Sunday 27th to Tuesday 29th July

July 31st, 2014

Sunday 27th.   A moderate W’ly brought a  soaring day, with georgraphically variable conditions providing a challenge to those competing in Day 2 of the Northerns and to YGC pilots flying cross countries.  40 ATs were flown in total as the Northern’s competitors were set a 211 km task with turn points at Pontefract, Ripon and Fridaythorpe. Mike Armstrong won the day in his Ventus 2cT being one of 6 finishers.  Andy Wright flew a 295 km polygon with turn points at Bridlingon, Masham and Langtoft, having to resort to a  climb to  8,500′ in  cloud get across a big blue hole on the way to Masham and then finding the return to Sutton from Langtoft somewhat tricky.    16 of the day’s 22 ATs outside those for the Northern’s pilots resulted in flights of over an hour, with 9 YGC private owners taking launches and the club fleet well utilised.  Peter Crawley had 3:34 in  his DG800 while Paul Whitehead was oneof the instructors kept busy with 6 First Flight pupils, with one, M Charnock having 1:12 off his Mile High flight.  Soaring was available well into the late afternoon/evening with John Marsh and Mark Walton taking K21 KLW for a flight of 1:13 off the last flight of the  day.  The club’s solo pilots seemed to have decided to limit flights to around 1:30 with Nigel Gregson having 1:33 in Astir GBK, Conrad Thwaites 1:32 in the Discus, D Lodge, 1:30 in the DG303 and Tim Stanley with 1:27 in Astir GBK.  This statistic was only spoiled by Nigel Gregson’s earlier flight in the DG303 when he stayed up for 1:56.  In addition to all the above flying the Falke had a single sortie and there was even a flight on the simulator.

Monday 28th.  The wind had reverted to become a light NE’ly, the air mass providing some very good soaring conditions, albeit with a relatively low cloud base to start, although this improved during the day to peak at over 5,000′ asl.  Flying commenced at around 1000 hrs and continued until 1800 hrs the good conditions allowing some long tasks to be flown.  The Northern’s pilots also profitted, with all completing their 224 km task with turn points at the Tontine, Wetherby South, Ripon and Burn.  Graham Morris won the day in his ASW 27 with a speed of 101.9 kph and, as a result headed the competition after day 3 with 2182 points, although only 93 points separated him from John Tanner who was  3rd with Mike Armstrong in 2nd place.  The best placed YGC pilot was Bill Payton flying the club DG1000.  Steve Thompson, flying his Discus, flew the Northern’s task off the back of the grid, while Derek Tayloy in his ASW22 and Paul Whitehead in his Ventus 17.6 m both flew a 511 km task, with TPs at Alfreton, Catterick and Chesterfield.  Derek continued flying after returning to Sutton, adding Carlton and Burn to his day’s TP list and covering 663 OLC kms.  Paul decided to call it a day at Sutton after having flown his 511 kms at 93 kph, while Rob Bailey flew a 318 km task with TPs at Market Raisen, Gainsborough and Bakewell finding superb conditions on the leg to Bakewell and then getting low near Sheffield.  His return to Sutton was made a little simpler by Leeds Bradford ATC who allowed him to cross the SE corner of their airspace.  The 20 ATs flown outside the Northern’s resulted in 9 flights of over an hour, with Derek Taylor’s 7 hrs being the longest of the day.  K21 JVZ returned from having its wheel brake repaired to join the other 3 two seaters in use on the day, Chris Gill taking one of the 3 First Flight pupils of the day, Nigel Lister,  for a  Mile High flight that lasted 1:05 .  8 private owners launched  to contribute to the day’s total and congratulations are due to summer tuggie Liam Watts who flew the club Discus to Burn and back to claim his Silver Distance in a flight of 2:45.   Amid all this excitement, Joan Wilson flew K21 solo for 1:20.

Tuesday 29th.  Tuesday dawned with a light to moderate W’ly blowing but with uncertain soaring conditions, these never improving enough to allow the   Northern’s grid to be launched.  24 ATs were, however, flown, but this included only 2 of the club 2 seaters while the prospect of wave tempted 11 private owners to add their names to the launch log.  Martyn Johnson flying his DG600 flew for 3:50 but was unable to contact the wave but Peter Crawley in his DG800, Jesper Mjles in his newly acquired DG400 and Northern’s competitors Bob Bromwich/Chris Bowden in their DG500 did in the late afternoon, all aided by their engines.  Peter motored out to the Pately Bridge area and eventually reached around 10,000′ asl with Bob and Chris reaching around 11,000′  in the transponder free zone that currently exists for YGC wave pilots.  Jesper prefaced his wave climb to around the same height with 5 take offs and landings under the watchful eye of Paul Whitehead in order to be signed off as a fully fledged SLMG pilot.  Day course member B Strathern gradually lengthened his flight times over the day, with 20, 30 and 54 minutes under the watchful eye of P1 John Marsh.  The only club solo flight of the day was by Colin Troise who flew K21 KLW for 48 minutes while 4 First Flight pupils were introduced to gliding.

