Archive for October, 2011

Tuesday 25th to Friday 28th October

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Tuesday 25th.  A passing cold front meant cloudy skies and a cloudbase that delayed flying until early afternoon.  Thereafter, 12 ATs were flown in a moderate S’ly utilising 2 of the club’s 2 seaters, 7 of these being for the members of the week’s aerobatic course under the tutelage of Paul Conran.  Flight times for the aerobats was typically 15 minutes in spite of their 4000′ QFE release height and with no lift to speak of nobody managed over 30 minutes never mind an hour.  Stuart Heaton did, however, make 3 valiant efforts with the 3 trial lesson pupils of the day, giving Louise Walsh and J Howes, 28 minutes each in the  DG1000 and B Baker 27 minutes in the same glider.    Mike Corcoran had 19 minutes solo in the K21  which was good going for an aerobatic session.

Wednesday 26th.  A light SE’ly blew all day, the morning being sunny with some cloud development in the afternoon.  16 ATs were flown, 8 by the aerobatic pupils and 5 by Trial Lesson pupils.  All four club 2 seaters were flown with Mike Corcoran providing the only private owner launch of the day in his Pilatus B4.  Lift was again hard to come by and Trial Lesson pupil David Price put up the longest flight of the day, aided and abetted by Bob Beck in the DG500, with a flight of 28 minutes.  Mike Corcoran’s flight of 15 aerobatic minutes in his Pilatus B4 was jointly with Chris Bowden’s similar flight solo in the K21, the longest solo flight of the day.

Thursday 27th.  A northward travelling depression meant a wet and cloudy morning, with the rain stopping by lunch time.  Brighter skies meant the first launch of the day by aerobats Chris Bowden and Paul Conran in the K21 was at 1445 hrs, but with a limited cloudbase, this was one of only 2 flights of the day, the other flight being in the Rotax Falke.

Friday 28th.  A transient ridge of high pressure brought sunny skies, excellent visibility (the glint off the Humber estuary being readily visible)  and a light S’ly that slowly strengthened as the day progressed.  Unfortunately, the forecast wave failed to materialise and while Cu blossomed fairly briefly in the early afternoon, the accompanying thermals were very weak. Consequently, only 1 flight of the 29 ATs flown resulted in a duration of 30 minutes, this being by Duncan Pask in the Ka8, the result of some areas of zero along the southern ridge.  3 of the club’s 2 seaters were busy with the aerobatic course and 7 Trial lessons, with George Rowden giving one of the Trial Lesson pupils 27 minutes in the K21, the result of a very weak thermal and bits and pieces of lift along the more southerly facing edge of the main bowl. Mike Corcoran again was the only private owner to launch, having 28 minutes in his PilatusB4, while amid all this gliding activity  the Rotax Falke had a single flight and a Europa from Bagby visited to allow the pilote to  sample caterer Brian’s fare and pick up a passenger.

Sunday 23rd October

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Sunday 23rd.  The moderate SE’ly persisted, but now brought in low stratus that persisted until the afternoon, delaying flying until around 1600  hrs.   2 aerobatic sorties were then flown by Paul Conran and Chris Bowden in one of the K21s, Chris also having a sortie on the simulator earlier in the day.

Friday 21st to Saturday 22nd October

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Friday 21st.  The cloudy and low base skies of a warm sector meant a delayed start, but by early afternoon  the  cloudbase had lifted sufficiently to allow flying to commence.   The moderate SW’ly led to  winching off runway 24 and, while wave was evident, its location meant that the ridge was adversely affected so it was difficult to get sufficient height to penetrate out to in front of the wave bar visible to the west.  At least 2 pilots managed the transition, Martyn Johnson in his DG600 making it at his third attempt and eventually reaching over 11,000′ asl, his low returns to the ridge on his previous failed attempts to contact the wave meaning his gain was only around  1000′ less than his maximum height.  Bob Calvert and Denise also contacted the wave and climbed to around 10,000′ asl in the club DG1000.  Both Martyn and Bob/Denise had flights of over 2 hours while visiting pilots Emms and Buchanan from the Nene GC had flights of 1:13 and 1:04 respectively in their own gliders. These were the only flights of over an hour off the 8 winch launches of the day which were equally shared between club and private gliders. Mr Mansfield of the Nene GC almost made the sub/super 1 hour transition with a flight of 54 minutes.

