Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th April

Wednesday.  The day started blue with a moderate S’ly and initially thermals were limited to around 2500′ .  Around 2pm the cumulus which was visible to the west advanced towards the site and climbs were then possible to around 4000′  but the cloud base was very variable with up to 5500′ being reached.  11 ATs were flown, 3 by private owners and the rest by the club 2 seaters, Discus and DG303.  Most of the private owners again went W with Lindsay McClane managing to cross the Pennines in his Ventus, while Bill Payton/Stewart Heaton in their DG1000t were thwarted by lower cloud and rising ground and decided to return to Sutton after reaching Hawes.   Martyn Johnson also explored the Pennines in his flight of 4.8 hrs while David Ryall had just over an hour soaring locally to Sutton in the Discus.

Thursday.  The wind remained in the SSE’ly quadrant  and visibility was again poor, but thermal activity was limited and thermals difficult to utilise. 5 ATs were flown, all in the club K21s, 4 of the 5 flights being with Trial Lesson pupils.  Flight times were generally in the 15-25 minute range but Albert Newbery flying one of 2 brothers on a Trial flight made it an official soaring day by staying up for 30 minutes.  2 pilots decided to use the better soaring weather on the simulator.

Friday.  The same air mass covered Sutton, with the wind a moderate SSE’ly and poor  visibility.  This time however there was a layer of cirrustratus courtesy of a front over Northern Ireland.  This slowly moved westwards during the day (the front, not Northern Ireland).  Thermal activity was somewhat better than on Thursday and wave was also present. 10 ATs were flown off runway 20, all in the club 2 seaters, including 5 Trial Lesson pupils.  Flight times were in the 14-42 minute range but John Marsh/Steve Briggs had 1.25  hrs in the DG500, in  the course of which they reached 5000′  asl in weak wave.  The Falke returned to site after having its new engine fitted at Bagby.

Saturday.  The same airmass as on the previous days prevailed but the wind was now a moderate E’ly, but the morning briefing forecast the passage of a weak cold front during the afternoon.    Operations were again off runway 20 resulting in some good cross wind landing practice plus low level turbulence downwind of the trees.    Thermal activity was reasonable with a very murky cloud base around 4500 asl, allowing the Day Course member to try out his thermalling techniques on his 3rd flight.   6 Trial Lesson pupils were flown, with  some of these flights turning out to be very interesting indeed.   George Rowden, flying one of these pupils, had just touched down after a particularly turbulent approach onto runway 20 when 4 Deer in line came up over the W ridge and ran across the runway, into the path of the approaching glider.  With full wheel brake applied,  a collision was narrowly avoided with the 3rd Deer by virtue of it leaping over the nose of the glider, while the 4th Deer fortunately turned back and disappeared over the edge of the ridge.  The Trial Lesson pupil, a lady. was quite unperturbed, and regarded the incident as a bonus to a very enjoyable flight. 

During the early afternoon the weak Cold Front arrived , marked by a zone of increased cloudiness and a few showers.  Albert Newbery/ David Everett  in the club K21  and George Rowden with another Trial Lesson pupil in the other club K21 both took off with what looked like a light shower approaching from the E .  The shower quickly developed into large rain/hail storm,   passing over and completely obliterating the site and surronding countryside from view. As it moved away to the NW a rumble of thunder was heard.  Albert and David found strong lift in front of the storm but were then caught in the rain/hail and had to turn on the blind flying instruments to escape.   George and his Trial Lesson pupil, skirting the southern edges of the storm found solid and smooth 8kts lift just to the rear of the rain.  Both gliders used the plentiful lift around and in the vicinity of the storm  to remain airborne until the storm had cleared the site and a landing was possible into what was now a light SE’ly.  The passage of the front brought superb gliding conditions with big, fat thermals, high cloudbases and tremendous visibility, tempting pilots into the air for some early evening soaring with Andy Darlington  taking the last launch at 1730 hrs in the DG500 and returning just over an hour later with the sky still looking terrific until after 1930 hours.   In all, 27 ATs were flown with 9 flights of >an hour, with all the club 2 seaters in action as well as the Astir.    Flying was only terminated by the fact that the YGC AGM was held that evening, preceeded by some very welcome Lasangne, chips and salad courtesy of Brian and helpers.  While not as exciting as the day’s flying, the AGM certainly proved to be an lively event.  But that’s another story.

