Archive for March, 2011

Wednesday 23rd to Monday 28th March

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Wednesday 23rd.  With the high pressure well in charge, 1039 mb atsite, the dry, sunny weather continued, with thermic conditions from about lunch time.  The initially light NE’ly veered into the SW by noon and became W’ly by late afternoon, strengthening slightly.  21 ATswere flown with 12 flights exceeding an hour, the Bannerdown visitors taking full advantage of the conditions with  Mr Woods having the longest single seater flight of the day, 3:10 in  their Discus, one of 4 private owner/visitor launches  and Tony Gee/Mr Whittaker having the longest 2 seaterflight, 1:15 in the YGC DG1000.  YGC members were also busy, with all the available club single seaters flown, plus 2 of the 2 seaters, the single seaterfleet being back to full strengthwith the return of Astir KRN from its ARC.  David Lynch had 2:02 in the Ka8 and Rob Bailey 2:40 in the Discus.  In addition there were 3 Falke flights.

Thursday 24th.   The high had declined a little but conditions remained similar to Wednesday, the wind now a light SW.  14 ATs were flown, 5 by private owners/visiting single seaters and the rest by the club’s K21s, DG1000, Astirs and Discus while  the Rotax Falke had 3 sorties.   The Bannerdown visitors continued to make the most of the thermic conditions with G Baker having 3:40 in their LS8 and Tony Gee taking past YGC  member Alex Robertson for 1:07 in the DG1000.  Rob Bailey continued to amass solo hours with another 3:14 in the Discus and 3 Trial Lesson pupils were flown.

Friday 25th.  A sunny day with a light N’ly to start, this slowly veering into the E, saw 11 ATs flown, the soaring conditions being a little more difficult than the previous days and horizontal visibility increasingly poor.  In spite of these difficulties, 5 of the flights exceeded an hour, G Baker again topping the endurance stakes with a flight of 3:01 in the Bannerdown LS8.  Club gliding utilised the DG1000, Discus and Astir with 4 launches by private owners/visitor’s single seaters.   Rob Bailey released from tow at 800′ QFE  in the Discus into what he thought was a good thermal only to find that it wasn’t and entered the record books for the shortest flight of the day, 6 minutes.  He then redeemed himself with a later flight of 1:26 in the same glider.   Lindsay McLane did his spin checks with Andy Parish in the DG1000 and there were 3 Falke flights.

Saturday 26th.  A low base overcast in a light flow from an E’ly quadrant saw flying confined to 3 Falke flights  and the simulator in action.  At least the horizontal visibility had greatly improved. 

Sunday 27th.  A depressing start with the site in cloud and rain gave way to a flyable afternoon in a light mainly S’ly flow.  18 ATs were flown as well as 3 Falke sorties, with 4 members doing their winter spin checks in the DG1000, one of the K21s and the Astir also being flown.  The only private owner launch of the day saw Matthew Woodhouse have 34 minutes in his Open Cirrus this only being bettered by Andy Hatfield who had 37 minutes in the Astir.  Rob Bottomley took his Trial Lesson pupil Mr Henley, one of the 2 of the day, for 27 minutes in the K21.

Monday 28th.   High pressure was again in charge with the result that horizontal visibility was again poor and the morning started with low cloud encroaching from the NE in a light and variable wind.  With the wind forecast to go into the S/SE and freshen, operations started off on runway 24 with landings on 20 and the first flight of the day saw David Cambell/George Rowden off in the Falke for the latter’s annual field landing refresher.  Thereafter, 26 ATs were flown with the K21’s, DG1000, Astir, Ka8 and DG303 busy with 7 visitors from the Cambridge University GC and 4 members of Paul Conran’s aerobatic course.  Soaring conditions developed by around lunch time and cloud base eventually rose to around 3500′ asl withstrong climbs being tricky to find under the extensive cover that developed.  Rob Bailey found lift on the upwind face of a couple of clouds, climbing above cloud base to 4000′ in his flight of 1:44 in the Discus, with 3 other flights being just under an hour, one of these being John Marsh’s flight with Mr Bell in the DG1000 of 53 minutes.  Cambridge students John Shaw and Graham Spellman were checked out for solo flying, John going aloft in the K21 solo and Graham in the Ka8.    Meanwhile the aerobatic course members found sufficient holes to fly their aerobatic routines and then during the cloudier parts of the day, analysed their flying via the cam corder that was fitted to the inside of the canopy of the K21.

