Thursday 4th to Wednesday 10th February

Thursday 4th.  A moderate to fresh NW’ly meant that curl over from the westerly ridge rendered conditions for take offs from runway 02 too turbulent for safe operations so the only flying was done on the simulator where John Marsh and Andy Parish had training session and visitor Adam Shakia from Gransden Lodge had 2 flights, one with Andy Parish and the second with Albert Newbery.  The wind slowly backed into the SW by the end of the day and decreased in speed, but the improvement came too late to allow any flying.

Friday 5th.  A steadily increasing SSW’ly that became fresh with gusts to the mid 30 kts was accompanied by a high overcast with some evidence of wave.  The wind conditions ruled out any real flying so the simulator again came to the rescue for those wanting to fly, this being David McKinney and Adam Shakia with Andy Parish again filling the P1 seat.

Saturday 6th.  A murky, cloudy and moderate SSE’ly airstream brought periods of rain for most of the daylight hours so there was no flying.

Sunday 7th.  A bright start to the day saw the first of the day’s ATs take off around 1000 hrs but increasing and lowering cloud led to the abandonment of ATing around 1115 hrs after a further 3 had been flown.  Two of these resulted in flights of over 30 minutes, father and son Albert and Martin Newbery having 38 minutes in K21 KLW and  syndicate partners John Marsh and Tony Drury having 34 minutes in K21 JVZ.  The last AT of the day saw the recently ARC’d DG1000 take to the skies on its test flight with John Carter and Mark Newburn at the controls.   The steadily increasing SW’ly led to a decision to revert to winching, John Carter and Tony Drury taking to the sky in K21 1330 hrs.  Very strong lift led to 600, being gained in a single beat of the main bowl but the turbulent conditions led to a decision to land, this proving to be somewhat problematical as insufficient height was lost on the first attempt, in spite of full brake being employed.  A second circuit, starting from a lower starting height was successful, the whole flight lasting 6 minutes.  Meanwhile, in the calmer conditions of the simulator, Jamie Quartermaine took a group of Scouts for their gliding experience flights.

Monday 8th.  The worst of storm Imogen passed to the south of the site, the pressure dropping to 969 mbs, but a moderate to fresh SW’ly gusting to the mid 30’s still affected the site as did a number of showers , the combination of wind speed and showers preventing any flying.

Tuesday 9th.  A light to moderate W’ly meant it was hill soaring day at Sutton, 8 winch launches being flown, 2 resulting in flights of over an hour and a further 3 in excess of 30 minutes.  David McKinney flew K21 JVZ solo for just under 2 h0urs, while Steve Thompson, back on site after a recent major operation had 1:30 with Andy Parish in  the DG500.  Those having in excess of 30 minutes included Albert Newbery and Tom Dale in the DG500 and the sole First Flight pupil of the day who had 45 minutes in K21 JVZ with Albert Newbery.

Wednesday 10th.  A light to moderate WNW’ly under sunny skies started to produce Cu by late morning, although there was also earlier evidence of wave to the NW of the site. 8 AT’s were flown off runway 24, seven of these behind  the Pawnee before an exhaust pipe failure led to the Super Cub taking over towing duties.  This transition only lasted a single launch as a loss of power on the tow led to the glider being waved off and landing after only 3 minutes.  With the conditions deemed unsuitable for the Eurofox, gliding came to a  halt but not before 3 flights had exceeded an hour and a further 2  in excess of 30 minutes.  John Carter and David Watson led the way with 1:36 off the first flight of the day in K21 JVZ.   They were followed byl Tony Drury who used hill lift off the bowl to the north of the main bowl, plus thermals and bits of wave to stay aloft for 1:27 while Bill Payton and Rob Bailey shared  1:15 in the DG1000 and contacted the wave providing the following photo of an attractive sky.


The 2 First Flight pupils of the day were introduced to gliding by Graham Evison while, with the cessation of flying and following a considered and wide ranging risk assessment, a pair of Astir  wings were lifted and stored in the roof of the hangar.

