Tuesday 15th and Sunday 20th to Wednesday 23rd April.

April 23rd, 2014

Tuesday 15th.  The report on this day was missed out from my previous blog so is given  here. A light to moderate S’ly slowly backed into the SE as the day progressed, sunny skies prevailing for most of the day with Cu being visible to the E over the Wolds and to the W over the Pennines from late morning.  However, there was no development within gliding distance of the site until mid afternoon when 9 private owners and visitors launched, with the majority able to soar.  Steve Thompson flew the 100 km Sut/Poc/Ruf/Sut triangle in his Discus in his flight of 2:57, while visitor Steve Codd in his Discus flew locally for 2:49.  Rob Bailey took his ASG29E around the Sut/Guisborough/Whitby/Sut 105.5 km triangle with a total flight time of 1:17 while George Rowden went and explored a nice convergence to the E of Malton returning to site after 1:59.  John Ellis in his DG800 and Phil Lazenby in his Pegase aslo took advantage of the thermic conditions with Phil having 2:05 and John visiting Beverley and meeting George near Malton.  27 additional launches were flown, including 8 for First Flight pupils, with the majority of the club gliders utilised including the Ka8 and both Astirs, with Andy Parish and visitor M Pointon having 1:01 in K21 JVZ and Peter Wright 36 solo minutes in K21 KLW.

Sunday 20th.  A moderate to fresh NEly gusting to 27 kts soon brought in extensive cloud and eventually occasional  light rain.  The only flight of the day saw John Marsh and Kelly Teagle take off in the DG500 for a met check during the brighter morning, returning after 8 minutes with a thumbs down for further aerial activity.

Monday 21st.  Monday saw the start of 2014’s holiday courses with the weather obliging by providing a light E’ly flow with sunny skies under thin high cover.  The wind slowly backed into the NE over the course of the day, increasing to moderate in the middle of the day before decreasing as the afternoon drew on and clould cover increased.  9 ATs were flown in either K21 JVZ or the DG500, 4 First Flight pupils and course member Martin Dryden making the most of the stable and unsoarable conditions.  Martin also had one of the 2 flights of the day in the Falke as the maximum flight time in gliders was 18 minutes, this being achieved by John Marsh and I Barwick in K21 JVZ and by Chris Gill and one of the day’s First Flight pupils, Mr Morrison, in the DG500.

Tuesday 22nd.  A bright start soon degenerated into a generally cloudy and murky day with light rain at times, particularly after lunch as the light to moderate E’ly fell light and veered into the SE.  The only flying activity was by the Falke which had a single flight.

Wednesday 23rd.  A light to moderate SSE’ly brought in a murky airmass that nevertheless generated some reasonable soaring conditions by the early afternoon before a medium level overcast moved in as the wind backed into the SE and it started to rain around 1700 hrs.  17 ATs were flown from the public footpath side of runway 20, 5 private owner launches combining with launches by both of the club K21s.  Bob Calvert posted the longest flight of the day in his ASW19, 2:48,  and visited York, although it took him two launches to achieve this duration milestone.  Not far behind was Paul Whitehead who had 2:44 in his Ventus, visiting Burn and taking a cloud climb over Drax.  Heading for Pontefract he emerged from the cloud to find 8/8ths cover and no signs of  lift so a quick change of plan saw him make his way back to Sutton.  George Rowden, launching late in his LS8, set off on the Sut/Snainton/Stamford Bridge/Sut 106 km triangle but after rounding Snainton, having sampled a convergence on the way, was, like Paul, faced with a totally overcast sky.  With the local convection also fading it was out with the engine to climb to 4,500′ asl followed by a 28 km final glide back to Sutton in smooth, stable air that provided a surprising amount of reduced sink.  Derek Smith, taking off in his Ventus, soared locally and took the opportunity to give his turbo a number of starts, plus a period of extended running, after its winter storage.   Those flying club gliders included course member Martin Dryden, while John Marsh and M Cox had 44 minutes in KLW and club chairman Chris Thirkell had 20 minutes solo in JVZ.  A visit to the office by your scribe around lunch time was met by two surprises.  The first was a Flarm Radar display which as the name implies, displays the 3D position of all gliders equipped with Flarm while in the local area, even providing climb rates and the like of individual gliders.  This piece of prototype technology has been put together by Steve Ball with plans to provide it with a larger aerial to extend the range of returns.  The other surprise was the presence of a lady called Jean who was dressed as a noble woman of the 3rd century AD in a very attractive period dress.  However, the scene became  even more surprising when CFI Andy Parish entered and, donning a red cross adorned tabard complete with belt, scarbard and sword, transformed himself into a 3rd century AD knight.  Some of you may now have put 2 and 2 together and realised that the 23rd of April is St George’s day, a conclusion supported by the English flag flying over the clubhouse.  However, this was only a part of the reason for Andy and Jean’s atire.  The principal reason was that  this year sees the 100th anniversary of the founding of the WI and the national Baton of  the WI is being transferred around the country in celebration.  The YGC was chosen for one of the Baton transfer points so Andy and Jean, the latter clutching the Baton, climbed aboard  G-OSUT, the YGC Falke, and took a flight .In true WI fashion, Andy and Jeans  low level go-around past the club house in the Falke took place to the playing of Jerusalem.   After Andy and Jean deplaned from the Falke after  landing  and taxying up to the end of runway 24, Jean handed on  the Baton to  a representative of the next WI area to hold it, the ceremony being witnessed by around 58 visiting  ladies from the WI.  The handing over ceremony was then followed by  scones and  tea prepared by Liz and served in the club house lounge, transformed for the occasion into a very nice tea room.   Pictures to follow.