Sunday 20th to Tuesday 22nd March

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Sunday 20th.  A light to moderate SW’ly brought in cloudy skies with a low base.  Flying was restricted to 9 ATs, many of which terminated at around 1000′ QFE due to the cloud,  3 flights in the Falke and a single simulator sortie, John Marsh tutoring Mark Walton on aerotowing.  Only 1 of the booked Trial Lessons flew, courtesy of Nick Gaunt,  the rest being postponed due to the weather.  John Marsh had a bus man’s holiday with the longest flight of the day, 1:08 solo in the K21, keeping both out of cloud and also a wary eye on a number of Paragliders who were sharing the ridge. John’s wary eye was then joined by that of  Colin Troise who joined the ridge party in the DG1000 for a further 1:05.    A VIP from RAF Linton on Ouse visited the club with his family and had a flight in the Falke and the DG1000.  The longest 2 seater flight of the day saw John Marsh (who else) & Bryn Evans have 32 minutes in the K21.

 Monday 21st.  A light W’ly, insufficient for winching, and blue skies tempted 17 aviators, 6 in private gliders and the balance in the club’s K21s and Discus including a single Trial Lesson pupil.  Convection started late morning and 8 of  the flights exceeded an hour.  However, the convection was of a moderate variety so everyone stayed local.  Rob Bailey occupied his usual place in the Discus for 2:17 and Ian Plant, welcomed back as our summer tuggie, flew with Lee Grinford in the K21 for 1:09.  Bill Payton flew with Robin in the T21 for 1:37 and John Ellis contacted some very weak wave that allowed him to maintain 3000′ for a spell.

Tuesday 22nd.  The high pressure had intensified providing moderate visibility but blue skies and a light W’ly.  ATing was again the order of the day off runway 24, with landings on either 24 or 20 and in all 27 ATs were flown.  Cu were visible to the south, over the Moors to the east and over the Pennines to the west from mid morning, but the area around the club remained stubbornly blue, and most pilots found staying up difficult.  George Rowden flying his LS8T found some weak and choppy wave over the A19 south of  Thirsk but this eventually disappeared resulting in a return to site after 45 minutes.  Between 1 and 2 pm, Cu started to form over and in the vicinity of the site and a number of gliders launched only for the skies to overconvect, with more general cloud coming down from the N as the afternoon progressed, the wind slowly veering into the N.  All the available club gliders were flown with the exception of the DG1000, there were 13 private owner launches and 3 flights in the Falke.  5 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour with Rob Bailey abandoning the Discus for the DG303 but still managing the longest flight of the day, 1:53.  Paul and Polly Whitehead had 53 minutes in the K21 while Mike Wood had 1:12 solo in the T21. The rapidly changing conditions  resulted in one of the visitors from Bannerdown landing out in their LS8.

Sunday 13th to Saturday 19th March.

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Sunday 13th.   A front brought rain and low cloud to the site before lunch but then cleared eastwards to leave a excellent soaring afternoon with thermal and wave lift.  11 ATs were flown off 24 with landings, in the very light winds. on any of 24, 20 and 02.  One of the K21s, the DG1000. Discus and DG303 were flown with 3 of  the flights exceeding an hour.  Rob Bailey took the Discus to 7000′ asl in his flight of 2:48, while John Ellis downed his paintbrush to take the DG303 to 5500′ asl.  Returning Trial Lesson pupil Mark joined the club and Andy Hatfield did his Navigation exercise with Malcolm Winter in the Falke, one of 3 Falke flights of the day.

Monday 14th.  The light NW’ly backed through 230 degrees during the day, finishing up in the E, the initially sunny conditions gradually giving way to cloudier skies.  11 ATs were flown, 10 in club aircraft, with John Ellis being the only private owner to fly,  taking a launch in his Nimbus 3T to record the longest flight of the day, 2:43.  This utilised the lift from a number of controlled heather fires on the North Yorkshire Moors.  The pristine Nimbus that left the site at the beginning of the flight returned a little grubby.  The remainder of the flights were generally circuits with Ken Arkley’s check flight with Albert Newbery in the K21 being the best of these at 20 minutes.

Tuesday 15th.  A light, very murky and drizzly SE’ly airstream kept the site in  cloud all day.

Wednesday 16th.  Ditto Tuesday except the wind was now from the E.

Thursday 17th.  A  light ESE’ly flow  brought in low cloud before a weak cold front cleared the site by early afternoon, causing a wind shift into the WNW.   A brief clearance around lunch time gave a promise of some flying weather, but low cloud soon developed and put an end to any thoughts of flying.

