Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th November.

Wednesday 24th.  A generally cloudy day with a moderate to fresh N’ly did not result in any flying, as the site was being given a top dressing of limestone to counter both the increasing acidity of the soil and the re-establishment of heather.

Thursday 25th.  The slow drop in temperature over the last few days resulted in the first ice day of the winter, the day time temperature never exceeding zero.  The cold was exacerbated by a light to moderate NNE’ly that brought in frequent snow showers and gave a wind chill of -7C.  The resulting snow fall gave a covering of around 4 inches on the airfield and the A170 was closed for a time in the morning but reopened later as the snow showers eased.  The road to the club was ploughed and passable but with no flying possible Andy Parish, assisted by Jack McGregor and Stuart Heaton, derigged K21 KLW into the workshop for a clean and polish prior to its journey down the hill for its ARC.  The clouds cleared towards evening to reveal a arctic looking sunset as shown below. 



Friday 26th.  A light to moderate NNW’ly blew all day under sunny skies, but the combination of airfield snow and wind speed and direction meant no flying was possible, although access to the club was not a problem with  the A170 clear, the access road icy but ploughed clear of snow and the club road passable with care as the following photo shows.  With the possibility of more snow over the weekend, Anne Silver’s Burns night party on Saturday was postponed. 


A walk on the airfield towards the end of the afternoon saw the snow being kicked up into some interesting  rotating eddies, not unlike little thermals, a visual reminder of the turbulence experienced on take off in this wind direction.


Saturday 20th to Tuesday 23rd November 2010.

Saturday 20th.  A light NE’ly saw operations start off runway 02 into a surprisingly blue sky given  the forecast.  However, the good conditions were only temporary, as increasingly cloudy skies and a lowering cloud base, down to 500′ QFE at times, limited flying.  This stopped altogether when the rain arrived about lunch time.  8 ATs were flown in total, utilising the K21 and the DG500, with 3 of these for a group of visiting Scouts and 1 for a Trial lesson pupil.  Flight times were typically in the 15-20 minute range, with David Ryall giving his Trial lesson pupil 22 minutes of a higher tow.  With the cessation of flying the simulator was brought into action for the other half of the visiting Scouts who hadn’t flown and a club member.

Sunday 21st.  The light to moderate wind had backed into the NNE, but low cloud was still a problem as were the occasional showers.  As with Saturday, a little flying was done via AT  before the weather became uncooperative, David Bradley taking K21 KLW for a test flight off runway 02 following its return from its ARC , one other member having a flight and 3 Scouts being given flights in the K21.   Flight times peaked at around 15 minutes.  The remaining 3 Scouts were, like their peers from Saturday, given a taste of gliding on the Simulator.

Monday 22nd.  With the light to moderate wind backing into the NE and no change in the airmass, low cloud and showers were again a feature of the day.  Although the morning had a brighter feel, it became progressively duller as the day progressed and with rain setting in during the afternoon there was no flying. 

Tuesday 23rd.  The wind had now backed into the NNW and become moderate  with gusts over 25 kts.  Consequently, although sunny intervals were the norm, the prospect of turbulent take off’s from 02 were enough to keep those pilots who were on site within the clubhouse.  Fred Brown and John Tayler were, however, gainfully employed in desk bound  instruction under the tutelage of  Derek Smith as part of their BI training.

While we await the prospect of snow over the next few days, I thought I would cheer everybody up with an email from Phil Lazenby who is currently in Western Australia.  

Hi George:  just read your blog re last Friday. What a contrast here.  39 deg on the ground at the gliding club at Beverley WA and strong thermals to nearly 15000ft WITH CU.  Very unusual  as its mostly blue out here.  Thought you would like to see a pic, at about 10000ft I think, of an exceptional sky even by Oz standards. ( Photo below )  I flew the club’s old Astir and declared “only” a 365k task as I am barely over jet lag and that was going to be my ” site check” after a seasons absence. First leg was into about 15kt wind so not easy in the Astir before the thermals went higher and stronger. Later I had 10kts + on the averager now and again, av for the whole trip was about 6. One guy saw his average peak at 16 (!) momentarily.  Mind you the down was impressive as well, I lost 2000ft progressing just 7km at one stage.  The day died fairly early about 1630 due to mid level spreadout and spoilt most 750 attempts although one guy in an Ash26E managed his. I think there were six flights of > 500km. They use OLC for recording club flights, it gave me 403km @ 83kph which I was happy with for a site check in an Astir!.


Just to provide some balance, Phil also said the only thing he was missing was the chance of North Yorkshire wave, so below is a view taken by Malcolm Winter from his Kestrel on recent good wave day at Sutton. 


Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th November.

Wednesday 17th.   A fresh to strong SE’ly, gusting to 35 kts and accompanied by a low overcast kept everyone’s feet firmly on the ground.

Thursday 18th.  The SE’ly wind had dropped to light/moderate, but brighter, but still cloudy skies  didn’t arrive until around midday.  Thereafter, only 3 ATs were flown before the weather went downhill again with a lowering cloudbase and rain arriving mid afternoon.  Andy Parish and David Watt had the first and longest flight of the day, 25 minutes in t he K21, while Albert Newbery continued Pauline Luty’s flying instruction by  adding to her 15 minute flight in the K21 with  30 minutes on the simulator.

Friday 19th.  Damp, murky and overcast conditions, with a very light SE’ly bringing in low cloud  to any south facing slope,  meant it was definitely not a day for flying.

Sunday 14th to Tuesday 16th November.

Sunday 14th.  A light to moderate SW’ly that slowly veered into the W provided another good gliding day with wave.  The number of flights, 13, all by AT, were limited only by the number of attendees, which included 5 Trial Lesson pupils, but of the remaining 8 flights, 7 exceeded an hour.  David Hodgson flying the DG303 had 2:38 while John Marsh/Martin Joyce had 1:21 in the DG1000, with Martin demonstrating the cloud reading and wave flying skills he had acrued from the YGC expedition to Millfield earlier in the year.  All of the available club fleet was flown, with Andy Wilson being  the only private owner to launch, his 1:44 flight ensuring his efforts were well rewarded.  Maximum achieved altitudes were around 8000′ asl and with  big wave gaps and good visibility the views were excellent.   The hard luck story of the day was Steve Brigg’s first solo flight in wave, as he just missed out on his Silver height.  It would, however, have been an even bigger hard luck story if he had made the requisite climb, as he had taken off without a logger on board.

Monday 15th.  A very light N’ly turned into a very light S’ly just before lunch, and skies remained clear all day.  Consequently, flying commenced around 1030 hrs and continued until just before 1600 hrs.  12 ATswere flown in the club K21, Astir and Discus, including 3 Trial lesson pupils, 2 of whom were casuals who had seen the advertising trailer parked near the public footpath and decided to give gliding a try on the day.  With no lift around, flight times were generally  in the 15 – 25 minute range depending on the height of release, with Colin Troise way ahead of the pack by taking 41 minutes to descend from his release height of 5000′ QFE in the Discus.


Tuesday 16th.  A foggy ride to site ended half way up Sutton Bank with the site in glorious sunshine surrounded  by a sea of low stratus.  By 1130 hrs however, the stratus had cleared from the fields just to the W of the airfield and over an upland area around  the site, so with landout options now available in the event of a tug failure or rope break, flying commenced.  9 AT’s were flown off runway 24 with landings on 20, the wind being very light initially from the S but slowly increased and backed into the SE by the end of the flying day.  The views for all pilots was quite magical, with a continuous sea of shallow, white stratus covering the Vale of Pickering, Vale of York and the Tees valley around to Middlesbrough and stratus also over the uplands to the east of the site, as the photos below show.  The 3 power stations to the S were clearly visible as were ships sailing just offshore the east coast.  The views made up for the lack of any lift, there being not even so much as a burble and AT height was the only means of extending flight times.  Colin Troise again topped  the tree with a flight of 38 minutes off a 4600′ tow, this time in the DG1000 with George Rowden for company, while Ken Arkley had 32 minutes off a 4000′ tow.  Andy Parish & Hugh O’Neil tried looking at the view upside down in the K21 during an aerobatic flight, while Albert Newbery and Mike Smith went on an O/R to Carlton Bank in the Rotax Falke, with Albert showing Mike some of the approaches to the runways of the now defunct Newcastle and Teesside GC, his old stamping ground.