Wednesday 16th to Saturday 19th

April 20th, 2014

Wednesday 16th.  A moderate SE’ly that slowly veered  into the SW by the end of the day, provided another soaring day at Sutton, although the longest soaring flights were confined to the 2 private owners who launched, Bob Calvert having 2:10 in his ASW19 and Ken Arkley 1:06 in his LS8t.  Ken reported weak wave in front of the southern ridge which maintained his launch height for a goodly proportion of the flight and even provided a few hundred feet climb, while the southern ridge also provided some help staying up when the wave disappeared.   These were 2 of the 13 ATs flown on the day, with members and visitors making the most of the conditions.  A single First Flight pupil  was flown and the Falke had 3 outings, while Dick Cole and Adrian Melia almost made it a 3 > 1 hr day, when, off the last flight, they had 53 minutes in K21 KLW.

Thursday 17th.   A very weak cold front moving SE’ly provided good hill soaring conditions with some wave for good measure, although the cloudy skies that kept coming and going  in the moderate to fresh W’ly meant a good eye had to be kept on the wave slots when above cloud and also on a few passing showers.  17 winch launches were flown, including 4 by private owners/visitors, one of the latter, A Wooley, making the most of the conditions by completing his Silver Duration in the club Astir off the first launch of the day.  Congratulations to him.   Steve Thompson and Resh Khodabocus, flying K21 JVZ, had 1:10, during which they climbed to 7,000′ in wave.  Bob Calvert had 2:50 in his ASW19, while visitor M Pointon had 2:10 in the Discus, with another of the visitors, M Kidd, had 1:14 in the same glider.  In all,  10 of the day’s launches resulted in flights of over an hour.

Friday 18th.  The post cold front airmass promised a good day’s soaring in a light to moderate NNE’ly,  so 17 private owners/visitors launched, contributing to the 42 ATs flown on the day.  The day turned out to be trickier than expected, with a number of pilots having to resort to their engines either to re-connect with the convection or to get home.  These included David Latimer in  his Ventus who resorted to his engine low over an unhelpful Gainsborough power station and Rob Bailey, who had to resort to his engine while attempting to repeat his 300 km Sut/ Market Rasen/Bakewell/Sut triangle, only to quickly run into a nice thermal.  Lindsay Mclane flew a 292 O/R to Alton Towers in  his Ventus, while Rory O’Conor flew a 318 km O/R to Stone and Andy Wright completed a 304 km O/R to Belvoir, remarking on the weak nature of the thermals and the relatively low cloud base for most of the flight.  Phil Lazenby, flying a 208 km triangle in his Pegase, Sut/Ays/Goo/Sut, and hoping to utilise the expected better conditions over the Pennines, also found the lift to be weak and partly blue,  while Andy Hatfield in the DG200 found progress to be so slow and difficult that he gave up on his task altogether, but still enjoyed? over 3 hours in the air.  Ian Bullous flew a 104 km  O/R to Market Weighton in his DG800, while  John Ellis, also a DG800 jockey, flew down to Gainsborough, but without the assistance of  his LX8000 which is away for repair, before returning to Sutton. Given the tricky conditions, inexperienced cross country pilot, Tony Drury, flew perhaps one of the most meritorious cross countries of the day by flying an 109 km O/R to Burn to claim his Silver Distance, so well done Tony.  Back in the local area, Ken Arkley flying his LS8t, visited the hang gliders and parapointers on the North face of the North Yorks Moors before deciding that the environment was becoming a little crowded in his flight of just under 3 hours, contributing to the 16 flights that exceeded an hour.  John Marsh and J Barton almost made this list with 56 minutes in K21 KLW, while 4 First Flight pupils chose a good day for a visit and the Falke added to a busy  day at Sutton with 3 sorties.

