Friday 19th to Tuesday 23rd December.

Friday 19th.  A moderate to fresh W’ly gusting to over 40 kts kept the gliders in the hangars, the initially clear skies soon turning cloudy and providing a few, isolated  showers later in the day.  In the absence of any real flying the simulator came into its own, the variety of exercises flown nicely illustrating its versatility as a teaching aid  and fun tool.  Mike Brown and Sam St Pierre emphasised the latter characteristic with a soaring flight, while John Tayler and Roger Burghall’s cloud flying exercise illustrated the former.  Andy Parish and Dave McKinney’s exercises in failed launches with subsequent field selection and landings made good use of the greatly improved graphics, a feature also of importance on  the circuit training exercise flown by Jamie Quartermaine with his pupil.

Saturday 20th.  The W’ly wind had moderated to become moderate, although it did gust the mid 20 kts in the middle of the day.    13 winch launches were flown in total, with Ben Dawson in his Cirrus being the only private owner to fly and making the most of the conditions with a flight time of 2:19.   Tony Drury, Robin Hutchinson and Brian Wise all flew the DG303 with times of 57, 51 and 44 minutes respectively, while Nick Gaunt and John Shaw had 1:36 in the DG1000 and Albert Newbery and Mark Butcher almost made it 3 flights over an hour on the day with a flight of 52 minutes.

Sunday 21st.  Initially a low cloud base and then an increasingly strong SW’ly flow, with gusts to the mid 30 kts, meant it was a non-flying day, some showers later in the day just adding to the general gloom from a meteorological as well as a spiritual perspective.

Monday 22nd.  The, by now, very gusty and mild WSW’ly airflow brought some rain at first with gusts to the mid 40 kts, putting paid to any hopes of an early start to the flying day.  The wind, while slowly backing and moderating  to become a moderate SW’ly, retained its gustiness, with values into the high 30 kts being recorded in the late afternoon.  Consequently, there was no flying but at least it was mild with temperatures at lower levels reaching 13C.

Tuesday 23rd.  The gusty and mild SW flow continued, being  moderate at first but increasing to moderate to fresh over the middle of the day before declining back to moderate as the afternoon wore on.  The associated gusts were generally around 30 kts throughout the day and this, with the low base to the extensive cloud cover, again meant no flying.  The cold front that had been lying virtually stationary over the extreme north of England over the past few days, began to move south, bringing rain to the site in the early evening and colder conditions in the early hours of Wednesday.

Wednesday 24th.  Your Blogger made a brief trip to site to catch up with the last few day happenings, and reported above, and also  to find winch launching off runway 24 in progress and some evidence of wave in the cold and  moderate WSW’ly flow.  Details of the day will follow after the Christmas break.  Meanwhile could I offer to you all the very best of wishes for the Festive Season.

Post Script to the Blog of Sunday 14th to Thursday 18th December.  You may remember that I asked for suggestions on a somewhat puzzling orientation of wave like clouds on a photo taken by Andy Parish on Wednesday 17th December.  Well, if you read the comment on that particular Blog you will find an explanation supplied by Dick Cole.


Sunday 14th to Thursday 18th December 2014

Sunday 14th.  A cloudy,  moderate, SW’ly airstream that produced drizzly conditions by early afternoon only allowed 2 ATs to be flown, both of these in K21 KLW.  Here Peter Mansham took two 1000′ QFE tows behind the Eurofox with Peter Goodchild as P1 in order to practice circuit and landing skills and consequently only added a total of 9 minutes to his log book.

Monday 15th.  The WSW’ly wind had decreased to become light to moderate with a number of isolated showers generally by-passing the airfield.  3 ATs were flown with Steve Thompson finding some weak wave when flying the DG303 and having 1:45 minutes of soaring off a 3,600′ tow.  David Hill and M Cursons then had 46 minutes in K21 KLW before Dave McKinney, flying with John Carter in KLW, took a 1000′ tow behind the Eurofox to practice his circuit planning and landing skills, the landing occuring 13 minutes after his take off.