Wednesday 23rd to Saturday 26th July

July 27th, 2014

Wednesday 23rd.  The light to moderate, essentially NE’ly flow, continued as high pressure remained in charge, useable convection not becoming available until after midday, although flying commenced just before 1100 hrs.  10 ATs were flown, as a limited number of the club fleet were utilised and 3 private owners launched, 2 of these, Martyn Johnson in his DG600 and Bob Beck  in his Ventus, providing the 2 flights which exceeded an hour, 2:34 and 1:28 respectively.   The day also provided the opportunity for 3 First Flight pupils to be flown, Mike Smith giving one of them 38 minutes in K21 KLW, while Mike Greenacre posted the longest flight solo in a club glider with 19 minutes in the DG500.

Thursday 24th.  The high pressure had started to decline, but otherwise the conditions were similar to Wednesday, with a delayed start to convection and a light to moderate NE’ly flow.  Flying did not start until around 1100 hrs but continued until the last landing at 1830 hrs, the convective conditions lasting into the early evening.  The improved soaring conditions were reflected in the increased number of ATs, 18, 8 of which provided flights of over an hour while 6 of of the 18 were for First Flight pupils.  The increased demand led to 2/3rds of the club fleet being flown with the Falke having 3 flights,  but the same number of private owner launched as on Wednesday, ie 3.  Of these, Rob Bailey flew a 127 km triangle, Sut/Knaresborough/Pontefract/Sut, at a handicapped 90.2 kph in his ASG29t, while visitor Chris Cole flew his LS3 for 2:38 as he limbered up for the Northern Regional Gliding competition starting at Sutton  on Saturday 26th July.  Lewis Gray also made the most of the conditions with over 3 hrs in Astir KRN and Mike Wood had 1:17 in the Ka8.  Tony Drury, flying the DG303, was just about to start his circuit after having failed to find any lift, when,  at around 800′ QFE, he encountered some weak lift that soon turned into a strong thermal that eventually led him to cloud base at around 5,500′ asl.  The resultant Silver height climb completed his Silver C badge, so well done Tony.

Friday 25th.  The high continued to slowly decline but the NE’ly flow remained, albeit lighter, and again convection did not develop until early afternoon but continued into the early evening with some strong climbs and a high cloud base.   17 ATs were flown, with some of the early arriving competitors for the Northern Regional Gliding competition taking the opportunity to get in some last minute practice.  The day produced 4 flights of over an hour, with YGC pilot Lindsay McLane having 2:27 in his Ventus and Northen’s competitor  Mike Bond in his DGD200/17, 2:19, while there were another 3 First Flight pupils.  John Carter and Peter Goodchild had 40 minutes in K21 KLW while Colin Troise had 23 minutes solo in the DG500 and 30 minutes in the same glider in the company of John Marsh.  The late soaring conditions were also successfully exploited by another Northern’s competitor, Bill Bromwich who climbed to around 6,000′ asl off the last flight of the day.

Saturday 26th.  The first day of the Northerns started sunny and warm, but high cover from an advancing cold front soon made its presence felt and the first flight of the day, an air experience one taking off at around 1030 hrs, found smooth conditions above 1,000′ QFE and no useable lift below this height.  With the high cover remaining thin, convection started around midday and a number of YGC pilots launched ahead of the Northern’s grid on individual cross countries, the Northern’s competitors being launched from 1300 hrs on a Sut/Masham/Stamford Bridge/Wetherby/Sut task of around 150 km.  Tasks and results from the Northerns can be found on with Mike Armstrong being the day one winner in his Ventus 2ct 18 and Reg Watson in his Ventus 2cxa 18 being the highest placed YGC pilot.  Once convection started it was characterised by high cloud bases and strong lift.  Many pilots reported cloud bases at 6,000+’ asl with Conrad Thwaites reaching 6,800′ asl in the club Discus over Topcliffe following a 7kt average climb.  Andy Wright flew a 244 km  Sut/Eastgate/Garforth/Sut task in his Nimbus 3t,  finding conditions around Eastgate somewhat tricky, while Rob Bailey flew the same task in his ASG9t.  Arriving back at Sutton with conditions still looking good, Andy then flew Sut/Fridaythorpe/Wetherby South/Sutton, utilising an active sea breeze front over the Wolds to add134 km to his day’s total.   Derek Taylor flying his ASW22 and taking off around 1400 hrs abandoned his declared task and flew a 400 km OLC task with TP’s at Doncaster NW, Leyburn, Goole, Guisborough and Burn while Phil Lazenby flew 233 km in his Pegase at a handicapped speed of 88.4 kph, turning Burn, Kirbymoorside and Goole N and enjoying some splendid soaring conditions along the route.  Jon May and S Bell, one of the first cross country flights to take off,  took Jon’s Duo Discus for a 196 km flight  around Garforth and Staindrop while Tony Drury expanded his cross country experience with an 8o km  flight around Boroughbridge, Rufforth and Sutton on the Forest  in the DG303.    The good conditions were also enjoyed by those flying locally, with Martin Joyce having 3.25 in Astir KRN, while  Fred Brown took Mile High pupil J Pickering for 56 minutes in K21 KLW, indulging in some aerobatics, to the delight of his pupil.  Fred and George Rowden shared the 8 First Flight pupils of the day with  George and his First Flight pupil, Paul More, taking the last flight of the day, landing after 44 minutes at 1738 hrs  but not before reaching 6,000′ asl in some strong thermals.

