Archive for March, 2012

Wednesday 21st to Thursday 29th March

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Wednesday 21st.  A cloudy, overcast day with a light SSW’ly flow, saw 11 ATs with the majority in the club 2 seaters, as another group of 5 trainee, fast jet pilots from RAF Linton on Ouse were introduced to gliding, including the MillitaryFlight Safety Inspector.  With a strong inversion present under the strong anticylone, lift was non-existent so circuits were the order of the day, the longest flight being 18 minutes.  Alan Dowd, after a 12 minute flight solo in the K21, converted to the Astir, having 2 flights.  Well done Alan.  The day’s flying was completed by a single sortie in the Falke.

Thursday 22nd.  The anticyclone continued to shift its position so a light to moderate ESE’ly blew with hazy conditions, although there were some hints of convection later in the day.  5 ATs were flown, all in one of the K21s, mainly for the benefit of a single Trial Lesson pupil and a Day Course member, the latter having his 3 flights, the best being of 20 minutes duration with Andy Parish.  Andy and Pauline Luty managed to make it a soaring day with 34 minutes with a flight in the early afternoon.   There were 3 flights in the Falke.

Friday 23rd.  A very light NNW’ly flow and early morning mist  developed into a very murky day with the visibility so poor no flying was possible.

Saturday 24th.  Early morning fog in the Vale of York heralded another day of extremely poor visibility in a light ESE’ly flow. No flying was possible.

Sunday 25th.  Early morning fog in the Vale of York threatened a repeat of Saturday, but improving conditions as a moderate SSE’ly developed allowed a group of 7 visiting Scouts from the Hillside Troop to be flown along with 3 Trial Lesson pupils, a Learn to Fly package student and 9 other launches, giving 21 ATs in all.  This included 3 private owner launches.   Circuits were again the order of the day as the anticyclone had re-intensified, putting a low lid on any convection, but Martyn Johnson and Mark Walton in K21 JVZ beat the 30 minute mark by 2 minutes off a 3000′ tow to record the longest flight of the day.

Monday 26th. The persistent anticyclone now produced a day of clear blue skies and a light to moderate SE’ly flow with very warm temperatures for late March.  However, member turn-out was low so no flying was possible.

Tuesday 27th.  The clear conditions again prevailed, giving frosty mornings and warm afternoons in the light and variable winds, but the low inversion again precluded any usable convection.  6 ATs were flown, principally for 5 Trial Lesson pupils utilising K21 JVZ and the DG1000, while there were 3 Falke flights for field landing checks.  The lack of any lift meant 3000′ tows for the Trial Lesson pupils with flight times in  the 20-25 minute band, but on the last flight of the day, Mike Smith gave his Trial Lesson pupil 27 minutes in the DG1000.

Wednesday 28th.  The pattern of frosty mornings and warm afternoons continued under clear blue skies and light winds, but as the high drifted slowly out into the Atlantic a light NNW’ly flow developed during the day and temperatures peaked above 20C.  The prospect of some thermal activity encouraged a goodly number of members to turn up and, bolstered by 5 Trial Lesson pupils, the day’s AT count reached 17 with a further 3 flights in the Falke.  Initially circuits were again the order of the day, but come early afternoon, blue thermals developed, some of these being strong and topping out at around 4,000 asl.  Dick Cole in the DG303 took most advantage with a flight of 1:13, landing at 17:31, while Andy Parish/M Cox had 56 minutes in K21 JVZ, a further 5 flights exceeding the 30 minute mark.  The clear skies and hot sunshine combined to cause the first sunburn victim of the year as Ian Plant, covering for caterer Brian’s absence, relaxed in the open air after the bustle of lunch time.  Ian will have recovered by the time he starts his Summer tugging/winch driver/instructor and sundry other  duties next Monday.

Thursday 29th.  The previous day’s clear blue skies now contained patches of thin cirrus and some high lenticulars, with the wind at ground level initially L&V but becoming moderate WNW later in the day.  8 ATs and 3 Falke flights constituted the flying activity, this including 3 Trial Lesson pupils and 2 private owner launches.  The thermals of the previous day mainly failed to develop, with the temperature peaking a few degrees lower, although George Rowden managed to climb a few hundred feet with his Trial Lesson Pupil in the DG1000 to give him 26 minutes in the air.  Colin Troise took a high tow in his DG600 and was able to maintain his release height of around 4000′  in zero sink for a considerable period before losing out and landing after a flight of 59 minutes.  George Rowden in his LSt18 had a flight of 1:37, in which unsuccessful early attempts to utilise broken thermal meant a engine burn to regain launch height after which a good thermal was contacted, enabling a climb to around 3500′ asl.  The thermal gradually become smooth signifying a transition into wave which was then utilised to very slowly climb to just over 5,000′ asl, the lift being on a line from just north of Lake Gormire to Hemsley with the wind speed at 5000′ being 27 kts NNW.

