Archive for March, 2010

Tuesday 30th to Wednesday 31st March.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Tuesday 30th.  Although the wind speed was not a problem,  the airstream from the SE’ly quadrant  was decidedly damp and full of low cloud which meant no flying was possible.

Wednesday 31st.  The wind had gone into the NW and then strengthened during the day, bringing in a mixture of showers, these being what the forecasters refer to as wintry.  Not surprising with a temperature of around 3C mid afternoon, so keeping the gliders  indoors was definately the preferred option.

Sunday 28th to Monday 29th March.

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Sunday 28th.  A moderate to fresh W’lycontinuing over from Saturday generated another good soaring day withhill , thermal and wave lift utilised.  Flying had to be suspended for around an hour during the afternoon as the wind increased temporarily to strong , but in spite of this interruption, 37 winch launches resulted, including another group of 8 Scouts.    All the club fleet were in action and 7 private owners joined in the fun.  18 of the launches resulted in durations of over an hour with 5 greater than 5 hours, Jesper Mjels ensuring a very low cost per minute outlay  with a flight of 8:23 in his Pic20D.    Tim Wilkinson, a visitor, had 2:19 in the club Ka8 and Derek Smith/Korinna Zapp flying the DG500 had 1:46.   John Ellis and Andy Darlington reached 11,661′ in wave in the DG1000 while Rory O’Conor and Chris Teagle both posted wave based cross countries on the National Ladder.  Rory used hill lift to soar his DG800 to Roseberry Topping and back before setting off on a wave based, 177 km flight to Eastgate in Weardale, then turning Dishforth and returning to Sutton, topping 11,724′ en route.  Chris Teagle, flying his LS6C, flew mainly in the opposite direction on his Thirsk/Catterick/Pontefract/Sutton  flight of 168 km, with his best altitude 11,618′.

Monday 29th.  The weekend’s soarable W’ly was repalced by a rainy, cloudy SE’ly with the result that no flying was possible, proving that, contrary to popular belief, the weekday retirees don’t always get the best weather.  Before the worst of the rain developed, John Marsh rolled the ruts from the weekends flying, or more precisely landings,  out of a still soft runway 24, and also rolled George Rowden’s repairs of the ruts George had generated on Saturday by getting  the winch stuck for a while at the end of the flying day.

Friday 26th to Saturday 27th March.

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Friday 26th.  A blustery SSW’ly that gusted to over 30 kts and slowly veered into the SW, bringing in a peppering of hail showers late  the afternoon, prevented any flying.

Saturday 27.  A fine and sunny morning with a moderate WNW’ly saw the club fleet out ready for action before briefing.   A packed briefing room was promised a good hill soaring day with thermal and perhaps some wave and so it turned out to be.  The first two flights were winched off, but ATs were then the order of  the day, before the increasing wind speed led to turbulent conditions during the early part of the  tow and winch launching was re-instated.  In all 11 ATs were flown and 39 winch launches as well as 2 Rotax Falke flights with the hill working well, good if turbulent thermals and bits and pieces of wave to excite the senses .  A group of 7 Scouts from Bishopthorpe had a good introduction to gliding while  a motor glider  visitor found the going on part of runway 24 a little too soft, with the result that a combination of vehicle and muscular power was required to extricate the aircraft.  22 of the flights exceeded an hour with Bob Calvert in his Astir having 5:14 and Bill Payton 4:15 in his Ventus.  The Jon May/Steve Ball combination had 2:05 in their Duo Discus.    All of the club fleet was put to good use  and Colin Troise had what looked to be 2:57 in the Discus although the logged  landing time was not totally legible.  E Preston certainly had 1:52 in the DG303 and Basil Fairston, Saturday evening’s visiting lecturer, had 1:16 in the DG1000  with Andy Parish .   John Ellis, flying his Nimbus 3. set off on a cross country but had to resort to engine power near Wetherby South.  Having regained height, no more alarms resulted.   After flying had finished for the day, Basil Fairston spoke to a packed briefing room, on the subject of getting badge claims correct,.  This covered making sure you put your name on the form, yes some people have failed to do  that, to pointing out how knowledge of the rules can turn an “almost-made-it badge” flight into a successful one.

