Friday 19th to Saturday 20th September

September 21st, 2014

Friday 19th.  The light, predominately N’ly wind, was again accompanied by very poor visibility and  low cloud, the latter being thick enough to generate some drizzle and light rain for the majority of the day so again no flying was possible.  The Stratford GC visitors departed having not got their gliders out of their trailers, the first time this has happened during around 30 years of visiting Sutton Bank.

Saturday 20th.  A weak cold front approaching from the NW was forecast to bring in some cooler, drier and clearer air, but it did not arrive at site until after sunset so it was another non-flyable day due to low cloud, poor visibilty and light rain and drizzle at times.  This, however, did not stop Ian Kennard cutting the grass on runway 20 or for George Rowden, briefily aided by Graham Evison, from taking a group of Scouts and Joe, a 13 year old First Flight pupil, for some flying on the recently refurbished simulator.

Wednesday 17th to Thursday 18th.

September 18th, 2014

Wednesday 17th.  Apart from the wind being now from  the NNE, nothing else had changed so it was again a day of initially low cloud which eventually broke to give sunny intervals, albeit under very murky conditions.  The Eurofox was flown to determine if the conditions were suitable for operation, but quickly returned after confirming the very poor visibility and a cloud base of under 500′ QFE.  Consequently there was no other flying.

Thursday 18th.  The writer arrived at site late morning to again find a low overcast drifting slowly along in a light NE’ly that slowly veered into the E.  As on previous days, the overcast finally broke around midday to yield very hazy sunshine, the visibility being so poor that the Howardian Hills to the SE of the site could not be seen from the club house.  Although there was no flying, the morning was enlivened by the visit of a group of Primary School children who were shown the gliders and tugs before departing for a visit to the visitor centre at the top of Sutton Bank.

Tuesday 16th September.

September 16th, 2014

Tuesday 16th.  The light, now E’ly, wind, hazy, warm and low cloud base conditions continued, with little change in the synoptic situation and it was again a case of sitting out the morning’s low overcast and hoping for an improvement.  By around lunch time the skies started to clear, with the featureless overcast breaking up into recognisable Cu, some of which showed significant vertical development.  However, a single flight in the Falke by Albert Newbery and a Day Course pupil confirmed that the cloud base was still low, being only 1100′ QFE, so although a glider and tug had been parked out on the airfield ready for action,  they were finally put away around 1600 hrs.  Attention then turned to the ongoing work on the septic tank with preparations being made for the installation of a new concrete lid with access manholes.  After preparing the form work the ready mix lorry arrived around 1600 hrs and the pouring of the concrete began, the following photos showing two of the stages of the work.

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The work was completed by 1700 hrs, with some excess concrete being used to fill in a gulley in the dirt road  leading to the member’s car park by the side of the north hangar.

Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th September

September 16th, 2014

Thursday 11th.  The intensifying anticyclone resulted in a hazy day with low cloud to start, in a light SSE’ly flow, this delaying flying until the mid afternoon.  Thereafter, 8 ATs were flown in either of the 2 K21s with the last flight landing at around 1800 hrs.  The lack of any significant lift meant that only 1 flight exceeded 30 minutes and that was by Andy Parish with returning First Flight pupil Paul Wall at 31 minutes, courtesy of a tow to 3000′ QFE.  Earlier, Andy and Ron Linton had 21 minutes off the first flight of the day from a 2000′ QFE tow.  During the unflyable morning, the simulator was put to good use.

Friday 12th.   The blocking high continued to intensify, with hazy conditions and early low cloud and mist as a result, the wind remaining light from the SSE.  Flying started at around 1400 hrs and, as on Thursday, contributed 8 ATs to the month’s total, these being in either K21 KLW or the DG1000, with a further 2 flights in the Falke.  The complete and featureless overcast meant soaring opportunities were not expected, but Andy Parish with First Flight pupil D Sanderson in KLW, was able to maintain a height of 2000′ QFE and even climb a little in a couple of “thermals” to post the longest flight of the day at 31 minutes.  Later in the day, Andy and Ray Wilkins flying in the DG1000, again found some weak lift of the 0.5 to 1 fpm variety to give them a flight time of 22 minutes.  Steve Ogden made the most of the benign conditions to consolidate his circuit planning with 3 flights in the company of John Carter .  The simulator was again in use during the morning.

