Sunday 18th to Friday 19th.

Sunday 18th.  A light and variable wind that started off in the SE and progressively veered into the NW, signified the presence of a near-by depression that brought low cloud and rain, the rain becoming sleet and snow by the end of the day.  Consequently, there was no flying, but the civil engineering contractors managed to dig the foundations for the new tug hangar, the work being closely watched by an archaeologist just in case something interesting was unearthed..

Monday 19th.  A light to moderate NNW’ly blew all day with the temperature barely rising above zero.  Although visibility in the Vale of York  was excellent, the site was in cloud all day so there was no flying and the road conditions following Monday’s snow were such as to preclude the scheduled pour of concrete into the newly dug tug hangar foundations.

Tuesday 20th.  The wind strength remained in the light to moderate range, but the wind direction had switched almost 180 degrees to become SE’ly as a depression moved in towards the UK.  Conditions were very murky in the valleys but the cap of cloud on the  North Yorkshire Moors meant it was another un-flyable  and cold day at the club, the temperature never exceeding aero degrees and falling to – 1.5C as brighter skies moved in late afternoon.

Wednesday 21st.  A small depression moving south to north over the UK led to some significant snow fall over the north of England and the north Midlands, the  snowfall lasting most of the day and giving a covering of a few inches at the club.  The  moderate SE’ly wind slowly declined to light as it backed into the ESE, the site again remaining in cloud for the whole of the day.

Thursday 22nd.  The light SSE’ly wind was part of a moist and cold airmass that again kept the site in cloud all day, so the non flying days continued to mount up.

Friday 23rd.  The day saw a brief bright start before the cloud associated with an approaching Atlantic depression spread across  the sky, the wind starting off very light before progressively increasing to moderate, even gusting to just under 30 kts around the middle of the day and settling into the SSE.  The very murky conditions and accompanying low cloud again precluded any flying but the forecast of the  overnight passage of a cold front promised a soaring day on Saturday, which hopefully should end a run of 6 non-flying days that did, however, allow good progress to be made on the new fire/accident trailer which now just awaits its coat of red paint.

Saturday 17th January

Saturday 17th.  A light to moderate SW’ly kept a snow covered Sutton Bank in cloud for most of the day, the cloud only lifting around 1500 hrs to reveal a number of snow showers in the area.  Flying was confined to the simulator where George Rowden took Day Course pupil Jamie on a tour of the area after an 4,000′ AT before taking a winch launch and embarking on a hill soaring exercise.  John Marsh then immersed himself in virtual cloud to undergo his preliminary blind  flying training  with John Carter, before Mike Smith got to grips with the refurbished software and procedures.  An Instructor’s meeting in  the evening addressed by Derek Smith, who covered  recent and future changes to pilot licencing and training and Andy Parish, who covered accident trends, lookout and other safety and instructional issues followed a warming 2 course dinner prepared by Liz.

To provide a change from the snow and cold of a Yorkshire January, I have included below some photographs taken by Phil Lazenby as he endures the 41C heat of Western Australia.  The photos were taken during a 300 km flight with a local student pilot, the cloud base being around 14,000′.  The photos were taken at about 12,000′ so, according to my calculations, the temperature would have been a much more comfortable if somewhat chilly 8C, the Beverley Gliding Club site being about 1000′ asl.  The first picture shows some salt lakes, the second some very nice looking Cu and the third an understandably happy looking Phil who, somewhat surprisingly, favoured the 5C of Yorkshire to the 41C of Beverley.

Salt lakes near Corrigin Aust (1) Phil L Jan


Phil L DG1000 W Aust Jan 15













Happy pilot 12000ft dg1000 Phil L Aust Jan

Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th January

Wednesday 14th.  A moderate WSW’ly that slowly increased and backed to become a moderate to fresh SSW’ly, provided good hill soaring conditions and even a little wave for the limited number of members who braved the wind chill and an interruption due to a shower around midday.  4 winch launches were flown, all in K21 JVZ, with the last launch of the day seeing Albert Newbery and Trevor Reeve, a visitor from Lasham, have 1:10 in hill and wave lift that saw them climb to around 3,000′.  None of the other launches of the day exceeded an hour but all exceeded 29  minutes,  with Dave McKinney and David Watsham having 48 and 47 minutes respectively in the company of Albert Newberry, and Ian Johnston having 30 minutes solo in JVZ.

