Archive for December, 2010

Friday 24th to Wednesday 29th December.

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Friday 24th to Wednesday 29th.   The clear and very cold weather continued until Sunday 26th  with the temperature dropping to -7C on Saturday night and the Vale of York becoming increasingly foggy in the light and variable winds.  Warmer air spread in from the SW on  Monday to start  a slow thaw, this being aided by rain which replaced the snow fall as Monday progressed.  The site was then left in a warmer but damp SE’ly airstream that was accompanied by extensive cloud and very murky conditions indeed, the temperature peaking at +7C on Wednesday.   Two strips of wet tarmac have now appeared on the access road off the A170 although the club road and car park are still icy and wet.   The conditions over the period have not been conducive to gliding and thoughts of continuing to make use of the Falke to get some air time were dashed following a propellor strike on landing on Thursday 24th.  An engine inspection is scheduled for the first week of January so here’s hoping for some good news to start the New Year.

Sunday 19th to Thursday 23rd December.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Sunday 19th to Thursday 23rd.  A cold but light wind from a N’ly quarter characterised this period and, with temperatures remaining below freezing at all times, there was no thaw of the lying snow and the access road from the A170 remained icy.  Overall, the period remained dry although a few light snow showers on Wednesday and Thursday did add about a cm of new snow but  not enough to make the airfield  unflyable.  Tuesday the 21st  and Wednesday 22nd saw the Rotax Falke utilised for a variety of tasks, NPPL training, circuit training and just local sightseeing, with the majority of the flying on Tuesday when there were 6 Falke flights plus another one on Wednesday.  A visit to the club on Thursday found the site experiencing light snow showers and a  low cloud base in a light NNW’ly but, with the no one about, the visit was short.   Since the end of November, the number of Flake flights has greatly exceeded the number of glider flights and consequently, a change of name to the Yorkshire Flying Club beckons to avoid an investigation under the Trades Description Act.

Happy Christmas and best wishes for a speedy return to gliding to you all.

Sunday 12th to Saturday 18th December.

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Sunday 12th.  A light to moderate NNW’ly  brought in a low cloud and drizzle, so no flying was possible, although even if the weather had been drier and the cloud base higher, flying was doubtful due the the depth of the snow patches on runway 02.   John Marsh, never to be inactive, cleared the car park of most of the snow.

Monday 13th.  The light to moderate NNW’ly  continued to blow and with temperatures remaining just above freezing, the thaw continued but a lack of members meant there was no flying.

Tuesday 14th.  A dull and wet day with the wind veering from the NW into the NE and the temperature rising to 5C.  The snow had now virtually disappeared off  the site although the access road was still covered with a couple of inches of hard packed, wet and slippery ice.  The opportunity was taken to transfer the DG1000  into the workshop for a thorough clean before its trip down the hill for its ARC.

Wednesday 15th.  A decreasing N’ly wind and sunny intervals saw the Falke out of the hangar and 3 Falke flights undertaken.  The cleaning of the DG1000 was also accomplished and it was then transferred back into its trailer.

Thursday 16th.  A morning of horizontal sleet in a strong N’ly turned to afternoon snow as the temperature fell from +0.8C to -3C in about an hour, the result of an active cold front moving south.  The amount of snow was sufficient to return the airfield to its winter white, but did not lead to problems of access or movement, with Andy Parish trailering the DG1000 down the hill.  The below freezing temperatures did however stop the melting of the packed ice on the access road and the combination of low temperatures and strong wind led to a wind chill of -14C at sunset.

Friday 17th.  A moderate NW’ly  that decreased in strength and backed into the W as the day progressed allowed 4 Falke flights off the lightly snow covered and frozen runways.  The opportunity was also taken to visit Bagby by car to fly out the Super Cub after its cracked cylinder had been replaced following its discovery at the Cub’s regular maintenance check.   Attempts to start the Super Cub were initiallyfrustrated by the cold temperatures and problems with the magnetos, so Albert Newbery was left at Bagby with the car and driver returning to site.  Continuing problems in starting the Super Cub then resulting in Albert getting a lift back to site in a new light aircraft from Bagby its owner wanted to fly.  However, at about 1530 hrs Bagby called up to say the problem with the Super Cub  had been sorted, so Albert was flown back to Bagby in the Falke and succeeded in flying the Super Cub back to Sutton before darkness descended. 

Saturday 18th.   The wind had gone into the ESE overnight with the temperature remaining well below freezing.  With no new snow, access to the club was straightforward, although care was  needed on the icy access road off the A170.    With a still frozen airfield and sunny skies, flying was possible but with too few members turning up, flying was limited to a single test flight in the Super Cub with Albert Newbery as P1 and George Rowden sitting in the back.   Flying conditions were very pleasant and, after take off from runway 20, a good view of the site was obtained.