Saturday 13th.  With little change in the synoptic situation, the day was again characterised by poor visibility, overcast skies,  light winds, this time mainly from the E, and a lack of lift.  The absence of early low cloud and mist did mean, however, that flying started at around 1100 hrs  with 19 ATs flown over the day, 7 of these being for a group of Scouts from Hurworth and 4 being for First Flight pupils.  The overcast meant that there were no soaring flights, indeed no one managed a flight in excess of 30 minutes, with Roger Burghall and First Flight pupil Sue Harban coming closest with 28 minutes in the DG1000 from a 2,800′ QFE tow, with the same flight time being achieved later in the day again with Roger Burghall as P1  in the same glider and from the same tow height, but this time the First Flight pupil was another Sue, Sue Horobin,.  On the last flight of the day, Martin Joyce did a successful conversion to the DG303, so congratulations Martin.  The club also welcomed our regular visitors from the Stratford GC at the start of their week’s visit with a low level rainbow providing a timely welcome .  In addition to the real flying , there was some virtual flying on the simulator.

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Sunday 14th.  The high pressure showed signs of declining, but this made little difference to the local weather , the skies remaining overcast with no lift, although the wind, while still light, was now from the NNE.  After some virtual flying on the simulator for a group  of visiting Scouts, real flying commenced around midday and continued until the late afternoon with 3 Falke flights and 16 ATs flown, 7 of the latter for the Scouts from Hurworth who had camped on site overnight.  The member’s flying log entries were dominated by the flights of Steve Ogden who, after 6 flights with John Marsh in K21 KLW from tow heights of between 700 and 1400′ QFE, was sent solo and did 2 flights, the second of which, from a tow height of 1600′ QFE, resulted in the longest flight of the day at 13 minutes.  So congratulations to  Steve on his solo.  The only other solo flight of the day was by Dick Cole in KLW, which, given the launch height and flight duration of 9 minutes, I assume was an aerobatic sortie.  Tony Dury on the other hand spent part of the day fettling the DG303 trailer in preparation for the forthcoming club member’s visit to Millfield.  A photo of a very happy Steve with an equally happy John Marsh is shown below.

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Monday 15th.  A weak frontal feature moving in from the E brought a day of low cloud and light rain at times, this amounting to 0.5 mm in total.  Although the weather occasionally improved to sunshine, the improvements were very brief and no flying was possible other than on the simulator.  The non-flying day did allow work to start on the malfunctioning septic tank in front of the hangars, which when emptied of its contents was found to have been wrongly installed so that the inlet pipe was lower than the outlet pipe with the result that the inlet drain and transfer drain between the two tanks were almost completely blocked, as the following photos show.

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A completely new inlet  drain was therefore installed as was the  the outlet drain and  the connection between the 1st and 2nd tanks, as the following photo shows.

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Tuesday 9th to Wednesday 10th September

September 10th, 2014

Tuesday 9th.  Tuesday commenced with a low overcast that soon burned off, allowing flying to start just after 1100 hrs.  The course members were soon brushing up  their flying skills and were joined by a number of club members and 3 First Flight pupils as 75% and of the club’s 2 seater fleet, 40 % of the club’s single seater fleet and 100% of the motor glider fleet were employed, the latter for 2 flights.  The launch total for the day was 17, all ATs off runway 20 into a light SSE’ly that slowly veered in to the SW as the day progressed.  Steve Thompson, the only private owner to launch, had the longest flight of the day,  2:51 in his Discus, the other two > 1 hr pilots being Nigel Gregson with 1:59 in Astir KRN and Frank Wilson with 1:26 in the DG303 as convection got going by early afternoon.  None of  the two seater flights exceeded an hour, but John Carter and course member Diane Kermode came closest with 53 minutes in K21 JVZ.

