Archive for April, 2012

Tuesday 24th to Friday 27th April

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Tuesday 24th.  The second day of the aerobatic course provided a light and variable but mainly NNW’ly wind and skies that gave good local soaring conditions late morning but also sufficient gaps to allow the aerobatic course members high tows.  In all 20 ATs were flown, split equally between the course members and general flying.  David Lynch celebrated his recovery from a broken leg with 1:08 in the Ka8 while Ron Beezer had 1:04 in the DG1000.  Howard Marshall, David’s syndicate partner in their Ka6 chipped in with 30  minutes, also in the Ka8.  Pawnee Tango Mike had its engine run which indicated a little bit of further work was required before it could return to full flying duties.

Wednesday 25th.  A moderate to fresh E’ly was accompanied by cloudy skies to start, the low base precluding flying and heavy rain set in by early afternoon, continuing for the rest of the day.   With prospects for the rest of the week looking dire, the aerobatic course was terminated although one of the members, Fran, remained on site.

Thursday 26th.  With the low pressure centred nearby, the light SE’ly backed to N as the day progressed and strengthened to moderate.  Low cloud in the morning was accompanied by heavy rain from early afternoon, creating a airfield more suitable for float plane operations than gliding.

Friday 27th. The fronts responsible for the rain of  the past 2 days had moved south, leaving the site in a moderate N’ly and, with skies brightening and recognisable Cu forming by mid morning, a flying day was in prospect.  An inspection of the airfield revealed a number of flooded/wet patches but not sufficient to prevent flying and Andy Parish/Ross Hume took the first launch just before noon and returned just over half an hour later to report 2-4 kts under a cloud base of 1700′ QFE.  Thereafter, a further 9 ATs were flown, 2 for Trial Lesson pupils and 1 for Bob Calvert in his new purchase, a very smart Discus, HSJ.  Bob had 1:48 in the air and took a cloud climb to 5000′ QNH, reporting 4-5 kts in cloud.  Colin Troise, flying the DG1000 managed to find one of the really soggy bits of the airfield on landing, creating a spectacular bow wave of very muddy water that reached the upper surface of the wings and the tailplane, requiring the glider to be returned to the hangar apron for a overall wash before being returned to the flight line.  A short period of overconvection mid afternoon coincided with Mike Wood’s first flight in the Astir resulting in a landing after 20 minutes, but undeterred, Mike took a second launch and more than doubled his first flight time with 43 minutes, the cloud base having risen to around 2700′ QFE.  On the last flight of the day, Colin Troise and George Rowden had 1:07 in the DG, a low save after around 25 minutes in the air being followed by a climb to just under 4000′ QNH, the sky by this time having completely clouded over.  In spite of this complete overcast, patches of weak lift allowed the flight to continue, the clearing visibility allowing a good view of a number of flooded river valleys.  Interestingly, between 2500 and 3000′ QFE, the wind was a light NE’ly with a temperature of -3C.  The day’s flying was completed by the movement of Pawnee Tango Mike to Bagby by Jesper Mjels, while Diane Thomas spent her day titilating up the ladies loo.

Wednesday 18th to Monday 23rd April

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Wednesday 18th.  A nearby depression gave a day of low cloud and steady rain, so no flying was possible.

Thursday 19th.  The depression had not moved much so another non  flying day of rain and low cloud ensued.

Friday 20th.  The low cloud and steady rain of  the previous days had now moved away, but with low pressure dominating, the day was one of frequent and heavy showers that prevented any flying.

Saturday 21st.  At last, a flying day, albeit not a particularly good one, as a day of showers, heavy at times was the norm.  Flying commenced just after 1000 hrs and continued, off and on until just after 1600 hrs, but only 7 ATs were flown, all in the club 2 seaters.  1 Day Course member and 2 Trial Lesson pupils were flown, the Day Course member, G Sharpe managing the longest flight of the day, 48 minutes with John Marsh in the K21.  All this excitement was too much for a couple of club members as the following photos show, with some members suggesting a new source of revenue for the YGC as a respite care centre.

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Sunday 22nd.  The heavy showers with hail continued to dominate the weather, but although the site seemed to be ringed by them for most of the day, a reasonable flying day was had, with 2 private owners rigging and contributing to the 15 ATs flown.  In addition to the club’s 2 two seaters and 2 single seaters, the Falke was flown twice and 3 pilots topped an hour in the air.  Rob Bailey and Andy Hatfield had 1:12 and 1:09 in the DG303 respectively, while later in the day Rob flew the Discus for 1:09.  Jim McLean and Polly Whitehead put up the best time in a 2 seater with 46 minutes in the K21.  Another Day Course member and a single trial lesson were flown.

