Archive for October, 2010

Friday 22nd to Wednesday 27th October.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Friday 22nd.  A moderate SW’ly that backed  into the S towards the end of the day saw 15 ATs, 5 by private owners and the balance by the club K21s, DG1000, Astir and Discus.  Hill lift and thermals provided soarable conditions with 9 flights exceeding an hour and the Day Course member and the single Trial Lesson pupil enjoying their introduction to gliding.  Don Austin flying his Kestrel had 3:32, Ken Duxbury 2:26 in the Discus and Albert Newbury/Sue Aherne 1:08 in DG1000.

Saturday 23rd.  A cloudy and wet NW’ly airstream kept the gliders in the hangar but the simulator was put to good use on training.

Sunday 24th. Saturday’s depression with its associated front had moved off east but left the site in a cloudy NW flow, the wind speed varying from 5 to 20 kts.  Only the K21s  were flown, one for a group of Scouts while the other was for club flying.  After a late start, 8 ATs were flown by the latter group, the first take off from a point just N of the winch track near the clubhouse along runway 02 proving interesting for all concerned, as the curl over held the tug down for quite a long time.    Subsequent launches were from further S on the same runway.  As usual, climb out conditions varied from the “fine” to the “not so fine” and once aloft lift was hard to find, with flight times mainly in the 10-20 minute range.  John Marsh, taking a visiting German glider pilot, C Ozur, for a flight, found a 4 kt thermal that took them from 1500′ to cloudbase at 2700′, giving them the longest flight of the day at 27 minutes.  The Keilys visited in a Falke. 

Monday 25th.  A ridge of  high pressure produced a clear, sunny but cold day,  with the temperature not exceeding 7 C.   With the start of Paul Conlan’s aerobatic course and visitors from the Nene GC the launch point was busy with 39 ATs  flown in a light wind that started in  the NW  but backed slowly into the SW.  All 4  club 2 seaters were flown as well as the Astir and there were 5 private owner launches as well as 5 Trial Lesson pupils.   Conditions were ideal for the aerobatic flights and 10 were flown, but those pilots wanting to stay up found conditions difficult.  Indeed, there was only 1 flight of more than an hour, Rob Bailey having 1:02 in his LS8t.  Visitors C Sheppard/C Hill flying the DG500 had 30 minutes in the air, this being matched by Ian Plant and his Trial Lesson pupil in the DG1000. 

Tuesday 26th.  A depression with its accompanying fronts deposited 8 mm of rain on the site during the morning and kept the site in cloud all day.  Consequently, no flying was possible.  The simulator was however used and some useful tidying up work carried out.

Wednesday 27th.  The departing depression with its fronts left the site in a moderate to fresh W.  36 winch launches were flown while the aerobatic course members added a further 8 launches by aerotow.  All the club gliders were flown with the exception of the DG303 and there were 8 private owner launches, the good soaring conditions generating 19 flights of over an hour.  3 Trial Lesson pupils were flown and there was a single flight by the Rotax Falke.  In addition to hill lift, thermal and wave were also present, although wave climbs were generally slow and  limited in altitude with typical heights being in the 3500′ to 4500′ asl range.  A number of pilots found the best lift on the windward side of passing Cu and  John Ellis flying his Nimbus 3t made best use of this to climb to 6300′ asl, the best of the day.  The slow climbs also required patience as evidenced by John’s flight time of just over 5 hours, the longest of the day.  Bill Payton/Paul Foster flying in Bill’s DG1000t, ventured as far as the Tontine in their flight of 1:59 while John Marsh with guest C Marsh had 1:24 in the club DG1000.  Conrad Thwaites had the longest flight of the day in a club single seater, 2:37 in  the Discus.  Flying continued to around 6 pm with the later flights landing on 20 as the wind backed into the S and moderated.

Wednesday 20th to Thursday 21st October.