Monday 19th to Tuesday 20th March

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Monday 19th.  A cool and moderate WSW’ly blew, providing a good hill soaring day with some strong thermals  by late morning.  Briefing was undertaken by George Rowden but the start of flying was delayed pending the arrival of David Hill who, being the sole full cat  instructor available, spent the day instructing and in charge of flying operations, enjoying among other things a 1:02 flight in the DG1000 with Peter Guest.  David had intended to come to the club to accumulate some solo hours, so thanks David.  Thanks are also due to Ian Johnston who drove the winch virtually all day, but managed to get in a 30 minute flight in the DG303 via the last and 9th launch of the day.  6 of the launches gave flights in excess of an hour with Chris Gill in the Astir (2:47), Ken Arkley in his LS8t (2:38) and Rob Bailey in  the DG303 (2:05) all exceeding the 2 hour mark.   With the hill working well, maintaining the gliders at around 1200′ QFE, suggestions of wave and strong thermals in streets,  it was a day to be enjoyed.  Cloud base rose to around 2800′ QFE but with shallow Cu the lift died off a few hundred feet below cloud base, so maximum heights achieved were around 2400′ QFE.   The day’s flying included a single Falke sortie. 

Tuesday 20th.  With the high pressure established over southern Britain, the moderate W’ly flow was maintained, albeit with a slightly warmer air mass.  Early indications of wave, confirmed by the Met Office Form 215 forecast, were soon being exploited, although this side of the A1 climbs terminated at between 4-5,000′ asl.  George Rowden in his LS8 and Bob Beck in the DG303 both contacted the wave at the Boltby end of  the main ridge but as the day progressed, the lower wave clouds disappeared, being replaced by thermals, some of which were decidedly rough and probably associated with the low level rotor flow.  Jesper Mjels in his Pik 20D flew further west to contact better wave over the Pennines, reaching around 12,150′ asl turning Burnhope Reservoir, Alston and Brampton near Carlise in a flight of over 6 hours that covered around 250 km.  15 of the day’s 23 winch launches exceeded an hour.  Chris Thirkell flying the DG500 solo had 2:06, just beating Ken Duxbury’s 2:02 in the Astir, while Bob Beck and Howard Marshall shared a flight of  1:15 in the DG1000.  All the club 2 seaters and 3 of the single seaters were flown, with Ian Johnston again doing sterling work on the winch, including training Howard Marshall.  Mike Smith was cleared for winch launching Trial Lesson pupils and proceeded to launch with his first pupil  into a bad patch on the hill, resulting in an early landing.  A second launch with the same pupil found the hill working again.  The day’s flying concluded with 2 sorties in the Falke.  The club also welcomed back Phil Lazenby from Australia with tales of fast 300 kms and cloudbases of 13,000′ but he soon acclimatised hanging onto some 1 kt thermals in his flight of an hour in the Astir.  Some pictures of a very pleasant day at Sutton are shown below.

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Friday 16th to Sunday 18th March

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Friday 16th.  A moderate SSE’ly flow that slowly veered into the SSW brought in a low ceiling overcast, keeping the fleet on  the ground.

Saturday 17th.  The light SSW’ly became light and variable towards the end of the day as a weak cold front slowly departed to the south, leaving a flyable day with a few isolated showers and mainly cloudy skies.  23 ATs and a single Falke flight encompassed the day’s flying, 11 of the ATs giving the Scouts from the 1st Belmont troop a first taste of gliding.  Usable lift was hard to find with most flights being less than 30 minutes, but Rob Bailey, launching in the DG303, made the most of the only soarable period of the day with a flight of 1:06.  Late in the day, Robin Hutchinson, flying Scout Jon Priest in the K21, had the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 23 minutes.  In the evening Sam St Pierre gave a very interesting and instructive talk on Wave Flying in the Vale of York, followed by a supper provided by Brian. 

Sunday 17th.  The wind had veered to become a moderate and cool NNW’ly which provided some good soarable periods during the day, interspersed with periods of spreadout.  29 ATs were flown, with this time the Scouts of the 1st Burnmoor troop contributing 6 launches.  Three of  the club’s four 2 seaters, the Astir and Ka8 plus 4 private owner launches contributed to the day’s flying, with Paul Whitehead having 2:28 in his Pegase.  Rob Bailey, flying the DG303 had 1:34 on his third flight of the day, while Dick Cole and John Marsh shared a flight of 1:05 in the DG1000, 3 other pilots also exceeding an hour in the air.  The day was also busy with Trial Lesson pupils, 6 of whom were flown, and Rory O’Conor self launched in his DG800.  In the evening, Sam St Pierre entertained and instructed a goodly gathering with a talk on Flying the Vale of York Wave.

Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th March

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Tuesday 13th.  After the sunny skies of Monday, Tuesday was a day of  a low overcast, poor visibility and light and variable winds as the centre of the anticyclone covered the north of England.  Consequently, there was no flying.

Wednesday 14th.  The anticyclone continued to provide overcast skies and very poor visibility even as it started to decline, the wind picking up from the SSE to become light to moderate.   Again, no flying was possible.

Thursday 15th.  Very murky conditions in the morning gave way to sunnier skies in the afternoon but horizontal visibility remained very poor so there was again no flying.  However, this didn’t mean the hangar doors remained shut.  John Ellis with apprentice Mike Smith replaced another section of door as the following photos show, Albert Newbery keeping a supervisiory watch on proceedings.

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Hangar number 2 doors were also opened to allow the bucket equipped tractor to be used by George Rowden et al to make a start on removing the piles of spoil left over from the hangar apron civil works.

Wednesday 7th to Monday 12th March

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Wednesday 7th.  A showery, fresh to to strong W’ly, with gusts to 35 kts kept the gliders in the hangar.

Thursday 8th. A moderate SW’ly saw 8 ATs and 6 flights of over an hour under generally cloudy skies.  One of the K21s, the DG1000, Astir, Ka8 and DG303 were flown, while a single private owner rigged and launched.  Steve Richardson, the private owner, had 2:08 while Duncan Pask had 2:31 in the Ka8 and Bob Beck/Pauline Luty  had an hour in the K21. 

Friday 9th.  9 members and 2 YGC instructors  undertook around 40  winch launches  at Pocklington, together with a variety of simulated failures, to extend their winch launch experience.  The only activity at Sutton was on the Simulator where Dick Cole provided tutelage to Rob Bailey in cloud flying techniques. 

Saturday 10th.   A moderate to fresh WSW’ly meant winching off runway 24, the early cloudiness gradually clearing as the day progressed.  27  launches were accomplished , 6 with a group of Scouts from the 4th Chester Group, the launches involving the K21, DG1000, DG303 and Astir while 4 private owners rigged and launched.    6 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour with Colin Troise contacting wave after some 1 1/4 hrs at 800′ above the hill and then  climbing to 6,400′ asl in a flight of 2:33.  Bill Payton had 1:41 in the Astir and Fred Brown/Jim McLean 1:06 in the DG1000.  4 Trial Lesson pupils were flown, with flying operations ceasing at around 1630 hrs as the wind died.  The winch training at Pocklington continued with 4 YGC members and CFI Andy Parish present,  David Ryall, Peter Goodchild and Martin Joyce all soloed, this being the first ever for Martin, so congratualtions to him.  Rob Bailey flew the Junior and even found some weak thermal lift.

Sunday 11th.  A sunny, blue sky day with a light W’ly generated 30 ATs, the Scouts and Scouters of the 4th Chester Troop contributing 8 launches, as all 4 club 2 seaters were flown along with the DG303.  A single private owner launched but the absence of any workable lift mean it was a day of circuits  with most flight times in the 15- 20 minute range.  Rob Bailey managed 35 minutes in the DG303 from a 3000′ tow while Fred and Hazel Brown had 31 minutes in the DG1000.

Monday 12th.   The anticyclone remained well in charge and consequently it was a very good day for sitting in the virtually continuous  sunshine  as the temperature climbed into the mid teens with  a gentle SSE’ly blowing.  A strong inversion at around 1200′ QFE limited  Cu formation  to some brief, very flat  and  wispy examples from around 1300 hrs, but flying underneath these clouds provided some turbulence but no useable lift.  The day’s flying consisted of 5 ATs off runway 24 with landings on 20 and a single Falke flight, with George Rowden giving Trial Lesson pupil Dennis Howe the longest flight of the day, 23 minutes off a 3000′ tow.  It was a day of new acquaintances and re-acquaintances.  In the latter category, Don Austin was checked out in the K21 by Dick Cole, Tom Reilly had his first flight for some time with George Rowden, Duncan Pask re-aquainted himself with the DG303,  while Harry Clark did some towing in the Pawnee, after setting fire to the contents of the outside ash tray with his cigarette.   New acquaintances were of the motoring variety with Mike Wood arriving on his new Gilera Runner 200ST scooter.  The assembled troops also assisted Colin Troise to repair the support strut on his trailer and thus allow him to derigg his glider.