Thursday 15th.  A moderate to fresh SW’ly gusting to around 30 kts kept the gliders in the hangar, which was just as well, as later in the day the wind became a fresh to strong SSW’ly and gusted to over 50 kts.

Friday 16th.  A light to moderate SW soon veered into the W, so it was another winching day, although the wind strength did not generate much in the way of hill lift, so flight times were all below 30 minutes.  8 winch launches were flown, a heavy snow shower disrupting flying late morning, Andy Parish and visitor Trevor Reeve posting the longest flight of the day with 20 minutes in K21, JVZ, the only glider to be flown.  Steve Ogden and Peter Robinson had 17 and 16 minutes respectively in JVZ with Andy Parish on another very cold day at Sutton.

Friday 9th to Tuesday 13th January

Friday 9th.    A fresh W’ly, gusting to over 45 kts around the middle of the day,  provided a very windy start to the day  under mostly cloudy skies, and apart from the wind progressively backing into the SW, the wind speed and gustiness did not moderate to conditions that might have allowed flying until mid afternoon.   However, by this time it had started to rain so a non-flying day ensured.

Saturday 10th.  Another windy, W’ly day, the average wind speed starting off fresh and slowly moderating to become moderate by the end of the day, although remaining gusty with peak gusts in the 40-45 kt range.  Coupled with a scattering of wintry showers as the temperature fell to just above freezing at sunset,  it was definitely a day for staying indoors.

Sunday 11th.  In contrast to Friday and Saturday, the  wind started off as a moderate  WSW’ly before steadily increasing to become fresh with gusts to the high 30kts, bits and pieces of rain accompanying the increasing wind.  The initial conditions did allow the winch to be deployed and 5 launches to be undertaken, before the deteriorating conditions led to the cessation of flying just after midday.  Those that flew, including a single private owner, each had over 50 minutes due to the good hill lift, with 3 pilots exceeding an hour.  Jesper Mjels had 1:28 in the DG303, John Marsh and C Taylor 1:04 in K21 JVZ off the first flight of the day, which launched just before 1000 hrs, and Matt J, the only private owner to fly, 1:16.   Peter Goodchild had 58 minutes on the hill accompanied by Astir KRN, while the day’s flight list was completed by Robin Hutchinson and Tony Drury who shared a flight of 54 minutes in K21 JVZ off the last flight of the day.

Monday 12th.  An active cold front crossed the site around 0900 hrs, the wind then progressively dropping from its initial fresh WSW’ly state, with gusts to around 40 knots, to become a moderate W’ly by the end of the day, although with gusts still in the high 20 kt region.    The day was also marked by a progressive drop in temperature, from 8.4 C at 1000 hrs to 4.3 C at 1600 hrs.  The improving conditions led to some of the gliders being moved out of the hangars in preparation to fly, but with wind still gusting significantly, the decision was taken to put them all back again without an interim period of flying.

Tuesday 13th.  A Wly varying between light to moderate and moderate under initially clear skies meant a good hill soaring day, with even a isolated thermal to enliven proceedings.  9 winch launches were flown with both K21s and the DG303 and Astir KRN flown.  6 of the day’s flights exceeded 30 minutes with 2 exceeding an hour, the latter being flown by Derek Smith in the DG303 and George Rowden, solo in K21 JVZ.  Derek managed to get sufficient height  to get onto Black Hambleton after a couple of arbortive attempts and found good lift there,  returning to site after just over two hours and then departing site to be home to celebrate his 14th wedding anniversary.  George Rowden had 1:09, the pleasure of maintaining 1000′ +/- above the hill in, at times, rather turbulent conditions being enhanced by at first, watching a number of snow showers dissipating as they left the Pennines, but more so  by finding a thermal peaking at 6 kts towards the end of the flight.  This allowed a rapid climb to cloud base at 1800′ QFE, followed by an upwind dash under a bit of a street to Bagby, an airspeed of 80-90 kts being required in order to stay out of the cloud.  John Carter and Richard Watson, son of David, had 2 flights, the best of which was 53 minutes, while John also accompanied David Watsham in his flight of 44 minutes in K21 KLW.  Peter Guest flew Astir KRN for 42 minutes, while the Falke had 2 flights, Peter Cowling doing an O/R to Whitby and Albert Newbery adjudicating David Watsham’s field landing attempts and finding them up to scratch.  The amount of cloud increased from midday, seeming to threaten the continuation of flying, but then cleared to a much higher cloud base, the temperature dropping to just above freezing as the hangars were packed at the end of another good soaring day at Sutton.