Wednesday 24th to Thursday 25th March.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Wednesday 24.    A moderate to fresh SSE brought in rain and low cloud for most of the day with the rain easing during the afternoon.  The continuance of low cloud throughout the rest of the day meant no gliding was possible.

Thursday 25.   Some heavy rain overnight had left the airfield looking decidedly wet, some light rain during  the morning doing nothing to aid the drying out process.  With the wind starting in the S but progressively backing into  the east, a sunny clearance arrived in the early afternoon but there were insufficient members around to fly.  The few that were around busied themselves on maintenance and other jobs.

Saturday 20th to Tuesday 23rd March

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Saturday 20th.   A rainy day with low cloud that did not clear until evening meant no flying except on the simulator where 9 Scouts from the 1st Clifford Troop had their first taste of gliding under the tutelage of Mike Smith and Roger Burshall.   Les Rayment and Mike then decided to continue using the simulator to  investigate cable break options off runway 06, with some interesting results.  In the evening Dick Cole gave his annual reminder/update of airspace restrictions around Sutton including the Letters of Agreement with Newcastle Airport re crossing the Class D airway to the west and use of the Wave Boxes.   Rory O’Conor then gave a brief presentation of National Ladder results from the last few years which showed a relative decline in cross country kms flown by YGC pilots compared to a number of other clubs, resulting in the YGC slipping from 4th to 11th.   In terms of height gains,  YGC retain 2nd position nationally, but a number of clubs are threatening that position.  In the discussion that followed, the primary reason for the relative decline of YGC on the National Ladder was seen to be the reluctance of pilots to enter flights and all were urged to do so.

Sunday 21.  An initally moderate WSW’ly  increased to fresh and veered into the W as the day progressed, providing good wave conditions that benefited both height gain and cross country pilots as well as pupils on the last day of the aerobatic course with instructor Paul Conran.   46 ATs were flown with all the club fleet in action and 9 private owners rigging, while there was a single Falke flight and 2 Trial lesson pupils had a good introduction to gliding.  14 of the flights exceeded an hour with Bob Calvert, a Winter member from Eden Soaring, having just under 4 hours in his Astir and Jon May/Steve Ball having 3:45 in their Duo Discus in which they did a 211 km flght from Sutton to Barnard Castle, Burn and back.  Those flying club gliders were not to be outdone with David Hill/ Mr Davies having 1:47 in the DG500 and Rob Bailey, Rory O’Conor and Conrad Thwaites all acheiving  flights of1:50 in the Astir, Ka8 and Discus respectively.  Rory used his time to do an out and return to Scotch Corner/Catterick, reaching 8700′ QNH.   The  wave  provided good flying conditions for training, with John Marsh getting to just over 10,000′ with pupil Frank Bradley and using all the height to do stall, spin training on the way down.  Frank was well and truly spun dry.  The aerobatic pupils also took advantage of the wave with Paul/Pete maintaining height while flying inverted at 100kts in the K21 as shown in the attached video clip courtesey of Ken Arkley. . For those with a liking of unusual views of Gormire courtesy Paul/Michael, please use this link.

Monday 22nd.  Monday dawned wet and remained so for the majority of the day, the change to good hill soaring conditions not appearing until late into the day so no flying was possible except for a single flight on the simulator.

Tuesday 23rd.  A light to moderate SSE’ly with a high overcast greeted the day, but provided some tricky soaring conditions in weak wave and later hill lift on the southern ridge as the wind freshened ahead of increasing cloud and rain that eventually arrived around 1700 hrs.  20 ATs were flown off runway 20 with the K21, DG1000, Astir, DG303 and Ka8 put to use and Bob Calvert flying his Astir.   Bob had two flights of over an hour, the best being 1:16 while John Carter, flying  the DG303, had 42 minutes and Andy Parish/Stuart Heaton had 29 minutes in the K21 as part of the Stuart’s 5 year instructor check.  John Ellis and Lindsay Mclane had simulated field landing and AT failure flights in the Falke with Albert Newbery.  The Astir damaged an undercarriage door on landing in a soft spot on the airfield and one pilot had an interesting flight due to not realsing that the altimeter was set to 1000′ before take off. Late in the day, Pawnee G-BFRY arrived back from its annual check, looking very smart with its new paint and lettering.   