Saturday 3rd to Tuesday 6th March

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Saturday 3rd.  A eastward moving cold front meant a morning of rain and low cloud with a moderate SE’ly flow so the simulator was put to good use.  However, the front cleared through by 1400 hrs and with skies clearing and the wind becoming a moderate SW’ly, flying commenced at around 1445 hrs and 9 ATs were flown, 6 with Scouts from the York Yorvic troop and 3 with club members.  A trough line/secondary front following the main front, provided Fred Brown, flying one of the Scouts in the K21 and Roger Burghall/John Mitchell in the DG1000, with good lift to  around 4,600′ asl but this had to be left as the lift moved eastwards of the site.  On the last flight of the day, Les Rayment and Chris Thwaites had 52 minutes in  the DG1000 in a mix of thermal and hill lift.

Sunday 4th.  A day of rain and low cloud in a cold wind that progressively veered from the SE into the NW meant there was no flying.

Monday 5th.  A cold, generally sunny  day with Cu from around 1200 hrs to 1600 hrs also had a fresh to strong NW - N’ly wind that precluded flying.  There was, however, a single simulator flight.

Tuesday 6th.  The wind had dropped to light to moderate SE’lyin advance of a front visible over the western horizon.  With low dewpoints and a predicted max temperature of 8C, thermal activity was predicted although blue conditions were expected.  In  the event fleeting Cu formed around lunch time, a strong inversion capping convection at ~3000′ asl.  Mike Smith was first off in  the DG303 around midday but preceded the main thermal activity, this enabling George Rowden to give his Trial Lesson pupil Eddy, 33 minutes in  the K21.  Thereafter, most flights exceeded 30 minutes in thermal and thermal augmented hill lift, with George Rowden taking his LS8t for its first flight of 2012 which lasted 1:22 and included an engine air test.  A significant part of the flight utilised thermals triggered off the S’ly part  of the main bowl these enabling an operating height averaging 700′ QFE to be maintained.  Chris Thirkell took the opportunity for a first flight in Fred Brown’s Open Cirrus and Rob Bottomly also rigged and flew his Discus bt.    Pauline Luty recovered from a 1100′ QFE low point to 1700′ QFE in a thermal,  taking K21 JVZ and Andy Parish along with her to record the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 35 minutes.   Another first for 2012,  but hopefully  the last, was a wheels up landing.

Wednesday 29th February to Friday 2nd March.

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Wednesday 29th.  The SW’ly flow continued, albeit a little lighter, but this didn’t stop it being another wave day.  Flying commenced at 1045 hrs and continued until 1646 hrs with 7 ATs flown behind the Super Cub.   One of the KS21s, the Astir and DG303 were flown, the latter by Jesper Mjels who had another 3:48 aloft, flying Sut/Ley/Sut and reaching over 12,000′ asl.  The Andy Parish/ David Watsham/K21 combination reached around 5000′ asl in the second flight of the day over an  hour, while John Tayler and Diane Thomas used the wave to have an aerobatic flight of 48 minutes.

Thursday 1st March.  Thursday continued where Wednesday left off in terms of wave,  although the  wind was now a light to moderate W’ly.  8 ATs were flown in either one of the K21s or the DG303, but Rob Bailey instead of Jesper Mjels flew the latter, reaching around 10,000′ asl in a flight of just over 3 hours.  Rob Bottomley, flying his Discus bt, reached 7,000′ asl in a flight of 1:11 while one of the K21 flights reached 6,000′ asl.  In addition to the above, the Falke was busy with 3 flights.

Friday 2nd.  All good things come to an end, and Friday was the end, a light SE’ly flow bringing in some very murky conditions.  Flying was delayed until after lunch and then abandoned after a single flight by Andy Parish/Chris Thirkell in the K21, they releasing at 1000′ QFE and landing on 06 after a flight of only 6 minutes. The early finish presented an opportunity for the Super Cub to be given a good clean as  the following photo shows.

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The lack of any flying in the morning did, however, allow Klaus Meitzner of PSR Jet Systems to describe and demonstrate their sustainer jet engine suitable for fitting in a variety of different gliders.  Klaus was enroute to Nottingham to give a presentation at the BGA Conference.  Details of the engine can be found on www.psr-jet-system.combut operation is very simple, and erection/stowage very quick, although 40 seconds is required from initiating the erection to full power being available.  Unlike current turbos, for which a saw tooth flight profile is recommended to increase range, the recommended method for a jet sustainer is to fly in level flight  at around 90 kts.  Non vented wing tanks supply the Jet A1 fuel, with propane from a small cylinder used in the automatic start up procedure.  Pictures of the engine that demonstrate its compactness are shown below.

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 When it was running at 100,000 rpm delivering maximum thrust,  the engine was very noisy , but according to Klaus, the sound levels are  no worse than current engines when sitting in the cockpit  in flight.