Archive for January, 2011

Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th January

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Thursday 27th.   A sprinkling of snow on the ground greeted early arrivals as a cool but light E’ly brought in a lot of low cloud during the morning preventing any flying,  The opportunity was therefore taken to derig the DG500 in preparation for its forthcoming annual inspection.  Brighter weather after lunch saw flying commence around 1430 hrs and 7 ATs were eventually flown in the DG1000, K21 and Discus.  Lift was hard to find so that average flight times were around 15 minutes  but Andy Parish/P Jones had 19 minutes off a 3000′ tow and Rob Bailey 27  minutes in the Discus off a slightly higher tow.

Friday 28th.  The light E’ly flow continued but as the cloud was more broken with a higher  base, flying commenced around 1020 hrs.  10 ATs were flown in the DG1000, DG303 and Astir  with the first flight of the day in the DG303 extending to 45 minutes, helped by bits of weak wave but bolstered by a tow to 5100′.    The bits of weak wave meant average flight times were of the order of 20 - 30 minutes but Andy Parish/Neil Thorne bucked the trend by having 40 minutes in the DG1000, albeit  again helped by a higher than normal tow.

Saturday 29th.  The weak flow had gone into the N and initially, with virtually calm conditions, operations commenced off runway 24 with landings on 20.  The wind freshened slightly after lunch so operations were switched to runway 02.  A group of 8 Scouts and 2 Scouters from the 2nd Herington Troop near Sunderland were flown, although some had truncated flights due to extensive patches of cloud at 1600′ QFE that came and went during the day and restricted launch heights.  A period of completely blue sky late morning allowed higher tows while the sun generated snow covered glider shapes in the shade of the parked DG1000 and Astir.  In addition to the 10 Scout based flights in the K21s, a further 18 ATs were flown in the K21s, Astir, DG303 and DG500, the latter glider being rerigged to help cope with normal club flying and 5 Trial Lesson Pupils.   Lift was again hard to find, although an occasional 0.5 kt up made an appearance.  Consequently, flight times were in the 15-20 minute range, with Jon May managing 19 minutes in the Astir and Roger Burghall with his Trial Lesson pupil Mr Walton, 24 minutes in  the DG500.  With the temperature struggling to get above freezing,  rattingly good landings were the order of the day on the frozen grass runways.

Saturday 22nd to Wednesday 26th January

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Saturday 22nd.   An anticyclonic  light to  moderate N’ly brought in substantial low cloud with cloud base at times down to 500′ QFE, delaying the start of flying until midday.  The  obviously wavy sky proved very tempting, so Roger Burghall eventually took an AT off runway 02 solo in the K21 releasing at 1600′ QFE in a wave slot.  He then proceeded to climb to 4600′ QFE before closing slots persuaded him to descend, the descent through the first available slot bringing him out downwind of the site, resulting in an somewhat anxious upwind final glide back to site after 32 minutes in the air.  Undeterred, Andy Parish and Des Fay took an AT to 3000′ QFE in the DG500 before climbing to 6000′ QFE.  Again extensive lower cloud led to a descent and landing after 38 minutes, Andy reporting that finding usefully located, open slots in the cloud deck was challenging.  Andy and Des’s flight turned out to be the last of the day as the cloud increased in extent and decreased  in base.  Roger meanwhile prepared himself for his lecture on Principles of Flight later in the day which preceded a successful  Burn’s Night celebration organised by Ann Silver, although Ann’s organisational skills decreased as the “wee drams” took their toll.

Sunday 23rd. Cloud conditions were intially improved compared to Saturday and with similar wind conditions, flying started just after 1000 am.    Use was again made of transient gaps in the cloud sheet with  5 ATs flown off runway 02 before more low cloud and rain brought flying to a halt in the early afternoon, the last flight having to be aborted after take off.  4 of the flights were with Trial Lesson pupils and flight times were typically around 20 minutes.  With no other flying possible, John Marsh took John Shaw for some useful winch launch failure training on the simulator.

Monday 24th.    A decreasing NW’ly that backed into the WNW as the day progressed saw flying commence around midday, with one of the K21’s and the Discus flown.  Flight times were typically around 15-20 minutes with Malcolm Winter/Ian Bullous having 20 minutes in the K21.  Rob Bailey launched around 3 pm in the Discus and proceded to contact wave, returning to land  1:41 later, an hour after everyone else.  A rendition of “Won’t you come home, Rob Bailey” probably represented the feelings of those waiting to complete the packing of the hangar.