Thursday 18th to Friday 19th March

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Post scrip to Wednesday 17th.  Rob Bailey eventually landed around 1815 hrs having climbed to 10,000′ in  the club Discus, his competitive spirit ensuring he had the best height of the day.

Thursday 18th.  A moderate to fresh SSE’ly meant operations off runway 20 with a number of members eager to sample aerobatics under the capable instruction of Paul Conlan.  10 ATs were flown before the increasing wind strength led to flying being terminated around 1430 hours.  The K21 and DG500 were flown, the former by the aerobatics pupils and the latter by Albert Newbery/Hugh O’Neil on a spinning instructional flight.  Pete Belcher flew his ASW 19 three times, sampling the lift on the S ridge and managed the longest flight of the day, 40 minutes on his first attempt.  Ken Arkley fitted a video camera into the K21 for the aerobatic flights, so the results should be available to view in the not too distant future.   Meanwhile, Mr Moran, the parachute repacker finished his work and the repacked parachutes are available for collection by owners in the office.

Friday 19th.  A fresh W’ly and evidence of wave greeted those attending the morning briefing under sunny skies, with a day’s winching in prospect, however, the first flight of the day off runway 24 was an aerotow with the continuation of Paul Conlan’s aerobatic course.  This was however the only aerotow of the day until the wind speed dropped later in the afternoon and winching was soon in progress.  In all, 24 winch launches were flown plus 3 ATs with most pilots contacting the wave off the ridge helped by some strong rotor thermals.    An air/ground operation by the RAF/Army was described at briefing and 2 Lynx helicopters deposited the ground element on the site before flying commenced.  The Hawk scheduled to provide the ground attack element was replaced by Tornadoes apparently due to the high wind speeds.  The exercise was completed mid morning and the 2 Lynx returned to pick up the ground personnel off runway 24 before departing, very spectacularly down the valley between the site and Hood Hill.  On the last flight of the day, the DG1000 also departed, not quite as spectacularly,  down into the fields near Sutton under Whitestone Cliffe for the first out landing of the year, as the wind died and so did the hill lift.   Earlier, most pilots enjoyed a excellent wave day.  John Ellis flew a declared 300+ km wave task, Sut/Burnhop Res/Wetherby/Barnard Castle/Sut in his Nimbus and Dean Crosby flying a DG200 did an O/R to the Lake District.  Gordon Wallace had a memorable flight in the K21 with David Hill, doing an O/R to York and reaching 11,500′  QNH, this was however topped by Pete Belcher flying his ASW 19 who reached 14,500′ in his flight of nearly 6 hours, Pete certainly having a very successful week with us as a visitor from Cambridge.  In all 13 flights exceeded an hour, with 8 exceeding 3 hours.  The wave also helped the aerobatic activities with no problem  recovering  height and Fred Brown spend a significant proportion of his aerobatic flight with Paul Conlan upside down but climbing.  A typical view of the mauority of today’s pilots is shown below, Thirsk from around 7000′ QNH.


Friday 12th to Wednesday 17th March

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Friday 12th.  A moderate and wet N’lyairstream with low cloud  that didn’t clear until evening meant that there was no flying.