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Wednesday 20th.  Bright blue, sunny skies promised a cloud free day’s flying but the variable, calm to 20 kt  NNW’ly wind promised tricky take offs from runway 02.  Both promises were delivered, but after 2 launches, the decision was taken to stop flying as the turbulence on climb out was threatening to fly the tug and glider rather than the pilots.  Ian Plant and Duncan Pask had the longer of the two flights, 19 minutes in the K21.

Thursday 21st.  A moderate to fresh W’ly with early signs of wave saw operations off runway 24, the tug being employed.  21 ATs were flown with 8 private owners supplementing the club launches in the K21, DG1000, Discus and Astir.  Early launches were into a sky with high level lenticulars and Mike Smith climbed to 4500′ asl in the Astir before the arrival of extensive low cloud, base around 1800′ QFE, forced a descent.  Thereafter, complete cloud cover over and to the west of the site limited wave climbs.   Dean Crosby, flying Sam’s DG200, managed to find a transient slot and was climbing in the wave when the slot filled, with the resulting brief cloud climb icing up the glider, freezing level being around 2500′ asl.    The climb was terminated at around 4500′ asl.  Widespread cold feet were a reminder that winter was approaching.  Jon Hart in his Vega has  the longest flight of the day, 5:20, but like all but one of the 12 pilots to have over an hour in the air, spent the whole flight searching for and failing to contact the wave.  Nevertheless, lift was widespread, with most pilots operating in a height band of 1000 to 2000′ QFE over a wide area.  Jesper Mjels was the only pilot to contact the wave via a high tow.  He reported broken wave near the East Coast Main Line and consistent wave further west which allowed him to climb to around 10,000′ asl and visit the Lake District.  The wave was smooth until around 8000′ and turbulent thereafter.  Back at Sutton, Dave Hill had 1:13 in the Astir and Ian Plant/D Altoft 55 minutes in the K21.

Saturday 16th to Tuesday 19th October.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Saturday 16th.  A moderate NNE’ly that decreased as the day progressed allowed 23 ATs off 02 with the launch point and cabin close to the club house.  The expected group of Scouts didn’t show but the 2 seaters were busy with ab initio members and the 3 Trial Lesson pupils of  the day.  Most of the club aircraft were flown as well as the Rotax Falke and the simulator,  but with soaring conditions marginal, no private owners flew.  Rob Bailey flew the club Discus for 49 minutes, forsaking his LS8 and his LS8t, while John Marsh and Pauline Luty had 35 minutes in the K21.  After flying, an Instructors and Tug Pilots meeting was held in which the newly prepared Trial Lesson Introductory DVD was shown.  This, the work of Ken Arkley, was well received and is to be shown to future Trial Lesson pupils prior to their flights.  At the end of the meeting, a meal prepared by Mike and Steve in the absence of Brian, was greatly enjoyed as was the  quiz that followed.

Sunday 17th.  A light N’ly that freshened as it veered into  the WNW brought  thermic conditions that resulted in 7 of the 27 ATs yielding flights of over an hour, with TO’s on 24 and landings on 20. All but the 2nd Astir of the club fleet were flown and the sight of a cumulus filled sky enticed 4 private owners into the air.  John Ellis had just over 2 hours in his Nimbus 3t while Jon May/Steve Ball visited Rufforth in their Duo Discus, needing a little help from their engine to get going, but relying on the weak and broken thermals to get back.  Eric Preston flew the club DG1000 solo for 1:25 while Brian Wise and Mark Brewer had 53 minutes in the K21.  The club 2 seaters were kept busy with a group of 7 Scouts and 3 Trial Lesson pupils while there was a single flight in the Rotax Falke.