Wednesday 10th.  The anticyclone responsible for the fine, dry weather and light winds continued to build, the result being a somewhat misty early morning in the Vale of York and a repeat low overcast that delayed the start of flying until around 1130 hrs.  Thereafter, 18 ATs were flown off runway 20 as the light E’ly slowly strengthened to become light to moderate by the end of the flying day.  Convection again got going by early afternoon with cloud base rising to around 3,500′ asl, but some spreadout developed and while the vertical visibility was OK horizontal visibility was poor with no discernable horizon.  John Carter and Diane Kermode had an interesting first flight of their particular day in K21 JVZ when the tow rope from the Eurofox pulled out of the bullet at the glider end while on  tow.  Fortunately, their height and position was such as to allow a return to the airfield.  No private owners flew so the 2 flights exceeding an hour were logged by club gliders, Frank Wilson having 1:46 in the DG303 and Nick Covill having 1:26 in Astir KRN.  Bill Payton posted the longest 2 seater flight as he took a guest for 48 minutes in K21 KLW while John Carter and course member Paul Clark had 42 minutes in K21 JVZ.  The day saw 4 First Flight pupils flown with one of these flights providing the unusual spectacle of the normally tail heavy DG1000 coming to rest with  the underside of its nose in contact with the grass, thankfully without any damage,  much to the surprise of P1 George Rowden.  Flying operations ceased just after 1700 hrs with the last few landings on runway 06 due to the strengthened E’ly flow.  Thereafter the skies were graced with a De Havilland Beaver and a Spitfire as Nigel Gregson flew a couple of  his electrically powered models over runway 20 in the turbulent air down wind of the hangars and club house.

Wednesday 3rd to Monday 8th September

September 9th, 2014

Addendum to Saturday 30th Sugust.  My report for Saturday 30th August included reference to Martin Joyce’s 5 hour flight in Astir KRN but failed to mention that this was Martin’s completion of the duration portion of  his Silver C badge.  So simultaneous apologies and congratulations Martin.

Wednesday 3rd.  A light to moderate ESE’ly flow brought in overcast skies and a low cloudbase that delayed flying until midday before the skies lightened.  The brightening skies did not produce any significant lift however,  and  the day’s pilots had to be content with  circuits, although Day Course pupil Gary Martin, flying with John Marsh on one of his 3 flights, did log the longest flight of the day with 25 minutes in K21 KLW.  Ian Bateman flying the Discus was the only pilot to fly solo  and did so twice, recording the same time for both flights, 20 minutes.  By the middle of the afternoon the brightness disappeared as the cloud cover increased and lowered, flying terminating just before 1600 hrs after 10 ATs had been flown, including one for the day’s only First Flight pupil while the Falke contributed  a single flight to the day’s activities.

Thursday 4th.  A light and variable wind was accompanied by initially hazy conditions, but flying was not delayed much, the first flight taking off around 1045 hrs.  Another Day Course pupil, Thomas Marks, and 3 First Flight pupils were welcomed to the site, with one of the latter, Philip French, being a Mile High aspirant and, as a consequence, posting one of the longest flights of the day, 47 minutes with John Marsh in K21 KLW.   This was almost the closest anyone got to breaking the 1 hour barrier, but Ron Linton and Andy Parish in the same glider bettered that time by 2 minutes to record 49, while John Carter and Resh Khodabocus came close with 45 minutes in the DG1000, all these flights taking place over a short period in the early afternoon as some convective activity briefly erupted.  The only pilot of fly solo was Mark Walton who had 21 minutes later in the day in the Ka8, while the Falke had another single sortie to add to the 14 ATs of the day.

Friday 5th.  The wind had become a light to moderate NW’ly and a light morning shower with an accompanying low cloud base delayed the start of flying until early afternoon, but flying then continued until almost 1800 hrs.  The 2 seaters were kept busy with 7 First Flight pupils and members with two of the former, Helen Willis in the DG1000 with Andy Parish and M Kendrick in the same glider with Robin Hutchinson posting 2 of the 5 flights of the day to exceed 30 minutes.  No one exceeded an hour on a day with limited lift, but Ian Bateman came closest with 50 minutes in the Discus.

Saturday 6th.  A slow moving depression provided a dull and overcast day with mainly light  rain at times, the daily accumulation amounting to 5 mm, as the  light  wind slowly backed into the E after being initially from the N.  Accordingly there was no flying.