Tuesday 21st April

Tuesday.   The day started very early with Club President Moyra Johnson being interviewed on site by Radio York and Chairman Graham Evison giving the Radio York People’s Weather Forecast.   Puzzelled?  Well if you are, you had forgotten that Tuesday 21st April was Press Day, with the BBC Look North (Yorkshire) Camera’s and  the Northern Echo also on site to record the 75 years of the YGC.   The Look North filming included their chief presenter having a flight with Kelly Teagle in the K21, taking a video camera with him of course,  and the results should be shown Wednesday evening.   As well as the  media, representatives of Thirsk Rotary, North Yorkshire Sport and the Yorkshire Tourist Board were also present for a day that included a presentation by Ken Arkley on the History of the YGC,  a mass release  of  yellow YGC 75 balloons as Mike Wood and Howard took a winch launch in the T21, afternoon refreshments courtesy of Brian  and Dick Coles masterly aerobatic display including a low, level, turbulent  high speed pass down runway 20.

Then, of course, there was the club flying.  The day started off with hazy sunshine and a light S’ly but cumulus slowly advanced from the W and their arrival overhead coincided with the wind freshening,  veering into the W and wave setting in.   14 ATs were flown during the early part of the day, with a further 11 off the  winch which was utilised as the wind veered and freshened.  All the club gliders were flown and 11 of the flights were of an hour or more.  7 private owners  flew and  Martyn Johnson, flying his DG600, recorded a gain of 14,356′ in wave, reaching a maximum altitude of 15,855′ off his winch launch.  Peter Clay, flying his Ventus, ventured down to Selby while Albert Newbery/Phil Lazenby, after successfully rigging their DG1000t after its winter rest, flew an O/R to Burn, at one point flying at 120 kts with 3kts on the variometer in wave near York.  John Marsh flying the club Discus reached around 8,000′ in wave in his flight of just over 2 hours.   The day even had a weather diversion from Bagby due to fog, the pilot taking the opportunity to have a taste of some real flying with Andy in the K21.  

All in all a very successful day, the  inevitable disruption of club flying  balanced by the widespread publicity for the club and hopefully some more members.

Saturday 18th to Monday 20th April.

Saturday.    As part of the YGC’s 75th celebration, Saturday was Past Members day and was a great success.  Some 80 people attended and were welcomed with tea/coffee, a talk by Ken Arkley and  the cutting of a special decorated cake by Moyra Johnson, the present club President who flew at Sutton in the 1930’s.  Many of the visitors took the opportunity to take to the skies again either in one of the clubs modern 2 seaters or in the T21, while all had a group photo  standing in the large ’75’ painted on the grass,  The day was  rounded off with an aerobatic display by Dick Cole.  31 ATs were flown with the club’s 4 two seaters kept busy all day.  The weather also cooperated, the low cloud of the previous days quickly dispersing to leave a pleasant day for circuits with flight times in the range 10-25 minutes.  Martyn Johnson/Graham Evison stayed up for 35 minutes in the club K21..  Present members, Rory O’Conor and Andy Wright left the celebrations to do some cross country  flying, Rory managing 156 km and Andy 179km although both comented on the low cloudbase, Rory experiencing 1700′ asl as he ventured east to Fridaythorpe 

Sunday.  The day started late due to low cloud in a 0-10 kt SSE’ly.  The first AT  was at 1150hrs, but thereafter the day slowly improved with usable thermals from mid afternoon onwards.  17 ATs were flown, all in club gliders with the K21s, DG1000 and Ka8 utilised and 3 Trial Lesson pupils flown.  Circuits were the order of the day until the mid afternoon when K Parker had 1.25 hrs in the DG1000 solo and later still, John Marsh/J Hawkridge had 50 minutes in the K21.  The undoubted highlight of the day was  a first solo for Sanjay Nath, after about 30 instructional flights.  Well done  Sanjay. 