Monday 23rd.  Grey skies, low cloud and a cold, if light, N’ly flow greeted the members of the week’s aerobatic course led by Paul Conran, but the lower layer of cloud started to break up as the wind veered into the ENE and freshened slightly.  Flying started just after 1100 hrs with 2 Trial Lesson flights for Father and Daughter Cunningham, there being suffiicient gaps in the lower cloud to tow to 3000′ QFE off runway 02.  There was even a hit of lift under some of the lower cloud .  The improving situation allowed the aerobatic course to commence, this being a reasonably international one, with Peter from Portmoak, Fran from the Dublin GC and Chris Gill reprsenting the YGC.  An increase in the lower cloud and some very light rain led to a non flying interlude around lunch time, but thereafter, conditions improved with the persistent upper overcast going up slightly and  finally allowing ATs to 4000′ QFE  This  allowed the ground based onlookers to witness some prolonged inverted flying and rolling from the course members.  The day was also full of some determined aircraft/hangar shuffling as Pawnee Tango Mike’s engine replacement was finally completed and  the aircraft  taken out of the back of hangar No 1 and repositioned at the front of hangar No 2 in readiness for a final check and engine run on Tuesday.

Saturday 14th April to Tuesday 17th April

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Saturday 14th.  A moderate N’ly blew all day, bringing in general cloud, a few showers and becoming somewhat gusty around the middle of the day.  The showers/cloud delayed the start of flying until midday and the gusting wind restricted the trials of the Eurofox to the first 2 launches.  In all, 7 ATs were flown, all in 2 seaters, and with no lift to speak of, the longest flight of the day was 28 minutes by Kelly Teagle and Mr Walton in the K21.   In the evening, a much smarter set of pilots and partners assembled at the Golden Fleece Hotel in Thirsk for the Annual Dinner.  Guest speaker,  Group Captain Terry Jones from RAF Linton on Ouse entertained the guests with a few reminiscences from his flying career before presenting the annual flying trophies and awards to a goodly cross section of the membership.

Sunday 15th. The N’ly still blew but slowly moderated and veered into the NE.  Initially clear skies were soon filled with Cu and 10 private owners rigged, contributing to a day’s total of 28 ATs.  The Cu soon developed into showers, some of which fell as snow, with the temperature on site peaking below 5C.  Bill Payton/Lindsay McLane disappeared for 5 hours in Bill’s DG1000t, and the private  2 seaters amassed another 2:40 when Jon May and Steve Ball took their Duo Discus xt flew an attempted Sut W/Burn/Market Weighton/Sut task, but had to get the engine out on the way back to Sutton,  having completed 122 km, 89% of the task.  Pete Thelwall  set off on a Sut/Burn/Sut/Pontefract/Sut task but after dodging showers, was confronted by a “great wall of grey” and landed at Rufforth having 85 km, 43% of the task.  He was joined on the ground at Rufforth by Les Rayment in his Ventus ct.  Among all this cross country activity, 5 Trial Lesson pupils were flown, Andy Hatfield had 45 minutes in the DG303 and Paul Whitehead/Katherina Zapp had another 45 minutes in the K21. 

Monday 16th.  Although the air mass retained its  characteristics, the wind now blew gently from the SW, giving another good soaring day.  15 ATs were flown with 4 private owners launching.  Phil Lazenby flew a 174 km triangle, Sut/Garforth/Bev/Sut, (213 km on OLC), in  the club DG303  and a number of other pilots declared cross country flights including Albert Newberry in his DG1000t, Rob Bailey in his ASG29 and John Ellis and Ken Kelso in the club DG1000.  Rob flew Sut/Elvington/Market Weighton/Malton/Castle Howard/Tontine/Sut reaching 5,800′ asl over the Wolds, but the completion of the other tasks is currently uncertain.  In spite of strong lift, areas of overconvection and heavy sink contributed to two landouts.  Martyn Johnson landed out at Oulston in his DG600 and Ian Plant, flying the  K21 with Tor Taverner, just failed to make it back to the airfield, landing out on the Gallops some 1.6 km away and putting himself in contention for the 2012 Aux Vaches trophy.  5 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour and, in addition to a single Falke flight, 2 Trial Lesson pupils were flown.  David Campbell flying the K21 solo and John Marsh flying the Ka8 each recorded just over an hour in the air.  Among all this aerial activity, a contractor proceeded to drive a slitter over the quieter parts of the site to improve the sward.