Saturday 22nd.  A moderate to fresh SSE’ly blew all day, early morning skies being graced with lenticulars, early afternoon skies with shallow Cu and late afternoon skies with no cloud at all.  22 AT’s were flown off runway 20, the lumpy nature of the air below about 1500′ QFE, leading to the Pawnee replacing the Super Cub after some early tows with the latter proved to be a bit of a handful.    Club aircraft flown comprised 3 of the club’s 2 seaters and the Discus, while there were 3 private owner launches.  Soaring conditions were provided by either, wave, thermal and hill lift or a combination of these, allowing 7 flights to exceed an hour.  The 2 seaters were busy with a single Scout flight, 4 Trial lesson flights and a Day Course member as well as club member’s training and some aerobatic training flights with Paul Conran, who had arrived early for an aerobatic training week starting on the 24th.    Mike Smith and Robin Hutchinson flying the DG1000 set the wave ball rolling with a climb to around 6000′ asl above Ampleforth in a flight of 1:27, while Fred Brown and Polly Whitehead also contacted the wave later in the day in the same glider, climbing to around 5000′ asl and finding the wave shifting position at times.  Jesper Mjels, flying his Pik 20D, took a high tow out to Dishforth and climbed to around 7000′ asl but could not get any higher as the wave appeared to collapse.  Thermal conditions during a brief period in the early afternoon gave some reasonable climbs to cloudbase around 3000′ asl while the S ridge provided lift all day, this being best utilised by Jon May and Steve Ball in their Duo Discus in their second flight of the day when they were aloft for 2 hours.  Pete Thelwall and Andy Hatfield vied for the longest flight of the day in a club single seater with 1:10 and 1:02 respectively in the Discus.

Wednesday 19th to Thursday 20th

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Wednesday 19th.  The departing depression left the site in a cool and  moderate NW’ly that veered into the N as the day progressed, causing  initial AT operations  off runway 24 to switch to 02 later, with the returned Super Cub in use.   Convection started late morning and Mike Wood, off the second AT of the day, was the first to exploit the thermic conditions, having 1:22 in the Ka8 but this was the only flight to exceed an hour.  However, Mr Emms of the Nene GC almost made it 2 flights of an hour or more with 59 minutes in his DG300 .   In total 16 ATs were flown with both K21s and the aforementioned Ka8 from the club fleet utilised and 5 private owner launches from the visiting Nene GC pilots.  Apart from a few light showers to avoid, flying was very pleasant with pilots reporting some good lift at times and a cloud base  that eventually rose to 4500′ asl.  Rob Bottomley had 37 minutes solo in the K21 and Ian Plant/D Thomas had 29 minutes in the K21.

Thursday 20th.  A transient ridge of high pressure brought sunny skies and a light W’ly, but initially, no visible or invisible means of staying up, so gliding operations didn’t get going until after lunch when Cu started to develop near the site.  However, it wasn’t a  completely fly free morning as the Falke  was engaged in circuit, approach and landing training.   The first AT at 1245 hrs was followed by 18 more, with 8 private owner launches and the club’s K21s, DG1000 and Discus utilised.  4 Trial lesson pupils had a good introduction to gliding, the excellent visibility adding to their experience.  The early afternoon convection tended to develop in widely separated streets, allowing places like Dishforth and Northallerton to be visited,  and 6 of the days flights exceeded an hour, with 3 pilots having 2 hours or more.  Bob Calvert and Denise had 2 hours in the DG1000., George Rowden had 2:05 in his LS8t and Rob Bailey had 2:36 in his ASG29t, while Phil Lazenby had just over an hour in the club Discus.  Cloud base rose to around 3500′ asland while most lift was in the 1-2 kt category, some stronger climbs were available.  Later in the afternoon, with the wind tending to increase and back into the SW,  the hill became soarable and there were some indications of wave.  The sky started to cloud over in the late afternoon as a front approached from the west making the single figure air temperatures more noticeable.

