Archive for March, 2009

Friday 27th to Saturday 28th March.

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Friday. The strong and gusty W’ly of Thursday was replaced by an even stronger and gustier W’ly on Friday so no flying was possible.
Saturday. Just for a change, today’s weather came along on a strong Northerly with frequent rain and sleet showers for good measure and a temperature in the range 2-3C. A change to lighter wind conditions and clearing skys came too late, so no flying was possible.
The Discus, back from its C of A during the week, is still sitting in its trailer outside the hangar waiting for a calmer day for its rigging. Perhaps tommorrow?

Wednesday 25th to Thursday 26th March

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wednesday. A strong and gusty NW’ly wind all day prevented any flying from taking place.
Thursday. A weak cold front cleared through mid morning leaving a strong and gusty W’ly. Flyiing was delayed due to the strength and gustiness of the wind but after lunch, the K21 was winched off for an exploratory flight, the conditions having moderated a little. Some 46 mins later, the pilots, Albert Newberry and Howard Marshall landed to recount off-the-clock lift in thermal with accompanying off-the-seat turbulence and the decision was taken to terminate flying for the day as the wind speed was forecast to increase a little. The morning was not completely wasted as the windsock was untangled from the pole, the projector in the briefing room was put back into working order and a successful visit/presentation to Ampleforth School was made by CFI Andy Parish, Liam Watt and Andy Darlington. As a result, it is likely that an Ampleforth Gliding Club linked to the YGC will be established after Easter.
I forgot to mention that last Tuesday what looked suspiciously like the Google photo vehicle passed the gliding club, so unless they had run out of film, the YGC will be appearing on Google’s ‘Street View’.

Sunday 22nd to Tuesday 24th March.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Sunday. 3 ATs were flown before the increasing wind strength caused the winch to be brought out. However, before this method of launching could be employed, further increases in the gustiness of the NNW’ly caused all flying to be stopped. 2 of the 3 flights were in the club K21s with both flights staying up for 30 to 45 minutes, while Dave Latimer, flying his Ventus, contacted wave and set off on a cross country. Some 4.25 hrs later Dave returned having visited Thirsk/Darlington/Harrogate North & Barnard Castle before returning to Sutton, a flight of 211 km, reaching 13,000′ QNH en route.
Monday. A strong and gusty NW’ly meant that no flying was possible but in the evening a party from the Northallerton Mowbray Rotary club visited the site. After an opening welcome and a presentation on gliding from Ken Arkley, co-hosts Kelly & Chris Teagle, Paul Foster and John Ellis kept the visitors entertained while George Rowden took 5 of the visitors flying on the simulator. The evening was rounded off with a fine supper by club steward Brian and his wife.
Tuesday. Initially, a fresh NNW’ly blew and high cloud obscured the sun, limiting thermal activity. 2 Trial Lesson pupils were flown before lunch, the first being John Thirlwell, a member of the YGC in the 1970’s. On both flights choppy wave/rotor was encountered over Thirsk at around 3000′ QNH. After lunch the wind went into the W and 2 more ATs were flown. The first by Malcolm Winter in his Kestrel and the other by the club K21 in which Albert Newberry fliew with Rod Ward, the ex CFI at Gransden Lodge who had called in at Sutton en route to a destination further north. Both flights encountered wave and soared up to 3500′ QNH, staying up for around 1.4 hrs before a lowering cloud base and rain terminated flying for the day. Les Raymond/Robin Strarup took advantage of an earlier brighter period around lunch time to take the Rotax Falke up for a local tour.

Saturday 21st March.

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Saturday. The sun shone out of a hazy sky, a light NW’ly blew, people relaxed in the warmth outside the clubhouse and lift was hard to find most of the day. 29 ATs were flown off runway 24, 2 with Trial Lesson pupils, 8 by the visiting scouts/scouters from North Bradford and 4 by private owners, with the club’s K21s, DG1000, DG500, Ka8 and DG303 being kept busy. There were also 3 Rotax Falke flights. Initial landings were on 24 or 20 but as the wind freshened a little after lunch, landings were on 30. Visibility was poor under 2000′ QFE, especially up sun, but improved a little as some thermal activity became evident late morning/early afternoon David Bradley, flying his LS8t, had 1.4 hrs aloft while Mike Wood/S Crane had 58 minutes in the T21b, thermalling up from a low height just in front of the hill when a landing looked imminent. Rory O’Conor explored down to Rufforth in his DG600 but didn’t encounter any significant lift. On the last flight of the day with thermal acivity ended, George Rowden and daughter Zoe in the DG500 had just under 30 minutes, encountering weak wave extending from in front of Gormire Lake towards Boulby.

