Sunday 19th to Wednesday 22nd October.

October 22nd, 2014

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.

Saturday 18th October.

October 18th, 2014

Saturday 18th.  7 mm of rain fell overnight as fronts crossed the country but their departure left the site in a very mild, moderate to fresh  S’ly that persisted all day, the lower levels of cloud slowly clearing under a persistent high overcast.  The wind speed and direction meant it was a day of soaring the southern ridge, at least the western end of it, with some pilots reporting weak wave that promised much but delivered very little.   Ventus syndicate partners Fred Brown and Paul Whitehead took it in turns to post the longest flights of the day, Fred first setting a  1:32 mark and Paul having at least 1:45 as I am not sure of his landing time.  Paul also provided the crew putting away the club fleet for the night with some entertainment in the form of fast passes and pullups on the southern ridge.  Fred and Paul were the only private owners to fly, the rest of  the 20 ATs of the day being for members from Durham University, club members and 5 First Flight pupils, with virtually every flight providing  at least 30 minutes of pleasant hill soaring over the White Horse.  One of the Durham University members, Jack Whaley Baldwin, had 45 minutes with Bob Beck in the DG1000 to post the longest 2 seater flight of the day, while Tony Drury, flying the Discus had 46 minutes.  However the day’s star was recently soloed Steve Ogden flying K21 KLW who beat his previous best solo time by a factor of 3 to record 55 minutes of flight.

Wednesday 15th to Friday 17th October.

October 17th, 2014

Wednesday 15th.  The site was sandwiched between a deep low in the Atlantic and a shallow low over Denmark with the result that a light to moderate ENE’ly started the day accompanied by a low overcast giving occasional light rain and drizzle.  Apart from a slow wind change into the ESE over the day, nothing else changed, so there was no flying.

Thursday 16th.  A light and variable wind saw extensive  fog in the Vale of York and  the site in Stratus for much of the morning with some accompanying drizzle.  Conditions then  slowly improved as the day went on, but it was not until around 1500 hrs that conditions were conducive to flying.  4 ATs were then flown in K21 JVZ with Steve Ogden flying the first 2 with John Carter and Diane Thomas the second 2, again in the company of John.  Apart from Steve and John’s  first flight, which lasted 17 minutes, all the other 3 were 1000′ launches behind the Eurofox for circuit practice.

Friday 17th.  Fog in the Vale of York was again a feature of the early morning, with low Stratus affecting the site until midday, after which a pleasant, if unspectacular afternoon of flying resulted, the temperature reaching 15.6 C and the SSE’ly slowly increasing from light to moderate.  13 ATs were flown as sunny intervals developed and the cloud base slowly rose to around 3,000′ asl.  Both K21s were flown, as were the Discus and Astir GBK while  the Falke had 2 flights, but no one managed 30 minutes or more in the air, the closest coming from  the last flight of the day when Steve Thompson and Mike Wood shared a flight of 28 minutes, albeit of a high tow.  The next best was 23 minutes by Steve Thompson and David McKinney in K21 JVZ while Ron Beezer, with 20 minutes in the Discus and Bill Bishop with 19 minutes in Astir GBK were the best of the solo flights.  Mike Riley, a Day Course pupil had 2 flights with Dick Cole and both of the day’s  First Flight pupils took advantage of the opportunity to take home a memento of their flights,  SD cards containing a video record of the event taken from a wing tip mounted camera.

Saturday 11th to Tuesday 14th October

October 14th, 2014

Saturday 11th.  The early fog/mist in the Vale of York soon cleared and flying got under way under sunny skies in a light to  moderate S’ly.  Cloudier skies after midday meant that there was no convection to speak of so flight times were limited, with only one of  the 28 ATs of the day breaking 30 minutes, that being by Charlie Jessop and Paul Ruskin in the DG500.  Nevertheless, the day’s flying was enjoyed by a group of 7 Scouts  from Copmanthorpe, 5 Students from Durham University and 3 First Flight pupils with, not surprisingly, the majority of the flying undertaken in the club 2 seaters, all 4 being in operation.  The only single seater to fly was the Discus in which Bob Calvert had 25 minutes to record the longest solo flight of the day.

