Archive for January, 2012

Friday 27th to Saturday 28th January

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Friday 27th.  A light to moderate WSW’ly flow produced a few showers  but also some initially soft hill soaring conditions that improved later.  9 winch launches were flown in the K21/DG500/Discus and DG303 with John Marsh having 1:19 in the DG303, some  initially patient scratching at around 500′ QFE being rewarded later,  as the weak lift gradually improved to provide a maximum height of 1400′ QFE as the result of weak wave assistance.  Mike Wood, flying the Discus, joined John and claimed a best height of 1500′ QFE.  Thereafter, soaring conditions and the glider flight times went downhill, the latter to average around 15 minutes.  During this winching day, the Super Cub’s flap was repaired so restoring the club’s aerotow capability.

Saturday 28th.  With high pressure firmly in charge, a sunny,  but  cold day in a light N’ly saw a total of 33 AT’s flown, 8 for the Scouts and Scouters of a visiting group from the 1st Bishopthorpe troop.  Lift was hard to find but John Marsh/Jamie Davies took a high tow for some spinning exercises but then found some thermal lift when down to around 1000′ QFE that enabled them to post the longest flight of the day, 46 minutes.  Stuart Heaton gave the newly refurbished K21 JVZ a test flight following the adjustment of its trimmer, and Resh Khodabocus had 24 minutes solo in the K21,  a number of his guests being introduced to gliding.  Charlie Jessop  from Durham University  flew the Ka8 and hopes to resurrect the currently defunct Durham University GC.   A goodly crowd of around 50 then assembled for Film Nite, introduced by CFI Andy Parish.

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 This consisted of a introduction, a compilation of YGC archive footage from the 1930’s and more recently, expertly created by Ken Arkley, his iconic MGM introduction with Cirrus the YGC cat, replacing the roaring Lion, set the scene for a good evening of entertainment.  Ken’s introduction was  followed by the BBC film  “A Girl in a Glider” starring a youthful Mike Wood (as the instructor not the girl) telling the story of a first solo.  A second BBC film was then shown covering a 1980’s attempt on a 500 km O/R to Didcot by Richard Blackmore in his Janus, with Richard and cameraman, Keith Massey, providing some interesting and light hearted background to the production of the film as shown below.

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The gathering then retired to enjoy a hearty Burn’s Night meal, expertly prepared by caterer Brian supported by Sarah, Ann and Diane, with Ann’s contribution of Whiskey and Port being greatly appreciated. 

The Film Nite was then completed by the showing of the spoof film of Richard’s flight which was brought the evening to a very enjoyable and amusing close.

Sunday 22nd to Thursday 26th January

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Sunday 22nd.  An initially fresh to strong W’ly,  gusting to around 40 kn slowly moderated during the day, but not sufficiently for any flying to take place.

Monday 23rd.  The W’ly had decreased to  light to moderate strength but in spite of sunny skies  no flying was possible due to a low member turnout.

Tuesday 24th.  A dull, overcast and wet day in a moderate SE’ly, a period of wet snow in the morning depositing some 2″  onto a cloud enshrouded site.  Unsurprisingly, there was no flying. 

Wednesday 25th.  The warm front that brought all the snow/rain on Tuesday had departed into the North Sea leaving the site in the following warm sector.  The moderate S’ly brought some mild conditions and although the extensive cloud over the site was only at 1800′ QFE, wave slots were visible to the west.  2 ATs were flown in the DG500, with Andy Parish/Alex Carpenter contacting wave on the second and climbing through a small gap to eventually reach 8,300′ asl with climb rates peaking at 4 kn.  A descent through the nearest wave slot to Sutton brought them out a little way north of the site which they regained with a little height to spare after a flight of some 52 minutes.  The decision was then taken to stop flying as the cloud thickened.

Thursday 26th.  A light SW’lyinitially kept the site in low orographic, but this enabled the attending members to rig the DG1000 on its return to site from its ARC, returning the number of available club 2 seaters to its maximum of 4. 

