Archive for February, 2010

Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th February.

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Wednesday 24th  to Friday 26th.   Wednesday and Thursday saw the site in cloud with light rain on bothmornings with a persistent light to  moderate flow from an easterly quadrant.  Consequently, there was no flying, with  the only bright spot the return to site of the Astir after its CoA.   On Friday the wind switched into the NW but remained light to moderate, a  shallow low just off the east coast giving a very wet day with the rain turning to snow in the afternoon with the result that the site was recovered in another 5 cms. 

Saturday 27th.  Another slack pressure gradient produced a gentle N’ly and a great deal of low stratus that initially enveloped the site delaying the start of flying but allowing the Astir to be rigged.   The stratus eventually rose and broke up to reveal blue sky but remained a threat during the rest of the flying day, its base struggling to get above circuit height and contributing to some “will they get back” discussions at the launch point.  Flying was restricted to 5 ATs, utilising the K21 and the DG1000, off an increasingly soggy airfield as the lying snow melted.   Conditions were not suitable to fly a group of 10 Scouts from York, so  the simulator was used to give them a first taste of gliding.  In the evening, Steve Ball gave an interactive meterology lecture aimed at pre Bronze C pilots which was extended at the request of the attendees to cover the intricacy and output of tephigrams.

Sunday 21st to Tuesday 23rd February

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Sunday 21st.  A front moving northeast over the site brought a morning of snow  that deposited around 5 cms on the airfield, the generally light wind starting off in the E and then going into the NNW as the front passed at around 1300 hrs.  The passage of the front made little difference to the temperature that remained below freezing all day.   Most members left the site in the morning due to the possibility of being snowed in and, with clearing skies not appearing until around sunset, no flying was possible.     

Monday 22nd.  With another front staying well to the  south, partly sunnyskies and  a light to moderate NE’ly wind should have resulted in a flying day.  However, a lack of members meant no flying was possible.

Tuesday 23rd.   Members turning off the A170 onto the metalled road to the club were met by a road closed sign but the reason for this was not evident until later in the day when the local council put up some warning road signs on the approach to the club picturing a glider.  I asssume this refers to the dangers of low flying gliders to the passing motorist and not an attempt to put people off gliding.  It certainly didn’t put off the club members who turned up today and flew in spite of a snow covered airfield, a wind chill of -5C and a freshening ESE’ly that posed some challenges for operations off runway 20 in terms of circuit planning and cross wind landings.  7 ATs were flown into increasingly cloudy skies, including a Trial Lesson pupil.  In the absence of much usable lift, flight times were generally in  the 10 - 15 minute range but courtesy of a 3000′ tow, George Rowden was able to give Trial Lesson pupil David Gallier a 20 minute introduction to gliding and Chris Thirkell managed 16 minutes of a 2000′ tow.   Derek Smith took the Rotax Falke for a trip to practice field landings before operations ceased mid afternoon as the cloud base lowered and the wind continued to freshen ahead of an approaching front that promised more snow.

Saturday 20th February

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Saturday 20th.  A very light NNW’ly and sunny skies saw operations start on runway 20 at around 1000 hrs and then switch to take-offs from runway 24 and landings on 20  later in the day as the wind backed into the SW and strengthened slightly.  A total of 27 ATs were flown with the clubs K21s, DG1000, Discus, DG303 and a single private owner, Steve Ball in his LS8, taking to the skies.   Pre midday, there were no soaring flights but cumulus started to appear thereafter for a restricted period allowing 3 flights of over an hour and 11 flights over 30 minutes.  Steve Ball in his LS8 justified his rigging time by having 1.3hrs in  the air while John Marsh/Mr Chiolley had 45 minutes in the club K21, the best of the day’s 2 seater flights.   Chairman Graham Evison regained his instructor rating under the eagle eye of Dick Cole and the flying day was well and truly rounded off by the first solo of 2010 by Mark Hillyer in the K21.  Congratulations Mark. 

After washing the aircraft, packing the hangar and retiring to the bar for some liquid refreshment, the members moved to the briefing room to listen to Ron Beezer give a very informative talk on the crucial importance of angle of attack in avoiding winch launching and landing accidents.  As well as basing his talk on actual events, a video of  changes in angle of attack during winch launching a Puchacz was used to underline the points raised, the video also being used to demonstrate a high speed stall in the same aircraft.

Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th February

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Wednesday 17th.  It was pointed out that my last blog included Wednesday in the title but not in the text.  Not really surprising as Wednesday was another non flying day with the site in fog/cloud all day with very little wind.  Josephine and the auditors were however busy with the annual accounts ahead of the AGM.  The only other point of interest was the tracery of rime on the trees/bushes etc as the following photo shows.  North is to the right in the photo.