Tuesday 17th.  Briefing was conducted with the site in cloud but with the promise of a clearance later.  So it transpired, with winching commencing at around 1300 hrs and continuing until after 1700 hrs, generating 11 launches.  A moderate to fresh W’ly  that slowly backed into the WSW provided good hill soaring conditions, but most pilots took advantage of the good thermal conditions  with 3-4 kt thermals and cloud base eventually rising to around 4500′ asl, any showers being light.  Martyn Johnson in his DG600 and George Rowden in his LS8t put up the longest flights of the day, 3:11 and 2:44 respectively, George being at one point the meat in a Eurofighter sandwich, the leader passing underneath with his wingman passing overhead courtesy of a quick dive from the LS8.   Barbara Rees, who had arrived over the weekend in her yellow Auster, first had 1:14 in the rerigged K21 and then a flight in the Ka8, in which, while hill soaring, she had a helicopter pass overhead.    Brian Wise and Ross Hume had 55 minutes in the K21.  Hangar packing was completed just before a much more substantial shower with hail arrived.

Thursday 12th to Friday 13th April

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Thursday 12th.  The cool and showery, light to moderate flow from a N’ly quarter  continued initially giving some good lift, but under a relatively low cloud base, before the showers developed.  4 ATs,were flown, principally for the benefit of 3 Trial Lesson pupils with flights of between 20 and 32 minutes.  The only club member to fly was Ross Hume who, off the first flight of the day in the company of Andy Parish, had 45 minutes in the K21.  As on Wednesday, the showers duly developed and gave the  hangar packers a good soaking.

Friday 13th.  The cool, now N’ly flow continued, but with lighter winds.  Generally cloudy skies started to clear and with Cu forming, flying started around 1100 hrs and thereafter continued intermittently  until around 1630 hrs.  The intermittent nature of the flying was caused by overconvection,  which lead to leaden skies and no lift, conveniently around lunch time.  Thereafter, skies started to clear with the formation of some good Cu.  Mike Smith, hoping to brush up his thermalling techniques, took a pre lunch launch and was happily contemplating a couple of hours in the DG303 when the overconvection led to his arrival back on the ground after 1:08.  Andy Parish, flying with new member Steve Nesbit on the latter’s first flight,  had 51 minutes in the DG1000, a potentially marginal return to site being saved by some accomodating lift.  After the lunch break and with skies clearing, Ian Plant/Pauline Luty were all set to start their downwind leg in the K21 when a nice thermal took them up to cloud base at around 4000′ asl, extending their flight to 1:08.  Duncan Pask and George Rowden then launched around 14:30 hrs  into the more promising skies to the SE of the site.  Duncan subsequently had 1:36 in the DG303, while George completed a 107 km triangle in his LS8t, Sut/Snainton/Stamford Bridge/Sut, having to tiptoe around the Snainton turn point, but finding a large Cu on the last leg that gave 6-8 kts lift at 100 kts.  The day’s total of 7 ATs were supplemented by a single trip for Andy Parish/Reg Rowlinson in the Falke and the arrival a EuroFox for AT trials over the weekend.  The latter is shown taxiing to the club house on the following photo.

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Sunday 8th to Wednesday 11th April

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Sunday 8th.  A light to moderate W’ly brought in overcast skies and a low cloud base that delayed flying until around lunch time.  Skies brightened in the afternoon allowing 10 ATs to be flown in 3 of the club’s 2 seaters and 2 of  the single seaters.  Although noboby had an hour in the air, 7 of  the 10 ATs exceeded 30 minutes with Brian Wise and N Powell having 54 minutes in the DG500.  Normal service was resumed when Rob Bailey had the longest flight of the day, 57 minutes in the DG303.  The day’s flying activities were completed with a sortie in the Falke.

Monday 9th.  Low cloud and light rain in a moderate SW’ly flow persisted for most of the day and when the rain did stop the low cloud remained ensuring a non flying day.

Tuesday 10th.  The depression with its fronts that had made Monday a non-flying day, had drifted to the NE of Scotland leaving the site in a moderate to fresh SW’ly.  The unstable air meant strong thermals, big clouds and showers but most of the latter passed the club  by and flying was uninterrupted from just before 11am to 6 pm.  During this time 10 winch launches were flown in 3 of the club and 2 privately owned gliders.  The latter, namely Jesper Mjels in his Pik 20 and Martyn Johnson in his DG600, spent a significant time trying to contact wave and while tantalising smooth lift came and went, no substantial climbs were made.  The thermals were however, frequent and strong and virtually all the launches exceeded an hour.  Jesper had 5:15 and  Martyn 3:12 while of those flying club aircraft, Chris Thirkell had 2:14 in the DG303 and Ian Plant/Jim Clark had an hour in the K21.  A single Trial Lesson pupil also had a good introduction to gliding.