Monday 18th.  A moderate to fresh W’ly  that gusted to around 30 kts saw the winch in action and 19 flights off runway 24, 11 of these being by private owners.  Hill lift and mobile wave kept everyone interested although height gains were moderate, with the best heights of the day being around 4500′ asl.  Pilots reported getting established in wave lift only for climbs to slowly peter out.  Visiting pilot S Black in his DG300 had 4:30 in the air, with home grown Dean Crosby adding 3:40 to his log book flying a DG200.  Dave Cambell had the longest flight in a club glider, 2:04 in the Astir while David Ryall and Geoff Harrison had just over 2 hours in the club DG1000.  Les Rayment had a couple of 1 hour flights in his newly acquired Ventus, one of 15 pilots to exceed the 1 hour mark.  A single Trial Lesson pupil was flown.

Tuesday 19th.  Clear blue skies and a  light NNW’ly greeted the first flight of the day off runway 02, but rapid cloud development saw a large shower reach  the site around lunch time with shower frequency increasing during the afternoon as the wind increased in strength.   Prior to and in between the showers, 7 ATs were flown in one of the club K21s and the Astir, 2 of the flights being with Trial Lesson pupils, with a further Trial Lesson being given on the simulator.  With little usable lift, flight times were generally in the 15 to 20 minute range although some persistent reduced sink allowed Mike Smith to give his Trial Lesson pupil 27 minutes off a 3000′ tow.  Duncan Pask flew the only solo flight of the day, having 17 minutes in the Astir.    On the last flight of the day, Albert Newbery found 4 kts of  lift in front of an approaching shower and climbed back to his release height of 2000′ QFE,  but his P2 found thermal turns not to their liking so a return to site was made.

Thursday 14th to Friday 15th October.

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Thursday 14th. The run of  cloudy days, but this time with light showers, in a light to moderate N’ly flow continued and another non flyable day was the result.  Ian Plant did however, take a pupil on the simulator as a welcome break from hard waxing another trailer, this time that of the club Discus.

Friday 15th.  With a cold front expected to bring showery rain and low cloud by lunch time, the K21 and DG1000 were taken to the launch point on runway 24 straight after briefing, DI’d, and Andy Parish/Hugh O’Neil took the first launch in the DG1000 for Hugh’s Bronze C spinning exercises.  However, rapidly developing low cloud below a Cirrostratus overcast led to the abandonment of the launch at 700′ QFE and a rapid return to the airfield.  With drizzle in the air the gliders were returned to the hangar with little expectation of an improvement,  the day’s early Trial lesson pupil being offered a consolation ride on the simulator.  However, just after take off on the simulator, the external weather cleared, allowing a real Trial lesson flight to take place in the K21, the conditions being super smooth  with excellent visibility to the W but very poor to the E.  Andy Parish/Hugh O’Neil then took off in the DG1000 for their spinning exercise, the success of which completed Hugh’s Bronze C badge, so our congratulations to him.   Colin Troise/Ian Plant then took off in the DG1000 but had to release in cloud at around 2000′ as the thin layer in front of them suddenly turned into a big lump.  Closing the brakes after descending out of cloud they found themselves in lift which rapidly took them back into  the cloud necessitating the switch on of the AH but with the canopy misting up very badly out came the brakes again for a descent below cloud and a return to site as cloud continued to build and lower.   Meanwhile, George Rowden took  visior Rachael for 30 minutes on the simulator, Rachael having bid for the opportunity at a local school auction, and a visiting aircraft, a Robin, landed on runway 02.  Rain and low cloud then arrived at around 1400 hrs so everything was put back in the hangars.  In spite of only 4 launches,  the longest George Rowden’s 22 minutes with the Trial Lesson pupil, it was certainly an interesting day and most importantly, after a run of non flying days, we flew.

Saturday 9th to Wednesday 13th October

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Saturday 9th.  A light to moderate E’ly airstream kept the site in cloud all day so no flying was possible.