Saturday3th.  The wind remained moderate but had backed into the WNW by Saturday morining and  with a sunny morning preceding a thermal/wave day  a busy airfield was well marshaled by the duty team.    The entire club fleet was flown and the good conditions led to 11 private owners also taking to the skies, while the Rotax Falkealsoflew.    Most pilots managed soaring flights, with11 exceeding an hour in the air and the day was notable for the first significant cross countries of 2010, with Chris Teagle covering 148 km in his LS6C,  David Latimer 256 km in his Ventus and Rory O’Conor, 280 km in his DG800.   All three flights were predominately flown in wave with Chris turning Hawes and Knaresborough, and David and Rory traversing the Pennines and some of the Lake District to round Wast Water West in their flights of around 4:35.  All three pilots didn’t find good wave conditions until well to the west of Sutton.   David Latimer also recorded the best gain of height so far this year, 9,147′.   Mike Wood and Les Rayment shared just over an hour in their T21, while Martyn Johnson/J Shaw had a similar flight time in the club K21.  The freshening nature of the wind, which had backed into the NW, led to a decision to suspend flying at around 1530 hrs due to rough conditions on take off and landing.  One pilot had a personal rough landing when the undercarriage on the DG1000 retracted on touch down.   The day was rounded off by a presentation of BGA accident statistics for 2008/9 and the start of 2009/2010 by chairman Graham Evison.  This highlighted an increase in fatal and serious accidents and generated a lively discussion on how the more common accidents might be reduced, with particular reference to operations at the YGC.

Sunday 14th.  The wind had remained in the NW and had freshened so only 2 flights were flown, one by Mike Wood and a guest of Steve Briggs in the DG500 and an exploratory flight in the K21 by Les Rayment, the duty instructor, the outcome of this flight being that flying was terminated for the day due to the rough conditions.  John Marsh took the opportunity to start rolling the east/west runway and certainly flattened and consolidated the surface which had been badly affected by the long weeks of snow and frost.  The flattening also applied to the left hand engine panel of the tractor which fell off during the above work and was ridden over by the 4 ton roller, the aesthetic appeal of the tractor being adversely affected, fortunately, John retained his.  The lack of real flying meant that the simulator was put to good use.

Monday 15th.    A light to moderate W’ly withvariablecloud amounts led to a good hill soaring day with some wave.    9 ATs were flown in the club K21s, DG1000 and DG303 while 3 private owners also flew, the total hours for the day being around 18.  Messrs Harrison and Ryall shared a 4 hour flight in the club DG1000 in which they got to 6500  ‘ QNH in wave while Gary Vaughan also had around 4 hrs in his ASW 19. 

Tuesday 16th.  26 ATswere flown on a day with a light to moderate wind that started in the NW and backed into the S as the day progressed.  Early convection led to spreadout but lift was still to be found, albeit somewhat sporadically and 5 pilots had flights of greater than an hour.    Most of the club fleet were flown and there were 6 private owner flights.  Mr Belcher, flying his ASW 19 had 2:04 aloft while the Mays had 1:10 in their Duo Discus.  Les Rayment/Karl Schnieder flying the K21 had 47 minutes while Mr Bailes flying the DG303 and Mike Wood flying the Ka8 vied for longest club single seaterflight with 30 minutes each. 

Wednesday 17th.    A moderate WSW initially brought in overcast conditions and a  low cloud base but this soon rose to 1500′ QFE, and early flights found the hill working well in conjunction with wave, although climbs had to be regularly terminated at around 3-4000′ QNH as the transient gaps closed.  By early afternoon the lower cloud started to decrease in extent although a cirrostratusovercast remained.  16 launches were flown in total, 10 via AT and 6 via the winch,  with the club K21, Discus, Astir and DG303 utilised and 2 private owners rigging.   Dean Crosby, flying  the club Discus had 2 flights of  around an hour, one via AT and the other off the winch and Andy Parish/Hugh O’Neil had 1:05 in the K21 off the first flight of the day.   George Rowden, flying his LS8 spent the early part of his flight of 2:50 trying to nullify the wave lift to avoid entering cloud,  but, as the lower cloud cover diminished, utilised  the local wave to climb to around 6000′ QNH over Old Byland, getting a good view of the site as the photo below shows.    Venturing further S, a climb over the disused Old Moor airfield took him to 9000′ and a tour of the Easingwold/York area before returning to Sutton.  Rob Bailey, flying the Discus, took off after 1600 hrs and hadn’t returned by the time the writer had to leave site, so  some better flight statistics may have been achieved.   

