Thursday 26th February

Thursday 26th.  The passage of the previous day’s warm front had left the site in the warm sector of the depression, so Thursday dawned with overcast skies and bits and pieces of rain.  The associated cold front crossed the site around 0830  hrs but the cloud did not lift and break until after midday and interestingly, Thursday’s  maximum temperature of 8.7 C was not reached until around 0920 hrs.  Thereafter, as the day brightened, the temperature steadily fell reaching 3.2C at 1730 hrs.   The pre front S’ly veered into the NW with the passage of the front before becoming a moderate to fresh W’ly, providing good winching and soaring conditions for those members on site.  6 winch launches were flown, with all the flights equalling or exceeding 30 minutes and 3 exceeding an hour.  Andy Parish and David McKinney started the day off with 30 minutes in K21 KLW and most pilots found good thermal lift in the unstable airmass and, with cloud  base rising to around 4,500′ asl, were soon ranging over the local countryside and only resorting to hill lift when the thermals started to decay towards the end of the day.  Derek Smith, flying the DG1000 with Max Raynaud, had just over 2 hours in the air, while Rob Bailey had 1:34 in the DG303, during which time he flew a Sut/Northallerton/Sut N/ Sut triangle  which he posted on  the National Ladder, this being  YGC’s first ladder entry of the year, so well done Rob.  Rob also supplied the following view of the site and the Cu.

Rob Bailey 26 Feb

Steve Thompson and Peter Joslin also had 1:34 aloft in K21 KLW, during which time they shared a thermal with George Rowden who had 52 minutes in Astir GBK and,after climbing to cloud base, found some very weak wave over the southern end of  the forward ridge which enabled him to maintain height for around 10 minutes.  The day’s flying was concluded by Brian Wise who, off the last flight of the day, had 30 minutes in the DG303.  Towards the end of the day, Andy Parish trailered the Discus down to NY Sailplanes to have its instrument panel fixed, while Astir KRN is now back on site after its ARC, but is yet to be rigged.  During the unflyable morning, John Ellis was to be found in the Simulator room giving it a fresh coat of paint and very nice it looks too, so thank you John.

Sunday 22nd to Wednesday 25th February

Sunday 22nd.  A moderate to moderate to fresh S’ly slowly backed into the SSE over the course of the day, the increasingly cloudy skies producing some rain by the afternoon and  restricting flying to 5 ATs in either the DG303 or K21 KLW.  The conditions did, however, provide for some soaring on the southern ridge with one of the day’s flights exceeding an hour and 3 others exceeding 30 minutes.  John Marsh, flying the DG303, was the pilot to exceed an  hour, with a flight time of 1:14, while Tony Drury in the same glider had 32 minutes.  The 2 seater pilots were not to outdone, however, and Roger Burghall and his First Flight pupil R Twiggins had 36 minutes in KLW, with Robin Hutchinson and Steve Ball having 34 minutes in the same glider, even managing to make it back to site this time.

Monday 23rd.  A WSW’ly blowing between 16 to 22 kts tempted those on site to embark on a winching day, but a single launch by John Carter solo in K21, KLW. led to the decision to abandon flying for the day, the  wind later gusting to the mid 30 kts and backing into the S as the light faded.

Tuesday 24th.  A blustery and showery day, with some of the showers falling as hail, meant it was another day for keeping your feet on the ground, the average wind speed of 14-18 kts disguishing the gustiness of the day, the latter reaching the mid 40s.

Wednesday 25th.  The depression responsible for the wild weather of the previous 2 days had moved eastwards into Scandinavia and filled, leaving the site in a light W’ly that slowly backed  into the S.  A sunny start to the day soon changed to more cloudy skies as a warm front approached, its rain not reaching the site until after the end of flying, this comprising 12 ATs and a single flight in the Falke as Mike Smith brushed up hisAT failure and field landing skills with David Campbell.  The conditions were not condusive to soaring so no glider flight exceeded 30 minutes, the best being by Andy Parish and the above mentioned Mike Smith in the DG1000 who spent 23 minutes in the air.  Mike later completed the other half of his Winter checks, his spin exercises with Albert Newbery, Albert earlier having done the same with Andy Parish as P1, while  David Watson  also did his spin checks with John Carter in that role.  The names on the flying log were dominated by that of Peter Joslin, an ex glider pilot, private owner and instructor, who currently flies commercially out of Gatwick.  Peter was sent for a re-solo after  3 dual flights and managed the longest solo flight of the day at 19 minutes, so congratulations to him.