Tuesday 16th.  A light to moderate W’ly blew for most of the day, the wind backing into the SW towards the end of the flying day.  Initially cloudy skies soon cleared to leave most of the day sunny, although skies became overcast later.  7 ATs were flown in either the DG303 or the DG500, with all the flights in the DG303 approaching or exceeding an hour.  Graham Evison topped the table with 2.25 followed by M White with exactly and hour and Mike Wood with 51 minutes.  The DG500 provided the balance of the day’s flights, 2 of which saw Lindsay McLane take a 40 minute  flight with John Tayler to complete the sylabus for his Cloud Flying Endorsement training and, later,  successfully satisfy examiner Paul Whitehead that his cloud flying skills were up to scratch, so well done Lindsay.  Congratulations are also due to John Carter who successfully flew his first solo in the Falke, one of 4 flights by this aircraft on the day.

Wednesday 17th.  A moderate W’ly that gusted to around 25 kts over the middle of the day, saw the winch employed and 3 launches undertaken in K21 KLW.  The hill lift was nice and solid with operating heights around 1000′  QFE, but the presence of some weak wave,an associated low level lenticular being shown in the following photograph provided by Andy Parish, allowed climbs to around 2,500′ QNH.   Andy’s photo also shows some undulations in the  medium level cloud at the left centre of the picture.  These undulations were lying along and not across the westerly flow and, consequently, were the subject of some speculation as to their origin.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Andy and Dave McKinney had the longest flight of the day with 1:06 in K21 KLW, while Fred Brown and Stuart Heaton had 51 and 31 minutes respectively flying KLW solo.

Dec 17th

Thursday 18th.  A steadly increasing SSW’ly wind that eventually reached moderate to fresh strength, with gusts to the mid 40 kts, was accompanied by overcast  skies and periods of drizzle and light rain.  The air mass, of tropical maritime origin, resulted in the temperature reaching the balmy heights of  13 C, but this was of little consolation to those who wanted to fly.

Friday 19th.  Clear sunny skies and a W’ly wind promised much in the way of soaring opportunities  but the day  failed to deliver as the wind started of as fresh, with gusts to the mid 40 kts, and only moderated slowly throughout the flying day so  that it only became flyable by late afternoon.  This moderation did, however, allow  the Super Cub to be flown back to the club from Bagby by Andy Parish,  just before it became too dark to fly.  Andy subsequently reported his lowest ever ground speed on landing  at Sutton and required some assistance to manoeuvre the Super Cub across wind and get it safely back in the hangar.   The pre and post briefing period was characterised by the efforts of Steve Ogden and George Rowden to get the diesel pump to operate.  The problem  was traced to the mechanical linkage between the external handle on the casing and the micro-switch on the pump and was temporarily rectified by disconnecting the mechanical linkage and   operating the micro-switch  manually.   A more permanent solution is to be provided by Steve.

You may have noticed that it is no longer possible to access the Blog’s Daily Record entries pre 2014.  This is because all entries prior to this have been removed from the web site.  However, they have been archived on CD’s as part of the YGC’s history and can be accessed, if required, by contacting the “Keeper of the History of the  YGC”, Phil Lazenby.

Saturday 13th December.