Saturday 19th.  The wind had become a light to moderate E’ly but a layer of Stratocumulus at around 1500′ QFE meant a slow start to the day’s flying and some waiting for members and the day’s First Flight pupils for conditions to improve.  This they slowly did, with the cloud base rising and the cloud breaking up by early afternoon, the long cloud streets that had formed  providing some good linear soaring, with the best of the  thermals peaking at 6-8 kts.  The slow start affected the total number of ATs flown, this being 17, while the wind direction led to the runway in use being changed from 02 for the first few launches to 06 for the remainder.  3 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour, with Rob Bailey in his ASG29E, abandoning an attempt at a O/R to Kendal and flying an undeclared, 162 km, Thirsk/Leyburn/Pocklington/Thirsk task, in his flight of 2:25.  Steve Thompson and Steve Ogden shared 1:24 in the DG1000, while John Marsh had 1:37 in the Discus.  The 4 first flight pupils of the day were joined by a returning First Flight pupil and all enjoyed the opportunity to experience thermal soaring and flight times of approximately 30 minutes each.  One of the First Flight pupils, 70 year old Michael, having  last flown a  glider 47 years ago, converted his trip  to a Mile High flight and demonstrated that he hadn’t forgotten much of what he had previously learned on the prolonged descent, even managing a climb in one of the last thermals of the day once below cloud  base.

Wednesday 9th to Monday 14th April

April 15th, 2014

Wednesday 9th.  A cloudy day to start with the wind, a light to moderate SW’ly, increasing to moderate as it veered into the W and the cloud broke up.  7 winch launches and 8 ATs were  flown, the winch launches producing 3 flights of over an hour and the ATs one. It was mainly a day for the 2 seaters, but Astir KRN was flown and 3 private owners also launched.  As well as hill lift, there was some wave, with David Campbell reaching 5,600′ asl in the Astir off the first launch of the day in his flight of 2  hours.  Andy Parish and Naomi Kennard shared a flight of an hour in the DG1000 during which they climbed to 10,000′ asl while Andy and Lewis Gray from Bowland GC also found the wave in their flight of 1:00, climbing to just under 5,000′ asl.  The 4 First Flight pupils of the day had a good introduction to gliding and soaring and the day’s aviating was completed by a single Falke flight.

Thursday 10th.  Flying got under way around 1030 hrs under sunny skies, the wind being a light to moderate WSW’ly.   13 ATs and a single Falke flight constituted flying activity for the day,this including 2 flights for First Flight pupils,  the wind slowly veering to become a WNW’ly by the end of flying.  It was again a predominately a 2 seater day  but Bob Calvert in his ASW 19 balanced up proceedings with a thermal  flight of 3:12, the best 2 seater flight being by Colin Troise and Tor Taverner who shared 51 minutes in the DG1000. 

Friday 11th.  A cracker of a day with 42 ATs, 2 solos, 2 land outs, a number of cross countries and a visitor from Rufforth dropping in.  The cause, a nice ridge of high pressure providing good thermic conditions and a light WNW’ly flow that strengthened to become a W’ly at the end of the day.  The 42 ATs included 14 by private owners with most of the club fleet being utilised.  Rob Bailey flew a 320 km triangle, Sut/Market Raisen/Bakewell/Sut at 80.6 kph and enjoyed excellent views of the Peak District in the very good visibility.  Phil Lazenby flew his Pegase around a 207.2 km FAI triangle, Sut/Hull/Pontefract/Sut at 79.1 kph, self selecting the Hull turn point to avoid getting too near to the east coast.  Conditions were sufficiently tempting but  nevertheless tricky, this combination resulting in 2 landouts; Tony Drury in the DG303 and Martin Joyce in Astir KRN.  A  of photo of Martin in his field, together with his retrieve crew is shown below, his considerate landing along the tractor track being greatly appreciated by the farmer no doubt. 


   The 2 solos of the day were first Lewis Gray and then Adrian Melia so congratulations to them.    Lewis followed his first solo of 35 minutes with a second of 23 minutes while Adrian’s first solo was at the end of  the day when thermal activity had died.  Photos of Lewis ready to go and the start of his first solo AT are shown below.



  Interestingly, Adrian went solo 47 years after his Dad, Mark, having flown the same number of pre solo flights.  However, the coincidences don’t end there, as both Adrian and  his Dad were  sent solo by David Hill.   The changes in glider performance over the 47 years that elapsed between these 2 solos can be gauged by Adrian’s average pre solo flight time of 30 minutes compared with his Dad’s of approximately 4 minutes.    Among all this excitment, Jon Hart in his Vega had 4:54, and Colin Troise in the Discus had 1:59  to join the list of the 11 pilots exceeding an hour in the air.  This particular milestone was not achieved by any of the 2 seater pilots but Andy Parish/Naomi Kennard in K21 JVZ  and Mike Smith with his First Flight pupil Mr Armstrong in the DG1000 had 48 minutes each.  To conclude an eventful day’s gliding, Rufforth pilot S Hawkin landed on site before taking an AT departure back to Rufforth.   To crown the day, the club welcomed a group from Surrey Hills GC complete with an Grob Acro, a  Discus and 2 Ka6s. 

