Archive for May, 2010

Sunday 23rd to Wednesday 26th May

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Sunday 23rd.  Another hot day at Sutton, but with a light W’ly that slowly increased to moderate as the day progressed, soaring conditions were greatly improved compared to Saturday, these improved conditions leading to some turbulent tows.  33 AT’s were flown, with all the club fleet apart from the Ka8 operating, plus 13 private owners.    23 of the flights exceeded an hour and there were 5 Trial Lessons with visitor P McAuley having 3 hrs of soaring in his ASW 24B.  Chris Teagle took advantage of the conditions to notch up a 176 km  cross country in his LS6C, visiting Northallerton, Pocklington and Pickering in the process.   Steve Ball and Jon May deserted their Duo Discus for a 1 hr flight in the club K21, while John Shaw had 2:23 in the club Astir. 

Monday 24th.  The wind had now become a moderate NNE’ly with a resulting drop in temperature.  The more unstable air mass led to some rough thermalling conditions but of the 17 ATs, 8 led to flights of over an hour.  The majority of the flying was by private owners, with only one of the club K21s utilised, mainly for the 5 Trial Lessons of the day, but the majority of the private owner flights were in the 1:30 to 2:30 range.  Home pilot Dave Ashby, flying his ASW 22 had 2:48 aloft, with the visitors from the Stratford Gliding club amassing a goodly number of hours in the air between them.  One of the Trial Lesson pupils, N Taylor, clocked up the longest 2 seater flight, 37 minutes in the K21, with instructor David Hodgson.  The Rotax Falke made did a brief O/R to Bagby for its annual radio check.

Tuesday 25th.  Tuesday started off overcast with light rain and drizzle, and although the precipitation died out by midday the cloud base remained disappointingly low thereafter.   The overcast skies and the  light to moderate NE’ly wind combined to restrict the maximum temperature to around a chilly 7 C.  Although the low cloud base meant the gliders remained in the hangar, there was one Rotax Flake flight with visitor Barry Kerby taking to the air with Andy Parish.  The opportunity was taken to trailer the Astir off site for some maintenance at NY Sailplanes.

Wednesday 26th.    A light to moderate SE’ly under milky skies led to some early cumulus development so that the first flight of the day,  a Trial Lesson around 1000 hrs, found weak but consistent lift under a cloud  base of 2500′ QFE.  Thereafter 9 ATs were flown off runway 20 by 5 private owners and the club’s K21 and Ka8 and the cloud base rose progressively to around 5000′ asl before a trough moving down from the north brought increasing medium level cover, weaker thermals and eventually rain around 1330 hrs.  Barry Kerby from the Stratford GC took an early launch in his LS8 and visited Pickering among other local spots in his flight of 2:28, one of 6 to exceed an hour.  Another of these was achieved by Hugh O’Neill, who on his 50th glider flight, converted to the Ka8 and logged his first solo flight of over an hour.  Chris Stothard meanwhile was checked out as a Tuggie on the Super Cub after a very long break, so congrats to  him.  Carol Tiffin and Andy Parish had 39 minutes in the K21 but the rain intervened to prevent the 3rd Trial Lesson of the day, some compensation being provided by a brief introduction to gliding on the simulator.

Friday 21st to Saturday 22nd May

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Friday 21st.  24 ATs were flown in a light and variable wind with thin high cover for most  of the day although this didn’t prevent cumulus development.  There were 8 private owner launches and the club’s K21s, DG1000, Astir and Discus also flew.  The thermic conditions tempted some of the private owners to disappear from site with Andy Wright completing a 300 k O/R to Belvoir Castle, a flight he described as an unpleasant low level grovel, spending a large proportion of the time oscillating between 2 and 3000′ asl.  Dave Ashby was reported to have visited Lincolnshire in his ASW 22, while John Ellis had an eventful flight  around the Sut/Poc/Ruf/Sut triangle that involved 2 engine starts in his Nimbus 3.  Andy’s flight to Belvoir clocked up the longest flight of  the day, 4:16, but back at Sutton the last day of the gliding course  saw Martyn Johnson/Richard Chambers have 1:19 in the K21 while Karl Schneider Zapp had 52 minutes in the Discus.  5 Trial Lesson pupils were flown and there was a single flight in  the Rotax Falke.