Saturday 13th.  A light SW/WSW’ly was accompanied by blue skies and excellent visibility but the early cold conditions resulted in the gliders wings icing on exposure to the ambient air so the start of flying was delayed until just before midday, when Fred Brown took the first of the day’s 2 First Flight pupils for a flight behind the Eurofox off runway 24.  However, the light winds led to long take off runs so operations were soon switched to runway 20.  14 ATs were flown in total in either K21 KLW, the DG1000, Astir KRN or the DG303 with the Falke also busy with 5 flights, 2 of which were for members undertaking limited panel cloud flying exercises with John Tayler.  Initially, the light winds and cold temperatures did not produce any workable lift, but the wind slowly increased to become light to moderate by mid afternoon, enabling some careful soaring in the main bowl, albeit at relatively low heights on the ridge.  Rob Bailey had 1:34 in the DG303 and together with Colin Troise, who had an hour solo in KLW, provided the 2 flights of  the day to exceed an hour.  John Marsh and Steve Ogden provided the longest 2 seater flight of the day with 23 minutes in the DG1000.  Following the end of flying for the day, members embarked on a personal sprucing up exercise in preparation for the club’s Christmas dinner later in the evening.  Members were soon tucking into the 4 course meal prepared by Liz and helpers with these proceedings being followed by a extensive raffle kindly provided by Les and Pauline Rayment and  supervised by Marian Stanley. Fred Brown and Hazel won the ” number of winning tickets” competition  by a mile but sportingly did not choose to accept all their prizes.  Photos of the diners and some raffle prize winners are shown below, courtesy of Steve Ogden, and I would particularly like to draw your attention to the first photo featuring Dick Cole and Phil Westerby Jones where Dick’s proposal to share in Phil’s raffle successes is being  resisted by a laughingly defensive Phil.




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Wednesday 10th to Friday 12th December.

Wednesday 10th.  The forecast severe gales failed to fully  materialise, although the moderate to fresh WSW’ly gusting to around 40 kts did result in the gliders remaining hangar bound, this decision being made easier  by the frequent and   heavy rain showers that persisted all day.  Those on site therefore busied themselves with admin duties and, on more engineering note, installing the new cooker.

Thursday 11th.  The moderate to fresh, now W’ly wind,  continued to to gust up to the high 30 kts and, in combination with the continuing heavy rain showers, meant it was another non-flying day. Shower activity decreased by the afternoon as did the wind which became  a moderate WSW’ly as another  depression, this time  moving up from the southwest,  brought more general  cloud towards the end of the day.  .  Reviewing the SOPs and writing the CFI’s newsletter  were two of the tasks undertaken during  the day. while an AD on the Ka8 meant that an inspection was required on the tailplane attachment.

Friday 12th.  The last remnants of the previous day’s depression had cleared away with its accompanying cloud sheet soon out of sight to leave blue skies and a light to moderate WSW’ly wind.  Two ATs were flown, with Andy Parish and Dave McKinney taking the DG1000 up to 4000′ QFE behind the Pawnee for an exercise in  stalls and spins, this resulting in the glider and occupants being back on the ground after 22 minutes.  Ron Beezer then took the DG1000 solo for a 2000′ AT before retiring to the ridge where he found sufficient lift to have a very pleasant hour in the air, all the day’s pilots appreciating the blue skies and excellent visibility which allowed good views of the first snow of the winter on the tops of the Pennines to the west and north west.  The flights of  the DG1000 could be followed on the newly installed  Flarm Radar display in the entrance foyer, the installation of which is due to the efforts of Steve Ball, so thanks Steve.

Sunday 7th to Tuesday 9th December.

Sunday 7th.  A moderate W’ly, initially gusting to around 30kts, meant it was a winching day, albeit with flying delayed until midday due to the gusty wind and a brief shower.  Thereafter, 29 winch launches were flown with the conditions tempting 6 private owners to launch, these  joining the  6 club aircraft flown on the day.  The lift on the hill proved to be turbulent at times and somewhat inconsistent, this latter characteristic being well demonstrated by Bill Payton, who, after a first flight of 1:18 solo in the DG500, set off to explore the forward ridge during his second flight of the day, this time in Astir GBK.  The forward ridge did not provide the expected lift and with the altimeter at zero feet QFE, the decision was taken to land in nice grass field.  As Astir GBK was due for an ARC, the decision was taken on arrival back at site after the retrieve, to transfer the derigged glider into the workshop in preparation for some tlc before its trip down to North Yorkshire Sailplanes.  Bill contributed 2 flights to the 17 that exceeded an hour on the day, with John Ellis’ 3:04 being the longest as he searched for wave in his DG800, the wave boxes having been opened.  The wave proved to be elusive, with the highest height notified to me being 3,800′ asl by Jesper Mjels in his DG400, his flight time of 2:20 being similar to that of Ben Dawson in his Cirrus and Alex Mahnke in his ASW 20.  Tony Drury had 1:30 in Astir KRN while Charlie Jessop and L Rosa had just  over an  hour in K21 KLW..

