Archive for September, 2010

Friday 24th to Thursday 30th September.

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Friday 24th to Wednesday 29th.   Strong winds, low cloud, rain and  turbulent cross wind take offs either individually or collectively meant no flying over this period apart from some in the benign conditions of the simulator.

Thursday 30th.  At last, sunny skies and a very gentle, N’ly wind encouraged many pilots, frustrated by a lack of flying over the previous week, to turn up, empty the hangars and fly.  Even the closure of  Sutton Bank by a jack knifed lorry during the morning failed to deter them.    With flying starting at 1014 hrs and continuing until around 1650 hrs, 38 ATs were flown by the majority of the club fleet and 9 private owners.  Initially sunny skies were soon filled with young Cu but with waterlogged ground, initially cloud base  was as low as 700′ QFE, but flying above the, at first, scattered puff balls was a magical experience.  At least that was the opinion of one of the 3 Trial Lesson pupils of the day as well as more experienced pilots.  Cloud base slowly rose, eventually reaching around 3000 QNH and with the best thermals averaging about 3 knots, a number of pilots enjoyed soaring on a very pleasant late September day.  Around 10 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour and although most pilots stayed local, Lindsay McLane in his Ventus and John Ellis in his Nimbus 3 both used  cloud climbs to venture further afield, with both topping 6500′ and John flying a task of around 170 km in a flight of just under 3 hours.  By late afternoon most of the small to medium sized Cu had disappeared leaving some very large Cu congestus over York and the coast while the wind started to freshen from the south in advance of tomorrow’s forecast rain.    John Carter, flying the club DG303 had just under 2 hours while the longest 2 seater flight was by Andy Parish/A Dinsdale in the DG1000 at 35 minutes.   Both the latter aircraft were derigged and placed in their trailers at the end of the flying day in preparation for a club expedition to Millfield starting on Saturday.

Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th September.

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Thursday 23rd.  A light S’ly slowly veered into the west as the day progressed and  Cu congestus filled the sky from early on, giving a light shower around 11am and initially a low cloudbase.  The latter delayed flying until around midday, with eventually 7 ATs flown by the club K21 and Discus complemented by 3 private owner launches. Stratford GC visitors  Brian Kerby and Mike Davis found cloud flying their LS8 to be of great benefit in their flights of 1 and 2 hours respectively.  David Bradley stayed VFR in his flight of 31 minutes in the club Discus, as did  Andy Parish/Hugh O’Neill during their flight of 37 minutes in the K21. 

Friday 24th.  A cold and  strong N’ly gusting to around 45 kts kept both pilots and gliders indoors.

Saturday 25th.  Brilliantly blue skies and terrific visibility initially promised  much, but although the now NNW’ly wind had decreased in strength somewhat, it was still gusting to over 30 kts.  Experience suggested that take offs along runway 02 would be too turbulent for safe operation.  One of the Pawnees and a K21 were taken out of the hangar in readiness for any diminution of the wind, but this proved to be a vain hope and both were soon back safely in their hangars as the wind strength increased.  Unable to instruct, John Marsh, settled for his next favourite occupation, cutting the grass on the airfield, while those going to Millfield in search of wave the week after next swapped wave flight stories and finalised their plans over lunch.   Meanwhile the YGC Board held their regular meeting in the briefing room.

In my brief review of YGC happenings during my recent holiday, I forgot to mention the appearence of Andy Parish and one of the club’s K21s in a BBC Look North  TV programme entitled “Wild Weather”, shown on BBC 1 during the early part of the week beginning the 19th September.   The link between Yorkshire’s wild weather and gliding was the damaging effect of Lee Wave produced 100 mph winds on Sheffield some years ago.

Friday 8th to Wednesday 22nd September.

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Friday 8th to Tuesday 21st September.  Having just returned from a holiday that included watching some nice wave clouds forming in the lee of the Dingle Peninsula in SW Ireland, I don’t propose to embark on  a detailed report on events at Sutton over my holiday period.   However a few highlights are worth reporting;  Peter Wright’s first solo on Thursday 9th Sept and Nick Muller’s first solo on Tuesday 21st  certainly come into that category, congratulations to them both.  Saturday 11th saw the club hold a successful  Open Day with a steady stream of visitors.  42 Trial Lesson flights plus 11 on the simulator and a number of stalls,  all contributed to good publicity for the club and a significant financial boost to its balance sheet.  In flying terms, although most of the days in the report period were flyable and the majority soarable,  no cross countries were posted on the National Ladder but Martyn Johnson, flying his DG600 on the 14th, eventually contacted  wave that took him up to just under 12,500′ . 