Friday 18th to Tuesday 22nd July

July 23rd, 2014

Friday 18th.  A light to moderate E’ly brought in a few showers but little opportunity for soaring, the showers resulting in flying ceasing after midday with 5 ATs flown.  The conditions did allow a Day Course member and a First Flight pupil to be flown, with the latter sharing the longest flight of the day with Graham Evison in K21 JVZ, the 26 minutes profiting from a 3,000′ tow.

Saturday 19th.  Rain in the morning and heavy showers thereafter in an initially  light and variable wind that slowly became SSE and then SSW, meant it was non-flying day.

Sunday 20th.  The light and variable, but predominately NW wind was accompanied by cloudy skies with only the occasional bright interval and some early showers,  the latter delaying the start of flying until around 1245hrs.  Flying then continued until just after 1500 hrs, with 6 ATs and a single Falke flight, but the lack of any useable lift meant another circuit day, this including 4 First Flight pupils.  Three instructors vied for the best flight of the day with a First Flight pupil,  with the contenders being Fred Brown, 28 minutes off a 2,900′ tow, Peter Goodchild, 25 minutes off a 3,000′ tow and Paul Whitehead, 25 minutes off a 2,800′ tow.  Nominations can be left in the office marked for the attention of the Blogger.

Monday 21st.  At last a good soaring day that was taken full advantage of by the club’s pilots, as high pressure started to dominate the synoptic situation.  Flying started at 1045 hrs with the last flight landing at 1725 hrs, the intervening period generating 27 ATs, 19 of which resulted in flight times of over an hour.  Most of the club fleet were flown and 9 private owners launched, a goodly proportion of whom enjoyed flight times of 4 or more hours.  Visitor Justin Wills posted the longest flight with 5:47 during which, I am led to believe, he visited Cambridge and Skelling Farm.  Paul Whitehead turned Leyburn/Saltby South to cover 387 km @ 83 kph in his flight of just over 5 hours while  Peter Crawley visited Carlise in his DG800, but had to resort to the engine to safely cross the Pennines on the way home.  Andy Wright in his Nimbus 3t and Rob Bailey in his ASG29 t demonstrated it wasn’t an entirely straighforward day, with Andy having to resort to his engine after covering 277 km of his declared 306 km O/R to Belvoir.  Rob got even closer to home but arriving at the White Horse below hill top height, explored the south ridge in the hope of finding some lift.  All was in vain however, and it was out with the engine after having completed 97% of his 311 km triangle.  Martyn Johnson in his DG600, Nick Gaunt in his LS7 and Don Austin in his Kestrel all exceeded 4 hours in the air but I have no record of their wanderings.  Phil Lazenby completed his 174 km Sut/Beverley/Garforth/Sut task and then finding the sea breeze to the east of the site, went and played in it while wandering over the Wolds, finding 10kts in places at 4,000′ asl.  Chris Gill, self declaring to be a  little rusty after a 3 week lay off, flew the local 100 km triangle at 85.5 kph in the Discus.  Back at Sutton, Frank Wilson, with 3:41 in the DG303, Resh Khodabocus with 3:00 in Astir KRN and Naomi Kennard with 2:24, also in KRN, enjoyed the conditions, the cloud base eventually getting to around 5,000′ als.  The day’s 2 seater pilots were not to be left out of the fun, with John Carter and Alan Beamish having 1:13 in K21 JVZ and Steve Thompson having 1:02 with P Robinson in the DG1000.  Among all this activity, there was time for 4 First Flight pupils to be shown the wonders of soaring.