Tuesday 25th.  A very light NW’ly allowed 9 ATs off runway 24, but did not produce any soaring conditions for either the K21 or the Astir.  Consequently, flight times were typically 10-15 minutes.  New member Neil Thorne took advantage of the benign conditions to continue his gliding instruction while another new member, Diane Thomas started hers.  Astir EBM was taken down the hill to North Yorkshire Sailplanes for its annual inspection. 

Wednesday 26th.  A westward travelling front brought occasional rain and low cloud in the morning, the passage of the front bringing a marked wind change from N’ly to ENE’ly around midday.  Conditions improved thereafter, but not sufficiently to allow any flying.

Wednesday 19th to Friday 21st January

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Wednesday 19th.  The dominating high pressure continued to provide light winds from the NNW and sunny skies, ideal for  maintaining or re-establishing currency.  8 ATs were flown off runway 02 with the K21 and Discus flown.  Flight times in the smooth, but essentially stable air, were generally in the 15-20 minutes range, this being typified by David Campbell/Dennis Altoft’s flight in the K21 of 17 minutes.  Rob Bailey, flying the Discus, found something or other to arrest his sink rate off a tow to 3000′ and managed 30 minutes, while John Tayler and Andy Parish separately brushed up their aerobatic sequences in the K21 in preparation for a trip south in late March/early April to try their hand in a aerobatic competition at Dunstable.

Thursday 20th.  The N’ly wind was now even lighter and operations off runway 02 generated 16 ATs, utilising one of the  K21s, the Discus and the Astir.  Flight times were  generally  in the 15- 20 minute range again, but pilots enjoyed the gin clear visibility (but not the gin) that enabled the Pennines to be seen in great detail.  Tor Tavener flew the Discus for 26 minutes off a 3100′ tow and Andy Parish and Mike Smith had 18 minutes in the K21.

Friday 21st .  The N’ly wind had now dropped to even lower levels and although the air temperature was just above freezing the sunny conditions provided a very pleasant day on the airfield.  12 ATs were flown off runway 02 including a trial lesson pupil, with flights by the club’s K21, DG303 and Astir being complemented by private owner flights by John Ellis in his Nimbus 3T and Les Rayment/David Ryall in their Ventus T, all three of whom were doing engine tests. Les and David’s Ventus looked very shiny having just completed its ARC.    John’s engine test was so successful that he went sightseeing up to Hawes and  back in a flight of 1:48, the clear and calm conditions enabling him to have what he described as a “gawping flight” whispering along at min sink speeds admiring the view, especially the fog filled valleys on the eastern side of the Pennines.  Meanwhile, back at Sutton, David Hodgson had 26 minutes in the DG303 off a 3500′ tow and also 23 minutes in the K21 with Trial Lesson pupil Howard Glen.  Most pilots reported areas of reduced sink and there was even a patch of zero sink/0.5 kt lift to be found just north of Gormire Lake.  The club welcomed new member Phil Jones, a PPL holder, who has joined with the intention of becoming both a competent glider and tug pilot and who commenced his training in first the Super Cub and then with 2 flights in the K21.   At the end of the day the departing members were treated to a very spectacular and prolonged sun set, but as I didn’t have my camera with me, you will have to take my word for it.

Saturday 15th to Tuesday 18th January

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Saturday 15th.  A wet and cloudy, moderate S’ly flow persisted all day so there was no flying.

Sunday 16th.  The wind had gone into the SW and increased to strong at the  beginning of the day.   This, coupled with overcast skies and occasional rain kept the gliders in the  hangar with improving conditions arriving too late to allow any flying except on the simulator. 

Monday 17th.  A light SE’ly slowly veered into the SW by the end of the day, but the overcast skies cleared too late to allow any flying to take place.