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The orographic slowly dispersed with the wind backing into the SE and preparations were made to start flying.  This, however, proved to be a forlorn hope, as the Pawnee DI revealed a broken bungie and this time the redundancy built into the club tug fleet failed to provide a airworthy tug as the other Pawnee was off site for its 150 hr check and the Super Cub was awaiting an aileron repair.   The members then retired to the clubhouse for lunch to find the kitchen in the throes of a deep clean unconnected with psuedomonas, but connected with the installation of some new Stainless Steel tabling.  Brian was being ably assisted by Diane Thomas and Ann Silver, although Brian’s involvement appeared a little domineering at times.

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However, once Diane had found her alliterative “wire wool from  the worshop”, everything fell into place and a semblance of order was well on the way to being restored by early afternoon, the non-kitchen engaged members returning the gliders and Pawnee to the hangars as light rain started to fall.

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Friday 20th to Saturday 21st January

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Friday 20th.   A moderate W’ly brought in extensive cloud in advance of an active front with the result that only 1 AT was flown, Andy Parish taking up Phil Jone’s guest Leslie Walster for a 15 minute flight in the DG500, a flight Leslie thoroughly enjoyed, before the forecast rain arrived.

Saturday 21st.   The forecast strong NW’ly turned out to be a fresh WNW’ly with the Met Office aviations forecasts detailing mountain wave of 10 kts at 8000′ asl  and 125 ktsof wind at 24,000′ .  However, showers and a very gusty wind meant that while 2 attempts were made to fly, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, in both cases the conditions were regarded as too challenging to continue flying.  In any event, it was a good day for hangar unpacking/packing practice.  Robin Hutchinson/Fred Brown flew the morning’s winch launch, but had to retreat from the hill after some 18 minutes in the recently returned DG500, as a large shower approached.  The afternoon’s flight again saw the DG500 expertly winched off runway 24 by Les Rayment, this time with Andy Parish/Mark Walton aboard, the flight returning for landing on runway 24 after 16 minutes with the pilots reporting very turbulent conditions aloft.  The day’s conditions were deemed unsuitable for a group of visiting Explorer Scouts and Scouters, who after being treated to windy night under canvas, enjoyed  more benign hill soaring conditions on the simulator under the care of George Rowden.

Wednesday 18th to Thursday 19th January.

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Wednesday 18th.  A front crossed the site at 0830 hrs with its associated low cloud preventing flying before lunch.  After lunch conditions improved in the light to moderate W’ly and 2 sorties were flown in the Rotax Falke, there being no trade for the ‘pure’ gliders.  One of the occupants of the Falke was Damien La Roux, who was a summer tuggie at Sutton in 1988 and now flies at the Southdown GC at Parham.

Thursday 19th.  A light W’ly greeted the day and flying started with ATs of runway 24, the early flights finding some weak wave and rather soft hill soaring.  On the last of the 4 ATs, Phil Jones flying the Discus, experienced a rough climb out and, with the wind increasing in strength, the decision was taken to change to winch launching.  A further 3 flights were launched, and with Phil Jones back in the Discus  for an inaugural winch launch on type, a large shower put a stop to proceedings, so Phil will have to wait a little while before Discus and W appear in his log book for the same flight.  The kit was then put away, only for the conditions to improve, but with the flying day well spent, and more showers in the offing, no further flying was undertaken.   Mr S Richardson, flying his SB5E had the longest flight of the day, 3:26, that involved some hill soaring at low level before the wind picked up, while Damien La Roux, had 1:34 in the DG303 and made use of some very early thermal activity around midday.  The 3 winch launches saw Les Rayment/Colin Troise in the K21, John Carter in the DG303 and Albert Newbery/Duncan Pask in the DG500 have over 3 hours soaring between them, the stronger wind conditions giving rise to wave enhanced hill lift with top altitudes of around 3000′ QNH.