Tuesday 22nd.  With the high pressure building, it was again a day of light and variable winds and good soaring, although the wind eventually became a light to moderate ENE’ly resulting in a change of operating runway from 24 to 20.  The 34 ATs of the day made use of virtually the whole of the club fleet, with 12 private owner launches contributing to the total,  and the good soaring conditions resulted in 20 flights exceeding an  hour.  The day course member, Mr Dent, and the 3 First Flight pupils of the day all chose well and the cross country pilots disappeared in all directions.  Visitor Justin Wills set off to the north with Portmoak his intended destination, while Nick Gaunt crossed the Pennines after turning Burn  to visit Skelling Farm on a 302 km task in his LS7.  Paul Whitehead flew a 165 km task with TPs at Beverley, Knaresborough and Ripon at 86 kph in his flight of 2:09, while Steve Ball accompanied by Howard Marshall, flew an 129 km O/R to Beverley in Steve’s Duo Discus, finding a convergence and then, less welcome, the sea air.  Rob Bailey flew his ASG29t around Market Raisen, Gainsborough, Bakewell and Pontefract, covering 325 km and finding conditions soggy around the Humber, good on the leg to Bakewell and tricky on the way home.  George Rowden, flying his LS8t in 18m mode, flew his first 500 km, covering 510 km with turn points at Alfreton, Catterick and Chesterfield, taking just over 7 hours.  A delayed start due to a low c/b was followed by an essentially straighforward flight, the cloud base eventually reaching around 4,500′ asl.  Taking a climb to cloud base south of Rufforth on the final leg, George emerged to find the clouds that had marked the route to Sutton had all disappeared due to the ingress of sea air.  Still below final glide height, George deviated west to get a climb to 600′ above glide 30 km from home and, flying at max L/D, eventually made a straight in approach to runway 02, landing at around 1820 hrs.   So congratulations to him on achieving all 3 diamonds from the YGC.  Martyn Johnson in his DG600 and Don Austin in his Kestrel both had  around 2:30 althougth I have no information of where they went.  Back at site, Chairman Chris Thirkell had 3:12 in Discus and Mike Greenacre 2:29 in Astir GBK with Mr Kent, the Day course member, totting up 2:20 from his 3 flights in the company of John Carter.  Early and late in the day and indeed on many days recently, the sound of grass cutting has been heard, and our thanks are due to Mike Brown in the tractor and Peter Crawley with his lawn mower and strimmer for getting the airfield into good looking trim ready for the Northerns which are due to start this coming Saturday, the 26th July,

Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th July

July 18th, 2014

Tuesday 15th.  A light to moderate WSW’ly airmass provided some reasonable soaring conditons that resulted in 33 ATs, 12 flights of over an hour and a number of cross countries.  Paul Whitehead flew his Ventus 294 km at 74 kph,  visiting Eastgate and Doncaster NW in his flight of 4:00, while Rob Bailey flew along the north edge of the Cleveland Hills passing Eston and Redcar before crossing the Tees estuary with the help of Durham Tees Valley ATC and then visiting Barnard Castle and Harrogate N in his flight of 3:20.  While over the sea off Redcar, Rob took this picture of the inshore wind farm with the mouth of  the Tees and Hartlepool headland in also in view.


  Jesper Mjels flew locally for 3:16 in his Pik 20 while Steve Thompson was aloft in his Discus for 4:29 although I am unaware of where he went.  The aforementioned were 4 of the 9 private owners who lanuched with the marjority of the club fleet also in action.  Indeed only the Ka8 remained in the hangar.  Andy Parish and Mike O’Neil topped the 2 seater list with 1:05 in the DG500 while Frank Wilson had 1:54 in the DG303 following this up later in the day with 1:11 in the same glider. 

Wednesday 18th.  The light to moderate S’ly slowly veered into the SW as another approaching front made its presence felt with increasing cloud cover and eventually rain, this arriving just in time to shorten John Marsh’s solo flight in the DG1000.  15 ATs were flown in condtions that provided some prefrontal wave, this being exploited by John Marsh with Barry one of the First Flight pupils of  the day, the climb being terminated at 6,000′ asl while still in lift for reasons of time.  Later flights did not encounter any wave   although there was some weak lift and Frank Wilson made a valiant effort in the DG303 to exceed the 1 hr goal with 59 minutes, one of the 9 flights to exceed 30 minutes.  The DG303 was the only club single seater to fly but there were 2 private owner launches, while the 2 seaters were kept busy with club members and First Flight pupils.  3 of the latter were flown, with Andy Parish giving one of them, John Crowe, 47 minutes in K21 KLW and then, to prove his even handedness, providing club member Silas Gibbins with the same flight time in the DG500. 

