Archive for December, 2009

Tuesday 22nd to Tuesday 29th December 09.

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Tuesday 2nd to Thursday 25th.   In spite of some flyable weather, a light SE’ly that went into the WSW on Tuesday and a bright morning that clouded over with an occasional snow shower in a light to moderate SW’ly  on Wednesday, the amount of snow on the airfield prevented any flying.  Thursday morning added some more snow, with a very light wind from the E with fog and low cloud adding to the list of reasons for not flying but at least the temperature climbed above freezing reaching +2C.

Friday 25th to Tuesday 29th.   Friday was a bright and sunny day with a light to moderate W’ly but is  the only day of the year when the club shuts down so again no flying, not that the airfield conditions would have allowed any anyway.  However, a slow thaw was in progress with the temperature above zero all day.  Overnight Friday/Saturday saw some more general snow/sleet with Saturday having an initially light but increasing strength wind that started in the E but steadily veered into the S and brought in very poor visibility.  With daytime temperatures above freezing, the slow thaw continued.    Sunday continued the slow thaw but airfield conditions were still not conducive to flying in the light to moderate W’ly.  A light NE’ly on Monday brought clear and sunny skies with the slow thaw continuing while on Tuesday the wind had gone into the E, freshening as the day progressed with the skies progressively clouding over with a couple of light rain showers around the middle of the day helping with the continuing slow thaw.  An walk over runway to the public footpath was through wet snow and the view to the west compared to that taken on Monday 21st December shows the extent of the thaw at lower levels as  shown below.  An attempt was made to do some DIY snow clearing off runway 20 but was discontinued due to insufficient pushing power as the accompanying photo shows.  The good news is that we now have 2 serviceable tugs with the Pawnee fully reassembled in the back of the hangar.




Snow cover Dec 21

Snow Cover Dec 21

Snow cover Dec 29                                    

                      Snow cover Dec 29                  




Tuesday 22 to Christmas Eve 24th December 09.

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Tuesday 22nd to Thursday 24th.  I intended to go to the club today but snow most of the morning coupled with Fog kept me at home.   There is therefore no update on what happened today or the  previous 2 days at the club with the next update not likely before next week at the earliest.  I would be very surprised if there had been any flying given the snow depth on the airfield even before today’s contribution. 

Before I sign off could  I  wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Thursday 17th to Monday 21st December.

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Thursday 17th.  A moderate to fresh NNE’ly meant a cold day and frequent  heavy snow showers which quickly covered the site and made access difficult.  Consequently no flying was possible.

Friday 18th.  The heavy snow showers which had continued all night eventually moved off to the south around lunch time leaving the site in a very cold moderate to fresh N’ly.  The temperature fell during the daylight hours from -2C to -3C, the first ice day of the winter, with the wind chill temperature at around -8C.  With 4-6 inches of level snow on site and access problematical, no flying was possible.

Saturday 19th.   Daylight hours saw a mainly sunny, but cold day, with a maximum temperature -2C, so there was  no change in the snowbound nature of the site with consequently  no flying.  A light NW’ly blew initially but that slowly increased and backed into the SW in advance of a cold front that moved southwards through the area in the evening depositing some further snow. 

Sunday 20th.  A very cold night preceeded another day of temperatures below freezing, a few isolated snow showers in the light to moderate W to SW’ly wind and no flying.

Monday21st.  A light S’ly greeted the day before freshening and backing into the SE, the temperature struggling up to just below freezing in spite of predominately sunny skies.   Access to the site car park was possible with care along the snow covered minor road off the clear A170 and along the site access road,  but the thick carpet of snow on the site remained as a obstacle to flying.    A walk across runway 20 to the public footpath revealed a splendid panorama  over the Vale of York and to the North while the club  house and associated hangars and buildings loomed over the white expanse of runway 20 to the east as the attached photographs show.

NW panorama

NW panorama

YGC across Runway 20

YGC across Runway 20

Thursday 10th to Wednesday 16th December.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Thursday 1oth.  A light to moderate NNW’ly that decreased to  virtually calm around midday before freshening again, plus sunny skies, resulted in 17 ATs with the club K21s, Discus and Astir flown.  Flight times were typically 15-20 minutes but Rob Bailey, flying the Discus, patiently worked some weak wave, the only pilot to do so, and climbed to around 5,000′ QNH in his flight of 2 hours.  Stuart Heaton/Frank Bradley were the best of the rest with 20 minutes in the K21 and there was a single Trial Lesson flight.

Friday 11th.  A very light NE’ly left the site under a bright blue sky and clear to the south but with thick fog visible to the west in  the Vale of York with Thirsk in fog all day.  4 ATs were flown, all in the club Discus with the pilots all enjoying the aerial view of the fog banks to the west and Colin Troise managing 30 minutes in the air off a 3,000′ AT.  After lunch the fog started to encroach towards the site and Andy Parish after launching Colin for a second flight in the Discus,  took Josephine up in  the Super Cub to get some pictures.  Some of  these together with shots by Ken Arkley are included below.