Saturday 14th to Tuesday 17th January

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Saturday 14th.  With an anticyclone in charge, clear blue skies and a light S’ly that backed into the SE’ly provided up round and down gliding and 23 ATs were flown plus 2 Falke flights.  The club 2 seatermuster reached 75% with the return of DG500 HEF from its ARC and it was test flown by Robin Hutchinson, who also managed the longest flight of the day, 20 minutes with one of the day’s 4 Trial Lesson  pupils, a time also equalled by Roger Burghall and J Davis also in the K21.  .  Ross Hume, flying within the Learn to Fly package, had 2 flights and Ross Gleave and J Mclean each had 17 minutes solo in the K21.  The day ended with Roger Burghall giving a lecture on the principles of flight.

Sunday 15th.  Light and variable winds, mainly from a S’ly quarter, signified the continued presence of the anticyclone, so it was again a day of smooth air and continuous descent.  Only K21 KLW was flown, and of  the 8 ATs, Jack McGregor and Alex Carpenter, another Learn to Fly package pupil, clocked up the longest flight of the day, 19 minutes.

Monday 16th.  The cold, misty conditions with a light, mainly SE’ly wind continued and although it was flyable, no one summoned up the energy or was it the cash to fly.

Tuesday 17th.  The conditions generally remained as before, but with the anticyclone in decline, the wind picked up from being a very light to a moderate SE’ly, with take offs from runway 24 and landings on 20.  Early problems with starting the tugs delayed flying until around 1100 hrs but, thereafter,  10 ATs were flown in either the K21 or the DG303.  Again the absence of lift mean a slow descent from tow release and Mark Robinson managed 25 minutes flying the K21 solo.  George Rowden gave Trial Lesson pupil David and returning Trial Lesson pupil Roger, 23 minutes each in the K21.  It was a successful day for Chris Thirkell who had his first flight in the DG303 and also completed his cross country endorsement badge with field landing and aborted AT tests in the Rotax Falke under  the watchful eye of Albert Newbery. Well done Chris.  Andy Parish also took Mark Robinson aloft in the second Falke sortie of  the day.  Work to replace the felt on the bunkhouse and corridor roofs has now started.

Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th.

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Wednesday 11th.  A mild and  moderate SSW’ly provided a cloudy airstream with, initially, a low cloudbase that delayed flying until after 1400 hrs.  However, thereafter, the day’s 4 ATs generated 4 hours of soaring.  Jesper Mjels had 1:50 in the DG303, Duncan Pask 1:23 in the Ka8 while both K21 flights provided 31 minutes of soaring for Bob Beck/Pauline Luty and Albert Newbery and guest, N Corner.  The opportunity was also taken to fly the Falke.

Thursday 12th.  A continuation of a very windy night meant no flying before lunch, by which time the initially  fresh to strong N’ly had abated and backed into the  W, allowing flying to commence around 1300 hrs.  Only 2 ATs were flown, both in the DG303, with Mike Wood having 50 minutes.  He was followed by Jesper Mjels who contacted wave and patiently gained to just over 10,000′ asl in wave off a  high tow and returned to site after 1:51 in the air as evening approached.  And what an evening, as a spectacular and  intense red sunset ended the day. 

Friday 13th.  A completely sunny day with light winds, courtesy of an area of High Pressure over the UK, saw 7 ATs flown, the last of which was by the very smart looking K21 JVZ, after its refurbishment in Poland.  Brought back to the UK by a member of the GC at Booker, JVZ completed its trailer journey to Sutton in the capable hands of Mike and Sue Aherne, so our thanks to them.  Andy Parish and Diane Thomas took JVZ aloft for its aerobatic test flight.  The arrival of JVZ maintained the club 2 seater availability at site at 50% as the DG1000 has now joined the DG500 at NYSailplanes for its ARC.  The DG303 and Discus were also flown on a day of pleasant if cool conditions, but no significant lift.  Rob Bailey flying the Discus just managed to make it a soaring day with a flight of 30 minutes, part of which was in the smoke from some heather burning.  Rob Bottomley and C Clark had 25 minutes in the other club K21, KLW.  After having the first flight of the day in the DG303, Mike Smith worked with John Ellis as the hangar door refurbishment exercise restarted, their efforts resulting in the successful replacement of the bottom part of one of the 6 main sections of the door.