Friday 29th January to Wednesday 3rd February

Friday 29th  A fresh to strong W’ly was very much in evidence at the start of the day, with gusts into the upper 50 kts, as an intense Atlantic depression tracked to the north of Scotland.   The day’s maximum temperature of 9.7C was recorded at 0340 hrs but steadily declined thereafter, as did the wind strength during the day, reaching moderate strength by the end of daylight hours, this improvement  being too late to allow any flying to take place.

Saturday 30th.  The W’ly wind was still blowing but had strengthened again to become fresh,  with gusts into the mid 30 kts.  The majority of a group of visiting Scouts were introduced to gliding on the simulator but 3 were flown, contributing to the 10 winch launches on the day.  All the available 2 seaters were flown, as was one of the club single seaters, Rob Bailey taking the DG303 for 1:25 to record the longest flight of the day.  4 other flights exceeded 30 minutes, with Peter Goodchild first having 47 minutes in the DG5000  with Colin Troise and then, later, 31 minutes in K21 KLW with Anton Manhke. The other 2 flights to exceed 30 minutes were flown by Fred Brown with Scout J Morris, 42 minutes in the DG500 and by Bob Beck and Graham Taylor, who had 35 minutes in K21 JVZ.

Sunday 31st.  The W’ly wind continued to blow but by the morning had declined to light to moderate so it was ATing rather than winching that was the launch method.  Tony Drury took the first AT, flying K21 JVZ solo,  but released at just under 1,000′ as a layer of low cloud started to develop below him, the low launch height resulting in Tony being back on the ground after 3 minutes.  The next flight saw John Carter and Richard Watson have a similar experience in K21 KLW and land after 4 minutes, the increasing low cloud at around 500′ QFE resulting in flying being abandoned for the day.  Virtual flying did, however, continue on the simulator, as a further group of 7 Scouts and 2 leaders took advantage of the facility to gain an experience of gliding.

Monday 1st February.  Named Atlantic depression Henry started to make its presence felt, the moderate to fresh  SW’ly veering into the W as the day progressed and increasing to become fresh to strong with gusts over 60 kts around the middle of the day  with the result that flying was almost possible without the aid of a glider.

Tuesday 2nd.  Storm Henry was still dominating the weather in the north of the UK and a fresh W’ly with gusts into the mid 40 kts at site meant it was again a non-flying day.  Conditions started to abate during the afternoon, but conditions only became flyable as darkness fell.

Wednesday 3rd.  The departing and filling Henry provided a moderate to fresh NW’ly flow  at site with blue, sunny skies, this filling later with streeting Cu, as the following photo shows.


The about to depart DG303 was flown by Chris Thirkell, he being one of a number of pilots to find some strong lift at times with a peak of 8kts being reported, the thermic conditions helping Chris record a flight time of 37 minutes, one of 4 flights to exceed this particular target.  Chris had earlier flown with David Campbell in the Falke as he took advantage of the engine to carry out a succession of field landing exercises.  Pilots wanting to access the first thermals of 2016 had to brave choppy conditions on take off along runway 02, but for most glider pilots this  was a one off, unlike the intrepid Tuggies on the day, Albert Newbery and Les Rayment who bravely soldiered on, although Les did want to surrender at one point, as the following photo shows.



The club also welcomed 2 visitors, Jon March from Eden Soaring, who in company with Andy Parish in the DG500, had the longest flight of the day at 54 minutes, while Adam Shakir from Gransden Lodge flew late on in the day when the thermal activity was well and truly absent.  3 Durham University students, Joe Foster, Kyle Tsai and Rob Norman were among those taking advantage of a flying day, while Steve Odgen, with 35 minutes in  Astir DPO and Colin Troise,  38 minutes solo in the DG500 added their names to the > 30 minute flying time list.  Colin, flying during the early part of the day reported maintaining height in a band of  weak lift,   half a mile long band and aligned across wind.  On the last flight of  the day, Andy Parish and Andy Evans found some wave and climbed 500′ before impending darkness caused a return to the site.