Saturday 12th.  A weak cold front moving SE’ly meant a truncated day’s flying, the front’s low cloud and showers leading to flying stopping mid afternoon.  However, 19 launches were flown of which 6 were for a group of Scouts from the Sunderland area.  The club DG1000, K21 JVZ and the Discus were joined at the launch point by a single private  owner and the moderate to fresh SW meant a day of winch launching that generated 2 flights of over an hour.  John Marsh, flying the Discus clocked up one of these with 1:11, while Andy Parish gave visiting Surrey Hill’s instructor Steve Codd a 1:10 introduction to Sutton Bank in the DG1000.    Although truncated by the weather, the flying day was long enough to allow Roger Burghall to give Lewis Gray 3 winch launches  in K21 JVZ, the first of which saw them climb to 3,500′ asl in wave before descending rapidly as the cloud filled in below them.   The next 2 launches had Lewis coping with simulated cable breaks before Lewis was sent solo on the winch to add to his first solo AT flights  the day before.  So more congratulations to Lewis.   The day also allowed a single First Flight pupil to be flown.

Sunday 13th.  A moderate to fresh W’ly gusting to 35 kts around the north flank of  the high pressure meant a hill and wave day, the latter being illustrated in the following photos taken by John Shaw from his LS7 at around 6,000′ asl.  The white dot seen at the  bottom right of the first picture  is the While Horse while  the second photo shows a higher level wave system.



  39 winch launches were flown, the club fleet launches being augmented by those of 12 private owners/visitors.  David Latimer in his Ventus attempted a Harrogate North/Barnard Castle/Wetherby/Leyburn/Harrogate North task but abandoned it after 154 km  due to the wind at height increasing to 60 kts, and 8/8ths cloud cover over the Pennines.  This combination made the into wind run into the Leyburn turn point something of a gamble even from the 15,000′ peak altitude David achieved .  David’s flight time of 4:55 was not the longest of the day, this being greatly exceeded by Paul Whitehead in his Ventus with 6:33 during which he climbed to 10,000′ asl and visited Pontefract and Staindrop.  Another flight in excess of 6 hrs was also recorded by Bob Calvert in his ASW19, the flight time being 6:22.  The visitors from Surrey Hills enjoyed the relative freedom from airspace restrictions at Sutton with Steve Codd/A Wooley taking their Grob Acro to 10,000′ asl over Harrogate.  16 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour with John Marsh having 1:51 off the first flight of the day in the Discus (take off time being 0915 hrs) while Brian Wise and D Taylor had 1:21 in K21 KLW.  The 4 First Flight pupils of the day certainly were given some great soaring experiences to take away with them.  The day’s flying activities also  included an single AT, Andy Hatfield taking a guest for 41 minutes in the DG1000.  Monday 14th.  A moderate W’ly soon decreased in strength providing an excellent day’s soaring with cloud base eventually rising to over 5,000′ asl, sea air arriving late in the day as the wind became a light NE’ly.    26 ATs were flown, half of these by private owners/visitors, with 8 yielding flights of over an  hour.  Andy Wright, flying his Nimbus after a break of some 7 months, completed a 319 km YoYo at 77 kph in a flight of 3:52, with turn points at Beverley, Leyburn and Goole.  Chris Gill and Duncan Pask shared a similar type of task and  flight time to Andy, but their YoYo involved turn points at Scunthorpe, Hemsley and  the Humber Bridge, the 304 km task being covered at 81.0 kph in a flight time of 3:51.   Rob Bailey, after soaring locally for some time, decided to whiz around the club 100 km FAI triangle, Sut/Snainton/Stamford Bridge/Sut and covered the 106.5 km at a handicapped speed of 96.8 kph in his ASG 29.   Those soaring locally also enjoyed the good conditions with Tony Drury having 1:41 in the Discus, visitors Steve Codd/H Kirby Smith 1:54 in the Grob Acro while Paul Whitehead took D Kirby Smith for 1:00 in K21 JVZ.

Monday 14th.   The moderate to fresh W’lys of Sunday persisted into the opening of Monday but then declined to provide an excellent soaring day with strong thermals and a cloud base rising to around 5,500′ asl.  Andy Wright, flying his Nimbus after a break of some 7 months, completed a declared 319 km YoYo, with turn points at Beverley, Leyburn and Goole, averaging 77 kph.  Chris Gill with Duncan Pask as P2, completed another YoYo in the DG1000, this time with turn points at Scunthorpe, Helmsley and the Humber Bridge to record 304 km at 81 kph.  The day resulted in 26 ATs, including 13 by private owners/visitors, 8 of  the launches leading to flights in excess of an hour, Andy and the pairing of Chris Gill/Duncan Pask virtually sharing the longest duration flight with 3:52 and 3:51 respectively.  Visitors Steve Codd and H Kirby Smith recorded 1:54 in their Grob Acro with Paul Whitehead taking D Kirby Smith for an hour in K21 JVZ, while Tony Drury had 1:41 in the Discus.  Rob Bailey, flying his ASG29 locally for a while, decided to whiz around the club 100 km FAI triangle and did so,  covering the 106.5 km of the Sut/Snainton/Stamford Bridge/Sut task at a handicapped speed of 96.8 kph.

Thursday 3rd to Tuesday 8th April.