Sunday 7th.  Sunday dawned bright and sunny with a light to moderate N wind and, with Cu starting to pop by mid morning, the private owner trailer park became a  hive of activity.  In the event there were 12 private owner launches contributing to the 33 flown on the day,  as private owners, other members and 7 First Flight pupils enjoyed a good day’s soaring that saw a number of cross countries flown and 16 flights exceeding an hour.  Axel Mahnke topped the duration list with 4:59 in his ASW20, while Ian Bullous in his DG800, Martyn Johnson in his DG600 and Ken Arkley in his LS8 all had between 3:25 and 3:42 aloft.  Ian ventured as far as the Humber Bridge while Martyn, having got stuck at Northallerton trying to get to Catterick, decided to cut his losses and spent the rest of his flight exploring the eastern part of the Yorkshire Dales. Fred Brown flew the club 100 km triangle with TPs at Pocklington and Rufforth in his Ventus before landing and allowing syndicate partner Paul Whitehead to do an 107 km O/R to Staindrop at 78 kph.  Jesper Mjels, taking off late in his DG400, contacted wave to the NW of the site and climbed to 8,000′ asl.  Adrian Melia, flying Astir KRN enjoyed a flight of 2:26, his longest solo flight so far, while Kevin and Liz Keily shared 1:21 in K21 JVZ on a great September day for soaring.

Monday 8th.  Another sunny start, as an Atlantic high pressure system edged into the UK with a low over the Northern North Sea threatening to bring in some top/medium cover  later in the day.  25 ATs were flown off runway 24, the very light N’ly wind resulting in the Super Cub being the chosen tug for the heavier 2 seaters with the Eurofox being the choice for the rest.  Cloud base eventually reached around 4,000′ asl but was significantly variable, with those on cross countries finding a lowering of cloudbase to below 3,000′ asl around the Pocklingon area with higher cloudbases to the NE and  SE.  Thermals had strong but narrow cores that required tight turns and frequent re-centring.  Paul Whitehead, one of 7 private owners to launch in his Ventus,  completed his 205 km declared task with TPs at the Humber Bridge, Pontefract and Ripon in 3:16 but found the return from Ripon to Sutton a bit of a struggle.  George Rowden, flying the same task in his LS8 and setting off earlier than Paul, abandoned the  task at the Humber Bridge due to a lack of clouds on the leg to Pontefract and returned to Sutton, half of the  return leg being under a complete and murky overcast that did however, provide a climb above glide some 25 km out, the final glide ending in a marginal straight in approach to runway 02 after a flight time of 2:28.  Martyn Johnson abandoned his SE’ly orientated cross country at Pocklington due to the lowering cloud base before returning to Sutton and exploring part of the North Yorks Moors in his flight of 2:51,  while Andy Hatfield, flying the DG200, abandoned his Beverley/Burn task due to the worsening conditions and instead flew the club 100 km triangle with TP’s at Pocklington and Rufforth in 2:16, being justifiably pleased to get back home.  Jesper Mjels, meanwhile, went as far South as the Humber but decided against going any further as conditions there looked decidedly unhelpful.  A climb over Drax power station helped his return home after 2:10 in the air.  The day’s 25 ATs included 7 by private owners and 3 for First Flight pupils, and the soaring conditions provided a good start to the last holiday course of the year with members, Diane Kermode, John Lennard and Konrad Kawalec able to get in some good flights in both the 2 seaters and the Falke under the tutorship of CFI Andy Parish and Deputy CFI John Carter.  John and Nick Covill posted the longest 2 seater flight of the day with 54 minutes in K21 JVZ while Nigel Gregson enjoyed 1:10 of local soaring in the DG303.  Flying continued until just before 1800 hrs, the mid afternoon overcast clearing to leave brighter skies and some late thermal activity.

Thursday 28th August to Tuesday 2nd September

September 3rd, 2014

Thursday 28th.  Rain and low cloud in a light to moderate SW’ly delayed the start of flying until after midday, with 8 ATs being flown in the afternoon/early evening.  All but one of the launches were in club 2 seaters with the exception being one of the Slingsby Week visitors, Mr Winch, who had 40 minutes in his Swallow.  Jesper Mjels and P Thomas had 1:26 in the DG500  and Bob Beck and B Fasa had 1:00 in K21 JVZ to record the two flights to exceed or equal an hour in the air and make it another soaring day at Sutton.  The day also included a single First Flight pupil flight.