Thursday 17th.  The weak cold front that had given 1 mm of rain yesterday evening left behind a good soarable airmass and very light winds that were initally SSW’ly in direction but slowly backed into the ESE over the course of the day.  The launch point was busy from 1030 hrs, the 44 launches of the day leading to the last flight landing at 1830 hrs.  The 15 private owner launches saw cross country departures mainly to the west or the south, with Derek Taylor flying a total of around 450 km in his ASW22 as he followed a 306 km  Kirton in Lindsey, Newton A/F, Sheffield North  triangular task with a visits to Guisborough followed by York in his flight of 5:26.  Rob Bailey flew a modified Pontefract/Beverley triangle using self selected TPs in 3:11, Ken Arkley visited Leyburn. Pontefract and the Humber Bridge and then investigated a sea breeze front that flattered to deceive in his flight of 4:06.  Les Rayment brushed up his compass skills by first going east to Ampleforth, then west to Masham, south to Pontefract, north to no particular destination, south to York, east to Pocklington and finally NW back to Sutton in his flight of 4:16.  Lindsay Mclane’s flight of 4:54 was one of two to venture west over the Pennines, the other flight being that of Bill Payton and Stuart Heaton who, in their flight of 4:18, turned Ullswater in their DG1000t.  Lindsay’s objective of reaching the west and east coast on the same flight was doubly frustrated as, with an on shore breeze, the Cumulus did not start until well inland of the west coast and the visit to the east coast was prevented by the aforementioned sea breeze front, which at the time of Lindsay’s arrival was some 25 km inland.   The above might indicate that it was the perfect soaring day but it was not without its problems.  Rob Bottomley in his DiscusT, almost did an O/R to Saltly but had to resort to his T while almost in reach of Sutton.  Richie Toon came off tow in his LS7 at 1200′ QFE in what he believed was a good thermal only to find nothing but sink that meant a landing shortly after, a similar fate awaiting Mike Smith in the club DG303.  Underterred Richie and Mike both launched again, Richie flying a 300 km task, Scunthorpe, Leyburn, Garforth and Mike having 1:40 of local soaring until the warmth of the DG303 cockpit got a little too much. Ian Johnston in his DG300 and Phil Lazenby in his Pegase both decisively proved it wasn’t a perfect day by  landing out, Ian near Potto and Phil near Market Weighton, the latter no doubt on the return leg of an epic flight to the south.  Peter Crawley joined the long duration flight list with 5:26 in his DG800 but I have not information of where he went.  The club members, 3 First flight pupils and a Day Course pupil who stayed local, all enjoyed the conditions, with thermals peaking at 6-8 kts, cloudbase eventually rising to around 5,500′ asl and good visibility.  Frank Wilson had 3:09 in the DG303, Martin White 2:42 in his Pegase, Nick Covill 2:37 in the Discus and Tor Taverner 2:30 in the same glider late in the day, while Steve Thompson and Guest Ray Cass had 1:21 in the DG1000 on a day when all the club fleet were flown.

Wednesday 9th to Tuesday 14th July

July 15th, 2014

Wednesday 9th.  A moderate to fresh NNW’ly gusting to over 25 kts delayed flying until after lunch and limited launches to 4.  However, Albert Newbery and Bill Payton made the most of their launch by staying up for 3 hrs in their DG1000t, while the course members who flew only managed circuits. 

Thursday 10th.  Partly cloudy skies and a moderate NNE’ly wind should have resulted in a flying day, but for reasons unknown to me there was no flying.  To be more precise I couldn’t find a log sheet for the day so if there was some flying perhaps someone can let me know and if there wasn’t perhaps the reasons can be revealed too.

Friday 11th.  The wind had declined to become a light to moderate NNE’ly and with partially cloudy skies flying commenced just before 1100 hrs and ended with the last landing around 1720 hrs.  22 ATs were flown off runway 02 as the course members has a good final day’s gliding and soaring, particularly Trevor Coleman who enjoyed 1:03 in K21 KLW with John Carter.  A photo of the course members with course instructor John Carter is shown below, the photo having been provided by Andy Parish.


The conditions were good enough to tempt 4 private owners to launch, with Rob Bailey having 2:18 in his ASG29t during which he visited Ripon, Staindrop and York to cover 190 kms.  Peter Clay in his Ventus and Don Austin in his Kestrel also exceeded an hour with 1:23 and 1:57 respectively.  Although there were  no club single seater flights,  Diane Thomas flew K21 KLW solo for 13 minutes while a single First Flight pupil was flown.