Wednesday 22nd.  A light to moderate SE’ly that slowly veered into the SW as a front approached, provided extensive and thickening high cover that essentially prevented thermal activity, although a few Cu briefly formed in the late afternoon.  23 ATs were flown off runway 20 with the majority of the club fleet in action but only 1 private owner launch, that being by a member of the visiting Stratford GC.  In the absence of much usuable lift, flight times were generally in the range 15-20  minutes but some pilots found very weak wave over Kilburn,  occasional weak thermals or thermal enhanced weak hill lift over the southern slope to extend their flight times.  Others increased their chances of longer flight times by taking higher tows such as visitors Mr and Mrs Kerby who managed 45 minutes in  the DG1000 from a 5000′ tow or George Rowden with one of the day’s 3 Trial Lesson pupils who had 27 minutes in the K21 off a 3000′ tow helped by some weak wave at around 2500′ QFE.  Duncan Pask in the Astir and Rob Bailey in the Discus both managed 35 minutes from 2000′ tows.  The day’s flying also included 2 flights in the Rotax Falke and Mike Wood returning to solo flight in the Ka8 after his recent illness.

Thursday 2nd to Tuesday 7th September.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Thursday 2nd.  With the anticyclone fully in  charge the site was in a light SE’lyflow withconvection  delayed until around the middle of the day.  27 ATswere flown of runway 20, 21 of these being by private owners with the Slingsbyweek members well to the fore.  The only club glider to fly was one of the K21s, withthe majority of its 7 flights being with Trial Lesson pupils.  Mr Cornelius of the visiting Slingsby group had 2:23 in his Ka6CR, one of 11 to exceed an hour, while Ian Plant took C Matusiak for a 41 minute flight in the club K21.

Friday 3rd.  The weather pattern had little altered from Thursday so operations were again off runway 20 into a light SE’ly flow.  Flying was again delayed until late morning by a lack of soaring opportunities, the start of thermal activity being further delayed until 2pm.  In spite of the late start, 26 ATs were flown, 17 by private owners and the balance by the club’s K21, DG1000, Discus and DG303, including 2 Trial Lesson pupils.  Most of the 12 flights that exceeded an hour took off between 2 and 4 pm, but a notable exception was Mr Winch in his Dart who flew for 2:24 having taken off at 1325 hrs.   Mr Cornelius again topped the duration stakes with a flight of 3:24 in his Ka6CR, while Ron Beezer had 1:40 in the club DG303 and David Bradley took his guest John Ellison for 39 minutes in the K21.

Saturday 4th.  The persistent anticyclone again provided a light SE’ly flow but the inversion had intensified so the number of flights exceeding an hour dropped from the previous day’s double figure totals to 3.  Club glider launches out numbered private owner launches with the K21s, DG500, Astir, DG303 and Discus utilised,as the Slingsby Club visitors started to prepare for their journey home.  In addition to the club glider  and the 5 private owner launches, the Rotax Falke had 4 flights.   Recent solo pilot Bryn Evans had 1:11 in the K21, John Marsh/Martin Joyce 1:06 in the K21 while Derek Smith had 1:10 in the newest addition to the private owner fleet, a Ventus CT, that he shares with David Ryall and Les Rayment. 

Sunday 5th.  The deteriorating soaring conditions under the high pressure meant that none of the 16 ATs delivered a flight in excess of an hour.  Only the club 2 seaters flew, providing flights for the day’s 4 Trial Lesson pupils as well as club members, but flight times were typically 15 - 25 minutes.  John Marsh/Korinne Zapp did however manage to stay up for 30 minutes in the DG500.

Monday 6th.  The squeezed isobars between the advancing low to the SW and the declining high to the NE resulted in a strong and gusty S’ly at site.  With winds gusting up to 40 kts the gliders remained safely in the hangar. 

