Thursday 30th October.

October 30th, 2014

Thursday 30th.  The northward travelling warm front passed the site overnight, depositing 4 mm of rain and leaving the site in cloud with a light to moderate SSE’ly blowing.  Hopes of a clearance were never high and so it proved, the site remaining in cloud during daylight hours, even though away from the NY Moors, the overcast was much higher with glimmers of sunshine by mid afternoon.  The only flying to be done was therefore on the simulator where John Tayler took George Rowden for an initial lesson as part of the BGA Cloud Flying Endorsement course, this following a Power Point presentation of all aspects of cloud flying earlier in the day.

Wednesday 30th October

October 30th, 2014

Wednesday 30th.  The passage of cold front the previous day left the site in a cool, light, SE’ly flow that provided a good day’s gliding which started  just after 1000 hrs and continued until 1645 hrs, even encompassing a couple of hours of thermal soaring during the early afternoon.  By the middle of the afternoon,  the first of the  cloud from a northward moving warm front that had its origins in yesterday’s cold front  was over the site.   30 ATs were flown for members, visitors, guests and  4 First Flight pupils, the visitors from the Nene Valley GC, who provided the majority of the 5 private owner launches of the day,  getting in on the soaring activity as Mr Horsley flew his Swallow for 40 minutes.  Rob Bailey flew the club Discus for just under 2 hours, finding the thermals, the best of which peaked at around 4 kts, didn’t extend beyond the confines of the North Yorks Moors, while John Carter and Brian Jowitt were the other pilots to exceed an hour in the air with 1:03 in K21 JVZ.    A keen First Flight pupil, Graham Taylor, was treated to 48 minutes of soaring flight with Andy Parish in K21 KLW, and had a second flight later in the day as did his son Luc.  The other noteworthy feature of the day was Steve Ogden’s conversion to the Astir, Steve having 3 flights in GBK, the best of which, in terms of duration was 39 minutes, so well done Steve.

Thursday 23rd to Tuesday 28th October

October 28th, 2014

Thursday 23rd.  2 mm of rain overnight preceded a otherwise dry day, the light to moderate wind from the SSW being accompanied by a bright morning but increasingly cloudy skies as the day progressed.   This increasing cloud put an early  stop to John Carter and Steve Ogden’s wave climb in the DG1000, the climb being broken off at around 4,000 asl while still in 4 kts as the wave slot progressively closed, their flight landing after 33 minutes.  The increasingly low cloud base also put a stop to flying after 4 ATs, all but one of which were in one or  more of the club 2 seaters, the exception being the only private owner launch of the day, this being by John Ellis in his DG800.  John made good use of his engine to contact the wave west of the site by climbing to around 3,400′ asl and then exploiting the wave to climb to 16,719′ asl, during which time he made use of his phone’s video capability, the results of which he is hoping to send to me for later inclusion in the Blog.  John was aloft for 3:19 to record the longest flight of  the day, with the next best being by Andy Parish and David McKinnley who had 41 minutes in K21 JVZ, while the Falke had a single sortie.

Friday 24th.  Another cloudy day with the light to moderate, mainly SW’ly, wind again persisting, saw John Ellis repeat his wave climbing exploits of the previous day, the engine of his DG800 again being used to contact the wave, again west of the site , but this time at just over 5,000′ asl.  John then climbed in the wave to just over 14,000′ asl in his flight of 2:35.  this being the longest of the day, although a number of other pilots exceeded an hour.  These included Bill Payton and his guest Mr Bunford who had 1:06 in K21 JVZ and one of the visitors from the Nene Valley GC who had 1:04 in his DG300.  The latter was one of 6 private owners to fly, the remaining 7 launches all being in K21 JVZ, this glider being used by Andy Parish and J Hartley to record a flight of 48 minutes of the last AT of the day.

