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.

Friday 14th March

March 16th, 2014

Friday 14.  As they say in the best traditions of football management, “It was a game of 2 halves.”   The first half, lasting from 1100 to 1230 hrs was characterised by bright and sunny conditions under a thin, high overcast with an initially light SE’ly flow.  4 ATs were flown off runway 24 with Kit Bottomley on his 4th solo flight climbing 500′ in wave before losing it and landing.  George Rowden, test flying Astir KRN after its post ARC rigging , found no wave but slowly explored progressively lower heights on the northern end of the main bowl for 29 minutes before making a somewhat turbulent approach to a landing on 20 as the wind strength increased and threatened to veer into the SW.  Half time then arrived, ie lunch, with the second half, lasting from 1400 to 1645 hrs, being characterised by winch launches as the wind was now a moderate to fresh WSW’ly, strong enough to generate some blowing dust from the by now dry winch track.  Andy Parish and Adrian Melia took the first launch under, by now, overcast skies, only to find that the cloud base was a measley 600′ QFE.  After they landed Nick Gaunt took a launch in his LS7 but soon returned, not fancying having to fly on his artificial horizon at 600′ QFE on the ridge.  Undaunted, Jesper Mjels launched in his Pik 20 and returned some 2 hours later undaunted by the low cloud  which at one time he managed to climb above to the dizzy heights to 1500′ QFE while for a significant time he was well below the cloud as he struggled at 200-300′ QFE on the forward ridge.  The day’s flying, comprising 4 ATs and 4 winch launches, was concluded by Colin Troise’s 33 minutes on the ridge in the Discus, his first attempt at a launch coming to a sudden end as the wheel retracted before he left the ground.  For the more meterologically minded of you, the two halves were due to the arrival of a weakening cold front, the post front clearance coming around 1700 hrs.

Sunday 9th to Thursday 13th March

March 14th, 2014

Sunday 9th.   Poor visibility and a low cloud base delayed the start of flying until around 1120 hrs and the first launches off 20 into the light to moderate S’ly did not find much better conditions.  The wind then started to veer into the W and strengthen,  so operations switched to runway 24.  Those pilots opting for high tows found some wave, while those retiring to the ridge found scratchy conditions with broken thermal and an operating height of typically 6-800′ QFE.   Only 1 flight from the 25 ATs of the day exceeded an hour, this particular honour being claimed by John Ellis, with 1:04 in his DG800.  Albert Newbery and Steve Ogden  in K21 KLW came close with 53 minutes as did Duncan Pask with the same time in his DG303, one of 4 private owners to launch.  Tony Drury, flying the  club DG303 also breached the 50 minute barrier with 51 minutes.  The day also saw a visiting group of 6 scouts from the Tenzing troop, 2 First Flight pupils and a Mile High pupil fly, although the latter flight was aborted at  2,000′ due to the poor visibility.  Towards the end of the afternoon,  the wind decreased to become light and, with no prospects of soaring, trade died off, the last flight landing at just after 1600 hrs but not before the Falke had had 2 sorties.  The writers thanks are due to Colin Troise for his notes on the day’s flying.

Monday 10th.  High pressure became established overnight, resulting in a light to moderate N’ly that slowly veered into the ENE.  Some early signs of Cu formation soon disappeared as the low inversion associated with the high pressure made its presence felt.  Flying did not commence until around lunch time and 9 ATs were flown thereafter, Rob Bottomley being the only private owner to rig.  Staying up proved to be something of a challenge, but Nick Covill tried his best with 2 solo flights in K21 JVZ, the best of which lasted for 39 minutes.  John Carter and Kit Bottomley posted the longest 2 seater flight with 24 minutes in the DG1000 just beating John and Resh Khodabocus’ winter check flight in the same glider which lasted 22 minutes.

Tuesday 11th.  Early morning fog in the Vale of York lay below the site which was bathed in sunshine from a clear blue sky, this remaining the case as the light SE’ly flow backed into the E by early afternoon.  In spite of the warm sunshine,  the low inversion ensured that usuable convection was absent, but the stable conditions proved to be ideal for Kit Bottomley’s first solo flight, coming after some check flights with Derek Smith.  Some pictures of our latest solo pilot will follow when I get back to my own computer, but congratulations are not to be delayed.  Well done Kit.    Duncan Pask in his DG303 and Rob Bottomley in his Discus both rigged and flew, with Duncan recording the longest flight of 31 minutes and Nick Covill having 21 minutes in Astir GBK, these being 2 of the 13 ATs of the day, the only other flight being by the Falke.

Wednesday 12th.  Another day of bright sunshine and light SE’ly winds, with the fog in the Vale of York soon clearing.   Flying again did not commence until late morning and in the absence of any usuable lift, all the 13 ATs of the day at best generated only extended circuits.  Pete Thelwall, flying his Cirrus managed 26 minutes, just beating the 25 minutes achieved by Mike Smith and the only First Flight pupil of the day, James Banks, in the DG1000.  Liz Kiely and John Martin, flying K21 JVZ flew for 21 minutes while all the rest of the day’s flights  were sub 20 minutes.  Among all this sedate gliding activity the Falke had a single flight.

Thursday 13th.  With the centre of the high pressure now very close, winds were light and variable, with a tendency to come from an eastern quadrant.  The 16 ATs of the day were all flown in either K21 JVZ or the DG1000, although Rob Bottomley did his best to represent the private owners by rigging and flying his Discus and subsequently having 20 minutes in the air.  As demonstrated by Rob’s experience, flying conditions were not particularly condusive to soaring and the accumulated smoke, dust etc under the inversion led to very poor visibility, so keeping a good lookout was even more essential than usual.  The conditions were, however, good enough to allow 2 First Flight pupils to be flown, one of these, John Bell, being extremely enthusiastic and booking 2 more First Flights for relatives after  his return to earth.  Dick Cole and Mike Greenacre managed to squeeze 39 minutes out of their flight in JVZ, with the said John Bell’s flight with Andy Parish lasting 28 minutes.  The Falke was also busy with 4 flights.