   Fog to the west                          tn_hood-hilla4      tn_sunseta3






Saturday 12th.  The light NE’ly airflow continued but the fog local to Sutton had disappeared allowing 21 ATs to be flown off runway 02 utilising the clubs K21s, Discus and DG500.  David Watsham had an interesting tow when the Super Cub blew a cylinder  causing Tuggie Ritchie Toon to declare a  mayday followed shortly after by a safe downwind landing on 02.  With no lift around, flight times were in the  order of 10-20 minutes although Rob  Bailey tried very hard to make it a soaring day by having 32 minutes in the Discus, albeit off a 4300′ tow.  Martyn Johnson tried a more conventional approach and managed to give his Trial Lesson pupil, J Venning, 22 minutes in the K21.  At the end of the day  the one remaining tug was found to have a failure in its flap mechanism but this didn’t depress the members who stayed on site for an enjoyable Christmas party and meal.
Sunday 13th.  With no tugs serviceable, it looked like a non flying day but Andy Parish had managed to whistle up a replacement and a Robin duely arrived from Wombledon at 1000 am, allowing flying to commence at around 1130 am off runway 02 into a moderate N’ly.  This airstream brought with it a considerable amount of low cloud, down to 500′ QFE at times, but there were sufficient gaps to allow 8 ATs before the cloud base lowered in the early afternoon bringing freezing rain and a stop to flying.  All the flying was done in the K21s with Geoff Harrison taking R Naveley, a Trial lesson pupil, for the longest flight of the day, 16 minutes with the Robin providing some close up looks at the trees at the northern boundary of runway 02.
Monday 14th.   A N’ly airstream that brought in low cloud and intermittent light rain, kept the gliders in the hangars. 
Tuesday 15th. The wind had gone round to the SE but nothing else had changed so the continuing low cloud and intermittent light rain meant that no flying was again possible.
Wednesday 16th.  The dull, damp and unflyable conditions again prevailed with the moderate wind now back in the NNW.  The afternoon was enlivened,  however, by the sound of the Super Cub  doing an engine test after its repair.  The repair of the undercarriage of the Pawnee is now also complete with only  the re-attachment of the fuselage skin necessary to provide another airworthy tug.  All we are currently missing is some flying and preferably soaring weather,        

Saturday 5th to Wednesday 9th December.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Saturday 5th.  A moist and murky, light  to moderate S’ly brought in low cloud that delayed the start of flying.  However, the low cloud cleared as the wind veered into the SW allowing 11 ATs and 1 Falke flight, 6 of the ATs being for a visiting group of Scouts .  Very weak, 0-1kt, wave enabled extended flight times to be had, with Andy Parish/ Ross Cleave having 50 minutes in the K21.  Low cloud at around 6-800′ QFE hampered proceedings at times although there were always usable gaps to the S.  The low cloud diminished towards the end of the flying day and Ross Cleave, who turned 16 last month,  took advantage to record his first solo flight, crowning this with a landing even the best pilot in the club would have been proud of.  Congratulations Ross.  The day had been billed as a Ladies Day but only Kelly Teagle took to the skies, the other ladies contenting themselves with acquiring items  of jewelery courtesy of Chrissie Thwaites after the end of flying.

Sunday 6th.  A warm and then  a cold front crossed over the site overnight, depositing another 17 mm of rain and providing the airfield with a number of water features!  The temperature peaked at 9C at 6 am steadily falling thereafter to 5C while the wind settled down to a soarable 10-20 kt WSW.  Shortly after getting the gliders and winch out a large shower arrived complete with low cloud and hail, reversing the previous actions.  Thereafter it was decided that the airfield was too wet for operations although the simulator was put to good use.

Monday 7th.  Yet another weak front crossing the country leaving the site in a fresh to strong SE, accompanied by low cloud and occassional rain with another 1.5 mm deposited.   No flying was therefore possible.

Tuesday 8th.  The previous days front had vanished to the east leaving the site in  a steadily increasing wind that started in the WSW and steadily backed into the SE.  The day was dry, following another 4 mm of rain overnight, and 2 ATs were flown, both in the K21, with one dual and one solo.  Andy Parish/Howard Marshall had 15 minutes while David Lynch had 14 minutes.

Wednesday 9th.  A bright and pleasant day with a balmy temperature of 7C and a light S’ly wind  resulted in 8 ATs and a single Falke flight off runway 24 with landings on 20.  Early excitement was provided by one of the foam extinguishers in the crash trailer deciding to discharge itself while the trailer was being taken across to be attached to the tractor.  Flying involved  one of the club’s K21, together with the Ka8 and DG303 and 4 of the flights exceeded 30 minutes with Mike Wood in the Ka8 and David Lowe flying the K21 solo, both having 50 minutes each in the weak wave to be found between Gormire and Hood  Hill.  Visibility aloft was poor, particularly when looking up sun although the  intermittent low level orographic didn’t creat much problem.  While Les Rayment kept things ticking over at the launch point, Andy Parish was  at work in the work shop hard waxing the wings of the DG1000 prior to it going off site for its Cof A, with K21 KLW now back on site after completing its CofA.  After washing a great deal of the site off the gliders at the end of the flying day and putting them and the other kit back into the hangars and tractor house, it was discovered that one of the tractors had lost its deisel tank cap.  If you happen to come across it while out on the site please return it to the office.