Sunday 8th to Tuesday 10th January

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Sunday 8th.  A light to moderate WSW’ly brought in a lot of cloud, whose base was around 1500′ QFE, so the day’s Trial Lessons were cancelled.  10 ATs were flown, but flight times were generally in the 15-20 minute range, although John Marsh/John Shaw managed to find a gap in the clouds to get a 3000′ QFE tow and this plus some very weak hill lift meant that they managed 30 minutes in the K21.  Everybody was, however, eclipsed by Nick Gaunt, who, demonstrating his own skill and the soaring performance of the Ka8 under weak conditions , stayed aloft for 1:10.  During the day, the club DG1000 was derigged in readiness for some TLC prior to its journey down the hill for its ARC.  Jamie Quartermaine spent a busy day in the Falke with Derek Smith,but it was entirely productive, with Jamie now a fully fledged MG instructor.  Congratulations to him.  The YGC Board were also gainfully employed planning the club’s future.

Monday 9th.  A light to moderate WNW’ly and sunny skies promised a good day’s gliding, particularly as the prospects for wave were very promising.  However, a lack of tug pilots meant no flying until early afternoon when David Hill turned up to fly and instead provided launches for Duncan Pask in the K21 and Rob Bailey in the Discus.  Thanks David.  Both glider pilots contacted wave, with Duncan getting to 4,500′ asl in his flight of 35 minutes and Rob Bailey getting to 6,000′ asl in his flight of 1:10.  The wave was aligned NE/SW and Rob flew along a bar almost to Leyburn before a collapsing system saw him beat a hasty retreat home.  Chris Thirkell spent an arm aching day getting the derigged DG1000 clean ready for its hard waxing.  Well done Chris.

Tuesday 10th.  Another wave day, or at least half day, as a moderate W’ly slowly backed into the WSW, the scattered cloud of the morning being replaced by a low overcast by mid afternoon..   The initial intention was to winch but David Campbell’s 3 beats along a non working hill followed by a landing caused a change to ATing.  3 of these were flown before an increase in wind speed caused a return to winching, this generating another 2 launches.  Winching gave the longest flight of the day when Jesper Mjels, flying his Pik 20, had 2:40 and reached just over 9,000′ asl west of Masham, being contacted there by radio with the news that the cloud had thickened and lowered to a 200′ QFE base at Sutton.  Jesper returned and let down through 4000′ of cloud for a safe landing on runway 20.  With no sign of a clearance, all the kit was put away by around 1530 hrs.    David Campbell, flying the Discus, George Rowden, flying the DG303 and Chris Thirkell, flying the K21 solo, were the AT’ed pilots and flew before the cloud thickened and lowered, all enjoying good wave climbs in the sparse wave clouds east of the Pennines, although haze also gave a good indication of the position of the wave.  David had 2:21, Chris 1:10 and George Rowden 2:06, a flight in which he visited RAF Linton on Ouse, Army Air Force Dishforth, Ripon and RAF Leeming, climbing to around 9,200′ asl over the latter.  Back at Sutton, Chris Thirkell, Howard Marshall and Pauline Luty part hard waxed the DG1000, so well done to them all.

Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th January

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Thursday 5th.  The SW’ly wind gusted to over 60 kts overnight with 5 mm of rain deposited with the result that a wet and windy Sutton Bank greeted morning visitors.  The wind veered to become N’ly as the day progressed bringing brighter skies and lighter winds, but too late to allow any flying.

Friday 6th.  A light SSW’ly started the day generating the first ATing day of 2012 , with 7 ATs flown in the K21, DG1000, Discus and DG303, to which was added a single Rotax Falke flight.  The wind increased and veered into the SW later in the day providing some weak wave which was exploited by Colin Troise/Chris Thirkell in the DG1000 and Phil Lazenby in the Discus with flights of 1:09 and 40 minutes respectively.