YGC from 6000' QNH
YGC from 6000′ QNH

To-days arrivals at the club found the club access road part carpeted underneath a layer of gravel, part of a cunning John Ellis plan to prevent potholing and further work was in evidence as contractors set about transferring diesel and heating oil between tanks.   Meanwhile the task of repacking numerous parachutes was underway in the workshop and the wind sock was untangled from the pole.    

Wednesday 10th to Thursday 11th March

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Wednesday 10th.  With  high pressure sitting over the northwest of the UK, winds remained light and from an NE’ly direction at Sutton with clear and cold mornings, the site being clear of the more general cloud further south.    10 ATs were flown off runway 02 with one of the club K21s and the Discus in use, plus single private owner and Falke flights at members continued to take their field landing and launch failure checks.  Early flights encountered no lift but, as the morning progressed, cumulus began to form, spreading out in the middle of the day but providing some reasonable thermic conditions.  Bob Calvert, flying his Astir, had a couple of hours sampling the soaring conditions while Mike Wood had an hour in the club Discus.  New member Hugh O’Neil continued with his conversion from power to gliding by clocking up the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 45 minutes with Andy Parish in the K21.

Thursday 11th.   Another crisp, clear morning with a very light NE’ly again saw operations off runway 02 with the prospect of good soaring conditions later, persuading 2 private owners to rig.  In the event, 14 ATs were flown off runway 02, plus 3 Falke flights, cumulus starting to appear overhead at around 1130 hrs.   By around 1330 hrs much of the sky was covered with cloud,  but thermals averaging 2-3 kts continued to exist under the cloud sheet, without any obvious sign of their presence, so finding one was a matter of chance.   In addition to their relative abundance, the lift was quite smooth and cloud base rose to around 5000′ QNH although cloudbase was not well defined.  7 pilots took advantage of the conditions to record flights of an hour or more.   Problems with the computer system meant that Notams could not be downloaded, so pilots remained local although George Rowden, flying his LS8,  visited the Tontine, Thirsk and Hemsley in his flight of 3:32.  Derek Smith had around 2 hours in his LS7, while Bill Payton, Mike Smith and Howard Marshall vied for longest flight in a club glider, around 1:10, flying the Discus, DG303 and Ka8 respectively.  Les Rayment took Sue Ahern’s mother up for a early Mother’s day present in the K21, having some 36 minutes in the air.   Meanwhile, back on  the ground, John Ellis busied himself on the bucket equipped, ex Carlton Tractor by filling in areas of the car park, hangar aprons, approach road and runway that had been badly affected by the frost and snow.

Saturday 6th to Tuesday 9th March 2010

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Saturday 6th.  A cloudy, damp airstream from the SE, with light rain slowly petering out as the day progressed meant that there was no flying.  However, the simulator was again put to good use for another group of Scouts, this time Sea Scouts from Bingley, with  Les Rayment and Stewart Heaton providing the instruction.   In the evening, the briefing room was packed for a presentation of ATC in the Vale of York by 2 representatives of the RAF from Leeming.  After a detailed description of RAF/Army Air Corp operations from the local militaryairfields, a lively interactive discussion resulted with the RAF stressing the benefits of YGC glider  and local General Aviation pilots keeping the RAF ATC informed of their intentions when flying away from Sutton and Bagby. 

Sunday 7th.  Saturday’s cloud and rain/drizzle had cleared away leaving a brilliantly blue and sunny day with a light to moderate SSE’lywind.   Initial problems with non-availability of  duty personnel were soon resolved by the members present and operations commenced  just after 1100hrs, continuing to 1745 hrs, by which time 41 ATswere flown, including those of another group of 7 Scouts.   With usuable lift virtually non existent due to the presence of a very strong, low level inversion, the emphasis was on 2 seater flying with all 4 club 2 seaters flying, but only the Astir of the single seater fleet.   In addition, 4 private owners flew and there were 4 Trial Lesson pupils.  Flight times were generally in the 10-20 minute range but Pete Thirlwell/Derek Taylor had 30 minutes courtesy  of a 3500′ tow in a club 2 seater, with Rob Bailey managing a minute more in the Discus off a slightly lower tow.