Wednesday 7th to Thursday 8th January

Wednesday 7th.  A low overcast in a moderate S’ly wind meant no early start to flying, but improving cloud conditions, albeit with a slowly strengthening wind that eventually became a moderate to fresh SSW’ly with gusts to 34 kts, raised hopes of some flying.  However, these hopes were dashed by the reluctance of Pawnee Tango Mike’s engine to start, so activities were transferred to trailering the DG1000 down to NYSailplanes for its ARC and bringing the ARC’d K21 JVZ back to site.

Thursday 8th.  A variable W’ly wind, ranging from light to moderate to moderate to fresh that gusted to 28 kts over the middle part of the day, provided a good day’s soaring.  Hill lift and some limited wave were exploited by a goodly number of members, plus visitors from Kirton in Lindsey, and a brief shower around midday also provided some pilots with the first thermal of the year, with average climb rates of 2-3 kts.  After rigging the recently returned K21 JVZ, it joined the rest of the club fleet at the launch point and contributed to the 28 winch launches of the day, the visitors from Kirton rigging and flying their Discus and Libelle.  Most of the flights exceeded 30 minutes with 8 exceeding an hour, the visitors from Kirton making sure their trip was worthwhile by having the longest flights of the day, John Williams in his Libelle having 4:18 and Dave Bieniasz 4:05 in his Discus.  The other Kirton visitor, John Caldwell, managed two flights in club 2 seaters, the first, with Albert Newbery being only 11 minutes in duration as they were washed out of the sky by the aforementioned shower.  Later on, John managed 49 minutes in the DG500 with Bob Beck.  Many pilots reported contacting wave but for most this petered out at or about 3,000′ asl, Jesper Mjels being the only pilot to report a higher climb, this time to 4,900′ asl near the Tontine, as he flew the DG303 for just over 2 hours.  Mark Germaine, the only YGC private owner to launch, had 1:45 in his ASW 27, while Steve Thompson had 1:16 in the DG303 and George Rowden 1:07 in Astir KRN.  Just to prove that the all the available club gliders were flown, Brian Wise and Howard Marshall both flew the Ka8.  The 2 seater pilots also made the most of the conditions with Steve Thompson and Mike Greenacre having 1:22  and David Hill and Chris Thirkell 1:10 in K21 KLW, the latter flight allowing Chris to quiz David about his 50 years of instructing at the YGC, so congratulations to David on this notable milestone.

Saturday 3rd to Tuesday 6th January

Saturday 3rd.  An overcast start to the day led to rain by mid morning as a front crossed the area, the wind starting off in the SSW and veering into the WNW as the sky cleared after the passage of the front by early afternoon.  The improved conditions  allowed Ron Beezer to take First Flight pupil Mr Leahy for a 27 minute flight in K21 KLW, starting around 1345 hrs, and for the Falke to have a single flight, but a lack of demand meant that these were the only flights of the day.

Sunday 4th.  A transient ridge of high pressure led to a day of light winds and clear, sunny skies after overnight frost.  The wind started off in the SW but progressively backed into the SE over the course of the day.  25 ATs were flown, all in club gliders, but the lack of any lift meant that high tows were required to extend flying times.  Steve Ogden made the most of his high tow with a flight time of 31 minutes in Astir KRN, the only pilot of exceed 30 minutes, with Naomi Kennard being next best with 29 minutes in the same glider, while Colin Troise had 28 minutes solo in the DG500.  Nick Gaunt took the only First Flight pupil of the day, Zara Carter for the longest 2 seater flight with 24 minutes in the DG500.  The day, while being unspectacular from  a soaring point of view, was notable for the Ogden family, for as well as Dad’s endurance performance noted earlier, son Chris went solo after 3 pre-solo flights with Steve Thompson, and followed this up with a second solo flight later in the day.  So congratulations to Chris on his solos and for getting 2015 off to a good start.  Photos of a very happy Chris with instructor Steve Thompson are shown below, provided by a proud Dad.


