Thursday 25th. A moderate SW’ly blew for most of the day under mainly cloudy skies, with the result that 15 winch launches were flown between 1045 hrs and 1515 hrs when the decreasing wind speed caused a change to ATing, this contributing 9 launches. A feature of the day was a visit from a group of Army personnel who were introduced to gliding, with the majority of the 12 who flew, having the more exciting winch launch. 3 of the club’s 2 seaters were flown as well as the club DG303 and 5 private owners also took to the skies providing 3 of the flights to exceed an hour on the day. Visitor Graham Morris in his ASW 27 made the most of the conditions with a flight time of 6:41 while Derek Smith flew his Ventus for 2:26 and Jesper Mjels his DG400 for 1:33. Jesper later took the last launch of the day in his DG400 but the log doesn’t record his landing time so I don’t know if he exceeded the 1 hr flight time for the second time. Rob Bailey forsook his ASG29 for the club DG303 and posted the 4th flight of the day to exceed an hour with 1:33. The majority of the day’s flights exceeded 30 minutes with John Carter and Steve Ogden having 44 minutes in K21 JVZ off an AT, just beating the 43 minutes achieved by John Tayler and Steve’s son Chris in K21 KLW. However, Steve’s bragging rights were somewhat dented as his AT took him to 3000′ QFE while son Chris’ only went to 1000′ QFE.
Friday 26th. The wind, while remaining moderate, had veered more into the west but the day still resulted in a mix of winch launches and ATs, with 38 of the latter being flown and 8 of the former. Winch launching started off the day and visitor Graham Morris again took advantage of the conditions to post the longest flight of the day with just under 6 hours in his ASW27. The 38 ATs included 12 for another group of Army personnel with all the club 2 seaters and 3 of the single seaters flown, while 10 private owners also rigged and launched, the last flight landing around 1730 hrs. The day generated 14 flights of over an hour with the 3 hr target being exceeded by Bill Payton and Mr Bunford in Bill’s DG1000t with 3:20, John Ellis in his DG800 also with 3:20, Nick Gaunt in his LS7 with 3:19, Ian Bullous in his DG800 with 3:06 and Martyn Johnson in his DG600 with 3:02. Martyn reached just under 8,000′ asl in wave while John Ellis reached just over 8,000′ asl in his DG800, contacting the wave on his return to Sutton after having to resort to his engine just north of York after turning Pocklington and Burn in a flight of 101 km. Back at site, Frank Wilson had 2:15 in Astir GBK and Phil Westerby Jones/Paul Whitehead had 1:28 in the DG500.
Saturday 27th. The day started with sunny skies and a light to moderate SE’ly blowing so it was AT’s off runway 20 for members, First Flight pupils and a group of helpful Scouts. Hopes of a reasonable thermic day were, however, dashed by the arrival of a medium level overcast mid morning, so that although the day was just the job for flying the Scouts and the 9 First Flight pupils, there was no opportunity to soar. However, the benign conditions did allow Naomi Kennard to convert to the Discus and have a flight of 27 minutes, the longest of the day so far, with the exception of John Carter and Mile High pupil Janet Bibby’s 39 minutes, so congratulations to Naomi. By mid afternoon the 8 or so private owners who had rigged in expectation of a good day’s soaring called it a day and departed to the trailer park which was soon a hive of de-rigging activity. No sooner than this got under way than the overcast cleared and he wind veered into the SW and increased to around 15 kts. This resulted in both a change in runway to 24 and also a change in launch method, with the winch now in operation, but not before Paul Whitehead took First Flight pupil Mr E Wilson off in the DG500 on the last AT of the day, contacted the wave that was well marked by lenticulars and climbed to 8,000′ asl at a 6 kt climb rate before returning to site after a flight time of 45 minutes. Mr Wilson was so pleased with the experience that he undertook an assessment of the club’s airfield fire fighting equipment for free, this being his line of work. This climb to 8,000′ asl was not the best achieved on the day as Axel Manhke reached 12,5000′ asl in his ASW20, but all subsequent flights failed to get much higher than 3,500′ asl in 1-2 kts of lift and later the wave and hill lift collapsed resulting in a rather congested landing area. The 6 winch launches contributed the only 3 flights to exceed an hour, this comprising Roger Burghall/P Robinson in the DG1000 with 1:10, Brian Wise in the Discus with 1:23 and John Carter and Steve Ogden who had 1:01. Adrian Melia on his first solo winch launch in Astir GBK, almost breached the 1 hour tape, but had to be content with 58 minutes. Adrian later took the following photo of an attractive sky scape that developed in the early evening.