Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th April.

Thursday 23rd.  The declining high pressure provided a foggy/misty start to Thursday, this only burning off around lunch time, allowing flying to commence just after 1400 hrs into rather hazy blue skies and a light SSE’ly wind that slowly freshened to become light to moderate by the end of the day.  The slow start to the day resulted in no significant convection developing, so the 9 ATs of the day, all in one or other of the K21s, were circuits, with the longest being that by David Hill and C Williamson in JVZ with 20 minutes with Kevin and Liz Keiley next longest in KLW with 17 minutes.

Friday 24th.   The wind had become  a light W’ly and with no trace of fog or mist, flying got underway just after 1000 hrs, the sky being a hazy blue but with the first signs of an approaching front visible in the far west.  14 ATs were flown with the club’s 2 K21s again in action, these being joined by the club Discus and 3 private owner launches.  The approaching front’s upper cloud gradually thickened and lowered, causing the rather ragged, pre frontal thermals to give up altogether, this being the main reason for the land out of Rob Bailey in the club Discus,who,  after having flown around 69% of a 100 km triangle, landed out  on the his final leg after turning Pickering and York East.  The other reason was the strengthening wind which eventually became moderate.   John Ellis, flying his DG800 started off relying on the thermal activity but, soaring in front of the forward ridge, contacted blue wave which eventually took him to around 9,000′ asl and allowed  him to complete a 181 km flight with TPs at Kirby Stephen Station, Pateley Bridge and Boroughbridge, the damper air mass to the west providing some lenticulars.  Martyn Johnson, flying his DG600 and   Michael Pointon, flying his Discus, made up the list of  the day’s 4 pilots to exceed and hour in the air, Martyn having 3:06 and Michael 1:35.  Andy Parish took one of the day’s 3 First Flight pupils for a 30 minute flight in K21 KLW to record the longest flight of those  flying in 2 seaters while the Falke had a single flight.

Saturday 25th.  A southward travelling cold front was forecast to terminate the flying early and so it proved, the lowering cloud base ahead of the front causing flying to stop in the early afternoon, a drop in wind speed and change in direction to N’ly also contributing.  Prior to the front’s arrival, the moderate WSW’ly wind had provided some good hill soaring conditions with the 16 winch launches, 5 of which were for a group of Scouts and Explorers, leading to flights which also benefited from some strong and streeting thermals.  Although not forecast, the morning’s Satpics showed the presence of wave, but pilot’s experiences of this were limited in time, strength and altitude, the best reported of the latter being around 3,000′ asl.  This was also cloud base height for those being convectively supported.  Tony Dury in his DG300, one of 3 private owners to rig, had 2:38,  while Martyn Johnson had 2:28 in his DG600.  Steve Ogden, flying Astir GBK had 1:18, his GoPro video of his launch illustrating the rather lively conditions of the day, these also contributing to some bouncy approaches.  Stills from Steve’s video are shown below giving a good impression of the beautiful countryside over which we fly and the streeting Cu which contributed to the day’s soaring.

April 25th Steve Ogden 1

April 25th Steve Ogden 2

Roger Burghall and Mark Newburn flying K21 KLW, were a couple of the pilots to experience, albeit briefly, the smoothness of wave in their flight of 1:12, while among all this activity the Falke had a single sortie.  The change in the weather meant that 3 of the visiting Scout/Explorer group did not get a chance to fly so they retired to the simulator room with George Rowden where the sun shone and they and the virtual birds thermalled.  Later in the day the club held its AGM where Chris Thirkell was re-elected as Club  Chairman and Ken Arkley and Steve Thompson were elected onto the Board replacing retiring members Mike Smith and Fred Brown who were thanked for their contributions to the running of the club.