Wednesday 18th to Friday 20th March

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Wednesday. Low cloud cleared by around noon to leave a light SW-SSW hazy airstream with a low inversion. 3 Rotax Falke flights and 5 ATs were flown, the majority of the latter for spin and handling checks and the majority of the former for field landing and failed AT checks. The K21 was used for the one Trial Lesson of the day and the DG1000 for spin checks while Mike Smith took the DG303 for the longest gliding flight of the day, 22 minutes.
Thursday. The low cloud took longer to disperse but enventually did, leaving the club in hazy sunshine and a light SSE’ly wind. The Rotax Falke was again used for checks on one of its 2 flights of the day, while one of the club K21s was used for the 2 ATs of the day. One of the 2 Falke flights saw Office manager Josephine in the air deciding where “75″ should be mown into the grass to celebrate the clubs anniversary. Meanwhile, Mike Wood took his Trial Lesson passenger for a flight of 40 minutes, but only Mike knows how he did it.
Friday. The low cloud cleared by late morning but flying didn’t start until after lunch as visibility was poor. New member Steve Briggs spent some of the time practicing his flying skills on the simulator with Alex May. 8 ATs were flown after lunch, 6 in one of the club K21’s and the other 2 in the club DG303. With the inversion again low, no soaring flights resulted with most flights being in the 10 - 15 minute range, but David Everett held out for 20 minutes in the DG303. With the launching point on runway 20 being close to the public path, the opportunity was taken to talk to and answer questions on gliding from passers by, one of whom was the daughter of a pilot who flew with the Bradford Gliding club in 1933. This club amalgamated with a number of other local club’s in 1934, simultaneously relocating to Sutton Bank and becoming the Yorkshire Gliding Club.

Sunday 15th to Tuesday 17th March

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Sunday. A light WNW’ly and initially clear skies led to a goodly number of private owners rigging in anticipation of a good day’s soaring. However, medium/high cover moved in which meant that cross countries were tricky to say the least. 28 ATs were flown, 11 by private owners and the rest in the clubs K21s, DG1000 and Discus with 11 of the flights exceeding an hour. John Ellis (Nimbus 3t) and Derek Taylor (ASW 22BL) declared Sut/Wet/Ley/Sut but this proved to be ambitious in the increasingly weak conditions. John abandonded the task at York and followed the brighter weather, eventually turning Rufforth, Fridaythorpe and the Tontine before returning to Sutton to claim 152 km in the longest flight of the day, 3.5 hours. Derek turned Wetherby but had to use his engine twice to get back to Sutton, where Carl Hutson, visiting from Gransden Lodge had just over an hour in his club’s Discus and Jack McGregor/D Pask had a similar time in the DG1000, the best of the day in a home club glider. Meanwhile, Dave Latimer, flying his turbo Ventus to check out the instruments and engine, contacted wave and reached 8000′ QNH, turning Hawes and Kirby Stephen before returning to base. Here the Rotax Falke was again busy, having 5 flights, mainly for AT failure/field landing checks and the simulator was also in use, loggig up 4 flights.
Monday. High cover and a initially light SSW’ly was not initially encouraging, but a freshening wind, veering into the WSW led to the first and only AT of the day in one of the club K21’s, John Marsh and Gransden Lodge visitor, C Hinson, proving the day was soarable by staying up for 40 minutes in wave. A change to winching was in order and a further 10 launches were flown, 3 by private owners and 7 by the club’s K21’s, Ka6, Astir and DG303, all the club gliders being flown solo. All but one of the flights exceeded an hour as wave lift was “everywhere and anywhere”. Nick Gaunt flying his LS7 turned Cow Green, restricting his maximum altitude to 10,000′ as he didn’t have any oxygen on board, while Mike Wood also climbed to 10,000′ over Pately Bridge in the club Astir. Mr Hinson had his first solo wave flight, getting to 5,900′. Dave Cambell, flying the club K21 had the longest flight of the day, some 2.5 hours. During all this activity a visiting Cessna 170 overflew the winch, landed on 20 instead of 24 and then taxied over the laid out winch cables.
Tuesday. An initially cloudy, light SSE’ly airstream broke up to give a deceptively inviting sky, flying being delayed until early afternoon. Pilots continued to undertake their annual checks in the 3 Rotax Falke flights of the day, while none of the 3 AT’s flown in the club K21 contacted any sustainable lift. All the K21 flights had recent solo pilot Al McGregor on board, 2 with Al flying P2 with Andy Parish and the other with Al solo, in which he managed the best time of the day, 13 minutes.