Saturday 12th.  Just to prove yet again that British weather is changeable, Saturday produced a light S’ly that slowly increased to light to moderate, something of a change from the persistent N’lies of the previous 4 days.    The thermals  that developed provided some reasonable soaring conditions and produced 13 flights of over an hour, with Rob Bailey visiting Ripon,Hawes,Staindrop, Market Weighton and Pontefract in his ASG29  to cover 320 km in his flight of 3:51.  Jon May and Steve Ball in their Duo Discus covered part of the same route but substituted Barnard Castle for Staindrop before returning to Sutton, covering 162 km in  their flight of 3:18.  The 32 ATs of the day included 9 private owners and most of the club fleet, while 6 First Flight pupils were flown and the Falke had 4 sorties.  Other pilots to exceed an hour aloft inlcuded John Tayler and Fred Brown with 1:14 in the DG1000, John Marsh/K Mason with 1:00 in the same glider and Tony Drury with 1:29 in the DG303.  Adrian Melia converted to the Astir and with the large chronometer around his neck to enable him to keep track of his time aloft, landed after 1:29 to chalk up a Bronze C endurance leg, so dual congratulations to  him.  Adrian tells me an anagram of  his name is “ideal airman” so we await with interest his flying/soaring progress. 

Sunday 13th.  An overnight front took a little while to clear the site, but once conditions started to improve it wasn’t long until flying commenced, this being just after 1400 hrs.  Conditions. although flyable, were not particularly soarable, with Martyn Johnson’s 54 minutes in K21 KLW being the best of the day, although he did have the benefit of a 4,400′ tow to provide an above sea level, Mile High flight for his pupil.   Martyn then went on to prove it wasn’t all about a high tow by accompanying club member Silas Gibbins on a 51 minute flight in the same glider from a 2,000′ tow.  Nigel Gregson recorded 29 minutes in the Discus while David Bradley, the only private owner to rig, had 27 minutes.

Monday 14th.  A forecast of an approaching front spoiling an other wise good soaring day, saw the trailer park busy early on with eager private owners, most of who had departed by 1130 hours.  Of those who departed only Derek Taylor in his ASW22 completed his task, a 334 km triangle with TPs at Chesterfield and Horncastle taking 4:44.  Derek found the going slow to Chesterfield due to weak, broken thermals and a 15 kt headwind and then had to return under a grey overcast as the front arrived earlier than expected.  Some help on the final glide to Sutton was provided by the southern ridge as the wind, initially a light to moderate WSW’ly had backed into the SSW.   This feature of the day also helped Steve Thompson in his Discus complete a 120 km O/R to Goole.   Martyn Johnson in his DG600 declared a 300+ km YoYo with a first TP at Kirton in Lindsey but abandoned the task after turning KiL and taking every bit of lift available made it back to Sutton under the overcast in a flight of 4:03.    Lindsay McLane in his Ventus set himself the task of visiting 3 bridges, the Humber Bridge, Ferrybridge and Pately Bridge but after reaching the first 2 joined the strugglers in returning to Sutton, not getting much help from Linton ATC on the way home who were reluctant to let him transit their MATZ.  George Rowden abandoned his declared 300 km triangle at Pontefract after, at one point, erecting the engine of his LS8t only to run into a thermal and quickly retracting it.  Deciding to convert the task to a Sut/Pontefract/Beverley/Sut triangle, it was back to the engine for real half way to Beverley.  To add insult to injury, George’s best climb of the day was under the overcast on the way home when a 5kt thermal took him to cloud base at 4,000′ asl and there was even a 2.5 kt thermal over the White Horse to round off another glorious failure.  Rob Bailey contacted wave over the site off tow and climbed to 4,500′ asl as did Jesper Mjels in his Pik 20.  With the local wave not going any higher, Rob descended under the clouds and flew a 179 km triangle with TPs at Beverley and Pontefract in his ASG29.  Peter Crawley set off to the west in his DG800, finding the thermals rubbish but the wave better with a climb to 9,000′ asl over Pately Bridge.  A brief period of  light  rain over the site didn’t interfere with flying with Ken Duxbury having 1:39 in Astir KRN and Bob Calvert having 1:29 in the DG303 before following this with 1:12 in the Discus.   John Carter and Frank Wilson had 47 minutes in K21 KLW while Dave Campbell and Silas Gibbins had 43 minutes in the same glider off the first flight of the day, a day that produced 27 ATs, 9 private owner launches, 11 flights over an hour and saw 4 First Flight pupils flown.  At the end of the day assorted members eventually worked out how to derig K21 JVZ and put it in its trailer ready for a trip to NY Sailplanes to rectify a defective wheel brake.