Saturday 22nd.   Hazy but strong sunshine produced the warmest day of the year so far at Sutton,  with afternoon temperatures peaking at 23 C, the temperature triggering off a few narrow broken thermals from around 1300 hrs that briefly produced haze caps/thin Cu.   More substantial Cu were visible over the Tees Valley to the north and over the Pennines to the west.  38 ATs were flown off runway 20, with all 8 gliders of the club fleet in action and 7 private owner launches.   A small group of Scouts from Horsforth started the day’s flying off and 3 Trial lesson pupils were also flown.   Rory O’Conor, acting as today’s cross country tutor, flew the DG1000 with Peter Goodchild but their first attempt was terminated after 40 minutes by a lack of consistent lift.   A later flight achieved 3:08 but involved low level visits to Leeming and Bagby before a visit to the better looking Cu saw them reach cloud base at 5000′ asl near Stokesley, although even here climbs were weak.  It was a day for the 2 seaters as Steve Ball and Jon May in their Duo Discus also flew off to the better Cu to the north, using the lift to visit Guisborough before returning to Sutton.  They then spent a significant time washing  the many bugs off the wings, fin and tailplane.   George Rowden took guest Bill Bainbridge for a 52 minute flight in the club DG500 while a number of single seater pilots found sufficient lift in the afternoon to contribute to the 9 flights of > 1 hour with Eric Preston in the club Discus topping the list with 2:02. The club welcomed back a familiar group of visiting pilots from the Stratford GC while the warm weather persuaded a group of YGC  members to have an evening BBQ on the grass outside the clubhouse.

Wednesday 19th to Thursday 20th May.

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Wednesday 19th.  A brightish start soon gave way to overcast skies as an old front moved in from the west , the light wind starting in the S but slowly veering into the west.  Conditions brightened in the afternoon allowing some soaring flights.  After a single flight in the morning, the day’s flying activities didn’t really start until after lunch and 9 ATs were flown, 4 for Trial Lesson pupils.  Martyn Johnson and course member Richard Chambers had 45 minutes of soaring in the K21 while Hugh O’Neill had the only solo flight of the day, 15 minutes in the Astir.  As a post script to yesterday’s flying, Sam St Pierre set a good marker for his Yorkshire 100+ trophy which is for the fastest handicapped speed around any FAI triangle of greater than 100 kms.  Sam flew the Sutton/Pocklington/Wetherby/Sutton triangle of 117 km at 83 kph in his DG200.

Thursday 20th.  A day of generally cloudy skies, the holes that did appear allowing cumulus to form that soon overdeveloped to cut off the sun, the wind a light S’ly that slowly veered into the WSW.  A line of towering cumulus to the ENE in the middle/late afternoon, indicated the presence of an active sea breeze front but it never made it to within striking distance of the site.  CFI Andy Parish reduced the morning briefing attendees to  silence by suggesting winching off runway 20 but this is precisely what happened, with 8 launches being flown in the club K21 during the morning.  A number of cars were relocated out of the normal car park at the side of runway 20 as a result.  Launch heights were not as hoped, being generally in the 650′ to 750′ height band and as a result flight times were low, Albert Newbery/Peter Wright managing the best at 6 minutes.   Normal service, ie ATs off runway 24, was resumed after lunch and 12 launches were flown in bothK21s, the  DG1000 and the DG303 which returned to site with its new canopy.  In addition there were 2 private owner flights  with Nick Gaunt having 59 minutes in his LS7.  Flying came to a halt around 1500 hrs in expectation of a fly past by the Hurricane and Spitfire portion of the WWII memorial flight with a crowd of onlookers ready to enjoy the spectacle, as the photo below shows. (Summer is here, note the shorts).   However, the massed crowds were disappointed as no growling Merlins appeared, the only link with the Battle of Britain being provided by the arrival of a Grumman AA5 from Biggin Hill, the pilots staying overnight in Kilburn.  Flying then resumed with Martyn Johnson and course member Andy Giddings on the penultimate launch having the longest flight of the day, 1:02 in the DG1000, courtesy of a good thermal over Thirsk that took them to cloudbase at around 4000′ asl.  3 Trial Lesson pupils enjoyed their flights and the Rotax Falke also took to the air.  During the end of day glider debugging and hangar packing activity, the opportunity was taken to photograph course members Richard Chambers and Andy Giddings with course instructor Martyn Johnson in front of the club DG1000, the result being shown below.