Monday.   A light SSW’ly and clear skies allowed flying to commence just after 1000 hrs, the first of 18 ATs during the day, inlcuding 7 by private  owners.  Thermal conditions developed over the North Yorkshire Moors by lunch time but no clouds could be seen over the surronding Vale of York.    Visibility was generally poor below an inversion at around 3500′ asl in the area around Sutton and thermals narrow cored.   A number of turbo pilots headed for the Masham area but the majority had to use their engines to reach the clouds, but were rewarded with strong thermals and a cloud base of around 6000′ asl, allowing them an easy glide home through the dead air in  the Vale of York.  Lindsay Mclane ventured north along the Pennines towards Hexham reporting lift up to 6800’asl but large blue gaps, while John Ellis did  250 km, visiting Pateley Bridge, Burnhope Res and Grassington before  returning to Sutton.  Phil Lazenby took the club Discus around a   123 km North Yorks Moors triangle while Jeff Harrison and Mike Smith stayed local and Robin Strarup did a tour of local Abbeys. A sea breeze front was visible some distance to the east of the site but was not investigated.  In all some 30 hours of soaring were done.

Thursday 16th to Friday 17th April

Thursday.  A 10-20kt NNE’ly continued to bring in stratus from the North Sea , so, with no flying possible, Andy Parish, Ian Plant and Stewart Heaton occupied themselves with some maintenance on the tractors and winch, changing one of the  cables on the latter and fitting some nice new shock ropes.

Friday.  The same meterological conditions as Thursday initially prevailed, but those approaching the site from Thirsk in the morning were treated to a nice wave slot in the Stratus downwind of the site.    Initially cloud base was around 500′ QFE, so preparations were made to change the other cable on the winch.  However, a break up of the cloud coincided with the arrival on site of a photographer from the Yorkshire Post who had come to take some aerial pictures of a glider against the White Horse and the large painted ’75’ on the grass outside the club house. A plan was therefore put in place to aero tow the K21 to to the south of the White Horse, release at 2000′ and position the Super Cub containing Ian and the photographer up sun and above  the K21 as it made a number of  E to W passes across the site.   Leaving the Super Cub door open to get a better photographic view gave Ian Plant and the photographer a noisy and draughty ride but the main problem was that the tow and subsequent E-W passes were in the down of a, now very obvious,  wave that had developed over the site.  Consequently, the average climb rate on the tow was around 2 kts and the subsequent K21 flight after release was in 4-6 kts down meaning that only 2 E-W passes could be achieved before the rapidly approaching ground meant a truncated circuit and landing.  Not all the required shots were achieved, so  a second flight was taken with again Ian/photographer in the Tug and Andy Parish/George Rowden in the K21.   This flight again gave the same result, but it was decided to call it a day on the aerial shots and the photographer retired to the clubhouse to download some archive photo’s of the early day’s of the YGC provided by Ken Arkley.  By the time the photographer left, the sky had cleared of wave cloud  with cumulus appearing, but the non appearance of members left Andy and Ian completing the task of changing the wire on the winch.  Meanwhile in the office, Josephine and Anne were engaged in what looked like preparations for a fishing expedition, but which turned out to be the assembly of a net  to contain the mass of Helium filled balloons which are to be released on Press day next Tuesday.

For all you earthbound pilots, the aerial view of the ’75’ on the grass outside the club house looks like this, but if you prefer more professional shots the article about the  75 years of the YGC should appear in the Yorkshire Post in  the next few days.


Tuesday 14th to Wednesday 15th April.

Tuesday. A 6-11kt E/ESE’ly brought along a blanket of low cloud which eventually cleared sufficiently to allow Mike Wood to take a flight in the Motor Falke in order to assess the symmetry of the large 75 marked out on the grass to the south of the clubhouse. (In readiness for Press day, a part of the celebrations of 75 years of the Yorkshire GC at Sutton Bank). This assessment revealed some modifications were necessary to improve the asthetics. No other flying was possible outside, but 2 virtual flights were done on the simulator.
Wednesday. The wind had backed into the NNE and strengthened slightly but the airstream was still full of low cloud. However, this disappeared around lunchtime and was replaced by hazy sunshine with very poor visibility, so no glider flying was possible. However, there was some flying as the Rotax Falke was flown to Bagby to have its new engine fitted. On his return, Ian Plant, assited by Glyn Jennings, occupied themselves by spraying the grass white inside the marked out and modified 75, while Andy Parish introduced a large group of pupils and teachers from the Cundall Manor School to gliding by showing them one of the club K21’s.Ian and Glyn hard at work