Wednesday 11th.  The wind had dropped to a light NW’ly and after the first AT of the day, a break in proceedings occurred due to a passing shower.  Thereafter, a further 7 ATs were flown, 3 of these with Trial Lesson pupils.  By early afternoon the site was in a sunny hole surrounded on virtually every side by growing Cu and heavy showers.  In spite of all this ascending air, staying up locally was difficult, with lift weak or non existent under the small local Cu, whose bases were at around 1800′ QFE.  This all changed on the last flight of the day when Martyn Johnson, having completed the demagnetisation of his DG 600’s rudder pedals. took off with Diane Thomas in the K21.  A local Cu decided to join the big brother fraternity, providing Martyn and Diane with some strong lift that cancelled out full brake deployment, reduced the cloudbase from 3000′ QFE to 1700′ QFE, caused a 180 degree wind shift and eventually provided Martyn and Diane with the spectacle of the the local countryside turning white as it was covered with a layer of hail.  The flight landed after an interesting 38 minutes  just before the heavens opened and terminated flying for the day.   A wet hangar packing followed, with the storm now providing some thunder and lightning and a layer of wet hail on  the aircraft as the following photo shows.

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Friday 6th to Saturday 7th April

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Friday 6th.  A cloudy, cool day with an intially moderate W’ly soon turned into a wet day with generally light rain,the wind decreasing and veering into the WNW.  A single AT was flown in the K21 before the rain arrived, Dick Cole in the tug dropping off Fred Brown with his Trial Lesson pupil Jane Wood in a wave looking slot over Thirsk.  The slot failed to produce any usable lift so a high speed return to site at cloud base resulted , much to the delight of Jane.

Saturday 7th.  Another cloudy day, flying being delayed by light rain until around midday, but this allowed the assembled multitudes to be  treated to an impromptu lecture by David Latimer on cross country flying.  Thereafter, 18 ATs were flown off runway 02 into a light N’ly that became light and variable.  The day was characterised by periods of non soarable and soarable conditions as Cu over-development to form a StratoCu layer at around 3000′ asl and subsequent dissipation  under a high overcast cycled on a 3-4 hour frequency.  Colin Troise flying the DG1000 solo had 1:18 in the first soarable period   after the passage of the rain, finding a good cloud street to explore.  A number of pilots enjoyed extended flight times in the second period of soarable weather in the late afternoon, with Steve Ball/Les Rayment having 58 minutes in Steve’s Duo Discus xt and George Rowden/ Judy Popley having 50 minutes in the DG1000.  Rob Bailey, determined to achieve the longest flight of the day did so in the DG303, but only just  with 1:19.   John Marsh’s plans to test Marion Stanley’s reaction to a wave off in the K21 were foiled when the weak link broke resulting in a sudden return to site.  The rope was subsequently spotted by tug pilot David Latimer in the middle of a field  conveniently marked by 3 horses who formed a little triangle all pointing at the rope.  They were still in this position when the rope was retrieved and seemed a little disappointed that the most interesting event that had happened for some time had come to an end.  Congratualtions are due to John Shaw who was passed out and did his first solo tugging in the Super Cub.  After putting away all the gliders, tugs and equipment, the briefing room was filled for George Rowden’s talk on ‘Weather from a Gliding Perspective’ which was followed by a Brian supper.

Wednesday 4th to Thursday 5th April

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Wednesday 4th.  The rain of Tuesday turned to snow overnight as the temperature dropped, a few inches covering the airfield and drifting in a fresh to strong NE’ly wind that gusted to around 35 kts.  Conditions improved slowly over the day but with the airfield snowy/waterlogged, no flying was possible.

Thursday 5th.  What a difference a day makes.   A ridge of high pressure brought very good thermal conditions, the initially light NE’ly becoming light and variable as the day progressed.  Cu started to form early and it was soarable by 1000 hrs with Mike Wood  first off in the DG303 followed by George Rowden in his LS8t   George had been encouraged to try for a 300 km by Andy Parish.  The Queen’s presence in York to distribute Maundy Money meant a temporary Class D airspace existed from Linton on Ouse to Leeds so a Sut/Market Weighton/Tontine/Humber Bridge/Sutton N/Sut task was declared.  This was duly completed in 3:46,  albeit with a low point around the Tontine tp due to a lack of clouds or thermals.  Andy Wright took off in his repaired Nimbus 3t for a test flight that lasted 2:06 and encompassed an O/R to Scunthorpe N with a slight diversion to include the Pocklington tp.  8 of the day’s 10 ATs, gave flights of over an  hour, with David Hill having 2:07 in the DG303 towards his year’s solo hours, Ian Plant accompanying Ross Hume on his first good thermal flight in the K21 of 1:22 while Albert Newbery/Pauline Luty had 1:17 also in the K21.  Instead of featuring in the longest flight of the day, Rob Bailey had the 2 shortest, 55 minutes and 40 minutes in the K21, the first with Ian Plant and the second with Dick Cole.  Congratualtions are due to John Tayler who has his NPPL instructor rating back.