Friday 18th.  A light NW’ly flow, blue skies and excellent visibility promised much and then delivered.  Cu started to develop by mid morning and soaring started late morning, continuing until late afternoon by which time cloudbase was over 5000′ asl.  All the available club gliders were flown, there were 6 private owner launches and the Falke had three flights.  15 of the day’s 29 flights exceeded an  hour with John Ellis in  his Nimbus 3T  having 4:06, during which he completed his original declared  X country task and then completed an undeclared one with a flight to Driffield and back,  the return being at around 100 kts.  Derek Smith flew his Ventus T for a post maintenance air test, this turning into a 138 km X country during which some 5-6 kt climbs were to be found.  George Rowden flew a 120 km declared task that involved a large detour to avoid an active aerobatic zone over RAF Linton on Ouse.  Back at Sutton, Rob Bailey continued to log up the hours in the Discus with a flight of 3:26, while Bill Payton and co-pilot Robin had a cool 1:03 in the T21 and Colin Troise/Mike Smith a somewhat warmer 1:18 in the DG1000.  Nick Fellows made it to Sutton from his home site at Currock Hill in his Astir to post his Silver C leg before AT’ing back north, while recently soloed Phil Jones, secured one of his Bronze legs witha flight of 1:07 in the K21.  Congratulations to them both.   To complete a very successful day there were 2 Trial Lessons and 2 flights in the Falke before a coolant leak grounded it.  However, the leak was soon repaired. 

Saturday 19th.  A light to moderate SW’ly blew and skies were blue as the club welcomed a group of Scouters/Scouts from Guiseley and members of the Bannerdown GC to Sutton.  Cu started to form mid morning promising a repeat of Friday, but overdevelopment led to a much more difficult soaring day.  Nevertheless, 16 of the day’s 46 flights exceeded an hour, the day’s launches including 11 flights with the Scout group and 4 Trial Lesson pupils.  Dave Ashby flying one of the Trial Lesson pupils in the DG1000 landed out, giving rise to a rumour that he hadn’t quite understood the meaning of Trial Lesson.  All the available club aircraft were flown and there were 15 private owner launches.  Most pilots chose to stay local but John Ellis in his Nimbus 3T attempted a 300 km task in a flight of 4:16. After turning  Beverley and Aysgarth, the overconvection led to a engine burn that was followed shortly afterwards by a good natural thermal, but this wasn’t too disappointing as  John reported that conditions on  the next leg of the task were completely flat.   Back at site, Rob Bailey had another 4:12 in the Discus and  the 2 seater fraternity chipped in with Jon May/Steve Ball having 2:06 in their Duo Discus and Phil Lazenby taking guest Mr Ventress for a flight of around an hour in the K21.  The day was rounded off by a talk  on Human Factors by CFI Andy Parish.

Tuesday 8th to Saturday 12th March.

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Tuesday 8th.  As noted in my previous blog, Tuesday’s flying was delayed by very poor horizontal visibility but flying started just before lunch, with ATs off runway 24 into a freshening SW’ly that finally veered into the W.  Bob Beck/Sam St Pierre took a high tow for Sam’s annual spin refresher only to find wave to 7500′ asl, so enjoyed a flight of spinning down and waving up.  Mike Wood and Chris Thirkell meanwhile had 1:37 hill soaring in the T21, 2  of the 3 ATs of the day.  The freshening wind meant a change from ATing to the winch and a further 11 launches were undertaken with 5 of these exceeding an  hour.  Hill soaring was the order of the day, but by mid afternoon, rough thermals allowed the operating height to increase to around 2000′ QFE, at which point transition to the wave was possible.  3 pilots made good climbs, Phil Lazenby getting to 9500′  in the Discus, George Rowden getting to 8000′ in the DG303 and Mike Wood, flying the T21 solo to 7000′, all asl.  Both Phil and George broke off their climbs while still in lift due to either a lack of oxygen equipment or pressing engagements and from altitude, the wave pattern could be seen in the low murk below the inversion.   Later flights failed to contact the wave, although Bob Beck/Duncan Pask had a flight of 1:37 in the K21.

Wednesday 9th.  A strong and gusty W’ly with showers kept the gliders in the hangars.

Thursday 10th.  An even wilder day with the W’ly wind gusting to around 50 kts, resulting in one of the trees bordering the visitors car park being blown over.


Friday 11th.  The wind had decreased to a moderate to fresh WSW but with heavy showers about the prospects for the day didn’t look too promising.   However, the showers consistently bypassed the site and 12 winch launches were flown off runway 24 with the DG1000, DG303, Discus and Astir in action.  3 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour,  the  majority of pilots keeping their costs down by taking advantage of the first 30 minutes free winter concession in single seaters.  Andy Parish and Howard Marshall put up the best 2 seater flight of the day, 39 minutes in the DG1000 and there were 2 Trial Lessons.  Most pilots found the hill lift was the only anti gravity force to be had,  but Jesper Mjels flying the DG303 took a cloud climb  to contact wave, topping out his climb at 9500′ asl on the way to Barnard Castle.  His return found the site under 8/8s so a descent  through cloud was necessary.  The increase in cloudiness was due to an approaching front that saw flying terminated by rain at around 1530 hrs.