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A visit to Carlton Bank then followed, the Hangar and club house still visible on the now abandoned site of the Newcastle and Teesside GC.

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The flight back to Sutton gave some good views of industrial Teesside, Teesmouth and the North Sea to the north and east

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and the snow covered North Yorks Moors to the South  and West, with the Bilsdale TV mast clearly visible.

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A return to Sutton preceded  an arrival at the local flying club at  Bagby to report on the engine and pick up some oil.

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This was followed by a return to Sutton over the still visible, snow covered and therefore even whiter, White Horse for a landing on 02 into the decreasing wind.

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While our intrepid aviators had been away, an unsuccessful attempt was made to start up one of the Pawnees.  With the Super Cub back on site, and no demand for flying, the tugs and  Falke  were returned to the hangars and, after lunch, the few members who had turned up left site.  The lack of members was somewhat surprising as the conditions on both the ground and in the air provided an ideal opportunity to maintain currency.

Wednesday 8th to Saturday 11th December

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Wednesday 8th.  A strong and cold N’ly blew, keeping the temperature at -2C and blowing the snow around.  No flying was possible.

Thursday 9th.  The wind had died to a light NW and a slow thaw had started as the temperature climbed to the dizzy heights of 3C.    However,  the  thick snow on the airfield prevented any flying.

Friday 10th.  With pressure peaking at around 1027 mb as the  centre of the high started to move away, the winds remained light from the WNW and the  thaw accelerated as the temperature reached 6C.  A couple of private owners took the opportunity to move their trailers off site, but Rob Bailey had some difficulty moving his, even getting Andy Parish’s Land Rover stuck at one point.

Saturday 11th.  A call to arms resulted in a number of members turning up at the club, including Chris and Kelly Teagle with 1 month old Elliott, although he appeared reluctant to pick up a shovel, as the following photo shows.

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The first task of the day was clearing the deep but fast melting snow outside the hangars using the bucket equipped tractor.  While this was going on,  K21 KLW was rigged and, with the hangar apron cleared, one of the Pawnees was wheeled out and started up with the airfield starting to turn green.

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Les Rayment then aerotowed KLW for a test flight by Andy Parish with George Rowden acting as observer.  After a series of stalls, loops, chandelles and inverted flying, the K21 was declared well and truly tested and landed on runway 20, the wind being very light from the WNW.  This was the first of the day’s 4 flights, Fred Brown having a solo aerobatic flight, Roger Burghall having a flight with Andy Parish as part of his instructor renewal, and Dick Cole taking Howard Marshall for the third aerobatic flight of the day. 

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The view from aloft was very picturesque, with the Vales of York and Pickering still snow covered but the Pennines to the west snow free, a reminder of the very cold temperatures that were experienced in the Vales and the limited westward extent of the major snowfall.  The North Yorks Moors to the NE of the site were still completely white with a deep covering of snow, contrasting with the area around Sutton Bank which was very patchily covered.

Howard and David Lynch had earlier moved their trailer off site and the opportunity was also taken to derig the club DG1000 and put it in its trailer prior to its journey down the hill for its ARC.  Derigging club gliders always leads to a great deal of  discussion as the next photo shows.

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With the ground still frozen,  the melt water is currently pooling on the surface so if you are coming to the club, put on some waterproof shoes or preferably boots.

Sunday 5th to Tuesday 7th December.

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Sunday 5th.     A light and variable wind greeted the day but with temperatures remaining at around -2C all day, in spite of the wind going into the warmer W, there was no thaw and the snow bound airfield meant no flying.  It was however very much warmer at site overnight than at the bottom of the hill, as a temperature of around -18C was reported from nearby Topcliffe.

Monday 6th.  A clear and  sunny day with the temperature almost reaching 0C and a light wind from the W that slowly backed into the SW.  No improvement in airfield conditions, however, meant no flying.

Tuesday 7th.  An abrupt change in wind direction in the early hours from SW to N’ly, heralded the  passage of the front that had caused so much chaos in lowland Scotland during the previous evening.  However, the front had weakened by the time it crossed the site and there was no significant additional snow fall.  The day time temperature remained below freezing, but on my arrival at site, and parking in the partially cleared car park, I found Brian mopping out the foyer and the understairs storage area as water seeped down the internal wall of the spiral staircase.  An on-roof inspection by  Chairman Graham Evison and Andy Parish revealed that water was overflowing one of the cold water storage tanks onto the roof due to a faulty ball valve.  The water was then accumulating on the roof as the hopper collecting the water draining from the roof was a block of ice.   Attempts to unfreeze the hopper proved unsuccessful, so with the faulty ball valve sorted, Andy and the writer spent a little time engaged in the novel pastime of bailing out the roof.   Completion of this task coincided with the arrival on site of K21 KLW in its trailer, courtesy of Derek Taylor, after its recent ARC.  After parking and securing the trailer in front of the hangars, Derek trailered Jamie Quartermain’s ASW 27 off site for its ARC, although  Andy’s Land Rover was required to get the trailer through the thick snow in the trailer park to Derek’s car at the entrance to the club road.