Winter tracery.
Winter tracery.


Thursday 18th.  With the temperature just above freezing, a very light SE’ly drift kept the site in cloud all day, so no flying was possible.  However, the lack of distractions meant the audit of the accounts proceeded smoothly.

Friday 19th.  Snow overnight meant a return to another white covering, albeit not enough to rule out flying in the sunny skies and light to moderate NNW’ly that greeted the day.  With the club K21 at the launch point a low (700′ QFE) overcast quickly developed so the erstwhile pilots retired to the clubhouse to await the better weather visible on the sat pics.  This duly arrived and flying commenced around 1130 hrs, the usual turbulent conditions on the take off and climb being continued for the whole of the early flights.  After a break for lunch and a chance to warm up,  flying recommenced and George Rowden, flying the K21 solo, found some broken thermal under the mostly cloudy skies to record the longest flight of the day, 34 minutes.   A snow shower again halted proceedings, before Derek Smith, again flying the K21 solo, looked to be on course to stay up for a longer time by maintaining around 500′ on  the southern part of the main bowl.  However, an approaching snow shower brought an end to the flight after 30 minutes.  In between this activity the Rotax Falke was busy with 4 flights, David Watsham doing his annual field landing checks with Albert Newbery on one of  these.   In all, 6 ATs were flown off runway 02.  Although the temperature briefly rose above freezing during the day, resulting in the snow cover melting, the cloudier conditions during  the afternoon saw the temperature fall back below freezing, with the result that the accumulated mud around the K21 main wheel had frozen solid by the time the aircraft was brought to the hangar for washing at the end of the flying day.  Meanwhile, in the warmth of the clubhouse, the auditors, assisted by Josephine, completed their work. 

Wednesday 10th to Wednesday 17th February

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Wednesday 10th.  The snow showers, albeit less frequent, continued throughout the day, carried on a chilly, light to moderate NNE’ly, the temperature never getting above zero C.  The gliders and the pilots remained indoors.

Thursday 11th.  9 ATs were flown off a snow covered 02 into a light to moderate NW’ly, the attendees enjoying blue skies and bright sunshine but still braving a surface wind chill of -5C at ground level.    The flying utilised one of the club’s  K21s and the DG1000 with the majority of the flights dual as pilots regained their currency.   Weak wave was in evidence and was utilised by Jesper Mjels with a flight of 1.1 hrs solo the DG1000, an AT to 5,500′ maximising the chances of contacting wave.   Albert Newbery/Mo Fay managed 47 mins off a 2000′ AT in the K21, only returning to earth to let others fly, including a Trial Lesson pupil who also  enjoyed wave flying at around 2000′ QFE with Mike Wood.   The approach of dusk ended flying for the day, the photo below giving a flavour of the day’s flying, snow and wave.


An email from Phil Lazenby in Western Australia gives an alternate flavour, noting nothing special in gliding terms, only 5 x 300 kms and blue thermals to 6/8000′!!!!      

Friday 12th.  A day of sunshine and showers in a moderate NNW’ly saw 3 ATs of runway 02, all in the K21, with Andy Parish/Colin Troise sharing a 31 minute flight off a 3000′ AT, soaring opportunities being strictly limited.

Saturday 13th.  A low cloudbase in a moderate N’ly flow that brought in some showery rain late afternoon, kept the gliders in the hangar but allowed a single Rotax Falke flight.  However, the simulator was put to good use giving a 7 strong group of visiting Scouts from Washington, Co Durham, some virtual air experience flights.  In the evening, John Marsh gave a lecture on Air Law and this was followed by an early Valentine’s day dinner provided by Brian.

Sunday 14th.  An early shower did not dampen enthusiasm and improved flying conditions compared to Saturday allowed 14 ATs off runway 02 into a moderate N’ly, the club K21s and DG1000 being flown.  Lift was sporadic, but Dave Latimer made  the most of it by flying the DG1000 solo for 58 minutes while Geoff Harrison took Trial Lesson pupil, E Spencer, for a 24 minute flight in the K21.

Monday 15th.  A damp, light to moderate SE’ly flow kept the site in cloud before rain arrived in the late afternoon, so no flying was possible.

Tuesday 16th.  A light and variable flow that started in the WSW before backing into the S was accompanied by partly cloudy skies and some early showers.  These uninviting conditions left the gliders in the hangar but the simulator was again put to use.