Sunday 10th.  The wind, still light to moderate, had backed into the ENE and with the cloud base rising and breaking up 18 ATs were flown off runway 02. The first few flights found no appreciable lift but as the day progressed a weak lee wave developed upwind of  Sutton village which was exploited by later flights, including the 2 day course members and the later Trial Lesson pupils.  Andy Hatfield, flying the K21 solo, made the most of the conditions with a flight of 1:40  in which he climbed to around 4500′ asl while John Marsh took one of the Day Course members, P Lutey, for the longest 2 seater flight of the day at 53 minutes.  Andy sent me his account of his flight which goes as follows:

 It was a wonderful flight. After a tip-off  from John Marsh I managed to get established in wave at 1,300ft above  site height just east of Sutton village. It was weak and restricted to a very small area until at about 1,800ft when it extended and was usuable for the length of the ridge northwards up to approx level with the mast and running roughly parrallel with the ridge. I managed to ride it up to nearly 4,500 amsl and it averaged approx 1 knot for most of that time varying from zero sink to just over 2 for short periods. I’m particularly proud of this flight as it was my first solo experience of useable wave and it was the only flight to really get hold of it on the day.   I took a blurry picture on my phone which is shown below.

  On a less exciting note, Dick Cole took the Rotax Falke with its  new propellor for a test flight and the Millfield expedition pilots returned to Sutton having had a very good week, with 5 flying days and 5 flights over 10,000′ in wave in the YGC club and private gliders who had been gone to Millfield. 

Monday 11th.  The anticyclonic conditions of the previous days continued with light winds, now from the NNE but skies remained generally cloudy .  6 ATs were flown, with Matthew Garthwaite enjoying his Trial Lesson  so much he had another flight soon afterwards.  Ken Duxbury flew the Astir and there was a single Rotax Falke flight but a high tow was necessary to ensure  flight times of more than 15 minutes.

Tuesday 12th.  The consistent weather pattern produced the same light flow and cloudy skies that cleared during the afternoon.  Although flyable, a lack of customers meant no gliding, so the DG303 trailer was washed and polished by Ian Plant, who then had some relief by taking visitor Wendy Thompson for a flight in the Rotax Falke.

Wednesday 13th.  The even lighter wind was now from mainly a NNW’ly direction, with extensive cloud at around 1000′ QFE.  This broke up as the day progressed and 4 flights in the Rotax Falke ensued, although a lack of soaring conditions meant that  attendance was sparse and no gliders were flown.  Those members who did turn up helped de-rig the DG303 which Ian Plant and Hugh O’Neil then washed and hard waxed before putting it back in its trailer.  Martyn Johnson brought his new caravan on site while Rob Bailey has again 2 gliders on site, now being  the proud owner of a LS8 and a LS8t.  With 3 gliders purchased for his own use and 1 sold over a relatively short period, perhaps Rob is aiming for an  entry in the Guiness Book of Records.

Please note that the A170 was closed from the roundabout in Thirsk to the top of Sutton Bank on Wednesday 13th with diversions sign posted off the A19 south of Thirsk via Bagby.

Thursday 7th to Friday 8th October

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Thursday 7th.  A bright, sunny day with a light to moderate wind from  the SE meant a pleasant day’s flying with 27 ATs flown.  Cu blossomed in the afternoon, but with a relatively low cloudbase, around 1700′ QFE, staying up was not easy and only one of the day’s flights made the 1 hour standard, this being by Bill Payton/P Cowling in Bill’s DG1000t.  The flight line was busy with all the available club aircraft plus 6 private owner launches and flying continued until well after 1700 hrs.  The visitors from the Staffordshire GC added to their hours for the week with Mr Noble flying his DG300 for 50 minutes while Ian Plant/Dan Wilcox had 30 minutes in the K21 and the Rotax Falke had a single flight.

Friday 8th.   A persistent layer of low cloud with accompanying drizzle blanketed the site all day so no flying was possible, Andy Parish and co spending their time on ground maintenance matters, including giving one of the hangars a tidy up.

Just a reminder that the A170 up Sutton Bank is to be closed for 5 weeks starting on Monday 11 October, so the alternative routes up the White Horse or Wass Banks will have to be used.