Saturday 4th December

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Saturday 4th.   A light wind from the SW allowed the temperature to creep above zero for the first time since the 24th of November, in spite of the skies remaining cloudy all day.  Andy reported that a few stalwarts turned up at the club, including Robin, Fred and Brian, while the local farmer, who was continuing to plough the access road from the A170 with his tractor, was persuaded to take a little diversion.  So now the club road and the area in front of the hangars is clear of the worst of the snow.  So if you want to visit you can at least get to the club and turn around.  You may even want to help with more snow clearance work.  Don’t worry if you can’t get up to the club until later in the week, there is plenty of snow for everyone!

Saturday 27th November to Friday 3rd December

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Saturday 27th.  The frequent  snow showers and the state of the airfield prevented any flying but an intrepid band managed to transfer the derigged and now nicely cleaned and hard waxed K21 KLW into its trailer ready for its transfer downhill to North Yorkshire Sailplanes (NYS) for its ARC.

Sunday 28th.  A repeat of Saturday’s weather and airfield conditions meant no flying, but Derek Taylor managed to pick up and trailer K21 KLW to NYS before the weather turned even nastier.

Monday 29th Nov to Thursday 2ndDec.   The snow showers continued in a biting wind that went into the ENE and strengthened during Monday into Tuesday, causing significant drifting, so that access to the club was not possible.

Friday 3rd.   A light NNE’ly and sunny skies greeted  Friday morning, albeit with very low temperatures (-14C at home), so after a few local errands I set off for the club late morning.  The A170 from Thirsk up Sutton Bank was virtually clear of snow and the temperature rose from -9C in Thirsk to a relatively balmy -3C as I passed the Visitor Centre, the car park of which had been cleared of snow.    The access road to the club had been ploughed, through some quite deep drifts approaching the sharp right hander, as the following photo shows.

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Arriving at the turn onto the club road, the depth of snow  made the decision to back up the access road a no brainer, as the following  photo shows, although a tractor had obviously been in towards the trailer park.

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A long reverse to a previously spotted, partially ploughed patch off the access road near the sharp right hander, followed by a bit of judicious shovelling, saw the car safely reversed into a little lay by, and with wellies on, a trek back to the club followed.   The only signs of previous visitors were the previously spotted tractor tracks towards the trailer park and ski tracks along the club access road to the club hangars, the  average snow depth being 12-18″. While the snow was still deep  in front of the hangars, there were no large snow drifts there.  There were, however,  significant drifts around the corner towards the main entrance and around the back of the buildings.  The following photos show the general scene, including a nice ice sculpture down the outside of the simulator room.   Somewhat alarmingly, the right hand end panel of the doors of the barrel roofed hangar was found to be partially open.

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 After having taken the above pictures and with no one else on site, I set off to return to the car but then met Andy who had dropped off Josephine at the front door and was proceeding into the car park in his Land Rover, using low ratio 4 wheel drive.   After transferring some boxes into the office from the Land Rover,  Andy set to to start clearing snow from the approach to the back entrance to the club house, a mammoth task as the following photo shows.

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Meanwhile, Josephine set-to to wade through a plethora of emails, while I phoned up the weekend’s Trial Lesson pupils to tell them that no flying was going to be possible.  After a coffee, Andy and I started the Red Tractor in an attempt to attach the hydraulic bucket to start the clearence of snow at the entrance to the club road, to at least provide a turning area for member’s cars.  However, the attachment of the bucket to the tractor proved impossible, as the arms of the bucket had been left in a lowered position, and more man power than available from the two of us was required to raise the arms sufficiently to allow connection to the tractor.   Andy will probably be trying to drum up more man power sometime in the near future to do some snow clearing along the lines suggested by Chairman Graham in his recent news letter.

I then left Andy and Josephine to complete their many tasks, and returned to my car, where a little digging was required to get out of my temporary lay by, onto the access road and thence home.

Saturday 27th of November to Thursday 2nd December

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

The lack of any news from the YGC is mainly due to the heavy falls of snow which have continued virtually every day since my last blog and which have cut off the site from the outside world.  Josephine made an attempt to get to the club yesterday, Wednesday 1st, and while managing to get up Sutton Bank on the snow ploughed  A170, could find nowhere to park off road.  She and Andy Parish will be making another attempt tomorrow, Friday, in Andy’s Land Rover and I will also be carrying out a reconnoitre.  If they do get through, they will be informing members of the situation by email,  but if not, watch this space for further news.  It might also contain some pretty pictures depending how I get on.