Friday 29th.  The SW’ly wind had increased to  moderate to fresh with gusts to around 30 kts, the airstream bringing with it a number of showers.  This didn’t put a stop to flying activities , however,  with 16 winch launches, 4 of which were for the Slingsby visitors, 3 of whom posted the longest flights of the day.  These were David Cornelius and Ron Page with 2:06, Peter Thomas with 2:36 and top of the list Mr Goldsmith with 3:35, with 2 other flights also exceeding an hour.  Club flying was limited to the 2 seaters, these being used to give 3 First Flight pupils a taste of hill soaring while Bob Beck and Mark Walton shared 46 minutes in the DG1000 and the Falke had a single flight.

Saturday 30th.  Yet another Saturday in August produced a good hill soaring and wave day, as a moderate to fresh W’ly, briefly gusting to  the high 20’s, encouraged most, if not all of the Slingsby visitors to launch, as well as 6 First Flight pupils and a goodly number of members.  The day’s launch total was 51, comprising 49 winch launches and 2 ATs, with 36 of these launches generating flights of over an hour.  Top of these was Axel Mahnke in his ASW 20 with 6:34, but most notable was Slingsby visitor Mr Liddiard who completed his Silver C duration in his Oly 263 which he had bought for the princely sum of £1.   So congratulations to him on 2 counts.  26 private owner launches were flown, with a several recording good climbs on the National Ladder.  Bill Payton and Stuart Heaton flew their DG1000t for 4:05, visiting Harrogate North, Guisborough and Carlton to cover 136 km and climb to just over 14,000′ asl.  Stuart has kindly provided the following photo of the gliding club taken from around this height, the white blob left of centre being the White Horse.  Their flight also included a track of around 17 km some 2-4 km offshore to the SE of Saltburn.  As indicated from Stuart’s photo the wave was not well marked and became increasingly blue as the day progressed.

stuart-14500Other YGC pilots to record their flights on the ladder were Phil Lazenby, who reached just over 9,000′ asl and Rob Bailey who reached around 12,400′,  Rob providing the following photo while over the Pennines, the wave pattern again being not particularly obvious.

rob-bailey-30th-aug-11500Saturday marked the end of a successful Slingsby and Vintage Glider meet with lots of flying and social, particularly culinary, activities.  As well as providing a colourful set of characters, vintage glider meets also provide some colourful airframes to offset the monochrome white of modern gliders and this is illustrated in the next couple of photos provided by Jon Hart, which contrast the colour scheme of a vintage glider with a modern one.  The photos also show the well marked wave clouds which were present during the early part of the day, including the one illustrated to the north east of the site. Other  pilots to take advantage of the conditions were Martin Joyce who flew Astir KRN for just over 5 hours, while the 2 seaters were not to be left out, Bob Beck and John Tayler having 1:27 in the DG1000 and John Marsh and Adrian Melia 1:26 in K21 JVZ.

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Sunday 31st.  The W’ly wind had decreased to light to moderate with the conditions providing a good thermic day that was much appreciated by those who flew.  37 ATs were flown, the majority of the club fleet being utilised and 8 private owners taking to the air.  The day saw 7 First Flight pupils flown, a single Falke flight and 12 flights of over an hour, with some good cross country tasks.  Rob Bailey went for a tour of the Pennines, visiting Hawes, Ullswater, Dufton and Brough to cover 230 km and provide the following photograph of Ullswater  in his flight of 3:35.

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Phil Lazenby spent a similar time flying a 218 km task taking in Tockwith, Pocklington, Richmond and Harrogate North in his Pegase while others breaking the 3/4 hour barrier included Paul Whitehead with 4.24 in  his Ventus, Martyn Johnson with 3:25 in his DG600, Tony Drury with 3:97 in the Discus and Axel Mahnke with 3:02 in his ASW20.  The day was also marked by Will Andrew’s solo, so congratulations to him and the following photos showing Will receiving his wings from John Marsh after his flight.

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So ended August 2014 which turned out to be a very good month for wave flights, the total of height gained, at almost 130,000′  being  the highest total ever recorded for August.  Given that not all pilots post their wave flights on the National ladder, the  actual height gained would have been significantly greater.

