Archive for January, 2010

Friday 29th to Saturday 30th January

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
Friday 29th.  A fresh to strong NNW’ly airstream held sway all day, with the result that flying was not possible due to degree of turbulence that such conditions bring during take off and initial climb along runway 02.   Andy Parish, aided by David Watsham therefore set about the alternative task of redecorating the briefing room.

Saturday 30th.   Overnight snow had reclothed the airfield in white, but insufficiently to affect operations, as the wind, while still in the NNW, had decreased in strength and skies were clear and sunny.  The overnight fall of snow had left the A170/Sutton Bank a little slippy in places for early travellers and initial preparations to open the  hangar doors were frustrated by ice in the floor tracks.  Determined work by Robin Hutchinson with a screwdriver soon sorted that particular problem, as the photo below shows, and a group of well attired members assembled in the freshly painted briefing room for the morning briefing.

tn_ygc-30-jan-10-002          Not quite opening time

  Robin Hutchinson hard at work

     The Ice Man cometh and chippeth.

Subsequently, 13 ATs were flown off runway 02 with landings on 300, mainly by the two club K21’s, with most pilots renewing their currency after the long weather induced lay off.  With only bits and pieces of lift to be found, most flight durations were between 15 - 25 minutes, but Roger Burshall/Jamie Davis had 32 minutes in the K21 with the help of a 3000′ AT and Sue Ahern had 27 minutes in the only Astir flight of the day.    The usual sporty take offs/climb outs were complemented by some tug induced blizzards as the photo below shows. 


                     Look no tug.

Wednesday 27th to Thursday 28th Jan

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Wednesday 27th.  With a light to moderate W’ly blowing,  preparations for winch operations were soon put in place only to be forestalled by the arrival of light rain  mid morning as a weak front slipped south.   However, the rain did not last too long and flying commenced with one of the club K21’s, the Astir and the Discus utilised.   In all 6 winch launches were flown as well as a single Rotax Falke flight, with Bill Payton having 1.3 hrs in the Discus and Albert Newbery/Reg Rowlinson an hour in the K21, eventually gaining to around 1000′ QFE.  Cloud forming on the hill was a feature of the day and flying was terminated when this thickened and lowered.

Thursday 28th.  The wind had veered into the NW but remained light to moderate and, with a cloudbase of around 2500′ QFE, AT operations commenced off runway 02, the conditions generating the usual sporty climb outs.  These conditions, normally restricted to the first few hundred feet of climb, were a feature of the whole climb but early  flights found little usable lift with flight times in the 15 - 20 minute range.  Around midday, a few convective looking clouds started to appear and George Rowden, flying the Astir, utilised a street of these, finding occasional strong lift and having just over an hour in the air.  11 flights were flown in total by the Astir and K21 with a number of pilots requiring check flights after the long weather induced lay off.    Sue Aherne, flying her check  with Albert Newbery in K21 had  the longest 2 seat flight of the day, 20 minutes, before having 31 minutes in  the Astir.   With the field fully thawed, the end of flying saw the aircraft in need of a good wash, so it was all hands to the pump.  However,  the  pump supplying the water for washing decided to refrain from collaborating so it was back to bucket, brush and sponge as the following photograph shows.

All hands instead of the pump

All hands instead of the pump

Thursday 21st to Tuesday 26th January 2010

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Thursday 21st to Monday 25th.  Thursday and Friday maintained the cold, cloudy and moist ESE’ly airstream of previous days with a clearance to brighter conditions coming too late on Thursday to permit flying.   Friday turned into a very wet day with rain, heavy at times, from 11am to 5pm.   Saturday had a light W’ly, but with low cloud preventing flying and although Sunday saw very light winds and partly cloudy skies  with the site under the centre of a low  pressure system, no flying was again the order of the day, although the main reason was a lack of customers.  Monday reverted to the dull, overcast conditions with low cloud as the wind went back into the NE’ly quadrant, these conditions again preventing flying.