Sunday 12th.  Another morning of fog in the Vale of York, although this time, it didn’t clear until early afternoon.  However, there were some fields close to the site that were not fog covered so flying operations got under way around 1045 hrs in a very light, initially NW’ly, that proceeded to back through 225 degrees to become E’ly by the end of the day.  The AT total for the day was 29, with a smaller group of Scouts from Copmanthorpe and 7 First Flight pupils, 2 of whom took Mile High flights, ensuring that the 2 seaters were again busy all day.  John Carter has provided the following photos of  the fog in the Vale of York, with the plumes from the power stations at Drax and Eggborough clearly visible.  Flying stopped briefly around midday as the fog metamorphosed into low cloud before this too disappeared.

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I have also stolen the following photo from the Eurofox part of the Blog for those of you who never go there, the photo being taken via the Eurofoxe’s rear view mirror by Phil Westerby Jones while towing one of the club’s K21s.

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Unlike Saturday, apart from the brief cloudiness around midday,  the skies remained clear and sunny, with the result that sufficient  convection developed over the North Yorkshire Moors to allow Rob Bailey to visit Carlton, Danby and Churchhouses in his ASG 29t, this including a climb to around 4,000′ asl.  Rob’s flight time of 1:15 was the longest of the day and indeed the only one to exceed an  hour.  Back at site Bob Calvert, flying the Discus, came closest with 50 minutes, while John Marsh and Nick Jackson had 33 minutes in K21 JVZ, albeit off a Mile High flight.  Two Seater  honours should, however, be given to Jon May and P2 I Evans who managed 31 minutes off a 2500′ QFE tow in the same glider, with another 2 of the day’s flights equalling or  exceeding 30 minutes.  The other notable flight of the day was Steve Ogden’s first solo flight in the DG500, so well done Steve.

Monday 13th.  A northward tracking depression that had given the south of the UK a wet Sunday proceeded to do the same to the north of England on Monday, although the rainfall totals were much reduced.    However, with a cold, moderate N’ly blowing, the occasional rain and low cloud ensured that the only flying was on the simulator where John Carter introduced two of Resh Khodabocus’ medical students to gliding.

Tuesday 14th.   Monday’s depression suffered a slow and lingering death, dealing the NE of England in general and Sutton Bank in particular a very poor hand of more occasional rain/drizzle, low cloud, overcast skies and a continuing cold,  slowly moderating N’ly wind, the maximum temperature being only 9.3 C.  Accordingly, indoor operations were therefore to the fore, with Peter Robinson keeping his aviation hand in by going on the Simulator with John Carter before participating in a talk on meteorology by Liam Watt.

Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th October.

October 11th, 2014

twoWednesday 8th. Persistent orographic cloud forming on the Southern ridge in a light to moderate SE’ly flow restricted operations to a single flight, this being by John Carter and D McKinnon in K21 KLW.  They nevertheless managed to stay up for 25 minutes.

Thursday 9th.  The moderate SE’ly continued for the first part of the day being replaced by a SW’ly of similar strength as low pressure dominated and frequent showers and low cloud prevented any flying.

Friday 10th.  A light to moderate SSW’ly blew for the majority of the day, only decreasing to light once flying operations came to an end around 1740 hrs.  The initially blue skies were soon filled with some local orographic cloud forming over the southern ridge, but with a base of around 700′ QFE, this did not interfere with flying and Albert Newbery’s first flight of the day with First Flight pupil Julie York found the orographic marked some weak wave that gave a maximum of 2 kts lift at around 1200′ QFE and also produced some very nice Glories  surrounding the shadow of the glider for Jill Overfield, the next First Flight pupil to fly with George Rowden .  The orographic and associated wave persisted for a little while until weak convection got going  that triggered a period of soaring during the earlier part of the afternoon that generated the longest flights of the day.  The best of these was by Ken Arkley, who on his second solo flight of the day in one of the K21s, contacted a thermal at 700′QFE over the White Horse and took it to cloud base at around 2,500′ QFE and just failed to break 1 hr aloft with 52 minutes.  Meanwhile, Mike Wood in Astir GBK and Phil Lazenby in the Ka8 made use of  the thermal activity and some weak hill lift on the southern facing face of the main bowl to have 49 minutes and 41 minutes respectively.  This hill lift was also used effectively by Andy Parish and Steve Ogden in K21 KLW to generate a flight of 45 minutes of the penultimate flight of the day as a large shower approached from the SW.  This ultimately produced a very nice primary and secondary rainbow.   The day’s 4 First Flight pupils enjoyed a day of excellent visibility and 7 flights exceeded 30 minutes, one of these being by Rob Bailey, the only private owner to fly with 34 minutes.