Wednesday 2nd to Friday 4th.

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Wednesday 2nd.  A light to moderate, cloudy and damp SE’ly kept the site in cloud all day so no flying was possible.

Thursday 3rd.    A light and moist SW’ly airstream that slowly veered into the NW while freshening, delivered another 5 mm of rain and kept the site in cloud all day, again preventing flying.  The temperature also fell during the day, the high of 5C in the morning decreasing to 2C in the  afternoon.

Friday 4th.  A weak ridge of high pressure provided some welcome relief in the form of flying weather with accompanying very light winds from the W’ly quadrant and unbroken sunshine.   15 ATs were flown off runway 24 with landings on 20, the club K21, Discus and DG303 being utilised in addition to a single flight in the Falke.  Flight durations were typically in the  15-20 minute range with pilots reporting some patches of zero sink although one DG303 pilot actually found some weak wave and climbed,  enabling him to stay in the air for 34 minutes and claim another soaring day for the YGC.  Mike Wood, flying the only Trial Lesson pupil of the day in the K21, managed 20 minutes.  The smooth flying conditions were made for type conversions and Rob Bailey duly obliged, having his first flight in the DG303 .   Congratulations Rob.  The Sun sank behind the clearly defined, medium level,  frontal cloud advancing from the SW around 1515 hrs, the drop in temperature and likelihood of canopy misting,  coinciding with a lack of further customers and thus bringing a halt to flying for the day.

Friday 27th November to Tuesday 1st December

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Friday 27th.  4 mm of rain overnight Thursday/Friday, maintained the well watered state of the field, but with a light to moderate SSW’ly that slowly backed into the W, the ridge proved soarable  although most of  the flights were via AT.  13 launches were flown, with the K21, DG500, DG303, Astir and Ka8 in action on an all club glider day.  3 of the flights exceeded anhour, with Reg Rowling having just over 2.5 hrs in the Ka8 and proving to Rob Bailey in the DG303 that a low wing loading/low speed glider can more than hold its own on a hill soaring day when it comes to altitude.  3 Trial Lesson pupils also experienced the joys of hill soaring with Mike Wood taking pupil B Wackden for a 43 minute flight off the only winch launch of the day in the DG500.

Saturday 28th.  A cold and murky prospect greeted the weekend flyers with a promise of improving conditions later on as the wind slowly increased from the N.  Brighter conditions persuaded those present to get out the kit, but the murk returned as did the erstwhile pilots to the clubhouse.   With the available flying time decreasing and no observable improvement in view, the kit was returned to the hangars and the doors closed.   This was the perfect signal for the weather to take a turn for the better, but with time and enthusiasm for flying in short supply, the hangar doors remained firmly shut.  Some pilots did, however, keep in trim by flying the simulator.

Sunday 29th.  A wet, windy and thoroughly nasty, E to NE’ly airstream, deposited 25 mm of rain on an already saturated field, ruling out any possibility of flying.

Monday 30.  The occluded front of Saturday finally moved away S early Monday morning, leaving the site in a moderate to fresh NNW, but not before depositing a further 15 mm of rain overnight.  The overnight rain was augmented by a further 5mm during the day from frequent showers that together with  the wind strength/direction, prevented any flying.

Tuesday 1st December.   The wind had slackened to a light breeze and gone round to  the SE overnight, although it picked up to become a fresh SSE’ly during the day as a front slowly approached from the W.  3 flights were flown in the Falke with Albert Newbery doing circuit training with a couple of members.  John Carter meanwhile took the only gliding flight of the day,  a 3000′ tow in the club DG303 off runway 20, experiencing enhanced rates of lift on tow and therefore anticipating a soaring flight.   On releasing from tow and slowing down, the canopy misted up, being cleared by high speed flight and some aerobatics.  Slowing down to normal speed, this time at 2000′, the canopy again misted up, the canopy being cleared by the  same tactics of high speed flight.  Now at under a 1000′ and contemplating an early return to earth, John found some some weak lift on the western end of the  S ridge and most importantly found that the canopy remained clear.  Utilising the weak lift,  the flight was continued for an hour to register a hard fought soaring day at Sutton.   Meanwhile at ground level,  Pawnee Tango Mike’s undercarriage was being repaired at the back of the hangar, a very smart cable retrieve trailer could be admired in the workshop courtesy of John Ellis, Peter Clay was engaged in yet more building maintenance and Andy Parish was to be found winterising the tractors.