Tuesday 7th.  The occluded front from the low off to the the west brought significant rain to the site overnight and left the site in cloud at the beginning of the flying day.  With flying prospects uncertain,  visiting groups from the Fenland GC at Marham in Norfolk and the Southdown GC at Parham spent the early part of the morning sampling the delights of hill soaring at Sutton on the simulator.  The completion of this activity coincided with the sun breaking through as the post front clearance arrived and flying started at around1240 hrs with a flight in the Rotax Falke.  Cloud base was initially 1100′ QFE but with large gaps between the Cu Mediocris that threatened showers later.  Cloudbase rose steadily during  the afternoon to peak at around 3000′ QFE, and with the threatened showers not materialising,  a good afternoon’s soaring was enjoyed.  13 ATs were flown off runway 20 into a light S’ly that freshened later and backed into the SE.  The club K21, DG1000 and Discus were flown along with the Discus of the Fenland GC.  2 of the flights exceeded an hour before the convection was suppressed by an approaching trough that brought a thunderstorm in the early evening.  Visitor Peter Luckhurst, flying the Fenland GC’s Discus, had 1:17 while Rob Bailey had an hour in the club Discus.  3 Trial Lesson pupils enjoyed their introduction to gliding and soaring whiele another Fenlandvisitor, Peter Sperry, had 49 minutes aloft with Andy Parish in the K21.

Tuesday 31st to Wednesday 1st September.

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Tuesday 31st.  The arrival of the long awaited anticyclone brought an excellent soaring day with a light W’ly, sunny skies and high cloud bases.  Conditions were initially slow to get going and those pilots setting off on long cross countries found it tricky at first.  46 ATs were flown with  the Slingsby Week attendees contributing a significant number of the 20 private owner launches and filling the sky with their attractive and  slow moving sailplanes.  Mike Armstrong took his Sky for a 190 km trip to Sheffield N and Thirsk, winning the prize for the day’s best flight.  Club pilots were also active cross country with Lindsay McLane in his Ventus and Bill Payton/Phil Lazenby in their DG1000t turning Boston.  Andy Wright did an O/R to Rutland Water in his Nimbus 3, covering 359.2 km, while Derek Taylor visited Newark, Pickering and Northallerton to cover 321 kms in his ASW 22 but enjoyed it so much after returning to Sutton that he did an O/R to Burn to add another 109 kms to his flying day.  The club fleet was also busy with 3 two seaters and 3 single seaters flying as well as the Falke, and 31 of the day’s  flights exceeded an hour.  Lindsay McLane had the longest flght of the day, 5:27, while Albert Newbery/Mike Smith had 1:21 in  the club DG1000, and Ron Beezer 2:42 in  the DG303.  The 5 Trial Lesson flights of the day certainly picked a good one and Rob Bailey took advantage of the good conditions to fly his LS8 for the first time. 

Wednesday 1st September.  With the anticyclone well in charge the day was sunny with a very light SE’ly.    However, the thermal day was slow to get going as the inversion had intensified and the day remained blue with Cu present in the Tees valley and near the coast, most likely part of the forecast sea breeze.  The day’s flying activities started early with a hot air balloon launch and subsequent landing on the newly cleared area in the NE part of the site, the balloon pilot taking advantage of wind shear to first drift away from the site at low level and then drift back at a higher level.  The RAF also contributed to the celebration of YGC’ President Moyra’s 95th birthday with a low level flypast by a Tucano before briefing.  43 ATswere flown during the day with the Slingsby Week attendees well to the fore and providing the majority of the 26 Private owner launches.    With conditions nowhere near as good as Tuesday, most pilots stayed local, sharing the few blue thermals that seemed to be available, with 13 of the days flights exceeding an hour.  Exceptions to  the “stay local” brigade were Albert Newbery/Stuart Heaton in their DG1000t who visited Hemsley and the Tontine in their flight of 2:03.  Jon Hart in his Vega  ventured east visiting Pickering and finding what appeared to be a convergence along the southern edge of the North Yorks Moors.   Angela Veitch had 3:30 in her Sky while of the club pilots, Duncan Pask had 1:07 in the Astir and Ian Plant/M Muller 46 minutes in the DG1000.  An interesting visitor was a T21 from Rufforth piloted by Paul Hepworth and Les Hey that landed and returned to Rufforth via an AT.