Tuesday 8th June.

July 8th, 2014

Tuesday 8th.  The forecast heavy showers and thunderstorms, developing in a initially light and variable wind, were clearly visible to the north, east and southwest of the site from  early on in the day, but did not interfere with flying apart from a brief period around 1300 hrs, when a few drops of rain and a threatening and lowering sky caused the gliders, tugs and ground equipment to be returned to the protection of the hangars and tractor shed.  A subsequent improvement allowed flying to recommence.  In spite of the obviously unstable nature of the air mass, lift was hard to come by and the course and club members had to be content with extended circuits, the longest flight being  23 minutes by Andy Parish and Mark Bisson in K21 JVZ, closely followed by Rob Bailey’s 22 minute flight with the only First Flight pupil of the day, Linda Burridge, who insisted on flying from the rear seat of JVZ.   The first few ATs of the day were flown off runway 02 but a freshening wind from the W caused a change to runway 24 but this only lasted for 1 take off before it was back to 02 to complete the 9 ATs of the day as the wind became a light to moderate NNW’ly.   Derek Smith took Lewis Gray for his navigation test in the Falke while the DG1000 was derigged and taken down to NY Sailplanes to  have its trimmer mechanism sorted.

Saturday 5th to Monday 7th June

July 8th, 2014

Saturday 5th.  A light to moderate NNW’ly started the day under cloudy skies, with the site affected by orographic cloud as yesterday’s front cleared the east coast.  Conditions rapidly improved thereafter allowing a total of 38 ATs to be flown off runway 24, this including 5 First Flight pupils and 16 Scouts/Leaders, the latter number resulting from 2 Scout Groups, from Huddersfield and Durham, somehow choosing the same day to fly.  The duty team were extremely grateful to those off duty instructors and members who helped out,  the exemplary launch point management ensuring  that all the visitors were flown by mid afternoon. Conditions became very good after lunch with cloud base around 4,500′ asl and  good lift and this was particularly enjoyed by Ron Beezer in the Discus who had 2:28  and Jim McLean in the DG303 who had 2:07. The better conditions coincided with the wind becoming more W’ly,  this causing most flights to land on 24 rather than on 20 as had been the case earlier in the day.  The good soaring conditions persisted into the late afternoon/early evening, with all the flights after 1630 hrs exceeding an hour in the air, this list including Steve Ogden’s two flights, 1:27 with Bob Beck in the DG1000 and 1:32 with Fred Brown in K21 JVZ.  Others to benefit for this extended soaring day were Naomi Kennard, 1:03 in Astir KRN, Nigel Gregson, 1:54 in the Discus, Tim Stanley with 1:50 in Astir GBK and Tony Drury,   1:39 in Astir KRN, all contributing to the 9 flights of the day which exceeded an hour.

Sunday 6th.   The wind had become a light to moderate N’ly, freshening later in the day to become a moderate W’ly.  Cloudy skies meant soaring was the exception rather than the norm, with no flights over and hour and only 4 of the 27 flown exceeding 30 minutes.  John Carter and Will Andrews had 56 minutes in K21 JVZ while Peter Goodchild, flying  Jesper Mjles’ Pik 20 on a familiarisation flight, had 34 minutes.   Another group of 11 Scouts/leaders from Durham were flown as were another 5 First Flight pupils on a day when the Falke provided an  additional flight to the log.

Monday 7th.  A day of sunny intervals and some strong lift in a light W’ly provided a good first day for the 4 members of the holiday course, Pete Dowker, Mark Bisson, Trevor Coleman and Peter Clarkson.  The few showers that developed during the day missed the site but did result in David Higgingbottom landing at Sutton due to his home site, Pocklington, being enveloped in a large, slow moving shower.  The day’s flying, from 1030 to 1730 hrs, resulted in 3 Falke flights and 22 ATs, with 7 of the ATs leading to flights in excess of an hour and 4 private owner launches. Of these, Peter Crawley in his DG800, Phil Lazenby in his Pegase and Martyn Johnson in his DG 600 all ventured cross country, Martyn visiting Rufforth but then returning north due to a large shower and getting to the coast via Danby, a weak sea breeze front being explored at one point in his 2:15 duration flight.  This was Martyn’s second flight of the day, the first being characterised by a strong thermal to cloud base off tow followed by a extended low scrape on the hill waiting for the next thermal to form.  As the ground neared Martyn called it a day and landed off a very short base leg after 57 minutes.  Martyn’s second and longer duration flight was almost matched by Resh Khodabocus who had 2:14 in Astir KRN, while John Carter and course member Peter Dowker had 1:02 off the first flight of the day to set the course members a high standard.  Lewis Gray, flying the Ka8, found the thermals to be both strong and rough, even climbing rapidly at one point with full airbrake deployed.  Landing after 1:05, Lewis transferred to the Astir expecting a smoother ride, but failed to find any lift and landed after 15 minutes. Nick Covill in Astir had 1:25 on a day when the majority of the club fleet were flown and 2 more First Flight pupils were introduced to gliding.