Monday8th.  Monday promised a repeat of Sunday with brilliantly blue skies but with the little wind there was, now coming from the NE.  Initially, a distinct inversion existed at 1500-2000′ QFE, but this broke down as the day progressed, allowing cumulus to form, with cloud base rising to around 5000′ QNH by mid afternoon with pilots reporting thermals peaking at 6 kts.   The excellent soaring conditions led to a complete reversal of Sunday’s glider utilisation, with only one of the club 2 seaters but all  the club single seaters flown.   Of the 8 ATs, 7 led to  flight times of more than an hour, the total hours flown for the day being around 12. Ken Duxbury had 2:10 in the Astir, David Hill/Mike Smith in the K21 recorded the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 1:21, and Duncan Pask took the Ka8 to 5000′ QNH.  Flying continued until 1630 hrs,  a medium level overcast having pushed in from the east mid afternoon, without apparently affecting thermal activity.

Tuesday 9th.   The day started off sunny with bright blue skies, the light to moderate wind now in the N.  A thick layer of medium level cloud was, however, visible to  the east and this  moved west , eventually bringing light rain by early afternoon and terminating flying for the day. Operations were off runway 02, with the control cabin and departure point being located to the W of the winch track to avoid traversing the track during the early part of the launch.   5 ATs were flown before the weather deteriorated,  all but one in the K21, withDavid Watsham flying the Discus on his last visit to the club before departing for his regular 3 month sojourn in the USA.  Hugh O’Neill, an ex power pilot, went up with Mike Wood on the first flight of the day and had 20 minutes off their 3000′ AT, Hugh greatly enjoying his first ever glider flight and subsequently signalling his intention to join the club.   Thereafter, flight times were in the 10-15 minute range as the cloud base lowered ahead of the rain.  The termination of flying activities did allow the wind sock to be disentangled from the mast, while Peter Clay continued his never ending task of buildings maintenance and the Super Cub had its 50 hr maintenance check.   Ian Plant, erstwhile chief cook and bottle washer,  appeared sporting a broken nose as the result of a fall.  Fortunately, the worry that this had occurred when he was sober turned out to be unfounded.

Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th March

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Wednesday 3rd.   After the soaring activity of Tuesday, the cloudy, flyable but circuit day on Wednesday didn’t appeal to the majority of members, with the result that the only flying was done in the Falke which had 2 trips.

Thursday.  With  the high cover of Wednesday cleared away, the prospects of soaring meant a good turn out of  members and 24 ATs were flown in a very  light E’ly that over the day backed into the W.    Cumulus developed by late morning with the result that all the club fleet with the exception of the DG500 flew.  Rob Calvert, one of the 2 private owners who flew, had 3 hrs in his Astir while his old adversary from their hang gliding British Championship days, Rob Bailey, had 2 hrs in the club Discus.   5 flights exceeded an hour with  pilots enjoying good thermals and a variable cloud base of  of around 3700′ QNH.   2 Trial lesson pupils flew, one of them, Mr Shields, having just under the hour in the DG1000 with Mike Wood. 

Friday.  Friday reverted to type for the year with a light NNW’ly that increased to moderate as the afternoon progressed, providing the usual windsock convolutions as the photo below shows.  On the first flight of the day, Ben Dawson, flying the club Discus, found some weak wave between Hood Hill and Gormire with the result that he had just  under an hour in  the air, maintaining around 1500′.   In all there were 5 ATs, all solo, with the Discus and the DG1000 flown from the club fleet while 2 private owners also flew.  George Rowden, finding no usuable lift near the site, turboed out to the NW and  found a 1kt “hot spot” near Leeming that eventually took him to 7000′ QNH.   He then went on a local tour but lost significant height turning Carlton and was unable to regain it, retreating to Sutton where he landed after 2:10.  Ritchie Toon, rigging late, had just under an hour off a high tow in his LS7.

 NW is to the left in the picture

NW is to the left in the picture