Saturday 15th to Tuesday 18th May.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Saturday 15th.  A good soaring day with a light to moderate N’ly that backed into the W as the day progressed.   Early cumulus lead to some overdevelopment but some good cross countries were flown.  41 ATs were flown with 20 private owner launches and all the available club gliders flown with 26 of the launches leading to flights in excess of an hour.  Dick Cole took P2 John Shaw on a 313.3 km tour around N Yorkshire in the club DG1000, including a close look at Pocklington courtesy of some heavy sink, while Sam St Pierre posted the first flight of the year around the 100 km Sut/Poc/Ruf/Sut triangle in his DG200.   Steve Ball/Jon May did an O/R to Grantham in their Duo Discus and Rory O’Conor flew 483.4 km in his DG800, visiting the Humber, Wast Water and Hexham.  Bill Payton posted the longest flight of the day 7 hrs 45 minutes.  As well as 4 Trial Lesson pupils, Mr Newton, a Day Course member averaged around 30 minutes on his 3 flights  while Mr Preston had 2:24 in the club Astir on the second last flight of the day.

Sunday 16th.  Mainly cloudy skies greeted the day with the wind decreasing from  a light/moderate W’ly to a very light NW’ly as the day progressed.  The cloudy conditions didn’t tempt any private owners into the air so the 15 ATswere for the club gliders with both K21s, the DG500 and the Astir utilised.   In spite of the  unpromising conditions, 3 of the flights achieved around an hour, withMr Preston and Steve Briggs both achieving this goal in  the Astir while Robin Hutchingson/S Baze? had just under an hour in the K21.

Monday 17th.  A light to moderate NWly initially brought a few showers, interrupting flying around midday, but thereafter, conditions improved and provided some good soaring conditions which were utilised by Duncan Pask with his flight of 2:07 in the Astir.  13 Ats were flown in the club’s K21s, DG1000 and Astir with Martyn Johnson starting to hone the flying skills of Andy Gibbins and Richard Chambers the week’s course members.  In addition to the above activity, there was a single Trial Lesson flight, 2 Falke flights and a session on the simulator for Albert Newbery with CFI Andy   part of the new approach to instructor refreshers.  Around 1800hrs, a sea breeze front passed the site bringing in moister air and a change to an E’ly flow but a lack of demand had resulted in the kit being in the hangar by then.