Friday 4th July

July 7th, 2014

Friday 4th.  First of all a word of thanks to Steve Ball for keeping the Blog going during my absence on holiday.  Apart from relieving me of the task of catch up on my return, it enabled me to keep up with the happenings at the YGC in far off Orkney.  If anyone would like to follow in Steve’s footsteps and try out their hand at writing the Blog, even for a short period,  just contact me. 

Friday saw the day start with cloudy skies, as a front made progress eastwards, the cloud base, however, being high enough to allow operations to commence around 1030 hrs and continue until just after 1400 hrs when a combination of a lowering base and the first spots of rain saw flying abandoned for the day.  In the interim, 5 ATs were flown, all in K21 KLW with a single First Flight pupil flown.  Flight times were in the  24-38 minute range, the result of hill lift in the moderate to fresh SSW’ly, this gradually increasing in strength and gusting to the high 20’s. Chris Thirkell and Colin Troise showed off their combined skills by recording the longest flight, 38 minutes, which also happened to be the last of the day.

Thursday 3rd July

July 4th, 2014

A 15 knot westerly and the presence of a dozen or so medical students and young solicitors led to a day of much activity, and for most of the day the winch was kept busy.   The visit had been arranged by YGC member Resh Khodabocu, who teaches medicine at Pinderfields hospital, and firmly believes that young doctors need to have an outlet away from the stress of their professional lives - and uses gliding as an example of a good way to achieve this.  Resh, who flies here whenever he can, took a flight in a club two-seater with CFI Andy Parish, contacting wave which took them to 7000′.

Some of the trial flights were particularly noteworthy:  Paul Whitehouse flew one of the student’s parents - Mrs Masko.  During this flight, Paul contacted some of the strongest wave that has encountered in the area, with solid 7 knots “all the way up” - but had to break off the climb at 9000′.  Paul recounts that once established in the wave the climb was quite easy - what proved more of a challenge was translating the various terms used to explain ridge and wave lift, into Japanese!

In the evening, conditions changed such that aero-towing replaced winching - but wave was still successfully contacted with flights to around 7000′.  For our young tug pilot Liam, the return to aero-towing was probably timely as it provided a distraction from the charms of a young lady who had been taken in by his aviator charms.

Away from the romance of the real world, and after all of the gliders had been safely put away, simulator ace Mike Brown flew in wave to around midnight (real time!).  Mike has gone to great efforts to achieve an authentic experience for users of our soon-to-be recommissioned simulator suite, so it’s only right that he gets to perform some thorough testing.  However, Mike would want to let people know that he does have enthusiasms back in the real world, and he is a keen driver of the grass-cutting tractor, thereby performing an essential service in keeping the airfield neat.  His joy of airfield mowing is shared by YGC instructor John Marsh, who can frequently be observed trundling up and down the airfield once flying operations have ceased.

This will probably be my last stint as irregular reporter for the YGC organ, as control will soon be returned to your regular editor.  I’d like to thank all who have gone out of their way to bring me news and views - and to our Chairman, who wants me to let you know what a great bloke he is.  [Chris - will this do?]


July 3rd, 2014

This weekend sees the “Tour de France - Grand Départ ” - take place in Yorkshire.  As part of the huge, rolling media and policing operation that shadows the race, various Restrictions of Airspace (Temporary) have been announced.  As these areas are to the west and south of the YGC site, the restrictions are not anticipated to directly affect local flying operations - though of course pilots should always check the NOTAMs on the day.  A more direct impact is likely to be road closures and restrictions throughout the county, so anyone planning a visit over the weekend should bear this in mind.

Yorkshire seems to have taken “Le Tour” to heart, and even in towns and villages that are not directly on the route, streets have been adorned with bicycles daubed in yellow paint and mannequins dressed in cycling paraphernalia. There are also the essential jersey colour schemes: polka-dot, white, green, and the obligatory yellow. Huge bicycle motifs have been laid out in fields and on hillsides - all intended to be momentarily captured by the roving helicopter cameras.  Of course the whole event creates an enormous opportunity for the tourism industry to plug its wares, and Yorkshire appears to have risen to the occasion.

Below are some examples of Le Tour bicycle bizarreness that can be seen not far from the YGC: