Monday 4th. A weak ridge of high pressure led to a soaring day in an initially moderate N’ly that decreased to a light E’ly by evening, light morning showers quickly decreasing in frequency as the cloud base rose to over 4000′ asl . The Vintage Gliding Club members took full advantage of the conditions as did YGC members, so a crowded launch point resulted as 77 ATs were flown, 46 of them by private owners with the remainder in 7 of the 9 strong club fleet. Most of the Vintage Gliding Club members remained local, the conditions sometimes looking better than they actually were, as demonstrated by YGC member Phil Lazenby who finished up in Paradise in his Pegase. Paradise Farm actually, as a series of good looking clouds failed to provide any lift, resulting in a field landing. John Ellis, flying his Nimbus 3t declared Sut/Pontefract/Catterick/Burn/Sut but after rounding Pontefract found himself slowly descending while trying to hill soar a ridge near his home town of Masham and had to resort to his engine. Steve Ball/ John May in their Duo Discus Xt also had to resort to their engine near Masham and use it virtually all the way back to Sutton in their flight of 2:15, as large blue holes and areas of overconvection made staying up tricky. George Rowden, flying his LS8t, like Phil Lazenby, was so convinced that there was good lift around that he found himself too low to use his engine and landed for a relight, following which he completed his truncated task of Sut/Wetherby S/Catterick/Sut, but found the going difficult getting to Catterick, the lack of lift requiring large deviations off track. Rob Bailey crossed the Pennines and visited the Lakes in his flight of 5:25, reporting excellent soaring conditions over the western side of the Pennines and seeing a marked sea breeze front coming inland from Morecambe Bay. Bob Calvert in his Discus kept to the east of the Pennines in his flight of 5:26. Conditions over the NorthYorkshire Moors were at times exceptional, with Mike Wood, flying the T21 with Nick Gaunt, reporting a solid 8 kt thermal all the way up to cloud base. 28 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour, with Andy Hatfield topping the endurance stakes for solo YGC pilots with 2:15 in the Discus and John Marsh having 1:37 in the DG500 with D Clare. The day’s flying included 4 Trial Lesson pupils, with soaring continuing into early evening as demonstrated by Robin Hutchinson, who had over an hour solo in the K21 off the penultimate launch of the day and left good lift in order to land before the evenings events commenced.
These events had a more public emphasis as the Roulston Scar viewpoint on the YGC site was a official location for one of the beacons celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The site was opened to the public from 1900 hrs, a large Marquee housing a bar and seating area for a live band, the Moonshine 5, having been erected on the previous Friday. The Hillside Scouts provided a mobile chuck wagon dispensing drinks and hot snacks, while facilities were also provided for DIY barbecuing and there was an ice cream van in attendance. The above facilities are shown in the following photographs.
A well known member of the YGC can be seen providing the bass guitar backing in the above photograph.
Cars continued to stream onto the airfield from 1900 to after 2100 hrs with runway 24 turned into a temporary car park.
But not all attendees arrived by car, a particularly vocal group arriving standing up in an Union Jack bedecked tractor pulled trailer, having negotiated the twisty and steep While Horse Bank.
Union Jacks were well in evidence as illustrated in the next photo of a member of the public.
The clear, calm and by now cool conditions were appreciated by the large crowds, many of whom brought their own chairs and provided the unusual sight of runway 20 occupied not by gliders and tugs but people having a picnic.
Finally, as the sun set and darkness descended, many of the crowd moved to view the lighting of the gas powered beacon on Roulston Scar, the equipment and gas being provided by a combination of the Hillside Scouts and the local branch of Round Table. With a BBC North camera team in attendance, a count down at 2210 hrs led to the lighting to the beacon, by this time a number of other beacons being visible in the Vales of York and Pickering, the North Yorks Moors and as far as the Pennines in the excellent visibility.
A fitting end to a great day’s gliding and Sutton Bank’s contribution to the world wide lighting of 4,000 beacons as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.