Tuesday 18th.   Hooray, a flying day under blue skies and a light NWly that went into the west by afternoon before returning into the NW.   The first task of the day following briefing was to rig the DG1000, recently returned from its ARC, with its subsequent test flight by Albert Newbery/David Lynch.  There was much discussion over the newly published tail ballast weight tables which seemed to indicate a reduction in the number of weights required for normal flying.  This apart, the day progressed smoothly, with 22 ATs off runway 24 and landings, given the light winds, on 20, 24 and 30.  The benign flying conditions tempted Mike Wood to get the T21 out of the hangar and after a tow to 2500′, a gentle descent ensued to a low level investigation of non existent hill lift in the main bowl in the company of George Rowden.  The development of some cloud by early afternoon coincided with the hill starting to work, so average flight times improved to around 30 minutes, with solo pilots taking advantage of the first 30 minutes of single seater flying free.  A number of pilots just enjoyed staying up in the air hang the expense, with Duncan Pask in the Ka8 having 59 minutes by utilising the hill lift, just beating Rob Bailey’s 57 minutes in the Discus which was based partly on weak wave forward of the ridge.  Albert Newbery/Pauline Luty topped the 2 seater endurance list with a flight of 26 minutes.  A feature of the day was the availability of  free chocolates in the office, although David Hill didn’t demonstrate very good eye/hand coordination skills when attempting to get one, as he knocked the tin off the counter, depositing the chocolates all over the office floor much to the delight of Harry Clark’s dog.  The rapid reactions of those glider pilots in the office was then demonstrated by the following score.  Glider pilots 10, disappointed dog nil.  For those concerned about hygiene, I should mention the chocolates were individually wrapped.

Friday 7th to Friday 14th January

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Friday 7th.  An advancing depression provided a morning of light snow in a cloudy S’ly airstream, the temperature slowly climbing above zero as the warmer Atlantic air pushed north.  The moist conditions kept the site in cloud all day and the hangar doors shut.

Saturday 8th.  Low cloud in a light NW’ly meant a delayed start, but a drying airmass saw flying start at around lunch time and continue until the light started to fade around 1600 hours.  14 ATs were flown utilising the club’s available 2 seaters plus the Discus and the DG303 and Dave Latimer made the first private owner flight of the year in his Ventus.  During the day  the wind backed slowly into the WSW withlift provided bothfrom the hill and wave, although the latter proved a little fickle.  The hill lift was somewhat more consistent with heights of 800′ to 1000′ being maintained.  Colin Troise, flying the Discus took a high tow and contacted 1kt of wave at around 3300′ QFE, eventually climbing to 5000′ QFE, the best climb rate being a brief spell of 3 kts.  Colin had the longest flight of the day, 1:52, one of 3 flights to exceed an hour, with Dave Latimer managing 1:04 in his Ventus off the lowest tow of the day, 1000′ QFE.  John Marsh/Duncan Pask were the other pilots to exceed an hour in the air, having 1:04 in the K21.    Kelly Teagle made a welcome return to gliding following the birth of her son.  There was a single Trial Lesson pupil.  A goodly crowd stayed on site for John Marsh’s lecture on Air Law and Airmanship with the accompanying Steak pie supper from Brian being greatly appreciated.

Sunday 9th.  The light to moderate wind had stayed in the W and with clear skies, flying commenced around 1030 hours off runway 24.  8 ATs were flown before the increasing wind strength caused a change to winching with a further 10 launches flown, the wind then decreasing in strength with the final flight of the day reverting to AT to give a days total of 19 launches.  The available 2 seaters plus the Discus and the DG303 were flown and Ben Dawson/S Richardson,  winter visitors from Pocklington, flew their SB5E.  With hill lift available but even more fickle wave than on Saturday, most pilots managed a least 30 minutes in the air, and 2 flights exceeded and hour, Eric Preston having exactly that from his AT in the morning and the Kiely’s also managing an hour in  the K21 off their winch launch in the afternoon.  3 Trial Lesson pupils were also flown. 

Monday 10th.  A moderate to fresh SSE’ly brought in extensive low cloud and periods of rain so no flying was possible.

Tuesday 11th.  A strong N’ly with gusts over 35 kts slowly decreased over the day, but the strong wind plus the low cloud precluded any flying.  However, 2 pilots took the opportunity to keep maintain their skills on the simulator.

Wednesday 12th.  Another non flying day as a cloudy SE’ly flow slowly veered into the SW over the day as some very mild Atlantic air made progress northwards keeping  the site in cloud.

Thursday 13th.  A moderate to fresh W’ly airstream was initially accompanied by low cloud, but cloud base increased sufficiently by around midday to allow winching off runway 24 to commence.  10 flights were accomplished by the end of flying at around 1600 hrs, with3 flights exceeding an hour, courtesy of good hill lift and some wave.  Most flights were in excess of 30 minutes, with Dick Cole having 1:29 solo in the K21 and Andy Parish/John Carter having the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 46 minutes in the DG500.    Winch driver David Lynch took the decision to gullotine the cable as the Discus flown by David Hill overflew the winch, the cable and parachute then dropping all around the winch.  David Hill meanwhile, unaware of the mayhem on the ground. proceeded to have a flight of 1:21 in which he contacted wave towards Northallerton and eventually climbed to 8000′ QNH. 