Wednesday 18th to Saturday 21st February

Wednesday 18th.  An departing  warm front left  a legacy of  a low cloud base and a light to moderate SW’ly wind.  John Marsh took the first of the day’s 5 winch launches in the DG303 but decided, after finding the hill was working, that the cloud base was too low and landed after a few minutes.  Taking off again after a break of about an hour, John found the conditions much more to his liking and posted the longest flight of the day, 1:30 before landing and discovering that even though the undercarriage lever appeared to be in  the locked down position, the wheel retracted on landing.  Subsequent investigation showed that it was possible to put the undercarriage lever in the locked position but still have the wheel unlocked and further investigations are planned.  Steve Thompson and Peter Robinson also found the hill lift to their liking in their flight of 48 minutes in K21 JVZ, one of 2 flights to have durations between 30 and 60 minutes.  The wind conditions persuaded Robin Hutchinson and Steve Ball to dispense with winching and take an AT in the DG1000 in an effort to find and make use of some indicated wave.  A foray forward found no wave and on returning to the hill this was found to have stopped working.  Now at hill top height in sinking air, a decision was taken to land out and  a successful field landing was made to the east of Sutton village, far enough away from the site to not challenge Roger Burghall’s grip on this year’s Aux Vache  trophy for the nearest field landing to the Sutton Bank Turn Point.  The only other flying activity of the day was a flight by the Falke.

Thursday 19th.  A bright start  was soon replaced by increasing cloud in a light of moderate WSW’ly flow, as another front moved in from the NW, theh rain from midday continuing for the rest of the afternoon, so no flying was possible.

Friday 20th.  The light to moderate WSW’ly flow continued after the passage of yesterday’s front as another depression tracked eastwards  over the southern part of the UK.  The conditions provided some hill and wave lift, with 8 of the day’s 14 ATs generating flights in excess of an hour and and additional 3 of over 30 minutes.  Jesper Mjels and Derek Smith, both in the DG303, had  the longest flights of the day, 2:24 and 1:52, with Derek climbing to around 6,000′ asl in some disorganised wave and Jesper climbing to around 5,000′ asl.  Ron Beezer also exceeded an hour in the DG303 with 1:20  from the first flight of the day, while Steve Ogden broke the 1 hour barrier with 1:11 in Astir GBK, to record his first solo flight over this particular milestone, so well done Steve.  Colin Troise and Naomi Kennard shared the same flight time as Steve in K21 JVZ and Ron Beezer, now in instructor mode, accompanied Dave McKinney on a flight of 55 minutes in the same glider.  Meanwhile, Peter Crofts decided to have a trip to the seaside in the Falke, visiting Redcar in his O/R.

Saturday 21st.  The wind had now become a light to moderate NW’ly, characterised as usual at Sutton by a dancing windsock and some interesting ATs off runway 24, particularly when approaching and crossing the edge of the hill.  The conditions did, however, generate some good thermal conditions by late morning, with the cloud base eventually rising to over 4,000′ asl and the thermals giving, at times, some 4 kt averages. The 18 ATs  flown off runway 24 were complemented by 2 Falke flights, as Naomi Kennard and Mike Wood sought to impress Paul Whitehead with their field selection and landing prowess, Mike having earlier done his spin checks with John Carter in the DG1000, a feat also undertaken by John Shaw, again in the company of John Carter in the DG1000.   The 3 flights to exceed an hour were Jesper Mjels in the DG303 with 1:55, the aforementioned  John Carter and John Shaw in the DG1000 with 1:13 and Fred Brown and Les Rayment, also in the DG1000 with 1:03.  Fred and Les shared a thermal at one time with George Rowden and his Mile High pupil Raymond Cattermole, the start of their particular flight seeing them maintain  their release height of 5,300′ asl for some 20 minutes of their 55 minute flight in some weak wave over Dalton.  Raymond was one of 3 First Flight pupils of  the day, all enjoying the soaring and excellent visibility, as did Duncan Pask in Astir GBK with 53 minutes and Jon May in the DG303 who had 48 minutes, theirs being 2 of the 9 flights to log times  of between 30 and 60 minutes.  Hangar packing took place in a very light snow shower while later, the SW skies were home to a nice conjunction of a new moon, Venus and Mars at the end of a good soaring day that allowed some thermalling skills to be honed in readiness for what is hoped to be a good soaring year.