In my list of congratulations in Saturday’s blog, I forgot to mention that John Shaw has also been signed off for his Bronze C/Cross Country Endorsement in late October.  So apologies for the omission and congratulations on the achievement John.

The photos show a) pre flying fog lapping up to Sutton Bank.  b) View from W of site looking E.  c) View from N of site looking S.  d) View from just E of site looking W.





Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th November.

Thursday 11th.  A very windy, cloudy and wet day with the wind gusting over 50kts.  No flying was possible, although a couple of trailers made a half hearted attempt, fortunately without any damage.

Friday 12th.  A strong W’ly blew for most of the day and  brought in some showers in the morning, but skies cleared later.  The wind moderated to around 20 kts towards the end of the afternoon, too late to allow any flying.

Saturday 13th.  A light to moderate SW’ly provided a dry day of sunny intervals with cloud base around 2500′ to 3000′ asl.  The journey to the site was enlivened by good looking lenticulars and a number of pilots managed to contact the associated wave. There were  2 Rotax Falke flights and over 40 AT’s, 6 for a group of visiting scouts from Newcastle, with all the club fleet except the Ka8 flown and the conditions encouraged 9 private owner launches.  Dave Ashby set the wave flight ball rolling with a climb to around 12,000′ asl in the DG303 in the morning, one of 2 pilots to take the 303 to this altitude, while  Eric Preston topped out his climb in the Discus at around 11,500′ in a flight of just over 3 hours.  The private owners were not to be outdone, with Roger Burghall getting to flight level 105 in his ASW 20L before opening the brakes for a quick descent to allow Tor Tavener to take off on his first flight in the glider.    Congratulations were also to be given to Steve Ball who went to 12,000′ in his LS8 , achieving his Gold C height while Peter Goodchild’s and Andy Hatfield’s flights resulted in CFI Andy Parish signing off their Bronze C/cross country endorsements.  Congratulations Tor, Steve, Peter and Andy.  John Ellis found himself low over Skipton bridge in his Nimbus 3t,  but couldn’t get his engine started (due to a fuel line problem), but some determined scratching in weak lift saw him eventually contact good lift which took him to around 12,000′ asl and a 300 km tour around Yorkshire, with turning points at or near Burn, Darlington and Garforth.  Fred Brown, flying his Cirrus, had even more difficulties contacting the wave and eventually landed out at his old stamping ground of Dishforth.   The climb to sample the wave’s laminar flow was through significant turbulence, leading to some interesting tows and rather bumpy flights at lower levels.    Late in the day, Albert Newbery/Pauline Luty had the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 44 minutes in the DG1000, while Rob Bailey had his usual end of the day flight and climbed to around 5000′ asl solo in the DG500 before the  approaching sunset caused a return to site. With excellent visibility and good lift, the 5 Trial Lesson pupils chose a good day for their flights although late afternoon landings had to cope with a low sun.

Friday 5th to Wednesday 10th November.

Friday 5th.  A moderate SW’ly brought extensive low cloud and rain so no flying was possible.