Two  of the YGC gliders, a number of privately owned gliders  plus club members have been on an expedition to the Borders GC at Millfield since Saturday 4th October and an account of their flying and non-flying activities can be found on the YGC members forum, kindly provided by Colin Troise.

Photos from Nick Gaunt’s flight from Aboyne to Skye

October 7th, 2014

Tuesday 7th October.   The publication of Nick Gaunt’s account of his flight from Aboyne to Skye on the 25th of July this year via Loch Ness and Ben Nevis, and reported in the Blog of Wednesday 24th September, gave rise to a number of requests for photographs taken on the flight.  Nick has kindly provided me with a disc full and I have included a select few below. The photos are as follows:  Loch Muich near Aboyne, looking West with Lochnagar ( the mountain)  on track.

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The sound of Sleap between Skye and the mainland almost over Glenelg, looking NW to the Kyle of Lochalsh

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Unmistakeably Ben Nevis.

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The southern end of Lock Ericht looking NE.

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Overhead Tummel Bridge looking W towards Dunalastain Water with Loch Rannock beyond.

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Friday 3rd to Tuesday 7th October

October 7th, 2014

Friday 3rd.  A sunny morning with a moderate SE’ly soon changed to more cloudy skies and a moderate to fresh S’ly with gusts to around 25 kts.  The decision was taken to winch off the ridge side of runway 20 with the winch positioned in the far south eastern corner of the airfield, this giving launch heights of around 500-600′.  3 winch launches were flown in K21 JVZ, the first by John Carter solo with a flight time of 5 minutes, the second by John and Sue Ahern in the same glider with a flight time of 4 minutes and the third by Liam Watt in the Ka8 with a flight time of 41 minutes as he soared the White Horse slope and also contacted some wave in which he gained around 1000′.  Interestingly, there was a significant wind shear above 1000′ QFE, the upper wind being W’ly.  The wind then decreased in strength and ATing became the order of the day.  11 ATs were flown in either of the 2 K21s, with Rob Bailey in his ASG29  and Phil Lazenby in his Pegase, adding their names to the flying log.  Rob and Phil proceeded to fly the only flights in excess of an hour on the day, Phil having 1:30 and Rob 2:46, during which time he climbed to 7,800′ asl in wave and flew an O/R from Harrogate North to Barnard Castle, a distance of 122 km.  John Carter and Steve Ogden flew the longest 2 seater flight of 42 minutes with  flying continuing until around 1730 hrs during which time the Falke had a single sortie.

Saturday 4th.  A cold front crossed the site around 0700 hrs depositing some rain and leaving the site under a low overcast in a light to moderate W’ly wind, the low cloud base delaying flying until mid afternoon, at which point John Carter and Naomi Kennard took off in K21 JVZ, landing after 12 minutes.   The conditions were then condsidered to be not condusive to further flying but later, around 1600 hrs, improved to allow a First Flight pupil, C Bainbridge, to have his 23 minute flight in the company of John Carter, this being the last flight of the day.

Sunday 5th.  A day of persistent high cover and a light to moderate SSE’ly flow saw flying commence just before 1100 hrs and continue to around 1630 hrs, during which time 18 ATs were flown.  Apart from a single flight in the Falke, all other flying was in one of three club 2 seaters,  while the lack of lift meant that nobody managed to remain aloft for over an hour, the best flights managing just under 40 minutes.  Two of these were for 2 guests of Steve Ogden, Addy Chritchley having 39 minutes in K21 KLW with Robin Hutchinson  and G Critchley having 37 minutes in K21 JVZ with Steve Thompson, while a further 6 First Flight pupils were flown.  Ethan Barber and Steve Ogden also added two more flights each to their early solo record with Steve’s second flight in K21 KLW chalking up the longest solo flight of the day at 27 minutes, this the result of a 800′ climb in a weak thermal.

Monday 6th.  A much more active and slow moving cold front meant it was a day of low cloud and rain with consequently no flying.