Tuesday 10th to Tuesday 17th February

Tuesday 10th.  The clear blue skies of Monday had filled in with a low overcast, as freezing fog in the Vales of York and Pickering metamorphosed into low stratus and a chilly moderate SE’ly blew around the eastern flank of a large high pressure system.  Consequently, there was no flying.

Wednesday 11th.  The high pressure continued to decline and drift SEwards, providing a SW’ly flow at the site that slowly declined from moderate to light.  The extensive and low cloud deck remained, so there was again no flying.

Thursday 12th.   Another day of a low overcast as the cloudy high pressure continued to decline, the light SSE’ly slowly backing into the SE and increasing to light to moderate.  Although the low overcast ruled against any glider operations it had risen sufficiently to allow  the Falke to have an outing in the hands of Derek Smith.

Friday 13th,  A day of mainly light rain in an steadily increasing SE’ly flow meant another non gliding day, the increased humidity of the air mass lowering the cloud base below hill top level for most of the day.

Saturday 14th.  Early morning fog in  Vales of York and Pickering slowly lifted into a low stratus layer that eventually generated some showers and then some more general rain towards evening.  The light to moderate variable wind swung from NNE, to ESE and then back to ENE over the course of the day.  There was one take off from Sutton as Albert Newbery and Tony Drury took the Falke for Tony’s annual check on field landings and aborted launches, the pilots reporting very poor visibility on their return to Sutton.

Sunday 15th.  Another day of cloud masking the hill as the light to moderate E’ly slowly veered into the SE and a period of light rain and drizzle late morning  added to the reasons for staying indoors.

Monday 16th.  A front slowly moving SE’ly crossed the site around 0830 hrs after adding 0.8 mm to  February’s rainfall total.  The departure of the front to the east did not immediately bring an improvement, the cloud not lifting above hill top height until 1500 hrs, to late to allow  any flying to take place, but the veer of the light to moderate wind from S to W and the clearing skies promised a flying day for Tuesday.

Tuesday 17th. A clear and sunny morning after overnight frost was a welcome relief after the anticyclonic gloom of the previous week and this, coupled with a moderate W’ly meant a busy and good soaring day at Sutton where 21 launches were flown, 12 via the winch and the remaining 9 on AT, all off runway 24, the day’s  average flight time being just under an hour.  All the club 2 seaters were flown as were all 3 of the available club single seaters and they were joined by a visiting private owner, Mr A Spray, who made the most of the conditions by having the longest flight of the day, 3:17, in his PW5.  The soaring conditions were provided by hill lift, streeting Cu and weak wave, the lift under the Cu peaking at 4-6 kts at times.  George Rowden, flying the DG303, was winch launched straight under one such street that took him up to cloud base at around 2,000′ QFE, the associated street allowing a foray to Thirsk.  Later in his flight of 1:16, and with an absence of Cu, some weak wave was exploited over the forward ridge allowing a climb from 1200′ QFE to just under 2,000′ QFE.  After landing, Tony Drury took the DG303 for a flight of 1:13, while Colin Troise and Nigel Burke shared a flight of 1:10 in the DG1000 and Albert Newbery and David McKinney had an hour in K21 KLW.  Those using the Pawnee as tug to get airborne included David Watsham, Graham Evison and Naomi Kennard, all undertaking spin checks in the DG1000 in  the company of Albert Newbery, John Carter and Steve Thompson respectively, all completing their flights around 30 minutes.  Rob Bailey and Tony Drury, sharing a flight in K21 JVZ, explored the ridges up towards Osmotherly before deciding that a return to Sutton was the more sensible option, landing back after 2:20 in the air.  Mike Greenacre, flying Astir GBK and Ken Arkley, flying the DG302, both  from ATs, each exceeded an hour in the air, with 1:14 and 1:10 respectively, Ken later trailering Astir KRN down the hill for its ARC as flying came to an end around 1720 hrs in the fading light.