 The remnants of the snow by the back entrance door and that still lying on the higher parts of the North Yorkshire Moors are shown in the following photos.

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Sunday 1st to Tuesday 3rd April.

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Sunday 1st.  The moderate/fresh, cool N’ly winds of Saturday had backed into the West and declined to moderate, but with the pressure still relatively high, a clear and sunny day resulted, allowing a full day’s flying with 20 ATs and 3 Falke flights.  3 private owners launched, with all the club 2 seaters and 2 of the single seaters in demand.  Scattered, high cloud base Cu appeared from around midday and most  pilots took advantage with 4 recording flights of greater than an hour.  Rob Bailey had 2:47 in the DG303, with Colin Troise having 2:31 in his DG600.  John Shaw took his first flight in his newly acquired LS7 and got well acclimatised in a flight of 40 minutes.  4 Trial Lesson pupils had a good introduction to gliding and a Learn to Fly package student logged up 2 launches.  Pilots McLaine and Whitehead shared a flight of 1:40 in the DG1000.

Monday 2nd.  A generally cloudy day with a  light N’ly/NW’ly flow only tempted 3 pilots to launch, with a Trial Lesson pupil adding to the launch total and a single Falke flight completing the day’s flying activities.  Ian Plant took a 3000′ tow to ensure that the Trial Lesson pupil had at 24 minutes in the air and it wasn’t until Cu started to form in the afternoon that Rob Bailey took off in the DG303 to record the longest flight of the day, 2:14. 

 Tuesday 3rd.  A cold, cloudy and wet day as a depression tracked slowly south over the UK meant there was no flying, the high spot of the day being  the sight of 6 Hares playing tag on runway 24 even though it was April and not March.

Friday 30th to Saturday 31st of March

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Friday 30th.  The declining anticyclone was accompanied by declining temperatures and increasing winds, although these were initially light SSW’lies before becoming moderate W’lies as the day ended.  In spite of generally sunny skies, the weakening inversion still proved too strong for good convection with the result that the 7 ATs of the day failed to produce a flight of over 30 minutes.  Chris Thirkell flew for 24 minutes in the Ka8, no doubt due to  the fact he had just washed it;  Andy Parish/Diane Thomas  had a flight of 19 minutes in the K21, while Ian Plant had a similar time in the air with the only Trial Lesson Pupil of the day, Kay Hunter.  The Falke was again well utilised with 3 flights.

Saturday 31st.  A multitude of cold fronts moving south delayed flying until after lunch, the weather thereafter being characterised by broken cloud, moderate to fresh, N’ly winds and markedly cooler temperatures.  The non-flying morning allowed George Rowden to take Junior member Sam Wade on the simulator for some instruction in the basics, but once flying commenced around 1330 hrs, 14 ATs were flown off runway 02, take offs and landings providing plenty of control movement.  In spite of some wave looking clouds, no one managed a wave climb and most people initially found difficulty in staying aloft.  However, thermal conditions improved as the afternoon wore on and Steve Ball/Jon May in their Duo Discus xt and John Marsh in the DG303 showed soaring was possible with flights of just under 2 hrs and an hour respectively.  Steve and Jon found a good energy line that took them to Carlton Bank on the northern edge of the North Yorks Moors and also had a successful engine test, although they were thankful for a high cloud base of around 4000′ asl as a height loss of around 1000′ was required to get the engine to fire after its winter layoff.    The improving thermal conditions allowed Andy Parish/John Shaw to have 57 minutes in the K21 off the last launch of the day.  The day’s 4 Trial Lesson pupils enjoyed their experience of gliding and didn’t appear to put off by the sight of members David Lynch and Sarah Marsh on crutches, Sarah joining the crutches brigade as the result of a recent car accident.  In the evening, CFI Andy Parish covered a number of safety and other issues at the Instructor’s meeting, with Derek Smith taking the floor to talk about Motor Glider instruction and possible changes to field landing training to address the significant number of field landing accidents that occur nationally each year.  The evening’s lectures were completed by Dick Cole who provided club members with the latest update on airspace and related isssues.   A number of members then availed themselves of a convivial supper provided by caterer Brian.