Friday 14th.  The moderate to fresh W’ly flow continued and with skies slowly clearing as the day progressed, another good day’s hill soaring was enjoyed.  13 winch launches were flown off runway 24, with pilots reporting choppy conditions aloft, variometers rapidly moving from 4-6 kts up to even greater values of down.  Colin Troise led the way in the Discus with a flight of 1:25 while Les Rayment and Chris Thirkell  had 1:08 in the K21.  Height gains were more limited than on Thursday, with the greatest height reported being 1600′ QFE.

Tuesday 4th to Thursday 6th January

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Tuesday 4th.  A light to moderate SW’ly brought in cloudy, overcast skies and light snow overnight.  The low cloud-base precluded flying.

Wednesday 5th.  A moderate, moist, S’ly airstream kept the site in cloud all day so there was no flying.

Thursday 6th.  A light NW brought in brightening skies as a front moved south and operations commenced off runway 24.  The first K21 flight of the day, with David Campbell and Mike Smith, led to an aborted take off due to canopy misting, but they managed to launch at the second attempt.  Andy Parish and Alan Dowd followed this in what turned out to be the third, final and longest flight of the day, 23 minutes, as much cloudier skies moved down from the N and the wind freshened from the NNE.  Anticipating a return to clearer skies, the launch point was moved onto runway 02 and lunch taken, but the cloudiness persisted accompanied by light showers and by mid afternoon the decision was taken to terminate flying for the day.

The good news is that the engine check on the Falke has revealed no damage, but an airframe check and a propellor are required before it can fly again.

Thursday 30th of December 2010 to Monday 3rd January 2011

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Thursday 30th to Saturday 1st.  The foggy conditions of the previous period continued into New Year’s Eve, the low stratus producing light rain at times and preventing any flying.  A weak cold front moving south brought in some colder air on New Year’s day as well as some occasional sleet over the site so again no flying was possible.

Sunday 2nd.  A light NNW’ly and extensive medium level cover with the temperature around freezing saw the hangar doors open and the gliders and tugs out for the first flying day of 2011.  Nick Gaunt did the gliding equivalent of first footing by taking  the first flight of the year solo in the K21, the first of 6 ATs of the day off runway 02.  There was even a Trial Lesson pupil.  Flight times were generally in the 15-20  minute range but Rob Bailey, flying the club Discus, had 30 minutes off a 3000′ tow.  The real excitement of the day was provided and experienced by John Ellis when the Super Cub’s engine stopped when returning from an AT.  However, John was in flying or should that be gliding distance of the site and  a safe landing was made.

Monday 3rd.  The day started under a medium level overcast with a light W’ly blowing and soon the launch point and hangar apron were busy with eager pilots as the skies brightened.

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The  first of the day’s 12 AT’s took off from runway 24, a check flght for John Shaw in the K21 with John Marsh.  As well as K21 flights, the club Discus and DG303 were also flown, with the wind slowly strengthening and backing into the SW resulting in improved soaring conditions in the afternoon.  Early flights reported an area of reduced and zero sink over Bagby and similar conditions in the main bowl at around 600′ QFE,  while the hard frozen ground produced landing ground runs that were best described by the words of the song, “A whole lot a shakin’ goin’ on.”    Flight times gradually improved as the day progressed, climbing from 20 minutes to 45 minutes to eventually 1:39 by Rob Bailey in the Discus, the majority of his flight being hill soaring in the main bowl.  He was accompanied for the later part of the flight by a lone Parapente.   John Marsh took the last flight of the day solo in the K21 and had 43 minutes while Fred Brown and John Tayler separately decided to dispense with staying up and concentrate on coming down via a series of aerobatic maneuvers.  John Shaw, post check flight, went for his first flight in the club DG303, surrounded by a crowd of well wishers, whose happy disposition reflected their joy at being able to glide again after a long layoff due to the weather, in spite of the cold.

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My previous comments about the Yorkshire GC turning into  the Yorkshire Flying Club must have been reported widely among  light aircraft owners for we had 3 visiting aircraft land during the day and at one point we had the DG303 and  the tug landing and 2 of the visitors taking off from runway 20, much to the interest of the steady stream of walkers along the cliff side path.

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