Tuesday 26th.  A very light E’ly with a high overcast that slowly thinned allowed flying to take place for the first time since the middle of December 2009.  8 ATs were flown off runway 24 with landings on 20, with one of the K21’s, the Discus and Astir being flown.   George Rowden took the first flight of 2010, solo in the K21, and was congratulating himself on some very accurate flying until he realised the string was frozen solid.  Meanwhile, Dave Campbell set a new club record if not a new world record by achieving all the following firsts on the  day.  First tug flight, Falke flight, instructional flight and soaring flight.   The latter was in the K21 with Frank McLoughlin, 30 minutes being achieved in weak lift that kept them at around 1250′ QFE for a while.   David Bradley had 25 minutes in the Discus off a 3000′ tow, while Steve Briggs progressed from a flight on the simulator to a check flight in the K21 before having 2  solo flights, one in the K21  and the other in the Astir.   Colin Troise had 2 solo flights in the K21 as the photo below shows.   Visibility was intially  poor above 2000′ QFE, but improved into the early afternoon before thickening cloud advanced from the NW as the wind went into the S and freshened slightly.  The opportunity to get into the air allowed the still significant amounts of snow behind walls and hedges to be seen as well as a still frozen Gormire Lake, while the extent of the tree felling to the E of runway 20 could be appreciated.  A few patches of ice still remained on the metalled access road although the major potholes on the club access road have been filled.


 Eager for the Off.                                    
              Colin eager for the Off.

Tuesday 18th to Wednesday 19th.

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Tuesday to Wednesday.  A cold,  moist airstream from an E’ly quadrant was maintained on both days,  keeping the site in cloud and daytime temperatures just above freezing, while Wednesday brought periods of light rain/drizzle.  The  thaw has continued, but at a very slow rate, and although car access to the club car park is possible, the rutted, icy nature of the metalled access road necessitates a cautious approach as does the potholed nature of  the club road.  While no flying has been possible, Andy and helpers have been busy getting the club DG500 into the workshop for a hard wax and polish, both wings having been completed by the time I called in at the club late on Wednesday afternoon, with Andy, Glyn Jennings and David Whatsham just about to  put the second wing back in the trailer.  The tug’s engines have also been run up, so all that is required to start operations  is some flying weather and some eager pilots, preferably preceded by some drying winds as the site is still quite wet in places. 

Just in case any of you YGC pilots haven’t seen Josephine’s email, Andy’s lecture on Human Factors will take place at the club this coming Saturday as scheduled, starting at 5pm if it is a flying day and at 4 pm if not.   After this long weather induced lay off, it’s very encouraging to even have the possiblility of flying.

Friday 15th to Monday 18th.

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Friday to Monday.  The moist SE’ly airstream continued through Friday and Saturday keeping the site in cloud.  The wind speed  increased slowly to around 20 knots on Friday  and then decreased on Saturday, while  around 25 mm of sleet/wet snow fell over the period, mostly on Saturday.  Thankfully, the temperature rose above freezing during daytime Friday and continued to rise, reaching the dizzy heights of 6C on Monday with the result that a relatively rapid thaw started.   Sunny intervals and a  light W’ly on Sunday brought a number of members to the site, but the state of the metalled access road persuaded many to park at the Visitor Centre at the top of Sutton Bank and walk in.  John Marsh, aided by Robin Hutchinson used the bucket equipped Red tractor to clear the worst of the snow from in front of the hangars, but with the thaw well underway, the field was too wet to allow flying operations.  A number of members availed themselves of the presence of Vicky in the office  to pay their annual subs.   Visiting the site on Monday the 18th, I was dissuaded from using the metalled access road by a passing motorist as it was covered with rutted, wet ice.  After parking near the Visitor centre, my walk along the metalled access road confirmed is perilous state,  although the road surface was visible in a few places.  The approach to the right hand bend was particularly difficult with a combination of wet ice, deep ruts and slush.  The airfield had turned green, with the  vast majority of the snow gone, the only significant  areas of snow being around the buildings and trailers.  A walk up runway 24 and 02 revealed the former to be in surprisingly good condition, although the usual wet patches still had melting snow in them and the pond along the winch track was extensive.  Overall, runway 20/02 was much wetter.   While on site Les Rayment and Bill Payton arrived, both having driven down the metalled access road and Bill having driven onto the site.  With no prospect of flying due to the state of the airfield and low cloud, although wave was visible both from the site and on the satpics,  we all left site around lunch time, with  Les and I performing a little road maintenance work around the  worst of the icy ruts on the metalled access road, allowing Les to make a successful departure while simultaneously giving me a lift back to the Visitor centre.   The weather forecast for the next few days promises above freezing temperatures during the day and no  significant rain, so conditions should continue to improve  both on the site and the access road.

Tuesday 12th to Thursday 13th

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Tuesday to Thursday.  After the brief excursion into temperatures just above zero on Monday, the weather reverted to type with the next three days providing consistent light to moderate SE’lys, temperatures consistently below zero and the site in cloud.   The only variation to this theme was some more generally light snow on Tuesday and  overnight Wednesday/Thursday.  A phone call to Josephine on Thursday, manfully (or should that be womanfully) maintaining the office services (See picture below), revealed that she had parked her car on the road near the visitor centre and had been transported from there to the club byAndy Parish in his Land Rover.