Thursday 5th to Monday 9th February

Thursday 5th.   A light to moderate wind that started off in the NNW and steadily veered into the SE by the end of the flying day was accompanied by showers and eventually by drizzle out of an overcast and low cloud base sky.  Accordingly, no flying was possible.

Friday 6th.  A light to moderate N’ly  brought sunny skies that produced some Cumulus by early afternoon, although the conditions did not lead to any long flight,s with nobody aloft for over 30 minutes.  6 ATs were flown, all in K21 KLW, with Albert Newbery and guest MJ Newbery sharing the duration top spot with solo pilot Chris Thirkell, both flights landing after 22 minutes.  Chris Knap, first flying dual with Tom and then solo, showed his consistency with 21 minutes from each flight, while Tor Taverner and Dick Cole also flew KLW solo, with Dick’s looking like a aerobatic sortie given his tow height, 3,000′ QFE and his duration, 15 minutes.  The pleasant flying conditions with excellent visibility also tempted pilots to have a couple of trips in the Falke.

Saturday 7th.   The light to moderate wind now blew from the NNW, with flying not getting under way until after lunch.  Thereafter, K21 KLW and  the DG1000 provided the means for 9 ATs, while Rory O’Conor had two flights in his DG800, one providing the longest flight of the day, 17 minutes and the other the shortest at 4 minutes.  Andy Parish and Nick Gaunt also had 17 minutes in the air in the DG1000 while Graham Taylor, who recently joined the club had 4 flights, 3 of which were with Graham Evison and the other with John Marsh, all of these being to 1000′ to 1500′ QFE tow heights behind the Eurofox.

Sunday 8th.  The light and variable wind at ground level hid a marked increase of wind speed with height, the wind at height being NW’ly.  This combination of vertical wind direction and speed variance caused a few problems with left hand circuits onto runway 20, this being amply demonstrated by Roger Burghall who landed out in a field to the east of the metalled approach road to the site while taking a new Junior member, Kirsty Stone for her first flight, the land out being due to the combined effects of marked head wind and heavy sink.   An increase in the wind speed at ground level during the day also resulted in the operations being switched to runway 24 and the Pawnee taking over towing duties from the Eurofox.  The clear and sunny conditions did, however, tempt a goodly number of pilots to become airborne with the result that 22 ATs were flown, 2 of these for First Flight pupils.  Ken Arkley, flying the DG303 went wave hunting and found some weak stuff north of Gormire, the resulting delay in his descent enabling him to claim the longest flight of  the day at 29 minutes.  This time was also logged by Mike Smith flying one of the day’s First Flight pupils in the DG1000, although  Mike’s time was not so much the result of finding some lift but rather the  result of taking a tow to 4,400′ QFE in order to provide his pupil with a Mile High flight.  Another pair to take a high tow were John Carter and Steve Wilson as Steve progressed through his instructor training, their  tow to  4,000′ QFE giving them a flight time of 26 minutes.   The day also saw Astir KRN derigged and put in its trailer in preparation for its trip down the hill for its ARC, only for the brakes on the trailer to be found to be seized on.  Astir KRN was then extracted from its trailer. the trailer being placed in the workshop, before Astir KRN was put in Astir GBK’s trailer, this taking some considerable time due to the  differences in the  fittings between the 2 trailers.