Saturday 12th.  A grey day with a light to moderate SE’ly saw flying start just after 1000 hrs off runway 20 but be immediately suspended due to orographic with a base at 200′ QFE in places.  The orographic came and went during the morning preventing any flying but at least allowing the members to observe a mountain bike event which was using the club site and facilities as the start/finish point.   With 120 competitors the site was certainly busy.



By early afternoon the orographic had disappeared and thereafter, 18 ATswere flown, 12 with Scouts from South Yorkshire and 1 for a Trial Lesson pupil.  Flight times were typically in the 15-20 minute range, it being surprisingly turbulent early on before thickening cloud calmed things down and rain arrived around 1630 hrs.  Jon May took his Trial Lesson pupil Kim Fulham for the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 23 minutes in the DG1000, while Peter Goodchild managed an identical time in the Discus.

The moutain bikers, Scouts and members kept Brian and his team busy in the kitchen, affable helper Sarah Marsh showing her manual dexterity in the cups department. Quite a handful.  (Not Sarah the cups, 14 to be precise).



Health and Safety warning, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME.

Saturday 5th to Tuesday 8th March

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Saturday 5th.  A generally cloudy day with a low overcast and a moderate N’ly that declined and veered into the E meant that no gliding was possible.  However, the recently repaired and rerigged Rotax Falke was given a flight test by Dick Cole, declared fit and subsequently had a second flight.   The lack of flying allowed Duncan Pask, Mike Smith and John Ellis to make good inroads into the task of felling the Silver Birch saplings in the cleared area of woodland to the east of the northern end of  runway 02. 

Sunday 6th.  A light SSE’ly  was again accompanied by overcast skies, but the cloud broke and eventually disappeared allowing 14 ATs and 3 Falke flights off runway 20.  One of the K21s, the DG1000 and the Discus were flown, the latter for the first time by Katriana Zapp who enjoyed it so much she had a second flight.   Congratulations Katriana.  Phil Jones, who went solo recently, doubled his solo flights with a flight in  the K21, and Rob Bottomley, the only private owner to launch, had a flight of 45 minutes, the best of the day.  The longest 2 seat flight was by Mike Smith and his Trial Lesson pupil, Mr Cox, who had 26 minutes, one of 3 Trial Lessons of the day.  Derek Taylor, doing his annual spin checks in the DG1000 landed on runway 06 as the wind backed into the E, the last time he  landed there being some 15 years ago.   An early finish to the day allowed John Marsh to roll the landing area of runway 24.   A welcome visitor was summer tuggie Ian Plant who dropped in for tea and cake in a Grob 109, en route from Full Sutton to Currock Hill.

Monday 7th.  A light to moderate S’ly was again accompanied by extensive low cloud that prevented any flying until around 1430 hrs when the cloud started to disappear.  Mike Smith took 2 guests up for around 20-25 minutes each in the K21, although the views were restricted by very  poor visibility.

Tuesday 8th.  In spite of  blue skies and a  light S’ly, the start of flying was delayed by extremely poor horizontal visibility until around midday when the wind steadily increased to fresh and veered into the W.  Early flights were by AT off runway 24, but with the increasing wind, the winch was deployed by early afternoon and the northern end of the main bowl started to work.  An early high AT had climbed in wave up to 7,500 asl, and by early/mid afternoon, it became possible to start off on the hill, climb in rough thermal and transition into the wave which gave regular climb rates of 6-8 knots and peaks up to 10kts.  A maximum height of 9,000′ asl was reported by the time your  reporter had to leave site mid afternoon, the climb being terminated while still in lift, so more details of the day will have to wait for his visit later in the week.

Tuesday 1st to Friday 4th of March

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Tuesday 1st.   Would you believe it, a light and variable wind, blue skies, warm sunshine (max temperature 9C) and thermals by midday, a real bonus after the cold and gloom of most of February.  Members took advantage of the conditions to record 18 ATs off runway 20, and none more so than Neil Thorne and Phil Jones both of whom went solo.  Congratulations to them both.  Neil had to dash off to work but Phil stayed around and recorded 3 subsequent flights, one very short due to an aborted take off, then one of 12 minutes and finally one of 50 minutes, all in the K21.  The DG1000, Ka8, Astir and Discus also flew, with Rob Bailey, who else, having 2 hours in the Discus and Derek Smith/John Tayler an hour in the DG1000.   There was also a single Trial Lesson pupil.