Saturday 6th.  A very light W’lyaccompanied by sunny skies with some broken thermal lift, principally  in the afternoon, led to a busy flying day.  30 Ats were flown, all the available club gliders were flown, the exception being K21 JVZ, which was off site for its ARC.  The sunny conditions also tempted 3 private owners to launch and there were 4 flights in the Rotax Falke plus 6 Trial lesson flights.  In the bits and pieces of lift for most of the day, flight times were in the 20-30 minutes range, but T Tavener flew over an hour in the club Discus while John Marsh and Rob Bailey individually took advantage of the Ka8’s performance under weak conditions to log flight times of 44 and 53 minutes respectively.  John also clocked up the longest 2 seater flight with Colin Troise in the DG1000, 53 minutes, on the first flight of the day, helped, no doubt, by a tow to 5000′.  The day was rounded off by a very successful Bonfire night party attended around 70 people.  The fireworks were superb  and John Ellis and helper’s bonfire bothlit up the sky and kept those near it warm, with Brian’s meals doing the same to  the inner person.

Sunday 7th.  A clear blue sky welcomed aviators with initially a light NNW’ly, but the forecast orographic developed post briefing delaying  operations  off runway 02 for a little while.  Thereafter, a low attendance kept the number of launches down to 15 with only  the K21, DG1000 and Discus of the club fleet being flown plus 1 private owner launch.  Later, the still light wind went round 180 degrees, giving Tuggie Jamie some low climbs over the trees at the end of runway 02 before the launch point was changed  onto runway 24.  In addtion to the 15 ATs there were 2 flights in the Rotax Falke while for those without an engine staying up was a struggle with most flights in the range 15 – 25 minutes. However,  John Marsh was able to find sufficient lift to give one of the day’s 4 Trial Lesson pupils around 30 minutes in the air, while Rob Bailey, flying the Discus found that the ridge near Lake Gormire was a good source of weak but consistent lift that enabled him to stay up for just under an hour, mainly between 800 and 1300′ QFE.

Monday 8th.  A deep depression with its associated fronts brought overcast skies on a moderate to fresh SE’ly plus steady rain that lasted all day with around 12 mm accumulating.  Consequently, there was no flying.

Tuesday 9th.  The departing depression left the site in a moderate to fresh, cold, cloudy NNE’ly airstream with a windchill of -3C.  The morning’s cloudy skies, with accompanying rain, started to break up during the afternoon, the steady light rain replaced by heavy showers and a wind that veered into the NE so, once again, the gliders remained in the hangars.

Wednesday 10th.  A ridge of high pressure brought increasingly clear and sunny skies, though not before a light snow shower had passed over the site around 1000 hrs.   Thereafter, 19 ATs were flown from runway 24 with landings on 30, the wind being a light NW to start, later backing into the W as the first signs of Wednesday night’s depression appeared on the Western horizon.  Club gliders were the only ones to fly, the K21, DG1000, Discus, DG303 and Astir being utilised while the Rotax Falke had a single flight on a navigation exercise.  Visibility was superb, with the snow on the highest peaks of the Pennines being clearly visible.   Lift was difficult to come by for most of the day, although Mike Wood had 36 minutes in the Astir early on courtesy of a high tow.  Around 1500 hrs, the measured wind speed dropped to below 5 kts and with the windsock vertical, we had the unusual sight of up to 4 gliders maintaining around  800′ over and in front of  the main ridge in conditions described as ‘wavy’ by the pilots.   These conditions continued until sunset, allowing Rob Bailey to clock up 1:24 in the Discus and Nick Fellows to achieve a 1 hr duration leg for his Bronze C/Cross Country Endorsement badge.  Earlier in the afternoon some weak thermal activity developed, allowing George Rowden to give Trial Lesson pupil Steve Grime 22 minutes in the K21, a prelude to Steve, a commercial airline pilot with BMI out of Leeds/Bradford,  having a further 2 flights with Andy Parish.

Thursday 4th November.

Thursday 4th.  A repeat of Tuesday’s weather with a fresh to strong wind, WSW this time, extensive low cloud and patchy rain early morning.  A brighter spell late morning suggested flying might be possible but soon after lunch the cloud increased and lowered bringing a few mm of more consistent rain during the afternoon.  Temperatures were, however, exceptionally mild for November at Sutton Bank with 14C recorded.

Tuesday 2nd to Wednesday 3rd November

Tuesday 2nd.  A fresh to strong SW’ly blew all day, gusting over 35 kts and accompanied by low cloud, showers and later, longer outbreaks of rain.  The only consolation was that it was mild, but needless to say there was no flying.

Wednesday 3rd.  A fresh to strong W’ly greeted the day, the wind slowly moderating and backing into the SW as the day progressed, resulting in a good hill soaring day with accompanying wave.  21 winch launches were flown, with 4 private owners adding to the flights in the club K21s, DG1000, Astirs and Discus.  2 Trial Lesson pupils experienced hill soaring and 11 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour with the longest flight being around 5:30.  Generally cloudy skies and mobile slots prevented some pilots from climbing in the wave but for those who did, including Malcolm Winter in his Kestrel, climbs to between 10,000′ and 11,000′ asl were to be had, although progress away from Sutton was hampered by  the 70 kt winds at height.  The furthest away any one got was Darlington, the return leg being very rapid.  General cloudiness increased as the day progressed with some pilots having to descend through cloud to reach the site as all the slots had closed.  For those unable to contact the wave, the ridge provided good, consistent  lift and Ken Duxbury had 1:36 in the Astir while Bob Beck/D Wilcox had 1:18 in the K21.   An added bonus was the reopening of the A170 up Sutton Bank.

Thursday 28th October to Monday 1st November

Thursday 28th.  A gusty, moderate to fresh SW that backed into the S brought a sunny morning but increasing cloud in the afternoon with some evidence of wave.    19 ATs were flown, 17 by club gliders and 2 by private owners, but soaring conditions were not easy with only 1 pilot, David Hodgson in the Astir, breaking the 1 hour barrier with a flight of 1:07.  The aerobatic course continued with 5 flights, Paul Conlan finishing off the course with some fine aerobatics  over the main bowl as the forecast weather for Friday was poor.  4 Trial Lesson pupils were flown and there was a single Falke flight while David Hill/T Williamson took the only winch launch of the day but managed the longest 2 seater flight of 40 minutes in the K21.

Friday 29th.  The forecast poor weather for Friday duly arrived in the form of a fresh to strong SE’ly with low cloud, rain setting in late in the flying day.  Consequently the gliders stayed in  the hangar but the simulator was used for training.

Saturday 30th.  A moderate S’ly  initially veered into the SW  and generated some transient, but well defined weak wave, before decreasing and backing into the SE during the afternoon with the wave replaced by thermal conditions.  Best height for the day was around 4000′ asl.  Cloud base was initially around 1500′ QFE but increased slowly to around 2500′ QFE as the day progressed.  A group of Scouts from Beverley enjoyed the wave flying in the morning, particularly the Brocken Spectre and associated Glory on the down-sun wave clouds, described by one Scout as “really cool”. 5 Trial Lesson Pupils had either wave or thermal influenced flights.    39 ATs were flown in total off runway 20 with 5 of the flights exceeding an hour and the only private owner to launch, Heinrich Hoeth, landing out.  The DG303 returned to site after its ARC and joined the Discus, Astir and all four club  2 seaters in the air.  Mr P Mason/Mr P Whitehead flew for 1:27 in the DG1000 while Rob Bailey had 1:11 in the Discus.

Sunday 31st.  A light ENE was accompanied by overcast skies and low cloud and the cloudy conditions were maintained all day as the wind backed into the NNE and strenthened, light rain arriving in the evening.  No flying was therefore possible.

Monday 1st November.  Clear conditions and a light N’ly flow promised a reasonable day’s flying, but cumulus with significant vertical development soon started to cover the sky, the cloud base being  only 500′ QFE to start.  The combination of the low cloud base and low attendance meant that only 4 ATs were flown, the wind soon strengthening from the S.  Only one of the K21s was flown, with Ian Plant/A McCluske having 18 minutes, while the first pilot to take advantage of free single seater flying for the first 30 minutes over the winter, didn’t reap the financial benefit as the result of the  undercarriage retracting on touchdown, thus earning himself a £25 fine.