Saturday 15th to Tuesday 18th October

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Saturday 15th.  A light SE’ly blew all day allowing 21 ATsto be flown off runway 20, 5 of which were for Trial  Lesson pupils and 5 for a group of Scouts.  Soaring opportunities were hard to come by with most flights averaging around 20 minutes, but Robin Hutchinson/Fred Brown had 46 minutes in the DG1000 off a 3000′ tow,  the DG 1000 having returned from the club expedition to Millfield along with a number of other club and private gliders and a goodly number of YGC pilots.  There was a single flight of over an hour with Rob Bailey somehow managing to stay up for 2:50 in his ASG29t, making the most of weak thermic lift in the afternoon.  The Falke had a single flight while one of the Pawnees was withdrawn from service due to a wheel bearing failure.  Sutton also welcomed a number of visitors from the Nene GC.

Sunday 16th.  A day with a light to moderate SE’ly wind, that veered into the S as the day progressed,  should have led to a pleasant day’s gliding.  However, on the 4th AT of the day, the only serviceable tug developed a fault that caused an  immediate return to Sutton by tuggie Jamie Quartermaine and subsequent grounding, leaving the club with no means of launching as the wind was too light for winching.  Glider pilots are, however, resourceful and, by dint of a successful search for a Falke pilot and judicious use of the winch when conditions were suitable, a group of 8 visiting Scouts and 2 Trial Lesson pupils were flown and there was also time for some club members to get into the air, Eric Preston having 2:21 in the Discus off an AT and John Marsh having 1:29 solo in one of the K21s  off the winch.  Total operations included 4 ATs, 4 Falke flights and 8 winch launches.  Ron Beezer, in charge of operations for the day, summarised the day’s events in a email thank you to  the Office which is reproduced below.

Sunday should have been an easy day but a failure of our only tug almost ruined it.  Almost… but our members did not let failure happen.
Well done to the members who turned up early and prepared the equipment so that we were ready to fly on time.
Well done to everyone who calmly waited while the weather tried to fool us into flying too early.
Well done to our tug pilot who recognised a mechanical problem with our only tug and made an early decision to return to site.
Well done to our motor-glider instructor who drove in at late notice and flew our visitors when we could neither aerotow or winch.
Well done to our members who patiently waited for the wind to increase enough so that we could winch launch some of our visitors.
Well done to our ‘front office’ and ‘catering’ crew who looked after our visitors.
Well done to our visitors for being patient.
Well done to our own and visiting instructors for resisting the temptation to ’stretch’ safety limits.
Well done to our members who stayed to put the equipment away even though they themselves did not fly.
We could have given up and gone home.  We could so easily have been tempted into launching when we should not have launched but we overcame all of the frustrations, flew all of our visitors, and ended the day with the same number of aircraft we started with.  Well done everyone.

Monday 17th.  A day of bright intervals and an isolated shower should have allowed flying operations to be undertaken, but a steadily strengthening SSE’ly as a cold front made steady if slow progress south and east meant an average wind speed of up to 30 kts with gusts to 45 kts, ruling out any flying for the day. 

Tuesday 18th.  The passage of the previous evening’s cold front left the site in a fresh to strong W’ly so it was winching day.  10 winch launches were flown in both K21s, the DG1000 and Discus with 2 private owners also contributing, before some heavy showers with accompanying gusts of over 35 kts led to flying being terminated in the late afternoon..  The turbulent nature of the air led to the day’s Trial Lessons being cancelled, while 4 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour, there being no problem in staying up apart from a little shower dodging, pilots reporting operating heights of 1500′-1700′ QFE on the hill.  Ian Plant and Mark Robinson had 1:14 in K21 KLW, while Bill Payton had two separate flights that coincidently were of 1:25 each.  On the second flight Bill did an O/R to Ingleby Bowl on the north edge of the NorthYork Moors, a flight that gave him both a minimum height of 0′ QFE at Carlton bank  and a maximum height of 2500′ QFE courtesy of the lift from a nicely positioned line of showers.  The good news on the tug front is that the Super Cub’s undercarriage has been repaired, collection from Bagby awaiting some calmer weather.