Chris Ogden with Steve Thompsn Jan

Chris receiving his wings. Jan



















Monday 5th.  A day of poor visibility and low cloud in an initially light SW’ly air stream precluded any glider flying but did allow Paul and Polly Whitehead to have 2 trips in the Rotax Falke.  The wind slowly backed into the SSE over the course of the day, as the first of 2 weak fronts approached from the west.

Tuesday 6th.  The second of the 2 fronts crossed the site around 0900 hrs, immersing the hills inpre frontal cloud but providing only a little rain. The opportunity was therefore taken to return the cleaned and polished wings of the DG1000 to its trailer and move the fuselage into the workshop for its session of TLC before the DG1000’s departure down the hill for its ARC.    Skies cleared around 1130 hrs allowing the winch to be deployed as the wind veered from the SSE to become a moderate W’ly according to the automatic weather station, but the antics of the windsock suggested a more NWly flow.  Flying started around 1230 hrs and continued until the last flight landed at around 1600 hrs as the light faded.  All the available club gliders were flown and 5 of the day’s 12 launches exceeded an  hour, the excellent visibility and eventually clear skies providing some splendid views.  Of some interest was what looked like a permanent shower over the Bedale area, the rain never seeming to move downwind.    Lindsay McLane topped the endurance stakes with 1:17 in the DG303, reporting the best lift on the NW’ly facing ridge just north of the Cowesby bowl.  Bob Beck,  flying the DG303 earlier in the day,  climbed to the best height of the day, 1600′ QFE, while soaring the forward ridge, but George Rowden flying Astir KRN found only broken and weak lift in this area and, after  retreating to the main ridge, was thankful for the more consistent lift on the NW’ly facing parts after arriving there at 200′ QFE in his flight of 1:13.  Other solo pilots to have an hour or more in the DG303  were Bill Payton with 1:03, and Brian Wise with 1 hour precisely.  Chris Ogden had 2 flights with John Carter, the first of 47 minutes in K21 KLW and the second in the DG500 being only 12 minutes as the light faded.  Dad Steve Ogden had 40 minutes in the DG500 with John Carter while Peter Robinson had 40 minutes in KLW with Andy Parish, Andy also having 38 and 11 minutes with Dave McKinney in KLW. After landing the DG303, Bob Beck set off again in the DG500 with Peter,  the only First Flight pupil of  the day, returning some 47 minutes later with a very satisfied pupil.  Thanks are due to Mike Brown for some sterling winch driving.





Wednesday 31st December 2014 to Friday 2nd January 2015.

Wednesday 31st.  A very murky, light to moderate and cold SE’ly flow persisted all day, the very poor visibility preventing any flying as the skies gradually clouded over.  However, the lack of flying did allow Nick Covill’s Bronze C paperwork to be completed after his efforts on the 30th December, so congratulations to him.

Thursday 1st January.  A weak series of fronts making slow progress across the UK produced a day of low cloud, intermittent light rain and drizzle and a strengthening S’ly wind, this becoming fresh with gust to the mid-40 kts during the evening.  The day’s  only bright spot was  the temperature which reached 12C in the lowlands of the Vale of York.  Not surprisingly, very few people turned up to fly and thus avoided any disappointment.

Friday 2nd. The departing fronts left the site in a moderate to fresh W’ly that gusted into the mid 30 kt range, providing some challenges at take off and landing onto runway 24.  All the available club gliders were flown and were joined by 2 private owned gliders, the launch total for the day being 22 off the winch.  Conditions aloft were choppy at times but lift was to be found over a wide area but did not extend much above 3,500′ asl, and away from the hill lift came in intermittent pulses.  Axel Manhke stayed aloft for 3:15 and demonstrated the very high rate of sink on final  approach that can be achieved with the flap/brake combination on his ASW20.  Indeed, high, fast, full brake final approaches were  the order of the day for all pilots.  Ben Dawson and his syndicate partner, Steve Richardson both flew their Standard Cirrus, with Ben having 2:18 and Steve 1:51, being part of a group of pilots from Pocklington who joined in the Sutton Bank soaring.  Bill Payton and his guest M Dunford, flew the DG500 for just under 2 hours, with Les Rayment and Conrad Thwaites being another of  the 2 seater pilots to exceed an hour in the air with 1:12.  Their  second flight in K21 KLW was the last of the day, their return to earth after 18 minutes being a function of the rapidly fading light.  Solo pilots Jesper Mjels in Astir KRN, Tony Drury in the DG303 and Colin Troise in the DG1000 added their names to the  14 flights that exceeded an hour on a day when the threat of showers never materialised and skies remained predominately clear if cold.