Sunday 24th to Thursday 28th January

Sunday 24th.  A moderate  and very mild SW’ly flow provided  mainly overcast skies but with a high enough base to allow flying, the wind later decreasing to light to moderate as it backed into the SSE.  4 ATs were flown, this number just exceeding  the number of club 2 seaters utilised, this comprising both K21s and the DG500, the DG1000 being off site for its ARC.  John Carter and Mark Newburn took the first flight of the day in K21 JVZ and climbed  to 4,600 asl in wave in their flight of 1:03, the longest of the day, this combination of pilots also flying later  when 35 minutes were had in the DG500.  John Marsh and Martyn Johnson also flew the DG500, proving that the wave could be contacted from a 1,000′ AT, the climb peaking at 3,400′ asl in their flight of 30 minutes, while Brian Wise and Duncan Pask had the same flight time in K21 KLW.   Those experiencing the wave climbs also experienced some interesting descents due to cloud.

Monday 25th.  A moderate to fresh and very mild S’ly veered into the SW as a cold front crossed the site around 1400 hrs, the wind gusting into the mid 30 kts and continuing to veer into the west after dark.   Although there was insignificant rain associated with the front, the wind conditions and a  lack of members meant it was a non-flying day.  The day did allow John Carter and Tom Dale to put up new warning signs along the public footpath which runs along the western side of runway 20.

Tuesday 26th.  A similar day to  Monday with the exceptions that it was even windier, gusts into the low 40 kts, and the low overcast provided bits and pieces of rain over the course of the day, the temperature peaking at 10.5 C and the conditions ensuring another non-flying day.

Wednesday 27th.  Another windy day, the initially fresh SWly wind slowly veering into the W over the course of the day and abating, but not before gusts in the mid 40 kts had been experienced as another front crossed the site around midday.  The front provided 10 mm of rain over the morning and a clearing sky by nightfall while the weather in general provided no opportunity for flying.  The depressing weather and lack of flying does not appear to be of much concern to one ever present member of the YGC  who much prefers a quiet life in office, as  the following photo shows.

YGC Cat Jan

Thursday 28th.  The flow from the SW continued into Thursday, a moderate to fresh flow with broken cloud allowing flying to commence off runway 20 around 1120 hrs. Later the cloud increased and a few showers developed which caused some disruptions to the flying day.   Towed off behind the Eurofox on the first flight of the day, Paul Whitehead and Tom Dale in the DG500 found good, if turbulent, lift mainly  in front of that section of the main bowl between Gormire Lake and the A170’s climb up Sutton Bank, and were able to maintain  1400 to 1800′ QFE without any difficulty in their flight of 44 minutes.  The turbulent conditions on take off and landing had, however, resulted in the Eurofox being replaced by the Pawnee and pilots had to be aware of much stronger winds at flying height and strong sink on finals necessitating a high approach.  Andy Parish and David McKinney  had 43 minutes in K21 KLW while Andy and Peter Robinson, off the last flight of the day, had 39 minutes in the same glider.  Although having the shortest flight of the day, John Carter and George Rowden contacted some wave over Byland Abbey and climbed 300′ before abandoning the climb due to the wave drifting off to the east and a shower approaching from the west, the arrival of the latter leading to a decision to land after 13 minutes.


Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd January

Friday 22nd.  Active fronts associated with an Atlantic depressions brought 12 mm of rain to the site, as well as keeping it in cloud for the majority of daylight hours, the clearance coming later as the wind, a moderate to fresh SE’ly to start, eventually veered to become W’ly by the end of the day.  The result, no flying.

Saturday 23rd.  High pressure, centred to the SE, kept the site in a light to moderate SSE’ly and, with high cover, 33 ATs were flown off runway 20 behind either the Eurofox or the Super Cub.   The newer Eurofox also made an appearance as it continued with its flight testing in the hands of Dick Cole.  The pre certification testing will be concluded shortly with a flight test at maximum all up weight before the paper work is despatched to the CAA. The day’s flying included that for 8 Scouts and a Scouter from Thirsk and Boroughbridge troops, as well as 3 First Flight pupils, and while no one exceeded an hour aloft, 5 flights exceeded 30 minutes as the western end of the southern ridge provided some relief from steady sink.  Andy Hatfield also reported some stronger lift that enabled him to climb back towards his release height of 3,000′ QFE in the DG303.  This stronger lift was associated with an upwind bonfire, while some weak wave also helped Andy get to and maintain height at 2,700′ QFE for a significant proportion of his 35 minute flight, before fading light led to a landing at 1650 hrs. Others to record flight times of >30 minutes included Chris Gill and guest Miss Natlass, who eked out 35 minutes on the south ridge after initially indulging in some aerobatics in K21 KLW, Colin Troise who had the same duration but without  any company as he flew the DG500 solo, Brian Wise and Chris Haresnape who had 31 minutes in K21 JVZ  and Graham Taylor who had the same time in Astir BDO.

Sunday 17th to Thursday 21st January

Sunday 17th.  The initially light to moderate SE’ly increased to moderate over the day, the benign weather allowing flying to commence around 1045 hrs and continue until around 1515 hrs.  During this period, 9 ATs were flown off runway 20, including 4 for 3 First Flight pupils, the reason for the discrepancy between numbers of First Flight pupils and flights providing the interest story of the day.  This involved Peter Goodchild and First Flight pupil Fiona Maddon who. reaching their release point after a tow to 3,000′ QFE, found that neither of them could release the rope, the cable release being solid.  A radio call to Tuggie Dick Cole resulted in a descent to 1000′ QFE above the airfield, at which point Dick employed the tug guillotine, allowing Peter to make a uneventful landing back on runway 20 with the rope still attached to the glider..  Examination of the Oftur hook on the K21 showed that it had been immobilised by ice, this presumably being formed from snow picked up during the launch ground run as no difficulty had been found in attaching the hook prior to the launch.  Fiona subsequently had a further flight with Albert Newbery due to the relatively short duration of her first flight with Peter.  Lift was at a premium on the day, so most pilots went for a high tows in order to extend their flight times, but  John Marsh’s 33 minutes solo in K21 JVZ indicates that there was some rising air around, while Andy Hatfield’s 27 minutes, flying K21 KLW solo, also off a 3,000′ tow, was the nearest anyone else got to John’s time.  Sunday was also the first ice day of the winter, the air temperature never getting above zero, the lateness/briefness of this event further confirming the mildness of the season.

Monday 18th.  A weak occlusion lying across Southern Scotland and the north of England gave wintry precipitation over Scotland but resulted in a dull, overcast and cold day at Sutton, as a light to moderate SE’ly blew, the temperature struggling to get above freezing and the cloud shrouding the hill, thus preventing any flying.

Tuesday 19th.   The weakening occlusion had drifted a little further south, so the site remained under its influence, with cloud again shrouding the hill and the non-flying conditions made even more negative by occasional light rain in the light to moderate NNW’ly wind.

Wednesday 20th.  The occlusion had disappeared to the southt and dissipated, leaving the site under initially blue skie in a light, initially NW flow that backed virtually around the compass during the day to eventually become NE’ly.  Flying commenced around midday and continued until around 1615, by which time 9 ATs had been flown in either one of  the 2 club K21s.  Again, a lack of any lift meant it was a high tow day if pilots wanted to extend flight times and Polly Whitehead, Duncan Pask and Steve Ogden duly obliged, all taking solo tows to 3,000′ QFE, although no one managed to exceed 30 minutes flight time.  Polly came closest with 25 minutes although Duncan and Steve were close behind with 24 minutes each.  Andy Parish, first with Chris Haresnape and then with Diane Thomas posted the longest dual flights of the day at 17 minutes off lower tows, while Andy also had the shortest flight of the day with Peter Robinson, their hangar flight in K21 KLW lasting 7 minutes as Peter opted for a 1000′ tow to practice his circuit and landing skills.

Thursday 21st.  The  high pressure responsible for the quiet and cold weather of the last few days  declined, allowing Atlantic fronts to make progress eastwards.  A moderate SE’ly flow and broken cloud greeted the day but any thoughts of flying were quickly dispelled , the cloud base rapidly falling until it reached hill top height by early afternoon, rain starting to fall around 1600 hrs.  While no flying was undertaken, the early conditions were taken advantage of as the Discus was trailered down to North Yorkshire Sailplanes for its ARC.

Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th January

Wednesday 13th.  A bright start to the day didn’t last long as the skies slowly clouded over, but a low cloud base never threatened and after commencing flying around 1030 hrs,  the last flight of the 16 ATs of the day landed at 1605.  Although starting off as a light WSW’ly, the wind soon backed into the SE and freshened slightly, although a significant horizontal wind shear existed, with the wind at flying height being a 20 kt W’ly.   Weak lift not associated with the ridge to the SW of the main bowl, enabled 3 pilots to exceed 30 minutes duration, Colin Troise having 35 minutes solo in the DG500, Ken Arkley 32 minutes solo in K21 KLW and Stuart Heaton 31 minutes solo in the same glider.  Ken claimed bragging rights on handicap, while Graham Evison and Chris Haresnape flew for 27 minutes in K21 JVZ and a single First Flight pupil was flown.  The Falke also had an airing as Paul Whitehead and Mark Newburn did some Bronze C exercises in their 45 minute flight.

Thursday 14th.  A shallow depression moving south of over the North Sea led to a covering of snow at site, the wind becoming a fresh N’ly with gusts to 45 kts in the morning before slowly abating over the day, the low’s cloud breaking just in time for Andy Parish to record a colourful, if snowy sunset, as shown below, the shot being taken through the Tug Hangar doors while the  hair is not a left over from Andy’s Christmas job as Santa Claus, but belongs to Dianne.

Jan 14 Snowy Sutton


Friday 15th.  The departing low pressure  of Thursday left the site under a sunny, blue sky that persisted all day, the wind remaining in the N but having decreased in strength to become light to moderate.  The fluffy snow cover precluded ATing due to a loss of visibility on take off,  but the Falke had 3 flights,  with Mark Newburn showing his field landing skills to Albert Newbery on 2 of them.  Dick Cole took the new Eurofox up for a 2 hour duration flight as part of its pre certification test flying programme and during this flight, Dick had a grandstand view of the snowy North Yorkshire Moors and Sutton Bank, and graciously took the opportunity to share part of that view with us via  the following photo.

Jan 15 New Eurofox

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Chris Thirkell, Andy Parish, David Watson and John Carter were attending a course on glider maintenance at Portmoak with John supplying the following photo which is of a flooded and frozen airfield, more suitable for ice skating than gliding.

Portmoak 1 15 Jan 16

Incidentally, the full size photo suggests the Swans in the picture are Whoopers, winter visitors from Iceland, having done the 1,375 km first leg  of their over winter O/R.

Saturday 16th.  The NE of England was not affected by the snow that progressed SEwards from the SW of Scotland to the SE of England over the day while the snow covering Sutton Bank since Wednesday had developed a crust that allowed gliding to take place without any significant visibility problems on take off.  The wind remained from the N but had  had dropped in strength to light and after a few problems in firing up the tugs (thank you Jim McLean for the use of your car in jump starting the Pawnee) flying commenced around 1100  hrs.  7 ATs were flown before it was decided to terminate flying as the operations were leading to rutting of  the airfield, the otherwise smooth operations being somewhat disrupted by a rope break during  the very early part of one take off.  As a consequence of a lack of lift, flight times were a direct function of launch height, with Robin Hutchinson taking his Mile High pupil for 36 minutes in K21 KLW and Paul Whitehead taking another of the 4 First Flight pupils of the day for 26 minutes in K21 JVZ off a somewhat lower tow.  Colin Troise and Joan Wilson shared the next longest flight of 23 minutes in JVZ as the temperature struggled up to a 1.2C maximum in the clear conditions.



Saturday 9th to Tuesday 12th January

Saturday 9th.  Low pressure remained in charge of the UK weather, the result being a moderate and  moist, SSE’ly flow over North Yorkshire that kept the site in cloud all day and prevented any flying, except, of course, on the simulator where the weather was beautiful.

Sunday 10th.  The wind had veered into the SW, but remained moderate, although it became increasingly gusty after lunch with peak values into the low 30 kts.  The  cloud had lifted off the hill but only into a low overcast which thickened sufficiently  to produce rain  on and off all day, the day’s total being 3 mm, the conditions again not being conducive to flying.

Monday 11th.  The depression, now starting to fill, was drifting off to the east, allowing the initially calm conditions to be replaced by a light to moderate NW’ly, the initial calm conditions leading to the formation of low stratus/fog in the Vales of York and Pickering.   The site remained in sunshine and allowed John Carter to provide some nice photos of the fog lapping at the edges of the site as well as providing a Brocken Spectre of himself surrounded by a glory, all these features being seen in the 2 photos which follow.

Glory and Broken Spectre John C YGC 11 Jan

Jan 11 16 John Carter

Tuesday 12th.  The initially light NW’ly slowly increased to moderate and veered into the N, the morning providing broken, medium level cloud that had those members present on site to consider flying.  However, thickening and lowering cloud put a stop to such thoughts, the decision not to fly being confirmed as a good one when the rain arrived in the early afternoon, with 5 mm falling before your reporter left site around 1630 hrs.  Tuesday was not however a total washout from a useful activity point of view as the Discus was derigged and the fuselage upended in the workshop to allow an inspection to be made of its recently troublesome wheel brake.  Even more encouragingly, Tom Dale took and passed his Bronze C papers, so congratulations to him, while members of the Board and John Carter spent most of the day sorting out problems with the electricity supply to the club and progressing the development of the new YGC website.


Just a couple of minor issues with the EMS and the coolant temp indication, entirely due to ‘finger trouble’ leading to a “rubbish in = rubbish out” computer scenario! G-CIOF feels very new (she is) and flies just as nicely as big Sister G-MOYR. The Rotax 912 iS is noticeably more powerful at towing RPM and pulls very smoothly throughout the full RPM band. The weather and sodden airfield have held up the flying, but the coming week looks a bit better, so fingers crossed.

Tuesday 5th to Friday 8th January

Tuesday 5th.  Apart from a slight wind change, strength now light to moderate and direction SSE’ly, the almost stationary depression remained over the UK providing yet more low cloud that shrouded the hill plus a little more rain, 4 mm overnight, so there was no flying.

Wednesday 6th.  Nothing much had changed synoptically, so the site remained in cloud with bit and pieces of rain throughout the day as a moderate SSE’ly wind blew and nobody flew.

Thursday 7th.  An active front crossed the site around 1300 hrs after depositing a further 21 mm of rain.  The passage of the front led to a marked wind change from SE to W with gusts to around 30 kts as the front passed, the average wind speed being light to moderate over the  rest of the day.  The clearing skies revealed a very wet airfield, which of itself ruled against any flying, but the clearance did at least come  in time to provide a nice sunset, the low sun producing some nicely illuminated and coloured undersides to the clouds departing to the east.  Prior to this, the DG1000 was trailered down to North Yorkshire Sailplanes for its ARC, while Diane Thomas hoovered out the accumulated dried mud and other debris from the cockpits of the club gliders.  Thank you Diane.

Friday 8th.  Another lump of cloud associated with an isolated frontal feature gave the site another 3.3 mm of rain during the morning,  but the front cleared by midday, it associated cloud rising off the hill and breaking to yield an afternoon of sunny intervals.  The great improvement in visibility allowed the flooded fields and  river valleys of the Vale of York to be readily seen, as was the saturated nature of the airfield, so although acceptable flying conditions prevailed above ground level, the wind, post clearance, being a light to moderate S’ly , the state of the airfield ruled against any flying operation.

News from Australia.   Phil Lazenby has reported some very good soaring weather from near Perth, Australia between Christmas and New Year.   The longest flights flown over the above period have  included 863 km in  a Ventus, 840 km in a ASG29, 800 km in a dry Discus, and 720’s in a LS8 and a Standard Cirrus.  The 2 day period saw Cu with bases at 12,000′ on day 1 rising to 16,500′ on day 2.  Phil flew his longest ever distance, 604 km at an OLC speed of 92 kph in a friends Standard Jantar on day 2 but, after 7 hours in the air, decided to cut short a possible 700 km attempt.   Phil has also flown a OLC 350 km at 99.6 kph in the same water- less glider, but regretted having spent time taking photographs that contributed to him not achieving  a speed of 100 kph.  A couple of Phil’s photos are shown below, the first showing him waiting for the day to develop before taking off and the second photo shows him climbing at around 9kts while passing 13,100′.  The vario on the right of the panel was not working.  The Standard Jantar’s fin markings are maybe a Western Australian comment reflecting the difference between the current Western Australian and UK soaring weather.

Phil St Jantar Australia Jan

Phil Australia Jan