get above his release height in his flight of 1:10 in his LS8. Late in the afternoon recycling of the cloud amounts saw the Stratocumulus melt away and some nice looking Cumulus develop, enticing some of the day’s private owners to launch. However, as noted above, their flight times were truncated by a large shower, with Tony Drury having 47 minutes in his DG303 while Rob and Spencer Bailey had 44 minutes in the club DG1000. Andrew Feldhann had a good second solo flight with 41 minutes in K21 KLW. The day’s 5 First Flight pupils included Grandmother and Grandson Mandy and Colin Wood who, courtesy of John Tayler and Fred Brown had 22 minutes and 35 minutes respectively.