Saturday 25th.  The wind remained in the SW but had increased to moderate, with gusts into the high 20’s, with the result that launches were initially by AT but reverted to winching after midday, 13 ATs being flown followed by 21 winch launches.   None of the ATs, which included 3 Scouts and 2 First Flight pupils plus 2 private owners,  resulted in any flights of over an hour, the best being 59 minutes by Steve Thompson in the Discus, with Andy Parish and Dave Hartley having 48 minutes in the DG1000 off the first flight of the day and Charlie Jessop and A Sammut having 40 minutes in the DG500 off the last AT of the day.  Soaring conditions had improved once winching became the launch method with 15 of these launches leading to flights of over an  hour.  Robin Hutchinson and Colin Troise set the mark  in K21 JVZ with 1:23 off the first winch launch of the day, with Bill Payton again treating his guest Mr Bunford to the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 2:53 in the DG500.  Steve Thompson and Joan Wilson shared a flight of 1:29 in K21 KLW as all 4  club 2 seaters were flown, while Ken Duxbury recorded 1:33 in Astir KRN, one of the 3 club single seaters to fly.  Among the 6 private owners to launch by winch, Paul Whitehead had 2:20 in his Ventus while Rob Bailey had 1:48 in his ASG 29.

Sunday 26th.  Initially moderate, the mild SSW’ly increased to moderate to fresh during the day, with gusts to the mid to  high 20’s.  Consequently, it was another winching day with 28 flown, 10 of which produced flights of over an hour.  All the club 2 seaters were flown but only one of the single seaters, the Discus, while 4 private owners launched.  One of these, Club President Nick Gaunt, flying his LS7, posted the longest flight of the day, 3:51  during which he reached around 7,000′ asl in wave.  Nick reported that getting into the wave was somewhat frustrating due to the extensive cloud, but eventually he contacted some good lift off the northern end of the forward ridge and climbed through the cloud into the pristine air above.  The wave pattern was difficult to work out, possibly due to a significant S’ly component to the wind, and Nick failed to climb up to some prominent lenticulars above which he estimated to be around 15,000′ asl.  The descent prior to landing required  the traversing of some 2,000′ of cloud.  John Ellis, another of the private owners to fly, spent some 50 minutes in cloud during which time episodes of an  brightening environment suggested that his emergence into clear air was soon to take place only for his hopes to be repeatedly  dashed.     Tony Drury, flying K21 JVZ solo, had 1:45,  while private owners J Donovan and R Williams flying their DG505 had 2 flights, one of 1:30 and the other of 1:42 minutes.  Jim McLean, flying the Discus had 1:30 and Roger Burghall, flying first with Steve Ogden in K21 KLW had 1:05 and followed this with the same time in the same glider with Robbie Norman on a day when 4 First Flight pupils were introduced to hill soaring.

Monday 27th.  The club welcomed 3 ATC instructors from Essex, G Hayes, T Horsley and S Cuthew and introduced them to the more informal ways of civilian gliding on a day when 9 ATs were flown in either of the 2 club K21s, the initially moderate S’ly slowly decreasing to become light to moderate as the day advanced.  Overcast skies didn’t promise much in the way of lift but John Carter and Colin Troise flying KLW managed to eke out their flying time to 48 minutes by making use of some broken areas of lift in front of the  the southern ridge.  Theirs was the only flight to exceed 30 minutes in the air, with Dick Coles’ flights with the 2 First Flight pupils of the day being next best with 23 and 20 minutes respectively.

Tuesday 28th.  A bright start to the day was followed by increasingly cloudy skies as an active cold front moved SE’wards over the country.  12 ATs were flown before the reducing cloud base and declining light levels led to flying stopping just before 1400 hrs, the gliders, tugs, Falke and ground equipment being returned to the hangars etc before the rain arrived around 1600 hrs.  4 First Flight pupils were flown as well as a Day Course pupil, Mr Fox, his introduction to gliding comprising a flight in the Falke with Albert Newbery followed by a 30 minute flight in K21 KLW, again with Albert.  8 of the day’s flights managed 30 minutes or more, with the Southern ridge and some bits and pieces of weak wave slowing down sink rates rather than providing consistent lift for the majority of pilots.  3 of the club’s 2 seaters were flown as well as 2 of  the single seaters with Naomi Kennard making the most of her flight in the Discus with 42 minutes, with Andy Parish and ATC instructor T Horsley coming close to this marker with 41 minutes in K21 KLW.  However, one of the other ATC visitors, S Cuthew, made it a personal achievement day by successfully flying his first solo AT in K21 JVZ and then showing how it should be done by remaining airborne for 1:14.

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.


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.


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.


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


Unmistakeably Ben Nevis.


The southern end of Lock Ericht looking NE.


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


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.