Friday 10th to Monday 13th April

Friday. Overcast skies in a light SSE’ly with intermittent drizzle prevented any soaring, but 6 ATs were flown before heavier rain stopped play. Clear skies were visible to the North but stubbornly remained there all day. Flight times were typically around 10 minutes but Ian Plant flying Trial Lesson pupil R Herrington somehow managed 23 minutes.
Saturday. The edge of the decaying front lying down the east coast was now clearly visible west of Ripon but the site remained under a complete overcast and the wind light and variable. 20 ATs were flown with average flihgt times of 20 minutes, including 5 trial lessons and a Day Course member who also had a longer flight on the simulator. John Marsh managed 27 minutes with Trial lesson pupil A Garbutt in the club K21 to notch up the longest flight of the day, exluding the single Rotax Falke flight.
Sunday. The site still lay under the overcast skies of the decaying front with clear skies and cumulus clearly visible to the west and the wind a light N’ly. 22 ATs were flown in the club’s K21s/Ka8/DG500/DG1000 with flight times in the 15-25 minute range, including 6 Trial Lesson Pupils. The benign conditions allowed Darren Clare to make a successful conversion to the Astir. Well done Darren.
At 1640 hrs, on the last flight of the day, John Marsh, flying the Ka8, contacted a thermal that took him to cloudbase at around 5000′ asl at peak climb rates of 8 kts. He then found some weak wave over Rievaulx Abbey, but had to make a quick descent and land after an hour, at the radioed request of the not-to-be-ignored hangar packing party.
Monday. At last the overcast skies were gone, but a light ESE’ly initially brought low cloud base cumulus. This soon increased to around 3000′ asl, encouraging a number of private owners to rig. George Rowden and Steph, a guest of Mr Hill, had both the first and the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 45 minutes, finding peak climb rates of 6kts at around 1030 hrs. Much lower cloud bases were visible to the E and the 6 private owners who launched all disappeared to the W. In the early afternoon the wind freshened and a dramatic lowering of cloud base occurred to around 800′ QFE, causing flying to be stopped. However, although the cloud base remained low over and to the east of the site, the cloud remained broken immediately downwind of the site and flying was resumed a little later. The rapid lowering of the cloudbase experienced at Sutton was also found by the private owners who had ventured west. John Ellis and Peter Baker, the latter visiting from Gransden Lodge, both abandoned their tasks near Wetherby, John having to start his engine to get back to Sutton. Paul Foster, flying the club Discus, landed out at Dishforth, getting an aerotow back courtesy of the Dishforth Chipmunk. In all, 23 ATs were flown off runway 20 with all the club single seaters flown as well as both K21’s. John Ellis’ flight of 2.5 hrs was the longest of the day with 5 flights exceeding an hour. During the non-flying interlude, a number of pilots made use of the simulator.

Tuesday 7th to Thursday 9th April

Tuesday. A 10-20kt SSW’ly airstream brought a shower at the beginning of the day and some towards the end, but inbetween the airstream dried out to give an increasing cloud base and good thermals. 29 ATs were flown, with 12 of the flights around or exceeding an hour, but most if not all pilots remained local as the strength of the wind made cross countries difficult. The visitors from Norfolk made good use of the conditions as did YGC private owners and members, with the club K21’s, DG500, Discus, DG303 and Astir in use. In all, some 27 hours of soaring were accumulated with Phil Lazenby having 3.6 hrs in the club Discus and Albert Newbery/Mike Smith having just over an hour in the club K21. In addition the Rotax Falke had 2 flights.
Wednesday. 10 winch launches were flown in a generally cloudy, 20-25 kt, WSW’ly airstream, cloudbase never exceeding around 2000’QFE. In spite of the extensive cloud, or perhaps more likely contributing to the cloud amount, thermals added strong surges to the hill lift with typically 6-8kt peak rates recorded, Visitor M Crock flying the Norfolk club’s Astir had the longest flight of the day, 1.1 hrs, with most flights being of the order of 30 – 40 minutes. Ian Plant/S Cambell had the longest 2 seater flight, 51 minutes in the club K21. At the end of the day, the visitors from the Norfolk GC departed, well satsified with the flying they had put in since Saturday.
Thursday. A damp, mild, warm sector, 11-17 kt SE’ly persisted all day, bringing a period of rain from midday to 2 pm, intermittent light rain throughout the day and a low cloud base. Consequently, there was no flying, with Ian Plant and helpers taking the opportunity to do a spot of maintenance on the tractors. George Rowden took grandson Daniel for an O/R to Carlton Bank, courtesy of a fresh WNW’ly on the simulator.
The 75th anniversary logo’d T shirt mentioned in the last blog, is to be displayed on a manequin in the club house from this weekend, instantly recognised from the usual inhabitants as being the good looking one.