Tuesday 18th.  A light and variable wind that started in the E, backed into the W before veering back into the SE brought a good airmass with cumulus appearing over the NY Moors and Pennines from around 0900 hrs.   Cumulus development in  the Vale of York and Vale of Pickering was however much slower to develop, not appearing until after midday.  Thereafter, soaring conditions were excellent, with strong thermals peaking off the clock, and a cloudbase that went to over 8000′ late in the afternoon.  32 ATs were flown off runway 02 with Andy Wright in his Nimbus 3, Bill Payton in his Ventus and Lindsay McLane in his Ventus off early, all attempting Sutton/Lockerbie/Millfield/Sutton, at distance of 428 km.  Andy and Bill had made it back to Sutton by the time I left site around 1800 hrs, although Bill had had to briefly use his engine during the early part of the flight and Andy reported having to deal with incursions of sea air near both the west and east coasts, but had a good climb on a Sea breeze front near the latter coast.  Phil Lazenby/Stewart Heaton flew 315 km in their DG1000t, straying across the Humber to turn Burton upon Stather, while Ritchie Toon in his LS7 also ventured into Lincolnshire turning Scunthorpe before flying up to Kirkby Stephen and then returning to Sutton to record 304 km.   George Rowden, abandoning his declared task due to the delayed convection in the Vale of York, flew an undeclared 279 kms in his LS8t, while Ian Johnston in his DG300 took a professional interest in Goole Docks before returning to Sutton after turning Northallerton, covering an almost identical distance.  Derek Taylor in his ASW22BL flew  327 km and then went to Leyburn and back to clock up 409 km.  Sam St Pierre in his DG200 posted a entry for his Yorkshire 100+ trophy.   Meanwhile. back at Sutton the club 2 seaters were busy with the course members who also took advantage of the conditions to post some good flights, Martyn Johnson/Andy Gibbins having 1:15 in the DG1000 with Andy remarking it didn’t realise that coming down would be a problem.  Meanwhile Reg Watson took the first flight of the day for a quick check  and later had 3:08 in the club Discus.  All in all a very good day.

Monday 10th to Friday 14th May

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Monday 10th.  A cold, grey day with rain in the morning as a front slipped south kept the gliders in the hangars as the cloud base was reluctant to rise until it was too late to fly.

Tuesday 11th.  A light N/NE’ly flow brought early cumulus that developed into widespread showers, most of which fortunately missed the site.  There were 15 ATs off 02 with Lindsay McLane and Andy Wright off early on their cross countries both of which were frustrated by heavy showers further south.  Lindsay aborted task was to turn Talgarth and Gransden Lodge while Andy completed 157 kms of an attempted O/R to Belvoir Castle.  Back at Sutton the club’s K21s. DG1000, Ka8 and Astir were in action, with Hugh O’Neil converting to the Astir and not content with that, having the longest single seat flight of the day in a club glider, 42 minutes.  Congratulations to Hugh.  5 private owners launched, each having at least an hour, with Lindsay McLane topping the list with 5:45.  Ian Plant/Brian Walkden have 50 minutes in the club K21, while  there was a single Falke  and 2 Trial Lesson pupil  flights. 

Wednesday 12th. The light to moderate NE’ly flow continued with cumulus starting early, leading to areas of overconvection and some showers, soaring conditions being quite variable.  8 ATs were flown off runway 02 including 4 with Trial Lesson pupils, 2 by private owners and there was a single Falke flight.  The days flying led to 3 flights of over an hour, with Bill Payton having 4:44 in his Ventus.  The major excitement of the day was provided by Andy Parish/Hugh O’Neil in the DG1000, when Andy gave Hugh a actual field landing close to the A19.  The resultant retrieve required a lane of the A19 to be cordoned off while the whole incident was reported in the local press with the usual hair raising tails of an averted disaster.

Thursday 13th.  The wind had switched round into the S,  but remained light to moderate.  Cumulus was again early to appear and overconvection later in the day caused some problems but soaring conditions were in general quite good.  27 ATs were flown off 20 with many private owners launching along with the  club’s K21s, DG1000 and Ka8.  16 of the flights exceeded an hour with Lindsay McLane and Bill Payton in their respective Ventus’ both clocking over 5 hrs on another ultimately abortive attempt on the Sutton/Talgarth/Gransden/Sutton triangle.  Andy Wright successfully flew an 506 km O/R to Royston in his Nimbus, reporting good conditions south of Doncaster on the route south, but something of a struggle on the way back to Sutton under overconvected skies.  Albert Newbery/Mike Smith in the former’s DG1000T flew to Goole and Pontefract, while Martyn Johnson in his DG600 attempted Burn/Northallerton/Pontefract, turning back to Sutton before getting to Pontefract due to the worsening conditions.  Back at Sutton, Reg Rowlingson had 1:42 in  the club Ka8 and Mike Wood took one of the day’s 3 Trial Lesson pupils for a 50 minute flight in the K21.  Rob Bailey flew his newly acquired Discus for the first time at Sutton, having over an hour in the  air and just to complete the day’s events, there was a single Falke flight.

Friday 14th.  Initially bright skies and good thermals were soon replaced by overcast skies as a decaying front moved in slowly from the west. Operations were off runway 20 into a light to moderate S’ly that slowly veered into the SW over the course of the day.  9 ATs were flown with only the club K21s and Astir utilised. The pre lunch time launches enjoyed the best of the soaring conditions and Martyn Johnson/Tom Reilly had 50 minutes in the K21, climbing to 4300′ asl.  The day was enlivened by the presence of Paul Hudson, the local TV weatherman, who, with a  BBC North producer and  camera men on the ground and in both the K21 and SuperCub tug, collected shots for a programme on Extreme Weather in Yorkshire to be shown in September. Post lunch, the overcast skies still provided some soaring opportunities with 2 Trial Lesson pupils having flights of around 30 minutes, while on the last flight of the day, Andy Parish/Peter Wright used the weak thermal lift to stay up for just over an hour in a height band of 800 to 1800′ QFE.  In among all this activity Dick Cole took David Cambell for his biannual check in the Falke.

Friday 7th to Sunday 9th May

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Friday 7th. The  fresh NE’ly continued to bring in cloudy skies but with a sufficiently high cloudbase to allow flying.  14 ATs were flown off runway 02 with conditions becoming briefly soarable, albeit with narrow rough thermals and very heavy sink.  On the last day of the course, Ian Willow and Trevor Gammidge had 58 minutes in the K21, one of two flights to approach the hour, while David Ryall, in the only solo flight of the day had 18 minutes in the Discus.  With the turbulent conditions not not making aerotowing or  instruction easy,  flying terminated early.

Saturday 8th.  The NE’ly flow had turned colder and also strengthened during the morning, so that flying was terminated at midday as the wind gusted to around 30 kts.  5 ATs were flown in the morning, all dual in the K21s, with Mike Wood/D Thomas taking a 3500′ tow to post the longest flight of the day at 32 minutes.

Sunday 9th.  The NE’ly flow remained but had dropped in strength allowing flying from morning to late afternoon.  20 ATs resulted utilising the club’s K21s, DG1000 and Astir and there was a single private owner flight as Bill Payton/John Carter went aloft in Bill’s DG1000T.  A cloudy morning slowly cleared to leave blue skies by mid afternoon, allowing some soaring opportunities with Tim Howle having 55 minutes solo in the K21 and John Marsh/Justin Findlay 38 minutes in the club DG1000.

Wednesday 5th to Thursday 6th May

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Wednesday 5th.  The bright start to the day was very soon a memory as a cloudy airstream from the NNW spread in giving overcast skies, that fortunately had a cloud base just high enough to allow flying.  Subsequently, 14 ATs and 3 Falke flights took off from runway 24, while the very light wind allowed landings on virtually all the available runways.  There were no private owner flights in the predominately non soarable conditions, but Ian Willows and course member Kevin Toner had 38 minutes early on in the DG1000 and Rob Bailey, taking his customary last flight of the day, had 31 minutes in the Discus.  Flying was briefly suspended during the day as visibility, never very good, temporarily worsened, but Duncan Pask, flying the Ka8 had 2 twenty minute flights either side of the interruption.  A single Trial Lesson pupil was flown and on one of the Falke flights, David Scott, a glider pilot from Currock Hill, carried out field landings as part of his Bronze badge.