Sunday 7th to Tuesday 9th February

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Sunday.  The light to moderate wind had gone into the ENE overnight but the airstream had retained its moisture so that the site continued to be enveloped in cloud with no flying possible.  The simulator was however put to good use.

Monday.  A fall in temperature to just above zero and a light wind from the E brought in some light snow showers throughout the day that recovered the site in thin layer of snow.   The snow coupled with a low cloud base kept the gliders in the hangars.

Tuesday.  A day of sunny intervals and snow showers brought in on a light to moderate N’ly wind, had the members who were present waiting for a sufficiently long clearance to allow flying to take place.  However, after a few false dawns it was decided that the frequency of the showers, coupled with their low cloud base, meant that flying was not possible.  However, Andy Parish/Nick managed to sneak in a flight in the Rotax Falke between showers, reporting a sporty take off on runway 02, with washing of the aircraft post flight taking place in  the hangar as another snow shower threatened.   A visit to the hangar revealed the absence of the Astir which has gone off site for its annual inspection,  while George Rowden/David Watsham changed the hoarding on the  advertising trailer.

Friday 5th to Saturday 6th February

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Friday.   A thoroughly raw and wet, non-flying day with the site in cloud courtesy of a light, cold and damp SSE’ly flow.

Saturday.  Although the wind, of which there was very little, had switched into the N, the same raw conditions continued to keep the site in cloud.  Flying was confined to  the simulator with 7 flights, while Peter Clay repaired the glider washing pump.  In the evening Roger Burghall entertained and educated the assembled members with a lecture on the Principles of Flight, including the use of a hair drier and ping pong ball to illustrate Benoulli’s theorem.  This was followed by a pie, pea and chips supper courtesy of Brian.

Tuesday 2nd to Thursday 4th February

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Tuesday 2nd.  A cloudy and wet NNWly airstream  prevented flying, with precipitation changing from rain to sleet to wet snow as the temperature dropped during the day from 5C to 2C, the skies clearing as night fell.

Wednesday 3rd.  A bright but cold start in a very light SSE’ly flow saw flying commence at around 1100 hrs and continue to around 1600 hrs under increasingly cloudy skies.   13 ATs were flown using one of  the club’s K21s or the DG303, but with no lift, flight times were generally in the 10-20 minutes range.  Rob Bailey managed 22 minutes in the DG 303 while Mike Wood gave the 2nd Trial Lesson pupil of the year, J Nelson, a flight of 20 minutes in the K21. 

Thursday.  The SSE airstream and increasingly cloudy conditions of Wednesday,which had brought a period of snow during the evening, continued into Thursday, leaving the site in cloud all day with fog at lower levels.  Consequently, no flying was possible, so Andy Parish prepared the club Astir for its forthcoming ARC by hard waxing it, his efforts resulting in a nice shiny glider by the end of the day.

Sunday 31st January to Monday 1st February

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Sunday 31st.  The cold NNW’ly continued to blow and with skies remaining sunny, 29 AT’s were flown off runway 02 plus a single Rotax Falke flight, albeit with smoother climb outs as the wind speed had dropped compared to the previous days.  9 of the flights were with a group of visiting Scouts and consequently the club 2 seaters were well utilised as were the club DG303 and the Discus.  There was even a single  private owner flight in a Cirrus, the first of the year.  Flight times were generally in the range 10 -25 minutes, with Geoff Harrison taking his Scout passenger, Tom Richardson, for a 25 minutes flight in the K21 off a 2000′ tow and Rob Bailey managing 34 minutes off a 3000′ tow in the Discus.

Monday 1st.  Monday saw a light to moderate W’ly and generally cloudy skies, albeit at high level, but glider flying did not commence until 2-30pm although the Rotax Falke was gainfully employed doing 2 check flights.  The slow start to glider flying was  mainly due to  lack of customers, although a long blockage on the A170, Sutton Bank, didn’t help.   Glider flying eventually generated 6 AT’s off runway 24, with most landings on 20, although Rob Bailey flying the Discus, was persuaded by a somewhat variable windsock to land on 02.  The club’s K21, Discus and DG303 were all utilised with flight times generally between 20-40 minutes in hill lift with a suggestion of wave.  A member who shall remain anonymous landed after 44 minutes in the Discus having mistaken his take off time and consequently exceeded his 30 minutes of free flying.  Mike Smith had the first flight of the day in the the Rotax Falke with Dick Cole, before having an AT with Les Rayment in the K21 for the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 30 minutes, and then rounding everything off with a 38 minute flight in the DG303.  Thickening cloud as the afternoon progressed heralded an approaching front but more immediately cut off the Sun, leading to a very cold end to a truncated but enjoyable day’s flying.