Friday 13 to Saturday 14th March

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Friday. The day started bightly with a light SSE’ly but quite quickly clouded over as a warm front approached, the wind freshening and veering into the SSW with a few spots of rain towards the end of the day. In the absence of soaring conditions, the opportunity was taken by some pilots to do their annual checks with 2 AT in the K21 and 4 flights in the Rotax Falke.
Saturday. A 15 to 25 kt W’ly saw the winch in operation with 17 launches before conditions became increasingly gusty and flying was terminated late in the afternoon. 9 of the flights exceeded an hour and a total of around 20 hours soaring was accumulated by the club K21’s, DG500, Astir and Discus and the 3 private owners who also flew. A combination of strong hill lift, mixed in with broken thermal made it a day when staying up was relatively easy, if turbulent, with operating heights around 1000′ to 1500′ . However, although Satpics showed extensive wave over a large part of the UK including North Yorkshire, the best climb of the day was only to 2000′ QFE. Gary Vaughan put almost another 4 hours into his log book while flying his ASW 19. Carl Hudson had just over 3 hours in the club Astir and Kelly Teagle/Tony Waddoup had 1.3 hours in the club K21. At the completion of flying, Kelly then put on her met hat as she and Steve Ball provided assembled members with the low down, or should it be the high down, of what every glider pilot should know about the weather, particularly the charms and promise of Skew T Log P diagrams. After digesting all this knowledge, most of the attendees retired to the club restuarant to undertake the slightly simpler task of digesting caterer Brian’s St Patrick’s Day repast.

Wednesday 11th to Thursday 12th March.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Wednesday. Annual checks continued apace on a day with a 5-15 kt S’ly and a generally overcast sky. The Rotax Flake continued with field landing checks, 2 of the 4 flights being in this category and there were 7 AT’s, including 3 with Trial Lesson pupils. A lack of meaningful lift meant that most flights were of the 15- 25 minute category, but on the final flight of the day, with the wind tending to go into the SW, Mike Wood was able to give his Trial Lesson pupil a 30 minute flight and thus notch up another Sutton Bank soaring day.
Thursday. No problems at all with defining Thursday as a soaring day. A 10-20 kt W’ly blew all day and 26 winch launches were flown, all but 5 by club aircraft, with all the 4 club 2 seaters, and 3 of the 4 club single seaters utilised. In all some 35 hours of soaring were accumulated. The Met Office had forecast steadily increasing winds with height of a virtually constant direction and so wave was expected. In reality wave proved hard to contact, as strong and turbulent thermal conditions existed up to cloud base at around 4000′ QNH. Only 2 pilots got established in wave, Dean Crosby, who took one of the early launches and climbed to 12,000′ en route to near Barnard Castle and George Rowden who took some 2.5 hours to get established and eventually had a slow climb to 10,000′ QNH directly above the site. At this height the wind speed was 60 kts. Most pilots found good thermal lift of up to 5 kts lower down, but pushing forward to try to contact the wave only resulted in finding strong sink. John Ellis in his Nimbus 3t climbed to 4500′ and pushed out to Northallerton only to find strong sink all the way there and all the way back, only regaining lifting air close to and below the crest of Black Hambleton. 14 flights exceeded an hour with Gary Vaughan having 4.25 hrs in his ASW 20 while Ken Duxberry had just over 2 hours in the club Astir. Albert Newbery/Lindsay McLane had a 1.1 hrs check flight in the club K21, although whether this was due to Lindsay falling asleep due to his being jet lagged from his recent return from New Zealand is not known. He was certainly wide awake when he commuted home on his autogyro.