Monday 8th.  The W’ly flow had remained but had decreased to light to moderate and in order to ascertain conditions on the hill, John Carter took a winch launch solo in K21 KLW,  His 12 minute flight confirmed soaring was possible and Colin Troise was next to launch, again solo in KLW, with Colin landing after 45 minutes, the hill providing sufficient lift to maintain a height of  between 6-800′ QFE, a brief climb to 900′ QFE being aided by a bonfire north of Sutton village.  It was then decided to change to ATing, and accordingly John Carter and Bill Payton took the first AT in the DG1000 only to have to abort the launch at 1100′ QFE due to cloud.  A second AT by the same crew in the same glider led to a flight of 25 minutes, but that proved to be the last flight of the day.

Tuesday 9th.  An explosively developing depression over the western Atlantic proceeded to advance rapidly towards the UK with  the weather in advance of the low being a moderate SE’ly that steadily increased in strength during the day to become moderate to fresh.  The overcast skies, occasional orographic development and light rain combined to discourage any thoughts of flying except by the Super Cub.  This was flown down to Bagby by Lindsay McLane for servicing, with George Rowden acting as Lindsay’s retrieve crew. Those members present then usefully spent their time washing Astir GBK  before putting it in its trailer in preparation for its trip down the hill, the trailer being left in the workshop given the forecast strong winds.  Elsewhere, Steve Ball was busy installing the screen in the entrance foyer on which the position of Flarm equipped gliders will be displayed and Mike Brown was entertaining Dave in the simulator room, Dave being the  member of the flying club at Sherburn who had built their simulator.  Dave was visiting to both look at our simulator and its performance while passing on some useful information for improvements.  Andy Wright meanwhile was engaged in sorting out some instrument issues on the DG1000, the result of his efforts being the replacement of the altimeter in the back seat and  the removal for repair of the artificial horizon from the same panel.

Friday 5th to Saturday 6th December.

Friday 5th.  A overnight cold front initially left a legacy of low cloud, but this had cleared sufficiently by late morning to allow flying to commence.  The light to moderate WNW’ly wind did not provide much in the way of hill or any other sort of lift, but Bill Payton flying K21 KLW managed to garner what was available to accumulate 33 minutes of flying time, the only person to exceed 30 minutes on a day when only KLW was flown.  5 ATs were flown in total, with Andy Parish and Steve Wilson having the longest dual flight, 22 minutes, as Steve continued his instructor training.  Colin Troise, on the second of his flights solo in KLW, posted the same time of 22 minutes, this being particularly meritorious as his launch height was only 1,000′ QFE.  Colin reportedly made use of the thermal effects of some winter bonfires. Colin, along with Ben Dawson, also took the opportunity to have a refresher on field landing techniques in the Falke with Andy Parish.