April 8th, 2014

Thursday 3rd.  The light to moderate  E’ly flow continued to bring in a very murky air mass, so that visibililty remained very poor under a low overcast, preventing any flying.

Friday 4th.   At last a change in air mass, as Atlantic air made progress eastwards, the wind being a light W’ly.  It did, however, take most of the day for the murk to disperse, the process being marked by a slow improvement in visibilty from very poor in the morning to good by evening, with morning  light rain and drizzle giving way to drier conditions and brighter skies by the end of the afternoon.  However, the better conditions arrived too late to allow any flying. 

Saturday 5th.  The wind had become a light to moderate SE’ly accompanied by plenty of low cloud.  Lindsay McLane, anxious to do another tow in the Eurofox, persuaded John Marsh to test fly the Discus after its ARC.  This John did, finding some weak wave to climb 200′ in before the growing amount of  cloud below suggested a return to earth after 27 minutes aloft was a good idea .  Andy Parish took the only First Flight pupil of the day for a 30 minute flight in the DG1000, while Bill Payton took his guest for 25 minutes in K21 JVZ.  One other AT was flown before the still increasing cloud brought an end to flying just after midday, but not before the Falke had a flight.

Sunday 6th.  Rain at the start the day delayed flying until the afternoon, as an increasing S’ly wind  slowly veered into the SW and lightened.  A met flight in the Falke in the early afternoon cleared the way for six patient Scout Leaders to be flown, before Tony Drury took the only members and the last flight of the day of the day solo in K21 JVZ, landing just before 1700 hrs after 29 minutes aloft.  The day’s flying was completed by Albert Newbery’s flight in the Falke.

Monday 7th.  The day started with overcast skies and  with light rain and drizzle as the SE’ly wind slowly veered into the SW.  The cloud shrouded hill eventually emerged into clear air, but too late to allow any flying.

Tuesday 8th.  A passing  cold front left the site in a moderate to fresh W’ly, with shower activity dying out as the pressure rose  7mb over daylight hrs.  24 winch launches were flown, as members made the most of a good soaring day comprising hill lift, strong and streeting thermals and even a little bit of wave.  The one exception to this was Phil Lazenby who cricked his back rigging his and other gliders and decided that flying was not a good idea.  Flying started before 1030 hrs, with  the last flight landing just before 1800 hrs.  16 of the 24 flights exceeded an hour. 6 exceeded 2 hrs and 2 exceeded 3 hours as private owners made 7 contributions to the flying list.  Nick Gaunt recorded the longest flight of the day, 3:46, during which he visited Catterick and Roseberry Topping in his LS7, covering around 105 kms, finding wave on the way to Catterick and climbing to 7,000′ asl, while struggling to get a climb at Roseberry in order to make progress into the strong head wind that was blowing at 25-30 kts at cloudbase, the latter  rising to around 5,000′ during  the best part of the day.  The temperature at this height was -5c.   Others to visit Roseberry were Chris Gill in the club Discus who made it there and back in around an hour and Rob Bailey in the club DG303, Rob’s hill soaring approach providing some low points and the necessity to use the W/SW facing shoulders of the N facing hills east of Carlton Bank to make progress upwind.  Bill Payton and his guest took the DG1000 some 110 kms to Scarborough and back, while George Rowden did 120  local OLC kms in his LS8-18, enjoying some fast out and return runs to Leeming and Northallerton underneath some nicely aligned cloud streets.  As well as the Discus and DG303, Astir KRN was also flown while both K21’s were kept busy with members and the one First Flight pupil of the day.

Sunday 30th March to Wednesday 2nd April

April 3rd, 2014

Sunday 30th.  A light to moderate mainly N’ly continued to feed in a very hazy air mass that restricted visibility to a point where gliding operations were not considered conducive to training.  Also, the absence of any prospects of soaring flight contributed to the gliders remaining in their hangars. Gliding of the virtual variety did, however, take place on the simulator and conditions were such as to allow the Falke and the Eurofox to have 2 flights each.  The Eurofox flights allowed  Andy Wright to do a type conversion under the supervision of Paul Whitehead, before Paul and wife Polly had a local flight in the same aircraft.

Monday 31st.    A virtually static synoptic system led to a continuing light to moderate, mainly NNW’ly flow with its accompanying very hazy air mass, but this time with the added attraction of some light precipitation early and late in the day as a weak feature made its presence felt.  As a result there was no flying activity.

Tuesday 1st April.  The day dawned with a light and variable wind and the continuing hazy conditions.  However, by the afternoon, much better conditions developed with sunny skies and good visibility and even some Cu development.  However, there was no one on site to fly the gliders so aviation was confined to the Eurofox, with Lindsay McLane and Liam Watt successfully converting to type under Paul Whitehead’s supervision, before Lindsay took the Eurofox up again for a solo sortie.  This was Liam’s first day as resident summer tuggie and we welcome him back after his time spent in Australia and training for his commercial pilots licence.  The day also saw some more glider and tug shuffling as the Super Cub was moved from its position in the back of hangar number 2  to allow its repaired elevator  to be fitted and the engine run up.  The engine fired up beautifully and with its new elevator fitted the Super Cub can now be flown down to Bagby for some final adjustments as soon as the weather relents.  A view of  the repaired elevator is shown in the following photo.


Wednesday 2nd.  The weather reverted to type, with poor visibility in a light to moderate mainly NE’ly flow that kept the site in cloud all day.  In the absence of any chance of flying, Andy Parish and Liam Watt spent the day installing tow bar hook up points for the club trailers along the edge of the  land recently cleared of trees.   The results of their hard work is shown in the following photo.


 The day was however enlivened by a phone call from Ian Plant, who is recovering from his recent liver transplant, and is now out of intensive care, on a general ward and accepting visitors.  He can be found in Bay 5 of Ward 37 of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, NE7 7DN or contacted via 0191 2137038.

Saturday 29th March

March 29th, 2014

Saturday 29th.  The light to moderate E’ly flow continued and, after some showers overnight, the day dawned with the site in cloud.  In  the absence of flying activities the opportunity was taken to rig the Discus after Steve Thompson returned it from its ARC at North Yorkshire Sailplanes, while the visiting Scouts did some virtual flying on the simulator under the tutelage of Mike Smith and George Rowden.  By early afternoon it was possible to see blue sky directly up above, but horizontal visibility remained very poor, never exceeding 4 km and, as a result, the gliders and tugs stayed in the hangars.  Apart, that is from those stored in hangar number 2, where some careful shuffling led to the positioning of the still-to-be-repaired Super Cub in the back of the hangar, the remaining space being filled up by the Ka8, Discus, K21 KLW and both Pawnees.  Among the plane pushers was Fred Brown who, earlier in the day, had done useful work sealing the recently  repaired Clubhouse roof as shown in this photo from Roger Burghall.


 In the evening, the mysteries of applying for an EASA licence were explained by John Carter, with dinner prepared by Liz, following.

Normally glider pilots ascend to great heights without much physical effort, courtesy of mountain wave.  However, David Bradley has chosen to do it the hard way by attempting to climb Everest, and is intending to recount his daily experiences in his blog, which can be accessed by posting  the following web address into your browser.  David probably won’t have much to say until he gets to base camp in mid-April, but from then on he is intending to pull no punches on the experience, so expect a roller-coaster of emotions. 


Tuesday 25th to Friday 28th March

March 29th, 2014

Tuesday 25th.  A non flying day as a gloomy, cloudy, wet and drizzly air mass sat over the site.  The only feature of interest was the wind, which although light, veered through 150 degrees over the day from SE to NNE.

Wednesday 26th.  The wind had become a moderate to fresh N’ly, gusting to the mid 20’s and although the morning brought a few sunny intervals, a lowering cloud base brought in a mixture of rain, sleet and snow by the afternoon, this persisting into the evening.  Consequently, the only flying was in the morning when the Falke was use for field landing and launch failure practice.

Thursday 27th.  An overcast morning with a moderate E’ly flow soon degenerated into a wet afternoon with the site being enveloped in cloud.  The better conditions in the morning did allow Peter Cowling to fly the Falke to record the only flight of the day.

Friday 28th.  The E’ly flow continued and strengthened slightly, the rain continuing into the early part of the flying day, the total from its start on Thursday being 12 mm.  Thereafter, even though the rain stopped, the low overcast sat on the hill preventing any flying.  However, the 10 strong group who went to Pocklington for winch launch refresher training had a busy day in spite of a cloud base of 6-800′ QFE.  Most of the attendees had 3 launches, the low cloud base being no bar to the various simulated launch failures that were a feature of the training.

Thursday 20th to Monday 24th March

March 25th, 2014

Thursday 20th.  A fresh SW’ly blew for most of the day with gusts to the mid 30’s, the windy conditions and the accompanying low overcast preventing any flying, with rain arriving late afternoon as the wind eased and the cold front crossed the site.

Friday 21st.  The SW’ly wind had remained moderate in strength, so it was out with the winch under partly cloudy skies in a post cold front unstable air mass, that contained a few showers, some of them of the wintry variety.  19 winch launches and a single AT were flown between 1025 and 1751 hours, all but one of the launches in club aircraft with the single private owner to fly, Steve Thompson in his Discus, being the only pilot to not make it back to site. The day produced 5 flights of over an hour, the longest, 1:50 being by Nick Covill solo in K21 JVZ, followed by John Carter and Colin Troise in the DG1000 with 1:27 and Rob Bailey with 1:18 in the DG303.  Martin White, flying Astir KRN off the only AT of the day joined the >1 hr brigade with 1:10 as did Brian Wise and Steve Ogden with 1:03 in K21 KLW.  30 plus minute flights made up the majority of the remaining sorties, including that of the only First Flight pupil of the day.

Saturday 22nd.  Another winching day as the wind persisted in the SW with only a slight moderation in strength from that of Friday.  21 winch launches were flown, but like Friday, a single AT was flown for the benefit of one of the 2 First Flight pupils of the day, Roger Burghall providing 30 minutes of flight for Carol Stantlebury in the DG1000. The 3 available club 2 seaters and 3 out of the available club single seaters made up the majority of the launches, but there were 5 private owner launches, including Steve Thompson in his Discus, who this time made it back to site to record the longest flight of the day, 1:56.  Jon May and Steve Ball, reunited with their Duo Discus xt shared a flight of 1:30, while Rory O’Conor, hopefully warmly clad, had 1:28 in the draughty Ka8, the outside ground temperature never getting above 6C.  John Marsh in Astir KRN and Rob Bailey in the DG303 made up the >1hr contingent with Andy Parish and Adrian Melia just failing to join this particular club with 56 minutes in the DG1000.  While most attendees braved the cold conditions outside, Andy Hatfield and Peter Goodchild opted to fly in the warmer climes of the simulator suite for a part of the day.  At the end of the flying day Andy Parish and Rob Bailey provided some words of wisdom on how not to crash, with Rob providing some sobering insights from his recent experience of falling out of the wave over the Pennines.

Sunday 23rd.  A veer of the wind into the NW and then progressively into the NNE brought in colder air, while a trough introduced some heavy, hail showers in the early afternoon which turned the site briefly white and caused flying to come to a halt around 1300 hrs.  Prior to this, 8 ATs were flown, primarily in the 2 seaters, although Rob Bailey took a launch in his ASG29 and returned after 1:35, his declared cross country task to the N and NE having been frustrated by lines of hail showers.  He did, however, manage an undeclared task of Sutton/Tontine/Stokesley/Tontine/Sutton although this did require some idling btween the Tontine and Sutton to allow some of the showers to clear the site and allow a landing.  Mike Smith took the only First Flight pupil of  the day for 30 minutes in the DG1000, while John Marsh and Naomi Kennard had 24 mintues in K21 JVZ.

Monday 24th.  A declining ridge of high pressure brought a  cold and moderate SE’ly flow, clearing early  morning fog from the Vale of York and producing a thermic day, the first ragged and low Cu appearing around 1030 hrs, increasing rapidly to virtually fill the sky by midday and then declining as the cloud base rose to around 4,500′ asl by late afternoon.  10 ATs were flown off runway 20 as 2 Mile High pupils, a visitor from Borders GC and members took advantage of the conditions to indulge in some early thermal soaring.  John Carter embarked on his cloud flying course under the tutelage of Derek Smith, a spell on the simulator being followed by a flight in the DG1000, with John wearing a pair of Foggles to restrict his vision.  Derek has provided the following photo to show John concentrating hard on the Artificial Horizon in the back seat of the DG1000 in their flight of just under an hour, this including a thermal climb.


George Rowden took the 2 Mile High pupils for flights of around 50 minutes each, thermals being used on both, while Rob Bailey starting his task at 1440 hrs, completed a 100 km FAI triangle, Sut/Masham/Wetherby/Sut in his ASG29 at 69 kph, reporting strong surges in inconsistent thermals which never took him to cloud base, his maximum height being around 4,000 asl.

Tuesday 18th to Wednesday 19th March.

March 19th, 2014

Post Script.   Hendrick Hoerth’s wave prediction programme is now back on track, so either the gremlin has departed or we are indebted to a person or persons unknown.

Tuesday 18th.  Light showers and then more substantive rain in the morning meant that there was no flying, but this enforced break did allow Ben Dawson and Simon Richardson, both winter members from Pocklington, to successfully repair the storm damage to Astir KRN’s trailer so thanks to them. Afternoon brought a clearance with sunnier skies and a moderate to fresh W’ly, although gusts to around 35kts meant that ground handling would have had to be carefully managed if there had been anyone around to fly.

Wednesday 19th.  A moderate WSW’ly under generally cloudy skies saw 7 winch launches flown before the wind increased to fresh and gusted to just under 40 kts, terminating flying.  John Marsh was first off in the Discus and reached around 6,000′ asl in wave before landing after 1:45, a penetration upwind finding only sink and a 45 kt headwind.  Jesper Mjels, one of 2 private owners to fly, also had around an hour in the air in his Pik 20 and also reached 6,000′ asl, but his exploration to the west found sufficient sink to result in a field landing near Kilburn.  This was only 2.95 km from the site and sets a tough challenge for any pilot wishing to beat Jesper to the Aux Vaches Trophy for the closest genuine field landing to site.  Bill Payton, flying Astir KRN for 2:19 and Lindsay McLane, flying his Ventus t for 2:04, searched in vain for a substantive wave climb, Lindsay utilising his engine to climb to 5,000′ asl before sinking back to 3,500′ asl and then managing to find sufficient lift to regain his engine on height.  Meanwhile, Charlie Jessop and M Phillipson shared 1:22 in the DG1000 while Andy Parish and Diane Thomas had 1:10 in the same glider.   Following the cessation of gliding, the club Discus was derigged and put in its trailer which was then given a wash by John Marsh before George Rowden took trailer and glider down the hill to Derek Taylor’s for its ARC.  While fitting his number plate to the back of the trailer while parked on the public road just outside the entrance to the club, who should come along but Richie Toon, unrecognisable in his cycling gear having just ascended the White Horse bank.  No. Richie is not is secret training for the Yorkshire phase of the Tour de France, but was training for a bike race in the Dales this coming weekend.