Wednesday 24th to Tuesday 30th December

Wednesday 24th.  As briefly reported in my previous Blog entry, Christmas Eve was a good winching and hill soaring day with 20 launches flown  and 3 of the club’s 2 seaters, 2 of the single seaters and a single privately owned glider in action.  The assembled members agreed that 2 seater durations should be  limited, so none of these flights breached the hour mark, although Bob Beck and Fred Brown with 51 minutes in the DG1000, John Carter and Steve  Ogden wiht 47 minutes in  K21 KLW and John Tayler and C Kapp with 46 minutes in the same glider came reasonably close.  Alec Watt, flying his Vega, had just over 2 hours, but the day’s honours went to John Shaw who, flying the DG303, managed to contact  wave and climbed to 6,1000′ asl in his flight of 1:24.  John Marsh and Brian Wise also flew the DG303, recording times of 1:15 and 50 minutes respectively while a single First Flight pupil was flown.

Thursday 25th.  There was no flying on  Christmas Day as this  is the traditional practice at the YGC.

Friday 26th.  Advancing fronts from the Atlantic resulted in a light ESE’ly flow at the club and, with very poor visibility and a lowering cloud base, no flying was possible.

Saturday 27th.  The Atlantic fronts deposited around 5 mm of snow on the site but the post frontal weather, a light and cold  NW’ly and overcast skies did not tempt anyone to fly, even though the skies cleared late afternoon as a anticyclone moved in to cover the country.

Sunday 28th.  Some patches of freezing fog in the Vale of York did not affect operations at Sutton with 11 ATs being flown behind the Pawnee off the snow covered runway 24.  K21 KLW, the DG1000 and Astir KRN were all flown, the clear and sunny skies above, the snow covered moors below and  the  light wind  conditions providing a attractive package for the 2 First Flight pupils of the day.  The absence of any usable lift meant it was a day of continuous descent from the top of the tow and  Steve Ogden, flying the Astir, managed this the best by  posting the longest flight of the day,  23 minutes.  John Tayler/Nigel Burke in the K21 and Jim McLean flying with Les Rayment  in the same glider,each managed 22 minutes  while Paul Whitehead and First Flight pupil Judith Lam had 21 minutes.   The attractiveness of the day is nicely illustrated in the following photos provided by Steve Ogden, the first showing the limited extent of the snow, and the second showing K21 KLW all set for a snowy take off behind the Pawnee off runway 24.

Snowy Sutton 1 Dec 14

Ready for Take off Dec 14

Monday 29th.  With the intensifying anticyclone firmly in  charge, it was another day of light winds, clear blue skies and no lift to speak of, but the limited membership present and the day’s 2 First Flight pupils combined to deliver 5 ATs, all in K21 KLW.   It was again a day of steady descents from the top of the tow and in  the absence of any lift, most all the flights took tows to 3000′ QFE.  This time is was John Carter and Naomi Kennard who managed the energy the best by squeezing out 24 minutes of flying followed by Albert Newbery and his First Flight pupil with 22 minutes.