Saturday.  A frosty morning with blue skies and excellent visibility saw flying commence just after 1000 hrs off runway 20, the wind being a light SE’ly.  17 ATs were flown behind the Eurofox using either the DG1000, K21 KLW or Astir GBK, the wind slowly strengthening and veering into the SSW as a cold front slowly approached from the north west.  The change in wind speed and direction eventually brought some bits and pieces of weak wave that Rob Bailey and Ben Dawson, flying a mutual in the DG1000, used to record the longest flight of the day, 37 minutes, off the penultimate flight of the day.  By this time the skies had clouded over and the last flight of the day in KLW, with Ron Beezer and pupil Graham on board, had to abort their launch at 700′ due to the overcast, consequently recording the shortest flight of the day at 4 minutes.  The earlier conditions  were made to  measure for the 2 First Flight pupils of the day who enjoyed the smooth air and great views in the company of George Rowden.  Steve Ogden, Joan Wilson and Adrian Melia all flew Astir GBK with Steve just topping the endurance stakes with 24 minutes off the first of his two flights.  Howard Hsu, a Chinese student from Durham University, started his gliding with a flight in the Falke with Andy Parish and then flew with Robin Hutchinson in KLW to record his first pure glider flight.  Graham Evison, foggle equipped and flying from the back seat of the DG1000, successfully demonstrated his cloud flying skills to examiner Paul Whitehead and is now, pending the completion of the paperwork, the proud possessor of a BGA Cloud Flying Endorsement, so congratulations to him.

Wednesday 3rd to Thursday 4th December

Wednesday 3rd. An establishing area of  high pressure resulted in a clear, sunny, if cold day with light winds from the NE.  Flying got under way about 1045 hrs and continued until 1530, during which time 15 ATs had been flown behind the Eurofox.  With no lift to speak of, flight times were a direct function of release height but  Steve Thompson may take pride in the fact that of the 5 flights in the DG303, all towing to 3,000′ QFE, he managed the longest with 28 minutes, pursued by Chris Thirkell with 25, Ken Arkley with 25 and 34 from his two flights and Duncan Pask with 23 minutes.  Mike Wood demonstrated the slightly greater sinking speed of Astir GBK with 22 minutes from the same tow height, while Andy Parish and Chris Knapp had 25 minutes in the DG1000, having had the advantage of an extra 200 feet on their tow.  While all this gliding was going on, the Falke had 3 flights, with Les Rayment and Steve Ball disappearing to the Lake District for a couple of hours on a very pleasant December day’s flying with excellent visibility.  No doubt the Lakeland views were just as good as those to be now  found on the simulator.

Thursday 4th.  Monday’s southeastward travelling cold front returned north as a weak occluded front, bringing some patchy rain overnight and a overcast sky for the rest of the day, visibility being moderate with a certain amount of mistiness.  The cloud base was probably high enough to allow flying to take place, but this was never put to the test as most people’s demand for flying had been satisfied by the pleasant conditions yesterday so turn out at briefing was very sparse.  Site activity, apart from the unending demands on Josephine, was confined to Ken Arkley and George Rowden taking their glider off site for the winter and Mike Brown providing some further demonstrations of the capabilities of the refurbished simulator.


Just off to the Lake District.

Just off to the Lake District.

Small DG1000 on approach

Small DG1000 on approach

MOYRa has a new Permit

MOYRa has a new Permit

....and a slightly finer pitched prop.

....and a slightly finer pitched prop.

Impoved performance, even better with the ball in the middle!

Impoved performance, even better with the ball in the middle!

335 hours towing

335 hours towing

1700 tows

1700 tows

Less than 1.4 litres of fuel per 1000 feet, and we are on our second tow rope

Less than 1.4 litres of fuel per 1000 feet, and we are on our second tow rope

Saturday 29th November to Tuesday 2nd December.

Saturday 29th.  Another murky, overcast day in a light to moderate SE’ly, the cloud base being low enough to shroud the site all day and prevent any outside flying.  Inside it was a different story, as  the simulator was again in use with John Tayler supervising Fred Brown’s cloud flying training and Mike Brown doing some maintenance work.  Inside the Briefing Room, it was a full house as YGC’s and other club’s senior instructors were introduced to  the requirements for Flight Instructor training and re-validation under the EASA regime by BGA Training Standards Manager Mike Fox and Regional Examiner Colin Sword, this event being a pilot exercise prior to its launch nationally.