Saturday 7th.  Glidemet predicted a very good wave day and widespread lenticulars were evident on the visible satpics at the morning briefing.  However, smooth rising air was at a premium as the day provided mostly very turbulent air, no doubt due to the site being affected by rotor flow and other wave effects.  Indeed, at certain times of the day, managing to stay at or above 600′ QFE proved a challenge while at other times, operating heights were around 1500′ QFE.    20 winch launches were flown off runway 24 with the majority of pilots electing to land somewhere between 240 and 300 degrees in the very variable WNW’ly wind. 6 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour with the remainder generally being in the 25-40 minute bracket, although Martin Joyce was the exception to the rule finding nothing but strong sink from his winch launch and being back on the ground very quickly.  No one contacted the forecast wave, but Derek Smith, flying his Ventus bt for the longest flight of the day, 2:27, thought he had as he climbed above 2000′ QFE, only for the lift to be replaced by strong sink over the A19.  Derek was one of 3 private owners to rig, joining the pilots flying the club’s K21, DG1000, Discus and DG303.  Jon May in the DG303 accompanied Steve Ball/Colin Troise in the DG1000 as they flew a 40 km O/R to the Repeater Station on the hills near Osmotherly, having an identical and  puzzling 50kt airspeed and groundspeed on the return leg even though, according to the synoptic chart, they were flying with a strong tail wind.  Peter Goodchild, duty tuggie for the day, usefully filled in his time with a spell of winch driver training with George Rowden before getting checked out and re-soloing on winch launching.

Tuesday 3rd to Wednesday 4th January

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Tuesday 3rd.  Compared to many parts of the country, the gliding club had a relatively calm day, the fresh to strong W’ly only gusting to just over 50 kts.  Nevertheless, the hangar doors remained firmly shut.

Wednesday 4th.  Initially blue skies quickly clouded in so that by the time of briefing the sky was overcast.  The fresh W’ly gradually increased in strength and became fresh to strong by lunch time, gust of 35 kts being recorded, with the  forecast rain arriving in the early afternoon.  By this time a minimum crew of 3 had got out the winch and tractor, positioned the launch cabin, DI’d the K21 and, with Andy Parish driving the winch, both Colin Troise, 1:25 and George Rowden, 35 minutes, had solo time  in the K21 in surprisingly turbulent hill lift.  Even more surprising was  the lack of turbulence on the approach.  With no other members on the site, that was the end of flying for the day.

Saturday 31st December to Monday 2nd January 2012

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Saturday 31st.  4 mm of overnight rain from a passing front left the site in  a very mild moderate to fresh W’ly but the low cloud precluded any flying.  The 14 members present consoled themselves with another of John Ellis’ feasts prior to seeing in the New Year.

Sunday 1st January.  The mild conditions continued in the light to moderate SW’ly flow, but showers and more general rain meant no flying was possible.

Monday 2nd.  Members arriving at the club for the morning briefing had to negotiate a slushy Sutton Bank and a snow covered approach road but were rewarded as a fresh to strong SW saw the winch in action for the first flying day of 2012.  Although interrupted by wintry showers, particularly before lunch, 13 launches were achieved, with most pilots having at least 30 minutes in the air, taking advantage of the winter rates which provide the first 30 minutes of single seater flying and ab initio 2 seater flying for free.  The K21, DG1000, DG303 and Discus were flown, with John Marsh off in the DG303 at 0945 hrs to record the longest flight of the day, 1:09, in  which he reached 3,800′ asl in weak wave.  Fred Brown/Robin Hutchinson flying the DG1000 also exceeded an hour with a flight of 1:02, with 7 of the remaining flights exceeding 30 minutes, lift being plentiful and extensive.  The exceptions were Andy Wilson’s flights with John Marsh, when the delights of simulated cable breaks and winch failures were experienced, while Andy Darlington recorded the shortest flight of the day, 3 minutes, as his launch coincided with the imminent arrival of a snow shower.