Thursday 13th to Friday 14th October.

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Thursday 13th.  Another overcast day, with low cloud in a light ESE’ly wind  preventing any flying.

Friday 14th.   Yet another overcast day in a light to moderate SE’ly flow, as the following photograph, looking SE  from the club house, shows.


However, appearances can be deceptive, as, of the 12 ATs flown, 4 exceeded an hour, lift being provided by weak wave of 1 kt maximum,  extending from the White Horse to Castle Howard.  The relative hotspot seemed to be Ampleforth, with Reg Rowlinson making the best use of the conditions in the Ka8, climbing to 4,400′ asl in his flight of 2:42.  Phil Jones also got above 4,000′ asl in his flight of 2:10 in the Discus while Mike Smith and George Rowden each flew a K21 solo for over an hour, reaching between 3-3,500 asl.  The wavy conditions then faded by the middle of the afternoon as clearer skies approached from the SE.  Diane Thomas brushed up her approach and landing skills with flights in both the Rotax Falke and  the K21 and Josephine dispensed lunch in the absence of Brian.  According to Colin Troise’s entries on the YGC Forum, the YGC expedition to Millfield had a similar sort of day with climbs to 4-5,000′ asl, but food again featured strongly in his report so I expect a few overweight glider pilots to return to Sutton at the weekend.

Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th October

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Monday 10th.   I had just completed my previous Blog entry on site, when the wind dropped  to light and veered into the WNW, the site becoming eveloped in cloud and light rain, 2mm being recorded.  So  my prediction of no flying proved correct.  Conditions were somewhat better further north at Millfield, where a club expedition had taken the club’s DG1000, DG500, DG303 and Astir accompanied by a number of YGC private owner gliders.  This better weather allowed all the club and some of  the private owner gliders to be rigged and site check flights flown in the YGC 2 seaters.

Tuesday 11th.  A light to moderate SW’ly that veered into the NW brought in some low cloud and rain, but conditions slowly improved and winching off runway 24 commenced at around 1430 hrs.  6 launches were flown in one or other of the 2 K21s and although no flight exceeded an hour, all but one exceeded 30 minutes with the hill providing good lift. There was however, no reports of wave flying although the sky looked distinctively interesting at times.  Nick Gaunt/Mike Wood set the target with  57 minutes off the first flight of the day, while David Lynch had 47 minutes solo in the K21.  Mark Robinson, eager to brush up his winch launch and hill soaring experience had 4 of the day’s flights, the last one providing an opportunity to deal with a cable break.  With a flying window available, the opportunity was taken to fly the Super Cub to Bagby to have its undercarriage repaired.  The YGC expedition to Millfield, in better weather to the north, had a good day’s flying, including flights up to between 4-8000′ in weak wave.

Wednesday 12th.  A light E’ly blew at Sutton with the overnight rain continuing until late morning and depositing 10 mm on the site.  Thereafter, low cloud was much in evidence  preventing any flying.   Josephine was busy in the office collating the current round of Gift Aid claims, so if you haven’t sent yours in to the office yet, please do so to increase this source of income to the club.  Early indications were that poor weather had prevented any morning flying at Millfield as well, but a more detailed account of the  fortunes of the YGC expedition there, can be found on the YGC Forum courtesy of Colin Troise.

Wednesday 5th to Monday 10th October

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Wednesday 5th.  Cloudy skies with a low cloudbase and a fresh WSW’lywind that steadily increased to strong with gusts to 40kts, meant no flying, but didn’t stop the contractors from laying the concrete in front of the hangars and workshop.

Thursday 6th.  An initially light W’ly soon increased to strong and with scattered heavy showers causing occasional gusting to 40 kts, no flying was again possible, although a careful eye had to be kept on the picketed gliders to ensure they didn’t go off on their own.

Friday 7th.  A transient ridge brought in a good flying day, the wind being a light to moderate NNW’ly and thermals developing by late morning.  18 ATs were flown with 6 generating flights of over an hour. Two seater operations dominated the day with 3 of the club 2 seaters flown and Jon May contributing the only 2 private owner launches of the day in his Duo Discus xt, the first with K Kelso chalking up  the longest flight of the day at 2:33.  Jon then followed this up with the last launch of the day, when, in the company of Sam St Pierre, he added another hour to the day’s flying total.   Syndicate partners Les Rayment and David Ryall checked out each other’s flying with 1:22 in the DG500 and Colin Troise posted the only solo flight of the day, just failing to beat the 1 hour barrier with 58 minutes also in the DG500.   3 Trial Lesson pupils were also flown on a day with a taste of summer in respect of Cu filled skies and cloud bases rising to around 4000′ asl.  Jack McGregor certainly seemed to enjoy it at the following picture shows.


  The only thing missing was an appropriate summer temperature, the day’s maximum being 12C, although on reflection this was also typical of some days of summer.   The contractors returned to site to remove the shuttering and backfill up to the new concrete, this allowing the gliders, tugs and ground equipment, which had had to be left outside due to the civil works, to be returned to the hangars and tractor shed at the end of the flying day.

Saturday 8th.  2 slow moving warm fronts kept the site in cloud all day and with 2 mm of drizzly rain adding to the mix, no flying was possible except on the simulator, where a group of 8 Scouts and Scouters from Sunderland were introduced to gliding.

Sunday 9th.  Saturday’s warm fronts deposited 9 mm of rain overnight and left the site in a warm sector, full of  cloud, bits and pieces of drizzle and accompanied by a moderate to fresh W’ly.  The associated cold front crossed the site at around 1530 hours, its approach being accompanied by gusty winds that peaked at around 35 kts.  Flying was shared between the simulator, where another group of 5 Scouts, this time from Swaledale, were coached in flying skills and reality, where 7 winch launches were flown in both K21s.  The  bases of the lowest clouds  were variable, between 400′ and 1000′ QFE, throughout the day and while no flight exceeded an hour, 5 exceeded 30 minutes, with John Marsh having 57 minutes in the K21 with R Maskell  before sharing another K21  flight with Martyn Johnson, the pair of them getting to 2000′ after finding some weak wave before they were called down so Martyn could take the Scouts on the simulator. 

Monday 10th.  I write this from an almost deserted Sutton Bank on a cloudy day, cloud base being just a few hundred feet QFE, and the WSW’ly wind averaging around 25 kts and gusting over 35 kts.  With rain visible just to the south from  an almost stationary wavy front, flying prospects for the day can be confidently predicted to be zero.

Sunday 2nd to Tuesday 4th October

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Sunday 2nd.  A cloudy and damp, light/moderate SE’ly flow saw operations delayed until after 1100 hrs, but thereafter, 15 ATs were flown off the ridge side of runway 20, 10 of these being for either a group of 6 Scouts/Scouters from Barnsley  or 4 Trial Lesson pupils.  Flying was confined to three of the club’s 2 seaters, both K21s andthe DG1000, with no private owners tempted to rig and launch into grey skies.  The lack of lift meant that most flights where of 15 - 25 minutes duration, but Colin Troise, flying the DG1000 solo, showed there was some lift about by posting a flight of 54 minutes.

Monday 3rd.  A moderate SW’ly flow in a warm sector ahead of a cold front, brought low cloud that delayed launching until after lunch.  Thereafter, 7 ATs were flown before the cold front arrived around 1700 hrs, causing a sharp drop in temperature and a wind veer into the W accompanied by an increase in strength.  Martyn Johnson was first into the air in his DG600 around 1330 hrs, clocking up the longest flight of  the day, 2:26 on the hill, one of the 4 flights to exceed an hour.  Some of the visitors from the Stafford GC also took to the air, With Messrs Wiggins and Bowes having 1:26 in the YGC K21 and Mr Noble 1:05 in his own glider.  Andy Hatfield had 1:21 in the YGC Astir and 2 Trial Lesson pupils were flown.  As the cold front approached the increasing wind speed resulted in some turbulent approaches.