Monday 1st September.   A weak cold front deposited 4 mm of rain on the site in the early morning and left a legacy of low cloud that delayed flying until the afternoon, the wind being a light to moderate N’ly.  7 Ats were eventually flown, 4 for First Flight pupils with John Tayler taking 2 of them, Peter Oliver and Julie Collins for 24 minutes each in the DG1000, these proving to be the longest flights of the day.

Tuesday 2nd.  A sunny morning tempted 3 private owners to rig as the wind remained light and variable, mainly from an E’ly direction.  Promising Cu development soon led to overcast skies, the cloud base being around 2500′ asl and this led  George Rowden to abandon his proposed cross country task and land his LS8 t after 48 minutes.  Albert Newbery and Stuart Heaton, taking off a little later in their DG1000t, decided to use their engine to get to brighter conditions further south and subsequently did an O/R to Burn, diverting to the west to stay in the better conditions and finding sufficient lift under the overcast on the return to Sutton to do a straight in approach to runway 02 after a flight of 2:32.  Peter Crawley took off in his DG800 and did some exploring to the west and east, with some recourse to his engine, to record 2:30, ending up soaring some large, but weak areas of lift under the overcast with visitor Ian Bateman in the Ka8 late in the afternoon.  Ian, who had had a significant break in his gliding, first had a 36 minute check flight with Andy Parish in the DG1000 followed by an earlier 12 minute flight in the Ka8 but, in his later flight in the same glider, recorded a very commendable 1:15.   Liz Keily had a busy day taking  guest Carnell for 2 flights in K21 JVZ and having 2 solo flights herself,  first in the Ka8 and then solo in K21 JVZ and made a significant contribution to the 21 ATs flown off runway 24, mainly by the Eurofox, although the Super Cub was used for some of the 2 seater launches.   These included 4 flights for First Flight pupils, one of who had two launches as the relatively low cloudbase and lack of lift meant a restricted time in the air.

Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th August

August 27th, 2014

Monday 25th.  A depression moving across Southern England just extended its influence to North Yorkshire, with the result  being overcast skies and occasional light rain in a light to moderate ESE’ly wind.  The conditions did not encourage anyone to fly in the real world although some of the Slingsby/Vintage Rally visitors tried their hand on the revamped simulator with variable results.  Jamie Quartermaine and George Rowden were tutored in  the start up procedures for the new system by Mike Brown and George subsequently attempted a Sutton N, Carlton, Tontine, Thirsk task in a Scheilcher K23.  This was going quite well until, on  final glide, pushing up the speed to 130 kts resulted in the wings departing from the fuselage even though the ASI’s Vne was 150 kts.  It subsequently turned out that the virtual ASI was from a K21, with the placarded Vne for a K23 being significantly lower.   The day ended on an exotic note for many of the YGC visitors with a Chindian meal provided by Ann Silver and helpers.

Tuesday 26th.   The departing depression left a legacy of overcast skies but these soon cleared to leave a reasonable soaring day with good looking Cu and a moderate ENE’ly wind that initially gusted to 20 kts before moderating.  47 ATs were flown, with the visitors providing the vast majority of the 28 private owner launches and most of the solo flying, as only the 2 seaters were flown from the club fleet.  These were, however kept busy by visitors, club members and the 6 First Flight pupils of the day.  Most of the visitors stayed local, but YGC members Rob Bailey in his ASG 29 and Lindsay McLane in his Ventus flew cross country.  Rob declared Helmsley, Pontefract and Hawes as TPs, but abandoned the task around Leyburn as the conditions further west did not appeal.  He was joined by Lindsay for part of the task which somewhat surprisingly given the wind direction,  provided some weak wave.  Rob’s flight time of 3:50 was exceeded by Mr P Thomas, a Slingsby visitor who had 4:00 aloft flying locally, 2 of the 13 flights to exceed an hour.  The longest 2 seater flight in a club glider was provided by visitor Mr Griffen and Sue Aherne who had just under 2 hrs in the DG1000, while Rob Bottomley posted the longest solo flight in a club glider with 38 minutes solo in K21 JVZ off the last launch of the day. As well as sating  the aviating  appetites of the visitors, the day also sated their physical appetites as they were  treated to a splendid repast based on ham and salmon prepared by Tim Wilkinson and helpers once flying had ceased.

Wednesday 27.  The little ridge of high pressure that had provided a good day’s flying on Tuesday hung on for most of Wednesday,  the high overcast of an approaching front not making its presence felt until flying had ceased for the day.  Early  medium level cloud soon broke up and the resulting Cu, limited in vertical development,  were characterised by strong but narrow thermals and a cloud base of around 4,000′ asl, the wind being a light to moderate E/ESE’ly.  Flying commenced just before 1100 hrs and continued non-stop until 1700 hrs by which time, 37 ATs had been flown, 11 of which exceeded an hour.  No one went cross country, but the Slingsby visitors again provided the bulk of the 20 private owner launches, although YGC representation was provided by Robin Hutchinson in his Swordfish and Mike Wood/Albert Newbery in the T21, one of 2 to fly.  Robin had 2:19 and Mike and Albert 57 minutes, a time that resulted in a couple of cold pilots,due to their long period at cloud base.  Visitors J Burrow/M Vest, A Veitch and Mr Winch all exceeded 3 hours in the air, the former pilots almost making it over four hours.  Messrs Liddiard and Jarvis also showed what vintage gliders can do by exceeding 2 hours flying time.  Visitor Mr Ruddle flew the club Ka8 for 1:35, Bob Beck and Mr Meyhew shared a flight of 1:42 in the DG1000 and Colin Troise flying the DG500 solo joined the > 1 hr brigade with 1:06.   Among all this activity 6 First Flight pupils were flown.  Showing that keeping the c of g within limits was not a concern, many of the visitors ended the day  enjoying an Italian themed meal prepared by Ann Silver and helpers.

Monday 18th to Sunday 25th August

August 25th, 2014

Monday 18th.  The NW’ly wind had decreased to light to moderate and, with fewer showers, flying was possible with 13 ATs flown, much to the delight of the week’s gliding course members.  The 13 ATs  were spread out over the flying day which commenced just after 1000 hrs and continued until the last landing at around 1830 hrs.  The day saw 3 of the club  2 seaters flown but no solo flying, with Derek Smith and Peter Goodchild in the DG1000 posting the longest flight of the day, 1 hr, Roger Burghall and course member Tony Butler being next best with 48 minutes in K21 JVZ.  As well as a single Falke flight, 4 First Flight pupils were flown.

Tuesday 19th.  The NW’ly wind continued to decrease in strength and became light and variable by the end of the day, but the 14 ATs only led to one flight of  over an hour as skies remained mainly cloudy with some showers to contend with.  Unlike Monday, the 2 seater flying was complemented by a couple of solo launches, Ken Duxbury having a 14 minute up round and down in Astir GBK, while Martyn Johnson in his DG600  had around 2:30, mainly hill soaring under the 1800′ QFE cloudbase and dodging showers.  Course members Tony and James Butler managed the longest 2 seater flights, with Tony having 42 minutes with Roger Burhall in K21 JVZ and James having 33 minutes with Paul Whitehead in K21 KLW.

Wednesday 20th.  A somewhat  brighter day saw the launch total reach 25, all ATs, as the wind slowly backed from the N into the WSW over the course of the day.  The better soaring conditions resulted in 9 of the day’s launches yielding flights of over an hour and 9 private owners launching, but the conditions sometimes promised more than they delivered, this being proved by Phil Lazenby’s land-out in his Pegase near Snainton, the promise of a good cloud on the way to Stamford Bridge proving to be empty and a return to sunnier conditions near Snainton being equally fruitless.  As well as Phil’s, land outs were the order of the day for 4 competitors from the day’s task at the  2 seater competition at Pocklington, but unlike Phil Sutton was their chosen spot.  Apart from Phil, the longest flight of the day was by Ken Arkley in his LS8t with 1:35,  just beating the 1:33 of Learn to Fly package pupil Mr Summer in the company of Paul Whitehead, while John Tayler had 1:05 in the DG303.  The day also saw 5 First Flight pupils flown.

Thursday 21st.  A moderate SW’ly brought in extensive cloud, a period of rain followed by showers, these conditions ensuring that the only flying that took place was  a single sortie in the Falke.