Josephine at work.

Josephine at work.

 The metalled part of the route was considered passable with care by 2 wheel drive vehicles but the club access road was definitely not.   Armed with this knowledge, I set off through the murk, with light levels getting significantly higher as I neared the top of Sutton Bank.  However, on cresting the top the visibility returned to being very poor and remained so for the rest of the journey.  Turning cautiously off the A170, I found the first 50 yards of the the metalled access road very icy, but beyond there, the driving surface was packed snow, with some evidence of the  road having been ploughed.  The laden, all terrain logging lorry that emerged from the gloom as I drove up the road, was able to drive round me, and my journey up the rest of the road was not a problem, although the compacted drifts just before the right hand bend provided an undulating ride.  On arriving at the entrance to  the club road I initially drove just past and tried to back in but this proved impossible, so I backed up and drove in frontwards, the snow here being firm and packed down.  

Parked safely.

Parked safely.

Once arrived on site, I found the snow levels had barely changed, but the lying snow had developed a frozen crust which occasionally was strong enough to support your weight.   Andy had got out the ex Carlton tractor with the bucket and had attempted to start to clear the snow from in front of the hangar.  However, a lack of grip foiled this attempt, as the photo shows.

Stuck tractor.

Stuck tractor.

However, with  two of us now on site, we took the red tractor round behind the trailer park where its bucket resided and, after connecting the two,  spent a profitable and very enjoyable time clearing  the car park of the worst of its snow cover, as shown below.  You pay a fortune at Digger Land for this sort of entertainment.

Andy enjoying himself.

Andy enjoying himself.

  With the car park now cleared of the majority of its snow cover, and the light starting to fade, we put the tractor back in its shed and Andy returned to the office to do some more admin.  I returned to the car down the rutted club access road.

Access road from club end.

Access road from club end.

 I had an uneventful ride home, although I did manage to see some blue sky and sunshine through a wave slot just downwind of the ridge  north of Gormire, as a descended Sutton Bank.   For all you YGC glider pilots suffering withdrawal symptoms, I include below a photo of the some of the toys snug in one of the hangars.

Snug toys.

Snug toys.

Sunday 10th to Monday 11th January.

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Sunday 10th.  Sunday dawned with bright skies and a light to moderate ENE’ly wind that slowly veered into the E.  As the day progressed cloud spilled in from the S and the temperature ROSE ABOVE ZERO for the first time since New Years Eve, bringing the prospect of improving approach road and airfield conditions in the not too distant future.  Perhaps even flying!!!. 

Monday 11th.  Spurred on by Chairman Graham Evison call for people to attend the club today,  an unsuccessful attempt was made.  A light to moderate E’ly was bringing in continuous low cloud and light rain at low levels which was helping in a general thaw and road conditions were good up to the club access road off the A170 which was still snow covered.  Here, the rain had turned to sleet/wet snow with cloud base below hill top level.  Encouraged by evidence of more vehicle movements than on my previous visit,  I ventured down the access road, successfully negotiating an increasing number of drifts which had turned the normally flat surface into a series of undulations.  On approaching  the bend where the road goes right to the club,  the ground clearance of the car became less than the depth of the tracks I was following with obvious results.  Out came the spade to dig out the packed snow under the car when first Dick Cole and then a local turned up and, after more digging and pushing, out came the car backwards.  Our plan was to reverse down the access road and turn round where the tree felling crew had parked their vehicles, before going back to the visitor centre, parking there and getting to the club on foot.  The first part of the plan worked admirably, apart from the fact that trying to back down a snow covered road keeping in the wheel tracks in poor lighting conditions is quite difficult.  However, but by the time we had both turned around, the snow was well and truly coming down so, discretion being the better part of valour, we went off to our respective homes.  If you want to visit the club, parking near the visitor centre and walking is recommended until the snow cover on the access road has diminished.   In conversation with one of the tree felling crew he informed us that his earlier venture up the access road had revealed a Toyota Land Cruiser stuck in the same drift, but that too had obviously been recovered.   Incidently, the last of the trees should be felled this week, while the Met Office aviation forecast predicted wave, confirmed by some nice wave bars over the Pennines on the day’s Sat pics.

Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th January

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Thursday to Saturday.  Weatherwise little has changed over the  past few days with the wind still from the N’ly quadrant, although slowly veering into the NE on Saturday , temperatures remaining below freezing, with a significant wind chill factor, and occasional snow showers.   Consequently, with now 10 days of the temperature remaining below freezing, additional snow and stronger winds on Thursday and Friday, the snow is now deeper and drifting is now marked around the hangar/buildings.   A look at the metalled access road off the A170 during a visit to site Saturday  afternoon persuaded me not to attempt it, although some vehicles, probably 4×4s, had. 








 Snowy access road off A170

I then had to use a shovel to extricate myself from the Hambleton Hotel car park while I was turning round and eventually parked on the metalled road off the A170 alongside the Visitor Centre, the car parks there looking decidedly unwelcoming.  A walk to the club revealed the footprints of at least one visitor and more snow and deeper drifts than on my visit on Wednesday 6th, as the photos below show.  With another snow shower threatening, a walk back along the metalled access road provided a close up of a novel method of mechanised sledging, utilising a 4×4.











                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Drifts 6th January


           Drifts 9th January










 Drifts 9th January









 Mechanised sledging

Sunday 3rd to Wednesday 6th January.

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Sunday 3rd  to Wednesday 6th.  The snow bound nature of the airfield continues to prevent flying and with a persistent wind from the N’ly quadrant bringing in frequent snow showers on Sunday morning, 6-7 hours of  heavy snow starting early on  Tuesday morning plus further snow showers overnight Tuesday which continued into Wednesday, the snow cover on the airfield is much deeper with some drifting.  A visit to the club on Wednesday 6th at around 3-30 pm had to be terminated at the entrance to the club road due to deep snow, as the photo below shows, with the metalled access road off  the A170 passable with care through  some shallow drifts.  Even the A170 was affected by a thin layer of snow/slush in places, including on some parts of Sutton Bank.  Some drifting was also present around the buildings as shown below and should the wind increase access even along the A170 could get problematical.  The first lecture of the winter, Flight Safety/Accident Review by Chairman Graham Evison,  has had to be postponed due to the difficulies/dangers of getting to the club.  While on site, I met former member Barry Ogilvie? who had walked to the club from the visitor centre at the top of Sutton Bank, encountering waist high drifts enroute.  He is planning to rejoin the club this year.

      The "Access!!!!" road          tn_ygc-snow-jan-6-10-002                    Trademan's entrance

Wednesday 30th Dec 2009 to Saturday 2nd Jan 2010

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010


Wednesday 30th to Saturday 2nd.

The slow thaw continued on Wednesday in a steadily strengthening E’ly wind that brought in a few light rain showers and a temperature of around 2C all day.  On Thursday, the now light wind had backed into the NE with a bright morning followed by an increasing cloudy afternoon with some heavy snow showers passing through the area towards the end of New Years Eve.  With clearing skies overnight, temperatures dropped well below freezing.  New Years Day was predominately cloudy and cold in a light, predominately N’ly airstream containing frequent light snow showers and a temperature that remained below freezing all day.  A visit to the club on Saturday 2nd Jan to fulfil my instructor rota duties was along a surprisingly, partially snowy A170, although Sutton Bank itself was clear.  Since my last visit on Tuesday 29th Dec, a further 5-10 cms of fresh snow had covered the frozen remains of the previous falls of snow.  With no one else around and after looking at the site and weather (via the internet), I took the not too difficult decision to rule out flying, although a light NNW’ly and a high cloud base would have meant some gentle descents from quiet ATs if flying had been possible.  A few members drifted in and out later, including Dick Cole who did some tidying up work on the Rotax Falke.  New Year greetings were exchanged with all including Sue Aherne, who with husband Mike, had been on site in their caravan since Dec 22nd. The opportunity was taken to walk across runway 20 to the public footpath in the company of Robin Hutchinson, to take another photo to illustrate the return to the status quo in respect of snow cover over the Vale of York, as shown below.  A further photo looking up runway 02 shows the complete snow cover on the airfield.  I left the site at around 1230 pm in advance of the arrival of further snow showers associated with a trough moving south but not before posting the provisional winners of the club Trophies for 2009 on the notice board at the back of the briefing room.  These preliminary  results can also be accessed via the YGC members Forum.  

Could I take the opportunity to wish you all a successful 2010 especially with respect to gliding.

Snow cover 2nd Jan 2010

Snow cover 2nd Jan 2010

Snow cover 29th Dec 2009
Snow cover 29th Dec 2009


  Snow covered Runway 02

                Snow covered Runway 02