Saturday 4th to Monday 6th April.

Saturday. A fresh to strong W’ly made for what the CFI called “sporting” conditions, so much so that no club single seaters were flown although 2 private owners ventured forth. All the club 2 seaters were flown in the 21 winch launches of the day, with hill lift and thermal there a plenty. Most flights averaged around 30 minutes but there were 5 > an hour, with Martyn Johnson having 2.8 hrs and contacting wave, eventually having a height gain of just over 11,000′. 2 Day course members and the 3 Trial lesson pupils certainly chose an exciting day for their introduction to gliding while Rory O’Conor/Andy Darlington had the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 1.75 hrs in the DG500. YGC welcomed a party of visitors from the Norfolk GC with their own gliders, giving them a good introduction to the thrills of an hill site.
Sunday. A light wind from the SSW was accompanied by significant high cover, the latter resulting in generally short tasks being declared by a number of private owners. However, the high cover disappeared, leaving strong thermals, with the cloud base rising to around 6300′ QNH, consequently, a least 2 private owners followed up their short tasks with another one. In all 21 AT’s were flown by 6 private owners and the club’s 2 seaters, DG303, Astir and Ka8, with 9 flights of an hour or more. Steve Ball put his first flight of the year on the ladder while Chris Teagle, Andy Wright and John Ellis all completed tasks of around 100 to 130 km, Andy and John then going on to either repeat the same task or a longer one. David Bradley had the longest flight of the day, 3.5 hours in his LS8, while Mr Davis had 1.25 hrs in the club DG303 and John Marsh/R Gleave 55 mins in the club K21. Mike Smith had an interesting first flight in a ASW 20, but followed that up with a much longer flight which was much less exciting but much more enjoyable.
Monday. A predominately cloudy, light to moderate, ESE’ly airstream did not provide any soaring opportunities, with the result that the 7 ATs of the day averaged a flight time of around 15 minutes. Ian Plant, in charge in the CFI’s absence on holiday, summoned up all his stay up skills to give Mr Kinder, the only trial lesson pupil of the day, the longest flight at 26 minutes. The lack of any soaring opportunities in the real world, tempted a number of pilots to take advantage of the soaring available on the simulator.
Stop Press. The logo celebrating 75 years of soaring at Sutton Bank is now emblazoned on mugs and T Shirts, both of which can be purchased from the office. With a prancing White Horse and the words, “A bank you can still trust…Sutton Bank. Soaring interest since 1934″, these are bound to be very popular so get your orders in asap.

Thursday 2nd to Friday 3rd April.