4thOctober.  A fresh to strong WSW’ly under cloudy skies heralded a good hill soaring day with wave although the transient nature of the wave slots meant a number of truncated climbs.  29 winch launches were flown, with the visitors from the Stafford GC out in force and  three 2 seaters and one single seater from the YGC fleet fleet flown.  Initially, the 8/8ths cloud cover precluded wave climbs, but around midday, a few holes appeared in the vicinity of  the site which were exploited by a goodly number of pilots although only a couple made full use of the wave.  19 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour with Jesper Mjels having 6:23 aloft in which he climbed to 12,200′ asl and flew a 323.9 km task, Sut/Bar/Pct/Bar/Sut.  Martyn Johnson, like Jesper launching early, had to wait some time before a wave climb opportunity presented itself, but then made full use in climbing to just under 19,000′ asl.  The last 3000′ of the climb was only at 1-2 kts just to to the east of the airway west of Ripon, and with no sun due to a thick layer of Cirrostratus, his feet became decidedly cold even in the all over canopy of his DG600.  Martyn’s discomfiture became even more acute when, back on  the ground and looking to put in a Diamond height claim, he discovered that his logger trace could not be retrieved although his iPaq trace was. Commiserations to Martyn.  A couple of times in the afternoon, a number of pilots made good initial climbs in a wave slot that opened up to the SW of the site, climbs of 4-6 kts to between 5-8000′ asl having to be abandoned due to closure of the slot, but not before the spectacular wave valley could be seen extending to the NE and SW.  High up on the longest flights list, visitors Paul Crump and Graham Bowes had 3:20 in the YGC DG500 and Ken Duxbury had 2:07 in the Astir.   With  the contractors back on site, final  preparations were  made  for the concreting of the apron in front of the hangars and workshop.

Thursday 29th to Saturday 1st October.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Thursday 29th.  Another sunny, warm anticyclonic day, with the light SE’ly veering into the SSE as the day progressed and the strengthening low level inversion resulting in no flights over an hour out of the 24 that were AT’d off runway 20.  Flying didn’t commence until after lunch due to poor visibility and a lack of custom but went on until just before 1800 hours.  Club gliders flown were the 2 K21s, the DG1000 and one of the Astirs and 9 private owners also launched.  Staying up was a struggle, but viistors Mr C Bessant in his LS7 and Messrs Pike and Morgan in their Janus both managed 42 minutes, with YGC member Duncan Pask not far behind with 37 minutes in  the club Astir.   Ian Plant and Gordon Wallace had 24 minutes in the K21 and there were 3 flights in the Falke and 2 Trial Lesson pupils were also flown.

Friday 30th.  Another late start as the anticyclonic conditions persisted, provided plenty of sunshine, a maximum temperature of 25C and a light to moderate SE’ly that went into the S late in the afternoon.  15 ATs were flown off runway 20, the most interesting, at least for the spectators at the launch point, being one in which the undercarriage collapsed on the Super Cub during the ground run at take off, causing the tug to veer off to the right.  David Hodgson, who was P1 in the towed K21, released and went off to the left so no harm was done.  One of the Pawnees took over ATing duties and operations continued, including 6 Trial Lesson pupil flights and 3 private owner launches.  Conditions, were if anything, less soarable than the previous day, but John Marsh/K Ramsden had 47 minutes in the K21 and visitor C Bessant , 24 minutes in his LS7.  The Falke had 3 sorties for those wanting a little more guaranteed time in the air.

Saturday.  The anticyclonic conditions were forecast to start declining, but another sunny day at site saw the temperature again peak at 25C and the relative humidity dip to 40% as the initially light E’ly veered into the SSE and strengthened to moderate.  An early start and a finish around 1800 hrs saw 38 ATs flown, 8 for a group of visiting Scouts/Scouters from Sunderland and 8 for Trial Lesson pupils.  All the club 2 seaters were pressed into service along with one of the Astirs and 6 private owners launched.  Initially, an absence of lift saw flight times around the 15 - 20 minute mark, but during the late afternoon, some weak and very localised wave off the southern ridge saw visitors Pike and Morgan have 1:35 in their Janus while the Morris’ had 1:09 in the club DG1000, the only 2 flights of the day to exceed an hour.  Peter Goodchild joined in the fun with 51 minutes in the Astir.  Progress was also apparent in the civil works outside the hangars and workshop with the appearance of shuttering around the areas to be concreted.