Friday 1st to Wednesday 6th October

Friday 1st.  A fresh to strong SE’ly gusting to over 30 kts accompanied by low cloud and heavy rain delayed flying until Saturday.

Saturday 2nd.  A light S’ly greeted the day with low cloud delaying flying until midday.  High cover which thickened as the day progressed reduced surface heating so most of the flights off the  23 ATs were limited in time with no one breaking the hour barrier.  Closest was Andy Hatfield in the club Discus who had 55 minutes while John Marsh and Martin Hancock had 32 minutes in the K21.  In addition to these 2 club aircraft, the DG500 and  the other K21 flew as well as 2 private owners, while the Rotax Falke had 4 sorties, including a trip to Pocklington.    Member’s numbers were swelled by a visiting group of pilots and gliders from the Staffordshire GC.   Meanwhile,  the club expedition to Millfield notched up its first recorded wave flight when Tim Stanley took his ASW 19 to 8000′.

Sunday 3rd.  A light NE’ly that backed into the NW over the course of the day kept the site in cloud and copiously supplied with water, the clearance coming too late to allow any flying apart from on the Simulator.

Monday 4th.  Fog that lifted into low cloud delayed flying until around 1430 hrs, the light SE’ly wind having strengthened during the morning.  9 ATs were flown in the club K21, DG500, Astir and Discus plus 6 by the private owners from the visiting Staffordshire pilots.  Mid afternoon saw some weak thermal activity, with Mr Cooper, one of the visitors in his Ventus, recording the only flight over an hour, 1:05.  Malcolm Winter/Mike Boxallwere not far behind with their 45 minute flight in the K21 while Andy Hatfield had 42 minutes in the Discus.  The Rotax Falke had a single flight.

Tuesday 5th.  Foggy early conditions were again in evidence, but a strengthening windthat veered into the S enabled flying to commence at around1130 hrs.  With the wind continuing to veer, the afternoon brought soaring conditions with weak thermal, weak hill lift and weak wave, the weakness of the latter being illustrated by the pilot who took a 6000′ AT and managed to climb an extra 150′ in wave.  Mr Noble, a visiting pilot, took full advantage of the conditions to stay aloft just over 3 hours, one of 5 pilots to exceed an hour.  The club Discus was flown for 2:11 by Mr Crump while Andy Parish/Dan Wilcox had just under an hour in the K21.   By the end of the day, 15 ATs had been flown, including 6 by private owners.

Wednesday 6th.  Early morning rain with its associated cloud had cleared off to the NE  by 0900 hrs, leaving the site in sunny skies and a light to moderate SSW’ly flow that strengthened later.  By the time the winch had been positioned at the end of runway 24, orographic cloud had started to form on the hill and flying was delayed until 1230 hrs.  The first flight was an AT in  search of wave, but the best that could be managed was a 500′ climb.  The launch method then reverted to the winch, with18 launches carried out, although there was a second AT later in  the day.  Both K21s, the DG500, both Astirs and the Discus were flown from the club fleet with private owners contributing 7 of the 20 launches of the day.   A number of pilots reported strong thermal climbs and incipient wave climbs, but nobody managed more than about 500′ of climb.  The hill was also working at around 800′ but using the passing thermals to gain height resulted in being able to maintain height at typically 1500 – 2000′ QFE in extensive weak lift away from cloud.  Cloud base eventually rose to around 4000′ asl and the excellent visibility certainly made for a very pleasant afternoon’s flying.   Most pilots stayed local, although Dean Crosby visited Black Hambleton in the DG200 and Richie  Toon flew a cloud street to near Masham in his LS7  before returning to site. Messrs Noble and Heaton of the visiting pilots clocked up flights of around 4:30 in their DG300 and Ventus, while Mr Crump another visitor, flew the club Discus for 3:58.  Duncan Pask flew the Astir for 1:50 while Andy Parish/Andy Hatfield were still aloft when the writer left the site around 6pm with all the rest of the gliders and equipment safely put away.