Thursday. A brilliantly clear morning welcomed members, with the low cloud from the North Sea visible in the distant SE and a light E’ly blowing. Aerotowing started off runway 02 but moved to 06 after lunch as the E’ly freshened. Cumulus started to form late morning, tempting a couple of private owners to rig, but the base never exceeded around 2000′ QFE and thermals were generally narrow and difficult to centre. 13 ATs were flown with the club’s K21, DG1000, DG303, Discus and Astir in use, while the Rotax Falke had a single local flight. Flight times were typically in the range 15-25 minutes but Andy Wright had 34 minutes in his Nimbus and Ken Duxbury, 26 minutes in the Astir. Summer Tuggie Ian Plant, who made a welcome return to site on Monday, journeyed to Bagby to fly the Super Cub back to site after its 50 hr check.
Friday. The site sat in low cloud fed in from the North Sea on a light SE’ly for most of the day, the cloud only clearing around 1500 hrs to leave hazy sunshine and evidence of wave downwind of the site. The resulting sunshine allowed the temperature to rise from a steady 4C to the heights of 8C. The late clearance meant that no flying was undertaken, except on the simulator, where George Rowden demonstrated the set up to 2 visitors from Tibenham en route home from Portmoak. A tour of the facilities and a brief flight on the simulator was also provided for Kevin Parker, an American glider pilot now working at Manchester University and looking for a gliding club to join.
For those of an inquisitive nature, the doodlings on the grass outside the clubhouse are the result of experiments by Andy Parish and Ian Plant to investigate the best method of spraying “YGC 75″ onto the airfield so as to be visible from the air. Ian also took on the task of changing the oil in the big tractor, a task that demonstrated that removal of the drain plug would have been easier if the viewpoint had been specified when an anticlockwise rotation was advised.

Sunday 29th March to Wednesday 1st April

Sunday. A light, initially NW’ly airstream that slowly backed into the SW, brought good soaring conditions from midday. 35 ATs were flown with 9 private owners and the club’s Discus, Astir, DG303 and all the four 2 seaters in action. Chris Teagle, Andy Wright, Dave Latimer and Phil Lazenby put flights on the National Ladder covering distances of between 138.8 and 204.8 km and there was lots of local soaring with 18 of the day’s flights exceeding an hour. Although local to Sutton the thermals were marked by Cumulus, typical cloud base 4500′ asl, further to the south it was a blue day which made it a little tricky and John Ellis had to resort to an engine burn to stay aloft. Derek Taylor had 4.3 hours in his ASW22 to be top of the endurance stakes. With his DG1000t in for its CofA, Phil Lazenby’s cross country around Masham, Wetherby and Tontine in the club DG303 not only was the longest flight in a club glider but set a marker on the club ladder for other club members to beat.
Back at Sutton the day included 2 Falke flights for annual field landing checks and 5 Trial Lesson pupils, while Dave Ashby/W Richardson had the best club 2 seater flight of the day at 1.5 hours.
Monday. A light wind from the S’ly sector initially brought uninspiring skies which led to a number of members calling it a day and going home. In suitably perverse fashion, the wind went into the W and freshened and a pleasant wave soaring day developed for those who had remained on site including a single Trial Lesson pupil. 5 AT’s were flown, all in the clubs K21’s, but 3 of these flights exceeded an hour with the wave giving 4-6kt peak rate climbs although not going very high, the best being around 6000′ asl. Chris Palmer, visiting from Windrushers, needed some persuation to fly but eventually did with John Marsh, and had the longest flight of the day at 1.75 hrs, returning with biggest smile of the day on his face.
Tuesday. A low overcast in a light WNW flow delayed launching but eventually the cloud burned off to provide a reasonable soaring day, although cloud base did not rise much above 2200 QFE. 16 ATs were flown by the club’s DG100, K21’s, Astir, Ka8 and DG303 and 4 private owners, including 2 by Trial Lesson pupils. 5 of the flights exceeded an hour. Andy Wright set off on a declared local triangle, but conditions improved so much while he was airbourne, that he extended his flight towards the SE and covered an undeclared 213.8 km. Mike Smith soared locally for around 2.5 hrs while Dave Hodgson/Chris Palmer had the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 33 minutes in the DG1000.
Wednesday. An initially light and variable airstream that settled into the S quadrant allowed 14 ATs once a low overcast had dispersed. A hole in the overcast visible on Satpics was clearly seen from the site. Flights by 2 private owners and the club’s K21s, DG1000 and Astir were mainly restricted to local soaring with David Lynch having 35 minutes in the Astir and Andy Parish/Chris Palmer having 43 minutes in the club DG1000, visiting Carlton Bank in the process. Lindsay McLane in his Ventus disappeared for around 4 hours exploring the Pennines. Meanwhile, back a Sutton a new club record was set by a pilot who made two impeccable landings on successive flights but landed wheels up on both, fortunately not doing any damage to the glider.
In other news, John Ellis is the proud owner of a new Volvo and rumour has it he may land out his Nimbus 3t in order to demonstrate the superior towing characteristics of his new wheels.