Friday 25th. An unstable WNW’ly blew all day, declining from light to moderate to become light by the end of the flying day. The conditions encouraged 13 private owners, other club members and visitors to fly, including a Day Course and 4 First Flight pupils, so that the launch total reached 35. Pilots reported good streeting thermals and high cloud bases although some over development meant staying airborne was not easy at times. This was demonstrated by Rob Bailey in his ASG29t who completed 91% of his 208 km Sut/Scunthorpe/Filey/Sut task before having to resort to his engine to make it home. Better soaring conditions earlier in the flight are shown in the following photo which Rob took after turning Scunthorpe and crossing the Humber on his route north to Filey.
John Ellis, self launching in his DG800, took advantage of the streeting conditions to go upwind to Northallerton before doing a 180 degree turn and following a cloud street all the way to Flamborough head before returning to Sutton, covering 184 km. John’s arrival back at Sutton coincided with a dead period so a landing followed. Steve Ball and Axel Mahnke shared a 2:06 flight in Steve’s Duo Discus with visits to the eastern flanks of the Pennines, while Lindsay Mclane in his Ventus and Graham Morris in his ASW 27 had the longest flights of the day, 3:53 and 5:02 respectively although I do not know where they went. The above pilots were some of the 15 to exceed an hours flight time, this list including Chris Ogden whose 2 flights of the day in the Astir included one of 2:14 and the other of 1;07, while Dad Steve also chipped in with a flight of 1:16 in the Discus. Visitors Duncan and Sherwood from Portmoak, awaiting the completion of some glider repairs at North Yorkshire Sailplanes, took advantage of the good flying conditions to have an hour in the DG1000 on a very good soaring day for late September at Sutton.
Saturday 26th. A mid level overcast which eventually cleared to leave blue skies by mid afternoon, put paid to a soaring day, the wind being a light S’ly that slowly veered into the NW. 32 ATs were flown, 6 for a group of Scouts, while a Day Course Member and 5 First Flight pupils were also flown. The lack of soaring opportunities was reflected in flight times, with no flights over an hour and only 1 over 30 minutes. The latter was flown by Phil Lazenby with 14 year old grandson Elliot Lazenby as P2 off a 3,000′ tow in the DG1000, the flight time being 32 minutes. Phil followed this up with the second longest flight of the day, 27 minutes in the same glider, but this time with his granddaughter, Sophie Lazenby on a day when all the club 2 seaters were utilised. Elliot’s reaction to his flight was “ that was really cool – I am going to take up gliding when I retire”. Hopefully Phil encouraged him to start a lot earlier. Single seater flying was via the Astir and Discus, with Graham Taylor having flights of 23 and 22 minutes in the former glider and Adrian Melia being more consistent in his two flights in the latter glider with 20 minutes each time. Although the day from a soaring point of view was unspectacular, the arrival and subsequent departure of a trio of vintage aircraft led to a lot of interest and not a few admiring if not “I wish I could fly it” glances, the latter being caught on camera as CFI Andy Parish took a close look into the cockpit of one of the visitors, a Tiger Moth.
The Tiger Moth was accompanied by its sister a Leopard Moth, the pair being shown in the next photo parked outside the club house, with the Leopard Moth’s immaculate instrument panel also worth a photo.
The third member of the trio was a Tipsy Bellair, shown in the next photo, as it made its departure, the parked trio being shown in the final photo below.
Sunday 27th. The start of Sunday’s flying was delayed until around 1330 hrs as an intensifying anticyclone with its initially clear, cool night led to a morning of fog and low cloud in the Vale of York. Once flying did get under way, 21 ATs were flown, this total including another group of 7 Scouts and 5 First Flight pupils. The slow start to the day meant that there was insufficient heating to generate any thermic activity with the result that there were no flights of over 30 minutes, Mike Smith getting closest with 2 flights in the DG1000 of 28 mintes each as he took his First Flight pupils for 3,000′ tows. The club’s 2 seaters dominated the flying with no club or privately owned single seaters flown, but Charles Willoughby, Steve Olevour, part of a visiting group from the Staffordshire GC, and Naomi Kennard flew either the DG500 or one of the K21’s solo for flight times of between 8 and 25 minutes dependent on launch height. The day’s flying was augmented by 3 flights in the Falke.
Monday 28th. The anticyclone had intensified further, with the result that the low cloud and fog, persisting in the light to moderate SSE’ly flow did not clear until late afternoon. The clearance came too late to allow any flying to take place apart from a single flight in the Falke, but the late sunshine did allow those left on site to rig the newly acquired Astir which had been trailered up from Dorset by Steve Thompson over the weekend. The rigging process is shown in the following photos, the second of which shows John Carter practising the large animal veterinary skills which are particularly useful when rigging an Astir.
Tuesday 29th. The anticyclone remained in charge with the wind again a light to moderate SE/ESE’ly and the resulting fog/low cloud again evident in the Vale of York. As with Sunday, the dissipation of this low level moisture took quite a long time, the start of flying being delayed until mid afternoon with flying then continuing until around 1820 hrs. The result of this activity was that the day’s launch total reached 9 ATs, all the launches, apart from one, being for club 2 seaters. The exception was a launch by Staffordshire GC pilot Mr A Noble, who, flying his DG303, posted the longest flight of the day at exactly an hour. No one else came close to this time, but Andy Parish, flying Mile High aspirant Dorothy Scorer in the DG1000, took advantage of the high tow to eke out 38 minutes of air time, Dorothy being one of the 4 First Flight pupils of the day.
Wednesday 30th. With the anticyclone starting to decline, the clearance of the early morning fog and low cloud was more quickly accomplished and flying got under way off runway 20 into the light to moderate ESE’ly around 1100 hrs. By the end of the flying day the launch total was 15 ATs, including 2 private owner launches, the most profitable of these again being by visitor A Noble, who this time flew his DG303 for 1:37. This time was exceeded by 2 other visitors from the Staffordshire GC, Messrs Crump and Bowes who had 1:54 in the DG1000, using a succession of thermals which were initially marked by Cu, then haze caps before becoming blue, the vertical extent of the lift being at the clearly defined inversion around 3,000′ asl. These two flights took off within half an hour of each other around 1300 – 1330 hrs, with thermal conditions declining thereafter, although the visibility steadily improved to become excellent by the end of the day.The day also saw a Day Course pupil, Brian Footitt and 3 First Flight pupils flown, while Peter Wright had 29 minutes in Astir KRN, just failing to join the 4 other flights to exceed 30 minutes aloft.