Sunday 30th.  November’s predominately cloudy and damp  SE’ly flow  finally relented, with sunny blue skies greeting those arriving at site to find a light to moderate N’ly blowing.   Flying got under way around 1030 hrs with the launch of the DG1000 with John Marsh and P Marston on board, the flight lasting 20 minutes in the absence of any lift.  They were followed by 7 other ATs off runway 02 before increasing low cloud caused flying to be abandoned just after midday.  The day’s total of 8 ATs included 2 in Astir GBK, the first  of which, and also the longest,  was by Brian White who managed 13 minutes.  The longest flight of the day was by Mike Smith in the DG1000 who had 27 minutes following a 3000′ tow, the return to the launch point after landing taking significantly longer as Mike landed out in one of the fields to the east of the site.  Mike’s only consolation was to learn, probably by reading this Blog, that he is now the leading contender for the Aux Vache trophy which is awarded annually for the nearest genuine field landing to the Sutton Bank BGA Turn Point.

Monday 1st December.  The first day of December reverted to November type with a drizzly, light to moderate SE shrouding the site in cloud and providing  almost as poor visibilities in the lowlands surrounding the site.  Consequently, there was no flying.

Tuesday 2nd.  A south easterly moving cold front passed the site overnight, leaving it in a clear air mass with a moderate to fresh NNW’ly flow that slowly moderated during the day.  The high cover associated with the front remained in place all day and although there was significant lower cloudiness to the north east, flying became possible in the early afternoon as the decrease in wind speed made the problems of a turbulent cross wind take off on runway 02 less significant.  The decision to fly was made somewhat easier by the departure of a Coventry based Piper Warrior just prior to this time,  the pilot of the aircraft having used Sutton as a base to visit family in the area.  Following the start of gliding activities, 6 ATs were flown off runway 02, with Derek Smith and Graham Evison in the DG500 making use of some weak wave to extend their flight to the day’s best of 36 minutes, this time being very usefully used by Derek and Graham to progress Graham’s blind flying skills from the rear seat of the aircraft including flying a constant heading at a constant speed and timed turns.  Graham followed this up with a second flight with Derek in which the standard blind flying recovery from unusual attitudes was flown.  Derek repeated the objectives of these 2 flights with George Rowden in the DG500, with John Carter and David Watson’s flight in K21 KLW and Duncan Pask’s solo flight in the same glider interspersed with those of the DG500.  Duncan also found some weak lift on his flight that delayed his landing until 34 minutes after his take off.  For those of you unaware or unsure of how Graham and George’s vision was suitably restricted so that only the instrument panel was visible during their flights,  I have included below a photo of George suitably adorned.


So if you too want to get a BGA Cloud Flying endorsement on your licence while at the same time looking like a blinkered idiot, why not speak to Derek Smith, Paul Whitehead, John Tayler or John Carter.  Oh, by the way, you can’t take  the cup of tea with you during training and the smile tends to be replaced by a study in concentration.

Wednesday 26th to Friday 28th November

Wednesday 26th. The wind  had stayed in the E and remained light, as the centre of a  flabby depression remained to the south of the site.  The accompanying weather was archetypicalLY November, dull and murky, with rain and drizzle at times, the low cloud base shrouding the North Yorks Moors and ensuring there was no flying. The lack of any flying did mean however that there was time to give derigged K21 JVZ a wash and tidy up as a first stage in preparation for its forthcoming ARC.

Thursday 27th.  With little change in the synoptic situation, it was another day of light ESE’ly winds, a low overcast, murky conditions and rain or drizzle at times and no flying.  However, the next phase in preparing K21 JVZ for its ARC was accomplished as it was successfully installed in its trailer.

Friday 28th. The only weather related difference between Thursday and Friday was that the now E’ly wind increased from light to moderate over the day but, with the site remaining in cloud all day, it was another day of no real flying although the simulator was used to allow a number of pilots to maintain their cross country skills by flying a Sutton N/Carlton/Sutton task.  It is proposed that this will be the basis of a winter league based on speed over the task, so if you fancy a go, have  a chat to Mike Brown or Andy Parish to see how to set up, fly and score the task and may the best man or woman win.