Saturday 7 to Tuesday 10th March

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Saturday. Although all 4 club 2 seaters were lined up ready to go after the morning briefing, a exploratory flight by the club Rotax Falke confirmed that the 10-15 kt, SSW/S’ly airstream had a cloud base of only 700′. This was one of 3 Falke flights of the day. The party of Scouts who had joined us for the day were therefore given some basic instruction on the simulator, by the end of which the cloud base had increased sufficiently for flying to commence. 14 aerotows (ATs) were flown, mainly in the club 2 seaters, with 2 flights exceeding an hour and the total flying time for the day around 9 hours. The presence of wave was indicated by an ability to soar on and in front of the southern ridge at up to 1400′ QFE, with Andy Parish/David Lynch in the K21 having the best club time of an hour. Jonathon May/Steve Ball flying their Duo Discus confirmed the presence of wave by finding a slot and climbing to 5,500′ QFE in their flight of around 1.5 hours.
Sunday. A 15-20 kt, but not excessively gusty, SSW saw 8 winch launches, all in the club K21, with flight times averaging over 30 minutes and 2 flights of over an hour, giving a total of around 5 hours for the day. Although take offs and landings were straighforward as the wind was straight down the runway, considerable care was required in ground handling. Conditions for soaring were good, with extensive hill , thermal and possibly wave lift, with the best heights of the day around 3000′ QFE. John Marsh/Andy Darlington shared the longest flight of the day, 1.1 hours.
Monday. The wind had veered into the W and decreased slightly overnight from Sunday, although the flying was disrupted somewhat by showers. There were 9 winch launches, 4 by private owners and 5 in the club’s K21s, with 4 flights of over an hour. Total flying time for the day was some 9 hours. David Hill /M Hancock shared the longest K21 flight of the day, 30 minutes, while Dean Crosby flying his Standard Cirrus, was aloft for around 2.5 hours. A contributor to this latter flight time was the need to spend some time soaring Carlton Moor, some 15 km to the NE, to avoid a large shower.
Tuesday. Overnight rain left a legacy of extensive low cloud in a 5-12 kt generally N’ly airstream. The unflyable morning was therefore spent in trying to open the connecting door between the hangar and workshop, breaking the key in the lock, getting the door open by chiselling out the frame, obtaining a new lock and fitting it into a repaired door frame. Negative contributions to these activities were by George Rowden and positive ones by John Ellis. Improving weather conditions during the morning led to 2 Falke flights, Andy Parish/Mr Shaw doing approach and landing training and Albert Newberry taking Mike Smith on his field landing checks. After lunch there were 3 ATs off runway 24 with landings on 30. 2 of these were check flights in the DG1000. Albert Newbery/Mike Smith followed their spin check in the DG1000 with a climb from 1700′ to 3200′ QFE at an average climb rate of 5.5 kt as the conditions peaked mid afternoon before the skies cleared completely by around 1600 hrs.

Thursday 5th to Friday 6th March

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Thursday. With pressure slowly rising the number and intensity of shower activity was greatly lessened compared to Wednesday, allowing 12 ATs of runway 24 in a 0-10 kt wind that slowly backed from the N to the W. The average flight time was around 25 minutes but Mike Smith had 37 minutes in club DG303 while one of the club K21s and the Astir also flew. Albert Newbery was again busy providing field landing & failed AT checks in the Rotax Falke for a further 2 members.
Friday. A ridge of high pressure provided a good days soaring with 18 AT, of which 3 were by private owners and the rest by the club K21s, DG1000, Discus, Ka8, DG303 and Astir. 8 of the flights exceeded an hour with Andy Wright spending the longest time aloft on his trip to Newark and back, some 260 km. The trip back proved much more difficult than the trip down as thermal activity waned. George Rowden and Kelly Teagle shared thermals and information while rounding the Sut/Rufforth/Pocklington/Sut 100 km triangle in their respective LS’s but both also found the last lap home a bit of a struggle in a big blue hole. Back at Sutton the day was marked by Al McGregor’s first solo in the K21. With thermal activity from around 1200 noon to 1600 hours, most pilots had their first significant thermal flights of the year with David Lowe thoroughly enjoying his on his 5th solo in the K21 which lasted just over the hour. After his solo, Al McGregor flew with CFI Andy Parish in the K21 to get his first real taste of thermal soaring.