Tuesday 21th to Wednesday 22nd April

Tuesday 21st .  With the anticyclone firmly in charge it was another sunny and warm day at Sutton, the temperature rising to the balmy heights of 15.8C in the light and variable wind, the temperature eventually generating some convection marked by  haze caps and some isolated thin Cu by the early afternoon that allowed 5 of the day’s 13 ATs to provide flights of over an hour.  Rob Bailey, flying the club Discus, continued his visitations to local and not so local TPs, this time visiting York, Tockwith (twice) and Helmsley to cover 138 km in his flight of 2:56.  Rob reported mainly blue thermals and some haze caps with the cloud base eventually rising to around 5,000′ asl.  Michael Pointon, a visitor from the Surrey Hills GC, had 2:18 flying locally in his Discus, while Andy Parish and Steve Derlvin had 1:15 in K21 KLW and David Campbell and Nick Covill had 1:11 in K21 JVZ.  3 of the club’s two seaters and 2 of the single seaters were flown on the day, with the Falke contributing a further 2 flights to the day’s total.  The visibility had also improved over previous days, so that the 4 First Flight pupils of the day could appreciate the attractive views as well as the beauty of motor-less flight.

Wednesday 22nd.  The anticyclone had started to decline, but with the atmospheric pressure at site still above 1030 mb, it was another day of warm temperatures, 16.1C and light and variable winds that were mainly from the SW, that is until late in the day after the completion of flying when a NE’ly set in.  12 ATs were flown, with Michael Pointon in his Discus being again the only private owner to fly, a flight time of 2:30 being equalled by Rob Bailey who today visited Thirsk, Sutton on the Forest and Helmsley in the club Discus, convection being initially  broken and confined to the North Yorks Moors and Pennines.  Convection only extended into the Vale of York around 1500 hrs providing a short period of stronger thermals that were enjoyed by Brian Wise and Richard Margetts with a flight of 1:06 in K21 JVZ and later by  Steve Thompson and Tom Dale with 1:02  in the same glider.   This was Richard’s, a returning Trial Lesson pupil, second flight of the day, having already had 27 minutes with Steve Thompson  in K21 KLW off the first launch of the day.  A single Mile High flight was flown by Paul Whitehead  for a business associate of Martin Newburn before the lady in question went up again in the Falke with Paul for a sightseeing trip over North Yorkshire.  On the Mile High flight Paul reported some reduced sink on the windward edge of a cloud at 4,ooo’ and strong sink on the downwind edge. Towards the end of the day Steve Thompson and George Rowden took a 1000′ AT behind the Eurofox with George doing the launch and Steve the approach and landing, the latter a no airbrake, full side-slip affair onto runway 20.  Paul Whitehead then launched  for some aerobatics off the final flight of the day, including some inverted flying, this proving that the hoovering of the cockpit of K21 KLW  before the flight should have been a little more thorough.

Friday 17th to Monday 20th April

Post Scrip to 14th April.

Jesper Mjels has provided the following photos of his wave flight to Penrith, the second being a very nice view of Ullswater.

Jesper Penrith April

Jesper Ullswater April 1

Jesper Ullswater April 2

Friday 17th.  Another anticyclone built near the UK providing a moderate NE’ly flow over the site and providing some reasonable thermal soaring conditions.  20 ATs were flown, mainly  in the majority of the club’s single and two seaters but also including 3 private owner launches.  John Ellis flew his DG800 222 kms, visiting Pocklington, Aysgarth and Wetherby in his flight of 3:22, finding the lift a little tricky around Aysgarth and having to top up his height on final glide to Sutton due to the expected waterfall effect of the NE’ly flow on final approach over the White Horse escarpment.  Steve Thompson, having turned Catterick and Harrogate North,  had to abandon the leg to Carlton due to sea air incursion but nevertheless, covered 123 km in a flight of 3:09 in his Discus.  Rob Bailey, flying the club Discus, covered 139 km, with TPs at Pickering, Thirsk and Stamford Bridge, his flight taking him 2:30.  These were 3 of the 8 flights to exceed an hour in the air, with Max Rathnaud, 1:52 solo in the DG500 and Naomi Kennard, 1:47 in Astir KRN also being in this group.  John Carter and Graham Pratt had 51 minutes in the DG500, the longest of the 2 seater flights, while 4 First Flight pupils has a good introduction to gliding.

Saturday 18th.  The still building anticyclone brought another sunny and soaring day to Sutton, the wind remaining in the NE, but declining in strength slightly to become  light to moderate.  32 ATs were flown off runway 02, the club 2 seaters being kept busy while most of the single seater flying was down to the 7 private owners who rigged and launched.  Rob Bailey joined in the fun in the club Discus, and did 3 laps of  Sut/Harrogate North/ Sut over 3 hours, the fastest leg being the first at 76.2 kph, while the third, as the thermals weakened, was the slowest at 68.4 kph.  John Ellis flew a 134 km task taking in Barnard Castle and Ripon in his flight of 2:35, while Paul Whitehead pressed on a little too hard in his Ventus and had to resort to his engine to regain altitude during his flight of 3:31.  Back at site, John Marsh in his DG300 had 1:46 and Tor Taverner in his ASW 20L had 1:13 to add their names to the list of 8 P1s to exceed an hour aloft, this also being the case for 2 seater pilots Bob Beck and Joan Wilson in K21 JVZ with 1:09 and Sue Ahern and Polly Whitehead in K21 KLW with 1:07, the latter flight being particularly meritorious as it was off the last launch of the day.  All in all a good day was had by all, including the day’s 3 First Flight pupils.

Sunday 19th.  The position of the high had changed slightly, this resulting in the wind direction changing to NNE’ly and the strength increasing over the day to become moderate to fresh.  Indeed the wind strength, and particularly its gustiness, caused flying operations to be terminated around 1530 hrs as the conditions became too much of a handful for the Super Cub, the Pawnee being off site for an maintenance check.  The available flying period was also truncated by a late start, the result of a low cloud base, so that ATs were limited to 6, all in 2 of the club’s 2 seaters, with only John Marsh and First Flight pupil M Seddon managing to exceed 30 minutes in the air and this due to the flight being a Mile High variant.  The high tow also resulted in John and his pupil finding some wave downwind of the site that got then back to 4,000 QFE at one point in their 40 minute flight.  However, the rest of the day’s pilots had to be content with circuits, the next best flight time being under 20 minutes.

Monday 20th.  The high remained in charge, but subtle changes in position meant that the wind had dropped to light to moderate and now blew from the SSE.  An extensive and low cloud sheet, coupled with poor visibility, meant it was a non-flying morning, but the time was put to good use by John Carter, Rob Bailey, George Rowden and tuggie John as they continued with the task of dismantling the redundant mobile home, including taking out all the windows and doors. The cloud dispersed gradually, so that by around 1430 hours, conditions had improved sufficiently to allow 2 First Flight pupils, Kirston Pearce and Kevin Foot to be flown in K21 KLW by first George Rowden and then Rob Bailey.  George found some reasonable thermal lift on his flight of around 40 minutes, sufficient to get back to cloud base at 2,500′ QFE at one point, while Rob found only bits and pieces and returned to earth after 27 minutes.  With no other customers the kit was put away around 1600 hrs.

During the work on the caravan, the following photo was found.  The owner can retrieve it from the YGC office while the rest of you can have a guess as to who this cute basket case is.

Liam Watt


Wednesday 15th to Thursday 16th April

Wednesday 15th.  The cold front’s slow progress southwards meant that the wave conditions of Tuesday extended into Wednesday morning, allowing the first 3 ATs of the 6 flown on the day to enjoy some good soaring.  Jesper Mjels was first off in the DG303 and enjoyed 3:10 of soaring the wave, climbing to 9,300 asl, while Rob Bailey, second to launch in the Discus climbed to 7,000′ asl in his flight of 1:38.  The conditions continued to deteriorate as the cold front trundled southwards but John Carter and Mark Newburn in K21 JVZ just managed to ride the last of the wave, climbing to 4,000′ asl in their flight of 1:29, Mark particularly enjoying his first wave flight.  A lowering overcast and a dying W’ly wind precluded any further soaring flights and the 3 other ATs flown, before flying was terminated for the day, were all of the up round and down variety, with no flight over 30 minutes.

Thursday 16th.  The cold front had cleared the site overnight but its back edge was right above the site at briefing, the skies to the north being blue and sunny, allowing Cumulus to start popping around 1030 hrs.  This encouraged 2 private owners to rig, but their plans for the day were thrown into confusion somewhat, when the back edge of the cold front became its front edge as it started to creep northwards. In the event, the forecast NE’ly wind started in the SW and progressively backed into the E, while remaining light to moderate, with the skies becoming cloudier and visibility, which was excellent to start, becoming very poor, particularly to the south.  3 of the 19 ATs of the day led to flights of over an  hour, with an additional 8 flights of over 30 minutes.  The latter included 1 First Flight pupil and 3 Mile High pupils, the latter all flown before lunch time when conditions were ideal.  Pilots reported generally 1-2 kt thermals with the occasional 3 kt one, and towards the end of the flying day, very disparate cloud bases, ranging from 4,000’asl under one cloud and 3,000’asl under an adjacent one.  George Rowden flying his LS8-18 declared Sutton/Tontine/Guisborough/Catterick/Sutton and got within 7 km of Guisborough, only to be faced with blue skies and sea air.  Now in survival mode George went downwind and  joined 2 Parapointers soaring Cringle on the north face of the North Yorks Moors where a hill boosted thermal provided the impetus for a continuation of the flight towards Catterick.  However, some 15 km short of this TP another large area of blue sky led to a return to Sutton.  An attempt to fly the Sut/Stamford Bridge/Snainton/Sut club task was soon abandoned due to the very poor visibility and the flight ended after just under 3 hours, having covered 143 OLC kms.  Rob Bailey flying the club Discus and Jon Hart flying his Vega were the other pilots to exceed an hour in the air, Rob with 1:54 as he visited a collection of local TPs over or close to the North York Moors and Jon with 1:39.  Back at Sutton, David Campbell and Ron Linton had 48 minutes in K21 JVZ while David McKinney had 45 minutes in Astir GBK.  The Falke was also kept busy all day with 4 flights, as student pilot Michael Edmund progressed towards his NPPL under the tutorship of  first Paul Whitehead and then Bob Beck.

Saturday 11th to Tuesday 14th April

Saturday 11th.  A cold front crossed the site around 0700 hrs, the clearance arriving in time for the start of flying at 1000 hrs.  It was a winch launching day as the wind was a moderate to fresh W’ly, gusting at times into the high 30 kts and causing a temporary cessation of flying around lunch time.  In  spite of this interruption, 29 winch launches were flown, 6 being for a group of Scouts from Co Durham.  All the club 2 seaters were flown and the conditions tempted 5 private owners to fly, Ben Dawson in his Cirrus having the longest flight of the day, 3:40, while Steve Ball flew his syndicate partner’s guest, Mr Whitton for 2:52 in his Duo Discus.  Conrad Thwaites in his Discus and Les Rayment in his Ventus also made sure their rigging efforts were worthwhile with 3:32 and 2:27 respectively.  12 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour and an additional 4 thirty minutes, with Ron Beezer, 2:08 in the Discus and Paul Whitehead and Chris Ogden with 2:16  in K21 KLW making sure club aircraft were not ignored in the daily report.

Sunday 12th.  A small but vigorous depression moved W to E across the north of England  and the Borders, providing plenty of low cloud, 6 mm of rain and high winds which gusted up to 46 kts.  This nasty little depression kept all the equipment in the hangars but didn’t prevent Mike Brown from providing some flying on the simulator for another group of 5 Scouts.

Monday 13th.  A slow moving front out to the west slowly led to the skies clouding over by early afternoon, although the morning had been sunny with some good Cu development in an initially light to moderate SSW’ly.  The conditions tempted 2 private owners to rig and launch with Nick Gaunt having just under 2 hrs in his LS7 after Colin Troise had demonstrated the soaring potential of the early part of the day by staying up for 1:25 off the first of the 12 ATs of the day in the club DG303.  The deteriorating conditions, however, meant that Nick and Colin had the only flights to both exceed an hour and get back to site, Steve Thompson in his Discus managing the first but not the second of these objectives as he landed out near Barton Le Street near Malton.  I am not sure if this was on the way to his chosen first TP, Beverley, on on the way back, but Steve has provided a nice photo of his glider in his chosen field, the photo being shown below.  The medium level overcast with no signs of Cu provides the background and reason for the land out.

Steve Thompson near Malton

Although the conditions later in the day precluded any other long flights, 4 of the day’s other flights exceeded half an hour with David Hill and Bruce Grain, a visitor from Wormingford being one of these, having 30 minutes in K21 JVZ.  The day also allowed 3 First Flight pupils to be flown.

Tuesday 14th.  A moderate to fresh W’ly blew all day as a cold front remained virtually stationary over the NW of the UK.  Andy Parish’s morning briefing had some Satpics full of lenticulars and so it proved, with many of the day’s 27 winch launches leading to good climbs and a few to some interesting cross countries.  The demand from the club’s solo pilots was such that all 5 of the club’s solo gliders were flown, while the 4 First Flight pupils of the day and other members ensured the 3 club two seaters were fully utilised.  Three private owners rigged and launched, with Lindsay McLane taking his Ventus to Keswick and back, reaching 12,500′ asl on the way in his flight of around 5 hours.  Jesper Mjels flew a similar task in the club Discus, covering 250 kms as he turned Penrith and Garsdale Head and climbing to 17,200′ asl on his way back to Sutton.   George Rowden, flying his LS8 18, climbed straight into the wave off the winch launch and then proceeded to slowly climb to around 7,000′ asl before going north to a nice looking lenticular SE of Darlington.  This provided a solid 6-8 kts to 12,000′ asl at which point the climb was abandoned due to a lack of oxygen.  George then visited a number of Yorkshire TPs covering around 145 kms in a flight of 3:45, ending with another climb to 10,000′ asl.  Dick Cole, flying club Astir GBK, , abandoned his climb at 10,000′ due to a lack of oxygen like George, with a number of other pilots getting to 6-7,000′ asl including Peter Guest in Astir KRN, the logger of which refused to give up his trace, and Howard Marshall in the Ka8 who flew a Silver Height climb again without a valid trace.  Towards the end of the day, Steve Ogden was put through his winch launch failure procedures by John Carter before being sent solo on the winch on the last flight of the day, so well done Steve.

Tuesday 7th to Friday 10th April

Tuesday 7th.  An anticyclone was situated over the UK, so a light to  moderate NW’ly was accompanied by some very good thermal conditions in places although there were some large blue areas and some areas of stratocumulus formed during the afternoon, cloud base rising to just over 4,000′ asl.  17 ATs were flown, with the Discus, Astir GBK and Ka8 flown from the club fleet as were 3 of the club 2 seaters, with Colin Troise flying one of them, the DG500, solo in a flight of an hour, one of two to achieve that particular milestone.  The other flight was by Rob Bailey in the Discus, a flight of 2:12 hours taking in local TPs such as the Tontine, Helmsley and Sutton North, as well as the somewhat more distant Catterick, the flight covering 132 km.  2 First Flight pupils were flown, one of them, Megan Webster posting the longest 2 seater flight of the day with the help of David Campbell, 32 minutes in K21 JVZ and David almost made the 30 minute mark again acheiving 29 minutes with member T Thorne.  The day’s aviating was completed by 2 flights in the Falke.

Wednesday 8th.  The anticyclone started to slip away to the east, allowing a  warmer S’ly flow to become established, this having a detrimental effect on thermal activity although the conditions did tempt 3 private owners to rig and fly with Lindsay McLane in his Ventus having a flight of just over 3 hrs.  Where Lindsay went is a mystery to me, although hopefully not to him (visibility not being that bad) while  the only other pilot to exceed an hour in the air was Rob Bailey in the Discus who visited Castle Howard, Foston and Helmsley to cover 64.3km in his flight of 1:35.  Rob reported narrow cored thermals and an inability to get to cloud base under the shallow Cumulus, all indicators of the anticyclonic conditions.  Those staying local to Sutton included Tony Drury, who had just under an hour in his DG300, while Martyn Johnson and C Wright shared 30 minutes in K21 JVZ and Naomi Kennard probably wished she had stayed more local to the site as she landed out in the Discus.

Thursday 9th.  The light S’ly continued to blow as the anticyclone receded further to the east, the southerly air stream becoming more hazy as it  transferred  Continental pollution and Saharan dust northwards, adding to home grown pollution.  Thermal conditions became even more tricky and the day’s AT total declined to 7, with the Falke contributing a further 3 flights.  Only Martyn Johnson and Martin Newbery  managed to exceed 30 minutes in the air with 31 minutes as they shared a flight in K21 KLW, with Martyn’s later  flight with Peter Buckingham getting close with 27 minutes.  The longest of the solo flights saw Rob Bailey, flying the DG303, managing 20 minutes.

Friday 10th.  The anticyclone continued to decline as a trailing cold front approached from the Atlantic, promising some rain overnight Friday/Saturday.  Visibility in the steadily increasing SE’ly  wind was very poor, with the forecasters warning of very poor air quality over large areas of the UK.  Only  4 ATs were flown before flying was terminated due to the poor visibility, this being the reason for Andy Parish and Adrian Melia’s decision to cancel a spinning exercise in the DG1000 but replace it by the longest flight of the day, 28 minutes, as their descent to earth was briefly interrupted by a rather broken up thermal. Earlier, George Rowden took Olivier  Pertin, a guest of Steve Ogden. for 24 minutes in the DG1000 and Val Fraser, the day’s only First Flight pupil for 23 minutes in K21 JVZ, the tow in each case to 3,000′ asl being into clear, calm air above the very distinct inversion at 2,000′ QFE.  A marked vertical wind shear was also notable, the wind at 2,000′ QFE being 20 kts. The  only other, and first flight of the day, saw Andy Parish and Graham Taylor have 22 minutes in K21 JVZ, the launch cabin crowd deliberately leaving the dolly on the glider in order to give Graham the chance to remove it  during his ABCD checks, which he did.

Wednesday 1st to Monday 6th April

Wednesday 1st.  A moderate to fresh W’ly gusting to over 30 kts provided an good hill soaring day, with thermals to enliven matters further.  9 winch launches were flown, 5 for First Flight pupils, with 2 flights exceeding an hour and another 5 30 minutes.  It was a day for the 2 seaters with 3 of  the club fleet flown, and David McKinney, after a successfully recovering from a low, P1 initiated break. took his first solo winch launch in K21 KLW.  He then celebrated this achievement by establishing another, a Bronze leg, with a flight of 1:22, the longest flight of the day, so well done David.  Albert Newbery with First Flight pupil R Taber logged the longest two seater flight of the day with 54 minutes in the DG1000.

Thursday 2nd.  A light to moderate NW’ly started the day under a thin, high overcast as a front over the western approaches made very slow progress eastwards, the wind declining to light and backing into the SW during the course of the day.  16 ATs were flown, mainly in  three of the club 2 seaters, the only single seat glider to fly being the Discus, which Rob Bailey took for an attempt on the 107 km Sut/Snainton/Stamford Bridge/Sut FAI triangle.  Weak thermals made for slow progress and Rob didn’t make it to the Stamford Bridge TP, but did make it back to Sutton in his flight of 2:55, the longest of the four flights to exceed an hour.  Roger Burghall flew K21 KLW solo for 1:19, while John Carter and Learn to Fly Package pupil Mark Newburn had 2 flights of over an  hour in K21 KLW, 1:07 and 1:04.  5 First Flight pupils were introduced to gliding and soaring while the Falke had 3 flights.

Friday 3rd.  The front that had stalled over the western side of the UK, finally got a move on overnight, shrouding the site in cloud in the morning and bringing rain during the afternoon.  Thereafter, the wind veered from SSE to NNW while still remaining light, the clougd base lifted and the horizontal visibility greatly improved, but all these changes were too late to allow any flying to take place.

Saturday 4th. Some early morning dampness and low cloud delayed the start of flying until the early afternoon, 7 ATs being flown before flying ceased.  No one managed to stay up for more than an hour, but Rob Bailey came closest with 54 minutes in the Discus, during which time he visited a number of local TPs, describing the Cumulus as “low, scuddy stuff.  Colin Troise flying K21 KLW off the first flight of the day had 50 minutes, while Tony Drury, also flying KLW solo, had 45 minutes.  The flying was not,  however, the main feature of the day as instead of the emphasis being on things going up, Saturday was definately a day for things going down, significantly, the concrete around the pillars and bottom rail for the front doors of the new tug hangar.  Unfortunately, the first thing to go down was the lorry delivering the concrete which got bogged down in the grass as it tried to back up the the front of the new hangar.  Attempts to haul it out with 2 tractors, as shown in the following photograph, were unsuccessful.

Stuck lorry 1

So the only course of action was to lighten the lorry’s load, first by jettisoning all unwanted water and then by pumping out the concrete, tractor bucket load by tractor bucket load as the next photo shows.

Lightening the load 4 April

It was then the case of barrowing  the concrete to the site where Fred Brown and Duncan Pask made sure of a good finish, with Jim McLean, having a little rest from his barrowing labours, kept an supervisory eye on proceedings, as the second  of the next two photos show.

Fred and concrete April 4

Duncan, Fred and Jim 4 April

Sunday 5th.   With an anticyclone establishing itself over the UK, Sunday was characterised by steadily lessening cloud, light winds and increasing sunshine, the temperature reaching the balmy heights of 16C at Topcliffe.  The conditions resulted in 41 ATs being flown, the wind remaining light throughout the day but slowly backing from the N to the SW.  9 private owner launches were ad-mixed with those of all the club’s 2 seaters and 3 of the single seaters, with the day generating 6 flights of over an  hour and an additional 9 over 30 minutes in  thermal conditions that were generally restricted to the North Yorks Moors.  John Ellis found this was the case when he ventured off to the SE but then had to resort to the engine of his DG800 before reaching his first declared TP at Market Weighton. Rob Bailey did manage to complete a 54 km cross country in the Discus, but only by dint of not straying too far from the Moors, with TPs at Su3, Su4, Helmsley and Thirsk in his flight of 2:09.  Ken Arkley, flying his LS8, with 1:45, Mark Germaine flying his ASW27 with 1:26 and Colin Troise flying the Discus for 1:04 also stayed local, as did new syndicate partners John Marsh and Tony Drury who had flights of 1:27 and 1:01 respectively in their DG300.  John Carter and Mark Newburn continued to clock up  the flying hours with 54 minutes in K21 JVZ on a day when the flying list also included 3 First Flight pupils and the cloud base eventually rose to 3,500′ asl.  The day was also notable for Graham Taylor who went solo, so congratulations to  him.

Monday 6th.  The anticyclone was firmly in  charge of the weather, the initially N’ly wind being light, before eventually becoming a light to moderate SE by early afternoon, causing a change from launching off 02 to launching off 20.  Cu started to form over the North Yorks Moors around late morning, but were reluctant to form over the Vale of York during the rest of the day.   Flying started at around 1030  hours and continued until 1730 hours with 28 ATs being flown behind either the Eurofox or Super Cub.  The launch total included 6 by private owners, 7 for First Flight pupils and the balance for members, as all the club 2 seaters and 2 of the single seaters were flown.  The soaring conditions proved to be less than ideal, with only 2 flights exceeding an hour, although another 9 exceeded 30 minutes.  Nick Gaunt in his LS7 had the longest flight of the day, 2:04, climbing to around 5,000′ asl in a cloud.  The only other person to exceed an hour was Steve Ogden who had 1:05 in Astir GBK, and managed to find a local convergence that enabled him to climb above cloud base, this also being used by son Chris Ogden flying with instructor John Carter.  Martin White had 51 minutes in his Pegase while a family party of First Flight pupils vied with each other to claim the longest 2 seater flight.  The family winner was Annabelle Browne who had 38 minutes in the company of Bob Beck in K21 KLW, brother Alex Browne having 35 minutes in the DG500 with Andy Hatfield and sister Ellie Browne also having 35 minutes in KLW with again Bob Beck.   However, Andy Hatfield was just able to claim the longest 2 seater flight of the day with member Jemmel Beasley, their flight being 39 minutes in K21 JVZ.  Apart from the tug sorties, powered flight was provided by the Rotax Falke  as Paul Whitehead supervised Joan Wilson on her field landing refresher and by two visitors, a Cessna 172 from Breighton and a Microlight.  All this activity was no distraction to Ian Kennard who spent the day clearing building spoil from around the new tug hangar as the next photo shows.




Off to Nitra in a couple of weeks to cover YGC’s second EuroFox. Did some towing with the 912 iS demonstrator in far from ideal conditions at Sutton Bank – G-TTUG is a ‘nose dragger’ with skinny tyres, but her performance and engine handling are slightly better than G-MOYR’s. The injected engine installation is a lot neater, and will save at least some build time. Working towards delivery to Sutton Bank at the end of May/early June.

Tuesday 31st March

Tuesday 31st.  According to the song “June is busting out all over” from Carousel, “March came in like a Lion”, but in our case March went out like a Lion, with a fresh WNW’ly gusting to over 50 kts and bringing frequent and heavy showers of rain, snow grains and snow, the photo below showing a very wintry scene around mid afternoon with  the wind chill at -3C.


The large showers had a marked effect on wind speed, temperature and humidity, which meant that watching the weather station display in the warmth of the cafe provided some compensation for a non-flying day.  This did not mean of course that no work was done.  John Carter and our new Summer Tuggie, John, first of all went out to check that the old Tuggies static caravan was still mobile enough to be moved off site to make way for a new one, before turning their attention to installing some refurbished instruments in the DG1000, while Andy and Josephine progressed through their paperwork in the office.  Your scribe spent some time with Mike Brown getting fully up to date with the start up and workings of the simulator and was also made aware that a Sutton North/Carlton/Sutton task is the basis of a virtual internal Ladder based on speed.  Albert Newbery and Sam St Pierre have already posted some times and, while Mike is still developing the rules, all pilots are encouraged to become conversant with selecting and loading up the task for those days when flying in not possible.

Sunday 29th to Monday 30th March

Friday 27th & Saturday 28th at Pocklington.  The winch training at Pocklington got off to a good start on Friday with 3 pilots, Steve Ball, Ian Johnston and Graham Evison sharing 10 launches between them, these including a goodly number of simulated cable breaks instigated by P1 Andy Parish.  The good thermal conditions suggested that the K21 could be flown back to Sutton but the temptation was resisted.   The wet and windy weather on Saturday 28th that prevented any flying at Sutton also had  the same effect at Pocklington.

Sunday 29th.  Cloud and rain in the morning, as another front crossed the country, cleared to showers in the afternoon, the wind starting off as a light SW’ly before becoming a moderate to fresh W’ly towards the end of the day, with gusts into the high 30 kts.  In spite of the rain, showers and increasing wind, the Air Scouts from Hitchin were all flown with John Carter, John Marsh and Jamie Quartermaine being the accompanying instructors.  The showers had a significant effect on the wind strength so the 12 launches were spilt, with 7 via winch and 5 via AT, flight times also varying between 6 and 23 minutes.

Monday 30th.  Another approaching front took all day to reach the site, its rain and low cloud not arriving until around 1700 hrs.  The light to moderate W’ly of the morning steadily increased to become  a fresh SW’ly as the rain arrived but the majority of the flying day was characterised by good thermal conditions and a cloud base that reached around 4,000′ asl.  Attendance was no doubt affected by the forecast as members were thin on the ground and only 2 winch launches were flown, Steve Thompson in his Discus and John Carter and David McKinney in K21 KLW.  John and David found some good thermal streets that meant they could do a couple of forays upwind to Thirsk aided by some solid 4-5 kt thermals in their flight of 46 minutes.  Steve, on the other hand,  stayed aloft for 3:33, but the only report I have of his flight is that he visited the Tontine, I assume making use of both the thermal and improving hill soaring conditions as the wind strength increased during the day.