Tuesday 7th.  The aftermath of the cold front was a very cloudy airmass containing a number of showers, these contributing to  very poor visibility and a low cloud base which meant there was no flying apart from on the simulator.  Here, George Rowden took Nigel, a Trial Lesson simulator pupil for a half hour flight and later John Carter took  David McKinney, a recently joined club member,  on an instructional flight to brush up on ATing and approach flying.  The opportunity was also taken to rig Astir KRN.

Saturday 21st June

October 4th, 2014

Saturday 21st.   Why are we returning to the 21st June you may well be asking.  Answer is to publish a couple of photographs taken by Nick Gaunt from his LS7 on the day, which by the look of it was a good day for soaring.  The first photograph shows a Motor Cycle meet at Duncombe Park near Hemsley, while the second was taken from the coast side of a sea breeze front which can be seen behind the wing to the right hand side of the picture, with sunny, and no doubt breezy Scarborough visible on the left.  Intriguingly, Nick was in weak, wave like lift which seemed to be associated with the wisps of cloud visible at the top of the picture.  Nick would be interested in hearing of any suggestions as to the source of the lift, so if you have a suggestion please send it to Nick  at nickgaunt@btinternet.com.

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Nick also sent me an account of his wave flight on Friday the 26th September which is probably best described as  unconventional.   I have included it in the report of that particular day which you can get to by going to the blog and scrolling down to the relevant date.

Wednesday 1st to Thursday 2nd October.

October 2nd, 2014

Wednesday 1st.  A light to moderate W’ly to start the day saw the winch out and 7 launches flown before the decreasing wind strength led to a change to ATing later in the morning, 11 of these being flown.  Wave activity was present but accompanied by generally cloudy skies and  wave slots coming and going so only Jesper Mjels, with the help of the engine in his DG400, had a significant wave flight.  Jesper reached around 14,500′ asl, covering 113 km as he visited Boroughbridge and  Darlington.  John Marsh, with 2:12 in the Discus off the first flight of the day, visitor ‘Nobby’ Noble in his DG300 with 1:10 and Martyn Johnson in his DG600 all took advantage of the wavy, hill soaring conditions  but, for a reason I have been unable to discover, David Campbell flying Astir GBK only managed 4 minutes according to the log. The change to ATing saw a further 4 flights exceed an hour, led by John Carter and Steve Ogden in the DG1000 who had 1:28, visitors Barney Crump and Geoff Bowes who had 1:25 in the same glider and Colin Troise who had 1:41 in his DG600. Steve Ogden later flew his second solo flight in K21 KLW while 4 First Flight pupils were introduced to gliding.

Thursday 2nd.  A cold night and a sunny morning led to expectations of a good day’s soaring in a light to moderate SSE’ly wind.  In the event, the thermals didn’t get going until after midday and then only over the high ground of  the North Yorkshire Moors, the conditions to the south and west of the site being still and stable until mid afternoon.  The initial cloud base was only around 2,500′ asl and although variable, lowering towards the coast, eventually rose to around 4,500′ over the southern edge of the North Yorks Moors  later in the afternoon.  With 4 First Flight pupils keen to try out gliding, a day course member, visitors  and  members and a number of private owners, the demand at the launch point peaked in the early afternoon with 3 of the private owners setting off on cross countries.  John Ellis flew Sut/Snainton/Driffield in his DG800, resorting to a cloud climb to 4,000′ asl on the way to Snainton and then having to resort to his engine after turning Driffield, covering around 75 kms before returning to Sutton after 2:53.  Lindsay Mclane flew to Scarborough in his Ventus and then proceeded north to Guisborough, meeting Rob Bailey in his ASG 29 coming south over the North Yorks Moors.  Lindsay’s flight then ended with recourse to his engine after covering around 105 kms before he  returned to Sutton after 3:13.  Rob didn’t  manage to get to his last TP at Garforth, he did  fly Sut/Guisborough/ Pickering/Sut without having to use his engine, although he was close to using it on a few occasions due to the unreliable nature and strength of the thermals, with only the occasional strong one being encountered in his flight of 2:33.  Back at Sutton, visitor ‘Nobby’ Noble had just under 2 hours local soaring in his DG300, while Frank Wilson, after having commuted to site from Carlisle in a Cessna 172, had 1:01 in the DG303.  John Carter and visitor Barney Crump shared an aerobatic sequence flight in K21 KLW that lasted 50 minutes while David Campbell introduced Day Course member P Bell to gliding with flights of 24, 28 and 30 minutes. 4 First Flight pupils flew with either Mike Smith or George Rowden, with 3 of them taking advantage of the offer of a video record of their flight for £20 via a wingtip mounted GoPro video camera .  3 Buzzards briefly formatted off the wing tip on one of these flights but unfortunately for the video record, it was the wingtip the video camera was located on so they were not in shot.    With 25 ATs flown,  plus Frank Wilson’s arrival and departure in the Cessna 172, the only other flying activity of the day was the brief visit of Rob Bottomley and his wife in a PA28.