Wednesday 2nd.   The wind had gone into the SE and although light, brought in an accompanying layer of low stratus that shrouded the hills and kept the temperature down at 2C.   Consequently, no flying was possible.

Thursday 3rd.   Another cold, gloomy and cloudy day with the light E’ly veering into the S as the day progressed, but without  a corresponding improvement in cloud amount or base so the hangar doors remained shut.

Friday 4th.  A light E’ly saw the site initially shrouded in murk but a clearance then appeared mid morning, only for low fracto Cu to form very quickly and prevent any hope of flying before lunch.   Conditions improved as the day progressed but a lack of members meant no flying was possible.   The good news is that the Rotax Falke has been rigged and has had an engine run, but a test flight is still required.  Work to replace the rear tyres on one of  tractors came to a halt when the replacement tyres, after being in storage for a long time,  developed side wall splits when being fitted but more positively, a start was made to remove the saplings still present in the cleared area of forestry  to the E of the northern end of runway 02.  Around midday, the Astir was trailered back to site, having been taken down to a school in Knaresborough in order to show the pupils what a glider looked like.  After rigging the glider and showing 2 gliding videos, Andy Parish and Duncan Pask had a lot of questions to answer.

Thursday 24th February to Tuesday 1st March.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Thursday 24th.  While the group of members were at Pocklington honing their winching and winch launch failure skills, a very pleasant day’s soaring was had at Sutton.  Flying was delayed until the skies cleared but from around 1130 am 9 ATs were flown off runway 24 with moderate wave conditions generating 7 flights of over an hour.  One of the K21’s and the DG1000 were flown as well as one of the Astirs and the DG303.  Bob Beck/Phil Jones took the first flight of the day in the K21 and demonstrated the presence of wave lift by staying up for 1:26, the best of the day.   Mike Wood, flying the Astir, climbed to 3800′ and ventured as far as the A1 to the west and, as importantly, flew back again in a flight of just over an hour.  The single Trial Lesson pupil also experienced wave in his flight of just under 30 minutes.

Friday 25th A weak front brought in cloudy conditions on a moderate S’ly and threatened rain, the low cloud base preventing any flying at Sutton.  A clearance late in the day came too late to start flying.  The group of YGC members at Pocklington defied the conditions and some equipment problems and continued with their winch/winch failure training, Andy Hatfield benefiting from the training and taking his first solo winch launch, so well done Andy.   The physical side of gliding was highlighted when Andy Parish totted up all the walking he had done back from various landings, coming up with a figure of between 6-8 miles.  Thanks are due to the members of the Wolds GC for their hospitality in accommodating the invasion from Sutton with such forbearance.

Saturday 26th.  A light NNW soon strengthened to moderate and backed into the NW, the accompanying low cloud and rain preventing any flying until the early afternoon when the rain eased and a few gaps appeared in the cloud deck.  First off were John Marsh/Ross Gleave in the K21, taking a 3000′ tow into a gap in the hope of contacting NW’ly wave.  Hope turned to ashes however, and the descent onto runway 30 provided an alternative source of excitement.  Next off was Colin Troise, solo in the DG1000, with this time, the tow providing the excitement on his flight which turned out to be the last flight of the day, for, as Colin would agree, you can get too much of a good thing.  The day did have a happy ending with the weather delayed Christmas Party being held in the clubhouse.

Sunday 27th.  The light W’ly veered in to the N and strengthened as the day progressed with a marked drop in temperature compared to Saturday.  The generally cloudy conditions with occasional rain limited flying to 5 ATs, the first, off runway 24, being aborted due to a badly misted canopy and low cloud/rain.  Thereafter, with only one of  the K21’s and the DG1000 flying, flight times were typically around 15 minutes, although Bob Beck/Mr Drinkwell had 30 minutes in the DG1000.  The weather did improve sufficiently for a single Trial Lesson pupil to be flown before a further deterioration led to flying stopping just after midday. 

Monday 28th.    A cold, moderate and cloudy NNE’ly flow slowly moderated in strength as the day progressed but with the site in cloud most of the day, no flying was possible.

Tuesday 1st March.   Blue skies, pleasant sunshine and a very light N’ly greeted the first day of March and the airfield was soon busy with AT’s off runway 20.  The writer briefly visited the site to bring back his glider trailer from its winter haven, so details of the day’s flying will have to await his next visit.  Apart from the flying however, work was ongoing to install a new fuel pump for refuelling the tugs and the Rotax Falke now sports its new undercarriage legs, with the prospect of getting it back into the air next week looking quite good.