Saturday 15th to Monday 17th March

March 18th, 2014

Post Script to Tuesday 11th March.  As promised, a photo of a happy Kit Bottomley receiving his wings from an even happier Derek Smith after Kit’s first solo is shown  below.


Saturday 15th.  6  ATs, 3 for the Scouts from Bedale, followed some flying on the simulator for the Scouts as the start of flying was delayed until late morning by low cloud.   Thereafter, it was an winching day as the W’ly wind increased from light to moderate to moderate to fresh and a further 17 launches were flown.  5 private owners launched,  with Fred Brown in his Ventus and Jesper Mjels in his Pik 20 both reaching 6,000′ asl in wave, Fred off an AT and Jesper off a winch launch.   Jesper, however, topped the endurance list with 4:36 while Fred was back on the ground after 1:08, the other 2 pilots to breach  the hour mark being Paul Whitehead in his Ventus with 2:30 and Conrad Thwaites in  the club Discus with 1:47.  The 2 seaters were kept busy with club members and the 2 First Flight pupils of the day, while the Discus and Astir KRN were also well employed.  Following the completion of flying, members gathered for an interesting talk on gliding in South Africa by Dick Bradley with post lecture discussions taking place over dinner prepared as usual by Liz and helpers.

Sunday  16th.  The W’ly wind continued to blow but increased to fresh, with gusts of over 30 kts.  As a result there was no flying other than on the simulator, although the Super Cub, parked in the lee of the hangar decided to have a go, jumped out of its chocks and briefly flew backwards until stopped by a fence post which damaged its elevator.

Monday 17th.   The continuing W’ly had decreased to become light to moderate, the early morning sky providing a high, thin overcast under which were some medium level wave clouds.  With the wind strength marginal for winching onto the hill, the Pawnee was readied for action but the wind then increased to moderate and the winch was employed, the first of the day’s 8 winch launches being by Nigel Burke in K21 JVZ with George Rowden for company.  Steady, 2kts lift was found on the hill and continued, carrying the aviators up to 8,500′ asl where it seemed to stop.  Nigel and George were then joined by Nick Gaunt in his LS7 and Jesper Mjels in his Pik 20, Nick and Jesper then disappearing, Nick eastwards and Jesper westwards.  Nigel and George then jumped a bar upwind to find some 5-6 kts before terminating their climb at just over 10.000′ asl and returning to site after 2:05 in time for lunch.  Meanwhile Rob Bailey in his new ASG29 and John Carter flying K21 KLW solo had also launched and disappeared upwards, John returning after an hour after having climbed to 10,000′ asl and investigated the effectiveness of the standard recovery procedure from various unusual attitudes, this being part of the forthcoming cloud flying course.  Needless to say, the standard recovery procedure,  controls centralised and air brakes deployed,   worked just fine.     Rob, returned after 2:19 from an exploration  to the north of the North Yorkshire Moors although I am unaware of the maximum height he acheived.  David Hill then persuaded George Rowden to accompany him in KLW, the flight using hill lift to get to Osmotherley and then contacting the wave, flying down to York and reaching 8,000′ asl.  The return proved interesting as cloud cover had increased and  a spent battery meant no GPS, radio or cloud flying instruments, but some judicious navigation via ground features through the wave slots was eventually rewarded by a view of the White Horse from 4,000′ asl.  Nick Gaunt then returned to site after 4:00 aloft, having reached 11,000′ asl and visited the east coast, Rufforth and Masham covering some 200 kms.  A celebratory 18 consecutive loops in the wave convined Nick that his plan to perform the same number of consecutive loops as the years he will celebrate on his next birthday is probably not a good idea.  Jesper then returned to site after 4:49, having visited Alston and Aysgarth and reached 16,500′ asl.  The days flying was completed by Les Rayment and Chris Thirkell in K21 JVZ who ignored the wave and spent their time doing interesting manoevers over the ridge, while John Carter took up Rob Bailey’s offer to fly his ASG29 off the last flight of the day.   While all this was going on, work on the Super Cub meant it was now ready for a ground engine test.

PS Nick Gaunt has been persuaded to come to site as Hendrick Hoerth’s wave prediction showed good conditions sere to be expected.  It was only until after the event that Nick noticed the prediction was for Friday 14th March not Monday 17th March.  Hendrick’s wave predictor seems to  have stopped predicting so if anyone can remedy this, the club’s wave pilots would be greatly appreciative.