Monday 9th.  Another light wind day with clear blue skies and excellent visibility saw only 3 ATs launched due to a lack of members.  The combination of light winds and clear blue skies saw the temperature reach a year’s high of 9C, allowing some very pleasant sitting out near the entrance to the club for those members on site who weren’t flying.  Some paper work and runway de rutting jobs occupied those on site for the morning but straight after lunch, visitor Tim Milner from Pocklington and companion Debbie Murgatroyd  were first off in K21 KLW returning after 23 minutes.  George Rowden and John Carter followed in the DG500 for George’s spin check, a first attempt to spin resulting in a spiral dive, but the second attempt proving successful, as was the recovery.  Some weak wave was then encountered between Gormire and Thirlby that delayed the descent and when down to around 1200′ QFE, some mildly turbulent lift was found windward of the main ridge which was considered to be thermal lift triggered off by  the sun facing slopes. The combination of wave and thermal assisted hill lift resulted in George and John having the longest flight of the day at 34 minutes.  Rob Bailey then took KLW solo in an attempt to utilise the same sources of lift but none was found and Rob landed after 19 minutes.  The Falke had 2 flights, the first of which saw John Tayler and John Carter airborne while the second saw John Carter successfully complete his first solo in the Falke as he progresses towards his SLMG licence, so well done John.  A photo a John after his successful solo is shown below.


A very pleasant day’s flying concluded with Colin Troise trailering Astir KRN down the hill for its ARC.

Monday 26th January to Wednesday 4th February

Monday 26th.  A light to moderate W’ly with a steep wind gradient provided another winching day at Sutton, with 11 launches as K21 KLW, the DG1000 and Astir GBK took to the air and provided the majority of pilots with at least 30 minutes of air time, and 3 with at least 60 minutes.  David Campbell and David McKinney had the  longest flight of the day, 1:18 in KLW, while Stuart Heaton and Colin Troise spent most of their 60 minutes making use of the bits and pieces of weak wave to yield the highest altitude, some 2,900′ asl.  Ken Duxbury was  the only other pilot to exceed or equal an hour aloft with 1:05 in the Astir after having an earlier winch check, this option being taken up by a number of pilots.  Rob Bailey, flying the DG1000 solo, also made use of the wave by climbing to 2,690′ asl, the wave at times making the ridge lift a little soft.

Tuesday 27th.  Similar conditions to Monday prevailed, the wind remaining light to moderate but now coming from the WSW, but this time ATing was  the preferred method of launch, with 8 flown in either K21 KLW, the DG1000 or the DG303.  Nigel Burke flew the latter glider for 1:36, the longest of the day, with no other flights exceeding an hour, but 4 others exceeding 30 minutes.  The best of the latter was the 40 minute flight by Andy Parish and Steve Ball in the DG1000 but duration was not the objective of the day for David McKinney, who, after 2 short flights with Albert Newbery in KLW, was sent off solo in the same glider with the instruction to just repeat what he had just done.  This he did very successfully, even to the extent of duplicating his earlier dual flight times, so congratulations to David on his achievement.  A photo of David with instructor Albert at the completion of his first solo is shown below, this perhaps revealing that Albert has recently made a visit to Sellafield, or is it just that  he likes to make his presence felt or at least seen.

David McKinney with Albert Newbery Feb

Wednesday 28th.   A day of moderate to fresh W’lys, gusting to over 40 kts, accompanied by low cloud and snow kept all the aircraft in the hangars and the majority of members elsewhere.

Thursday 29th.  The continuing W’ly flow steadily declined from being  moderate to fresh, with gusts to over 30 kts, to become a light breeze by the end of the day, the accompanying snow showers also declining in frequency as the day progressed.  The conditions allowed only 2 ATs to be flown, with Dave McKinney, fresh from his solo on Tuesday, taking an 11 minute check flight with Andy Parish in K21 KLW, before taking the same glider solo for a 46 minute soaring flight and boosting his average solo flight time.

Friday 30th.  The wind had become a light to moderate NW’ly, gusting at times to the high 20’s, and providing a cold day on the airfield.  Flying started late morning, and subsequently 6 ATs were flown, 5 in K21 KLW and the remaining one in the Discus, recently returned from its refurbishment in Poland.  CFI Andy Parish took the Discus for a 35 minute test flight, but a minor problem with the attachment points of the instrument panel cover, meant that a trip down to NY Sailplanes is required, so instead of returning to the hangar, the Discus was derigged and put in its trailer in readiness for its trip down the hill as soon as the required bits from Poland arrive.  Having excercised their derigging skills, the on-site members then set-to to derig Astir KRN and put it in its trailer in readiness for its trip down the hill for its ARC.   Steve Thompson and Tony Drury shared 1:20 in KLW as they exploited some weak wave and thereby provided the longest flight of the day.   Tony later shared another KLW flight with Robin Hutchinson, this time for 39 minutes, showing the flighty side of his nature, while Ken Arkley had a check flight with Steve Thompson and a single First Flight pupil was given a 30 minute introduction to gliding.  The more turbulent conditions experienced towards the end of the flying period led to the Pawnee taking over ATing duties from the Eurofox.

Saturday 31st.  An unflyable day resulted as a moderate to fresh NW blew, gusting to almost 40 kts, the turbulent wind conditions being accompanied by early rain, sleet and snow and overcast skies.

Sunday 1st February.  An intially fresh to strong N’ly gusting to over 35 kts soon started to decrease, this improvement in wind conditions being matched by an improvement in cloud conditions, mainly cloudy skies to start  becoming clear towards the end of the day.  The feature that prevented any flying was the state of the airfield, this being snow covered  and quite deep in places.

Monday 2nd.  The NW’ly wind had remained but had declined to become moderate as an Atlantic high pressure system slowly moved in towards the UK.  Skies, however still remained mainly cloudy and the state of the airfield continued to rule out any flying.  The excellent visibility did however provide good views even from ground level.

Tuesday 3rd.  The initially NW’ly wind slowly veered into the N over the course of the day but remained light to moderate, this allowing 4 ATs off runway 02 behind the Pawnee, the first of which had to be aborted as the combination refused to generate sufficient speed to get airborne due to the resistance of the snow covered runway.  Undeterred, glider pilots Andy Parish and Peter Robinson and tugee Derek Smith, chose to reposition the take off point further to the south to take advantage of the thinner snow cover there and then proceeded to fly the 3 other ATs of the day, all with the same pilots.  They were rewarded for their efforts by stunning views over the North Yorks Moors as illustrated by the following photo provided by Andy Parish.

Snowy NYM Feb

This, however, was not the only reward of the day, as Andy and Peter’s second flight also provided a thermal which peaked at 2 kts, and allowed them to extend their flight time to 16 minutes, the best of the day.  The thermal lasted long enough for Andy to get a photographic record of its existence, the photo being shown below.

2 kt thermal Feb

For those of you who don’t visit or have access to the Member’s forum, I have included below  a video of a snowy Sutton Bank shot and edited by Adrian Melia over the above period.  The visual illustration by blowing snow of  the curl over and turbulence near the edge of the hill in a strong NWly flow is one of the areas of interest on this very attractive package.

Wednesday 4th.  The cold, moderate to fresh N’ly flow continued,  clear blue skies being replaced at times by snow showers and the falling snow being supplemented by that blowing across the airfield.  No flying was possible due to the snow showers but Peter Robinson and Andy Parish spent an worthwhile period on the simulator practising recoveries from failed launches.  Access to the club was straightforward as, although the approach road off the A170 was snow covered, the road had been ploughed and the club road was also readily passable as the following photo shows.


The lack of flying did allow an inspection to be made of the extent of  the snow around the hangars and other buildings to be made and although the drifts in front of the hangar were not particularly deep, there were some quite significant ones around the structures immediately to the W of the briefing room, as the following photos show.



Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th January.

Saturday 24th.  After a non-flying week, the forecast flying weather for Saturday duly arrived, the wind being a light to moderate W’ly that provided a mix of winch launches and ATs, 7 of the former and 15 of the latter.  The following photo shows the first AT of the day, the Pawnee towing off Colin Troise in the DG303 for what turned out to be one of the 2 longest flights of the day via AT, 1:10.  The other pilot to reach this time off AT was Darren Lodge who also flew the DG303.  Soaring used a mixture of hill lift and weak wave, although to my knowledge no significant heights were achieved, but all but one  of the ATs exceeded 30 minutes and 3 exceeded an hour, the other pilots to do so being Rob Bailey and John Shaw in the DG1000 with 1:03.  Steve Ogden came close with 58 minutes in Astir KRN.




The 7 winch launches resulted in 2 flights of over an  hour, with all but one of these flights over 30 minutes.  Bill Payton led the way with the longest flight of the day, 1:19 in Astir KRN with Jon May close behind in the Ka8 with 1:03.  Roger Burghall and G Taylor had 42 minutes in K21 KLW on a day when 2 First Flight pupils were flown, virtually all the available club gliders were in action and  the Falke  had a single sortie.  The weak winter sunshine and the light winds combined to make it a pleasant day even though the temperature never rose above 5C, the conditions allowing the rigging of the DG1000 and Astir GBK, both recently returned from their ARCs, to be  very straightforward.  The conditions also allowed the excavations for the new Tug hangar to be inspected by interested members and if you are one of those but have yet to visit the club, photos of the work are shown below.  The first photo shows the excavations along the western side of the hangar and the second photo shows the excavations on the eastern side.



Sunday 25th.   The wind had become a moderate WSW’ly after the passage of a front around 0400 hrs, initial rain soon clearing to leave another soarable day, again in hill lift and wave, this time with more significant climbs. A lack of trade, probably due to a less than optimistic forecast, meant that only 15 winch launches were flown, the 3 club two seaters and 3 club single seaters utilised being joined by a privately owned glider brought to site by 2 members of the Bowland GC.  12 of the day’s launches led to flights in excess of 30 minutes, with 8 exceeding an hour, this particular barrier being reached by the visitors from Bowland, with Messrs Punt and Eden having 1:25 and 1:26 respectively.    The highest climb of the day was to around 4,600′ asl by John Marsh who provided the following photograph while still climbing at 1kt just SW of Thirsk.

Low level wave Jan 25th 4600 asl over Thirsk

The low base of the, at times, extensive cloud cover, caused a few problems for pilots, including John, who, on the first flight of the day in the DG303, which lasted just under 2 hours,  chose to restrict his climbs to 2,500′ asl as cloud base was only 600′ QFE and the wave slots were very transient.

A photo of the extensive low level cloud cover has also been provided by John and is shown below.

Low level wave Jan 25th

Colin Troise and Martin Joyce, flying the DG1000 on the only AT of the day, made a precautionary landing after 28 minutes due to the cloud cover, the descent to their landing being described by Colin as “interesting”. Colin had a longer flight, 1:02, with Albert Newbery off the winch,  reaching 3,700′ asl near Boltby Reservoir in the DG1000, while Steve Thompson had the longest flight of the day, 2:02 in Astir KRN and Paul Whitehead and C Pratt had just under an hour in K21 KLW off the last flight of the day.  Among all this activity Astir GBK was test flown by John Carter after its rigging on Saturday and a single First Flight pupil was flown, with Rob Bailey providing this photo of the setting sun from the DG1000 as he squeezed the final few minutes out of an interesting flying day at the YGC.

25th Jan 15 Rob Bailey DG1000

Sunday 18th to Friday 19th.

Sunday 18th.  A light and variable wind that started off in the SE and progressively veered into the NW, signified the presence of a near-by depression that brought low cloud and rain, the rain becoming sleet and snow by the end of the day.  Consequently, there was no flying, but the civil engineering contractors managed to dig the foundations for the new tug hangar, the work being closely watched by an archaeologist just in case something interesting was unearthed..

Monday 19th.  A light to moderate NNW’ly blew all day with the temperature barely rising above zero.  Although visibility in the Vale of York  was excellent, the site was in cloud all day so there was no flying and the road conditions following Monday’s snow were such as to preclude the scheduled pour of concrete into the newly dug tug hangar foundations.

Tuesday 20th.  The wind strength remained in the light to moderate range, but the wind direction had switched almost 180 degrees to become SE’ly as a depression moved in towards the UK.  Conditions were very murky in the valleys but the cap of cloud on the  North Yorkshire Moors meant it was another un-flyable  and cold day at the club, the temperature never exceeding aero degrees and falling to – 1.5C as brighter skies moved in late afternoon.

Wednesday 21st.  A small depression moving south to north over the UK led to some significant snow fall over the north of England and the north Midlands, the  snowfall lasting most of the day and giving a covering of a few inches at the club.  The  moderate SE’ly wind slowly declined to light as it backed into the ESE, the site again remaining in cloud for the whole of the day.

Thursday 22nd.  The light SSE’ly wind was part of a moist and cold airmass that again kept the site in cloud all day, so the non flying days continued to mount up.

Friday 23rd.  The day saw a brief bright start before the cloud associated with an approaching Atlantic depression spread across  the sky, the wind starting off very light before progressively increasing to moderate, even gusting to just under 30 kts around the middle of the day and settling into the SSE.  The very murky conditions and accompanying low cloud again precluded any flying but the forecast of the  overnight passage of a cold front promised a soaring day on Saturday, which hopefully should end a run of 6 non-flying days that did, however, allow good progress to be made on the new fire/accident trailer which now just awaits its coat of red paint.

Saturday 17th January

Saturday 17th.  A light to moderate SW’ly kept a snow covered Sutton Bank in cloud for most of the day, the cloud only lifting around 1500 hrs to reveal a number of snow showers in the area.  Flying was confined to the simulator where George Rowden took Day Course pupil Jamie on a tour of the area after an 4,000′ AT before taking a winch launch and embarking on a hill soaring exercise.  John Marsh then immersed himself in virtual cloud to undergo his preliminary blind  flying training  with John Carter, before Mike Smith got to grips with the refurbished software and procedures.  An Instructor’s meeting in  the evening addressed by Derek Smith, who covered  recent and future changes to pilot licencing and training and Andy Parish, who covered accident trends, lookout and other safety and instructional issues followed a warming 2 course dinner prepared by Liz.

To provide a change from the snow and cold of a Yorkshire January, I have included below some photographs taken by Phil Lazenby as he endures the 41C heat of Western Australia.  The photos were taken during a 300 km flight with a local student pilot, the cloud base being around 14,000′.  The photos were taken at about 12,000′ so, according to my calculations, the temperature would have been a much more comfortable if somewhat chilly 8C, the Beverley Gliding Club site being about 1000′ asl.  The first picture shows some salt lakes, the second some very nice looking Cu and the third an understandably happy looking Phil who, somewhat surprisingly, favoured the 5C of Yorkshire to the 41C of Beverley.

Salt lakes near Corrigin Aust (1) Phil L Jan


Phil L DG1000 W Aust Jan 15













Happy pilot 12000ft dg1000 Phil L Aust Jan

Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th January

Wednesday 14th.  A moderate WSW’ly that slowly increased and backed to become a moderate to fresh SSW’ly, provided good hill soaring conditions and even a little wave for the limited number of members who braved the wind chill and an interruption due to a shower around midday.  4 winch launches were flown, all in K21 JVZ, with the last launch of the day seeing Albert Newbery and Trevor Reeve, a visitor from Lasham, have 1:10 in hill and wave lift that saw them climb to around 3,000′.  None of the other launches of the day exceeded an hour but all exceeded 29  minutes,  with Dave McKinney and David Watsham having 48 and 47 minutes respectively in the company of Albert Newberry, and Ian Johnston having 30 minutes solo in JVZ.

Thursday 15th.  A moderate to fresh SW’ly gusting to around 30 kts kept the gliders in the hangar, which was just as well, as later in the day the wind became a fresh to strong SSW’ly and gusted to over 50 kts.

Friday 16th.  A light to moderate SW soon veered into the W, so it was another winching day, although the wind strength did not generate much in the way of hill lift, so flight times were all below 30 minutes.  8 winch launches were flown, a heavy snow shower disrupting flying late morning, Andy Parish and visitor Trevor Reeve posting the longest flight of the day with 20 minutes in K21, JVZ, the only glider to be flown.  Steve Ogden and Peter Robinson had 17 and 16 minutes respectively in JVZ with Andy Parish on another very cold day at Sutton.