Sunday 19th. A moderate to fresh SW’ly, gusting to over 30 kts, saw the winch deployed and a couple of exploratory flights by John Marsh and John Carter in K21 KLW to test the water so to speak. However, a low level cable break on the next flight with John Carter and Nick Gaunt on board, in combination with an increase in the wind speed caused flying to be abandoned for the day, the longest flight only lasting around 7 minutes. The wind speed continued to increase into the early afternoon, becoming fresh to strong and gusting over 40 kts, before declining slightly by evening and becoming W’ly, a somewhat windy welcome for a group of visitors from the Nene GC at the start of their week at Sutton Bank.
Monday 20th. A deep low to the N of Scotland kept the site in a moderate WSWly flow, the promising flying prospects of this combination of wind strength and direction being negated by a low cloud base and frequent showers that deposited 2,5 mm of rain on the site over the day, only the occasional brief, bright interval promising but not delivering anything better.
Tuesday 21st. The remains of hurricane Gonzalo crossed the UK bringing 3.6 mm of rain to the site, mainly overnight, but more noticeably some very strong winds from the WNW that peaked during the early afternoon to reach fresh to strong with gusts around 45 kts. Correspondingly, there was no flying.
Wednesday 22nd. Clear blue skies and a light S’ly wind allowed operations to commence off runway 20 soon after 1000 hrs. Conditions then went downhill quite quickly as a warm front made progress from the west, bringing extensive cloud cover, a veer in the wind to W’ly and an increase in wind speed to moderate, the change in wind speed and direction providing some challenging approaches for tug and glider pilots alike. The 9 ATs flown before flying stopped just after midday, did allow members of the visiting Nene GC group to get checked out on site before rigging and flying their DG300 and Pilatus gliders, with Chris Sheppard managing 20 minutes in the latter glider. The morning’s flying also allowed 2 First Flight pupils to be flown, Andy Parish taking Mr Connolly for the longest flight of the day, 23 minutes in K21 KLW, while the second First Flight pupil had the additional experience of landing in light rain.