Tuesday 30th.  The anticyclone was showing signs of declining in the face of approaching Atlantic fronts, but the progress eastwards of the latter was very slow so it was again a day of sunny skies and light winds, those at site being from the WSW, while those in the lower altitudes of the Vale of York were S’ly as shown by the smoke from some isolated fires.  With the help of  4 First Flight pupils, one of whom walked in off the public footpath on the off chance of taking a flight, and a goodly number of members, the launch total for the day was 14 ATs behind the Pawnee.  Take offs were from runway 24 with landings on 20.  The Falke weighed in with 3 flights, one of these being for the benefit of Nick Covill as he practised failed launch procedures and field landings with Albert Newberry.  Nick also availed himself of some stalling/spinning/spiral diving exercises with John Carter in  the DG1000 as he worked his way towards his Bronze Badge and also did some general handling exercises with David Campbell in K21 KLW off the first flight of the day.  Unlike the previous days,Tuesday did produce some areas of zero or even weak and spasmodic lift enabling Derek Smith and daughter Charlotte to achieve 30 minutes in the air in the DG500, the next best being the 27 minutes achieved by  David Campbell and Nick Covill in their  flight reported above.  Ethan Barber was the only pilot to fly solo which he did in Astir KRN after having a check flight in K21 KLW with Albert Newbery.

The lack of any significant lift in the days after Christmas, with the consequential slow descents from release height, have obviously been affecting our young-at-heart President, Nick Gaunt, who sent me the following photo of his own brand of earth bound, continuous, but not-so-slow descents.

Chairman going downhill Dec 14

Nick also included the following greetings to all YGC members: “Say no more, if you can’t glide then slide! All the best to every member of the YGC from a president who is rapidly going down hill”.

Friday 19th to Tuesday 23rd December.

Friday 19th.  A moderate to fresh W’ly gusting to over 40 kts kept the gliders in the hangars, the initially clear skies soon turning cloudy and providing a few, isolated  showers later in the day.  In the absence of any real flying the simulator came into its own, the variety of exercises flown nicely illustrating its versatility as a teaching aid  and fun tool.  Mike Brown and Sam St Pierre emphasised the latter characteristic with a soaring flight, while John Tayler and Roger Burghall’s cloud flying exercise illustrated the former.  Andy Parish and Dave McKinney’s exercises in failed launches with subsequent field selection and landings made good use of the greatly improved graphics, a feature also of importance on  the circuit training exercise flown by Jamie Quartermaine with his pupil.

Saturday 20th.  The W’ly wind had moderated to become moderate, although it did gust the mid 20 kts in the middle of the day.    13 winch launches were flown in total, with Ben Dawson in his Cirrus being the only private owner to fly and making the most of the conditions with a flight time of 2:19.   Tony Drury, Robin Hutchinson and Brian Wise all flew the DG303 with times of 57, 51 and 44 minutes respectively, while Nick Gaunt and John Shaw had 1:36 in the DG1000 and Albert Newbery and Mark Butcher almost made it 3 flights over an hour on the day with a flight of 52 minutes.

Sunday 21st.  Initially a low cloud base and then an increasingly strong SW’ly flow, with gusts to the mid 30 kts, meant it was a non-flying day, some showers later in the day just adding to the general gloom from a meteorological as well as a spiritual perspective.

Monday 22nd.  The, by now, very gusty and mild WSW’ly airflow brought some rain at first with gusts to the mid 40 kts, putting paid to any hopes of an early start to the flying day.  The wind, while slowly backing and moderating  to become a moderate SW’ly, retained its gustiness, with values into the high 30 kts being recorded in the late afternoon.  Consequently, there was no flying but at least it was mild with temperatures at lower levels reaching 13C.

Tuesday 23rd.  The gusty and mild SW flow continued, being  moderate at first but increasing to moderate to fresh over the middle of the day before declining back to moderate as the afternoon wore on.  The associated gusts were generally around 30 kts throughout the day and this, with the low base to the extensive cloud cover, again meant no flying.  The cold front that had been lying virtually stationary over the extreme north of England over the past few days, began to move south, bringing rain to the site in the early evening and colder conditions in the early hours of Wednesday.

Wednesday 24th.  Your Blogger made a brief trip to site to catch up with the last few day happenings, and reported above, and also  to find winch launching off runway 24 in progress and some evidence of wave in the cold and  moderate WSW’ly flow.  Details of the day will follow after the Christmas break.  Meanwhile could I offer to you all the very best of wishes for the Festive Season.

Post Script to the Blog of Sunday 14th to Thursday 18th December.  You may remember that I asked for suggestions on a somewhat puzzling orientation of wave like clouds on a photo taken by Andy Parish on Wednesday 17th December.  Well, if you read the comment on that particular Blog you will find an explanation supplied by Dick Cole.