Friday 22nd.  The departing front left the site in a soarable and light to moderate NW’ly that slowly backed into the SW by the end of the day, the conditions encouraging 4 private owners to launch and contribute to the day’s 31 ATs , these leading to 7 flights of over an hour.  The course members and 5 First Flight pupils ensured that the 2 seaters were kept busy and the private owners who launched were well represented in the day’s duration stakes, Darren Lodge having 4:13 in his LS8, Peter Crawley having 4:11 in his DG800 and Albert Newbery and Stuart Heaton having 3:32 in their DG1000t.  The airfield again provided a suitable land out option for 2 gliders from the 2 seater competition at Pocklington.   Chris Thirkell with 1:30 in the DG303, after a much shorter earlier flight in the Ka8, and Roger Burghall and Peter Butler with 1:20 in K21 KLW made sure club gliders were represented in the >1hr flight time list.

Saturday 23rd.  The light to moderate NW’ly airstream was unstable enough to generate plenty of showers, these limiting the launch total to 17 ATs, all in 2 seaters, although Marian Stanley made sure it wasn’t a dual only day by having a 12 minute solo flight in K21 JVZ.    The conditions proved to be not particularly good for soaring with no flights exceeding an hour and only 2 exceeding 30 minutes, Paul Whitehead giving his guest Dave Stewart 33 minutes in the DG1000 and John Marsh taking Keith Stevenson, one of the 6 First Flight pupils of the day, for 32 minutes in K21 JVZ.  The Falke added three sorties to the day’s flying activities.

Sunday 24th.  A light WNW’ly that slowly backed into the WSW as a ridge of high pressure moved in provided good soaring conditions that made for an excellent  start to  Slingsby and Vintage Rally week, the resultant demand at the launch point being satisfied by the operation of 3 tugs and yielding a 21st century record for ATs from Sutton Bank in a day, 70 being flown.  At least one  of the The Slingsby/Vintage week visitors had obviously come straight from  a tropical holiday as the following photo shows

slingsby-arrivals-2014

but, more appropriately dressed he and his compatriots were soon spending  their air time exploring the local area.  Some ventured overhead the former Slingsby works at Kirbymoorside, while some went further east to Pickering, north to the Tontine and/or west to Thirsk and Topcliffe, personally contributing to the 41 flights by private owners as well as the  40 flights that exceeded an hour and even the 16 that exceeded 3 hours.   The demand from visitors did not mean that  club flying was neglected, with all available club gliders flown, including 3 flights in the Falke and a number of notable cross countries completed.  Rob Bailey in his ASG29 flew Thirsk/Horncastle/ Bakewell/Pontefract and Thirsk to cover 364 km in a flight lasting 6:17, finding the over development around Horncastle a little tricky.  Derek Taylor flew a similar task in his ASW22, covering 365 km according to OLC, with turnpoints from his OLC trace appearing to be at Horncastle and Alfreton.  Andy Wright flew his Nimbus 3 to Belvoir Castle and back to cover 304 km, commenting on the number of low points he had to recover from, while Phil Lazenby attempted Sut/Beverley/Pontefract/Masham and Sutton but missed out the Pontefract TP as conditions there looked decidedly land-outish, eventually recording 170 km.  Jon May and Steve Ball in their Duo Discus and fresh from their overall win in Task Week, flew a declared 238 km with TPs at Pickering, Garforth and Staindrop, while the 2 seater competition at Pocklington provided a final land out visitor.  Cloud base eventually rose to around 5,500′ asl and the day also produced some good convergences, one such helping Conrad Thwaites to recover from a low point near Castle Howard to cloud base over the site.  Nigel Gregson made the most of the day by having 3:12 in Astir KRN, while Bob Beck with guest Pavis  had 1:33 in the DG1000.  John Talyer put his 1:22 in the same glider with First Flight pupil  Lynda Jowett to good use, as Lynda returned the next day to sign on for a Learn to Fly Package.

Monday 18th to Sunday 24th August

August 25th, 2014

Congratulations to Naomi Kennard who has now completed her Bronze badge.  Naomi already has her Silver  height!

Sunday 24th August was marked by the arrival on-site of various (and sometimes large) trailers which heralded the start of Slingsby week: an annual gathering of the vintage gliding movement.   Due to a promising weather forecast, there was a large demand for launches and the tugs were kept busy getting a diverse selection of gliders into the air.  The conditions for cross-country flying turned out to be somewhat variable - but nonetheless flights resulting in distances up to 350-400km were made.