Sunday 28th to Tuesday 30th September

October 1st, 2014

Sunday 28th.  Sunday was a quiet day weather and soaring wise, the light E’ly slowly veering into the south over the day and a medium level overcast that lasted until the afternoon ensuring a lack of any thermal activity.  Consequently, only one of the day’s 15 ATs off runway 20 managed to reach the 30 minute mark, this being by Fred Brown  and Mr Taylor, courtesy of  a mile high flight.  The only private owner launch of the day saw a member of the visiting group from the Staffordshire GC, Mr Noble, have 25 minutes from a 3000′ tow with YGC members Jim Mclean and the Jon May/J Dyson duo both chalking up 24 minutes, Jim solo in K21 KLW and May/Dyson in K21 JVZ.  Naomi Kennard took advantage of the conditions to have her second flight in the Discus while most of the flying activity was for the 7 First Flight pupils, 2 of whom were signed up on the day by John Marsh.  Flying activities included 2 flights in the Falke while Pauline Rayment and Conrad Thwaites busied themselves with wood preserving activities, Pauline repainting the fence posts around the club house and Conrad spending most of the weekend painting the wooden cladding on the clubhouse, so well done to them both.

Monday 29th. Another quiet day with a very light NW’ly flow that slowly veered into the south as the  initial high cover was replaced by similarly extensive lower cloud resulting in flying stopping in the early afternoon.  7 of the 8 ATs flown on the day were by the visitors from the Staffordshire GC, the only YGC flight being by John Carter and Brian Wise in the DG1000.  The Staffordshire GC visitors, flying in either one of the K21s, made good use of the initial  high cloud base to take some high tows and indulge in some aerobatic practice, tows to up to 5,000′ QFE generating 3 flights of over 30 minutes.

Tuesday 30th.  A somewhat misty morning with a light to moderate SSW’ly and patchy thin high cover, saw the first 2 ATs off runway 20 take high tows to allow the Staffordshire GC visitors to continue their aerobatic practice.  However, a short delay in flying then occurred as the lowland mistiness  turned into significant orographic cloud, but this soon disappeared, allowing flying to continue for the rest of the day, the first flight after the break allowing   George Rowden to successfully revalidate his instructor rating under the watchful eye of  John Carter in the DG1000.  The day’s flying contributed 24 ATs to the yearly total and by early afternoon there was sufficient thermal activity to allow 2 of the 5 private owner launches of the day to spend a couple of hours airborne.  Martyn Johnson visited Northallerton  in his DG600 but was unable to reach his next objective of Ripon in a flight of 2:33, while Staffordshire GC member Mr Noble had 1:53 of local soaring.   A mile high flight gave Simon Wright 41 minutes air time in K21 KLW in the company of George Rowden, while a launch during the thermally active part of the day allowed First Flight pupil Gordon Thorsbey to have 38 minutes in the DG1000 with the same instructor.  Cloud base eventually rose to around 3,500′ asl with the thermals being small in diameter but sometimes giving peak rates of 4-6 kts. Colin Troise had 35 minutes solo in the DG1000 off the penultimate flight of the day just beating the much earlier  33 minute flight of  Ron Beezer in the same glider.  As the sky cleared in the late afternoon, Jesper Mjels took off in his DG400 in response to the appearance of some high lenticulars to the west, but the writer is unsure of Jesper’s success in contacting any wave, as his return after a flight of  2:15 coincided with the writers departure from site.  The members also welcomed back Harry Clark, following his recovery from a painful foot complaint, Harry having a flight in the DG1000 with John Tayler  and also Ian Plant following a second spell in hospital after his liver transplant operation earlier in the year.