Thursday 6th.  Early morning rain ceased around 10 am but left overcast skies, this time with a low cloud base, and a light but steadily increasing NE’ly that slowly went into the N as the day progressed.   A clearance to sunny skies could be seen over the coast to the east by early afternoon,  but never reached the site. The associated brighter conditions and increased cloud base after lunch, however, did allow the course members to continue their flying training using the simulator and the Falke.  However,  before activities commenced the  opportunity was taken to photograph the course members with their instructors, Andy Parish and Ian Willow and Tuggie Ian Plant, the result being seen below.




Some late congratulations are due to Andy Hatfield and Peter Goodchild who successfully negotiated the written paper part of the Bronze badge within the last week or two.  Well done to them.

Saturday 1st May to Tuesday 4th May

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Saturday 1st.  Bright blue skies and a light NE’ly greeted early risers but cumulus rapidly overdeveloped to produce a complete overcast with a low base  and showers.  14 ATs were squeezed out of the day, 13 of which resulted in the visiting Scouts getting their first taste of gliding.   Some additional good news was that the Rotax Falke returned from its planned maintenance at Bagby.

Sunday 2nd.  A cold, light to moderate NE’ly airstream prevailed, bringing in a mixture of  low cloud, rain and hail showers which limited flying to 3 ATs off runway 02. Steve Briggs, flying the K21 solo, distinguished himself by having the lowest tow and the longest flight of the day, 26 minutes.  With flying terminating due to the weather around 3pm, John Marsh, who else, cut the grass on the southern half of the airfield.

Monday 3rd.  A full briefing room demonstrated the unequal contest of hope over experience as a fresh to strong N’ly, which gusted to around 30 kts, continued to bring in showers and low cloud, preventing any flying.  Hope did result in the tug and a K21 being brought out of the hangar but experience soon had them back in again.  Kevin, Graham, Bruce and Trevor, attendees on the first gliding course of the year, were, however, introduced to gliding on the simulator.

Tuesday 4th.  The wind had dropped to a light NW, allowing operations off runway 24 with landings on any of 30, 02 or even 20.  Cumulus, visible over the Pennines  from early in the day, appeared locally around 11am, and 7 private owners took advantage of the first soaring day of May, along with all the club 2 seaters and the Falke.  22 ATs were flown in total with  the course members flying in both the K21s and the Falke and Ian Willows assisting Andy Parish with the course instruction.  9 of the day’s launches resulted in flights in excess of an hour, with Albert Newbery/Bill Payton journeying to Ullswater in their DG1000T, and meeting a Duo Discus from Skelling  Farm over the Lake.  A band of overcast initially impeded their progress west and meant the use of their engine on the way back.   Lindsay McLane launched early in his Ventus but found the going hard to the south, having to resort to his engine near York.  Abandoning his intention of an O/R to Grantham, Lindsay also crossed the Pennines to Kirby Stephen before returning to Sutton.   George Rowden, declaring Beverley/Pontefract/Sutton in his LS8t, had a good run down to Beverley and then ran into the same band of overcast skies near Pontefract.  In spite of a climb to cloudbase courtesy of Ferrybridge  power station, the return leg to Sutton found no further lift requiring an engine burn over Wetherby.  Dean Crosby/DG200 andNick Gaunt/LS7 both ventured to the west but were thwarted by the same overcast.   The good thermals and sunny skies at Sutton were also replaced by overcast as the day progressed, but not before Mike Wood reported a 5 turn climb of 1000′ in his T21, Colin Troise had 1:25 in the club DG1000 and Ian Willows gave course member Trevor Gammidge a 1:16 soaring flight in the K21. 

April turned out to be a good month for cross countries with the kms flown equalling the best for April over the last 7/8 years.  This was, however, not matched by height gains, with only 1 claim on the National ladder.   Details of kms flown and heights gained are to be found on the notice board at the back of the briefing room, together with individual pilot contributions.  Details of current claimants of the club Trophies, the positions of leading YGC pilots on the National Ladder and the overall position of YGC in terms of kms flown, height gained and National ladder points accrued are to be found via  the members page of the club website.