Friday 1st to Wednesday 6th October

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Friday 1st.  A fresh to strong SE’ly gusting to over 30 kts accompanied by low cloud and heavy rain delayed flying until Saturday.

Saturday 2nd.  A light S’ly greeted the day with low cloud delaying flying until midday.  High cover which thickened as the day progressed reduced surface heating so most of the flights off the  23 ATs were limited in time with no one breaking the hour barrier.  Closest was Andy Hatfield in the club Discus who had 55 minutes while John Marsh and Martin Hancock had 32 minutes in the K21.  In addition to these 2 club aircraft, the DG500 and  the other K21 flew as well as 2 private owners, while the Rotax Falke had 4 sorties, including a trip to Pocklington.    Member’s numbers were swelled by a visiting group of pilots and gliders from the Staffordshire GC.   Meanwhile,  the club expedition to Millfield notched up its first recorded wave flight when Tim Stanley took his ASW 19 to 8000′.

Sunday 3rd.  A light NE’ly that backed into the NW over the course of the day kept the site in cloud and copiously supplied with water, the clearance coming too late to allow any flying apart from on the Simulator.

Monday 4th.  Fog that lifted into low cloud delayed flying until around 1430 hrs, the light SE’ly wind having strengthened during the morning.  9 ATs were flown in the club K21, DG500, Astir and Discus plus 6 by the private owners from the visiting Staffordshire pilots.  Mid afternoon saw some weak thermal activity, with Mr Cooper, one of the visitors in his Ventus, recording the only flight over an hour, 1:05.  Malcolm Winter/Mike Boxallwere not far behind with their 45 minute flight in the K21 while Andy Hatfield had 42 minutes in the Discus.  The Rotax Falke had a single flight.

Tuesday 5th.  Foggy early conditions were again in evidence, but a strengthening windthat veered into the S enabled flying to commence at around1130 hrs.  With the wind continuing to veer, the afternoon brought soaring conditions with weak thermal, weak hill lift and weak wave, the weakness of the latter being illustrated by the pilot who took a 6000′ AT and managed to climb an extra 150′ in wave.  Mr Noble, a visiting pilot, took full advantage of the conditions to stay aloft just over 3 hours, one of 5 pilots to exceed an hour.  The club Discus was flown for 2:11 by Mr Crump while Andy Parish/Dan Wilcox had just under an hour in the K21.   By the end of the day, 15 ATs had been flown, including 6 by private owners.

Wednesday 6th.  Early morning rain with its associated cloud had cleared off to the NE  by 0900 hrs, leaving the site in sunny skies and a light to moderate SSW’ly flow that strengthened later.  By the time the winch had been positioned at the end of runway 24, orographic cloud had started to form on the hill and flying was delayed until 1230 hrs.  The first flight was an AT in  search of wave, but the best that could be managed was a 500′ climb.  The launch method then reverted to the winch, with18 launches carried out, although there was a second AT later in  the day.  Both K21s, the DG500, both Astirs and the Discus were flown from the club fleet with private owners contributing 7 of the 20 launches of the day.   A number of pilots reported strong thermal climbs and incipient wave climbs, but nobody managed more than about 500′ of climb.  The hill was also working at around 800′ but using the passing thermals to gain height resulted in being able to maintain height at typically 1500 - 2000′ QFE in extensive weak lift away from cloud.  Cloud base eventually rose to around 4000′ asl and the excellent visibility certainly made for a very pleasant afternoon’s flying.   Most pilots stayed local, although Dean Crosby visited Black Hambleton in the DG200 and Richie  Toon flew a cloud street to near Masham in his LS7  before returning to site. Messrs Noble and Heaton of the visiting pilots clocked up flights of around 4:30 in their DG300 and Ventus, while Mr Crump another visitor, flew the club Discus for 3:58.  Duncan Pask flew the Astir for 1:50 while Andy Parish/Andy Hatfield were still aloft when the writer left the site around 6pm with all the rest of the gliders and equipment safely put away.